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Pattern Reviews> Self Drafted Pattern> 125946-1000 (Levi's 514 knockoff)

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Reviewed by:BrianSews

About BrianSewsstarstarstar
Member since: 2/16/08
Reviews: 30 (patterns: 12)
Skill level:Advanced
Favored by: 85 people
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Posted on:7/17/09 2:26 PM
Last Updated:7/18/09 11:04 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people    Very Helpful by 92 people   
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115 Comments      Login to Add a Comment    
Jblaze said... (12/5/09 2:27 PM) Reply
You are the MAN!
petro said... (11/2/09 5:10 AM) Reply
Sorry to come late to this review. I'm intrigued by the curved leg pattern. I get the inside leg curve crotch to knee - but the longer curve on the leg part itself is different to anything I've seen. What did you do about grain line? Great jeans btw.
Tootsiebelle said... (10/6/09 1:12 PM) Reply
What beautiful work you do, Brian! Very professional. Loved that you took the time to analyze the Levi's and to share the process. You obviously love sewing! Can't wait to see your next project.
beadnut said... (9/30/09 8:36 AM) Reply
Hi Brian...I met you and Peter at the Novi Show on Fri. I'm so impressed with your sewing talents! great work. ( I was the old lady with all the machines.) Keep up the great work!
SRG said... (9/16/09 0:50 AM) Reply
Great information! I have been making my own jeans for years. I can do them very quickly now, it just takes practice. I really liked they comparison between the Levi and Kwik Sew pattern, I had no idea the legs curved.
Summerlea said... (9/16/09 0:36 AM) Reply
Fabulous jeans! So many inspirations for me, too. My Vogue jeans pattern order was crotch seam, inseam, then outseam. I serged and topstitched, rather than flat felled, the inseam and topstitched the outseam waist to hip. Much easier!
jtlibrarian said... (9/15/09 6:51 PM) Reply
I really appreciated knowing how long it took you to sew these. Gives me a benchmark!
sksews said... (9/15/09 2:24 PM) Reply
gorgeous! i too love the plaid pockets. do you wash the jeans much before you wear them to get the seams to "pucker"? that's what i think makes jeans look truly RTW. (although it usually makes non-denim clothes look poorly made.)
kellyhogaboom said... (9/15/09 11:57 AM) Reply
This is an amazing article. Great job.
MBPaz said... (9/15/09 10:10 AM) Reply
Standing ovation!!! I must echo many other reviewers and encourage you to turn your photos and tips into a book.
speedykay said... (9/15/09 9:57 AM) Reply
awesome job.
helenkosings said... (9/15/09 9:48 AM) Reply
This is SO helpful! I'm thinking about coming up with my own jeans pattern since my fit is so idiosyncratic....
Nilima said... (8/28/09 1:49 PM) Reply
Excellent description and comparison for making jeans. Thanks!
jessdr said... (8/26/09 12:07 PM) Reply
(Wild applause)
Nikkij said... (8/25/09 6:03 PM) Reply
I of all people need to be the main one making her own jeans. After looking at all this I can't say I'm ready, but I definately don't want to invest in the RTW jeans either.
Raven Elle said... (8/23/09 9:59 PM) Reply
I love the care and devotion put into this garment. I don't think I have ever heard anyone have such pride in their work. Not even very experienced seamstresses I have come across had this sort of passion for something as humble as a pair of good fitting and comfortable jeans. You sir, should be a clothing desiner! Tres Bein!
maryfrana said... (8/23/09 11:22 AM) Reply
I can spend 14 hours learning from you and your photos! The crayon rubbing over the seams -- pure genius. Thank you forever.
swirlgurl said... (8/22/09 8:50 AM) Reply
These are amazing! um, yes, you rock!
Donna H said... (8/21/09 9:21 PM) Reply
I want to sew like you when I grow up. (PS. I'm 50) ;)
sew obsessed said... (8/21/09 4:25 PM) Reply
Unbelievable work! Thanks so much for all the details.
