DIY Jeans and a Burda Spring Top


Hi all! Yes, I have FINALLY finished my first pair of jeans. My class at Modern Domestic here in Portland is over and I squeaked over the finish line with only five class minutes to spare! It feels sooooo good to have this project under my belt. I have wanted to sew a pair of jeans forever, but deep fear led to serious procrastination. But now I know. People, it is not that hard! Seriously, if I can, you can.  I’m already planning my next pair.

First, for those that don’t care about jeans, I’m going to give you a quick run down on this Burda top with a cool cutout in back.


Pattern: Burda 114 from Issue 4/2016. Instructions were easy to follow (not always the case I have found with Burda) and you can make this top in about four hours or less. There’s also a dress length version. My fabric is a lightweight rayon that wanted to move around a lot, but after multiple tries, I did finally get the pattern pretty straight and centered on this wild print. Of course, the pattern doesn’t include seam allowances so don’t forget to add those :). One nice detail, the sleeves are short but finished with sleeve bands. I love the finished look this gives. It’s an easy pattern and the fit is very loose so I had no issues there.  I plan to make another one, maybe even a dress as I love anything with a bit of interest in the back.

The Jeans: There are so many tutorials in blog-land and on UTUBE that take you through the process of sewing jeans step by step so I will not bore you with that here. Since I’m generally impatient and easily frustrated, I took my first spin into Jeans Land under the Guidance of a Trained Professional, and I’m glad I did. My teacher was great and has made about 30 (?!?!) pairs of jeans. She has it down to a science and can whip out a pair in about four (4) hours. I think my pair took me only twelve (12) class hours. LOL

IMG_1445 (1)

Pattern: Jalie is the one we used in class because it has lots of sizes to play around with. The instructions are good, and the diagrams are clear. Yes, there are ALOT of steps, but they do a good job of holding your hand through them.I chose the low rise version and it was just right.


FIT: This is the part that scared me the most. The trick? Swedish Tracing Paper (I’m probably the last person to know about this great stuff?) It’s the same texture as interfacing so it doesn’t rip easily.  We traced our jeans pattern pieces onto it, then just basted those puppies together on the machine to check fit.


Because this is durable paper, it doesn’t tear easily so you can try the paper jeans on then mark any necessary changes right onto the them before using them to cut out your jeans. HANDY! I hate making muslins (so much so that I never do which is not good) but this worked for me. BTW, the legs on this pattern are wide, so I straightened the cut of mine from the thighs down.

Interfacing: We used shape flex, which has a bit of give, a necessity on the waist of jeans. Tip…Cut it out with the grain (I forgot to do this first time through) so that you get a bit of stretch on the waistband when you need it.


Topstitching: I used white thread (ARGH!!!). If I had to do it again, I would not. It made me crazy and my class got a good laugh as I took out things out over and over again. Pick a thread closer to your jeans color and save yourself some Grief. TIP; My Bernina isn’t fond of topstitching thread, so I used two spools of regular thread which could be pulled through the wider eye on a jeans needle. (don’t look too close at my white topstitching, LOL)


Pockets: There are lots of templates on Pinterest for topstitching designs. Anything goes! I made up my own design and used a tracing pencil to mark it.

In summary, I like my jeans and will definitely make another pair using this pattern soon. The trickiest bits were the seams around the crouch and I didn’t love making bar tacks (not sure what that’s all about as it’s basically a tight zigzag stitch?), but I think those things will be much easier second time around. I also wish my knees weren’t so baggy. Not sure what to do about that?

What I will do differently next time. I will not topstitch with white. I will not topstitch with white. I will not topstitch with white. Ha, famous last words….

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!




22 thoughts on “DIY Jeans and a Burda Spring Top

    1. Ha, you are so kind! Don’t look too close at that topstitching! Yes they fit better than ready to wear by a mile! It’s such great motivation to make another pair!!

  1. Terrific jeans. I think the bagginess at the knew comes from the calves being a bit tight and the leg is getting pushed up a bit. They might loosen enough with a little time though.

  2. Well done! And you say this is a first attempt ? Brava! So inspired to go for it too. I have a Craftsy jeans class bought over 2 years ago but fear.

  3. Your pants look great. Regarding the wrinkles behind the knee, I saw a Pattern Review from Goodbye Valentino a while back that addressed that. She had the same issue, and on her blog, one of the people replying gave her this tip. Apparently it works great. Here’s her PR review with the information on how to avoid the wrinkling:

  4. Great make! I agree with Carol S on the knees. I’m stuck in the fitting stage. I really need a kick in the pants to get that worked out so I can move on to actually making my jeans.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I was stuck for awhile too. It can be a bit daunting when you think about it. The good news is that there are a lot of steps to construction but none of them are very hard, you know?

  5. Those jeans look great. I love making them, only with a tried and tested pattern though! For bar tacks I use the first line of a buttonhole, it’s the perfect width and you can choose how long. Bar tack machines live in factories, they are simply used to reinforce week points on a garment. I think they give home made jeans a nicely finished touch.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I love the look of bar tacks and now you’ve de-mystified them for me! What a fabulous method to get them just right. I will definitely try the buttonhole strategy next time around.)thanks for the tip!

  6. YOU MADE JEANS!!!!!!! xD

    You are so right that it’s not that they’re a hard thing to make, they just have a lot of steps involved. Great work!! The fit is really looking wonderful for a first attempt with a new-to-you pattern; a few tweaks as you go through the iterative learning that comes with making and fitting something multiple times, and you’ll be in Jeans Nirvana.

    Your top is super, too. You always come up with great tops–I need to think more like you do and get cracking on some myself! 😉

    (And OMG I am so glad I did topstitching in a color that matched the red denim! My machine wasn’t super fond of the heavy thread either, but we set some ground rules and were able to get through it together, haha! Contrasting bar tacks were as far as I was willing to go on the first attempt!)

    1. Thanks! Yea, my next effort will not have contrast topstitching—that is for sure! Ha, live and learn?? Next time I hope to figure out how to get rid of those baggy news. The top was pretty fun and easy,

Leave a Reply