Copying RTW jeans!

When I made my Ginger jeans earlier this year, I felt that I head reached a major milestone when it came to making my own clothes. I’ve worn those jeans almost to death and it was so satisfying to be able to make something so complicated and essential to my wardrobe.

To challenge myself even further I decided to rip apart a an old pair of H&M  jeans that I thought fit really well  and turn them into a sewing pattern. Well, the bits of jeans ended up lying in a pile in my sewing room for a few months, before I plucked up the courage to do something with it. I was just dreading the time consuming process of creating the pattern and what I figured would be a crap result. Here’s how it went:

We the sewing jeans 1

Like I said, the first step was to take the jeans apart – which is looooooong and boring. Turned out RTW jeans are held together by some pretty badass stitching. The second step was to figure out the different seam allowances, which was tricky thanks to all the flat felled seams. Thanks to everyone who advised me and got me to even out the seam allowances. I ended up applying a 1/2″ seam allowance all over. I chose 1/2″ for the simple reason that it meant I had to make the least changes. As you can see here, I was pretty methodical when mapping out the seam allowances…

We the sewing jeans 2Once I had transferred the pattern pieces onto paper (after ironing them very thoroughly I might add) I made the changes to the seam allowances and cut out the new pieces.

FYI I would never have been able to sew up the final thing without Heather-Lou’s brilliant sew-along for the Ginger jeans – it’s so insanely detailed. And having made a pair of jeans from scratch before made it a lot less daunting.

When it came to sewing the legs I first basted them together to make sure the fit was good. I only ended up making a tiny adjustment to the yoke and the top of the side seams. After I simply stitched it all together and finished all the inside seams with my new SERGER. I clearly need a bit of training, but oh my god how wonderfully fast it was. And neat. Finally, I had bought a button and rivets kit from Thread Theory ages ago, so I had that ready to go.

And the result? Pretty darn good if I can say so myself! The fit is pretty much exactly the same as the originals. I guess this shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but it did since I was sure I was going to F something up. We the sewing jeans 6 We the sewing jeans 7We the sewing jeans 10 We the sewing jeans 8We the sewing jeans 4Sorry about all the ass shots and the dust! I made these out of a super soft stretchy and brushed twill that attracts all dust in sight. It’s from Stof og Stil and has 3% elastan content. I thought they would be too tight, but the fabric stretches very nicely. I found it hard to find nice looking quality stretch denim, so twill was a good compromise.

I am so chuffed to have ended up with a custom jeans pattern that I can use again. I’m going to make some tiny changes to the pattern, but all in all it’s pretty spot on. I you have an old pair of favourite jeans that are on their way out (and if you have the patience), I can really recommend doing this.

Have you tried doing something similar with RTW clothing? And have you tried a different technique?

Project summary:

  • Pattern – nada!
  • Fabric – £25
  • Notions (incl. button and rivets from Thread Theory) – £6

Total: £30

44 thoughts on “Copying RTW jeans!

  1. Awesome. Just spotted this on Instagram. I am very impressed with these. They look amazing.
    Now you have tackled your own successful pattern for jeans…. what’s your next challenge?

    • Thanks Caroline! I think I’ll def make more of these – stupid not to really! I think my next challenge will be to make a winter coat. Possible Grainline’s Cascade duffle coat… Will have a think :)

  2. They’re amazing! I had some jeans balled up on my bedroom floor that I was planning to do that to for ages, but I never got around to it :-( But maybe you’ve convinced me it’s a good idea!

  3. They look amazing! I too have a pair of jeans that I love and are looking a bit tired these days. I might just have to attack them with the seam ripper now!

    • A well fitting pair of jeans is a must – at least for me. And sooo nice to be able to make it myself. Buying vintage jeans can be a bit hit and miss! Look forward to seeing what you make. Btw, have been going through your blog – love all your projects!! So cool to see you guys doing so well

  4. These look fab!
    It is difficult to find good quality stretch denim but a plain twill with stretch is a good alternative.
    I made my first pair earlier this year, really pleased with the result but I can see room for improvement. I’m planning another pair for this autumn.

  5. Happy Birthday, Ingrid! I’m impressed – maybe I should stop wearing my threadbare/holey favourite cords from the 1990s and take them apart instead…

  6. These look amazing. I’ve taken apart one of the boyfriend’s old shirts recently to use as a pattern as it seems the safest way to get a good fit. I’m hoping it’s as successful as this project!

    • Cool! Hope it goes well. Actually that’s a really good idea – have been looking for a shirt pattern for my guy too but he’s SO fussy. Would be great to see the results on your blog if he’s up for posing ;)

  7. What a fantastic idea. I have been putting off jeans since I don’t own a serger yet, though I’m getting the courage to bite the bullet and buy one. Do you like yours?

  8. pretty amazing. i have done something similar with a jacket that i loved. i couldn’t bear to tear it apart (even though it was falling apart) so i used pins to poke holes into the pattern paper that i had under each section. it worked pretty well. though my new jacket just isn’t quite the same as the old.

    • Sounds interesting, and probably more time consuming than what I did. Did you use a tutorial to do it? If so please share! Obviously some clothes are too loved to take apart…

  9. Those are my dream jeans!! Black jeans are definitely on my to-sew list. Do you think you’ll return to the Ginger pattern or keep on going with this one? I’ve tried some really sloppy rtw copying but nothing this extensive or successful!

    • Thanks lovely :) Black jeans do go with everything. I love Ginger, but these are the perfect fit for me, so will probably use this going forward. Although I’m quite keen on making the highwaisted Gingers, so I’m not completely done with it :)

  10. Vilka snygga! Just jeans har jag inte kommit till än, men vanliga byxor har jag börjat så smått med. Beundrar ditt tålamod i att bara sprätta upp ett helt plagg.

  11. These look amazing and are the perfect fit! I haven’t nailed the fit on my Gingers yet so continue to wear my RTW pairs every day. Maybe when they bite the dust I’ll do as you have and copy them.

  12. Very impressive! I have some 100% worn out favourite Gap jeans that I plan to take apart and clone in the autumn. This gives me hope that it’ll work out well!

  13. Pingback: The Time I Made Jeans – Sewing & Cocktails

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