Category Archives: 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.

Autumn planning: Coco-Sandra

Jeans

The weather has been so uncharacteristically lovely in London that it’s really hard to start thinking of autumn sewing – I haven’t even packed away the summer dresses just yet as it’s still in the low 20s (70s to you ‘mericans). Nonetheless I have started identifying wardrobe gaps and sewing up some things to cover them. I think this outfit is basically what I’ll be wearing from November til April: a Tilly Coco with Style Arc skinny jeans.

Jeans

The Coco first: I cut a size up from my previous ones for a more slouchy feel, teamed with the three-quarter sleeves and an added draped front pocket (cut with sloped sides but sewn in a straight vertical line, if that makes sense). The fabric is a stashed remnant of a fairly thick, very stretchy jersey. It’s all overlocked together and the hems are all just turned back and stitched with lightning stitch: a two hour jobby.

Jeans

The jeans are my third go at the Stye Arc Sandra – after a too tight and too loose pair, these are pretty great. I made up them in a brownish stretch denim I got in Ecuador.

Jeans

The sewing process, to be honest, was not particularly fun. The fabric didn’t want to press at all and topstitching was painful… I tried using a proper topstitch thread and needle and it wasn’t happening at all. Don’t even talk about twin needling. Hence the topstitched detailing ended up pretty, ah, minimal – I didn’t even do the leg or crotch seams, and the waistband is stitched with non-matching regular thread. Meh.

Jeans

The fit around the waist and hips is great, but there are some odd drag lines going on around the back knee. Honestly, you fix one problem and another pops up.

Jeans

I was determined to get a really nice non-sagging, non-creasing waistband this time. I interfaced both the inner and outer bands with a good quality medium/heavy interfacing from Ray Stitch which seems to have done the trick. The one bit I often seem to mess up is the very centre of the waistband ‘winging’ upwards at the top corner, creating a messy overlap when buttoned. Hence I added two buttons to keep it from flapping.

Jeans

The front fly is my tidiest yet; I incorporated the fly facings onto the front pattern pieces and used the directions from Burda 7017 which are definitely my favourite (though I’ve been meaning to try this method which looks even easier).

Jeans

I even managed to correctly sew the pocket yokes into a Spanx-style extension that goes all the way to the zip. It’s been nice to dip back into jeans-making after a spate of sewing frocks. I need to bash out a couple more pairs as I’ve chucked out all my ill-fitting RTW ones!

Coming up roses: stretch denim jeans

Style Arc Sandra jeans

Here’s that second draft of Style Arc’s Sandra jeans I mentioned. They still aren’t perfect fit-wise but they are much closer and much better constructed. I’ve been wearing these pretty solidly since I finished them, especially since I shrunk my favourite RTW Gap pair in the wash recently.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

For this pair I used a stretch denim in a pretty abstract rose print from Rolls & Rems. It was £5.50 per metre and it’s quite thin with a generous amount of two-way stretch. I started with my already-adjusted Style Arc Sandra pattern, but bearing in mind my fit issues from last time and also that I was using a stretch this time I made a few further adjustments.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

The fit came out completely different to the first pair – it just shows how much effect the stretch factor has. I was able to taper the legs way in for a skinnier silhouette, and I added a bit more hip ease to compensate for the first pair being too tight around there. They’re way more comfortable, almost with legging-type ease of movement. I cut the leg length right on the ankle for a nice springlike look with flats.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

They came together pretty smoothly. I didn’t have any additional trouble from using a stretch denim. I used a universal needle for most of it, a stretch twin needle for topstitching, and a denim needle for the many layers of the waistband. I used regular thread again, not topstitching, mostly because I was too lazy to go and buy some and have to change thread all the time. I do think a contrast pale blue would have been cute on this pair.

Style Arc Sandra jeans
Style Arc Sandra jeans

No gasping strain lines this time! The waistband, however, was an extra challenge to get right in stretch denim. I had a *massive* gape at the centre back, probably due to adding the hip ease and needing to pinch it back out towards the waist. After about 5 or 6 failures, I ended up drafting a four-piece band instead of the continuous one of the pattern, in order to ease out the excess through angling the seams. I also interfaced the inner waistband to prevent it from bagging out over time, although it actually has stretched out a bit anyway and they’re a bit too big now. It’s also got quite creased as you can see – I think I might hunt out some special waistband interfacing for the next pair.

Style Arc Sandra jeans
Style Arc Sandra jeans

The guts are much neater than my first pair. After cutting all the pieces I spent a really boring hour finishing every single raw edge on the overlocker so it was out of the way when I came to sew. I reduced the size of the fly shield as it was originally kind of bulky compared to my RTW jeans. I also bias-bound and hand-slipstitched down the inner waistband. Tidy.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

I really love these jeans! I’ve worn them loads since I finished them, and they have the same ease of wearing as RTW jeans. Do you know what I mean, that you sometimes feel a bit self-conscious in self-mades in case there’s a construction fault or they look a bit homemade in a bad way? None of that with these. Not that I look to emulate RTW clothing when I sew, but you definitely don’t want craftsy looking jeans. Now I’m not sure whether to keep tweaking and improving this pattern (I want a polka dot pair next!) or to try a new one. I like the look of this Burda pair from the newest issue…

Style Arc Sandra jeans

Pictures were taken by Josh by the way instead of my usual self-timer + tripod, and in case you’re wondering why I look like I’m trying not to laugh in every one is because he insisted on playing this as were were photographing. I really need to fix the tripod…