August 31, 2015

White Ginger Jeans in time for Labor Day

Never one to be told what to wear when, I made some white jeans, just in time for Labor Day (non-Americans: you’re not meant to wear white trousers after Sep 7th here!).

Ever since Heather launched the genius that is the Ginger Jeans pattern I’ve been pining after a white pair. I know they used to be naff… are they cool now? I have no idea. I do feel a little Liz Hurley when I wear them. But if it’s good enough for Hugh Grant’s main squeeze it’s good enough for me!*

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans

The main challenge was finding white denim: so much harder than you’d think! I’ve been stalking online stores for a solid year now, as well as popping in to the stores in NYC whenever I’m in town. No luck finding something the right weight with the right stretch. Eventually I stumbled across a listing from this seller on eBay and snapped some up.

The resulting jeans are… OK. Nowhere near as good as my triumphant first pair (still going strong!). They have less stretch than the other denim I’ve used, but peculiarly the jeans were coming up big and I kept on shaving more and more off the side seams to the extent I think they’re probably the size 16 now (I started with an 18). And yet I think they’re still a touch baggy for skinny jeans. I suspect that it’s the lack of recovery in the denim that’s doing this – I’m going to wash and dry them on hot and see if that snaps them back up!

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans

The bagginess is rather more obvious at the back…

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans

In fact, these were nearly the jeans that weren’t, because I managed to cut three back legs from my yardage, and once I discovered this I didn’t have enough left for a second front leg! Quelle desastre! Luckily I had an extra of the larger back leg, so I was able to cut a front out of it with all but a sliver of the fly.. which I then patched another bit of denim on to. As a result I have a rather jaunty angled seam at the fly, but hopefully no-one will be staring long enough to notice…!

IMG_3771 2

As a fun little touch, I made the waistband facing from this lovely London map print that I bought at Jones and Vandermeer.


So another sewing goal achieved, yay! Now I’m starting to contemplate Autumn sewing… while still stubbornly going swimming at Walden Pond as often as possible. I’m definitely sad that summer is ending, but delighted to be back to tights + boots + coats, my favourite combo! Have you started sewing for Fall? What are your plans? I’m considering a trenchcoat…

Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans

*yes I’m stuck in 1995. Help!

38 thoughts on “White Ginger Jeans in time for Labor Day

  1. gilliancrafts says:

    They look great! I made one pair of light-coluored Gingers (by sewing with the denim inside out) and they showed all the fitting flaws that dark denim masked! Could that be part of why these read “baggy” to you? Just that it shows more? Fabric too though – my kingdom for the perfect 30% stretch soft denim!

  2. These may seem baggy to you but they look fabulous! And that waistband fabric – oh, what fun!! I am so happy that you showed us your mistake and how you corrected it. I am going to show my sewing students so they will know that we all make mistakes along the way – we just need to figure out how to make it work. I would not have been able to see the extra seam had you not pointed it out and made me search for it!! What a save – I probably would have thrown in the towel. You make me want to sew some Ginger jeans – off to look at the pattern!

  3. Caitlyn says:

    I’m impressed that you found an even halfway-decent white denim fabric, because it took me about a year to lay my hands on a pair RTW white jeans that mostly fit at a time when they seemed pretty popular! The overall look you have going on is simple but so stylish, the kind of thing I wish I could manage every day…

  4. Oooh, I love them! I especially like how you styled them. The white looks so crisp and chic with the navy! I purchased a light gray denim months ago, and now I’m feeling inspired to make it up into Gingers!

    And I had no idea Liz Hurley had a thing for white jeans. Hilarious!

  5. Janet says:

    Ooooh – these look terrific. Which trenchcoat pattern are you eyeing up?

  6. Nancy K says:

    These look amazing on you! I bought the Ginger jeans because I loved how they looked on you and we are while not the same shape, pretty much the same size. I love how you and the other women in the collective embrace the bodies you have and sew beautiful clothing that look great on you.

  7. eLIZABETH1210 says:

    Beautiful jeans and you look great, excellent fit.

  8. OferMeSew says:

    great fit! you encourage me to try making my jeans

  9. Nicole Huennekens says:

    Looking great! And I think you should enjoy them well after Labor Day, since what else is “winter white” for, anyway?! I’d love a little more info on what your fabric content is, I’m just getting into jeans and have my first muslin cut, waiting to be stitched together as a trial run on a pattern from J. Stern because the Gingers don’t go up far enough in size, and with jeans, I’m not confident enough yet to grade up. Did you consider cotton twill? Fabric Mart often has white twill with stretch in it.

  10. Aileen Gimlin says:

    I agree, great fit and encouraging post! I love reading your posts-it’s been a long time since I have made something for myself that I like…must do the muslins! Thanks!

  11. I love them! I think they look fabulous! And 1995 is a great place to be stuck! LOL

  12. Lori says:

    Isn’t is crazy how each type of denim can sew up differently? I have a white denim (no stretch) to make these and will probably get them done in September. I think you should just call yours boyfriend jeans in the afternoon after they stretch out! Great job, you look fabulous.

  13. I think they look great, and white jeans after Labor Day might just hold off winter a little longer, don’t you think? If so, the entire Boston area needs to wear white jeans until April.

