Monday, November 17, 2014

Holy Sh*t, I Made Jeans!!

This is a bit of a sewing milestone for me... so many firsts! First zip fly, first time using topstitching thread, first jeans button, first swayback adjustment, first time breaking two needles on one project... I am super pumped! Ok, maybe not about that last one, but everything else = yes. Really, this is my first pair of legitimate pants (i.e. non-elastic waist).


This is the new Ginger skinny jeans pattern from Heather at Closet Case Files.  I was planning to make the Ginger jeans for the sewalong, but once I got started, I couldn't stop (I literally made these in one long-ass day of sewing). But I'll call it a sewalong make because I relied heavily on the fitting help Heather provided!

Ginger Jeans Sewalong by Closet Case Files



My Gingers are View B, the high rise, skinny leg jeans. I will definitely give view A a try for my next pair. Both are pretty killer! I'm not sure I have the cojones to wear the high rise Gingers without a shirt hanging over them, but I appreciate how the high rise sucks in/prevents muffin top.


I am so excited about having completed these jeans and having them turn out halfway decent. I learned lots of new techniques that I can use for other pants patterns I've got in my stash... I told Tim that this might be the doorway to a whole new world of awesome homemade pants for him, too. Jedediah? Jutland? They shall be made. My sewjo and confidence are way up. Thanks, Heather!

Also, the back of my new-ish haircut is lookin' good in these photos, eh?


Here are my sewing notes for these Gingers:

After basting together the jeans made in what looked like my size based on the measurements, I found them to be a bit big overall, so I recut a size down, which fit the way I was hoping. They're tight, but I find that after a wear or two, skinnies sag out, so I like them to start out pretty snug.

My basted-together jeans indicated that I needed a sway-back adjustment. I had some gaping in the back. I ended up taking a 1/2 inch wedge out of the yoke as indicated in the sewalong, as well as a 1/2 inch wedge from the waistband to make it more curved. Well, I guess I really took a total of 1 inch out of each, because the alteration is doubled. Does that make sense?


Throwing caution to the wind and totally ignoring Heather's wise advice to cut the waistband with stretch, I cut my waistband with no stretch because I find that the waistband is the first thing to sag out in my RTW jeans. Friends, this may have been a mistake, because my final waistband is a bit tight and pull-y. It's almost to the point of needing a friend with pliers, a la Dazed and Confused. But not quite... alright, alright, alright!


I made an adjustment to get rid of some large underbutt wrinkles I was experiencing, using the method detailed in Heather's sewalong. Seemed to work pretty well! There's still a little bit of wrinkling... the question remains: how much underbutt wrinkling is acceptable? 

PS: taking and posting photos of one's butt is strange, particularly when you've just learned your coworkers discovered your blog. hiya coworkers!


For fabric I used some dark, medium-weight Japanese stretch denim I found in Bangkok's Chinatown fabric area. It wasn't really marked (at least not in English), so I'm not sure how much stretch is has. I just sorta eyeballed it. It seemed about right for the pattern; not too stretchy. It was pretty cheap (about $5/meter), so I felt fine using it for a wearable muslin. I splurged and bought one of the fancy kits Heather was selling, so I felt I needed to try the pattern and work out fitting issues before cutting into the good denim.

I used navy top-stitching thread thinking it would be less conspicuous if I screwed up. I actually think I did a decent job, though. Not perfect, but pretty damn good. Not sure why these photos came out so weird, color-wise:


I didn't use rivets because I couldn't find them here in Bangkok. I'm sure they exist in the city, maybe even in stores I visited, I just didn't see them and didn't know how to ask!

Somehow my coin pocket ended up on the wrong side. I think I spaced out, cut two of them, and then topstitched the wrong one. Eh. Hopefully the coin pocket police let me off with a warning.


These jeans are pretty long... I am 5'7" and a half-ish, but don't have particularly long legs. I ended up hemming them up 1/2" and then another 3/4".

My pockets and inner waistband are polka dot quilting cotton- leftovers from my Bruyere shirt.

