Monday, February 6, 2017

Ginger jeans


I FINALLY MADE JEANS!


I know, I've been talking about it forever.  I bet some of you thought I was never actually going to do it.  I wasn't sure myself, so I don't blame you.  But I finally did it, and it was one of my first makes of 2017 to boot.


These are, of course, the ubiquitous Ginger Jeans.  I sewed them in a very stretchy denim purchased a few months ago from Fabric Mart.  I started with View A (the mid-rise stovepipe leg) but ended up closer to View B by the time I was finished with my modifications.


I cut the size 16 and basted it together.  Immediately I knew that I was going to need more coverage in the behind - the seat dropped when I walked up stairs or sat down, and it gaped.  I did two things to remedy this. First, I scooped out the back crotch curve about 1".  Much better.  Then, I raised the yoke height by 1" at center back (tapering to nothing at the side seams), and slashed the yoke pattern in two places to overlap it at the top, creating a much more curved yoke piece than I started with.  Here's a crummy iPhone photo of my yoke (top) compared to the original.


I also omitted the traditional waistband in favor of a stretchy self-fabric band, to create pull-on jeans. I bought a pair of pull-on jeans at the thrift store last year and they changed my world.  Up until that point, I had no idea that non-maternity pull-on jeans existed. At least not ones that didn't have a gnarly gathered elastic waistband and front pleats.  This was seriously a life-changing discovery.  I've always been a big fan of jeans, but lately I just can't stand a firm waistband when my middle section is so prone to changing sizes throughout the month week day.  As I never wear shirts tucked into jeans, this is a no-brainer.


My waistband, which finished at 3", is contoured at the sides, so at the bottom it is 35" around and at the top it is 32".  It is stretched to fit 39" of waist at the top of the jeans yoke.  I think I need a more curved waistband, though, so I will slash my waistband pattern piece in a couple of places and overlap at the top before sewing these again.


When I first sewed these jeans I had some crazy wrinkling at the back knee.  I suspected after sewing my Chi-Town Chinos that I might need a knock-knee adjustment.  I found a very informative post at Stitches and Seams discussing how a full inner thigh (which I definitely have) results in the same fit issues as a knock knee.  The basic idea of the method I used is to shift the entire pant leg towards the inseam.  Having already cut out my pieces, I couldn't do the full adjustment, but I resewed my seams with a 1/4" allowance at the inseam and a 1" allowance at the outseam, effectively moving my legs over 3/8" towards the center.  This actually did help the back wrinkling a bit and I'm curious to see what would happen if I did the adjustment the right way.


So, then I finished sewing them, topstitched them up and wore them.  They bagged out like crazy.  So I took them off and took the side seams in 3/8" inch from waist to calf, tapering to nothing at the hem. That was much better, and lessened the back wrinkles a bit more.  Then I wore them for another day and ended up taking them off and tapering a further 1/2" starting at the bottom of the pocket and ending at the fullest part of my calf.  I actually took the side seam in even more around the knee, curving the seam in and back out again.  That seemed like the wrong way to go about fixing the extra fabric there but it seems to have worked without issue.  I think by the time I was done doing this, I had effectively skinnified the jeans all the way down to View B, with the exception of the ankle, which I prefer to be a little straighter, so maybe I should have started there to begin with!


After yet another day's wear, I wondered whether the pants' migration south had anything to do with the fact that my front crotch was too long.  I ripped open the inseam and sliced 1/2" off the top of it, tapering to nothing about four inches down the inseam. That took care of some of the extra fabric there, but I think I actually need to do a different type of alteration to shorten the crotch - the method I tried also reduces the inseam, which I don't need.  If I slash the pants pattern above the crotch and overlap it, I'll get the shorter rise but keep the inseam intact.  Still doesn't solve the slippage problem, but maybe there's no way around that with these pull-on jeans.

And I'm having one other issue with these jeans, one that I haven't seen in any other reviews.  Can you tell what it is?


My pockets keep moving up out of themselves.  I would assume that this was a result of the jeans being too tight but they're really not too tight.  I'm going to widen the pocket facing pattern for next time, to ensure that the edge doesn't peek out, but I'm not sure why I'm having this issue when no one else seems to.  In any case, my shirt is almost always covering my pockets, so it doesn't affect the wearability of this pair.


I am 5'8", and I didn't add any length, but I did only hem them up 5/8" after serging the raw edge  I'll need to add some length to hem them the way Heather calls for.  No matter - I've been wearing these non-stop since I made them, and they are now my favorite jeans, so I'm calling them a rousing success.

