Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Made! - (skintight!) GINGER JEANS

When Heather over at Closet Case Files released the Ginger Jeans pattern I downloaded it that very day. When she offered jeans-making kits that included two high-quality denim cuts, rivets, and buttons I bought one that very day and waited with gleeful anticipation for its arrival.

Ginger Jeans - View B

High-waisted skinny jeans

Wearable Muslin
Since this is my first pair, I used a stretch denim that I bought on clearance at JoAnn's. Good thing it's rather stretchy, as these are quite tight! There are skinny jeans, and there are skinny jeans. I made the latter.

But let me tell you - I love them. I got to topstitch all over the place, which is something I really enjoy doing. I got to pick out a button to use, and I learned how to make a pocket stay so that these babies don't get slouchy in the front over time. (I really hate that about my RTW jeans.)

One of the reasons these ended up so tight is because I got a bit overzealous in my wishing to be a certain size. My waist put me at a size 4, but my hips put me at a 10, so I graded accordingly. After basting the seams and trying them on I realized that the 10 was way too loose, so I took them in. Woot! said the vain woman inside me. What I failed to notice, though, was that my particular shape needs room between the hip and waist, rather than at the hips themselves. So, my size grading should have begun closer to the waist and not been quite so extreme. Next time I'll get it right!

For the topstitching, I used some gray cotton-covered hand quilting thread that I had on hand.  I ran it through the machine but used regular thread in the bobbin, as suggested by various sewing blogs. It worked! And I like the lower contrast of grey and denim. Sometimes gold or copper is okay, but other times...meh.

I cut the back pockets at a size 8 - I guess because of my grading? Anyway, I didn't think to re-cut them, and I don't really like their size.

mehhhh...smaller pockets next time
Momma may have said "don't worry about your size," but she also said "girrrl, make yo'self some flattering pockets." 

sidenote: As husband was taking this photo he said, "I know that you have to take pictures, but this one is like... butt." It's true, what he says.

Let me just say that Heather, who designed this pattern, has to be one of the ballsiest people on the planet. Her first pattern was for a bathing suit. BATHING SUIT. Her second was for a body suit. And now there's these - JEANS. Way to tackle the things that terrify every woman, yet give us tools to make our own so that they fit and flatter. Wonderful, that Heather woman.

A more flattering photo of the back. Thank goodness.

Pocket Stay
A pocket stay is not part of the original Ginger pattern, but I will probably make one every single time I make jeans. It's rather simple, and the instructions are in this post over at the Closet Case Files blog. Rather than pocket pieces that connect at the waistband and side seam, a pocket stay connects at the waistband, side seam, and center fly, which prevents that pockets from stretching out the denim.  Also, it really flattens the look of the tummy, which is amazing. And when your body is telling you to only eat and sleep because it's winter, anything that helps mask all those pasta carbs is welcomed and appreciated.

I used some pretty printed cotton left over from a 1950's inspired sundress:

Seam Allowances
I'm really glad I followed Heather's advice in basting all the seams for fit before really getting into the flat-fell seams. Here are my final decisions:
          inseam - 3/8" until notch, then 1/4"
          center back - 1/2" in a shallow zig-zag, to allow for room when sitting
          side seams - 5/8" at waist grading to 3/8" at the bottom of the fly, then 1/4" below the notch

I will definitely just cut a larger size the entire length of the leg next time. I'm wondering if I cut a size 6 if it will fit perfectly...

The inseam is 32", which is an average length. I think that's okay for these skinny jeans, since I'll most likely be wearing them with flats or under boots. For the "stovepipe" cut of View A, however, I will lengthen it by about an inch to have more of a decision about the length. I'm rather picky with the length of pants and whether I want to wear heels or flats with them. (This OCD attention to detail isn't the reason I have multiple pairs of black pants, but it ends up working out well, since the long ones I can wear with 4 inch heels, the slightly long ones with modest 2 inch heels, and the normal ones with flats.) Go ahead, judge me. 

Seriously, though, I hate how my legs look when I'm wearing heels with pants that aren't quite long enough. It makes me feel stumpy. Ain't nobody want to feel stumpy.

These jeans certainly don't make me feel stumpy. I feel ridiculous putting them on, though, because I have to do the ol' Jordache Lay-n-Flop/Zip-n-Pray to get them on. I laugh at myself every time I have to do it; Leeloo just mocks me the whole time. Imbecile, she says.

Last, but certainly not least, I hand-sewed a Creative Laurels label to the outside of the waistband. Ain't no room on the inside for nothin' else!!

Hand-sewn with topstitching thread

I made jeans. I feel like I just went through an extraordinary rite of garment construction passage. I'd like to thank Netflix, all those actors on Criminal Minds, all those people who illegally upload Ghost Hunters episodes to YouTube, and my husband for entertaining the cat so I could sew these in peace.