Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Dream of Jean-ie: Mastering Rivets

Your jeans are almost done!  All you should have left is to hem and add rivets, if you want.  First, let’s go over the rivets and then I’ll just say a couple of things about hemming.

rivets and hemming jeans sew a straight line

Rivets are the fun part.  The hardware icing on your denim cake.  Or something. Rivets secure pockets to the fabric, and just look cool.  They aren’t required, but they make your jeans look legit and add durability. 

To set your rivets, you’ll need the rivets, a hammer, a puncturing tool (nail, ice pick, awl), a cutting board or something similar, and possibly a pair of metal snippers.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-4-2

Rivets can be hard to find.  I used to be able to pick up Dritz rivets at my local Jo-Ann.  But they no longer carry them instore.  And honestly, they don’t look like “real” jeans rivets.  I’ve begun to buy my rivets from an online shop called  It’s a very…rugged store, specializing in products for outdoor sporting.  But the quality is topnotch, up to the task of any outdoor adventure and all.  And the prices great.    Below are rivets I’ve purchased from in two finishes, and the Dritz from Jo-Ann on the far right.  
  rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-1-2 
And here they are up close.  The Dritz are on the top, and the below. 

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-2-2 
Here is the only drawback with the CastBullet rivets:  The nail on the stud is really long.  They’re made to go through leather or multiple layers of thick denim.   Dritz on the left, CastBullet on the right.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-3-2 

You need to trim the top excess of the CastBullet rivets with a metal/wire snipper before setting them.  Otherwise, the nail will punch through the rivet.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-5-2  
Okay, let’s set the rivets, whatever type you have.  Punch a really small hole through the area you want the rivet.  I use a point of some Fiskars for this, but a nail or ice pick would also work.  You want the hole to just be big enough to get the rivet nail through. 

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-7 

Poke the rivet nail through the hole from the back of the fabric.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-8 

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-9

Place the rivet on the nail on the outside.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-10

Place the jeans down on the cutting board, on a really hard solid surface, with the rivet facing down.  Pound the stud with a hammer to set the rivet.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-11

You’ll have this on the other side.  Okay, so I didn’t cut my nail short enough on this rivet, and wanted to show you.    See how the silver of the nail punched through the center bullseye of the rivet?  Frustrating, but not too big a deal.  Just hammer it down on the front side, so that the nail flattens and becomes flush with the rest of the rivet.

rivets jeans sew along sew a straight line-12  

Rivets generally go at the pocket corners: front, coin, and back.  On these jeans, I only put them on the front hip pockets.  I used bartacking to secure the back pockets

pockets flat felled seams jeans sew along sew a straight line-26

A bartack is a line of super thick horizontal stitching.  My machine has a bartack stitch option.  It looks like a series of horizontal lines on the #6 button I’m pointing to here:

zipper fly jeans sew along sew a straight line-26  

You can also use a satin or zig zag stitch.  Set your stitch length to as short as possible and you should be good.  Bartacks usually show up on jeans at the belt loops, fly topstitching, pockets, and the side seams where the pocket ends.

bartacks jeans sew a straight line

And now you just need to hem.  There’s not much to say about hemming, it’s pretty straight forward.  But one tip:  wear your jeans around for a day or so before you commit to a hem length.  See where you’re comfortable with them hitting, whether you want ankle, cropped, long, whatever.  AND wash the jeans first.  Denim can continue to shrink for a while.  Now that you have spent the time to make some rockin’ jeans, it would stink to hem and then have them shrink to too short.  So wash them, wear them, then hem them. 

And that’s it!!   JEANS!!

Tomorrow, we both reveal our jeans and next week we want to see yours!  We’ll have a link party for you to share any jeans you’ve made, for the sew along or otherwise, so we can all be inspired.  And there will be a giveaway.  So don’t miss it!

And don’t miss Melissa’s post today discussing Should I Sew My Own Jeans?”

Here are the previous jeans posts from both Melly Sews and myself

jeansfitguide-430x700jeans sew a straight line-26rub off pattern  make your muslin tips-sew-jeans  jeans sew along cutting out sew a straight linepockets flat felled seams sew a straight line jeanstopstitching    zipper fly side inseams jeans sew along sew a straight linebelt loops

And a list of ideas for giving your jeans a new look:

old to new again

The sponsor coupons last through the end of the month, so don’t forget to check them out:

10% off all pants and short patterns at  Named using the code trousersandshortslogoiso

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all of these classes are 20% if you click through these links (affiliate links)
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Anne Weaver said...

Thanks for sharing your source for rivets!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that links to your how-to.


Reno said...

I love these tutorials- even though I'm sure I will never make jeans. Maybe?

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing your rivet source - I've had trouble finding them!

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