Hey, I made some jeans!
It’s another pair of Ginger jeans, I know, I know. Big whoop. This is my fifth pair now and I’m done for the foreseeable future! I have the very first pair, the second pair that worked on the retro styling and fit and added a cuff, the third slightly relaxed Western pair, a fourth pair I’m going to get to in a sec, and this pair. This fifth pair technically replaces the fourth pair. And I really don’t need to be blogging about more jeans but here I am, oh well.
Here’s the saga: I wanted a pair that were a slim fit but with no cuff. Then I have no need to sew jeans for me for a good long time. So that was the intention of pair four. But two main issues happened with them: the first is that there was a blip in the denim, and because I cut the pieces with the fabric wrong side up, I didn’t notice this. It landed smack dab at the center of my leg at crotch level of the very last leg piece I cut, which meant I didn’t have enough fabric to re-cut! I was so pissed, because it was good Cone Mill denim. (And no don’t even dare talk to me about distressing denim on purpose. Do I look like someone who is going to wear distressed denim?)
I carried on with pair four anyway but I already had a grudge against them, which got worse when I made a mistake that could only be fixed by undoing a significant part of the waistband and upper torso: some minor change I made somehow left me with a weirdly small pocket facing, and the edge of it peeked out of the pocket on one side (yes just one). I didn’t baste the fit on pair four because I was already angry at the fabric issue, so I didn’t discover this until they were finished. And because they’re so fitted, that pocket thing made me livid. I could tuck it back in but it would always pop out. Lessons learned: don’t sew when angry at your fabric, don’t not baste jeans, don’t not do pocket stays instead of pocket bags (if I’d have done that in the first place, I wouldn’t have created myself a problem).
I wore them a few times but couldn’t get over the issues, so I decided a month or two later to sew another pair. Enter Ginger the Fifth!
They’re the same concept as pair four you’re not seeing, with a few small tweaks since I had the option to perfect them… as in, making me feel better about starting over. 😉
I went back to using a pocket stay, for one. The only reason I hadn’t done that was that I did the pocket stay on my second pair that I wear a lot and by the end of the day, it’s almost too much sucking-in-ness, so I was trying normal pockets for awhile. I also raised the waistband back the 1/4″ I’d lowered it on my Western pair and failed pair four because I decided I liked that better, after all. At some point I think I took a wedge out of the center back, which dips the waistband down a hair in the first few times I wear them, but means I don’t get a small pool of fabric back there which is infinitely preferable to me.
All’s well that ends well. I’m happy with the Ginger the Fifth pair since it matches the vision in my head. They’re a wee bit tighter in the upper hip and butt than I’d necessarily like, but it’s kind of hard to get around that. The waist and legs fit exactly the way I want, and it’s probably the best under-butt I’ve gotten so far in pants. That just leaves a very short length to try and add any width at the seams, over the hip. And I sewed that part at 1/2″ seam allowance after basting the fit. But denim does relax a bit, and I’ve already found them more comfortable a few wears in than I did right off the bat.
So, some fun things about these jeans! One of the things I looove about sewing jeans is the customization. Sometimes I’ve gone for plain back pockets, once I did amped up pockets with hand-sewn arrowhead tacks, and this time I went for some contrast stitching.
And it’s become a “thing” for me to omit rivets and sew contrasting bar tacks instead in various spots (I even did that on Mel’s jeans), and same with the buttonhole. Failed pair four had them in light blue, these ones in my standby, red. Next time I need jeans zippers I should buy them in red!
Along the way through sewing many pair of jeans, I’ve learned I get better bar tacks in corners (like the upper edge of the pockets) if I start with the needle in the corner that’s not at the edge, and work towards the edge. Somehow even with something to raise the presser foot to the level of a few layers of folded denim (folded up business card, hump jumper, whatever), the result ends up nicer if I start in the opposite corner. Then no need for that. The only place this doesn’t work is the belt loops since they’re skinny, but for some reason those usually turn out okay anyway.
Pocket innards! This is one of my favorite things about this pair. I used a Moda fabric of a London street map for the pocket stays and the waistband facing, as kind of a foreshadowing of our upcoming trip to London (although I’m not sure if the jeans are coming along or not!).
I seriously love this part so much!
Things I might change in the future… give myself a bit more hip room if I can, probably shorten the yoke and lengthen the back leg (keeping the rise the same but changing where it’s distributed in the back), since I’m always fussing with those proportions… but honestly, I’m just really glad I don’t have any jeans on tap to sew in the near future. Two attempts later and I finally have my narrow leg, no cuff pair. Huzzah!
Ginger jeans – made by me
vintage blouse – made by me
Bakelite bangles – misc.
vintage copper earrings – misc.
shoes – Maguba
That’s the best-looking topstitching I’ve ever seen, and the fit looks perfect too. Beautiful jeans – and welcome to London soon!
Thank you so much, on all of the above! 🙂
Those are seriously the most beautiful jeans I have ever seen in my entire life! You are very good at what you do.
Oh gosh, thank you! That’s so nice of you to say!
Very, very nicely done!
Thank you! 🙂
what an amazing fit! I love the idea of bar tacks instead of rivets – it adds a lovely little pop of colour. Also, London?? When? I’d love to meet you! Can I interest you in cocktails?
I’ll email you, Charlotte! 😉
And also, I love the bar tacks instead of rivets, too. I’ve had a hard time getting rivets just so, so it was a bit of a cop out initially to avoid rivets, if I’m honest. But I’ve found I actually prefer the pop of color better, anyway, so it’s become a ‘thing’!
