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.
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!?
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.
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 🙂 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.
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).
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)
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 🙂 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:)
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 🙂
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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂 it’s Butterick 5526 !