TheSewingGirl said... (8/20/09 0:21 AM) Reply
You are sick! And I mean that in the most sincere way :-) I am blown away!!
trintje said... (8/17/09 3:35 PM) Reply
This is great! Thanks for comparing the pattern pieces -- very interesting.
SandraB said... (8/15/09 11:50 PM) Reply
Fantastic jeans. Lovely photos. Very helpful review.
Christine B said... (8/14/09 11:19 AM) Reply
I love the level of detail in your review and photos. In particular, this photo caption caught my eye: "This is the yoke where the flat felled seams intersect. I like the way the stitching lines up with the left and right side and the belt loop." ('cause I had to laugh, and say, OK, now you're just showing off!) All kidding aside, this is an exceptional piece of craftsmanship - thank you for sharing!
Jujubegirl said... (8/12/09 8:22 AM) Reply
Amazing eye for detail. I love how you took their design and made it cleaner, plus added your own flair. I hope I can sew like this someday, and that I take as much enjoyment from it as you obviously do.
Nancy Anne said... (8/11/09 4:59 PM) Reply
Wow! Just.....Wow!
halleyscomet said... (8/11/09 8:47 AM) Reply
Amazing! Wow! Fantastic pair of jeans! So professional looking! I'm definitely impressed!
pammieh said... (8/11/09 8:25 AM) Reply
Fantastic review and pictures - thanks for sharing!
kerrynw said... (8/11/09 6:37 AM) Reply
Absolutely fantastic! Great review and descriptive photos!
Gigil said... (8/11/09 2:19 AM) Reply
Wow, I'm really your pics. You did a fabulous job on the jeans.
Cassy said... (8/11/09 1:30 AM) Reply
These are totally amazing! And thanks so-o-o much for the closeup shots. Again, all I can say is trully amazing!
katharin said... (8/10/09 11:25 PM) Reply
I'm totally impressed. Your jeans are just perfect and your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing the lessons learned. The comparison of the KS pattern and Levi's shape was an eye opener. I'm curious what you'll find out when you change the construction order. I've noticed the same "inside leg seam last" construction order in my jeans and was wondering whether it's worth copying.
Danvillegirl said... (8/10/09 7:13 PM) Reply
Excellent job!
anncie1 said... (8/10/09 5:01 PM) Reply
OMG! Much luv!!
jayejoyce said... (8/10/09 4:33 PM) Reply
Super description and photos. Your quality of construction and attention to detail are just wonderful!
ElizabethDee said... (8/10/09 3:42 PM) Reply
i'm speechless --except to try and thank you.
MissCelie said... (8/10/09 12:34 PM) Reply
Excellent jeans and the information is stellar! Thank you!
Kathi R said... (8/10/09 12:03 PM) Reply
What a great review! Thanks for sharing all the construction details with us - you are amazing.
Imaan said... (8/10/09 5:27 AM) Reply
I can't believe I have only just discovered your reviews, and you...this is so amazing and inspiring. How long have you been sewing? How many hours do you put into it, on a regular basis? I get so disheartened at my beginning steps, it stops me from just doing it...
CarolynGM said... (8/3/09 8:24 AM) Reply
I loved looking through the amazing photos of your construction details. Your album will be a fine resource when I make my next pair of jeans.
Mebber said... (8/1/09 10:34 AM) Reply
You are an incredibly gifted sew-ist. Incredible.
AmyRose said... (8/1/09 9:49 AM) Reply
Straight tubes!!! You have the discovered the foundation of "the homemade look". Perhaps the pattern companies draft patterns with tubular legs and boxy torsos becasue its easier to up and down size from the original sloper. I find that most of the independent pattern companies styles look like they use a yardstick to draft each design element. Great jeans. Yoe analysis is much appreciated.
vivianna said... (7/31/09 5:30 PM) Reply
Those jeans are amazing!!
ragazza said... (7/28/09 9:21 AM) Reply
Excellent review. You are truly talented. Bravo.
