January 7, 2015

Fitting my Ginger Jeans

It’s time for awkward staring at my pelvis time! YEAH!
I decided to make Heather Lou’s latest creation: the Ginger Jeans. A cool skinny jeans pattern has been long overdue in sewing world, so I was as pleased as everyone else was when it was released. Initially I assumed I couldn’t make them as I’m slightly outside the size 18 sizing, with a 40″ waist and 47″ hips, but then I realized that I shouldn’t be dissuaded by such trivialities… after all, that’s why we sew (even if it takes curvy sewists rather longer when you have to do adjustments. C’est la vie.)
As jeans often require quite some fitting, I decided to whip up two muslins, one for each view: the Ginger A, which are lower rise with stovepipe legs, and the Ginger B, which are higher rise with skinny legs. I’m glad I did because it didn’t play out quite as expected!
Today I’m sharing awkward photos of my muslins so you can see how I’m getting along… I’m hoping that my final version, made with the Ginger Jeans kit cone denim will be even better.
One stroke of genius I had was to first take photos wearing my most-commonly-worn Boden jeans, to set a benchmark. It’s really really hard (impossible perhaps?) to get perfectly fitting jeans with no wrinkles anywhere, so I wanted to make sure I was comparing realistically. And a good idea it was. Because here are the jeans I regularly wear and have never had any issues with:

Eek! You can see my classic issue here with RTW trousers: if they fit my waist (which these do), then they are bag-a-licious through the upper thighs. That’s quite a fold I have on the front there… yikes. And mega bags under my bum.  OK. Deep breath. Remember that I wear these regularly and don’t think they look that awful in real life.

Next up: Ginger As. For these, I graded up the waist by 3 inches (based on the finished measurement charts). It turned out that was too much – I hadn’t fully accounted for the stretch in the denim, plus I think that the grading is on the generous side. As a result, these are slightly loose at the waist and tend to slip down. In addition, this low rise just doesn’t work with my hip shape – I don’t have enough curve to keep them up! Still I must admit that they already look better than my Boden ones!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view A

And now the best option I think: the view B. On trying these on, I immediately realised that “high waisted jeans” aren’t high waisted on me, because I have a very high waist in the first place! They just feel normal to me. I did a thin thigh adjustment (basically took extra off the back inseam), and I also did the flat bum adjustment that scoops things up a bit in the bum area. I think I overdid that – it’s a bit too scooped – so for my final jeans I need to add a bit back in. I also made an error when I made these and somehow ended up easing the jeans into the waistband and chopping off some waistband… why oh why oh why? Anyway, as a result, they’re too tight there, but I’m confident that if I just sew them properly I won’t have that problem.

Beyond that: there’s still bagginess on the back thighs. Should I do more of an adjustment there? Maybe take in the side seam too? It’s also pulling a bit in the front crotch but I’m thinking maybe adding back into the back crotch will help alleviate that – does that make sense?

Finally, I had my Crafty Foxes play “pin the pocket on the Jenny bum”, and as you can see below, the right hand side higher, further out, version worked better for me – I’m in the “make it look rounder and bigger” camp!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans View B

So there we go – I can’t quite believe how easy these were to put together (awesome sewalong, Heather), and that I procrastinated for so long. I”m looking forward to whipping up my finals hopefully later this week!

54 thoughts on “Fitting my Ginger Jeans

  1. Gillian says:

    Great start! I’m blogging mine later this week, and although you and I have opposite shapes on our lower halves, I was also just a smidge beyond of the hip measurements… when i asked Heather on twitter she did say that because of the grading the larger sizes run a bit big. Grading aside, it makes sense to me that when my jeans are so much wider than the narrow sizes, the total inches of stretch is significant.
    Glad they are working out for you! Have fun sewing the “real” ones!

    1. Jenny says:

      Look forward to seeing yours Gillian!

    2. Sophie-Lee says:

      Gillian I was the same – my hips are just a bit beyond the biggest size in the hips. I made them (grading from my smaller waist to the biggest hip measurement) and they are perfect, if not a touch too big at the hip seam. Remember there’s plenty of stretch, AND they will get looser/baggier once you wear them.

      Jenny – the “high” waist ones look great on you! Especially when you get the thigh bagginess out, you’re going to look bangin’!

    3. Gillian says:

      Are the three of us triplets in hip-size, then? It would be an interesting post on the CSC to compare pics of a bunch of people with one identical measurement just to look at how much body shape can vary even when say hips or bust are the same! Like 3 people with the same bust size, or the three of us and our badonkadonks!

    4. Jenny says:

      That’s a great idea! We have to make it happen now..:

  2. Kate McIvor says:

    These jeans are looking really good! My waist is way up there, as well. If I make Ginger jeans, I’ll also make the high waisted version. Great job.

    1. Jenny says:

      High waisted sisters!

  3. dicca85 says:

    Yup view B simply rocks on you…. it is like day and night from RTW!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks… I’m slightly horrified by my RTW ones now 🙂

  4. The high-waisted version already looks great! I have yet to delve into pant making so sadly, I have no adjustments to recommend. On an unrelated note, looks like I should have stuck to my original plan to visit the Crafty Foxes this evening! Oh well. Next time!

