Never Say Never (Again)

With apologies to James Bond for nicking the title of one of his films, regular readers will know there are certain things I have vowed never to do.  In the sewing arena this included never bothering to make a pair of jeans.  I don’t have any problems getting ready to wear jeans to fit me properly so I couldn’t see the point and, anyway, what a faff!

In the end though, I couldn’t resist the challenge – I wanted to prove to myself I could do it so I bought some grey marl denim and some ‘only just’ contrast thread – not brave enough yet to do so much very visible top stitching – bought Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans pattern, measured the pieces against an existing pair of jeans that fit me well and off I went.

Curved front pockets – no problem (I’ve even lined them in a blue ditsy Liberty fabric just for fun).

Fly front complete with bar tacks- a doddle.

Back pockets – just a question of where to put them to enhance my ‘only just there’ bum.  This isn’t ideal placing but I had started to realise by now that these jeans were never going to be worn and I just wanted to get them attached and move on to the next bit.

I thought I might as well carry on until the bitter end and call them a muslin/toile/practice run – anything other than a complete waste of time.

So, I added the waistband, complete with fancy facing, put on the belt loops and a proper jeans button.

et voila!

All in all I have convinced myself I’m perfectly capable of making a pair of jeans with all the necessary bells and whistles.

If only they fitted me.

Totally my fault – the ‘denim’ fabric I chose has got hardly any stretch in it at all.  So, even though, when I hold them up to my favourite pair of shop bought jeans, they are exactly the same size, the lack of stretch means I can hardly bend my knees…..

….and sitting down for any length of time, if I could even manage it, might crush my internal organs.

I realised about mid-way, they were going to be too tight but it was good practice.  So, if you’re about to make jeans – they’re really not too difficult but just make sure you have the right fabric and practice your top stitching.

I think I’ll give them another go once I’ve got over the trauma and, when I do, I will be extremely picky about the denim I use.  Apparently, too much stretch is not good either so it’s a bit tricky and I’d suggest finding somebody who has made a successful pair (i.e. not me) and copy their choice of denim if possible.  If you’re in the U.S., this will not be a problem at all – in rural France it’s more difficult.

Just to be a bit more upbeat, the top I’m wearing with them is another Sewaholic Renfrew top – is there anybody out there who hasn’t got this pattern and swears by it?  I made this one using the cotton jersey I bought which had ‘Kid’s Collection’ or something similar printed down the selvedge.  Ask me if I care.

So that’s the jeans off my ‘never say never’ sewing list.

Next up is the coat.

My sewing friend Sandra and I are making this together (the unbelted version)  – or rather, we’re making one each but at the same time.  The cutting out of the interfacing was the worst bit so far.  I have a feeling those welt pockets are going to be nightmarish too and that is the point I’ve reached as of yesterday when we had our weekly sewing session.  Yes ‘weekly’ – and we spend the first hour yakking – so it might be some time before the finished article emerges.

So, that’s two sewing ‘never say nevers’ ticked off but, even though I did give in and buy a sparkly top over the festive season, I am still adamant that I am never, ever going on a sea cruise .

Have you ever said ‘never, ever’ to something – either in crafting or life in general – and then changed your mind?


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  1. #1 by Wild Daffodil on January 11, 2019 - 12:26

    I’m so impressed! Love the top! Especially good for swanning around.
    I vowed I would never make a mermaid tail, but when asked so sweetly by my granddaughter – how could I resist – knitted – now to get the pattern published.

    • #2 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 12:47

      Ooh, get that pattern published quickly in case the knitted mermaid tails craze runs out of steam.

      • #3 by Wild Daffodil on January 12, 2019 - 09:09

        Yes, I. really thought it would have run out by now – but no – it’s still going strong it seems.

  2. #4 by Rosemary on January 11, 2019 - 13:34

    You are brilliant! You make me laugh and inspire me at the same time. Your trial and errors (not that they look like errors to me) are out tips and tricks of helpful insider information. Good luck with the coat…I make a duffel coat years ago but that was simple compared to yours. I would ‘never, ever’ make lined curtains, urgh the very thought.