Deepika said... (7/23/09 11:21 AM) Reply
You've done it again! Amazing work,great review and very inspirational. I never thought I'd make my own jeans but you've inspired me. Keep 'em coming! We love your work.
Karen8320 said... (7/22/09 9:27 PM) Reply
RocketBoy, your work is truly inspirational! Absolutely top quality pattern drafting and sewing that sets a standard for the rest of us. I really love that you experiment and try different techniques on your garments. Thank you for all of your wonderful photography which adds so much more to the story that you tell in your review and helps us visualise your processes. You have shown us all what is possible by 'doing it yourself'. Really, really well done!!!
Jali said... (7/22/09 3:26 PM) Reply
You should write a book, teach a class, everything. This documentation is simply amazing.
cgHipp said... (7/20/09 11:33 AM) Reply
Really outstanding work - I want to sew as well as you when I "grow up"!
Debbie Cook said... (7/20/09 9:18 AM) Reply
Great review & photos! Good luck in the contest. :-)
Oceanpeg said... (7/20/09 0:02 AM) Reply
Great job on your pants PR and photos. I agree on the buttonhole attachment. I prefer the old fashioned "Singer" buttonhole attatchments from 50 or more years ago to the methods of now-a-days. The older ones are simple to use.
BrianSews said... (7/19/09 5:03 PM) Reply
Someone asked about the button hole attachment: Yes it can be used on almost any machine and will almost always do a better job then the most computerized sewing machines. I would do a review but MissCelie did an amazing review already that I could not improve on. Find that review by searching for "Automatic Buttonholer" in the notions section. These amazing contraptions are less expensive then some snap on feet and a must have!
persevering said... (7/19/09 2:15 PM) Reply
Thank you for also mentioning your tutorial on youtube. I've never sewn a knit of any kind, and your detailed demonstration is absolutely interesting and encouraging to me.
rachel5000 said... (7/19/09 1:35 AM) Reply
Now your just showin' off. Beautiful pair of pants. I am printing up your review and am trying it out. Rachel
BrianSews said... (7/18/09 10:24 PM) Reply
Well thank you! I can't complain with being called sweet and engaging. I actually did do a great little youtube video today on swimwear elastic if that interests anyone. Not sure if it's proper to put links here in the comments? Most likely not... shhh, maybe no one will notice?
Elke said... (7/18/09 9:11 PM) Reply
You created a great pair of jeans! You've done an excellent job and thanks for the inspiration! Wonderful review and photos, thanks!
poplin said... (7/18/09 9:02 PM) Reply
I concur with another member. YOU SHOULD DO A CLASS. For SewExpo, for PR, for your website, or whathaveyou... You should get paid for all the work that you do.

At first, being somewhat of a prude, I thought that I better not magnify your review gallery picture. I find it very funny that your youtube videos were actually my first impressions of you: very considerate, sweet and easygoing.
brrmm said... (7/18/09 9:01 PM) Reply
You are the last word in jeans and mens shirt construction ! Go get yourself a book deal and earn some money from your fabulous talents. I'll be in line to buy it. Congrats on a fantastic review that is a lasting resource for this mere 'home-sewer'.
Catbird said... (7/18/09 8:38 PM) Reply
This is mega, mega, mega amazing. The work, the exquisite attention to detail, the photos . . . . I'm so grateful for the generosity of your time in documenting the process. I love your approach to your work and love the results. p.s. Apropos of nothing, really, I saw a jeans "aging" machine one night outside a shop in Gotenburg, Sweden that had the waistband attached to a motorized wheel, and every time the wheel turned, the jeans got slammed and dragged against the sidewalk! It was very odd.
Hilary said... (7/18/09 8:05 PM) Reply
Absolutely fantastic jeans-I know how time consuming these RTW copies can be, but the results are SO worth it! I copied a pair of RTW denim shorts for my DH (now have made them 3x)and they look (almost) just like the real thing, if I do say so myself :p Yours are even better, I didn't bother with the rivets~now that I see how inexpensive they are, I might give them a try. Thanks for such a detailed review, I really appreciate all the tips. Great job!! Oh, and I love the two color top-stitching on the pockets~looks brilliant! Also, thanks for comparing the RTW copy pattern with the KS pattern-very interesting!
cabinbaby said... (7/18/09 7:28 PM) Reply
Wow, as always. I love the photos at the end showing your KS and Levi's side by side. Those are some great jeans. And, if I may add, some very nice photos.
