Weekend with Ginger, Part II

Pattern: Closet Case Files's Ginger Jeans
Fabric: stretch denim
Cost: remnant

Having finished a very satisfying pair of jeans on Saturday, I decided to not lose steam and plunge right ahead with the second pair on Sunday. As you'll recall from my first post about my weekend with Ginger, I took a rainy weekend to myself to perfect the fit of the Ginger pattern. After finishing the high-rise version on Saturday, I decided to make a few remaining alterations to the pattern and use the remnants of the same fabric to make an ankle-length pair.

The first tweak I wanted to make was to the front crotch curve. While the low-rise Gingers fit me perfectly in this area, the high-rise version for some reason contained a lot of excess fabric. I expected them to be the same shape, but when I compared the original pattern I found that they are in fact different - the high-rise Gingers feature a much more protruding front crotch section. To fix this issue for this pair of jeans, I simply traced the front crotch from the low-rise Gingers onto my high-rise Ginger pattern. That was an easy fix!

Second, I wanted the pants to fit slightly lower than the high-rise version. To do this, I cut off the top 1" of my pattern pieces, tapering to just 1/2" off in the back. This is different that lengthening or shortening at the fitting lines, as I simply wanted the jeans to sit lower on my torso. I was initially worried that only shaving off half an inch at center back may look weird (compared to shaving off 1" at the front), but the shape actually turned out to be great.

With these changes in mind, on Sunday I woke up with my pattern pieces already cut out, and glorious rain falling outside. After a trip to the grocery store and some breakfast, I was all set to begin. For this pair, I thought it would be interesting to see how long a pair of pants takes when you don't have to pause for fitting. Here it goes:

Pockets: Half an hour. This step was easy as I had just done it yesterday. I also french seamed the bottoms of the pockets, which is possible because it's a one-piece pocket. This is a technique I picked up from the Thread Theory Jedediah Pants (see sewalong for details).

Fly front: Another half an hour. Again, it helped that I had just done this yesterday. I've said this before, but I love Heather's instructions for the fly front. Method here.

Assembly: An hour and a half. I assembled the seat and the inner pants leg, then took a break to walk the dog (not included in the time). These seams are generally the easiest part of making pants (you just sew a straight line!) but they do take some time as I stitch each seam three times: I sew the seam with a triple stitch, serge the raw edges together, press, and then stitch down the serged seam allowance to the pants with another triple stitch. I like this method because it produces a nice, strong faux flat-fell look, and the triple stitching keeps the seam and topstitching in place. Without the triple stitch I have found that the thread starts to come undone over time.

Waistband: Another hour and a half. Because I was using remnant fabric, I had to piece the waistband together at the center back. Many patterns are pieced here so it's not a huge issue, and the seam was also covered later by the back belt loop. After nearly a dozen pairs of pants, I feel like I've figured out a good technique for the waistband that works for me, so I'm pretty pleased with my work here.

Belt loops and button: Half an hour. I was now able to try the final product on and they were looking good! True to my changes, this pair was higher cut than the low-rise, but not quite as high as the high-waisted. I had removed an inch from the height all around, but kept an extra half inch towards the center back, which ended up looking fine and feeling great. I hate it when you bend over and expose yourself! Sitting here typing this they are comfortable to sit in as well.

Pockets and hem: Another half hour and I was done! Because I ran out of fabric I had to make the back pockets from a different denim, and I am worried they might fade. But I can always replace them in the future, perhaps with a fun print like a dark floral. (Note: Perhaps inspired by this, I have a post up on the Thread Theory blog about different ways to embellish your pockets. I'm often a plain pocket type of gal, but in this case I may need to get creative!)

In all, my weekend with Ginger was a success! After making more than ten pairs of jeans from three patterns over the past few years, I feel like I finally have a TNT pattern. To the trained eye the fit may not be perfect, but they feel great on and I'm liking the look. The winning combination proved to be using a good pattern in a cut I like with really taking the time to figure out my fit adjustments (and not over-fitting!). With my final pattern, I was able to make a pair in five hours of sewing (plus maybe another hour of cutting the night before), which would be totally doable over a few weeknights when I want to make this pattern up in the future. For me, fitting and seam ripping are really the most time-consuming parts of making jeans, so taking a weekend to figure that out should really pay off.

Some thoughts on fit: Through this process I am learning that there are several ways to fit a pair of pants. On my previous gray pair of Gingers, I cut the pattern out using my hip size (the largest size), and then tried to alter the remaining pieces to fit my measurements. In doing that, however, I changed the ease of the pattern because I didn't use negative ease in calculating the size of the pattern pieces. My adjustments also ended up altering the lines of the pattern, changing the back seat curve and affecting the back fit.

For these Gingers, I graded between sizes rather than trying to change the pieces all by myself. I find it is best to leave as much fitting to the pattern as possible, or try a new pattern! This allowed me to keep more of the original style lines. For example, the back yoke on this version much more closely resembles the back yoke of the original pattern than on my modified gray Gingers. However, to grade between sizes I was careful to not just connect between the lines but to actually curve some of the pieces to evenly distribute the changes (versus just taking the seam in at the sides). The pattern is now a size 4 at the waistband, a size 6 at the yoke, a size 8 at hips, and a size 2/4 at the legs. I used to grade between sizes a lot to fit my measurements when I first started sewing, and I'm finding this still works best for me rather than trying more complicated fit adjustments.

The result, as seen below, is that the pants contour nicely to my lower back above my butt. This was my main accomplishment for the project. In looking at these pictures again, I'm also thinking I could put some more work into the back thigh - here I took the pants in at the side seam rather than dealing with the extra ease below the butt, and the fabric kind of droops down there accordingly. I will need to find some sort of tutorial for this... However, I am wary of removing too much there, as some ease is necessary to move around!

Since making these jeans a couple of weeks ago I have been wearing them as much as possible. In these pictures the pants have been worn unwashed probably about five times (is that gross? I don't care, I love them!). The thicker denim has really held up nicely for wear, and the fit is very comfortable - not too tight and not too saggy. The dark color makes them perfect for work, while the slim cut is also nice for weekend wear. Overall, I am very happy with them, and I think this slower approach may change how I tackle more complicated projects in the future. If only I could take a weekend to myself more often!


  1. Meg these are fab! Love the yoke on these ones, too x

  2. I think they look fantastic!! Just the right amount of ease, and the length works just right. So happy for you finding your TNT jeans! That's a big deal!

  3. Love! Love the fit on you! And I love your hair! The color looks amazing on you!

  4. Thanks! The funny thing about my hair is that I don't change the color but it definitely changes itself based on time of day/season/photo filter. Loving your hair right now, too!

  5. I love it! Great fit and the denim you chose works well. I am still hesitant to make my own jeans, but this looks like a well drafted pattern.


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