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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.