I’m really excited about the jeans I have to share with you today. I love all the details I put into them! Just like the gingham shirt from last week, jeans provide a fun chance to experiment with details.
I made the decision to swap one of the tops (Simplicity 2255) on my 2017 Make Nine plan for some Ginger Jeans, partly because I needed some jeans, but also because I was no longer sure if that top was the right use for the precious fabric I had planned for it.
I knew that Me-Made-May was coming up, and I needed more pants, AND, last but not least, Pintuck & Purl was hosting a Jeans Sewing Master Class with Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Patterns, maker of the Ginger Jeans pattern…and, you know, I thought that warranted a new pair. 😉
I am both completely in love with these jeans and slightly annoyed by the subtle fit issues that I didn’t notice until after these were finished. We can leave the annoyances until later–let’s talk about the fun stuff!
I knew before I even had the fabric that I wanted to use yellow exposed zippers on these (partly because I completely forgot to put them in my green pair), and I knew I could do it because I learned how when making my Refashioners 2015 jacket (worn in the picture above). The instructions come from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (1976 edition), my favorite sewing reference.
I’ll give you a quick rundown of the other supplies I used and where they are from, in case you are curious (I’m always curious about these sorts of things.). Also, I know there are a billion links in this post. I love information, and I want you to have all the information I have in case it will help you. None of these are affiliate links, although I do work part-time at Pintuck & Purl.
- Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns: Pintuck & Purl
- stretch denim: Pintuck & Purl
- yellow exposed zippers: ZipIt Zippers on Etsy (a really great shop for zippers!)
- sparkly gold fly zipper: Pintuck & Purl
- jeans button: Wawak
- yellow Gutermann topstitching thread and navy Gutermann construction thread: Jo-Ann Fabrics
- red Coats topstitching thread: either Pintuck & Purl or Jo-Ann’s
- interfacing: Jo-Ann Fabrics
- Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric for pockets, waistband lining, and bias tape on the hem: ?? (I can’t remember where I got this! It’s been in my stash for a long time.)
- gold leather patch: a gift from Elizabeth Berthoud of Sac A main
One great discovery with this pair of jeans is that my Singer Featherweight sewing machine does great with Gutermann topstitching thread. I was ready to swear that thread off because it didn’t do well in my Elna 3005 the last time I made jeans, but this time I set up both machines so I could use my Elna for construction and my Featherweight for topstitching, and both machines did great with their respective threads. I used the red Coats topstitching thread in the Elna and it worked great. It’s so rare that anything disagrees with my Elna that I assumed the problem was with the thread, but I’m glad I tried the Gutermann with the other machine (admittedly, I only did this because it was the only yellow/gold topstitching thread I had on hand and I didn’t want to run out to get more).
So, with the exception of the exposed zippers, which I had to put in before doing the pockets, I followed the directions as written. I made a size 14, View A (low rise, stovepipe legs). The back pocket topstitching design came from a bunch of topstitching designs Heather sent out to newsletter subscribers. It was really fun to pick one out.
I was also inspired by my coworker Lauren to add bias trim to the hem of the my pants and a contrasting thread color on my buttonhole as well as some contrasting bartacks. She makes cool clothes.
So let’s talk fabric. I chose this great stretch denim, and I really love it. It’s very different (in a good way) from the inexpensive denim I used for my first pair. It has a great hand and feels substantial, yet still stretchy. What I DIDN’T do (but should have) is wear my jeans around for a few hours after basting them. I was impatient. I admit it. I basted them, wore them around for a few minutes, and called them good. And they were. They were just right. So, I sewed them up, and finished them off. I washed them to get any chalk marks off and hung them up to dry (by the way, I did wash and dry the fabric in the dryer more than once before making these). Then, I put them on and…they seemed a little looser than I remembered…and a little longer than my other two pairs. Hm. In my concern about not making them too tight (you know I love some ease!), I didn’t account for differences in fabric. This stretch denim is stretchier than my other two pairs.
I also asked Heather to take a look at my jeans during a lull in the jeans class (I was around to help out on day one), and she gave me a few fitting tips that she said could remove the excess fabric in the back and my need for a belt. Her advice was both generous and helpful, and might also apply to my gray pants with the mysterious extra fabric in the back. She is a fitting master. It was amazing to see her help everyone.
So, final analysis: I LOVE these jeans. I think they are my coolest-looking jeans to date (the green pants are sort of in their own category, I think), and I am always mystified when people don’t stop me and tell me how awesome they are. 😉
That being said, I really wish the fit was as perfect as I thought it was when I basted them together and tried them on. They are a little looser than I want them, and I definitely have to wear a belt. BUT…this is all part of the learning curve for making pants, right? As much as I wish I had all pants-fitting knowledge magically deposited in my brain, that is never going to happen, and I really do remember fitting things better when it is something I’ve had to learn the hard way (Darn it! WHY is there no silver bullet/magic potion/easy answer? Learning and skill development actually takes WORK! Shocking!).
If you are thinking about making jeans, the Ginger Jeans pattern is a GREAT pattern. It was much less scary than I thought it would be and the directions plus the sew-along are really, really helpful and well done. Heather clearly does her research. Go for it!
- I just found out about @tinycarpenter_ on Instagram. It’s a little Lego guy who uses big people tools for his carpentry work. Fun!
- I love sewing inspiration, and I find a lot of it in catalogues from companies like J.Crew and Boden. Often when I see clothing that I really like, I can think of a pattern that matches it. I think of this as shopping for inspiration.
- And, um, here is a little prom dress inspiration for you (hahaha!):