How to use jeans rivets

I’ve sewed a bunch of jeans over the past few years, and with every single one, I’ve been disappointed by the quality of the rivets available to buy as a home sewers. I’ve tried the ones available in stores, like Prym, Hemline, etc and every single time they let me down. Even when they’re properly hammered into place, they move around and “jangle” a bit, they’ve been snagging my coat linings, and I’ve had several fall out under normal wear of the jeans. For my last few pairs, I haven’t even bothered using rivets at all. I’d rather not use any than ones that look and behave badly!

I’ve been keeping an eye out for quality rivets for a while now, and I’ve heard word that a man named Junior in Louisiana does excellent ones and will sell them in small quantities. So I took the plunge and bought a few of his high quality rivets
(and a handful of all-metal buttons while I was at it), even though it meant importing them from the States.

Seriously, these rivets are fantastic – they look just like RTW, are easier to install than the crappy ones, and once they’re in, they’re in!

Here’s the finished back pockets up my upcoming jeans:

I can never go back to crappy rivets again – for real, I’m tossing the others in the bin. So as part of my grand education scheme, I’m going to show you all how easy these are to install. Just say NO to crappy rivets!

How to install jeans rivets

You’ll need an awl (an ice pick may work in a pinch though), some pliers with a wire cutter, and a big ol’ hammer.

Here are the Rivets pieces. On the left is the nail, which goes on the underside of your jeans. On the right is the cap, with the right side shown at the top, and the wrong side (which connects to the nail) underneath:

Cycling Jeans No3

When you find yourself literally patching the patches on your first pair of cycling jeans, it’s the world’s way of telling you that you need to drop everything and make a replacement pair ASAP. Since I started cycling to work in January 2016, I’ve found my own balance of form and function to make cycle commuting work with my casual office. Since my commutes have only ever been 30-35min, it’s not really worth cycling in full lycra, so I tend to wear whatever bottoms I’d plan on wearing at the office (unless the forecast is wet, in which case I do wear lycra & pack a full change of clothes in my backpack).

Another pair of cycling jeans

I’ve made a lot of jeans since I started sewing 14 years ago. I remember I made my first pair before we even bought the boat, which would put them back in 2006 or 2007, and I really haven’t stopped since! I’ve probably made at least 10-15 pairs over the years, with various patterns and weights of denim, but my most recent pair with cycling-specific adaptations have been one of my favourites, so I wanted to have another pair of those in my wardrobe.

The majority of my jeans over the years have been made with Ditto Fabrics’ super freaking amazing Italian denims, and this traditional, non-stretch, dark dye was bought when I last visited their shop in December. It’s no coincidence that we’ve got another trip to Brighton planned in a few weeks so I can restock then…

Sewing jeans against the world

Sometimes you have to just close yourself into your sewing room, try to block out the world, and just make. This weekend I closed myself in my sewing cave and emerged on Sunday with a new pair of jeans and a teeshirt.

Let’s start with the jeans – I’ve lost track, but these are probably at least the 10-15th pair of jeans I’ve sewn myself, so I pretty much know what I want and how to achieve it by now. I usually try to make at least a pair a year, as they seem to live for just over a year of hard wear before the inner thighs inevitably start to wear thin and they’re relegated into “boat work jeans”.

My birthday jeans

It’s my birthday today! And I’m in New York City!!

We usually take a Spring holiday, but not til later in April or May, however this year James suggested we go away to New York over my birthday, since we haven’t been for four years and there were some shows we really wanted to see (we’ve developed an expensive immersive theater habit!). I’ve been needing a new pair of jeans for a while now, so I promised myself that I’d sew some up once the Steeplechase Leggings pattern was released and I’d have a little bit of a breather. And here they are, coinciding nicely as my birthday make this year!

This denim was bought from Ditto Fabrics, labelled as an Italian denim with very slight stretch, so I treated these as a non-stretch denim. It’s super high quality and I love the colour and wash, though like most denims, it’s still bleeding a bit of colour after two prewashes, so I’ll wash it separately for a while before sitting on any white couches.


(Apologies for the iPhone timer photos taken before I left, but I wanted to ensure I had covered the bases and it’s hard to upload images on the road without a laptop!)

I used the same base pattern as my classic pair of jeans made in 2013 (which is #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine), but my older pair is a bit too big, and also very straight in the leg and I wanted something more fitted and with a slimmer leg this time around.

I essentially made the same pattern (plus the same wedge cut out of the CB as before), but then basted the inseam and side seams to check the fit. I then decided I wanted to take out a cm at the hips and thighs to make the fit closer to “just washed jeans” to allow for some relaxing, then took out a cm from each of the side seams and inseam through the legs for a more skinny-jean silhouette.

