My First Pair of Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans

Jeans! The Ginger Jeans had been on my “someday I’ll make this” list practically since the day the pattern was released. Why did I wait years to finally make them? First, I made the excuse that I didn’t have time (I did have a 1 year old at the time so that was partially true). Second, I kept putting off buying quality denim. Last spring, I finally decided that 2017 would be the year I finally made jeans. I purchased the printed pattern and planned to start right away. Just a few days later, my husband was offered a great job and we decided to move.

After the decision to move, summer and fall moved quickly and I put the idea of making jeans out of my mind. Fast forward to the end of November when I received an exciting email from IndieSew. The email informed me that I had one their monthly giveaway and my prize was a jeans kit complete with 3 yards of denim and all the hardware needed for a pair of jeans. I was in the living room when I opened the email and immediately ran to tell my husband the news. I’m pretty sure he thought I was about to tell him that I’d won the lottery (which would be a bit difficult seeing as there isn’t actually a lottery in Utah). The hardware kit and denim arrived in early December. Since I had a lot of Christmas sewing at the time, I had to wait until after the holiday to get started.

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Finally, all of my excuses were null and void. I began cutting my jeans during the last week of December. I was all ready to finish a pair of jeans before the end of the year until my husband and I both got sick. After getting sick, it took me about a  week to get my sew-jo back. I was finally able to complete this first pair of jeans by the second week of January.

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First, Let’s talk fitting adjustments:

After taking my measurements, I determined that my hip was about a size 12 with my waist measurement sitting somewhere in between a 10 and 12. I decided to cut a 12 and adjust from there. I am about 5’10” and because of that, usually need a bit of extra length in the rise. I added 1/2″ to the rise and 2″ to the length of the legs. I added the leg length by adding 1″ at the lengthen/shorten line and 1″ below the knees. Once I made these initial adjustments, I basted everything together to check the fit.

I should’ve taken some photos to better document the fitting of these jeans, but I clearly didn’t quite have the foresight to do that. After my first baste fitting, I had a few major issues. First, the waist was gaping by about 1″ at the center back. Second, I had a a decent amount of extra fabric making lots of wrinkles under my bottom. Third, the legs were just a little too big. Here’s what I did to fix these areas:

  1. To fix the gaping at the center back, I took out a small wedge at the center back of the yoke. I drew a line that started 1/2″ away from the top of the center back and angled to the bottom of the center back yoke. I trimmed the yoke pieces along this line and then sewed everything according to the pattern instructions. FYI: this is definitely not the proper or recommended method, just what worked for me personally.
  2. To fix the excess fabric below my bottom, I followed the tutorial under the “Extra Fabric at the Seat and Thigh Pull Lines” header on this post. I know it says the adjustment is no longer necessary with the current file, but I did have a paper version of the pattern which may or may not be updated.
  3. The legs being slightly big was the easiest adjustment of all. Instead of using a 5/8″ seam allowance on the side seams and inseam, I simply used a 3/4″ seam allowance which seemed to remove the excess just fine.

I can’t say that my adjustments were all necessarily done the “right” way, but they seemed to work out just fine and I’m really happy with the overall fit of these jeans. Although the fit isn’t 100% perfect, they’re still the best fitting jeans I’ve ever owned and that’s a win for me.

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I know I won’t be the first person to tell you this; but after fitting, the construction was actually pretty easy. Thanks to my Lander Pants (here) and the two jean jackets (here and here) I made over the last six months, I was quite prepared when it came to topstitching and some of the other skills needed for these jeans. The actual sewing of these jeans came together quickly and took probably 6 hours or less. In fact, I was able to sew up my second pair in two days (more about those coming in a few weeks). Sure, a fly zipper can be intimidating (Until these jeans, it had been years since I last inserted one. I honestly didn’t find it any more difficult than a lapped or invisible zipper.

Overall, I found this jeans making experience quite rewarding. I’ve been wearing these non-stop and suddenly want to make all the jeans.  I have online shopping carts full of denim from at least three different fabric stores and just can’t decide which pattern or denim to use next. I keep kicking myself for waiting so long to finally make a pair of jeans.

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Have you made jeans yet? If the answer is yes, awesome! How did you feel about them? If the the answer is no, what’s stopping you? Is it the fitting (read this post)? Is it the construction intimidating (follow this sewalong)? Are you just nervous about the in-depth knowledge of your body shape that comes with sewing jeans (read this post)? I’m not saying you HAVE to make jeans, I’m just saying that I’m happy to be your cheerleader if and when you do. Now, go make some jeans, or pat yourself on the back for that pair you’ve already made.

