One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make myself a pair of jeans. So when Handmade by Chris announced Jeans in January, it seemed like the perfect incentive to jump straight in. I’ve been eyeing up the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case for ages now and decided I’d have a go at making them. I decided I’d follow the Sew Along that happened back in 2014 to learn some tips and tricks. Unfortunately calamity struck and I only got to start sewing these the last weekend of January. I nearly finished but then I was struck down by the dreaded lergy and only got to finish them this week.
Choosing my fabric and bits: I learned alot about denim in the first sew along post and dutifully set out to purchase the right type of fabric. Preferably some cheap denim (I’m learning my lesson – first attempts should not be made on expensive fabric). I initially ordered two pieces of denim from MyFabrics at the beginning of January. I liked how their website laid out the weight and fabric composition so it was easy to find exactly the right type of fabric. But after two weeks of waiting for it to arrive I found out that one wasn’t in stock and wouldn’t be replaced, and one wasn’t available in a continuous piece. With only 7 sewing days left in January (as I’m traveling quite a bit for work) I was more than a little frustrated by this news.
So I ended up buying some lovely dark blue denim from Ditto in Brighton (an old favorite of mine). It is 97% cotton and 3% elastane, but there’s no info on the weight. Although I’d initially planned on making version A, because the fabric feels so lightweight, I’ve gone for version B.
Pockets: The pockets came together well but I have to say they required a lot of concentration. It may have been a particularly dyslexic moment but I really struggled at first to conceptualise how they went together. It’s one of those things I guess that once you’ve got it, it seems so obvious. Anyway I used the scraps from making my McCall’s M4769 dress, so my jeans will look real pretty when inside out, gracing the floor.
Front fly: I’ve only ever done two front fly, one on my Maritime shorts (from Grainline) and another on my Simplicity 1969 trousers. Inserting a fly properly gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. Though I must say I followed Pt8 of the Ginger Sewalong closely (rather than following my instruction booklet) as I found the numerous images very helpful!
Finishing my seams: I’d initially planned to us flat felled seams for the inner leg. But As I am loving the double overlock stitch setting on my new machine, I just sewed them normally, then with the doubleover lock before trimming away excess fabric and top stitching. I think they look gorgeous now – inside and out. The biggest challenge I’ve had with these jeans is the bloody top stitching. I really struggled to get the tension right for the thicker tread, and it continuously jammed. But I got there in the end.
Waistband and back pockets: I used the denim for both the waistband and facing, without applying interfacing. The pattern suggests that this makes a much softer waistband, which is very nice on high waists, and I must say I concur. I dutifully had followed the suggestion from the sewalong to baste the back pockets and I’m really glad I did. Because now that my waistband was on I could see they were way too low and a touch wide. I moved them up about 3/4″ and in just a smidge. I’ve never before contemplated what pockets do for your butt but its amazing the effect well placed pockets can have.
Loops, button hole and hems: My belt loops were a cinch. Given the problems I’ve had with my top stitching I expected these to be a nightmare but who knew a hammer would come to my aid in sewing? The button hole however proved impossible with the top stitching thread. After about seven practice runs, I gave up and just did the button hole with normal black thread (as I had no matching normal weight gold thread).I needed to take the hems up about 2 1/2″ (instead of the recommended 1″), so I ended up first trimming them then hemming them.
Button and rivets: These were I admit the detail I was most scared of, but they turned out to be quite straightforward to do with the help of an awl and hammer! It was a little tricky to get the awl through all the thickness on the back pockets though. But the effect is fantastic! .The only downside is that the interfacing at my button hole shows a touch or at least the fraying does. But at this stage I’m not feeling too picky.
A comment on size: I made size 8 which the pattern says is for a 28″ waist (which is my measurements) and a 37″ hip (my hips are 38″). The size 10 hips are 38 1/2″. I ended up choosing the smaller size as I thought with the stretch denim it would be the best fit over time as denim always gives. And honestly at this point I think the jury is out. They are VERY tight (not camel toe tight mind you) and I think they look amazing. And really until I’ve spend the whole day in them it’s hard to judge it they are uncomfortably so.
Ta-da! I am so immensely pleased with myself! No more shall I fret at finding jeans that fit and in the style I love.