Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ginger Jeans Triumph

Hi guys. I know that exclamations of pride and amazement at having sewn 'proper' jeans are nothing new in the sewing community, however, I MADE JEANS!!!!!!! Before we dig in, I just want to mention that I had major technical difficulties getting decent pictures of these jeans. And now that I'm looking at these pics, I see that my photographer, Mr SoZo, didn't account for our height difference and my legs look weirdly foreshortened. But hopefully you get the idea of what's going on with them anyhow, I'm sure as hell not taking these pics again!!


After a lot of back and forth, I decided to go with the Ginger skinny jeans pattern from Closet Case Patterns for my first real pair of jeans (as opposed to the denim trousers or jeggings that I've made in the past). I'd heard great things from others about the fit and the instructions, plus I liked all the extra info and support that was included in the sewalong. 

I knew straight away that I'd be making View A: the low rise, stove pipe leg version. My measurements put me as a straight size 12, and although I had heard that this pattern can come up big (particularly with very stretchy denim like mine), I couldn't bring myself to size down for fear of them ending up too small. I did decide to go ahead and scoop a bit of the crotch out straight away as this has been a really successful adjustment for me in recent trouser-type projects. I decided to do the scoop-crotch adjustment to the pattern first, rather than scooping as required once they were basted together, because the topstitching on the CB seam meant I wouldn't be able to adjust them at the basted together stage without A LOT of unpicking. The other pattern alteration I made before cutting out my fabric was to increase the amount of curve around the back of the waistband. I have a slight sway back situation, and the waistband as it was originally drafted just didn't look sufficiently curved for my needs. 

As suggested in the instructions, once the front and back were both completed and joined at the crotch seams, I basted the inside leg seams and side seams to check the fit before proceeding further. Woah, they were big. They were about a size too large through the waist and hips, and the legs were wayyyyy looser than I was aiming for. It took a couple of sessions to wrangle the fit to a point I was happy with, and made the changes back on my pattern pieces for future reference (#payingmyselfforward). 

Fabric, thread and hardwear:

I bought this dark indigo stretch denim at a sewing meetup a couple of years ago from Ditto fabrics when Ditto was selling off some stock before vacating their storage space. This is the first garment I've made using some of the stash fabric I selected for my #2019makenine plans. I've decribed it as indigo, but there's a slight greyish tone in there as well. It's soft and very stretchy and I 
really love it. I used leftover corazones quilting cotton (a Henry Alexander print I believe) for my pocket bags and waistband facing. 

I'm lucky enough to own a cone of gold top stitching thread (that I found on the street in the middle of the night in Barcelona, but that's a story for another day), but I wanted to add a pop of red as well to make these jeans a bit fancier. I used the red topstitching thread in the back pocket design (that came from the free downloadable back pocket design sheets available by signing up to the Closet Case Patterns newsletter), for the buttonhole and for the bar tacks at the fly and side seams. 

I failed to get a decent shot of it, but the jeans button I used is a copper colour with a pair of scissors design on it. I got it about 10 years ago in a slightly sneaky manner: I found it on the floor of a Zara changing room in Spain. It was meant to be the spare for a garment on sale, but I took it home for a future sewing project. The rivets are by Prym in antique copper that I bought from Fabric Godmother. I wasn't sure if I was going to bother with rivets because I was kind of viewing this pair as a wearable toile, but I'm really pleased that I did because it really elevates their whole look.


Wow, jeans-making is intensive, isn't it?! But also SOOOOO satisfying. I honestly haven't enjoyed a sewing project so much in months. As is usual these days, I had to make these in instalments in the small pockets of time I managed to carve out for myself. At each point I really couldn't wait to get back to them and do another step or two. Even though this is denim has a sizeable stretch content, it still behaved really well, I just had to be careful not to stretch the raw edges too much when handling it. Plus, I LOVED doing the visible topstitching, it's so pleasing to see the finished result.

But all that time and effort that went into these jeans gave the whole project somewhat higher stakes than your average sewing project. Thankfully, the final fit is pretty good (*massive exhale of relief*). All the faffing about with the fit through the leg was totally worth it because they are exactly what I was hoping for from the thighs down. I feel that they might still be a touch loose around the hips, particularly after a few wears (they are fresh from the wash in these pics), but I bought a vintage plaited leather belt for £1 in a charity shop which keeps them in place fairly well. I'd also say that the crotch-scooping was definitely necessary, without that I think there'd be a lot more wrinkles under the bum than there currently are. 

After finishing these, I wore them for the following six days straight before putting them in the wash, so I'd definitely class these as a success. And they are the only bottoms I currently own that I don't want/need to change out of as soon as I get home. However, I do find the low rise too low rise, especially at the back. They are fine whilst I'm wearing a vest/camisole tucked in, but I predict they will feel a bit exposing at the back when it's too warm to wear them as part of an outfit without a vest. I don't think I want to go for View B, the high waist option, but I am considering buying the mid-rise version and starting with a size smaller next time. And there will definitely be a next time.


Debbie Cook said...

I love your topstiching, with the red accents! Jeans *are* so satisfying, aren't they?

Claire said...

These look SOOOO good! It's nice to see even an accomplished seamstress who has hesitated to tackle the jeans problem, cuz that's where I'm at! Your review has made me reconsider. Maybe I'm ready to give it a go!

Helen said...

Head look so good! The top stitching is great and I love the red details. Looks like a definite win!

Helen said...

Head? I meant these look so good! 😂

KathrynT said...

They look great! I looove sewing jeans.
Something that worked for me for the back leg wrinkles, as well as scooping, is I take a triangular wedge out of the back leg so the seam from knee to crotch is shorter, then I stretch the back to fit the front.

Linda said...

Gorgeous! They look fabulous on you.

Fabric Tragic said...

I’d be utterly delighted if I’d made jeans that look this good! And gold topstitch thread on the street - how cool is that!!

beckypb said...

You are my heroine! The fit is perfect and I love the way you did the topstitching. I think you'll have people stop you to ask where you got them. Being asked that question from someone you don't know is the best compliment of all! I'm going to pull my denim out and make a pair of jeans now. I made a muslin and the fit was not great, but you have inspired me! Enjoy your weekend!

Jo said...

Much Kudos Zoe. I use a Burda pattern which I have to modify because I am so short and Burda patterns are for rangy Europeans but I have made 3 so far and they get better every time. Love the contrast stitching - who is finding cones of top stitching thread in the dead of night!!! Jo xxx

Unknown said...

These look so good! I love your back pocket design - minimal, but fun and unique, especially with the red thread and bar tacks to match :-). I know, doesn't it just feel so good to sew jeans from start to finish? It feels like major construction, with the satisfaction to match. I have sewed the mid-rise version, and I found it a little high in front for me, so ended up experimenting with lowering the rise, which turns out to be a fairly easy adjustment. Of course, I went too far, so now am incrementally raising it again. I don't know what else is different about the mid-rise version - maybe the pocket stays, although I think there is a tutorial for that. All that is to say that you may not need the mid-rise pattern, if you just want to raise the rise, and you're up for the adjustments. Looking forward to seeing your next pair!

katherine h said...

Great job on these jeans!

Rebecca Young said...

These look great I love this style - you have done a fantastic job on them.

I have only recently started to wear jeans and I would like to make a pair one day but I don't think I have the confidence (or the time) at the moment

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