Nancy K said... (7/18/09 7:25 PM) Reply
Great jeans. I love the buttonholes! Can one fit one of these buttonholer on a modern machine that makes one step buttonholes? It makes a hell of a lot nicer buttonhole than my Viking!
PegL said... (7/18/09 6:49 PM) Reply
Wow! 14 hours of amazing!
BrianSews said... (7/18/09 5:42 PM) Reply
Shrinkage and pre-washing: Pre-washing changes the fabric, even heavy starch (and I mean heavy) does not bring it back to it's unwashed condition. I've tried and it's just not the same. The shrinkage in denim is mostly parallel to the selvage which means your legs will shrink shorter. I've never had the waistband shrink in any noticeable amount and it measures 36". The most shrinkage I've ever had with denim is 2" in a 34" inseam. I just make the legs longer by about 4" to account for this and I don't hem them until they've been washed and dried a few times. To be most accurate you would lengthen the pattern in the leg at the legthen/shorten line but it's not that big a deal. I've also heard that to calculate shrinkage you would take a square of fabric and draw two lines, one perpendicular to the grain and the other on grain. If those lines start out at 10 centimeters after washing each millimeter shorter is a % of shrinkage. Longer lines = more accurate results. More work then is necessary for me but if I was manufacturing hundreds of garments it would be worth a few shrinkage tests. :)
tlmck3 said... (7/18/09 5:31 PM) Reply
Truly beautiful work. I love that you did it all on vintage sewing machines. Thank you for putting as much care into documenting the process as you did the process itself. Great jeans and great photos
nadialou said... (7/18/09 4:21 PM) Reply
Wow! What a wealth of information photos and insight - I am going to save this link if I ever want to make jeans, this is great stuff to know. Thanks.
koo104 said... (7/18/09 3:53 PM) Reply
Re: question about figuring the shrinkage factor. In Manufacturing you would do tests on the fabric used to determine it's shrink. (after cutting relaxing and laundering/ finishing. These pattern adjustments are all done by computer and is added to the pattern pieces where needed. At home, you could make up a garment, write down the finished measures (spec), then wash as you want them to be finished ( at home at least 3 times since we don't have industrial strength washers with pebbles, monkey washes, grinding etc, etc etc. Then you remeasure all the same details to see how it shrunk up and adjust pattern if needed. Re: order of sewing for RTW in Denim. Many of the seams are flat felled and there are 2 machines for this process and it takes the highest skilled thus higher paid worker. The Frt & back rise has to be done separately due to more curved shape and the more open the garment the faster you can flat fell without defects. (under seam not catching at turned edge). The seam that is not felled is always the last to be sewn after the waistband is applied. There is a specific machine that makes the waistband. then the garments are shipped to the washing facilities where all of the tricks are done to make then look old and worn. Think McGiver meets Manufacturing.
michelle_01 said... (7/18/09 3:20 PM) Reply
Great job on your jeans! And thanks for all the detailed photos. I have a question b/c I'm planning on sewing my first jeans. If you sew on unwashed denim, how do you handle the shrinkage factor? Do you make them slightly larger or do you just intend on them loosening as you wear them?
lmg said... (7/18/09 3:04 PM) Reply
Rocket boy, Thank you for the great review and all the helpful hint. Great jeans. The pictures of the Kwik sew jeans and the Levi 514 jean pattern you made is quite instructive.
