Category Archives: Closet case files

Frayed Cone Mills Gingers

Ginger jeans

I dug out the Ginger jeans pattern again because I’ve had some lush denim kicking around my stash for ages and really fancied trying a few tweaks out based on some RTW window-shopping inspiration. With the high waist and cropped frayed hems it’s about as close to the ‘mom jean’ trend as I’ll allow myself to go – and another tick off my to-sew list board.

Ginger jeans

These are view B of Ginger, the high waisted skinny leg ones, the only difference being about 4″ chopped off the length and about 3/8″ more ease at each side seam for a non-skintight look. I cut the legs with the pattern pieces butted up to the cut edge of the denim: after being through the prewash it had a good amount of artful natural fray. I cut the top of the back pockets on a raw edge too.

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

For a change I did three lines of topstitching along the yoke and inseam using regular thread in pale grey and my machine’s triple stitch function to make it stand out nicely. I like how it looks on the seams but it didn’t work so well for the fly topstitching: the back-and-forth action made it go a bit wobbly around the curve. I ripped out my first go (it’s not a fun stitch to rip) and it’s still not looking super great. Funny how those things get less important once you actually start wearing your new pants though, eh?

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

The denim is the famous Cone Mills stuff, which Katie of Handmade Threads / Threadbare Fabrics kindly gave to me when I met up with her in LA last October. I’m not sure which weight and colourway it is, but it’s quite lightweight with plenty of stretch in a dark charcoaly-indigo shade. It’s *insanely* comfortable: when I tried the jeans on partway through construction I didn’t even want to take them back off. I really hope they keep their shape as promised!

Ginger jeans

Pretty guts using scraps of ikat-printed rayon for the pockets and to bind the inner waistband and fly shield.

Ginger jeans

I admit I do still have a RTW jean habit, mainly due to not being able to find the right sort of denim to sew my own. But after several demoralising try-ons of styles like this in the shops I was so happy to dig into this lovely denim and make myself a pair that fits just right and is 100% unique. And if anyone knows a great stockist for true solid stretch denims in indigo or black please do let me know…

Double denim

Well, my slow fashion coat-making fun has stalled because Republique du Chiffon are getting into the spirit with suitably slow shipping and my Bernadette paper pattern hasn’t shown up yet. While I wait to get started, I’ve been bashing out a much-needed couple of pairs of jeans. It would’ve been inconceivable a while ago that making jeans could be a mind-switch-off type of project, but I’ve made so many now and have my TNT patterns all set so it really is quite relaxing. Plus they’re just great for doing a little bit here and there as there are clear processes and break points during the making.

Ginger jeans

These are another pair of Gingers; the high waist View B variation. My first pair of blue Gingers were sort of a wearable toile and not quite right – a few fitting quirks and the denim was not stretchy enough, so they’ve been donated. My lovely black pair however are a wardrobe staple and I knew I wanted a replacement blue pair soonish.

Ginger jeans

I got this super stretchy solid blue denim from B&J Fabrics in New York which did the trick nicely. I also made a small fitting tweak, tracing the crotch curve from View A onto View B, which seems to have helpd with the whiskering I got in my first pair.

Ginger jeans
Jeans

Otherwise a dead simple sew. I made life easier by using regular navy thread to topstitch and just serging the raw seams. The pockets and fly shield binding are made from leftover rayon from the top I’m wearing (a beautiful new-release pattern that I’ll write more about soon!): ah, that warm sewist feeling when your shirt matches your jeans guts, amirite.

Burda jeans

Burda jeans

This second pair is another repeat pattern, a second pair of Burda 6978s. I wear my first pair to death – they have held up really well, haven’t bagged or lost colour and are just so comfortable – so I really wanted a slight variation to get more wardrobe mileage. However it turned out that the loose fit looked a bit weird in a stretch denim as opposed to the rigid one of my first pair, so I just kept taking them in until they ended up a bit more skinny than boyfriend fit in the end. I actually love how they look though, so it’s all good. I cut the hems just on the ankle bone as I find this length works better both with all my shoes and I’m constantly cuffing all my other jeans.

