January 12, 2015

Starting the new year with a hit: my Ginger Jeans!

There are some garments that I think most sewists think of as in an extra-special, extra-“hard” category: swimsuits, bras, jeans and coats come to mind. The silly thing is that most of them aren’t actually that hard or that much more difficult to make than other garments and yet, because they occupy that special mental category, when you manage to make one you feel triumphant. 
And so…
Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B

I am quite overcome. Let’s get one thing out of the way straight up: this pattern has been drafted amazingly well. If you think jeans are hard, think again, because between the fantastic drafting, the instructions and the sewalong, you’ll be fine. And they totally capture the RTW fit of skinny jeans in a way I have never seen from the Big 4. For this pair, I used the infamous Ginger Jeans kit – these are the heavier “winter” denim (with 3% lycra), together with a metal YKK zip, and the jeans button and rivet included in the kit. 
You may have seen my fitting post last week – based on the comments there and on Pattern Review, here are the changes I made:
– Started with the size 18, view B (allegedly high waisted, but doesn’t really look so on me). If you’re worried about fitting into the sizing range, bear in mind that my waist is 40 – 41″ and the “body measurement” for the 18 waist is 38.5″ and I did no adjustments other than sewing the top side seam at 3/8. As I mentioned before, I think the grading is generous. 
– Did a 3/4 inch thin thighs adjustment which basically means you shave excess off the back inner thigh area. 
– Did a 1/4 inch flat bum adjustment, which involves dropping the crotch just a little bit
– Then through the basting process, I adjusted seam allowances to give me the best fit (bear in mind I have a larger waist and thinner thighs than average for my size). On the side seams I started at 3/8 at the waist, went to 5/8 through the upper thighs, then down to 1/4 through the calves (which run on the small side in this pattern). On the in-seam I went at 5/8 through the upper thigh, then 1/4 through the calves. 
I didn’t get rid of all the back thigh wrinkling, but I did get rid of most of it, and the crotch, err, “issues” are gone. 

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B

I used the tutorial to add a pocket stay and I’m a total convert – it definitely holds everything in. I most certainly do not have a flat stomach, but my Ginger Jeans aren’t letting on! You may notice that the very top of the fly front buckles – this happens on all my trousers, and I’m not sure whether there’s a way to fix it? Also, I didn’t interface my waistband because I find they often dig into me which is uncomfortable. However, the side effect of that is that it creases a bit in the middle – I don’t mind as I’ll never actually wear these with something tucked in.

For topstitching, I used my ever-trusty Bernina edgstitching foot – this is the kind of magical tool that I was unaware of as a beginner when I thought all sewists must just have lightyears better hand-eye control than me… Using it lets me get a perfect 1/8 distance from the edge. Then, I used my 1/4 inch foot to do the second line. I increased my thread tension to 7 which helped (before, it was pulling the topstitch thread through too much to the back), and I quickly discovered backstitching doesn’t work with this thread on my machine so I started each seam at a low stitch length instead.

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B
One thing that did help immensely was having all three sewing machines out at the same time: my old Brother for doing the seams, my Bernina for doing the topstitching (it worked like a dream, no hump jumper required!) and my serger for finishing all the seams. It would have taken twice as long if I’d had to switch out the thread constantly… 
Here are my beautiful Vlisco pocket stays during the construction process – you want something fairly thin but firm to get the effect I think. I decided to get all fancy and French seamed them but actually this wasn’t my brightest idea as it’s hard to do that round a curve, so they’re a little puckered on the inside.
Being a bit of a fool I decided to make these on Friday night in order to take photos on Saturday morning, so I ended up doing my first ever rivets at 1am… Oops. However, after 3 failed attempts I finally got the hang of it. As I didn’t have wire cutters to trim the rivet posts, I used spacers on the back of them instead – basically I cut scraps of denim, and used 3 layers of denim on the back of the rivet, and then trimmed around it afterwards. Worked like a charm. I did find the rivet post punctured the front of the rivet ever so slightly but I think that’s somewhat unavoidable unless you have a proper rivet press. 
Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B
Here’s a big picture of my bum for you. I don’t usually care very much for pictures of my rather flat, rather low, bum, but I have to offer my thanks to Heather for an entirely acceptable back view in these!
I used the height of the pockets we’d tested on my muslin, and I do like them though they could probably be a bit improved. Some folks suggested that I shorten the yoke and I did a little bit, but maybe could more. Again though, I’ll never wear these with something tucked in so really the more relevant back view is the one above, and I think it looks fine. 
Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B
So there we have it: my very first pair of jeans, and they are BY FAR the most well-fitting jeans I’ve ever owned. Who’d have thought it? I am slightly burned out now having made 3 pairs (including my muslins) in a week, so I’m going to put the other denim from my kit away for a bit, but trust me, I’ll be back before long. 
Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view B

