Sew… I made a pair of jeans, whoop!
As my sewing improves I want to expand on my skills and challenge myself more. But in doing this I also want to make sure that what I’m making will be worn and loved. I can honestly say that everything I’ve made is worn lots or if its something that I’m not 100% in love with then I will alter it into something that is lovable.
Since making two pairs of the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold trousers last summer I’ve wanted to make a fitted pair of trousers so why not jump straight in and make a pair of Ginger Jeans!
On Christmas Day, I was working and had some down time, I printed out all the sew a longs on the Closet Case website and had a good read. I do love a sew a long as I feel like they are there making it with me! I know a lot of people set up their tablets next to their machine and follow the instructions from that but I personally prefer a paper copy. After reading both the sew a long and pattern instructions I was definitely excited to get started. It was also reassuring that they don’t focus on the fitting and just encourage you to make your first pair based on your measurements. You can then see if there are fitting adjustments that need to be made on further pairs.
I used this stretch denim. It’s described as a medium weight denim fabric. It was lighter weight than I thought it would be but it was perfect for my first pair of jeans as my machine coped sewing though all the layers and it is so soft and comfortable to wear.
The fabric washed and ironed really well. The pattern is printed onto tissue paper which I ironed on a low heat and then traced out my size. Hands up if you are a tracer? I’m a tracer! Instead of grading between sizes I went for my waist measurements as that’s my largest part.
I had 2 meters of fabric and managed to get all the pieces cut out with a reasonable sized piece left. Any suggestions of what I can do with a piece of denim?
The denim cut really nicely with my rotary cutter and all pieces were quickly cut out. As it mentions in the sew along I flipped the leg pieces 180 degrees when cutting as this apparently stops the legs twisting when you wear them. I decided to use a cotton facing on the waistband rather than a double layer of denim. With the jeans being nice and high waisted I wanted something more comfortable around my waist.
Due to only had a small periods of time each day to sew. The sew along breaks the construction down into perfect size chunks so that you can do a section each day even if you don’t have lots of time. I started off with cutting out and pocket preparation. Followed by the front pockets. Next they recommend basting the inseam, side and yoke seams to check the fit. Once basted I tried them on and they were huge! They wouldn’t even stay up and the legs were super baggy. I was home alone sewing and Mr C wasn’t due home for a few hours and I didn’t want to waist valuable sewing time so nan to the rescue. With the jeans on inside out my nan pinned them so that they fit closely as skinny jeans should. In total I took in the waist by 4 inches and the legs by 5 inches. The only problem with checking the fit now is you need to undo it all to complete the fly. With the basting unpicked I marked on the new seam line with pins and carried on with the instructions.
Surprisingly the fly was really satisfying to complete. I’ve never sewn a fly before and there were a few moments when I was like what???? But it worked!
Next up was the yoke and attaching the pockets. I got Mr C to read the pocket placement guidelines and trusted him to pin them in the right place. I think he did a very good job!
I was worried about the waist band as I was so close to the finish and didn’t want it to go wrong on the home straight! Following the sew a long meant there were no problems at all and it went on perfect first time. Another super worrying part was the button hole. My machine has a one step button hole function and I always have a practice on a scrap of fabric which mirrors what the garment is. The practice always goes perfect and when I do it on the garment straight after it ALWAYS goes wrong. I have no idea why. Anyone else have this problem? So practice button hole tested and worked perfect. I was so scared about it ruining my jeans that I got Mr C to press the go button and it worked, yay!
Jeans hemmed and complete whoop!
I love them. Yes they aren’t perfect but they will be worn. I’m definitely going to jump straight back in and make another pair and this time I think I’m going to go for this slightly heavier weight denim. I will be recutting the pattern to a smaller size but don’t think I will cut out the size 4 inch smaller as I’m assuming all denims come up slightly different depending on the amount of stretch. I will take it in by a couple of inches and I also shortened the leg by 5 inches. I’m also going to shorten the rise by an inch. I also had to do this on my Marigolds.
You maybe wondering where the rivets are. I have these ones but haven’t added them as I want to wait and add them to my next pair as I know the next pair will be an improvement on these ones. I also unpicked the top stitching around the fly as I found that this just drew attention to the fly area!
Overall I am so happy I was confident enough to try something new and learn some new skills. Here are some tips I have if you want to make some Gingers:
•Topstitching- buy two reels! I ran out. It’s surprising how much you need. My machine wasn’t a massive fan of the topstitching and although it looks fine from the outside it has bobbled in places on the inside. I went for a dark navy and when I ran out I just used normal Guttermann thread and I think it looks just as effective. Zoe from Zoe Sews recommends using two strands of regular thread so I am definitely going to try that on the next pair.
• Basting- next time I’m going to add the fly and yoke before basting the outside and inside leg seams and then I won’t have to unpick all the fitting alterations to complete these steps. I don’t know much about fitting but if you have already cut out your jeans surely you aren’t going to be able to alter the rise, crotch or seat?
• Machines- every step requires a machine with normal thread, topstitching thread, an iron and depending on your seam finish an overlocker! If you have more than one machine and using topstitching thread then definitely have two machines set up and a massive table/sewing surface and 4 plug sockets! I feel like I spent so much time moving round machines and changing plugs. I didn’t know why I didn’t clear the rest of my table so set everything up!
• Seams- I went for the flat fell seams and it all seemed (pun not intended) to be going really well until I checked the insides. My second row of topstitching wasn’t catching the seam and therefore in sections the frayed edge was visible. I couldn’t alter my topstitching placement unless I did it by eye which I didn’t want to do. In future I’m going to overlock one seam and trim the other. Then press the overlocker seam over the trimmed one and then topstitch. This is the method Tilly uses in the Cleo pattern.
So to summarise make some Gingers! Be brave and go for it.
This post was sponsored by Sew Essential.