Sunday, April 9, 2017

Zip-fly Ginger Jeans

Last month I found myself very inspired by the way my striped Blackwood cardigan seemed to invigorate my wardrobe. It goes well with several skirts I had made over the previous year as well as with my first pair of Ginger jeans.  I decided it was time to inject my wardrobe with some versatile basics.  I knew I wanted to use up a cut of navy and cream houndstooth twill that was in danger of languishing in my stash if I didn't sew it soon, and quickly, a capsule wardrobe plan emerged.

These jeans were a piece that I threw in because I knew that I needed them, but I frankly wasn't looking forward to sewing them up.  My first pair of Gingers was a rousing success - they weren't angsty to sew, and I wear them several times per week.  But somehow I had convinced myself in the two months since I made them, that making another pair was going to be hard and arduous.  Especially as I planned to sew them with a proper zip fly, a button and rivets this time.


I began these on a Saturday and I finished them on a Thursday.  My kids did eat the contents of random cans in the pantry and half-finished freezer items on two of those days, so there's that.  Mama needed some new jeans.

These are View A of the pattern again - the low-rise, stovepipe leg version.  I cut these in a size 16 with a scooped out back crotch curve and a higher yoke (I raised it 1" at the highest point).  (With the higher yoke modification, I don't find these to be overly low in rise.  I think any higher would feel restrictive on my tummy, actually.)  They were tiiiiiight.  My previous pair, which I took in considerably, was made out of super-duper stretchy denim.  This pair was made out of a more respectable Japanese stretch denim that holds it shape spectacularly.  I had to let out the waist and hips 1/2" on each side.

I tried the full inner thigh adjustment that I fudged on my last pair.  It didn't seem to help my back knee wrinkles much, but it did cause some crazy inseam migration to the front of the leg.  I actually topstitched my inseam with navy thread instead of gold because of how much it twists to the front.  The side seam is perfectly straight, so I know it's not leg twist caused by cutting off-grain (plus I was very, very diligent in cutting my pattern pieces on grain).  Anyway, I guess full inner thigh isn't the main problem.  I ended up letting out the back leg only from the knee down, and that took care of a lot of the wrinkles.  After I did that, I took in the legs evenly at the side seams, from the lower thigh all the way down.  Looking at these photos, though, I think the lower leg is still a little baggy for my taste.  I may go back and take the seams in a bit more.  Like last time, I also found that I needed to shape the side seam to follow the weird curve of my knee, in below the thigh and back out again to the calf, to get rid of some of the wrinkles. Maybe my issue really is knock knees, and not full inner thighs?  Next time I plan to lengthen the inseam by 1" to try to address a possible knock-knee issue.

I did not interface the waistband and I used self-fabric for the facing because I wanted it to be stretchy.  I forgot to lengthen the pattern, and so I ended up adding fabric to the bottom for a total of 1" added.  I topstitched it right where I added the fabric, and the addition isn't at all noticeable.  I need to remember, if I ever boot-cut-ize this pattern, to lengthen another inch beyond that at least.

I have to mention how easy it was to install this zipper.  When I read in the instructions that I would likely have to shorten the zipper, I panicked a bit.  I remembered reading blog posts where people had talked about using pliers to remove the metal teeth from the zipper so they could sew a seam and I was intimidated.  But the instructions noted that I could just sew through the zipper - and I did.  And then I shortened it by cutting it with scissors, which blew my mind.  Metal zippers = not so scary.

My machine did not like the topstitching thread I ordered from Taylor Tailor - one ply of the thread kept breaking, and then bunching up through the needle.  I did not have this problem with the navy Guterrman topstitching thread I used for the inseam.  I gave up on topstitching thread when it came to the buttonhole and just used regular thread.

I think I want to try Heather's larger pocket pattern piece the next time I make these.  I think my back view would benefit from larger pockets.

I put three rivets in these jeans at the front but I didn't get any photos of them so you'll have to take my word for it.  They were not difficult to put in, though I found it tedious and time consuming to make a large enough hole through the coin pocket corner, to push my rivet post through.  That probably took me 30 minutes, while the actual hammer-and-cast-iron-pan installation only took five.  No longer afraid of rivets and jeans buttons!

I'm feeling pretty good about the rest of my capsule spring wardrobe - now that the most difficult and time-consuming project has been completed, it should be smooth sailing for the five remaining pieces I plan to make.

When I took these photos, I had worn these jeans for two full days with zero bagging out.  I didn't put belt loops in because I prefer not to wear belts unless absolutely necessary, and I find that tees lie smoother over a belt-loop-less waistband.  Based on how well this denim has held its shape, I don't think that I will need to add them.  Might have to pick up some more of it - do you think it's acceptable to make two pairs of jeans out of the exact same fabric?  If I did, I'd probably try a mid-rise bootcut variation.


  1. Now you have made your own jeans you will never go back!
    I have found every denim behaves differently. I baste my side seams, squat and ,mark where they feel tight and adjust.
    Great sewing Masha.
    xx N

  2. These look so good on you!!!!! Way to go!!!!!

  3. Wow, you are on fire, lady!! These look sooooooo good on you! I know as a sewist we tend to microanalyze our own work, but I'm here to tell you that these are really good looking jeans! Can't wait to see the rest of your capsule wardrobe!

  4. I have already told you that you are sewing hero, right? Well, please allow me to repeat myself :) These look great! The kids didn't starve, so it was worth it!


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