I’ve been inspired to write up my first attempt at sewing Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files. Apologies for some of the photo quality- it’s hard to a) take a picture of your own backside… and b) to blog about something you never intended to blog about! Wish I’d have taken more photos during the process!
- I’m a 44-40-47, which put me in an 18 in bust and hip, and 20 in waist. I chose View B (high waist) and decided to do a straight 18 because I’d read the seam allowances would be generous. I then promptly forgot that and decided to make my own thigh adjustment. Years of playing competitive fastpitch combined with genes have left me with the need to grade here, or so I assumed. Turned out I was wrong. Alas.
- I (wisely) chose a 3% stretch denim from JoAnn Fabric. I used a 60% off coupon so I got it for $7/yard. I am the kind of person who insists all muslins should be wearable because the precious little time I have to sew I’d like to be “productive.” It was really close to these not being wearable, so I would have been angry if I’d spent more money on it.
- I used a fun galaxy space cotton for the pockets. Of course only I know it’s there, but I love it! Definitely use a fun print here.
- I got a kit with two buttons and several rivets from my local store, Stitch Sew Shop. I ended up only installing the main button and not doing the rivets. I finished the hemming at 2330 on a Thursday night so I wasn’t terribly keen on doing more work, I’ll admit. I know for my next pair I’ll try them.
- I consider myself an “advanced beginner” when it comes to sewing clothes. I started about a year ago, before that I quilted. I always stayed away from clothes in the past because I am terrible at following directions. 🙂 Then a friend introduced me to Cashmerette’s Appleton and the rest, as they say, was history. I’ve made one Appleton and two Turners. I’ve also made a Sailor Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts. My biggest problem, I think, is my desire to do things quickly, which means sometimes I get a little careless. I hoped the Ginger Jeans would force me into slowing down and focusing on the details. It sure tested me…
- I read the entire booklet that came with the pattern, and found it to move too quickly at my skill level. I then turned to the Sewalong which was INSANELY helpful. But I will say, there were several points even in the sewalong where I felt it combined what seemed to be a few steps into one.
- ALERT: PATTERN MAKERS PAY ATTENTION!!! Please, please, please – some of us need to know what the action we’re doing IS. Can you please consider putting subheaders in? For example: “The next step will help us to align X and Y so that you can do Z.” Oh my, my analytic brain would be thrilled to have that.
Tips For Next Time…
I want to provide you a few tips that I learned the hard way. I hope they are helpful.
- Seam Allowances: Most of the allowances are 5/8″ which I didn’t fully realize would have given me the flexibility needed – I adjusted the thigh for no reason. Also, I didn’t trust the seam allowance, assuming it would make them too tight. Not only did that mean I had to sew the leg seams twice, I actually ended up bringing them in about 1/4″ in addition to the seam allowance! See the terrible photo on the right- check out the folds all down the right side! So much extra fabric, especially around my knee! They’re snug now – but they look awesome standing. Sitting is a bit snug though…. I should have sat down when fitting them. It’s manageable, but not the most comfortable, sadly.
- Zipper: Oh, the zipper. Read the sewalong, have it close by. I don’t recall the name of the piece, but the piece that hides behind the zipper- mine simply wasn’t long enough, and it wasn’t clear enough either in the instructions or the sewalong where to place it. See the far left in the middle of the photo below? The trail end of the zipper should be covered. Whoops. I’ll do a line of stitching between just the zipper tail and the inside and it’ll be OK, I hope. Next time, will cut this piece longer.
- Fabric. Major rookie mistake here. I was 2″ too short to cut the waistband. This was about 3 months ago, but I remember being so frustrated – I did it to myself. By adjusting the thigh (unnecessarily, as you recall), I didn’t have enough for the waistband. So you’ll see it is slightly different fabric… that worked out OK because I never wear cropped shirts… but I’ll always know. Ugh.
- Buttonhole. Again, a rookie mistake, but a manageable one. I didn’t have anything to mark the jeans (all my pens were too dark on the fabric). So I ended up sewing a buttonhole that was too short. I had to seam rip through the end to make it bigger, and did a shotty job patching it up. Alas. The button stays put! And when it’s together, you can’t really tell.
- Topstitching. Oh lordy. I hated this. With all my soul. My machine absolutely hated it, the tension was a pain! Alas. I was pretty thrilled to learn that the machine at my local store hated it just as much, perhaps more. Be incredibly patient, have tons of extra fabric to practice on, and WRITE DOWN the settings you use for bar tacks (whoops). But… in the realm of good news… choose a fun color. I’m thrilled I chose green – it’s unique and reminds me that these are ME MADE!
- Pockets. Hmm. I may be the last one to the pocket party… but I completely forgot as I sewed them on that they need a smidge of give to allow them to be functional! Hahahaha. I shouldn’t have pulled them snug… I should have given a bit of give especially on the top. My phone fits in the back pockets, but just barely. Next time I’ll pay close attention to how much to provide (I didn’t want saggy butt pockets!). I had a similar challenge with the front pockets, but it’s workable. Again, next time I will adjust these.
- Length. I found these to be way too long (I’m 5’8″). But I also learned during this that I’m “knock knee’d” so the combination of the two meant for an odd fold from the inside of my knee to my mid-shin. Because my jeans were just huge the first time I sewed them, I decided to attack the outer seam, cutting it in nearly 1.5″ near the ankle (!!!!). The best way for me to get rid of that line on this pair was to crop them. Perfect summer solution!
- Fit. Speaking of length… I made another beginner error. I am a rule follower, so I followed the instructions to a T. Never, ever, ever sew the inner seam topstitching BEFORE you baste the legs together to see if they fit. Because I HATE topstitching and I HATE ripping seams, I just cut in from the outer seam on these. It was a miracle that it worked. Next time I’ll baste first then topstitch. Hehehe.
Final verdict? I will absolutely make another pair… but it will be awhile before I’m willing to attempt it. 😉 The main reason is really because it’s 4290248903242903 degrees out now here in the DC metro area, and jeans just aren’t going to work for me for a few months. I think I may consider getting the Morgan pattern (boyfriend jeans) to try some capris. I saw Heather’s linen version recently and fell in love…. but before then… I’m planning on some Emerson Shorts… And a Julia Cardigan… And a Cashmerette Lenox…. and a Cashmerette Springfield….. oh lordy. I need to sign off. Let’s hope I can do one of those this weekend…