I friggin' made jeans!

24 comments:

  1. Those are amazing. Great detailled comments on how you modified too, thank you for this! They look awesome.
    Gaidjin

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  2. Yay for you!! The best part of sewing for yourself is that you can tinker at projects until they fit the way you want them to. And it's so true that you should wear your makes a whole day at least to really determine if they are fitting right and are comfortable to wear.
    I keep putting off this particular project, but I have fabric and zip, and only need to get the hardware to make them look like legit RTW jeans. So I'm thinking it will be done this year for sure.

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    1. Yes, I totally agree. After this pair, I think I will actually hold off on finishing the topstitching on future jeans until after I've worn them for a day!

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  3. Yay! These look great on you! I am going to have to check out the post about adjusting for full inner thighs, because I definitely have them, too. I get weird wrinkles/drag lines around my knees in my RTW jeans and they drive me nuts. I love the idea of non-maternity pull on jeans-- brilliant!

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    1. Thanks Teri! I hope the link helps you too.

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  4. These look fantastic!!! Super flattering on you! YOU DID IT! Wow, what a lot of work making changes, though! Talk about perseverance!! Some of it probably has to do with the stretch of the fabric. Hopefully this will make your second pair a breeze!

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  5. These jeans look great - well done. I love a good elastic waistband on pants- so much more comfortable. AS for the pockets - I've definitely had this issue with many of my pants. I've found the best thing to do is to extend the pocket bags into the front fly area so that the pocket bags are sewn on three sides and can't move around. this tutorial is a good starting point (though I make my pockets much deeper).
    http://www.jsterndesigns.com/draft-a-front-pocket-design-right-on-the-front-leg/

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    1. Good tip - I am going to try that next time!

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  6. I'm still scared, but your bravery is inspiring me, especially your willingness to tackle the refitting. They look great!

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  7. You made jeans!!!! And they look fabulous on you!!!!! I love non maternity elastic waist jeans. Wait did you add elastic in the waist?? Thanks for sharing the nitty gritty aspects of fitting. Also my belly fluctuates day to day too.

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    1. I didn't add elastic - my thrift store pair didn't have any; just relied on the stretch of the fabric. But I think I might take the waistband off this pair and add elastic since the waistband does sag out a bit despite the crazy negative ease in it!

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  8. These look great! I definitely need to take your lead and deal with my full thighs issue.

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  9. I am SO SO proud of you!!! You never fail to amaze me with your ability to modify patterns to suit your needs, and YOU MADE JEANS! Dang girl. I'm in constant awe of your skills.

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  10. Two thumbs way up! Your jeans look amazing, and I know it takes courage to even start the process! If you'd like a little insight into the pocket-flashing issue, here goes: this is an instance where stretch denim really makes things tricky; if you'll look at your second-to-last picture, you'll see whiskering across your low hip, and note the concave shape at the outside of your hip. This suggests to me that, while they feel perfectly comfortable, there really isn't quite enough fabric there; this is caused by the topstitching at the pocket, which creates a more stable (less stretchy) area, forcing the pocket to gape as it's the point with the most give. A very easy solution is to extend the pocket bag into the zipper fly area, and sew it in. There are designers who make use of the full-front pocket bags, and sew power-mesh into them to act as a lightweight girdle, which really helps to stabilize the notoriously unreliable stretch denim.

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    1. Thanks, this does actually make sense. I think I will try the pocket stays next time!

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  11. Masha, these look terrific. I applaud your dedication to achieving the perfect fit!

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  12. Masha, your jeans look fantastic! Well done!

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  13. Serious SERIOUS sewing street cred for sewing jeans! {high five} I love how fearless you are! So now you just have to find a way to casually mention it in conversation every time you wear them. "Man, I'm a little hot today. Maybe it's because I'm wearing these jeans that I made." They look great on you!

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  14. Great job!!! I think you back looks great! Sewing the legs the way you did definitely helped out with the wrinkles. The jeans look really good.
    I had the same issue with the pocket bags. And I was thinking of either widening the pocket facing or extending my pocket bags so that they are stabilized in the center crotch seam. I have that issue with almost all my tight-er fitting pants. I guess the fabric gives where it can!
    Also, I am loving the waistband idea!

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  15. What??? Non-maternity pull-on jeans exist? I never knew! So much work went into creating this pair, and so worth it in my humble opinion. You are my sewing hero :D

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Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!