It took a pandemic quarantine to finally finish my Ginger Jeans.
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may remember years ago when when I first started these jeans.
Some time passed after the above post from 2017 (technically I bought the fabric in 2014!). I attached the waistband to my wearable muslin…and when I tried them on again, it was clear the black twill “jeans” no longer fit. The waistband gaped and with the pants sitting where they should, I could tell that I needed to take in the center back seam a bit. But I managed to psych myself out (and then changed jobs) and it took me another 3 years to make an effort to alter these pants.
Frankly, after 6 years of messing around with the wearable muslin and still not being able to wear these pants without major alterations (they are too loose in the thighs AND waist now) I just decided to push the “wearable muslin” aside and got out the gray denim I’ve been wanting to sew with since 2014.
My time is precious, and my sewing time is even more so. I want to enjoy what I am working on.
- Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns
- View A (high waist)
- Size 6
- Full butt adjustment
- Shortened pant leg pattern pieces by 2 inches (inseam is 32″ which is much longer than most of my pant inseams, 29″-30″)
- 1/2″ crotch (Center) seams for front and back
- 3/8″ inseam and side seams.
- Pockets raised 1 inch from pattern placement
Before starting I read Closet Case’s sewalong post on Jeans Fitting. Make sure you do the “baste the pants together and try on” step. It really helps. It was then that I realized I was going to need 3/8″ side seams instead of the built in 5/8″ allowance.
I skipped the full calf adjustment and that was a mistake. On the first day I wore these my calves and knees ached because these were just a little too tight. More on that below.
After spending 4 weeks working from home and going nowhere, I really wanted to commemorate my birthday with a present to myself. So I woke up early to attach the waistband, belt loops, and install the front button on my jeans. I was able to wear them “to work” all day.
Initially I was lukewarm about the jeans. I was frustrated by the minor mistakes and fitting errors I had made. After 6 years of anticipation for a pair of perfectly-fitting gray jeans to join my wardrobe, I initially felt like I had a pair of jeans that would only “kinda” work. My disappointment was so severe I really didn’t think I would bother sewing jeans again. The amount of time it took me to sew these is more than it would take me to try on jeans at a second hand store.
But after wearing the pants on my birthday, the fabric stretched and flexed just enough (like all new jeans do) and when I tried them on again today most of my original frustrations were gone. Sure, there are fitting improvements I can (and may) make, but these gray Ginger Jeans are absolutely a solid part of my wardrobe now.
All of my existing pants are either blue denim (medium and dark washes) or black. Both are neutral colors and go with most of my wardrobe, but those dark bottoms meant that my outfits were always balanced in the same way. There are shirts and cardigans that I wear with those pants, but they don’t look great. These light gray jeans provide a different contrast of values and color with many of my favorite garments. And going into spring and summer, when lighter colors are appreciated, I’m eager to put these pants into circulation.
Construction Notes for next time:
- Install side belt loops in the correct location – midway between front and back belt loops. I was rushing to finish my pants before work started and mistakenly attached the side belt loops at the exact side seams. This is a low-issue error as I don’t wear belts much.
- Shorten pant leg hem – I’d like to shorten the hems on a future pair (maybe a 30″ inseam) so that I don’t need to cuff the pants with my ankle boots.
- Curve the waistband pattern piece to ensure there is no gaping waistband. I already have made the pattern adjustment for my future self. (EDIT: Lladybird just posted a waistband adjustment tutorial that might help me in the long run. She recommends waiting a few months before making this alteration on a newly made pair of jeans.) http://lladybird.com/2020/04/01/tutorial-how-to-adjust-the-waistband-of-your-jeans/
- Full calf pattern adjustment – both the knee and calf were uncomfortable on the first wear. On the second wear they are bearable, but still are too tight. Back of my knee is 7″ and back of my calf is between 7.5″ and 8″, so I need to add between 0.5 – 1″ of ease into the pattern. I have not made this pattern adjustment yet. I want to see how the size 8 pant leg compares because I want to maintain the tapered skinny pant leg while still opening up room in the calf.
- Yoke adjustment? I need to look into this more, but the yoke might be taller than it needs to be on me.
So there they are. My first pair of Ginger Jeans. Finally.
It felt really good to sew again. This was the boost my sewing confidence needed. I am already plotting two tops that will pair with these jeans. I’ll be honest, it feels like a giant block was just removed from my sewing queue.