dem jeans part 3: front pockets


OK, we are getting down to it for real this post. At this juncture, we should have all our jeans cut (except for belt carriers, waistband, and waistband facing – we’ll get to those!), our pieces marked, and our decisions about topstitching and needles all down pat. We covered all this material in our first and second posts.

Time to start on the front of the jeans with something nice and easy: the front pockets. We will be putting an optional stencil in the jean pocket, and will need to give the paint a moment to dry – so plan accordingly. We are also trying our hand at hammering rivets!

And in case you haven’t already figured this out:



Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim

Babies, my dem jeans sew-a-long is underway.  Posted here:

yellow Japanese selvedge denim with a monster-tentacle back pocket detail and articulated knees!

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
Brass findings: rivets and buttons. Four-button button-fly. Crossgrain and steam-shaped waistband (i.e. the most comfortable, long-lasting, and great-looking jean waistband you’ll ever wear!).

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
The interior of my button fly. You won’t find a better-looking button fly. I would invite you to look at the interior of your own designer jeans, but it might make you sad.

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
My favorite bit: while designing these jeans I’d been watching kaiju films, so I had this sort of seaweed-tentacle motif banging around in my brain. By the way, denim pocket topstitching is really soothing.

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
Uber-closeup of the back yoke at side seam, finished with triple-stitch. The waistband is finished by “stitching in the ditch” with an invisible-stitch result, as we see here.

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
OK, maybe THIS is my favorite bit? Articulated knees as formed by small darts in the inseam and outseam of the front leg. If you haven’t worn jeans with this detail, you will be amazed how much more comfortable they are!

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
And the selvedge outseam – Japanese selvedge denim, and people pay about $200 to $800 for a pair of jeans made with this detail.

Kai-Jeans! Selvedge Denim
I have come to realize that sewing is as much about design as it is technical savvy. One can master technical sewing skills far faster than develop a design sense and acumen. If you’re reading here, know that for most of us, it takes time, patience, blood, sweat, and tears to develop a design voice. Don’t let the amount of work, time, and yes – failures (or misfires) deter you from stepping on the path. It is a very special feeling to be able to create something – in my case, one-of-a-kind custom garments – that no one else has made, and that stands the test of time.

Happy stitching, lovelies!


dem jeans: craftsy discount!


I’ve made no bones about loving Kenneth D. King’s style and teaching works – and, as pertains to this sew-a-long, his jean cloning Craftsy course (but you don’t have to take my word for it!). In fact, the course was so good, that my very first pair turned out flawless! The class is not only fun, but it showcases cloning techniques that are non-destructive to the original garment – and that can be used for almost any garment, not just jeans.

Jeans (Jean-ius Class On Craftsy)

So here’s the good news, sew-a-long buddies. If you’re interested in this great cloning class to make jeans from your own favorite pair, Craftsy has agreed to partner with my students and offer a partial refund on tuition. The class is valued at $44.99 and is often on sale. But dem jeans students can take the class for $14.99! You can’t beat that!

If you want the refund, email me at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org and I’ll give you instructions to get going!

Remember, our sew-a-long starts in just a week. Please review your materials list – and don’t be shy about asking any questions.

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Forever In Blue Jeans: Back Pocket

save the date! DEM JEANS SEW-A-LONG, june 1 2015

DEM JEANS Sew-A-Longtop ten reasons you’re gonna want to join my

dem jeans sew-a-long

1. You can make better-fitting, better-looking, and longer-lasting jeans than you can buy. Yes, custom jeans for yourself. And yes, they look better than what you can buy retail. And after your first pair, you’ll realize it’s easier than you thought!

2. What’s your poison? Trendy raw denim, or selvedge denim? Looking to bring high-waisted acid wash into your life? Trying to emulate that awesome pair of white jeans you had in middle school? Want a pair of “boyfriend fit” in just the right dusky grey – or waxed deep indigo? Want to line your cuffs with your favorite old band t-shirt? Or stencil an awesome motif on the backside?

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

I can help you plan your jeans out, so you get exactly what you want. Send me an email – and be prepared to put aside some time and energy.

Now, if this sounds overwhelming or intimidating, start smaller: make a pair using a standard pattern. You will get used to construction methods, before trying your own custom-fit – and you can gift your first pair to a friend!

