Completed: Navy Cotton Twill Ginger Pants

1 Nov

Gah, it has been WAY too long since I made a pair of pants – according to my blog, that last pair was published in a February! LAME, TIME TO RECTIFY IMMEDIATELY.

Also, damn, my hair has gotten long since then. It seems to grow soo slowly until you look back and realize you’ve really gained some inches over the months, yay.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Anyway, Ginger Jeans! Again! I love this pattern so much, it’s definitely my pants TNT. The style is so classic, I can make a million pairs and have no one be the wiser that I’ve been wearing the same pattern for 6 months straight. I’m still tweaking the leg fit, but I really think the waist/hip fit is nailed down solid. And I love how it looks in different fabrics. While I primarily make this pattern up in denim, I’ve really wanted to try more colorful stretch twills. And here we are with that!

Sorry in advance for the terribly quality of these photos. Navy is almost as difficult to shoot as black, who would have thought!?

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

Anyway, I bought this navy stretch cotton twill from Mood Fabrics, back when I was in the NYC storefront in March – specifically with the intention of making myself some sweet pants out of the yardage. It’s a good stretch bottomweight for the kind of pants I like to wear – a lighter bottom weight (it’s still technically bottom weight, however, it’s about the lightest you can get away with – if that makes sense!) with a really good, solid amount of stretch. I have learned that I don’t like wearing really heavy fabric as pants – just don’t care at all for the way it feels. Maybe I’m sliding quickly into knit-fabrics-for-every-garment fabric territory, but I really like lightweight, super stretchy fabrics on my booty. Since that’s so freaking DIFFICULT to find with denim (get the right weight, and you lose out on recovery. Get the good recovery, and it’s like wearing raw denim in terms of stiffness, ew), cotton twill is where it’s AT. Bonus if that shit is colorful. I like colorful things.

This cotton twill seems to be a lot more along the lines of a cotton sateen, to be honest -it’s pretty shiny, for one. I rather like the effect – I think it looks a little more luxe than just a normal pair of pants – but as you can see, it highlights EVERY SINGLE wrinkle that shows up. It makes these pants look a lot more ill-fitting than they actually are… not that anyone would notice, except someone else who sews/fits, but it is what it is. I ain’t worried about it. Coupled with the fact that I like to wear my pants as skintight as if they are basically painted on, it’s pretty much wrinkle-city up in here. That’s ok, though. I will live.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - side

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

I wanted to improve on the fit of my last pair – the full calf adjustment has been good in terms of allowing room for my calves and reducing the amount of knee wrinkles, however, I wasn’t happy with how wide the ankle ended up as a result. This is part of the reason why I’ve been reluctant to make this pattern again until now – that, and it’s been way too hot to wear pants for the past few months πŸ™‚ Anyway, I have that Ginger Jeans Intensive at Workroom Social this week, so I wanted to make the pattern before I left just to brush on the construction. Which meant that I also had to figure out the leg situation. Boo.

Ultimately, I figured that since the full calf adjustment was kind of the same concept as a full bust adjustment – i.e., you slash and spread to add width to a certain part of your pattern – then reducing the circumference of the ankle would basically be the opposite of that, like a small bust adjustment.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Here is my pattern piece after adding that extra room for my calves. As you can see, quite a bit of width was added at the ankle – 1 1/8″, to be exact. I wanted to reduce that amount without actually reducing the calf width, and also maintain the grainline of the pattern so the fabric wouldn’t twist and go all haywire (this is why you can’t just… shave down the side seams to remove the width. I tried that on the jeans with a basting stitch and it was just AWFUL. Did not work at all).

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

My Y-shaped slash and spread worked to add that width, so I did another Y-shaped slash right around where my calf starts to taper back into “normal width” category, using the super scientific method of holding the pattern piece up to my body and drawing wild lines on the paper with a pencil. (btw, that second slash line was my first try – and I realized it was way too low, so I taped it back together haha)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Instead of spreading, I overlapped the pieces together so that the original pattern paper (without my brown craft paper addition) butted up as normal right at the ankle. As you can see, it makes a very gradual curve to the side seams – they bellow out a little where the extra width is needed, and then gently curve back to their normal width tapering to nothing at the ankle. I also straightened the grainline, after I took the photo. Sorry bout that.

I had no idea if this was going to work – this is how I do my pattern adjustments (if I can’t find the answer in a book, anyway): mulling over the issue for a few months, doing some wild slashing that seems legit, and then cutting them off into shorts if it doesn’t work πŸ™‚ Fortunately, it worked! I still have the room I need for my calves, but the ankle is fitted as it should be. And I ended up with pants instead of having to cut them into shorts, so woohoo me:)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

The only other change I made to these pants, in terms of construction, was how I applied the topstitching. I usually use topstitching thread – whether matching or in a contrast color – but I didn’t have any of that on hand when I made these pants (to be frank, I barely had ANY navy thread at all during this phase. I did have a bunch of bobbins filled with navy thread, which is what I used as my main thread hahaha AND MIRACULOUSLY HAD ENOUGH YAY). Instead, I used normal polyester thread – just whatever you’d use to, I dunno, assemble a garment – and set my machine to sew on the Triple Stitch. The Triple Stitch automatically lengthens your stitch just a few mm, and then sews over the same stitch a couple of times – which results in a nice, thick, dense stitch. It looks great for topstiching and solves the problem of not having the proper thread. I actually like it better than using topstitching thread, as you are less likely to get thread nests on the underside of your fabric! The only downside is that it is a giant ass bitch to unpick, so definitely be really really sure of what you’re sewing πŸ™‚

Anyway, I used the Triple Stitch to topstitch all my seams – including the flat-felled seams. To keep my lines even and consistent, I used my edgestitching foot to get that 1/8″ from the seamline, and then my 1/4″ foot for the second pass. The bartacks are just teensy little zigzag/satin stitch blobs, using the same navy as the topstitching. I didn’t add any rivets or contrasty anything to these pants – I wanted them to be plain and a little sleek. The pocketing is the same striped cotton I use for pretty much all my pocketing – I bought a shitload of that yardage ages ago at Mood Fabrics, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving forever haha πŸ™‚ I kept the longer length, just so these don’t end up being super high-waters after a couple of washes, but they look good cuffed, too πŸ™‚

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

I have only had a chance to wear these once since finishing them, so I can’t 100% comment on the recovery of the stretch fabric – but at the end of the day on their inaugural wear, they stayed pretty tight and did not bag out. I’m interested to see how long they keep their shape before bagging happens, but so far so good, I think!

