Replacing Topstitching on Jeans
I just finished a job where not one, mind you, but TWO pair of Ariat FR jeans needed to have the zippers replaced. Really? These things are $70 a pair! And both with lousy quality zippers? It wasn’t like the zipper tapes came loose from the denim…the zipper teeth fell out on one and the tab pulled off on the other. For $70 you’d think you’d be getting something that would last. Sadly no. The biggest challenge with this job was the decorative top stitching. Major PITA but I got it done mostly by machine. To say this was a challenge is an understatement.
To make sure I get it right, I always take a photo of the original before I rip out any stitching.
This topstitching required a thicker thread than standard sewing thread. Coats & Clark makes a Dual Duty XP that can do the job and Hancock Fabrics carries several colors. For the record, there’s a Hancock’s close to my day job so they are my first stop for sewing supplies. The nearest Joann’s is another 20 miles. I frequent WalMart too but Hancock’s is closer with a bigger selection. Anyhoo…
So thicker thread. Also, this top stitching requires two top threads. In order to sew with two threads, I needed a bigger needle with an eye large enough to fit those two thick threads. I used the largest I could find which was a 100/18 Jeans needle.
I used a needle threader to pull the threads back through the needle. Genius!
Brother has come out with this cool gizmo for an additional spool of upper thread that snaps onto the bobbin maker. How thoughtful! My PC420 came with this as an accessory for the machine. When I pulled it out of the box I was like, “What thuh…”?, then I set it aside and promptly forgot I had it. (That’s very typical for me BTW). Then I saw it in use in a Craftsy video and wished I had one. Weeks later I was digging for something else and came across this and well, it was like Christmas! Yes, it’s the little things that make me happy. So I made a bobbin of the upper thread to act as a second spool and used my new gizmo that I forgot I had. (This particular trait of mine drives my husband nuts).
First I needed to do some testing for stitch length and tension so I grabbed a scrap of denim. The 4.5 was just a bit short so I opted for a 5.0 stitch length and dropped the upper tension down to 3 to allow the thicker thread to move through the machine easier.
Then I needed a road map of where to stitch so I drew in the lines with a Clover marking chalk pen. (My favorite).
On my first go round, I attempted to use the thicker thread in the bobbin too. FAIL! ACK!! Medic! Note to self, “Use regular matching thread in the bobbin”…check.
Since the thickness of a back stitch at the start and stop would be super obvious, I used a carpet needle to manually thread the tails of the top threads to the inside and then tied them off in a double knot on the back.
In a couple of spots I had skipped stitches so I just used a hand sewing needle to create a cross stitch over the skipped stitch to make it look like two. I used this technique on the light tan stitching in the pink circles below. That knotty gold thread mess came like that – it wasn’t me.
From this – (first stitch inside the pink circle if you can see it)
Reconstruct the whole thing and ta-da! Factory!
Oh, and speaking of gizmos, I love these. They are called Bobbinis (bo-beenies) and you can get them at SmartNeedle.com.
I use these to keep specialized spools and bobbins together. They are a splurge at $1 each, but they work so well and keep me from wasting thread and time making duplicate bobbins that I forgot I had already made for a previous project…see paragraph 4 above.