3. These jeans are ethically-produced. The vast amounts of retail jeans out there are made at the expense of workers in other countries, without regard for quality of life, and rely on pillaging environmental resources in other countries. These jeans will also last longer, further extending your clothing dollar. Use the money you save on retail jeans to buy ethically-produced retail jeans! Or make ethically-produced jeans for your friends, family, or clients!

4. Once you start shopping for good denim you will be hooked. I ain’t gonna lie. It’s like a drug. Denim, even good denim, is affordable, it feels great, it lasts a long time, it is beautiful to look at and dare I say, fondle! – and the scraps make beautiful quilts (or potholders, or teddy bears, or, or…).

5. I don’t like to compare prices – because custom-fit, ethically-made, perfect jeans with tailor-level detail simply aren’t available on the market at all –  but this is one case where a simple high-end home project is cheaper than high-end jeans. A lot cheaper. Even buying ethically- and organically-produced fabrics, you come out ahead.

6. My sew-a-long: you aren’t going to find better close-up photography and a more in-depth tutorial than mine (ask my previous students). My background in technical writing and knowledge of clothing construction means you will be rolling your eyes at the level I geek out on these! (all the while appreciating the meticulous detail!). And my photographs are important for jeans – the beauty is in the topstitching and technical detail, really.

7. Your jeans can be made for your body, as-is. Tired of jeans that don’t fit right, or too-long cuffs, or jeans too tight at the thigh? Yeah. And those high-end brands? Definitely not made in a diverse size range. Need I say more?

8. Once you’re finished, you’ll have a pattern made to perfection. It’s worth the time to create this template. Because forever after, all you need is a few yards of denim in your house, you can make up jeans whenever you’re feeling lonely. The jeans will be your friend. They won’t let you down.

9. You have a mentor the whole way. (That’s me!). I figure if Jalie Patterns (I’m not worthy!) thinks my sew-a-long is good enough for their professional site, you’ll probably be pretty pleased with my help too. You can ask questions via Skype, text (if we’re down like that), comments here, and email.

10. ASSES. Your ass looks great in jeans. Seriously. It’s true. A pair of well-fitting jeans, is a friend to asses everywhere. Look, someone had to say it!




If you’re a novice stitcher, you may be thinking There’s no way I can pull this off! 

But – you can.

You’re gonna need to invest a little bit of money – and a lot of time. And you will feel like a million bucks when you are through!

Here is what you will need for this sew-a-long. Please read carefully. Some items may need to be ordered online; for instance, Kenneth D. King’s class on cloning jeans requires a small tuition, requires supplies, and takes time to complete.

Feel free to post any questions to the comments – or email me:

a pattern
I strongly suggest you take the time to prepare and do one of the following:
trace your favorite non-stretch pair using the methods outlined in the Craftsy course Jean-ius! by Kenneth D. King; or
purchase any pattern and use this straight-size pattern, without alterations, as your first-run template – to get used to sewing jeans.
any kind of raw, selvedge, or cotton denim works. We are making non-stretch button-fly selvedge jeans for this course (I buy from Pacific Blue Denim). If you want to work with stretch denim, make sure your pattern is drafted and adjusted properly for this. Be sure to buy adequate yardage; I always buy enough for two pair of jeans.
contrast fabric, 1/2 yard
100% cotton or linen woven works best. We will be making the pocket bag, belt facing, and button-fly detail with this fabric. Consider something that looks good on both sides, for best pocket effect.
rivets and snaps &/or buttons (optional)
you will need four buttons and ten rivets; buy a few extra to be sure. I buy mine from
stitch witchery or thin fusible web
this will help us get a perfect waistband
sewing equipment
sewing machine(s) – can handle buttonholes and perform a zig-zag stitch
thread: high-quality cotton-wrapped polyester, in both construction color and topstitching color
serger (optional)
denim and/or topstitching needles, in the size appropriate to the fabric
an awl, hammer, and wire cutters (for rivet- and button-setting)
steam iron and ironing board
beeswax & strong needle for button-sewing (if you use sew-on buttons, as opposed to hammer-set)
Make sure to add a badge to your blog, and to subscribe to the sew-a-long updates!
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Forever In Blue Jeans: Back Pocket