The last pair of jeans I bought was from Uni Qlo back in 2015. After 4 years of constant wear, they are starting to show their age, by coming apart at the point of most stress.. my inner thigh. I’ll still wear the jeans around the house or in the garden, but I think I need to retire them from public outings.
I, like so many sewists, have wanted to make a pair of jeans for a long time, and my RTW pair dying was the push I needed. I turned to the most trusted and most tested jean pattern I know of; The Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns.
This pattern has been sitting in my stash for about 2 years now, and I’m so happy I finally got around to using it. I remembered that I had bought the zipper fly hardware kit from CC, so all I needed to get was the denim and the topstitching thread.
Heather from CC has a very in-depth blog post about sourcing denim, and on her recommendation, I looked for a denim that had a bit of polyester in it. I settled on a denim from M.Recht. It’s their “Stretch Denim Art: MRA001″, 10oz and 55” (140cm) wide. The composition is 68.5% cotton, 1.5% elastane and 30% polyester.
I pre-washed the denim, and saw a lot of dye come out (which is normal). The colour is still very blue, and I’m excited to see how is wears over the next 6 – 12 months.
Based off the pattern measurements, I cut a 10 at the waist and graded to a 14 at the hip. After I basted the jeans together to test the fit, I shortened the crotch slightly, and the leg by 5cm. At this point I also tapered the ankle to a size 12, but I think I could even go down to a 10 here.
I had such a great time installing the fly front! Heather’s written instructions are so good, and just taking it step by step makes for a wonderful, professional finish.
I also had a great time designing my back pockets. First I drew out something with lots of curves, but I ended up liking a straighter design. I like it so much I might use it for all my jeans in the future (because we all know… there will be more jeans).
I must admit, I did struggle getting a clean cap on my rivets. I had to trim down the post on all of my rivets, and I broke through the cap 6 times out of 7. Here you can see my first rivet (on the coin pocket) and the last (on the pocket). The key is to trim that sucker almost flush with the denim. It feels like there won’t be anything for the cap to grip onto, but it’s the only way to not bust through them. I’m certain I’ll do better on my next pair.
My machine handled several layers of denim and topstitching wonderfully. I was nervous about bar-tacking the belt loops on, but I just went slowly and everything worked out really well (I also used Heather’s hack of gluing them on first). The only place I didn’t use the topstitching thread was for the button hole. I know from previous experience that my machine doesn’t like it, so I used a matching regular thread instead.
I have to give a shout out to my wonderful Dad, who crafted this clapper for me out of a scrap of hardwood. This thing is heavy; those grooves in the sides really help when picking it up. I was shocked how well this worked to help flatten seams! After running the iron over a seam, you place this on top (I also added a generous amount of pressure), and leave it for a few seconds. Take it off, and you’re left with a beautiful, crisp, flat seam! I think it really elevated the finished look of my jeans.
- Pattern brand/name/number: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
- Style, size: High rise version with the skinny leg, size 10 at waist, 14 at hips and 12 at ankles
- Fabric: Stretch denim from M.Recht, cotton lining from stash scraps
- Zipper fly hardware kit in Gold from Closet Case Patterns
- Gütermann topstitch thread, colour 893
- Gütermann general thread, navy 310
- Graded from a 10 at the waist, to a 14 at the hips, and down to a 12 at the ankles
- Shortened crotch length by 3mm
- Shortened leg length by 5cm (could possibly take off another 3cm)
I know I say this about everything I sew, but I looooooove these! I am so impressed with the fit! I normally have a lot of trouble getting jeans to fit my thighs, but also fit the small of my back without leaving a huge gaping waistband. These are pretty close to perfection.
I already want to make about 3 more pairs!