    • #5 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:27

      Thank you for telling me I can both amuse and inspire you – it makes blogging worthwhile when I hear such compliments.
      I have made lined curtains but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Now I live in France so there’s no need for them – what a relief! All that fabric, going on forever and just boring straight lines of stitching also going on forever 😱 Hoorah for shutters!

  3. #6 by mlmcspadden on January 11, 2019 - 13:42

    The jeans look great, but I totally understand the issues with using the wrong fabric – as the saying goes, been there done that before. As for ‘never, ever doing’ – lined tailored jackets will never happen for me!

    • #7 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:24

      Ooh, yes, that would be a challenge if you wanted it to look really professional wouldn’t it?

  4. #8 by claire93 on January 11, 2019 - 13:57

    oooh I love your swan top, and that reminds me, I’ve got a lovely stash of flamingos just waiting for me to make something (simple).
    Your jeans look very well executed, and a really good fit, if only you never needed to sit down. I do hope you give the pattern another go in the future, with a stretch denim!

    • #9 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:23

      I don’t see why ladies can’t wear flamingos or swans if we want to.
      I probably will give it another go, I do actually have some stretchier denim ready and waiting in my stash now so watch this space.

  5. #10 by PendleStitches on January 11, 2019 - 14:14

    Such a pity because they are just lovely! And I love that coat pattern. I keep thinking about making it with some gorgeous vintage wool in my stash…..
    It would be lots of boxes ticked off in one go!

    • #11 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:21

      The coat pattern caught my eye as soon as they released it. I like a bit of swing going on in my outerwear. I haven’t spent too much money on the fabric so it’s worth a shot to see how I get on.

      • #12 by PendleStitches on January 16, 2019 - 14:24

        I’m sure it’ll be amazing and I can’t wait to see it!

  6. #13 by katechiconi on January 11, 2019 - 14:51

    Now listen, all that work and the really nice denim are too good to waste. Can you turn them into a skirt? My never say never is really making anything fitted. When, as I am, you are shaped like a brick with a limb at each corner, totally devoid of waist and stocky to boot, it’s really kinder to the rest of the world to wear things that skim. And that’s an end to it.
    Oh, and once upon a time I said I’d never hand quilt an entire quilt. That was seven hand-quilteds ago…

    • #14 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:20

      Now, you won’t be surprised to read that I did wonder whether I could turn them into a skirt. I don’t see why not and, if it’s not too much faff, I might do it.
      Handquilting an entire quilt – ow that’s probably something I could add to my never list but, actually, I could possibly, just maybe, envision it – especially if the quilt as you go kind counts.

      • #15 by katechiconi on January 11, 2019 - 23:15

        I’m sure you could manage QAYG for the hand quilting, especially if you didn’t set a deadline. Look at the Hatbox Quilt, for example… That will be number 8, by the way!

  7. #16 by onecreativefamily on January 11, 2019 - 15:01

    I am so impressed. I have NEVER made jeans, don’t know if I’d really want to. They look great

    • #17 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:18

      They really do – on the hanger 😢

  8. #18 by Lynda on January 11, 2019 - 16:32

    I, too, am impressed. I’d like to see a more comfortable version in the future seeing as you are so skilled in only one try! Better fabric, second go round = perfection. I enjoy reading about your sewing adventures and viewing the results; you encourage me to try!

    Never say never list? Zip lining: Why climb to the top of anything too high and then hang your butt over thin air on a little string going way to fast? (I did try this once in Costa Rica on my friends *finca. I’ll admit to having fun.) AND, quilting. In the 70s I used to think the women I saw discussing fabric, patterns, color and on and on were, well, crazy. Why put yourself through all that exacting torture to make it work? Between then and the 90s someone invented the rotary cutter and templates. Just try and stop me from cutting fabric to ribbons and then sewing it all back together!

    * Colloquial meaning – farm

    • #19 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:17

      When you really sit down and think about patchwork it does seem odd. Mr. Tialys can’t get his head round me oohing and aahing about beautiful fabric and then cutting it up into smaller pieces. As for Foundation Paper Piecing – I showed him a block I finished the other day – it’s the image of a stiletto shoe (for Kate’s Angel quilt) and he said ‘why don’t you just cut out the shape of a shoe and sew it on?’ I explained that would be called appliqué but, to be honest, I couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer on the spur of the moment.
      Still, who cares what he thinks?