Sangerin said... (7/18/09 2:48 PM) Reply

moushka said... (7/18/09 2:20 PM) Reply
Your jeans are a work of art! I second (fifth?) the book request. You've got the makings of a successful side career in the pattern and photographs. The photos, btw, are wonderful. You've really set the standard for sewing jeans. Sue
QuickFade said... (7/18/09 1:41 PM) Reply
Wow. Great job. I'll still be buying my son the $17 Levi's straight legs from Walmart because I don't have fourteen hours to spend to make him jeans and could by two pairs with one hour's pay. But, for yourself, if you have the time, what a satisfying task. And, inspiring. Thanks for the technical detail, your observations about construction order and tips on how to accomplish tricky details. I'll remember those for my own sewing adventures!
Batik said... (7/18/09 12:04 PM) Reply
You represent the best of Pattern Review: real-time challenges, real people, real solutions. The great pictures are over the top helpful!
BrianSews said... (7/18/09 10:23 AM) Reply
I appreciate all the wonderful support! The jeans, photos, review: this is my art and the members of the PR community are true connoisseurs. It takes a knowing eye to understand the work and skills that go into any sewing project. I am constantly challenged and inspired by what I see here and feel deeply grateful that I can reciprocate the energy. To me this is all about the great feeling I get from sharing and community.
divaknitting said... (7/18/09 9:25 AM) Reply
Fabulous jeans, again! I'm just getting ready to make my second pair and your reviews and information in the jeans thread has been so helpful.
Woolygal said... (7/18/09 8:56 AM) Reply
This is an amazing review Thanks.
florida sunshine said... (7/18/09 8:19 AM) Reply
seriously impressive!
o3b said... (7/18/09 3:54 AM) Reply
My heart is racing and skipping beats! I love all your details with different colored threads, the processes (processi?) you show, and on and on. Do you think you could do something for Sew Expo? I would *love* to attend a class on jeans sewing from you. I guess you'd want something to sell in a booth....maybe that book that's been mentioned?
FreyaStark said... (7/18/09 3:14 AM) Reply
Amazing. A very impressive effort. I love the plaid pocket fabric.
renren said... (7/18/09 2:46 AM) Reply
Rocketboy, I'd say you have achieved liftoff.
mylittleelephant said... (7/18/09 1:09 AM) Reply
The secret of Levi's's been revealed! Such an eye opener!
bananaoil said... (7/18/09 0:14 AM) Reply
Holy cats! Great jeans, and your photo essay is something else.
Jolet said... (7/17/09 11:32 PM) Reply
I love your review!! The jeans are great! They way you describe everything, with this not fancy machines! Wonderfull
meli88a said... (7/17/09 11:27 PM) Reply
Wow, those are some awesome jeans!
quixoticpixels said... (7/17/09 11:01 PM) Reply
You should write a book on this. Fantastic jeans and an incredible document. Thank you!
Heidi Ho said... (7/17/09 10:33 PM) Reply
Awesome looking jeans!!! What a great review as well. I loved flipping through all the pictures! You truly are talented!!!
Rhonda in Montreal said... (7/17/09 9:10 PM) Reply
"RTW/Designer knockoff contest"... If I were entered, I'd just NOT BOTHER!! Fabulous!! It must be sewww much fun for you to post a Review here!! ;)
Tailypo said... (7/17/09 8:55 PM) Reply
I cannot get over your sewing prowess. As soon as I started clicking through the gallery I thought, Sweet fancy Moses, Rocketboy is at it again!
Sharon1952 said... (7/17/09 8:52 PM) Reply
Great review! I see a book in your future.
PattiK said... (7/17/09 8:21 PM) Reply
This is awesome!! Great work!
chacha45 said... (7/17/09 8:16 PM) Reply
Now we'll be waiting to find out if these are your new go-to jeans or you are still reaching for the Levi's. Astonishing work!
Leora said... (7/17/09 7:37 PM) Reply
I've compared two pairs of Levi's, same style, same size, and they had discernable differences, they came from different factories. I read somewhere each factory is provided with the same basic recipe, same specs, but each must develop their own patterns to come to a like end product. Your new jeans are perfection!
