Last week we cut out all of our pieces, and today we are going to start assembling the front pockets. If you haven’t basted your pieces together yet to test the fit, you can wait until after your front pockets are done – worst case scenario you have to take the hip or waist in a little and this way you can do it in one fell swoop.
When we left off on Friday, we had pressed the top edges of our three pockets down. Today we’re going to start by topstitching them to get this step out of the way. Following my suggestions for getting straight double rows of topstitching, sew along the tops of your coin and back pockets.
Once stitched, we are going to press all the raw sides in. We won’t be working with the back pockets for a while after this, but it’s nice to just get this step out of the way. Using a seam gauge or ruler, press the three unfinished sides of the back pocket in 1/2″ and press. One side of your pocket has a slight curve so make sure you are not pressing it flat! Also press the straight side of your coin pocket.
You can see in the above photo that the raw edge of the folded seam peeks out a little. Snip those corners at 45 degrees.
You can now put your back pockets off to the side, since today we will be focusing on the front pockets. Align your coin pocket on your right pocket facing, matching the little circle marking with the corner of the pocket and pin into place. After pinning, topstitch the straight edge to your facing, making sure you backstitch at the top to secure.
Now finish the raw edges of both pocket facings, either using an overlock or zig zag stitch. If your pieces get a little wavy around the edges, pressing them with some steam will flatten them out.
Once the edges are finished, pin your facings to the wrong side of your lining. The right side should be visible when you’re putting them on – no use in wasting a pretty print inside a pocket! You are going to sew all around the edge of the facing. On the outside edges sew inside your seam allowance at around 1/2″. Then sew close to the edge of the curved part of your facing. Since you are stitching a stretch fabric to a non-stretch fabric, your seams may pucker a little bit. If it bugs you, you can use a walking foot. I should have done that in this case. Please forgive my puckers.
Your pocket linings should now look like this.
It can be a little confusing to figure out which lining goes where. Hopefully this picture helps.
Flip the lining over so that the curved edge of the pocket opening matches the pocket opening on the front leg. Pin into place and stitch. I am using the right leg as an example here but repeat this step for each side to reduce switching from regular to topstitching thread.
Clip into the curve without snipping into your stitch line. I like to clip about every half inch or so I get a nice smooth curve. Flip the lining in and press the pocket nice and flat.
Once the lining has been attached to each leg, it’s time to sew a double row of topstitching around the curved pocket edge. Sew carefully and as accurately as possible to get nice even lines. Be mindful of your lining as you are sewing. If it’s not laying flat while you are sewing it will peek out after you’ve completed your topstitching.
Now it’s time to finish the raw edge of the pocket lining. Fold your pocket lining over and align the bottom edge.You can do a french seam here if you like, but I am going to show you a serging trick to prevent this seam from unravelling. Start at the folded edge of the pocket. Once you serge a few stitches, raise the presser foot, bring the thread chain over, and align with your stitch line. You should be able to serge over your thread chain, thus preventing it from unraveling over time. The other end of your serging will be caught in a sewn seam so you don’t have to worry about locking it in place.
Now that the bottom of the pocket is sewn, baste the top and side edges of your lining to the leg inside your seam allowance. If your pocket is a little wavy, give it a nice press so it lays flat.
If you are doing a pocket stay like we discussed last week, the process is a little different. You will follow the same steps to attach your facings to your linings, but I like to enclose the seams rather than leave them raw. Simple serge the lining pieces right sides together, flip right side out and press.
Once the top and bottom linings have been attached, sew your lining to your front leg as outlined above for the regular pocket lining. Once they have been topstitched into place, baste the lining to your leg by sewing about 1/2″ around the sides, top and fly extension.
That’s it for today! Now is a great time to baste everything together to check the fit. You should do this every time you make jeans, even if you’ve mastered the fit on a previous pair. Denim varies a lot and if you’re working with something particularly, stretchy, it’s better to find out before you start finishing your side seams. To test baste, use your longest stitch length and sew the yokes to the back legs, the back crotch seam, the inseams, the side seams, and attach your waistband (very important to prevent the waist from stretching out). You can catch a lot of possible issues at this stage and correct for many of them. Check the pants fitting guide if you need a little help working out issues.
If you’d like more help sewing professional looking jeans, consider taking our online video class. The Sew Your Dream Jeans Workshop will give you the tools and techniques to design, sew, and wear your very own custom pair of jeans with confidence.