Closet Case Ginger Jeans – we’ve made them, we’ve blogged them, we’ve read the reviews. Now that I’ve finally caught up to the rest of the sewing world, I can reflect on what I like and don’t like so much about jeansmaking.
Topstitching, pants construction, even fly front zips – I love the technical challenges of jeans-making. Even better, my machine looooves denim (almost as much as it hates fine fabric!). When sewing bartacks, it chewed through 9 layers of denim without complaint.
Who doesn’t love pockets? My back pocket design is ripped straight off the Jean Pocket Project directory – I traced the lines and overlaid them onto the Ginger pocket using Preview for Mac. Then I could trace the printed design onto Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film and sew straight onto the pocket (with another layer of film underneath to stabilise).
Poor quality materials
This is one of my bug-bears about sewing – no matter how well I fit and sew, often my project is ruined by poor quality materials that just cannot compare to RTW. The denim in my Misty Jeans bled dye, and the black replacement denim I used for the Georgie Jeans and Simplicity skirt wore away to almost white at the seams with handling.
I expected great things from this particular fabric, as it came from M. Recht Accessories, a Melbourne retailer noted for their quality. Unfortunately, it pilled all over, both sides, after just one wash. Honestly, I could have bought longer lasting denim from KMart. M. Recht were good about it, and due to their reputation I’m hoping it was an anomaly.
I had much the same problem with the notions. My first set of buttons and rivets from M. Recht were good quality, but nothing I bought matched. This was entirely my fault, as I didn’t quite understand how rivets and jeans buttons worked at that point (and you purchase buttons, rivets, burrs and posts/nails separately).
The buttons and rivets I ended up using came from Closet Case as I couldn’t find that lovely brass colour anywhere else. To my surprise, the buttons were mostly indistinguishable in quality to the 20c cheapies I had from eBay – they both had a plastic-y quality that the M. Recht notions were lacking. In the future, I would stick with M. Recht for quality accessories (if I figure out how to order correctly!), and eBay/AliExpress for budget.*
Am I the only person on earth who can’t figure out how to attach rivets? Even my Macgyver, bookbinder dad who faffs about with this kind of stuff all day was perplexed. No matter how much we trimmed the post, the attached rivet still hovered above the fabric. It was only by hammering with a snap setting tool that would make the rivet edges flush with the fabric, and force the inner post up and out.
What were we doing wrong? Was I setting them in upside down? WHY DID NO ONE ELSE HAVE THIS PROBLEM?
Unlike everyone else who has made these jeans, I found the fit first time round unflattering, to say the least. I think I have the opposite body shape to what Heather drafts for – I’m flat in the back and round in front – so the seat was saggy and sad, and they were a bit big all around.
It took a bit of experimenting but by straightening the back hip curve then taking in the hips and thighs a little, I achieved the magical ~Ginger Jeans fit~ everybody raves about.
I LOVE THESE JEANS. Ahem. Like, I know I love a lot of stuff I make, and I didn’t really expect to incorporate these jeans as part of my everyday wardrobe, but after wearing them for one day I just kept wearing them. They are so comfy and flattering and actually make me look like I have long legs, which is a minor miracle in itself.
But were they worth making? Yes, and no. I enjoyed the sewing process (rivets aside), and liked the creative control. But, as with many types of crafting, the lack of readily attainable and affordable high quality materials gives me pause for thought. Is it really worth spending all that time, energy and money (the materials for these jeans cost $120AUD, not including the notions I bought but didn’t use) on something that won’t have the same quality materials as jeans that I could buy for, say, $80?
Right now, the answer is yes – because I can’t find jeans in this style anywhere. Everything is super-skinny or not quite high rise enough. So, I probably would make another pair of Gingers to attain something equally flattering. But I would be much happier about it if I could make it with materials that were at least equivalent in quality to RTW!
Pattern: Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans
Pattern details: Skinny jeans pattern with two rise and leg variations. Available as printed pattern or PDF download, A4 and copy shop. Sizes 0-20.
Errata: found that coin pocket interfacing was too short. Link to sewalong in instructions links to Bombshell Swimsuit sewalong.
Fabric: 2m x 55″ denim from M Recht – Stretch Denim Art: MRA344. 10oz, indigo blue, 98% cotton, 2% elastane.
Other materials: Sheerweft interfacing. Stash Exterminate Spoonflower fabric for pockets. 3 x Gutermann polytwist (topstitching) thread, 612, from Spotlight. YKK 4.5 metal zip, 20cm, auto lock 560 navy, from M. Recht. Copper button and rivets, from Closet Case.
Mods: View B with leg in between skinny and stovepipe width. Size 14.
– Tiny scoop out of back crotch curve
– Didn’t fuse waistband, used double layer denim (this is an option in the pattern to maintain stretch)
– Straightened hip curve of back slightly, maybe 4-5mm at most, going to nothing at waist and upper thigh
– Narrowed side seams slightly (maybe 3mm) from end of pocket bags to knee/calf
– Own pocket placement and topstitching design
– Use a lighter weight, more agreeable cotton for the inner pocket – Spoonflower fabric very stiff and difficult to work with
– Deepen pockets and sew line down middle to delineate pocket and stay area
– Take in side seams and waistband slightly to accommodate natural stretch – they fit perfectly after a wash but bag out a little with wear
*This is purely based on postal cost, as M. Recht’s notions are actually very affordable. The eBay listings generally have no added post. If I could purchase in store, M Recht’s offerings would actually be cheaper.