Cara’s Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans in Finecord
As Autumn and Winter roll around I’m often drawn to the making of Jeans. I haven’t made many pairs in my sewing journey, and they haven’t always been that successful, but I put those makes down to experience. When I was asked to write a blog post for Dragonfly Fabrics I thought it best to include that not all makes are made perfect, but they are mine, and Jeans are held aloft, I believe, in the ‘they have to be perfect’ category before people will even consider making or wearing them. But I think I’ve learned the most when making Jeans, there is a lot of techniques required, and they are not a quick make, so let me share with you some of what I know now, in the making of the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen, these are by far my favourite jeans to make and they are definitely worth the investment in your time.
The Dawn Jeans offer 4 different style options, A tapered leg, a straight leg, a wide leg, and a pair of shorts. There are also multiple leg lengths; designed to sit at your natural waist with a button fly (there is an add on pack available for a zip fly) The size ranges from 0-20.
The Fabric and requirements:
The pattern is designed for rigid and not stretch fabric. Bottom weight fabrics such as rigid denim, linen, twill, and corduroy are recommended plus fabric for the pocket linings. I chose the Stretch Needlecord in Dusty Pink, the fabric is 95% cotton and 5% elastane. Whilst this is a stretch fabric, the stretch is more for ease of movement, there isn’t negative ease in the design and it isn’t tight fitting. The pattern also outlines the other requirements which include 4 jeans buttons, rivets, interfacing, and topstitch thread.
The dusty pink needlecord is really soft but durable and I felt it would add a versatile colour to my wardrobe at this time of year. I pre-washed my fabric, had all my requirements and notions to hand, so I was ready to make!
Megan Nielsen patterns provide excellent instructions and my advice is to read the whole booklet before you begin. Take your time to understand the flow of how the jeans come together and which pattern pieces you’ll need to trace or cut out for the design of jeans you wish to make. I chose to make the tapered leg jeans, I had made the wide-leg jeans in an 8.5oz denim in the summer, so I already had some experience in just how brilliantly these jeans come together.
I’d also say follow the instructions, I know that is common sense, but I found myself following an inner instinct on the button fly, and had I stuck exactly to the pictures that are beautifully clear in the booklet, I wouldn’t have found myself with an unpicker in my hand. Lesson learned. I didn’t use a topstitch thread, whilst it does give an amazing finish and really helps to define them as ‘jeans’ I decided to lengthen my stitch length from 2.5 to 4 and used a standard thread, this also makes the construction quicker, but its a significant departure from the original design features. My other tip would be to sew in batches. I often find myself sewing before a cup of tea in the morning and I can be completely consumed in a project until it’s finished (this may just be me). But with jeans and especially because of the accuracy required, take your time and stop regularly.
I particularly like that it starts with the button fly,
often seen as the hardest part of jeans, then before you know it the pockets are completed and you have a front pair of jeans, it’s quite an accomplishment. Making the back of the jeans is relatively simple, but you can embellish your back pockets, there are many templates available online for you to really make them your own. I chose to simply iron the two corners of the back pockets into a right angle and use the line created as a guide to create two lines of stitching (insert photo of back pockets).
Once you have completed the inseams of the jeans you baste the outer seams and this enables you to try the jeans on ( I love this bit!) and make any adjustments. At this stage I made a flat seat adjustment (as I have a flat bottom) and tapered the side seams in a little more, I could potentially size down in my next pair, but I’m happy to make the adjustments required, the fit on the waistband was good, its just the legs that required a little tweaking.
I really enjoyed fitting the rivets to these jeans. I don’t always complete this stage, and it does take a little practice, but the finish is great.
The finished make:
I’m really happy with the overall look of these jeans. I have many pairs of skinny jeans and this pair adds something different to my wardrobe with their tapered style, and they are super comfortable to wear.
I will definitely be making more Dawn Jeans, the construction is in my experience easier than other patterns but there are no shortcuts to the design, and they do create a traditional pair of jeans, especially if you add all the trimmings such as topstitching and the rivets. Both the booklet and additional online resources from the Megan Nielsen website will take you through every step of the way.
Don’t be scared of jeans, the Dawn Jeans are a perfect pattern for your 1st or 10th pair!
Find the pattern here
Find the fabric here