ConnieBJ said... (7/17/09 7:07 PM) Reply
Great jeans, great review, great photos, great everything.
no7262 said... (7/17/09 6:16 PM) Reply
WOW! Not only are the jeans perfect, the photo's are awesome! You my friend, are very talented! Nora :)
Vibekeinyork said... (7/17/09 6:11 PM) Reply
What everybody said and the fit is looking seriously good. The pattern comparison was very interesting too. The male body is made of curves as well as our female ones. You'd think sewing for women would be more interesting and challenging, but no! Also looks like you had lots of fun posing for the "glamour shots". Cool.
DaisyEsq said... (7/17/09 6:09 PM) Reply
That's a great pair of jeans. Thank you for all of the tips and photos; very informative.
donna mel said... (7/17/09 6:04 PM) Reply
we bow to you!
nancy2001 said... (7/17/09 5:46 PM) Reply
nancy2001 said... (7/17/09 5:46 PM) Reply
It's astonishing how you were inspired by an ordinary pair of Levi's jeans to produce a work of art. Your photos show dozens of meticulously planned details, all beautifully executed. To say that this is impressive is an understatement.
CynthiaSue said... (7/17/09 4:57 PM) Reply
Fabulous. you are the jeans king and if you decide to write the book about sewing jeans, you will make tons of money. And also I think there is "best photography" award on PR which you will probably snag!! Awesome fit. Perfect copy.
persevering said... (7/17/09 4:43 PM) Reply
Thank you for your inspiring review - yes your work is amazing!
cindyann said... (7/17/09 4:32 PM) Reply
Fantastic attention to detail.
Karen6790 said... (7/17/09 4:30 PM) Reply
Very impressive. I really enjoyed the side-by-side comparisons. Obviously I have never looked that closely at my RTW jeans - and I should try to duplicate my favorite pair before they wear out. Great result, as usual.
Rhoda K said... (7/17/09 4:16 PM) Reply
Great looking jeans and a very thorough review. Thanks!
doctorsirena said... (7/17/09 3:40 PM) Reply
Amazing jeans, Rocketboy!! Your craftsmanship is fantastic - WAY better than the Levi's! I enjoyed looking through your 100+ photos. Thanks for the captions and for the review. I learned a lot and hope to make a pair of jeans for myself someday.
mmmckay said... (7/17/09 3:40 PM) Reply
These are wow. Thanks for linking to all the photos. I love seeing every detail! My favorite are the plaid pockets; they're a nice personal signature, and a little reward just for you every time you see them. Love that :)
CA Eisenhour said... (7/17/09 3:31 PM) Reply
Another astounding garment fabricated by the Incredible "ROCKETBOY!" You are truly awesome man! I'm just knocked over that you've only been sewing for SIX YEARS!! Fabulous work! ~Connie
ChristineX said... (7/17/09 3:22 PM) Reply
Wow, great jeans!!! :-)
SewRaeMe said... (7/17/09 3:13 PM) Reply
Well I'm impressed!
Elona said... (7/17/09 3:12 PM) Reply
What terrific jeans you have created! These are truly extraordinary. I am astounded at the shapeliness of the Levi basic you have discovered by analyzing the pieces. That is amazing and useful information.
Ariadne said... (7/17/09 3:10 PM) Reply
Amazing! thank you for the time to teach us jeans, o sensei denim!
Levone said... (7/17/09 3:09 PM) Reply
Great pair of jeans! Thanks for the detailed explanation of the process that you followed.
smoody said... (7/17/09 3:03 PM) Reply
you've done an exellent job on these jeans! I am so inspired to sew! Thank You!!!!
Ann Smith said... (7/17/09 2:56 PM) Reply
Amazing process with great success. I really enjoyed your side by side detail photos comparing the Levis with your originals.
birdmcfarland said... (7/17/09 2:52 PM) Reply
Get out! Those things are incredible. Dude, you are talented! I really admire (and am totally envious!) of your consistent and precise stitching. You do very professional looking work.
Lynnelle said... (7/17/09 2:38 PM) Reply
Another amazing pair of jeans. Remarkable!
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