** Note: The fabrics used to make these pants were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. In case you were curious, the gingham for that shirt is also from Mood Fabrics πŸ™‚ it’s Butterick 5526 !


33 Responses to “Completed: Navy Cotton Twill Ginger Pants”

  1. Inclement November 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Aha, I see on Flickr you do have cuffs turned up. Style preference? (Nice top, by the way.)

    • LLADYBIRD November 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

      It depends on the outfit, but yeah, I prefer them a little short if I’m rolling without socks:)

  2. rryberg1 November 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    I hadn’t thought of making gingers out of anything but denim. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • LLADYBIRD November 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

      Oh yeah, they are just as good out of a stretch twill as they are denim πŸ™‚

  3. Karen Lyon November 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    According to my “Fast Fit” book by Sandra Betzina, you have to adjust both inseam and outside seam by same amount to avoid the pantleg twisting on you. As long as the grainline is still in roughly the same sposition, you should be ok. Hope this helps for future makes.


    • LLADYBIRD November 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

      That makes sense. The way I adjusted the leg did make it the same amount on both inseam and outseam, since it was slashed and spread, and I haven’t noticed any twisting while I wear them. Yay!

  4. Carolyn B November 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    Thanks for your solution to the large-calf-but-want-skinnies dilemma. I’m gonna give this a whirl with my next pair.

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:11 am #

      You are welcome! I hope it works for you! πŸ™‚

  5. katiemakesadress November 1, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    OMG that top stitching ❀ Fit is rad too. I've had this pattern for ages and am still yet to make it. Finding the right denim is a challenge in Australia.

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:13 am #

      I think it’s a challenge no matter where you are… even if you find something “right,” it may not be right for you (like, I love those Cone Mills fabrics but they are just too heavy and stiff for my preferences). Stretch bottom weights that aren’t necessarily denim are certainly easier to find!

  6. Carol S November 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

    Every pair of Gingers i’ve made has a different fabric for the pockets and inside the waistband. Only way I know which pair I’m pulling out of the closet.

  7. Tomasa November 1, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    Love these pants! They fit you beautifully. So many sewists really love this Ginger jeans pattern…I think I will have to purchase it (and actually make it one day).

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      I think it’s a really great pattern! The styling is classic, the construction gives good RTW results, and the sizing seems to work across a pretty broad range of shapes from what I’ve noticed.

  8. KS_Sews November 1, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    I’ve given up on top stitching thread. I used doubled up regular thread and it looks just as good with no thread nests!!! They’re set up like twin needle stitching except both threads pass through the one needle. It’s awesome.

    I am not a big jeans wearer but love making them ❀ But hate trying to find good denim. A nice twill may make good for my next pair.

    Love the color. Blue is the best ever in the history of ever.

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      I’ve heard about doubling the thread, but so far I’ve had really good results with just one thread so I haven’t tried two. But I want to! For science, ha.

      And agree with you about how great blue is!!

  9. Jenny November 2, 2016 at 4:33 am #

    I’ve tried exactly the same side seam tapering below the calf as you, also with woeful results! Will definitely try out your method next time, yours are fitting excellently 😊

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      Let me know how it works! I’m curious to know if my hack was an actual good fitting adjustment, or just a lucky strike on this one pair haha πŸ™‚

  10. Regina November 2, 2016 at 7:02 am #

    You deserve a trophy labeled “Lauren, Ace at Making Jeans!” Happy sewing.

    • LLADYBIRD November 2, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      I would gladly accept that trophy! πŸ™‚

  11. Amelia Wray November 3, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    These look great! I have a rtw wear pair of trousers similar to this and it’s good to know I’d be able to recreate them with the Ginger pattern πŸ™‚ I like your top too!

  12. erinbknitter November 3, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    Dude! I just so happen to be wearing a pair of Ginger jeans made out of stretch cotton sateen in navy. I seriously love the pattern and want to make approximately one million pairs in different bottom-weight fabrics.

    • LLADYBIRD November 8, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      Yes! It’s such a good pattern for so many different bottom weight fabrics! I love it!

  13. mertxelasierra November 6, 2016 at 4:37 am #

    Have you tried a flat felled foot? I am reading D. Coffin’s book on shirt making and he says it is essential for flat felled seams and that’s it. I just ordered mine and I can’t wait to try it on pants like yours:

    • LLADYBIRD November 8, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      I’ve looked into it, but haven’t bought one yet bc they are about $40+ for my machine, and I have no problems flat felling without any special feet. That may change in the future but right now, it’s not a huge priority for my sewing πŸ™‚

  14. Yvonne November 7, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    That topstitching is fantastic!

  15. esewing November 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    These are great, thank you for the calf fitting, they look way better tapered, can imagine the hell of unpicking triple stitching , I have only used triple for reinforcing seams , might have to give it a whirl ….neatly !

  16. Caitlin J. November 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    These are amazing! I love the stripey pattern on the pocket fabric!


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