Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely restful holiday. For my first post of 2022, I thought I’d share my latest pair of Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans. Every time I have made jeans (albeit three) there comes a point during the project where I say to myself that sewing jeans is tough, and I won’t be making another pair for a long time! My recent make did however offer some respite, simply because I chose a lighter-weight denim which made the construction SO much easier. My two previous attempts at Dawn jeans used heavyweight denim, which was challenging for both my sewing machine and myself. If you are new to jeans making I would absolutely recommend choosing a lighter-weight fabric, particularly if your machine struggles sewing buttonholes or through thicker fabrics.
While each jeans-making project has broadened my knowledge and skills I’ll be honest and say I’m not one hundred percent happy with the fit. This, of course, requires some extra effort on my part to really figure out how I need to tweak the pattern before cutting, but I do find alterations quite challenging. I tend to get to the very last stages of the construction and then make small alterations – but pinning jeans while you’re wearing them is tricky! Anyway, all in all, though there will likely be a brief hiatus before I delve into jeans making again, I will most likely pick up this pattern in the future and persevere in sewing a well-fitted pair of jeans.
The pattern instructions are really clear but I would also recommend visiting the Megan Nielsen blog for some step-by-step construction tips as the photos really help to clarify the more challenging steps. I also find it is helpful to read the instructions in full before you start sewing and make sure you have plenty of snacks to hand as, personally, I find sewing jeans requires a lot of concentration.
In terms of style, I chose View A which are the tapered jeans. As with each Dawn style, be prepared for cutting out lots of pattern pieces, up to 16 to be exact. The pattern recommends a longer stitch length so do take some time to test your preferred stitches on a scrap piece of your chosen material before your start. I found this to be particularly important with the contrasting topstitching as you want this to be the same throughout. The same goes for the overlocking stitches, this YouTube tutorial is so helpful for setting the appropriate thread tension on your overlocker for your chosen material.
The pattern offers the classic vintage button fly closure or a zip closure. If your machine struggles sewing buttonholes, and you’re using heavier material, I would opt for the zipper, as this is a little easier to construct. Because I had a lighter-weight denim I chose the button front.
Having made these jeans before, I found the construction relatively simple. I had to restitch the pockets at the waistline a couple of times as they were not sitting in line with the front of the jeans (see picture above) but this was easily fixed. As you go through the project, be sure to press your fabric as this really helps when you’re lining up your pieces.
When it came to topstitching, this was the first time I had used a contrasting topstitch thread on jeans so I marked a stitching line on the material before I went to the machine. This is also worth doing when the needle plate is not visible as you sew so mark the seam allowance on your fabric before you stitch pieces together.
Something I have struggled with when sewing jeans before is attaching the belt loops; instead of trying to squeeze the needle underneath the belt loop to attach it to your jeans, simply topstitch each end of the belt loops in place.
Overall, I am really pleased with this make. I have left the outside side seam unfinished until I decide if, and how, I want to alter the shape but for now these jeans are super comfy and I am already wearing them a lot.
Have you used this pattern before? Let me know what you think in the comments below.