After making the Morgan jeans, also from Closet Case Patterns, I knew for sure the Ginger jeans would be in my near future. For a start, I already had the pattern and the denim, but the main reason was that the Morgans worked out so well. The Ginger jeans are the most popular jeans pattern around and I also wanted another pair of jeans before Me Made May 2018 started, so all the stars aligned to make this project a top priority on my list. Needless to say, I didn’t quite make it for May, since it’s now… July.
Even though I’ve made a few pairs of jeans/chinos now, I made sure to check out the Closet Case Patterns Ginger jeans sewalong, which has an absolute ton of information on every aspect of this make. My mind really is a sieve and I still feel like I need to refresh my memory every darn time. I actually had the paper pattern for once and decided to trace off a 16. I made an 18 in the Morgans, which is too big, but then the Ginger jeans have more negative ease. Then again, I’ve lost a little weight recently… in the end, I just went with my measurements and a willingness to make a few adjustments, if required.
There actually aren’t that many pieces to the Ginger jeans, or so it seemed it to me. Perhaps because of the zip fly and the fact there are no welt pockets or faced front pockets to contend with. I got them all cut with plenty of denim left over, which I’m going to try and make a denim skirt with I think – Clementine, I’m coming for ya. As an aside, did anyone happen to play The Walking Dead videogame series? That last sentence totally sounds like it comes from that script. Great games. Anyway…
I used a different piece of Cone Mills denim than for my Morgans. I bought them both at the same time from Threadbare Fabrics an age ago. These are the 12 Oz Cone Mills S-Gene Denim in Black and I got 2.5 yards. (This particular denim appears to be out of stock unfortunately). For the lining I used a spare piece of Alexander Henry shark cotton I had leftover from some little boy shorts (scrapbustin’ – yay!). Okay, okay, so I cut them out upside down – butttt now I get to see them the right way round when I look down the inside of my jeans, which I do on a regular ba… alright, yeah, never.
Anyway, after I cut the pieces out, the project got sidelined for a bunch of other stuff, but I picked it up again last week and it really didn’t take long to get through it.
There are a bunch of posts on these jeans already with much better construction tips than I can give – and one big reason is that I made a fairly major error (see below). Therefore I will simply give a run down of stuff I need to change – and stuff that worked better this second pair of jeans! Hopefully if you have the same machine as me or a similar figure, it may help:
WARNING: MAJOR ERROR TIME: So I knew I was going to make the low-rise version, but when I tried on my basted-together jeans I was like, “Huh? These aren’t the famous skinny Gingers! They’re almost bigger than my Morgans!” And then I looked at the pattern again and realized the low-rise View A is a STOVEPIPE leg. Oh my. I mean, what an idiot. I didn’t even check; I just know them as the skinny Gingers!!
That being said, even the stovepipe was way, way bigger on me that it looks in the pattern photos, so this led to a fair bit of re-sculpturing. I started by tapering them by negative 2 inches at the ankle to an inch or so towards the hips. That helped but I had a couple of weird bumps around the hip area, so had to shave maybe another half inch off. What this means is that I can’t really tell you anything about the intended fit, or common adjustments after my very non-technical hatchet job. I’d have to start from scratch next time.
Ah well. I did, nevertheless end up with a fit I’m fairly happy with on the legs. A few other things that went WELL were:
The belt loops! Yippee! These were my nemesis when making the Morgans, but this time it went really well. I did a few things differently. First, I sewed them on with regular thread at a regular tension.
Then I got my husband’s hammer and bashed them a little to flatten them. Not too much, but it helped. Finally, I topstitched them, and I used my bar tack settings of zigzag stitch with a length of 0.5mm and a width of 2.0mm. I also put a wedge of cardboard under the back of the foot to help the needle along.
I took Heather’s advice to topstitch just between the existing vertical topstitch lines and not all the way across. And whaddya know – it worked! Very happy with those on the ol’ Brother. As well as looking good, they feel so much more secure than last time.
The back pockets: generally, I really enjoyed the topstitching again. I used a stitch length of 3.5 and a tension of 7 with the topstitching thread, and all with a denim needle. If you have a Brother CS6000i that might be useful for you. I decided to go for a little decoration on the back pockets this time as well, and was really pleased how they came out. I tried using carbon paper and a wheel to trace them, but the denim didn’t take the marks at all, so I ended up freehanding a bit in tailor’s chalk.
In conjunction with this, I was very happy with the pocket placement. I put them a little higher up and closer together, and I think my bum looks better with this placement (relatively speaking, naturally). The only part I had topstitching trouble with was the buttonhole. My machine was NOT having it, so I used regular thread instead.
Adjustments and changes
So, as I said, I will need to kick off with a skinny leg template next time, but a few issues that were not a result of my big booboo are:
- The waist is too low-rise for me. This is not 100% unexpected as I know I am long-hipped, but it hits me at a very unflattering point. I decided not to adjust off the bat since I know the Ginger jeans crotch rise was shortened after I bought it, so I thought it might be ok for me. I need probably a quarter inch on the rise itself and then another 2 inches in height to make them work. I would imagine the high-waisted jeans will be “waisted” on me – that’s how long my hips are. When I was a teenager I wore boys jeans (basically low-rise before it became a thing) for this reason (this was the 80s and all those high-waisted jeans looked terrible on me). But I had a flat stomach in those days, so I could pull it off. No more, alas, no more.
- The waistband is a little on the large side. I probably should have used a 14 to begin with I guess, so I think the patterns runs a little large, in my experience. I’ll need to wear a belt mostly, I think.
- I took 2 inches off the length to begin with and then probably another inch when hemming. My legs are a little on the short side compared to my torso, so that’s not an unusual adjustment for me.
- I used a lovely high-quality zip that I forgot was meant more for bags really. So the little tab rather adorably swings out of my fly on a regular basis. Haha, oh dear.
- I should mention that the zipper fly instructions are GREAT. I had no issues following them and got a good result. I do still like a button fly, but this was a trouble-free procedure.
- Finally, it’s hard to tell because of the waistband and sizing adjustments, but I think I probably need a little bit of a flat bum adjustment. Let’s see next time once I’ve fixed the other parts.
Overall, I’m really pretty happy with the resultant pair of jeans. They look quite nice in the photos – they’re just not totally right in motion for my figure and gait. I need a higher rise, more height and a bit of size adjustment. For my FIRST attempt though, I’m really not complaining – these things take a few pairs before you can call it done and these are certainly good enough for regular wear!
I’ll be interested to see how they’re doing in a few weeks after I’ve washed them a few times, and will report back.
PS. Did you spot I put the coin pocket on the wrong side and the topstitching on the wrong side seams? Well done, if so! Bye for now.