hello, i am in the process of making clothes for my character. does anyone know how i can make some jeans? i have cut up an old pair of my jeans but i can not get it to stop fraying when i sew pieces together. obviously i am trying to make the seam as small as possible so i don't want to sew too deep into the denim sections. is there a trick to sewing denim?

Tags: clothes, costumes, jeans, puppet, trousers

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Well, I'm not sure how much help I can be. But I've made a few pairs of jeans for my film. Aesthetically speaking they fit in with the very rough design of my world. And yours are much cleaner  .

But i'll share what I know:

Have you tried using a different fabric and then dying it blue? Denim made for real people may just be a little too "Big" for scaled down characters...

I've done a few pairs of jeans for puppets.   I suck at shirts (can't get the collars right), but I've gotten pretty good at trousers.

For a start, don't use the denim from real jeans, it's too thick.   (Oh, just saw where Will Horne said that.)  There is a thinner denim made for shirts, it looks good in puppet scale and works better.  It comes in a dark blue and a paler blue, and you can also use the back side out for a different shade.  You could probably spray a little bleach on parts of it like the front thigh to get that faded look, but I can't say I've actually done this, so test on scraps first.  Maybe watered down white acrylic paint would be a safer way to get that look.   The thin denim is actually still thicker than a true 1/6th scale, but it's as close as you will get.  A fabric that is genuinely a sixth as thick is likely to be too see-through, if it even exists.   Dying a pale fabric blue would probably work, though there is a 2-tone effect in denim, with light and dark threads, that you wouldn't get.   Look in a large fabric store to see what they have.  I go to Spotlight in Australia but I don't know what chains there are in your country.

To avoid fraying edges, I first sew with a bit more seam allowance so it doesn't come apart while I'm handling it.  Then, if it's critical, I trim it back, then dab a little liquid latex all along the edge.  There is also a fabric glue at the fabric store that works for this.  For many jeans it doesn't matter that there is a bit more fabric outside the seam than there should be in such a small scale, you can't see it when it's on the inside.  But on a 9" Coraline-like puppet with very skinny legs, I had to trim it right back.  6mm of seam allowance was like a whole second layer of fabric, since the front and back piece was only 10 or 12 mm wide in the leg.

Burning with a lighter -  depends on the type of fabric.  It would melt the edges of a synthetic fabric and probably seal it so it wouldn't unravel, so I can see that working.  But on cotton denim, I'm not so sure, I think it would just char the edges so they would break away.   Test it on a scrap of the fabric first.

The hardest part was belt loops.  I cut a thin strip of fabric, spray glued the back, then folded both edges over.  They were only a couple of millimetres wide, I couldn't top-stitch along the edges.  I hand sewed them to the trousers. 

To get those faded areas use sandpaper. Laika does it... 

Hems and things like beltloops are probably best done with Fabri-Tac fabric glue (or some other fabric glue). Some fabrics don't fray and these can be good for the really small stuff that needs to be cut with the cut end still showing - for instance where folding over and hemming would make it too thick. A non-fraying fabric can easily be trimmed to the shape you need (like a belt loop or a tie) and then just glued on - eliminating all the extra layering. I work as much as possible with stretch fabrics, and so far the ones I've used don't tend to fray when cut. 

If you're after them thin denim shirts, you might get one cheap on eBay.

Here's one with no bids, ends just after 1pm GMT today (Monday).

Hideous denim shirt that nobody wants, except maybe a puppet-maker.

i might try a 'jegging' material, they are like denim leggings? stretchier 

Will Horne said:

Well, I'm not sure how much help I can be. But I've made a few pairs of jeans for my film. Aesthetically speaking they fit in with the very rough design of my world. And yours are much cleaner  .

But i'll share what I know:

Have you tried using a different fabric and then dying it blue? Denim made for real people may just be a little too "Big" for scaled down characters...

i did try a lighter but as Nick said, the cotton just chars and frays. i like the idea of a denim shirt, i might hit some charity shops and see what they have to offer or try this latex down the edge.

thanks everyone for your suggestions.


Grace Diggens said:

I've literally just finished making some clothes for my puppet. To be fair I haven't used denim but to stop the edges fraying on mine I just used a lighter to burn the edges before I sewed them back on themselves.

you need something like this: Zackenschere

http://www.naehmaschinen-blog.com/2011_02_01_archive.html

Fairy of darkness- that link doesn't work for me, it's all German?

If you use Google Chrome as a browser, it will translate the page into English for you. This is the top post. The second post appears to be comparing different sewing machines.

Cutting tools in general

There is not just one type of cutting tools such as scissors for cutting fabric, but a wide range of large and small scissors, rotary cutter, seam ripper, etc. for different types of fabric.This should always have sharp blades and are never used for cutting paper or other material. With a well-cutting scissors cutting of the materials is a pleasure.
Here are some examples:
At the tailor's shears 
the blades to the handles bent so that it passes under the fabric when cutting slide.The material is lifted by little and cut very precisely.

The pinking shears
has a serrated blade, such as the name implies, shows a zigzag section.
This Cut is suitable for open seam edges or as decoration for applications. An advantage also the edges after cutting is not hard to unravel.
Then the small scissors is always handy for corners that are difficult and delicate fine fabrics.
An embroidery scissors with their sharp blades is used specifically for thread cutting. A fabric scissors for this is not as good as their blades are dull.
The normal scissors is to cut paper and other ideal.
The seam ripper  is specially slides to rip seams and cutting open buttonholes gedacht.Die tip easily under the stitch and the short round side cuts the thread.
The rotary cutter
with its curved blade for long cuts and thick material, or material layers mehrern thought as patchwork
cutting mat is essential when working with the rotary cutter. Their special surface closes after cutting back and not be as rough as other work surfaces.
The quilting guide is mostly used by quilters. The clear plastic ruler is marked with lines and is ideal for cutting small pieces of fabric, such as patchwork.

The pinking shears

I wanted only that you see the picture. You don't need to understand german.

thank you Beyond Craft!

i have sorted it out! don't need specific scissors. i went to the children's section of a clothes shop and bought some really cheap leggings with a denim finish. no frayed ends and will be easy to sew, pictures to come.

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