Kim W (courtlykim) says
The fact you can sew your own jeans makes you a superstar in my book! They look so good and very flattering. If could sew a straight seam I’d sew denim skirts, but I’ll go ahead and admire your skill!
Aw, thanks! When you sew jeans it does make you feel a bit like a superstar doing it, but it’s actually much easier than it looks! Just lots of small steps that make one big awesome thing. 🙂
Oh man, I can’t get over how great those jeans look! And your choice of fabric for the pockets is killing me. But wait — WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GONNA BE IN LONDON?? Joey and I will be there first week of May.
I am really SO BUMMED we won’t be there at the same time. BOO!
Janet Rodgers says
Gorgeous, superb fit and that topstitching….. They’ve got to go to London with those pockets….they might be useful? Who knows. Glad your almost visiting my neck of the woods! I live in rural Northern Ireland. I’m sure some of the English Bloggers would possibly love to meet, I know Gabby of Gabberdashery and Megan of Pigeon Wishes live in London plus a few model I would love to, but financial restrictions prevail! Oh and there’s Tree from Stitchless TV…..look at me trying to organise your Itinerary and I’m the person across the Irish Channel who wouldn’t be able to even go! I know, I am so bold! I’m sure you’ll love your visit. Good walking shoes required, but I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you! One other thing, you’ve a great behind! Total compliment…….x
Ha ha, thank you! Much appreciated. 😉 I’m taking more dresses on my trip and some cigarette pants so I’m not sure if the jeans will make the cut, but they still might!
Those are exquisite. That top stitching is inspiring.
Thanks, Megan! 🙂
Those are sooooo nice! I have been looking in stores for jeans like these, but can’t find them. Might sew them myself after all after seeing this 🙂 I am a fan of all the details you add in all your projects, very inspiring 😀
I would definitely recommend sewing them if you can’t find them! Plus it’s super satisfying, to boot, and you get to put in any extra touches you want that you wouldn’t find in RTW anyway. Have I convinced you yet? 😉
Loving the London lining – I have a thing for map-based art (!) and it makes a great personal touch in these truly fabulous jeans.
Thank you! I have always really, really loved maps so map-based prints excited me.
I have to say it doesn’t matter how many times you post you make jeans, I’m always dead impressed at how amazing they look, The fit on these looks perfect on you. I’m still too scared to attempt jeans!
Aw, thanks! I was scared until I did it, and frankly if I go several months without sewing a pair I get cold feet the next time I do it until I remember it’s waaaay less intimidating once you get started!
These look so good! I think the fit is perfect and that deep yoke is really cool – just enough different to stand out but not so different to be odd. Thanks for the tip on the bar tacks. I’ve had the same issue and never thought to start at the other end. And on red zips – yes! I did this and it seriously makes me smile every time I see it. I put my red zip into a natural denim (creamy colored) jean.
Thank you! Yes definitely give it a shot for the bar tacks next time, it was just a random hunch I tried that worked out nicely.
I used a red zipper for Mel’s jeans and thought it was such a neat touch, but haven’t had to order jeans zippers since. I definitely will next time if I remember! 😀
Oh wow these look so amazing on you, the fit is just perfect! I’m still so in awe of people who see their own jeans, one day…
Great Job! Your jeans are perfect! Think this is the best version of ginger I´ve ever seen over the sewing network.
Thank you! 🙂
wow! these are soo cute and that blouse is darling! I hope I can sew as well as you someday. Do you have any tips for beginners?
Thank you! Gosh, it would take like a whole post to give tips for beginners, ha ha! I think though my best advice is just general… don’t be afraid to try something you think is above your skill set. The only way to learn and advance is by DOING. Just take things one step at a time, follow instructions carefully, look up tips for anything complicated along the way (fear topstitching? look up tips for it, there’s loads! etc), and practice small confusing things even in the middle of a project. Like if you don’t get how a pocket is constructed, use some muslin and cut out the pocket pieces and try it on that first, or use large basting stitches first to see if you understand it, then rip that out and do it for real. Like with bar tacks on denim, even though I’ve sewn several pair of jeans, I always always practice at least one on scraps first, to make sure the tension is okay. (And also, you can totally rip out wonky bar tacks if you have to, I’ve done it many times. lol)
Good luck and happy sewing! 🙂
WOW! You’re my new hero! haha..
Discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago while looking for sewing help and just everything I’ve seen on here is just absolutely amazing!!
The jeans.. well, that’s just.. I don’t even know what to say!
You are amazingly talented and I so wish I could manage even a quarter of what you seem to master!!
I’m in awe!! 🙂
These are incredible and give me false hope in my skills to make a pair ahah
Wow! I love what you did with your jeans.
I made the Birkin flares last month and added 2 inches in the inseam (I’m 6 feet tall!) and made the mistake of buying 100% cotton denim from Joann’s because I thought that it wouldn’t stretch out. (I have a pair of Imogen and Willie jeans and I love them because they don’t stretch out and lose their shape).
The Joann’s fabric stretched out anyway! After a couple hours of wear they look really awful.
What’s your end-all-be-all fabric for denim?
I see that the Theory Indigo denim is out of stock at Mood.
Thanks for your help!
Eliene Santos1 says
Minha nossa senhora das agulhas, você é ma-ra-vi-lho-sa. adoro tudo o que você faz!!!!