Who else has tried the Ginger Jeans? Do you love them too?

118 thoughts on “Starting the new year with a hit: my Ginger Jeans!

  1. LLADYBIRD says:

    BABE. These look amazing! High fives around!!

    1. Jenny says:

      HIGH FIVE! JCro4Eva

  2. nice work! must be such an achievement to make your own jeans!

    1. Jenny says:

      It does feel like quite the achievement! We all need to feel smug sometimes 😀

  3. Katie says:

    Ummm AMAZING. I think this is my favourite pair I’ve seen yet in terms of fit. Heather poured some kind of witchcraft into this pattern, they seem to fit and flatter everyone! I’m looking out for black twill/denim to make my next pair.

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh thanks so much Katie! I was surprised by how relatively-easy they were to fit, especially as I don’t have the high hip/waist ratio that I think they were designed for. Can’t wait to see your black twill ones – I have a similar thought…

  4. cidell says:

    Good on you! these look terrific. And, you rear doesn’t look the least bit flat. These are working for you

    1. Jenny says:

      Ha ha, thanks! My bum needs all the help it can get

  5. sew rachel! says:

    Those are flippin’ amazing!!!!! Looking back at your RTW jeans, these are so much better than those! Totally inspired to try jeans, and this pattern even!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! And yes I’m a little embarrassed at how much better these are than my RTW – I’m never going back

  6. Liz says:

    They look great! I just downloaded the pattern a few days ago, and I’m happy to see more confirmation that it looks good on someone close to my size!

    1. Jenny says:

      Awesome! Hope yours work out well. Doing lots of basting and trying-on is definitely worth it, in my experience.

  7. these look amazing! so well fitted! who needs RTW right?!

  8. L:) says:

    They look awesome, well done!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks so much, L

  9. Andie L. says:

    Jenny! So Amazing! Those look fabulous on you and realllly flatter you! Great job!

  10. Rox says:

    You made jeans! They look awesome and so flattering. Truly. And you almost convinced me they aren’t as scary as they seem… almost. Congrats!

    1. Jenny says:

      I did, right?! And they really aren’t scary if you have a few garments under your belt – you’ll be surprised…

  11. tanyamaile says:

    Those jeans are fantastic! You’re making me want to get my pattern out and cut into some denim!

    1. Jenny says:


  12. Jane says:

    Gah, they’re perfect Jenny! I have the pattern and was massively tempted to try it out after seeing What Katie Sews’ version, seeing yours has just tipped me over the edge. Just ordered some denim…. Honestly they are so flattering, fab, fab work! x

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh thanks Jane! I’m sure your will be awesome as well – the denim does make all the difference.

  13. Melissa says:

    They look great on you! I just finished a pair on New Years Day that I’ve yet to get posted, but I’ve worn them 4 times already since then. They are probably the most comfortable pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. I wasn’t as brave as you though and for my first pair, I skipped the rivets. I bar tacked the heck out of them instead.

    1. Jenny says:

      The rivets are definitely a bit tricky – you need to practice a bit first, but I like the professional look of them

  14. Kate McIvor says:

    Great job!!! Love love love!

  15. These look incredible. I am working on jeans myself and affirm that this is hard work paid off. Well done and thanks for sharing the pictures!

    1. Jenny says:

      Good luck with your jeans Accacia!

  16. They look great! I hope to one day own two sewing machines too so that I don’t have to change out my threads between regular and topstitching when making jeans. It is a pain!

