I've spent an inordinate amount of time over the past couple weeks browsing through collections from the past couple years. I'd give an arm to look at some of that construction up close. Did you know that they do the vast majority of their sewing by hand?
Mind is boggled.
I was looking through Chanel's 2011 Spring collection the other day and fell in deep and abiding love with these pants:
Perfectly skinny and I love the buttons at the bottom. It seemed like it would be an easy enough DIY.
There are multiple ways of doing this but I was limited by the amount of fabric in the pair of jeans I started with so my pair only has 2 functional buttons and 3 that were just stitched on. Also, I was using my iPhone at night while doing this, so, you know, real high quality tutorial pictures going on over here.
This would be a really fast project if you use a machine. I went for the real couture experience and did everything but the buttonholes by hand. I hand basted everything, adjusted the fit then hand basted again. I checked the fit one last time then sewed everything with thread strengthened with beeswax (didn't know that was a thing. Thank you, new book). It was actually kind of fun, though I can't imagine doing an entire garment that way. My fingers were pretty sore and I only had to do a few seams.
I started with a pair of Gap jeans that fit me well in the hips and thighs.
I put them on inside out and pinned two places: one pin at the knee where I was going to start taking them in and one a little ways above my ankle where I wanted the split to be (pulled in to a comfortable skinniness). I also pinched the extra fabric at the bottom to see how much I wanted to take them in (about 2 inches from both front and back).
Then I used my seam ripper to open up the side seams to the pin at the knee.
I turned them inside out and drew myself a sewing line from the knee pin down to the second pin. Then I hand basted along that line (I give you permission to use a sewing machine instead) After adjusting the fit a couple times I sewed my permanent stitches.
This gave me a rather large, triangular seam allowance. I pressed them both toward the front.
This creates a kind of placket for the button holes on the front side of the jeans. I blind stitched it in place.
You can kind of see here how the back portion (on the left between my fingers) now lies behind the button placket (stitched down on the right).
Then I measured where to put buttons and button holes and got sewing yet again.
|After these pictures this shirt went into the donation pile. Thank you, photos, for helping me to realize I don't like this shirt anymore.|
Say hello to my new favorite pants. I LOVE these suckers. They were a fun project and a near perfect end result.
If I were to do it again I'd start with wide legged jeans so I would have enough fabric to do working buttons all the way up. I'd also do the button holes in the same gold colored thread the manufacturer used for hemming and other details. I picked a blue that matched the denim because that's what the fly buttonhole is done with but I think more visible buttonholes would be better (you can sort of see them above in the up-close pic). I actually think I might go thread shopping this week then go back and redo those (I left them closed just in case) and put faux buttonholes behind the buttons that are just stitched on. Because I can.