Stand in the Light of the Dawn
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Stand in the Light of the Dawn

Do you want to make a pair of jeans, but are intimidated? Then pull the curtain of darkness aside, and bask in the light of the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns.

This is a pattern of high-waisted jeans meant for rigid denim material. There are four main views to choose from: shorts, tapered-leg, straight-cut, and wide-leg. And to spoil you more with choices, you can opt for an exposed button fly, a hidden button fly or zip fly. The Pattern is also drafted for different lengths – cropped, regular or tall. It definitely gives you some bang for your buck with all these options to custom make your own sweet pair of jeans.

Stand in the Light of the Dawn

This is a good pattern to start with if you haven’t attempted making a pair at all. Even though I myself wasn’t a jean-making virgin when I bought this pattern, I noticed that the instructions are thorough and crystal-clear for anyone taking on this task for the very first time. The skills required (or skills you will acquire) include sewing up a jean fly (whichever one you choose), installing jean hardware (buttons and rivets), and topstitching.

For jean-making to be a successful, make sure you have the right equipment. A sturdy sewing machine helps to deal with multiple layers of heavy-weight denim. I have a Singer Heavy Duty 4432, which is a godsend for working with this fabric. A fresh sharp denim or jeans needle is compulsory. And so is good quality thread – for regular stitching and topstitching. I splurge on the Extra-Strong Gutermann (in the grey spools) for topstitching because it runs steady, strong, and ultra-smooth. In addition, I own a pair of Prym pliers to deal with all the hardware installation. Again, it’s a little more pricey because the hardware itself has to be a Prym product as well. Anyway, it’s a good idea to get good quality hardware so that it doesn’t fall apart on you during installation or after a few washes.

When you’ve gathered all the right equipment, then practice is key. Practice the hardware installation, and practice the topstitching before sewing up the actual jeans. Play around with the length of the stitch to determine what looks best for your fabric. I tend to like topstitching at #3 on my stitch length dial. It doesn’t hurt to practice sewing the fly as well with scraps if you’re hesitant. Practice doesn’t just make perfect, practice makes permanent.

I was attracted to the Dawn because it was drafted for non-stretch denim. My very first attempt was with the Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns, which uses stretch denim for a pair of skinny jeans. I bought the Dawn to widen my handmade jeans collection, and ended up with 4 pairs in quick succession. When I’m obsessed with a pattern, I make multiples one after the other. It’s an unexplainable compulsion that I have little control over, and it’s annoying but satisfying at the same time.

Stand in the Light of the Dawn

The sizes run from 0-20. I made a size 4 when I was working with corduroy (the hot pink and avocado green colour-blocked pants) and a denim (dark coffee) with a teensy bit of stretch in it. Both fabrics had some give and I sized down, ready to make adjustments in the side seams if need be. When I was working on the sky-blue rigid denim, then I sewed a size 6, which is closer to my body measurements. By the way, I highly recommend to basting the side seams together to make sure it is a good fit before securing it down. Try on the jeans, then make adjustments if needed to ensure a perfect fit. So far, you can see from the pictures that I’m partial to two views – the straight-cut and the wide-leg. I’ve given the tapered-leg and shorts a miss. For now.

A renegade move I made was to redraft the front pockets according to the Closet Case pattern. The Dawn pockets are sort of free-floating on the side of the centre front, and I prefer how the Closet Case version secured them to the fly:

I had so much fun sewing up different designs to the back pockets, thanks to a pdf file that you can download from the Closet Case website. Some time in the near future, I’ll write a review of the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns and do a comparison of the Dawn and the Ginger. In the meantime, I’m feeling a little stir crazy:

Stand in the Light of the Dawn

If you’re wondering where I got this baby Buddha/red dragon tank top from, I think it was from a Lucky Brand retail store in NYC about 13 years ago. It’s possibly my favorite tank because it goes with everything I have in my closet. It has survived the death of my first spouse, my marriage to my current spouse, a bold move across oceans, 3 wars, 2 births, and now Covid-19. With the baby Buddha and red dragon as protectors, it has kept its elasticity, and it has no holes or tears after all these years. Amazing!

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