Ginger Jeans

Rock ‘n Roll Jeans

You know that phase I have mentioned before – when you haven’t been sewing that long and every time you finish something you’re like “OMG I made something!!”? That time is full of excitement but not so much great quality of work. I felt like this project was taking me right back to this phase. Maybe because making jeans has been on my wish list for so long and it is the one thing I wear the most. My first pair turned out a wearable muslin at best, but they kind of make me feel like a rockstar. Because OMG I made jeans!!

Ginger Jeans

So let’s start with the pattern and the adjustments. I’ll do a more detailed post later on the fitting adjustments I made with before and after photo’s. I used Closet Case Files’ Ginger jeans, a combination of View A and B. I cut out both and then traced the leg of View B on top of View A. I cut out size 12 at the hips and tapered to an 8 at the top. Because of the way RTW jeans fit me I knew there was no way this pattern would fit me right out of the envelope. The adjustments I have made were all I could do without going back to the pattern. So it’s not perfect yet, but here’s what I did:

  • 5/8″ taken out at front and back inseam
  • 3/8″ lower and deeper curve on back crotch
  • 1/4″ deeper curve on front crotch
  • 1/2″ wedge taken out of center back at yoke
Ginger Jeans

I spent a sunday morning trying to figure out the issues, with the help of Pants for Real People. What makes pants fitting tricky is that the seams are related: if you adjust the crotch length you also alter the crotch depth. It’s not easy to determine where exactly you need to do something. There’s still too much room at the inseam, and the crotch. I think I also need to lengthen the crotch (or was it deepen? I keep confusing the two) and I need to take a dart out of the waistband as well to make it more curved. It’s also a bit short, I’ll add an inch to the hem next time. Time will tell what else needs to be done, wearing them wil undoubtedly reveal more issues.

Ginger Jeans

A great fit right away is just pure luck anyway with any pattern. I still think this is a brilliant pattern because of the wealth of information Heather has provided.  I truly enjoyed not reading only about the how in the sew along, but also the why in the additional posts. I also ordered the first batch of Cone Mills denim. It wasn’t cheap, but I had already switched to buying just one good quality pair a year. I’ve bought Nudie jeans twice and they cost me about €100,- a pair. With the Ginger kit I payed €150 for supplies and fabric for two pairs including shipping, so once I perfect my pattern it will be a bargain. Especially because they’ll fit me better than the expensive RTW ones.

Ginger Jeans
Ginger Jeans

This of course is not the Cone Mills denim. I got 3m of black stretch denim in Paris in november for €5 per meter, enough to make two muslins. I used the wrong side for this pair so I could see what I was doing, and spot the fit issues. I used black topstitching thread and I really like the contrast. Putting them together went fairly smooth, although I do need to practice my topstitching. I didn’t use a special foot, I adjusted my needle position and used the edge of the foot as a guide. The rivets were fun too. I wasted three out of eight before I got them right. The posts really have to poke only just out of the fabric, not more than a millimeter. I didn’t have an awl, I just poked a hole with a small pair of scissors.

Ginger Jeans
Ginger Jeans

According to Heather, 50% of a great pair of jeans is the back pockets. The greatest fear seems to be what they call a ‘mom butt’: pockets that are so high they make your but seem really long. I kind of like smaller pockets though, and seeing the many Gingers already out there, I decided to cut out the smallest size. I basted them at the place located in the pattern, thought they seemed allright and didn’t try any other placements. What do you think? A bit bigger and slightly lower maybe? I’m not sure if they can completely hide the fact that I have to do a pattern adjustment for both a flat and a low butt ;)

Ginger Jeans

I’m not sure what makes jeans seem like such a daunting project. It’s not that there’s any step in particular that is is difficult, it’s just a lot of steps. So if you’re doubting your ability: you can totally do this. If you can sew a straight line you can make jeans. Depending on your experience with RTW you should already have a clue about your fit issues and there’s always the sewing community to help you figure them out.

Have you tried jeans yet? Do you want to?

P.S. The shirt is a new Briar in French terry. My third so far, I do love that pattern!

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  1. Um, these look RAD! I’ve been looking for grey denim just like this, but it makes total sense to use the wrong side of black… wish I’d thought of that!!! :D I think your pockets look great as is!

    1. Thanks Sonja! Yes at first I just wanted to not use the black, but now they’re finished I love how this grey looks. There’s something about the topstitching though: Carmen told be that because the twill weave is more visible on the wrong side, it makes it seem like straight lines are wonky. Interesting, eh?

  2. They look really great, especially for a first go! You’re so talented! I’d love to try my hands at a pair of Ginger Jeans but think I’m going to have to practice dressmaking a bit more first!

    1. Thanks! Yes go with the skills you get most excited about. I don’t wear that many dresses so for me it’s things like button downs and jeans.

    1. Thanks Gillian! Yes I saw your many Gingers! It was so much fun sewing them, I want to make many more.

  3. Amazing. I’ve had the pattern, denim and rivers for months. I even made a muslin pair of shorts (didn’t want to waste denim on the legs ;-)) and they fit! But there never seems to be time to make a real pair and maybe it’s fear as much as lack of time. Considering I’ve been making bras jeans should be easy right?! Maybe today then…

    Yours looks FAB

    1. Yes go for it, it sounds like you’re ready! It’s in that same category as bras I think. But nothing is really hard if you break it down, just do small steps every day.

  4. WOW!!!! Your jeans look absolutely amazing! I have the ginger jeans pattern cut out, but I’ve been procrastinating starting my muslin! I should just dive in and do it! :)

  5. Your jeans look amazing! I have been sewing for 30+ years and I still have moments of “OMG! I made X!” I think when you stop having those moments, sewing stops being a wonderful, sometimes unexpected, often delightful process. I never want to stop having those moments.

    1. Yes maybe you’re right! I meant it more in a way that you are so blinded by the shine of the fact that you made something, that you don’t see the flaws. I cringe when I think of the things I wore when I just started. To job interviews even :)

  6. These look awesome! Love the photos too. Looking forward to seeing the Cone Mills version:) I’ve spotted some ex-Levi denim on sale so I might have to get jeans making soon too…

    1. Ex-Levi, that would be interesting to work with. I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity!

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