Jeans!!

I was going to try to come up with a witty title for this post, but to be honest JEANS!! sums it up! I’ve been putting off making jeans for two years, ever since i bought the Ginger Jeans pattern, and now I’m really not sure why. I’ve jumped head first into sewing with silk velvet, into making lined coats, and into using unmarked, single size vintage patterns, but jeans always just seemed a bridge too far. Given that jeans are probably the biggest staple in my wardrobe (I wear them every day, as I get changed into scrubs at work and don’t have to look professional), so I finally decided to get over myself and cut into one of the many lengths of denim which I have been stashing for my eventual jean-making adventure.

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Now, you may have noticed that there are not, in fact, the famed Ginger Jeans. When Deer and Doe released their Safran Pants pattern I grabbed it, thinking that maybe a pattern which uses denim with at least 30% stretch would be more forgiving for a first foray into sewing skinny jeans. I think it was a good decision, I’m really happy with these jeans, and I’ve learned a few things that I’ll apply to the Ginger pattern when I make them up.

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The Safran pattern has a true high waist, the button sits pretty much exactly over my belly button. I really like a high waist, I like being able to tuck my muffin-top in! I find it more comfortable than a lower rise, especially when it’s a close fitting waistband. I also like the slanted welt pockets, they’re a bit different to traditional jeans pockets, but I think they’re really neat and tidy, and they were easy enough to construct. I do wish that I had followed the instructions and cut half of the pocket bag out of denim instead of my contrasting cotton. I thought I was being clever and keeping things streamlined by using the thinner cotton for both pieced, and it wasn’t until the pockets were fully constructed that I realised a line of cream cotton was visible down each side of the welt. its a bit annoying, but I’ll know for next time!

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I think the fit in the front is pretty good, there are minimal drag lines around the fly/pockets. the fly went in really easily, though I have constructed a few fly fronts now and they don’t bother me like they used to! I do however have quite a few wrinkles on the legs, particularly at the knees. Initially I thought that I had cut the front legs off grain, but they aren’t wanting to twist, I just have those weird diagonal wrinkles. I think I need a full calf adjustment (dancing in 3 inch heels at over 200 beats per minute makes for good calf muscles), as I also have a fair amount of spare fabric behind my knees and they’re a bit snug around my calves. I did a bit of a cheap and nasty fix, pinching out fabric at the knee and letting out the seams at the calf, but next time I’ll do a proper full calf adjustment.

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I have under-bum wrinkles and some across the back of my thighs too, but I’m less worried about those to be honest. I can’t see them, and they don’t make things uncomfortable! I’ll look into ways to reduce it for the next pair.

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I am pretty happy with the pocket placement! I decided to leave the pockets plain, as I was just using navy top stitching thread, and because my darling Bernina was really not happy about sewing with top stitching thread, and kept packing a sad on me. I had to take the jeans into my local craft shop and use one of their modern Janome machines to top stitch the waistband and belt loops, and to sew the buttonhole. Surprisingly, the one thing my Bernina was happy to do with the heavier thread was sew bar tacks. I used bar tacks on the fly, of course, and also at the top corners of each of the back pockets, and at the inner corners of the welt pockets. Pretty much wherever you’d put rivets, I guess!

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I’m so stoked with these jeans! I’ve worn them all week, and they haven’t bagged out at all. The waistband is still sitting flush with my waist all the way around (not even gaping at my sway back!), which I think is down to a combination of a well drafted waistband, good recovery in the denim I picked (it’s from The Fabric Store, of course), and a good knit interfacing from Made Marion Craft. I really love the shape of these, and the cropped length is really cute (though I now have slightly sunburned ankles after a weekend spent outside). I took these photos yesterday morning before I headed out to the Homegrown music festival which was held on the waterfront. I can now confirm that they’ve stood up to some seriously sweaty, energetic, probably terrible dancing to some bands which I loved when I was at high school and university, and they also coped with another hot and crowded day at the Newtown Festival today. And they still haven’t bagged out! I definitely feel like I’m onto a winner. I definitely feel ridiculous for waiting this long to make jeans, I love that now I can actually wear a fully handmade outfit every day without thinking too hard about what I’m putting on. Clearly I need to make another pair…

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(so stretchy, so comfortable!)