    1. Jenny says:

      ARGH! Next week!

    2. Gillian says:

      Wait, are you two local to each other now? 🙂 We miss you up north, Sarah…

  5. Lynn says:

    While you are doing the Ginger Jeans – you will probably find the instructions from Peggy Sager’s Fitting Jeans video at http://www.silhouettepatterns.com/html/media/livestreamchannel/replay_06_20_2011.htm helpful in getting rid of the bagginess under your bottom.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks very much for sharing Lynn – I’ll check it out.

  6. Wendy says:

    Jeans fitting is so hard, and starting with photos of your rtw’s was a brilliant idea! I’m wondering if in addition to adding a little length to the front crotch, if you added back leg width in the crotch then took in an equal amount at the back side seam, the underbum wrinkles would be improved. It also looks a little like the leg backs are too narrow all the way down–see the wrinkles at the knee in front as well as in the back? Try releasing the inside leg seam about 6 inches above the knee to the bottom hem and see what happens to the wrinkles. Also note whether the inside leg seam is vertical, or is pulling toward the back. This looks like a great pattern–thanks for leading the way!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks for the thoughts Wendy, I’ll definitely see whether those work on my next version.

  7. tanyamaile says:

    Your two muslins are already way better than RTW! Your final jeans should be super awesome!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Tanya! They were certainly a lot better already than I expected 🙂

  8. View B looks way better than your RTW jeans. We have pretty much the same measurements and shape so I am really going to keep an eye on how these pan out. Trousers are the bane of my life, and yet I wear them every day. Thanks for sharing this review. Xx

    1. Jenny says:

      I will be your guineapig!

  9. 2goodeyes says:

    I never comment but this link to Silhouette Patterns on Youtube will be a great help to you.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks very much – I’ll check it out

  10. I can’t offer any fitting advice whatsoever but I would like to suggest that you consider altering the shape of the back pockets slightly so that they have a slanty top that runs more parallel to the yoke. I have some RTW jeans like this and I find it gives a fabulous shape to the booty which I think would work for you

    1. Jenny says:

      Aha, that’s an interesting tip – I’ll try it out and see if it works!

  11. Katie says:

    View B is looking great! I’m blogging my Gingers next week and was so impressed by the pattern.

    1. Jenny says:

      Cool, can’t wait to see your Katie, as you are The Jeans Queen already 😉

  12. Andie L. says:

    The muslins look great! I’m excited to see the final results. 🙂

  13. Mrs. Smith says:

    Echoing Amy’s remark to slant the pockets. Also I think that yes, view B is very nice so far. I think the yoke is a bit too long? Deep? The line seems to be drawing your bum down.

    I can’t get my words right! Hahaha! Maybe someone else will help me 😉

    I just finished my first pair of jeans. And kicking myself for waiting so long to make a pair. There WILL be more handmade jeans!!!!

    1. Jenny says:

      Yeah the yoke depth is a feature of the high waisted version and I”m not sure whether it’s quite right on me… I’ll play around with it. I agree with you on kicking myself about waiting too long! I was convinced they’d be super hard but turns out they’re not really.

    2. SJ Kurtz says:

      The problem I have with jeans: each pair I make is better, and I can see “one little tweak” that will make them perfect. I have taken a break because I am tired of looking at photos of my rear. And in a week, it’s version 6.0 (now with improved side seam perpendicularity from 5.8). What I am marveling at is how WELL those Boden fit you. I’ve hacked several pair, and decided that making jeans is easier than buying and crying over Boden cuteness.

  14. Vicki Kate says:

    I’ve just gotta come out and say this, but Jenny – You are AWESOME! I love the honesty of this and your other posts and like many others, I bought the pattern. In part to support CCF and her endeavours as being 35wks prejudgers there isn’t a hope I’ll be wearing them any time soon, but to see these looking so good, straight out of the packet (so to speak) is inspiring. I can’t wait to see the finished version of these, and I’m with your sewing crew: The placement of the right hand pocket is perfection.

    1. Jenny says:

      Aw, thanks Vicki Kate! I do try to post in-progress and wadder posts, even if it’s mildly humiliating at times… But the help of everyone who comments is too much to pass up!

  15. This is a pattern I need to get on. The thought of making my own jeans scares the hell out of me! The view B jeans are so much better than your RTW. I do think adding back in to the back crotch seam will make the front pull go away.

    I have to ask…are you wearing socks with holes in the toes? Leave it to my twisted little mind to focus on that!

    1. Jenny says:

      When you start, it’s weirdly unscary, honest! I was actually amazed. I think a lot of people struggle with topstitching, but I think it’s just a case of using the right press feet. I have an edgestitching foot which is a godsend, and then I use a quarter inch foot to do the next line

      And yes: socks with holes. CAUGHT!

  16. I love your idea to take pictures of your typical RTW jeans to compare to, and I think I’ll do the same thing. Sometimes I expect sewing to be magic and then when I do my first try-on, it’s like WHAT THE HELL. NOT PERFECT. It is so helpful to see what you’ve been okay with in the past, and to remember that sewing is NOT magic…but pattern alterations are! 😉

    I made up my first Ginger muslin last week, but it turned out way too big all over, including the waist. I’m actually going to try going down a few sizes to see if it helps, but I suspect I might end up needing to do the same as you and take a thin thigh adjustment so that the waist still fits.

    1. Jenny says:

      Exactly, we’re so much harder on things we’ve sown than things we’ve worn, which is sort of ironic when you think about it!
      Can’t wait to see yours.

  17. Girl! These are looking fab! It’s so, so wise to have the photos of your RTW jeans… there have been times I’ve gone down this crazy path obsessing over wrinkles and folds and whatnot and forget that before I sewed, I always had about 2″ of extra back waistband crinkled up under my belt (cause if the waist fit, I couldn’t pull them up over my butt, LOL!). We can get so nitpicky about fit when we’re making things ourselves! But these really look good!

    1. Jenny says:


  18. Michelle says:

    There’s so much brilliance in this post. I love that you took a pic of your RTW jeans as a “before” comparison. I agree that both View A & B are an improvement, and that wow, the skinny jeans look like they were drafted for you, outside of a couple of minor issues. I LOVE that you muslined both views for a comparison.

    I’m also just outside of the size range for these, but I bought the pattern anyway because I didn’t think that adding ~1″ to the side seams would be all that big of a fitting deal. I’m a lot shorter than you, so I suspect that the rise for View A will be a better choice for me, but I might follow your lead and muslin both views for comparison. I’m also planning to muslin the StyleArc Sandra jean, which is the only other narrow leg jean pattern out there with a decent size range, just to see how that compares to these.

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh thanks Michelle! I must confess that I don’t *love* seeing pictures of me in jeans as I’m not much of a pants-wearer, but given I do end up wearing them semi-regularly, I figured I should give it a go!

  19. Marjie says:

    I’m not a fan of low waisted garments, either. Frankly, even on skinny girls like my daughters, I think a low waist makes the wearer look pudgy. Both of your pairs of Ginger jeans are better than your favorite RTW, and your topstitching is beautiful! Looks like you’ll have a great pattern there once you get all of your fit issues perfected.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Marjie! I think the waist level thing depends a lot on your body shape, irrespective of weight or size – the curve of your hips and height of your waist makes all the difference!

  20. Ms. McCall says:

    I just cannot get over that you did all that topstitching on your ‘muslins’. I was all disappointed that you hadn’t posted the ‘before’ pictures, and then I realized that these were them! I just chalk on all of the various details until I get the fit right, it makes for a much speedier muslin process!

    1. Ms. McCall says:

      If I could edit, I would – forgot to say – these BOTH look 500% better than the RTW jeans! Looking forward to seeing your next version!

    2. Jenny says:

      Oh it was very much a choice – I haven’t done much topstitching before so I wanted to practice a bunch before the finals!

  21. Tammy Chin says:

    Brilliant post!
    I love seeing your jeans since I too am just a bit bigger than the pattern range. I’ve had everything sitting around for a few weeks, and my ginger fabric kit is now sitting here.
    Time to get get busy and work on my own muslin.

  22. LLADYBIRD says:

    I think view B looks pretty good!! (and view A is LIGHT YEARS better than your RTW pair, holy crap!). The only thing I’ve change is to add some room to that back crotch to pull it out a little bit. Personally, I don’t think the back wrinkles look bad at all – I think there’s a definite point where people can overfit and it can really really backfire – but the comments on fixing it are really interesting and now you must try and report back to us kthnx.

  23. Rose says:

    I’m impressed with your muslins–you have been very successful. I like the pockets up higher. I’m wondering if you have considered altering the yoke and making it flatter/less angled or narrower (similar to the Boden Jeans). This is a style change, not a fittiing change, but I think that the yoke is getting in the way of placing the pockets (I would move the pockets up a smidge higher). All in all, you are doing a GREAT job..

  24. Emilie says:

    Wow! I can’t believe you actually took the time to topstitch everything on the muslins! Wow!
    I think view B looks really good!
    I still have the pattern unprinted+ the denim kit… I’m procrastinating big time because I don’t feel like printing and taping a pdf pattern these days! 🙁
    Can’t wait to see the finished version, oh and excellent idea to compare to the fit of RTW jeans!

  25. joen says:

    View B certainly does give you a very flattering fit! look great.

  26. It is such a great idea to use your favorite RTW jeans a comparison for your Ginger jeans fitting. Because, you’re right, it’s darn near impossible to find a pair of jeans that are perfect everywhere. And, I think we are much quicker to scrutinize the fit of the things we make ourself over a store-bought version.

  27. Sara A. says:

    I like the legs from the first view and the pelvis from the second one.

  28. thanks for sharing this post! it’s a great idea to take pictures of RTW stuff before, I think we tend to have very high expectations from our sewing, that we do not have on RTW. I often find myself a little disappointed when I try somethnig I’ve sewn and often just allowing some time for getting used to the garment and realigning with the idea you had of the said garment is what I need. BTW I’m also a 47″hips but with a very different shape

Let me know what you think!