      • #20 by Lynda on January 12, 2019 - 07:31

        It isn’t about the finish. It is about the journey getting there. 😉

      • #21 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:45


  9. #22 by nanacathy2 on January 11, 2019 - 17:16

    What a shame about the stretch as they look wonderful. I say never again frequently and then forget only to remember when it’s too late.

    • #23 by tialys on January 11, 2019 - 18:14

      Yes! I do that too – I think wine is usually involved.🙃

  10. #24 by CurlsnSkirls on January 11, 2019 - 18:21

    Beautiful toile for jeans, Lynn~congratulations! And the top is a keeper. Whoever labels fabric clearly hasn’t a clue. 😆 Must admit that finding good stretch denim over here is almost as problematic. Not that I would plan such a project. Tight trousers on this frame is too scary a thought. Lol!

    • #25 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 15:00

      I have read that Cone Mills denim and the Robert Kaufmann super stretch indigo denim are both supposed to be excellent.
      Swans are definitely not just for little girls especially sophisticated looking swans like mine.

  11. #26 by Lindashee on January 11, 2019 - 18:56

    I’ve had denim and a jeans pattern in my sewing drawers for the last 4-5 years, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work to assemble trousers so neatly ! What puts me off more is that I’ve never been able to wear what I make more than once, due to keeping going up sizes :/ – Real shame about the flexibility of the jeans but they look great. Also, the top is great and simple, and that coat is gonna look… amazing 😀

    • #27 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:54

      The trick with them, I found, was to treat each step as a separate project. That way, you concentrate on the matter in hand and can enjoy the feeling of triumph when that step is completed before moving on to the next. If your size keeps changing, it’s definitely a good idea to have (very) stretchy denim.

  12. #28 by magpiesue on January 11, 2019 - 19:02

    Congratulations on turning out such a well made pair of jeans! Could either of your daughters wear them? Aside from the welt pockets I should think the coat would be a breeze now. Our James has gotten quite good at welt pockets, having made several vests for himself. As for my “never” it would be jeans or a coat or hand quilting a bed quilt. I’ve ruled out quite a few other things as well, our of pure stubbornness! I want the rest of my life to be fun, I have all the challenges I care for thank you very much. Meanwhile, I love your swan top. 🙂

    • #29 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:52

      I am smaller than both my daughters – plus they both have proper bottoms. Still, I’m thinking about converting them into a skirt. Just watched a tutorial and it looks doable.
      Your list of ‘nevers’ sounds the same as mine – or at least how mine was before I changed my mind. Hand quilting a bed quilt is still a bit of a ‘never’ though and I’m not sure that will change, not only because of the time involved but because my hand quilting is rubbish.

  13. #30 by thecontentedcrafter on January 11, 2019 - 19:18

    I’m sure you won’t just waste all that work there must be someone around who is slightly slimmer than you………… As to the never list – my life was littered with broken nevers until I learned to never say it again 😀

    • #31 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:49

      There you go – ‘never say never again’.

  14. #32 by Nanette on January 11, 2019 - 20:37

    I’m amused and impressed too. You’ve done a wonderful job on the jeans, good practise and now you know you can do all those tricky bits, you’ll be flinging jeans off your sewing machine like a pro. Your swing coat’s going to be pretty smart too, very 50s. I can’t think of anything I’ve said ‘nevet again’ about…..maybe getting married!

  15. #34 by anne54 on January 11, 2019 - 22:21

    I admire your persistence in finishing them. I would have thrown the half-completed ones in the corner and had a tantrum (and then maybe a glass of wine or two!). For some reason I decided I was never going to make a sponge. I am well on track.

    • #35 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:48

      Normally I probably would have drowned my sorrows but I’m doing Dry January and coconut water doesn’t have the same soothing effect.
      I Googled ‘how to make a sponge’ as I thought they only occurred naturally but the only thing that came up was sponge cakes. I guess that’s what you meant. Don’t judge me! 🙄

  16. #36 by KerryCan on January 12, 2019 - 12:48

    Ugh–to put all that lovely work into the jeans and then not to be able to wear them! So disappointing . . . but you did prove something to yourself about your ability and anything that builds confidence is a good thing. I am very interested in seeing the progress on the coat. Every time I have a garage sale I say never again. And I mean it. And then, a couple years later, there I am again . . . .

