I made a pair of jeans. I made a pair of jeans.
A fly-front, high-waisted pair of Ginger Jeans. And they are amazing.
It took what felt like weeks to get here, but really, it’s a simple process of following the steps that Heather, the designer, has very clearly laid out for you. I gave myself a lot more work than was necessary through some groan-inducing mistakes. Here’s how it went:
I cut out some cheapie stretch denim I got at my local chain store to make a practice pair before I used the Cone Mills denim that I have been hoarding from one of the Closet Case Files kits. The fabric store didn’t have the amount I needed as continuous yardage, but I knew it wouldn’t be a problem since I am only 5’2 and the pieces were pretty long. As I was cutting on a single layer (to avoid pant legs that twist), I needed to flip the pattern pieces to ensure I ended up with the right amount of legs. I did not remember to do this. I discovered my mistake only one I had cut out all the pieces. (The problem was that I did not have mirror images, and one side of each leg would have been inside-out). When I pulled out my other fabric piece, I discovered that not only was it not the same denim, it certainly did not have the same amount of stretch.
But, that piece was big enough to squeeze out all new pattern pieces. Luckily for me, Jenny from Cashmerette was making a pair of Gingers over the same weekend, she kindly live-posted each step on Instagram Stories (thank you, Jenny! So helpful). Top-stitching was going great, and the fly was surprisingly easy. Then I basted the legs together to test the fit.
I couldn’t even get them over my knees. There wasn’t any stretch to the jeans beyond pulling the fabric across the bias. I laughed, and then I may have cried a little bit. And then I felt stupid for getting upset over an item of clothing. But really, I had wanted to practice. And I had been able to discover that making jeans is not a scary, or even complicated thing. If you have ever successfully put together a piece of furniture from Ikea, you are more than qualified to make jeans.
The next day I reprinted, assembled, and cut out the PDF pattern again (I figured that going up from an 8 to the size 10 wouldn’t be a bad idea) and pulled out that Cone Mills denim. It’s so buttery to cut through! I followed the sewalong posts and ended up taking them in quite a bit (both the inseam and the side seams). I took a wedge out of the center-back seam to help with the gap at the back and angled the side seams in even more at the top. The crotch is still a little long, (though not as long as it appears in the pictures) and the rise is a little too high-rise on me. I’ll go back to the size 8 for the next pair. But these are minor adjustments and this pair is awesome.
Hammering in that last rivet I felt simultaneously burnt out, and a sudden urge to immediately start cutting out another pair. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more satisfaction out of making something. Thank you to Heather for creating such a great pattern and all of the many free resources that go along with it.
I made jeans!
Project: Ginger Jeans
Fabric: Cone Mills Denim
Fabric/Notions: $29 for the cheap denim and $65 USD for all other items inclusively (rivets, buttons, needles, thread, fabric, etc.).
Pattern: $14 USD
Time: 1 week. This in includes all three pairs I started and the PDF printing and cutting. Making the last pair only took a weekend.
Fit: As above.
What to work on: Letting go of being a perfectionist. If I came across this pair in the store, I’d be dancing my way out of the fitting room to show you how great they are.jg
Skills/Techniques: First time I’ve used a cast-iron skillet for sewing!