    1. Jenny says:

      Ah yes I must say that having two makes a big difference. My tip is that if you ever decide to upgrade your machine, keep the old one. I almost didn’t, and I’m so glad I didn’t make that mistake!

  17. Fabulous! They fit you perfectly.

  18. Suzie W says:

    Wow, these are brilliant, really inspiring!

  19. Heather Lou says:

    I’m saying this with as few creep vibes as possible: that is one hot crotch and butt. SUper great fit and your bum really looks smashing! Although yes, that yoke could come up 1/2″ for the next round. Brava!

    1. Jenny says:

      Dear Mrs Creep, god, what a creep.


      And yeah, my general pelvic area does look pretty smashing, even I must admit.

    2. Staci says:

      Question for you ladies. If you shorten the yoke by removing 1/2 an inch, do you add that 1/2 inch to the top of the legs where it joins the yoke?

    3. Jenny says:

      Yes Staci, you’re basically just moving the yoke line higher up

  20. Wow! Those look phenomenal.

  21. These are so fantastic on you, dude! I’m majorly impressed! You sewed them so, so beautifully!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Ginger! They were a lot easier than I imagined, but 2 muslins definitely helped

  22. Birgit says:

    That Ginger is just pure magic, it seems… Those jeans look great on you!

    1. Jenny says:

      They were magic!

  23. Katie says:

    These are gorgeous on you!!! What a great fit!

    I love both my pairs, and I cannot believe how awesome this pattern is on everyone I’ve seen so far!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Katie! I can’t wait to make more pairs too….

  24. Tiffany says:

    They look great! I’m making my own right now and I’m happy to see how they are working for everyone. So far so good for me.

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh that’s excited Tiffany – I hope they turn out well (I’m sure they will…)

  25. MareMare says:

    Those look amazing on you! Great job, I am sooo impressed!

  26. Staci says:

    Wow, Wow and WOW!!!!!!!! Those look amazing! I’ve been waffling back and forth on whether or not to buy this pattern and you’ve just convinced me. I’ve tried three other jeans patterns without much success. Every pattern I’ve tested so far ends up looking like grandma’s jeans for plus sized gals….ugh! Cannot wait to try the Ginger pattern now 🙂

    Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! These are most definitely not your grandma’s jeans…

  27. Heather says:

    These look fantastic on you Jenny!! You did a lovely job! I can’t get over how incredible this pattern is – and how amazing it looks on everyone who sews it up. Cant’ wait to see your next pair!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thank you, Heather!

  28. Michelle says:

    These look fantastic, and they really do make your bum look amazing.

    1. Jenny says:

      My bum thanks you Michelle! ;D

  29. Sophie-Lee says:

    Jenny you look FANTASTIC!! And your bum looks great!

    I must admit though, I am KICKING myself for not buying one of those kits. Fingers crossed she gets more soon

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Sophie-Lee! I think the next time they become available they’re going to get snapped up in a hot minute… Though I did notice that Taylor Tailor also has cone denim (not sure if it’s the same type exactly)

  30. Vicki Kate says:

    Hot damn, these look fantastic! Bravo!

  31. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous! These look incredible! Excellent job with the fit and stitch on these!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks very much Michelle!

  32. Gina says:

    These make me want to drop everything and go muslin a pair of Gingers right now. These are absolutely fabulous – possibly the best Gingers I’ve seen to date!

    1. Jenny says:

      That’s very kind of you to say! You should probably drop everything and go muslin a pair right now…

  33. Oh……WOW.

    Jenny these are so fricking amazing. You know, I haven’t actually really liked any of the Gingers I have seen, and I didn’t get what the hype was about but I do now. These are stunning, so chic and flattering and well made. Clever you!

    1. Jenny says:

      Ah, thanks Rosie! It makes a difference to see patterns on someone close to ones own size, I find… sometimes it’s not until then that something clicks for me.

  34. Holy moly, those are fantastic. We have similar butt/ hip shapes so I am so thrilled to see yours looking svelte in those jeans. I’ve been meaning to buy the pattern and notions for awhile, but I’m buried in satin for the next few months (formats to alter and a wedding dress to sew). So making a pair of Gingers for myself will have to wait until spring. Maybe I’ll chop them and make a pair of walking shorts? Hmmmm

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks, butt/hip sister! You should totally try to slip a pair in among all that satin!

