Amanda vs Ginger Jeans

You know in movies how the protagonist has that one moment where something happens and it is a catalyst for them to become extra awesome and take on a superhero mantle and fight crime? Well, I totally had that in July last year. Except there was no rousing soundtrack. And sadly my life remains secret identity free. Instead, my absolute favourite old pair of Levis were so well worn that when I bobbed down to pick something off the kitchen floor they tore right up the back seam. Ugh. But like all good super heroes in training this got the ball rolling for my exciting new life as a lady who makes jeans. BOOM!

You may have heard of the Ginger Skinny Jeans from Closet Case Patterns before? Bwah ha ha! It seems that every lady and her cat have sewn this up in the last couple of years. If you somehow have missed this phenomenon Ginger comes with two different options. View A is low rise with stove pipe legs and View B is high-waisted with skinny legs. Being Amanda I of course went for View C – which is an option I just made up. I used the mid-rise hack to get the waist to where I wanted it and used the skinny legs from View B. Huzzah for doing your own thing!

The denim is from The Fabric Store and I picked it up early last year. It has the perfect indigo colour (which of course rubs off on everything including poor Bimble’s fur) but the amount of stretch was unclear. In hindsight I don’t think it had quite the right amount of give for this pattern but you live and learn. I did end up with enough leftovers to make a pair of rad Deer and Doe shorts which I’ll share soon. It is the denim that kept on giving!

I’m going to be frank here and say whilst I loved the construction aspect of the jeans (so many awesome new skills to learn!) the fitting component was the absolute blurst. Whilst the full seat adjustment was easy to diagnose and implement, the Mysterious Case of the Twisted Leg of Doom was much harder to get sorted. Ohhh, that sounds like a Nancy Drew book! My ten year old self is totally geeking out with that name right now.

These are my third attempt at the pattern and with each version I have had one or both of the legs twisting significantly outwards from various points. (Also, as an FYI I totally cut all these suckers on grain and followed the layout suggestions so that isn’t the issue). My first pair had both legs twisted from the knees down, the second pair twisted on my right leg from the front of my hip bone down and my third pair are twisting from the right side of my butt down. I joined forces 1ith some of my CBR Sewing Crew buddies we tried to diagnose the fit but nothing was quite right. After a call for help on Instagram the epic seamstress of wonder Brooke was able to provide me with a full side thigh adjustment that was a total help. I knew my derby years had left one side of me stronger than the other but it was quite interesting to see how this has affected the fit. This is how this fitting problem makes me feel:

Image courtesy of D-Eye Photography

BWAH HA HA!

After defeating my side thigh adjustment I made the call that perfection is the enemy of fun and it was time to finish these up. Sure, I can see other fit tweaks that I need but I made a pair of jeans, peeps! How freaking cool is that?! