Still haven’t got a cat, still sewing stuff I don’t wear – but at least I keep on working on the sewing topic.
Taddaaa… enter the Ginger Jeans:
On my 2017 sewing list I put a number of “challenges” to conquer this year. And jeans ranked highest on my personal “God-this-will-be-so-tough-I-am-exhausted-even-thinking-about-it” scale.
Sewing jeans somehow always classified as something somewhat out of reach for me… how should I get them to fit properly? … will my machine do the job? … too fiddle for an impatient person like me?
Ever since its release, I dreamt of working with the Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns one day. That one day, when I improved my fitting skills, that day I would scrap up enough discipline to work with grim attention to detail, one day when I had the energy to get all the supplies together…
Well, no better day than today, right? For me, sewing jeans (or envisioning to do so) is the best example of how too much respect for a project can turn you numb. At the end of last year I actually convinced myself that I would not be ready to sew them (Gosh, I can be a bit of a tit!). Whatever you think you can’t do – go out and DO IT. There’s a new year’s resolution / resewlution. How else will you learn, right?! Which actually and finally brings me to:
What making jeans taught me:
- Fitting is your friend – ok, here comes a confession: I’ve never – and that’s true – done any fitting for an actual piece of garment before. No basting at least. I made toils for cotton fabric garments, sure, which normally told me enough of what I needed to know about the fit but I never basted projects together. “But, girl, how can you actually LIVE with yourself?” you may ask. Well, hardly, I must tell you, hardly. I did three rounds of fitting for this project. Each and every one so damn worth it!
- Source for high quality fabric – I wanted these to be a first test / trial so a €12 per meter fabric sounded fair to me. But for my next Ginger Jeans (and hell, there will definitely one very soon), I’ll invest into higher quality (which – let’s face it – often translates to “more expensive”). My jeans fabric now doesn’t have great recovery, despite the 4% elastane; the pair goes saggy in the knees easily. Not too bad, but I believe a better fabric is a good investment.
- Respect the Project – Not gonna lie, the Ginger Jeans demanded my full attention, but particularly when working in little steps and really taking your time with the fit and accurate seams, this is such an enjoyable and relaxing project!
I went for the Ginger Skinny Jeans / High Rise. I found Heather’s online tutorial excessively helpful, particularly in combination with the instructions that come with the pattern. Another learning: Read through everything first (what a piece of advice)! No, really though – some steps in the construction process only started to make sense to me after sneaking a peek into the rest of the instructions.
I did three rounds fittings all together. (1) with the pockets in an nothing else (my coin pocket is on the wrong side, goddammit!); (2) with the fly in (which doesn’t help much if you’re a little too stupid to sew your zipper in correctly); (3) with a close to final waistband. The frustration I could have saved myself had I discovered basting a little sooner into my sewing frenzy! There might be more hand made garments I’d actually be wearing!
I cut a size 14 in the waist and 16 in the rest. But with a 4% elastane fabric I should have guessed that Heather would be right – I had to go down’t about 1 1/2 sizes to make the jeans sit snuck. And I had to reduce the leg length by 14 cm.
Alteration I already saw coming included bringing in the back waist (a sway back and voluptuous hips accompany me through every sewing alteration). All pretty easy changes with goods results, I think.
And here’s my zipper misunderstanding; the topstitching for the fly font is not decorative! It actually secures the zipper band and prevents the whole thing from bulking out when sitting down or stretching your tummy. This might sound obvious, but it really wasn’t clear to me until my last round of fitting.
The waist band is still not as snuck as it should be and all in all my jeans are still on the biggish side. The topstitching could be better here and there; but be as it may, I’m wearing them with (utter, excessive, manic) pride.
My first jeans, you guys!!! And definitely not my last! I highly recommend this project to everyone who things she’s not up for the challenge. You are! Respect the project, respect yourself and just go do it!