I did the serge-and-topstitch method for my seams.

Ta da! Them's my Ginger jeans!  
Have you made jeans before? Are you planning on making the Gingers?

24 comments:

  1. Nice job on your first pair of jeans! I think some of the wrinkling on the back of the thigh could be because the distance from the hip to knee is too long. It's an easy pattern fix: just shorten the legs above the knee. I started making jeans too and it quickly becomes addicting. :)

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    1. Oooh- thanks for the tip! I am new to the pant-making world, so any pointers welcome!

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  2. These look great! Last week, I took advantage of Fashion Fabric Club's $4/yd. denim sale and got enough for 6 pairs. I also splurged on Heather's kit too, so I want to make sure I have the fit down perfect before I cut into my kit fabric!

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    1. 6 pairs?! Damn, girl! Excited to see yours!!!

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    2. You're gonna be a jean makin factory!

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  3. You are always an inspiration to me, but you just went overboard with these... I am following Heather sew-along, but now I cant hardly wait to see if I look at least half as good as you!

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    1. Thanks so much! Good luck with your Gingers and let us know how they turn out!

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  4. Meg these look awesome!! I have RTW jeans that I wear happily that have about the same amount of wrinkles - but it would be interesting to try what Meigan ˆˆˆ said. I think you could totally rock the high rise with a cropped top too, but that's just my opinion. Can't wait to make these and can't wait to see your next pair!!

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    1. Yeah, I agree, I am happy to wear these, but if I can cut down on those wrinkles a bit for my next pair, that would be ideal!

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  5. These look so great!!! Way to go Meg! It looks to me like they are maybe too tight around the thigh - looks like you're getting some pull lines in front as well? You might try letting out the thigh on your next pair about 1/4" and see if that helps. But as I've said, it's nearly impossible to get rid of them entirely.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! Good plan re: the thighs. "Tight in the Thighs" is basically what I will title my memoir, so that makes sense.

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  6. Those are swell, first timer! I am looking at the Ginger pattern, but I have a TNT jean pattern I pulled from a pair I adored and it's so close to perfect. Damn, but I love making jeans. They fit so well and are so comfortable because of that. As for the pull lines, I'd lengthen the back crotch line at the bottom of the curve. And check this blog post out (not mine, wish it were)

    http://cationdesigns.blogspot.com/2013/09/pants-pattern-alterations.html

    My next pair are going to be a real muslin (that is, a pair I've no intention of not whacking/hacking) like Ms Cation's and do some of the alternative alterations just slashing the pants to see how things might improve. I know, perfection is the enemy of good, but it's soooo close. And jeans are so addicting; I've got another pair on the table now.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! I am definitely going to do some research and possibly try out all the different techniques people have suggested for ridding my next pair of those wrinkles!

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  7. Very impressive, they look fantastic! I'm not game to try jeans, though these might inspire me.

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    1. Thanks! I'll admit, making jeans sounded super intimidating, but it turned out to be really fun!

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  8. heaps of useful information here, thank you! i suspect i may be a candidate for a sway back adjustment, too...

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    1. The sway back adjustment turned out to be quite simple! Honestly, I guessed a bit about how much to take out and it turned out fine.

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  9. Super awesome Gingers!! I have the pattern and just got some denim to make some. The only jeans I've made are the Colette Clovers and those are pretty easy although not quite what I wanted. I'm hoping the gingers will be!

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    1. Thanks, Tanya! I hope you have good luck with Ginger! I think it's a great pattern and I thought the instructions were pretty awesome... plus add in the sewalong help and I was a happy girl.

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  10. These look incredible!!! I really want to try these, but I'm so intimidated! Thank you for reviewing the pattern (and showing off your tush, high waisted and all, it looks fantastic btw), it may push me over the edge and out of my comfort zone.

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    1. Thanks so much! Don't be intimidated! You can do it... it's really not that hard. With the top-stitching, it's definitely a few more steps than a typical garment, but no one step was particularly difficult!

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