Ok, now for the forreal first finished project of 2015 – jeans!!
Damn straight I made jeans! And pretty good-looking jeans, if I do say so myself :)
These are the Ginger Jeans, by Closet Case Files. Full disclosure right here – Heather sent me this pattern, gratis, as a friend-gift with no strings/review requests attached. While I did not pattern test for this particular pattern, I was involved with fitting tweak email chains waaay back before this shit went into testing (because you know me, and I love talking about crotches).
Anyway, I was excited to try this pattern because – one, JEANS!; and two, JEANSSSS!!!
Y’all, this is a really really good pattern. I know I sound biased – and maybe I am, because I lurve me some Heather, and ESPECIALLY because I had a really good almost-out-of-the-envelope experience with making these. It can be hard – if not impossible – to design a pants pattern that is going to fit and flatter every single body it comes in contact with, considering how wildly different everyone’s bodies are. I think the fit of these seems pretty good across the board – I’ve been watching everyone’s finished Gingers popping up all over the place, and most are great right out of the envelope (or with very minor changes). Personally, I had to make a few small tweaks, but they’re not any different than what I do to *all* the pants I make.
I started with the size 2, which corresponds closely with my measurements, and made view B with the high waist. Having participated in this rodeo before, I went ahead and adding my personal ~Lauren~ fitting changes directly to the pattern pieces – which means, I scooped out some of the crotch to give it more of a J shape (more info on that in this post) and added a 1/2″ wedge to the back crotch for some extra bum room. I compared the pattern pieces to some well-fitting patterns and RTW jeans to make sure the crotch lengths and depths were good, then I cut straight into my denim. No muslin this time – which was risky, but I feel pretty confident in my fitting at this point, so I was willing to take one for the team if necessary.
SPOILER: It worked out just fine! Yeehaw!
There are a couple more things I’d like to improve on for my next pair – all up in dat crotch (sorry that you have to look at it). I think this photo illustrates that pretty well – see how the front is just a little too long when I stand a certain way? You can also see it in the photo below – what looks like a really really poorly photoshopped thigh gap is actually just excess fabric bending all weird. I need to pull some excess out of the inseam, maybe about 1/2″ (like, maybe what I added to the back crotch haha!). Honestly, that’s something I could do to this existing pair of jeans as it is – but I also flat-felled that damn inseam, and realistically, I know I probably won’t unpick and fix unless it starts annoying me way more than it does right now. I also need to take a small wedge out of the center back of the waistband – it’s a one-piece curved waistband, but I’m starting to notice that two-piece darted waistbands fit my backside much better. This one isn’t bad, it’s just a little loose. Something to fix for the next pair! The calves are also prettttttyyyy tight – like, these are not the pants that I will be wearing knee socks underneath! I guess I have big calves, though, because that’s an issue I have with all pants (sewing patterns and RTW). Overall, though, I’m really happy with the fit of these. I didn’t have to do ANY changes to the legs, and I think they look pretty good!
Construction on these was pretty straightforward and not at all difficult, although it was time-consuming to do all that topstitching. I followed the instructions on the pattern, as well as the sewalong for places where I needed a little extra clarification. I decided to go balls to the wall with this make and treat them like a real pair of jeans – contrast gold topstitching, flat-felled seams (everywhere except the side seams), proper rivets, the works. Doing all these extras definitely added time to how long it look to make them, but I still finished over the weekend :P Go me!
For fabric, I used a denim/lycra blend that was purchased a Paron’s Fabrics in NYC last year. Heather actually helped me pick this one out, and I am surprised at how much I like it. The recovery is okkkk – it’s not the very best, like my RTW jeans (which are from Imogene + Willie, and WHEW that denim is – as my dad would say – THE BOMB DOT COM) – but it’s better than some stuff I’ve used in the past! The photos you see here were taken before I’d worn them for a day, so they’re at their tightest. As of this posting, I’ve worn the jeans twice and they haven’t bagged out much at all, which is a pleasant surprise. That being said, I really really really want to get my hands on one of Heather’s denim kits, because the Cone Mill denim included in those is basically the same shit as my $200+ I+W jeans. I missed the last sale due to financial restraints, but I’m saving my dollars and waited with bated breath for the next shipment, because you best believe imma be all over that shit like white on rice. NEEDS MORE JEANS.
At Heather’s advice, I did not interface the waistband of my pants. I think I might actually be a convert to this method – the waistband is still stretchy (so it’s super comfy), but the denim is thick enough to give it some structure. I did interface my button and button hole area, as well as the parts noted in the instructions (the fly, the tops of the pockets… I think that’s it?).
For the topstitching, I used Gutterman jeans thread (the gold color, obviously) in my needle and regular ol’ navy polyester thread in the bobbin. At the suggestion of my sewing machine mechanic, I revved up the needle tension to a 7 and lengthened the stitch length to a little over a 3 to get a nice stitch. I used my #10 edgestitching foot (favorite foot ever, holla) to create even lines, and a 90/14 denim needle to pierce through all the layers. Since the guts of the jeans are assembled with the standard navy thread, this meant that I did a LOT of thread-changing to make this pair of pants. For future pants, I’ve lugged out my old Pfaff so I can keep both machines threaded and just switch back and forth, but the changing was ok for this first go-round.
Also, speaking of topstitching – I loved all the bartacks involved with making jeans. So much fun and SO satisfying! My machine actually doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, but I just reduced the zigzag stitch length and width until it looked good.
If you have super eagle eyes, you may notice that the double topstitching is slightly different at the pockets vs the yoke/crotch seam. I had to widen the lines to properly catch where I folded the pockets under, but I really don’t think the wide-set stitching looks as good as the narrower set on the back. Oh well, just something to change for the next pair :)
I looove the star rivets, though! And check out my cool jeans button! All the hardware (including the zipper) was purchased at Pacific Trimming in NYC, same time as when I got my denim. All that stuff was sooo cheap (I want to say the rivets were, like, $0.10 a piece of something crazy like that. I bought a whole bagful HAHAHA), wish I had better access to it on the regular! To set my rivets and my button, I used the good ol’ hammer-and-cast-iron-skillet combination. Worked like a charm!
Fun pocket lining! Also, I think I cut the fly interfacing too wide – bummer that it peeks out. Oh well, again – something to change for the next pair :P
Proof of flat-felled seams, and also machine thread snarls. Whoops.
I’m pretty happy to have officially made LEGIT jeans (I have made “denim trousers” in the past, but nothing with topstitching and rivets and all that fun stuff!), and even more happy that they are super wearable! Now I just need to bang them out in all the colors my wardrobe requires and I’ll be set for life, at least as far as my denim is concerned :) I really want to try some different topstitching colors and details – looking at my I+W jeans, I really love the multiple colors of thread they used, and the little plus shaped bartacks. I also want some wacky insides – printed pocket fabric and colorful serger thread, anyone?
Would you ever make jeans for yourself, or does this fall in the camp of things you’d rather buy? Have you made this pattern before (if so, lemme see dem jeans, ladies)? As someone who’s literally worn the same pair of jeans for a solid year, how many pairs is too many?