Unlike the subject of my last post, jeans are arguably something I need, um, pretty badly. I have technically three me-made pairs still in rotation, but two of those have been out for mending most of the last year, and the remaining workhorse pair is of a fairly thin super-stretchy denim that’s rapidly approaching widespread systems failure. And at both of the perpetually-mending pairs are getting snug.
Now, two of those pairs are Closet Core Ginger jeans (the high-waisted, skinny version). But I was pretty sure it was time to up-size my pattern (and pretty sure I had mislaid some if not all of the pieces of my old printout anyway). So I dutifully got it reprinted… but then thought, why not make up the other view?
Back when I bought the Ginger Jeans pattern (not long after it first came out, if I recall correctly), view A was exactly what I was looking for in a pair of jeans—low-rise waist, stovepipe leg. But by that point I had already modded the snot out of Jalie 2908 to get that fit that I wanted, so I just kept on using that pattern. When I did finally try out the Gingers, it was to test out the high-waisted view… which worked fairly well, but both versions were made in extra-super-stretchy fabric (which really minimizes fit issues, at least), and the high waist, while more fashionably appropriate these days, doesn’t give me that nipped-in, round-butt look that makes them so cute on other people. I just look like I go straight up from hip to waist, like a cylinder.
Now, the biggest factor in my cooling relationship with denim has been that as my body has changed over the last ten (and especially last three) years, I haven’t been able to find a style that makes me feel cute the way they used to. I have too much muffin-top these days for the low rise (which is terribly passé, too, don’t you know), high rise just makes me look like a box… oh, and mid-rise, on my body shape, just rides down to sit in the “low rise” position. Much easier to just find a cute dress or skirt.
Anyway, I decided, since I wasn’t really excited about ANY style of jeans, to go back to my old standby. Low-rise; at least it can be covered by shirts, and the stovepipe legs seem like they would go well with the modern looser jeans aesthetic. (Also, as low rises go, I’d call this one pretty moderate, which is what I suspected. The fly zip is at least 4” long!)
So I put on my big girl pants, re-measured myself, didn’t quite faint at the pattern size that number put me into, and then went to work.
A dig through my stash turned up this piece of really nice stretch denim, already pre-washed. Sturdy (about 10oz at a guess), but very stretchy. I BELIEVE it’s the Cone Mills denim I got from Closet Core as a jeans kit ages ago. Perhaps it wasn’t wise to cut into it for a project I was, frankly, kind of dreading, but there it is. It also wasn’t doing me any good sitting in stash, and it promised to be pleasant to work with even if I wasn’t thrilled with the results.
I made three pre-emptive changes to the pattern: lengthened the leg by 1” (to go from a 32” inseam to a 33” inseam), raising the back rise height by about 1”, and taking some tucks in the shaped waistband to make it more strongly curved, particularly in the back portion, where I tend to be most curvy. It’s still not as curvy as the modified one I used before, but it seems to work. These are most of my “standard” fit alterations, but I didn’t make them on my previous Gingers (except for the leg length anyway) because of the high waist and the extremely stretchy denim I was using.
I also took the time to cut out all the leg pieces in a single layer. I’ve ignored this advice countless times, and almost always had one twisting leg on my jeans, and just endured it as the price of laziness. It’s early days yet, but I’d say they do, in fact, twist very little, at least.
I followed the pattern instructions to fully baste it together to try on, and I’m glad I did as it let me make some major changes to the crotch curve: mainly, I needed a MUCH curvier front crotch to avoid camel-toe (also an issue in my high-waisted versions, but less intense because of the super-stretchy fabrics), and I took in the CB seam about 1” at the waistband, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the curve. If I do another version, I would curve the yoke as well by adding some little darts like so:
Which is exactly the same thing I did, extensively, to the yoke of my Jalie Jeans pattern, actually. So it’s nice when things are consistent. I might add a bit more height to the back rise, as well—but maybe through the yoke since I’ve already added 1” to the lower piece. I could’ve recut the yokes but I just decided to ease them in to the waistband, which also works.
Basting first let me make these tweaks, which was great. It’s not hard to tweak the side-seams at the end of jeans construction, but at that point you’ve got two rows of topstitching in the crotch and inseams and those are not going anywhere.
Construction wise, I did most of the sewing on my mom’s Featherweight machine (long story, but the short of it is that her machine is at my house and mine is not. This was not on purpose). I got it into my head to try doing the topstitching on my coverstitch, which was a mixed bag. It was nice to do long straight sections with the twin needles, but it’s hard to go slow and I didn’t like the lack of reverse. So I did the pockets, fly, and waistband topstitching on the Featherweight as well. I did a not-terrible job of matching my stitch length, but there are definitely some subtle differences. It also made for a LOT of rethreading, especially since I only had two spools of topstitching thread (this was just Guterman extra-strong, I didn’t want to complicate things by using actual topstitching thread) so one of them had to keep going back and forth between the coverstitch and the Featherweight. I only broke out my modern Janome (which needs a spa day BADLY) for the bar tacks and buttonhole at the very end. For that part I used a coordinating regular thread, though it’s not quite a perfect match so maybe I should’ve gone for a contrast.
I sewed the side-seams with a fairly generous seam allowance, and wound up taking them in 1/4” more after that—and I’m fighting the urge to take them in more, telling myself we’re going for a slouchy boyfriend aesthetic as opposed to the sprayed-on-skinny look I’ve been pursuing since I got my first pair of stretch denim jeans in 2000.
I did interface the waistband, but I used a knit interfacing. So a belt is definitely a necessity for wearing with them.
And… I don’t know if I feel cute in them, but the process was pretty satisfying especially considering what a tragic mess the last pair I did was, and I did wear them for basically a week straight after finishing. I didn’t feel rushed because I wasn’t super excited for the end product, so I guess that was a win? I was also stupidly sick while making these, so they got worked on in five to fifteen minute bursts between lying down while the twins watched obscene amounts of questionable kids YouTube programming.
I do think I could’ve taken in the hip and thigh another 1/4” or so on each side, but I don’t know if I will now that they’re completed. I do, however, think that I’ll wear the snot out of them—my casual wardrobe hasn’t been strong in the last ten years, but it’s particularly terrible right now.