Craft and Function

Finding a pair of jeans that fit well and look well has been a challenge of mine for quite some time.  Easily put, I am big & tall, not one or the other, both.  Through the years I've worn poor fitting Old Navy Jeans and then got a breath of fresh air when Indi Denim came out.  It now seems that Indi Denim is out of business, therefore I can't find good looking custom jeans over the internet.  A couple of weeks ago I visited Nashville and went to Imogene + Willie.  Great looking denim jeans weren't the only thing I vibed with, it was the ethics, principles, and passion that goes into everything they produce.  Easily put: they make simple, high quality products.


When I buy something, I want it to be awesome and last forever.  The checklist I use to buy tools pretty much gets applied to everything I purchase.

  • How long will this last me?
  • Does it function well?
  • How flexible is it?


From an early age I've followed a pretty simple mantra "if it doesn't exist, make it."  I've got a big frame, off-the-rack shirts suck.  I decided to go all in and start making button-down shirts, creating patterns from already owned shirts.  I spent a few nights doing this and finally got to the point of sewing a shirt together when I realized that I cut the patterns wrong, 3 yards of fabric out the window.  This kind of trial and error went on for a few weeks and I ultimately got frustrated and gave up.


A couple of months ago I took a leather workshop class at the Chicago School of Shoe Making which re-sparked some motivation to create garments again.  Since my trip to Imogene + Willie I took a sewing class at The Needle Shop in Chicago, my girlfriend has also taken up leather purse making.  Through all these events I've been inspired to make jeans.  But this time it's going to be different! I'm going to go slow, steady, and focus.


Whenever I get into a project I do a shit-ton of research, planning, and come up with a bill of materials.  I torture myself with details because I want to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING.  So here is what I have found out so far:

  • I should use raw indigo selvedge denim (because its traditional and cool) Cone Mills produces this in USA
  • I should use rivets
  • I should get awesome top stitching thread
  • I should make a pant block pattern (sloper)
  • I should then  make a pattern using the sloper as the baseline and adjust based on how I want the jeans to fit
  • I want to do a button fly




I ordered a copy of the book mentioned above and the next step is creating a pant sloper for my measurements, then creating a mock-up pair of jeans using cheaper material and seeing how they fit.

Tagged as jeans , sewing
Written by Andrew Konkol on August 20th, 2012


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