  35. They look great but what’s even better is how thrilled you are – nice job lady.

    1. Jenny says:

      Ah, thanks 🙂

  36. Crab and Bee says:

    Goodness gracious! They are ridiculously flattering! I like how the silhouette is tapered but there’s still some ease through the knees and calves – my favorite kind of jeans. Re: the waistband, I don’t like rigid waistbands either and I’ve been considering using some kind of stretch woven as a sew-in interfacing. I’ll report back if I ever get around to trying!

    1. Jenny says:

      Aren’t they just? I’m not sure I’ve ever actually owned flattering jeans before, so it’s a bit of a new thing to me!

  37. Candice says:

    These turned out terrific! You sold me on this pattern.

    1. Jenny says:

      You should definitely try them, Candice!

  38. Yamie says:

    These jeans look amazing on you! Fantastic job!

  39. lisa g. says:

    These look so great!! Nice work on the fitting, your efforts really paid off.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Lisa! It’s great when fitting actually has results 🙂

  40. Excellent job with construction and fit! Enjoy!

  41. Annamari says:

    just GORGEOUS.
    Far better than the RTW you used to wear.

    1. Jenny says:

      I agree that they’re much better!

  42. Amanda says:

    Like a boss, Jenny. Like a freaking JEANS MAKING boss!

    1. Jenny says:

      Why thank you Amanda. I aim for maximum bossness at all times

  43. SewJillian says:

    Check it out!! OMG you are a jeans superstar. I’ve got this pattern lined up to tackle in Autumn and just can’t wait. Every pair of these jeans I’ve seen have just been so very flattering no matter the body shape. How on earth did Heather do it???

    1. Jenny says:

      I have no idea!! I wasn’t sure they’d suit me due to the lack of hip-curviness, but they do indeed. I think the key is basting and fitting as you go

  44. Carol S says:

    Jenny those are fantastic. I bet Heather sells a ton of patterns based on this review. I’m in the middle of putting a pair together and my muslin (shorts) looked pretty good.

    1. Jenny says:

      Great to hear! Hope the final version work out.

  45. Oh, these look so good! I am still working on re-cutting mine in a smaller size. Hope mine look as good as yours!

    1. Jenny says:

      Can’t wait to see them Nicole!

  46. Sylvie says:

    They look awesome!! Heather has totally started a trend, almost a war! against RTW jeans! 😉

    1. Jenny says:

      She’s a one-woman trend machine 😀

  47. daligula says:

    I bet you won’t go back to RTW jeans!

  48. emadethis says:

    Nicely done. It’s always so gratifying to finish off a pair of jeans!

  49. Great job, they look amazing!!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Sandra!

  50. Symon says:

    Really, really nice job!!! Having just gotten through my own first pair of jeans, I can say well fitting skinny jeans are an animal I’ve never spotted in the RTW wild and it’s pretty satisfying to be able to make such a thing! Yours look great!!

    1. Jenny says:

      Isn’t is just? There’s no way I could get a pair to fit me properly from a store

    1. Jenny says:

      Thank you, Gail

  51. Fiona Parker says:

    Amazing! You’ve given me a kick up the bum to get on with mine! SUCH beautiful topstitching!

    1. Jenny says:

      Yeah, give it a go Fiona! Once you try them you won’t go back…

  52. This absolutely looks amazing!!! you did such a great job!!

  53. Alessa says:

    Wow, they do indeed look lovely! I’m pretty amazed how good these jeans look on such a variety of figures! I have to admit, I bought the pattern in December even though I hardly ever wear jeans. Maybe twice a year, since I find them a lot less comfortable than dresses or skirts. Maybe the Gingers will convince me otherwise? 😉

  54. Holy cow. They do NOT look like any RTW jeans in my curvy shops. I have been wistfully staring at an upstate ny sewing weekend that has a Ginger workgroup…. now your review has me itching to register. Campworkroomsocial.Com Now, I need win a lottery.

  55. Kim says:

    I just discovered your blog via your inspiring interview on Seamwork Radio. I am now perusing the archives of your blog and am suitably impressed! These jeans are awesome!

Let me know what you think!