dawn jeans

I was lucky enough to attend the first Camp Stitch Sydney weekend earlier this month, where I took a class on sewing jeans. The pattern provided was the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen, and if I am honest, I was a little intimidated by the fact that this pattern is drafted for rigid denim. I have two (1 & 2) brilliant versions of the Ginger Jeans hanging in my wardrobe, but they are made from stretch denim… and stretch denim is a little more forgiving.

Fit concerns aside, I was very excited to start sewing.

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We had to have our fabric cut before the class, so I went ahead and graded the pattern according to the supplied measurements. I cut a 10 at the waist and graded to a 14 at the hip. Looking at the numbers made me a bit uneasy as there was only 1cm of ease across the seat. I thought that if the jeans ended up being too tight, I could always sew the side seams with a smaller seam allowance.

MBM_Dawn Jeans 01

As it turns out, I didn’t have to do that, and even though I do have to do a bit of a wiggle dance to get them on, I can get them on.

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The class was run by Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once, and with her guidance, I did have to make one small adjustment. I needed to take about 2cm out of the back yoke seam to fit my swayback. I also should have made an adjustment to the waistband, as it does gape a little, but that is something I can fix later.

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Inserting the zipper is where I got a bit carried away. I couldn’t, for the life of me, get the zipper to sit far enough into the overlap without showing. I ripped it out for the second time and added in a fly extension (to the right-hand side leg). Now I seemed to have enough fabric to get that zipper tucked in nicely. Although, I also had many more seams to wrestle with. I graded most of them down, gave it a good press under the iron with lots of steam, and even whacked it a few times with a hammer. Eventually, it was nice and flat.

MBM_Dawn Jeans 14

Here’s the other reason for there being so much fabric along the fly front. I decided to turn the pockets into a full pocket-stay, just like in my Ginger jeans. I find that this really helps to take some of the strain off the zipper, meaning it can lay flat up against my tummy. This also gives the front of the jeans a lovely, smooth look.

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How about we have a look at some of the smaller details. The beautiful green denim that I used came from MaaiDesign. It was made by Cone Mills, and the selvedge edge still had the weft threads attached. I decided to show it off, by cutting the coin pocket right up against the edge of the fabric. I love that it is so visible against the green denim.

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I simply had to use the leather patch that came with our hardware kits. Luckily I think the light colour contrasts well with the denim, but I am looking forward to watching it wear in a bit.

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Everyone received a welcome package when we arrived at Camp, and one of the things in the bag was this awesome woven label! There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to use it than in my new jeans! I also popped my own label in there, because why not!

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As with my other jeans, I stitched in a little reminder of when they were sewn (#3 because these are the third pair of jeans I have made).

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As I expected, these jeans are a pretty snug fit (I don’t even think there is room for a campfire marshmallow in there…), however, I know that they are new, and I have high hopes of the denim moulding to my body after a few months wear. Check in this time next year to see if I can wear them comfortably for a full day!


  • Pattern brand/name/number: Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen
  • Style, size: Wide leg, cropped version, 10 at the waist, graded to 14 at the hip
  • Fabric: Cone Mills rigid 9oz Olive denim purchased from MaaiDesign, pocket lining from my stash
  • Notions: Zipper fly hardware kit in Antique Brass from Closet Case Patterns, Gütermann topstitching thread in colour #472, matching thread
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • As mentioned, graded from a 10 at the waist to a 14 at the hip
    • 2cm taken from back yoke seam
    • Redrafted the pockets into pocket-stays
    • Inserted a second fly extension
    • Edge of coin pocket cut against selvedge of the fabric

I would like to send out a huge THANK YOU to the ladies who organised the Camp. I had such a wonderful time meeting fellow sewing enthusiasts and I am so ready to attend next years camp!

Mitty x

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