  14. Emily C. says:

    Love your white jeans! I haven’t given much thought to fall sewing yet, although ‘wool skirt’ is still on my to-do list from last year…

  15. Love love love your white jeans, They look fantastic and if I could get something to fit that well I’d be well chuffed!! I wish I could pull them off but woefully I think they’d be grey within a week…….. camping and car racing do not bode well for anything white!! 😀 I too bought the Ginger pattern after seeing your first pair! The thought of sewing my own jeans was something I never through possible (it is still unprinted so we’ll see if it ever eventuates!)

  16. Nakisha says:

    Forget the rules! Wear these as long as you like!

    Very cute!

  17. michelleinsea says:

    I think they look great! And I’ve been seeing more and more white jeans out “in the wild”, so I’m pretty sure that they’ve cycled back to being in style again. If/when I get my jeans fit down, I’m contemplating making a pair.

  18. Marike Smit says:

    Your jeans look cool, especially teamed up with some good old navy! Great patch job, no one will know unless you point it out to them. I am also a 90’s child and amazed at how certain fashion trends that were taboo back then is now all the rage. I am cautiously nudging myself to try some of these trends, although my 90’s programming makes me feel like I am comitting a fashion sin lol.

  19. Meg says:

    You look fabulous! And I think 1995 was a good year as any to get stuck in…wasn’t it?
    Confession: I’m afraid to make jeans. But I’ve been amassing outerwear patterns, twills and tweeds. As soon as I stop being terrified of linings…maybe I’ll have a new coat.
    If you make one, I hope you post details of the experience. You’re always so inspiring, Jenny.

  20. carlalissa says:

    They look lovely. You beat me to them….I have been trying to make them all summer too! By the way has some good white stretch denim last time I checked.

  21. ellegeemakes says:

    Lovely jeans! That pattern is on my to-do list as well. I’ve purchased the denim but haven’t had the guts to dive in yet. And have you heard? The nineties are cool again! LOL. They look great on you.

  22. SJ Kurtz says:

    I’ve loved your process, and feel sad for you about the fabric. Yes, sometimes, fabric lets us down. BAD fabric! They do look good.
    This is where I admit that half of my jeans are old Gloria Vanderbilt stretch jeans I’ve severely altered. I just can’t get my mitts on stuff half as fine as these (I’d take them off to give you the year, but it’s awhile back). I shop the thrifts by running my hand down the racks until I recognize the feel.

    Groping for jeans, I remain yours truly

  23. Margo B says:

    These look awesome and I personally like white jeans to be a bit on the loose side. A trench coat sounds interesting…

  24. Robyn says:

    They look great – the Ginger Jeans pattern is such a winner. As we’re heading into summer I thought white jeans would be great too but the denim I bought looks cream when paired with white so now I’m not sure what to do!

    1. Melissa O. says:

      After Labor Day jeans! Pair them with things that are navy, cranberry, green, an autumn shade of orange like burnt orange, peach, etc. See if that helps, not to make them appear more white but to make the cream seem more on purpose.

  25. V Reed says:

    You look flipping gorgeous! Go with the trenchcoat. I can’t wait to see it!

  26. ooobop! says:

    I’m still in awe of people who can not only make jeans but wear them well. You look fabulous, lady. Great job! 🙂

  27. Yay! I love that you made these. Definitely jeans, so not skinny jeans. Wow. The fabric really changed your adjustments. Ain’t sewing fun? You look gorgeous as always and these are still some cute jeans!

  28. Joen says:

    I’m hoping to use the 3 day labor day weekend to squeeze in some sewing….fall tops, and a Grainline Morris blazer are in the plan.

  29. amcclure2014 says:

    Nice. I had to search for the extra seam.

  30. Denise says:

    Question time! I’ve made a pair of Gingers, and I love them, but how did you get away with using a non-stretch waistband facing? My Gingers get pretty loose in the waist after a while, but I would have thought that using a non-stretch facing would make it hard to get them buttoned in the first place?

    1. Hi Denise – actually I’ve only ever made them with non stretch material and it works well for me. There’s still a little bit of give over time

      1. Denise says:

        Oh thank you for the reply! I’m making a pair right now (literally, they’re lying across my lap), and the fit is almost there, but that waistband is going to have to be dead-on. I’ll try this!

  31. Michelle says:

    Just listened to your interview on Seamwork and what an inspiration you are. I just had to see your jeans. You look (and the jeans) look fantastic!

  32. Melissa O. says:

    I think the jeans look great. Really, no worries. I feel your discouragement at cutting out the wrong piece. I just did this on the Appleton dress. Guess what I forgot to do… yep, flip the front bodice piece upside down for that second cut. 🙁 I might have enough fabric to fix it IF I can squeeze out a 2-3 inch strip from the scraps because the large piece I have left is that much too narrow. Good thing it’s the side of the dress that’s mostly hidden when you wear it. I think it will be ok. In my defense, this is the first time I’ve made an Appleton & my grandma was so mesmerized that I was tracing my pattern into the fabric that she was talking my ear off. Lol! Gotta love her.

Let me know what you think!