All photos in this post were taken by my friend Kim of Sweet Red Poppy. She found this studio with the awesome pink wall and now I don’t want to photograph my makes anywhere else.

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Joy Jacket by Chalk and Notch

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The Chalk and Notch Joy Jacket. Wow! What a pattern! I’m not entirely sure what I can say about it that hasn’t already been said. I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release since last October when Gabriela shared a preview on her IG (here). Following her post, I immediately set out to source my ideal fabrics. After a couple months of searching and indecision, I found this rayon/poly blend twill from Style Maker Fabrics. I’ve always been partial to jewel tones and this fabric was practically calling my name. It has a soft, lovely drape and smooth hand. It was fairly easy to work with as compared to a rayon challis and working with it was similar to the difficulty level of working with a lawn or voile. As someone who primarily works with prints, my only issue was differentiating between the right and wrong sides during assembly.

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As mentioned above, I regularly work with prints. While I wanted a solid colored outer shell, I wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to line my Joy with a print. I waffled back and forth between using a bold floral or a simple stripe and eventually decided on this black and white stripe rayon challis from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. Since I plan on regularly wearing this jacket unzipped, I wanted a lining that would be a complement to my somewhat bold wardrobe. I love this lining so much that I also used it to line the sleeves of my Clare Coat. I have nothing but good things to say about this fabric (and that amazing price). The only caveat is that I did have to take a few breaks when cutting the lining pieces because those tiny stripes were a bit hard on the eyes after too much concentration.

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While sourcing fabric was really only made difficult by my indecisiveness, sourcing the hardware  was a bit more difficult. I ordered my zipper from Zipperstop on Etsy (they also have their own website, I just had an Etsy gift card to use). I liked having the option to order a zipper in 1″ increments instead of being forced to buy the standard lengths available through most retailers. Find the specific listing I used here. I believe the color of this zipper is 530 which is not an exact match for this fabric, but certainly close enough.

When it came time to purchase grommets I just picked up these brass Dritz brand ones at my local JoAnn Fabrics. I can’t speak to the durability of these as I’ve only had this jacket for a couple of weeks at this point, but installation was quick and painless. I mean, really? Why did nobody tell me installing grommets was this simple? I would’ve started adding them to projects years ago.

Want to make sourcing hardware simpler? Gabriela will soon be offering a pre-order for hardware kits in several popular colors. I’ll be sure to update you when that’s available.

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Now let’s talk about the making of this jacket:

Since I had completed a Clare Coat one week before tackling the Joy, I wasn’t too nervous about making another piece of lined outerwear. I also have full faith in Gabriela’s drafting and instructions and knew I was in good hands. Don’t let the prospect of a lined jacket intimidate you though, the steps are clear and well written.

Honestly, cutting took me longer than the actual jacket construction. There are quite a few pieces to the Joy Jacket which contributed to the longer cutting time. Due to a bit of (manageable) chronic pain in my right hand, I had to take frequent breaks from cutting and took my time over the course of three evenings.

Once I got going, the jacket came together rather quickly. I did have some trouble with the pockets due to tension issues coupled with late-night sewing mistakes. While cutting took me three evenings, sewing only took two. I’m a very hands-on/visual learner and, because of this, sometimes have difficulty understanding written instructions. Thankfully, the pattern includes helpful diagrams all along the way. If you feel you need more help, Gabriela is also planning a detailed sew along set to begin next month.

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Now that I’ve pretty well said my piece, can I take a minute to mention a few of my lovely sewing friends? Several of us got together and pitched in to rent a photo studio for an hour for these photos. The photos in this post were taken by my friend Kim of Sweet Red Poppy and I really feel like she’s some sort of photo wizard.

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We were also able to get some photos of our Joy Jackets together. The photo below is one of my favorites and will probably end up on my bulletin board in my sewing room. My sewing friends have been a true joy and lifeline over the past year and I feel pretty dang lucky to have them in my life. If you want to read more about their Joy Jackets, read Tiahna’s post here, Tami’s post here, and Rachel’s post here.

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Have you heard enough about the Joy Jacket yet? No? If you haven’t already, Head over to Leslie’s post (here) to read more about this patterns origins. Grab a tissue, you might need it.

Want to win a copy of your own? Leave a comment below about what fabric you’d use for a Joy Jacket. Want an extra entry? Check out my most recent IG post about this jacket and follow the instructions in the caption. Winner will be announced on Saturday the 24th.