A classic pair of jeans

I know I’ve been recently focusing on sewing for my upcoming Mexico trip but I’ve been wanting to sew these since my FW12 and SS13 plans so it was high time I actually just sat down and made them!

After umming and ahhing for months over which pattern I should use, then muslining two different patterns which were both too small, I ended up making this pair in two days’ flat! As you’ll recall, it’s #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine (sadly not on Burdastyle.com!), an issue which also had a great pair of men’s trousers I’ve been eyeing up for James, too.


Worn here with my plum bamboo Jalie top

I’m a bit scared that I can sew an entire pair of jeans now (including the front fly) without looking at instructions a single time… I did, however, inspect a pair of James’s RTW jeans once or twice to see which side of the seam they topstitched!


This one has been lightened so you can see the details a little better!

Oh, and remember when I tried on the muslin for this pattern and it was way too small in the waist and hips? Well, I put the muslin to the side in my sewing cave and tried them on a few weeks later and they fit perfectly now! Yes, only I would go and change my body instead of just doing a pattern alteration…

Parisian jeans and a geometric Wiksten tee

As some of you may have guessed from my FW2012 shortlist I posted yesterday, I’ve made the Wiksten tank, using the pattern and geometric Mood jersey Kollabora gifted me and also another pair of Jalie jeans! I wasn’t actually planning that they’d go together, but they were a perfect pairing for a relaxed Sunday roast at a cosy pub near the moorings.

Let’s start with the jeans – as I said earlier, my NY-Lon jeans are easily my most-worn item of clothing ever since I made them last year, but they’re starting to fade and I want to have a replacement pair ready before they totally die. The denim I used there was from Mood in NYC, but I’d found some great stretch denim at the Tissues Dreyfus coupon shop in Paris in March, and only €10 for a 3m length, too. I wouldn’t normally buy that much of the same fabric if given a choice, but it means that I’ve got enough left over to easily make another pair. I find it really difficult to find good stretch denim in shops, but this has good stretch and recovery without being too flimsy, so I snapped it up when I saw it.

I constructed these exactly the same as my NY-Lon jeans – again, my main deviations from the Jalie pattern were to use a Burda curved waistband (instead of their rectangular, bias-cut waistband that was just awful in my muslin pair), and extended the pocket linings to the centre front for a non-stretch “gut slimming” panel, as before.

My Colette Clover jeans

A few months ago, I went and sewed up the Clover trouser pattern for the first time, in dark green sateen. Having fixed the zipper (my own mistake), I realised that I love the great fit of these trousers, but they’d be even better with traditional pockets and a front fly more like jeans… in fact, I’d actually just like some Clover jeans.

So that’s exactly what I did!

I first altered the pattern to create the front pockets (and I extended the pocket lining piece to the centre front to make a “gut slimming” panel), add a fly-front, and extend front waistband to match the fly underlap. I also added back pockets and belt loops off another jeans pattern. I didn’t bother to draft a back yoke as I actually prefer the look of jeans without them, and the back darts just disappear into the pockets anyway.

This stretch denim is ex-designer from Ditto Fabrics and it’s the exact same stuff I used in these designer jeans (I loved it so much I bought more). The pocket linings and waistband facings are fun Spoonflower cotton prints – Rainy Day Doodles for the pocket linings and fly underlap, and foxes for the inner waistband (the latter by my mate Galia!).

The NY-Lon jeans

Why “NY-Lon” jeans? Well, it’s certainly not because they’re made of nylon fabric!! (ewww) I’m calling these that because I bought this denim at Mood in NYC on our honeymoon, and the lining pieces are London streetsigns fabric, bought as an eco reusable wrapping paper! So they’re New York and London together!

Once again, these are made using the Jalie 2908 jeans pattern. The first Jalie jeans taught me that, overall, the fit was great, but the waistband was an utter horror.

So I made two small but significant improvements to these, and I am SUPER happy with the result!

  1. I ditched Jalie’s awful straight, bias, uninterfaced waistband and used the curved waistband from my favourite Burda August 2006 trousers/jeans, which I also interfaced. I used the London street sign cotton as the inner waistband (as well as the fly underlap and the pocket linings).
  2. I extended my pocket linings to the centre front so they got caught in the fly front stitching and reinforced the front over my gut (you do NOT want stretch denim stretching out there when you sit – it’s not pretty!)

Grey skinny jeans

While I’m still waiting for the fabric to arrive from America for my last Christmas present, I decided to add to my trouser collection and make a second pair of the black biker trousers, which are BWOF 05/2006 #112. I realised in my observations of what I’m wearing this month that my trousers in general are way too dark and I need some slightly lighter ones to allow me to wear (my many) black tops with them.