    • #37 by tialys on January 12, 2019 - 14:45

      I know – it’s a bit annoying but, as you say, I know I could make jeans now as long as I have the right fabric.
      I am more likely to be shopping at a garage sale than holding one but my daughter used to do the odd vide grenier (the French equivalent) when she wanted a bit of extra pocket money and sometimes she’d be there all day without selling much at all – then everything has to be packed up again and brought home, etc. 😒

  17. #38 by kathyreeves on January 12, 2019 - 18:14

    The jeans look great, so sorry you can only stand up in them.😢 Did you order your hardware? I have a jeans pattern, and the denim, but I have been puzzling about hardware…I nicked a zipper off an old pair of RTW, but the proper jeans button and rivet have me debating. Also, did you use a “proper” jeans needle, or just a heavy duty?
    The coat looks wonderful, since your tweed is fairly large, you may want to count the threads when doing the welts, especially if they are the kind where you stitch a rectangle and slash the center. Matching the thread count on the width of the welt will guarantee they are the same size, and you will know exactly when to turn. On my never again list…..roofing and butchering chickens!

    • #39 by tialys on January 13, 2019 - 10:41

      The jeans button came in a pack – I think from Prym – I wanted silver to go with the grey fabric. The rivets were in my husband’s stash of stuff, the origins of which are a mystery to me and, in all probability, to him too. I did use a jeans needle as I happened to have a packet of them but, certainly with the thickness of the denim I used, it probably wasn’t necessary. If you’ve got ‘real’ denim you’ll probably need a ‘proper’ jeans one but I would think a heavy duty one would also work if you’ve already got some of those anyway.
      Thank you for the tip with the welts – I’m dreading the slashing.
      Roofing and butchering chickens have always been on my ‘never’ list I think 😱

      • #40 by kathyreeves on January 13, 2019 - 17:02

        Thanks for the info, much appreciated!

  18. #41 by Thimberlina on January 13, 2019 - 19:34

    These are ace!! Shame you can’t wear them comfortably. How about chopping the legs off and having them as shorts🤔 Such as shame not to get your wear of them. x

    • #42 by tialys on January 14, 2019 - 09:12

      It is a shame but I think, even at the thighs, these might be a little ‘snug’ for shorts. I’m wondering about a skirt – I had a look at a tutorial yesterday. Maybe when I get round to it.

  19. #43 by dezertsuz on January 20, 2019 - 06:43

    Have fun with the coat. It’s too bad about the jeans, because while you’re standing, they look quite nice on you! I will not be removing that from my never list. I made them for the boys when they were little – and coveralls, too – but I’m not making any now or ever again.

    • #44 by tialys on January 21, 2019 - 11:19

      I’m in two minds myself actually.

  20. #45 by jennylovestosew on January 22, 2019 - 00:19

    I have just sent for a kit to make these jeans. It will be my first attempt at making any kind of trousers.

    • #46 by tialys on January 22, 2019 - 14:28

      You’ll be fine. I only made one pair of trousers before these, although I had made a pair of shorts and a skirt which had some of the features of jeans, such as fly front, flat felled seams, etc.
      My tips would be, make sure you make the right size (obvious, right!), use the right fabric and break each step down into separate mini projects and then you can give yourself a pat on the back as you complete each stage. I found that very useful because, even when I realised my fabric was wrong, I carried on because I was pleased with how I’d executed each bit and realised that, next time, I will be much more confident.
      Having written all this I now see you are a sewing ninja anyway – you’ve made a man’s jacket for goodness sake!! – you’ll definitely be fine 😊

      • #47 by jennylovestosew on January 22, 2019 - 14:48

        Thank you, yes the man’s jacket was difficult, really tested my patience. I think jeans are just a little scary because of fitting (don’t want a saggy bottom). I like your idea of breaking it down into mini projects👍

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