Burda jeans

I bought this cotton-spandex denim online from Guthrie Ghani (it’s now sold out) – I was pretty excited when I found it because the subtle ‘feather bubble’ print is exactly the same as a pair of my favourite old RTW Gap jeans which are now completely worn out and too small. It feels nice quality with plenty of stretch recovery, however despite prewashing, it bled indigo all over my hands as I worked with it so I need to chuck the finished jeans into a wash with salt to try and fix the dye.

Jeans

Old and new! :D And oh god, just realised I placed one the belt loops wrong from looking at this photo. Where’s my unpicker…

Black and blue Gingers

Ginger jeans

When I made my first pair of Ginger jeans, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had another go. I whipped out two more pairs right after getting those fast-gratification overlocker projects out of my system. You’ll perhaps remember I said I printed view A (low-rise stovepipe leg) by accident last time instead of view B – so this time I did manage to print the correct view and try the high-rise skinny leg option. I made these two pairs in quick succession, and it’s interesting to compare the results using two fairly different fabrics.

Ginger jeans

I jumped in to the first pair without a toile, feeling pretty confident that the fit would be close enough that I could make some on-the-fly changes to perfect ’em. The fabric for this first pair is a lovely light-medium weight denim from Cloth House‘s Soho shop with only about 1% stretch, so I cut a straight size ten all over to compensate.

Ginger jeans

I’m pretty happy with the fit! The legs are unaltered and the perfect amount of skinny for me. I took my usual wedge out of the CB yoke and curved the waistband more to account for my comparatively small waist (not quite enough actually as they are still a bit loose at the waist). There will always be wrinkles in a fabric with little stretch, so I’m not losing sleep over them.

Ginger jeans

I didn’t use special topstitching thread this time, just a pale blue regular thread, so it isn’t super great looking but I do love the scallop detail on the back pockets, which is just one of my machine’s built-in stitches. Pretty and zero effort!

Ginger jeans

Umm, the leopard head rivets? I found them on eBay and was just desperate to use them, even though frankly they look a bit silly on this pair.

Ginger jeans

I’m pleased with the finish inside, where I tried a few new techniques to get a more luxe result. The seams are flat-felled where possible: at the crotch, yoke and inseam. I thought flat-felling would be a real extra effort but it’s not too bad at all and really makes the jeans feel more special to wear.

Ginger jeans

I also included a pocket stay/extension, drafted using the great directions here and made from a leftover scrap of tana lawn. I would bear in mind that if your denim has stretch, you’ll want to pick a fabric for the stay with the same kind of stretch. I think this rigid lawn against my stretch denim is causing slight pulls across the stomach area.

Ginger jeans

I made up a second pair immediately to fix my minor fitting issues, grading the waist down a size and curving the waistband some more. This pair uses another Cloth House fabric, but it’s a super stretchy twill which I think is better suited to the pattern. It’s got a kind of brushed moleskin finish on the inside so they feel absolutely amazing to wear – like plushy, cosy leggings.

Ginger jeans

Ginger jeans

Also not to toot my own, but I nailed the fit, right? *fist pump emoji* I could get super fussy about the crotch and back wrinkles, but these are as close to perfect as it’ll get I think.

Ginger jeans

In fact these are probably one of the top five things I’ve made – I think they sweep the board of well-made, good fit, and a totally wearable wardrobe classic. And they were super enjoyable to make to boot – I love working with black on black for some reason (though good daylight is a must) and took the effort to make flat-felled seams and pretty topstitching even though it’s barely noticeable. Thank you Heather Lou for enabling my dream jeans!

Plum Gingers

Ginger Jeans

Oh hi! Do you like my new sewing room?! Obviously it’s not nearly finished yet, but with a dividing wall to some useless hallway knocked down the room has been made about 30% bigger and the light is 200% better. I’m SO excited to get back in there and sew as soon as it’s finished. I snuck in there today to photograph my finished Closet Case Files Ginger jeans – hence apologies for the mucky backdrop (RIP birdy wallpaper) but the rest of the flat is filled with all my stuff. This was a great project to start the year with: it’s a wardrobe essential, tests my skills, and was a good opportunity to practice my vow of ‘slow sewing’. I made them over 3-4 sessions around the new year so as not to get tired and make silly mistakes or cut corners; overall I think they took about 10 hours sew-time excluding PDF assembly.