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26 thoughts on “Jeans!!

  1. Lady these are stupendous! Right! I must make mine! Did you need to do any full rump adjustments or are these straight off the pattern? And also if your white welts annoy you, you could always colour the edges in with a navy or black fabric texta?

  2. Wow, this jeans is very pretty and I like it with the shirt πŸ™‚ I always wear high waisted jeans, I think its so much more comfortable!
    Fredi

  3. These are fabulous! They look SO good! I was thinking I’d like to tackle jeans this year and it looks like the Safran pattern would be a good place to start!

    1. Thanks Zara, I found the pattern really good for a first go. It’s missing some of the classic jeans detailing that the ginger pattern has, but they were quick and easy to put together which is always a plus!

  4. These are awesome! Well done, you!!!! I finished my very first pair of (Ginger) jeans this weekend and felt the same – why didn’t I make these earlier?! Will try you Deer&Doe pattern, too!

  5. Topstitching causes my Bernina to have a huge tantrum too – not so the Janome – she’s a trooper. I’m sure you did all the things, big fat eye in your topstitching needle etc. Its a problem for sure. I’ve now bought the Ginger Jeans workshop so if there are any hints as to how to tame the topstitching beast, will let you know Kirsten. Great jeans and I wonder if at least some of the underbum wrinkle is what allows one to walk up stairs!? There’ll be no stopping you now!

    1. Yeah, I used the topstitching needle, and normal thread in the bobbin and all that, my 1963 Bernina just hates topstitching thread! It never gives me any other issues though, so I can forgive this one πŸ™‚ I’m not bothered by the under bum wrinkles, I figure there will always be wrinkles when stretch denim and negative ease are involved! Thanks, enjoy the class!

  6. Hooray for handmade jeans! It took me quite a while to work up the nerve to make my first pair of jeans and I absolutely loved sewing them once I finally started. Thankfully my machine is OK with using topstitching thread, but I’ve heard of people using regular thread and their machine’s triple stitch as an alternative. You got a great fit on these! I love the combination of the skinny leg and the cropped length. Good luck with the Gingers when you get to those!

    1. I’d love to try triple stitch, but my machine is too old for mod-cons like that! For my next pair I’ve got some gold Sulky thread which is a bit thicker than normal thread but much more slippery and smooth than topstitching thread, so hopefully that’ll make life easier! I’m looking forward to giving it a go πŸ™‚

  7. As I said when you first wore these, they look fab, and perfectly ‘you’. I have zoomed in and squinted to see the diagonal knee lines (finally spotted them). Wondered if a slight knock-knee adjustment would be appropriate there? I tried the ‘minott method’, where you move the whole lower leg over, rather than pivoting anywhere, and it helped for me (I’m STILL muslin-ing though).

    1. Yeah, dark denim and bright sunlight made for difficult photographing! A knock knee adjustment and a full calf adjustment would probably help. I’ll look into that adjustment, thanks! Your trouser block is going to produce the most perfectly fitting trousers ever once you finish muslining!

      1. It’d better – though I might have completely changed body shape by the time I finish! It’s taking me forever (last week’s delay has just been a bit of productive procrastination though – refashioning a few cheap-from-the-US lovely rayon stupidly-short-dresses into tops because I was sick of the sight of calico!). This is the image I used for the knee thing, for reference: https://goo.gl/images/mQJzsA

  8. Yay – jeans! I’m knee-deep (pretty accurate metaphor in this case) in my first pair of Gingers at the moment, so it’s great to see more terrific-looking finished jeans out in the wild.

  9. These look sooooo good Kirsten!! I would be jumping up and down all over the place – hooray for making jeans!! I haven’t tried this pattern yet, but it’s on my list. The cropped length is so cute on you!! I wouldn’t worry at all about those back leg wrinkles – you need them for movement. Yay!! Can’t wait to see your Gingers!

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