Ginger Jeans

True silly story: I was intending to make view B, the high-rise skinny leg option. But I accidentally printed view A (low-rise stovepipe leg) instead *facepalm*. I couldn’t be bothered printing off 40 more pages so went ahead with A, tapering in the the legs manually. I AM going to make the real view B sometime as that high rise waist is hot stuff. Anyway I love the low version too and it more closely mirrors what I go for in RTW jeans.

Ginger Jeans

My fabric is plum cotton/lycra stretch denim from Minerva. It’s gorgeous; I love the colour, the stretch is perfect for Ginger (about 20% crosswise) and it’s got a super-soft brushed type finish. Plum (or maroon/wine/claret) is one of my favourite colours to wear and it’s a great partner to my large collection of grey and black tops.

Ginger Jeans
Ginger Jeans

I cut size 8 which matches my waist measurement but is smaller than my hips – a bit silly as there’s negative hip ease built in to the pattern already. I think slight vanity-size-choosing was at play :/ I ended up sewing the hip and thigh area with a scant seam allowance to compensate and just about got away with it. The waist fits perfectly, so I’ll stick with the 8 but do a full thigh-and-bum adjustment next time. In terms of other fit modifications, all very minor stuff: I manually slimmed down the leg below the knee to turn the stovepipe to skinny and took about an inch off the length at the hem.

Ginger Jeans

To accommodate my weird caved-in back I tapered in the centre yoke seam allowance at the top to about 1″, and redrafted the waistband to have more of a curve in it. It’s got no interfacing in but still hugs and stays in place admirably well. Best waistband yet!

Ginger Jeans
Ginger Jeans

The fly front is tidy although a little bit twisted – I think the buttonhole isn’t in quite the right place and also the fact that they’re snug across the hips makes it pull apart a bit. I went for the baby pink topstitching thread mostly to practice accuracy – contrasty topstitching isn’t really my favourite look so I didn’t topstitch the leg seams at all. But what i did do turned out quite nicely, and I only had to swear at the machine once or twice.

Ginger Jeans

I used leftover fabric from my first Holly for the pocket bags, which is nice and lightweight so they don’t show from the outside. Next time I will bias-bind raw edge of the fly shield rather than overlock for a cleaner finish. I’ll also definitely add the front pocket stay/extension because it really helps suck in and smooth out the front line.

Ginger Jeans

The best thing about this pattern  – other than bangin’ drafting – is the construction order and directions. It takes the best bits of all the methods I have picked up from previous jeans and adds some new tricks to make them even more foolproof. Heather also has you switching between normal seams/overlocking/topstitching as little as possible to avoid annoying machine change-overs. There’s also the comprehensive sewalong which I referred to once or twice.

Ginger Jeans

A few other random thoughts, mostly notes to self for next time:

  • Back pockets a bit too close together – the CB seam topstitching makes them look uneven, even though they’re correct from the seam itself. Tiny bit smaller?
  • Bit of tension at front crotch – add length/flatten crotch curve.
  • Wrinkles down the back leg – lengthen back crotch curve.
  • Slash and pull open front hip a little bit.
  • Taper 1/2″ out from back yoke at top.
  • Add the front pocket stay/extension.
  • Finish fly shield with bias binding.
  • Take excess length out from the knee line rather than hem.

Ginger Jeans

I’m really happy with the final jeans – for an un-toiled foray into a new pattern the fit is impressive and they definitely fill a wardrobe, gap, adding a bit of colour to pair with all my monochrome tops. I’m a bit torn now about which jeans pattern to use as my TNT – the Gingers, Burda 115, and Style Arc all fit pretty well but none quite perfectly. The thing is, as Heather has said, you need to baste jeans together every time you make them really because each denim will fit differently, so perhaps I’ll just rotate depending on whim, ha! Props to Heather anyway for this great pattern and for getting so many sewists over their fear of jeans.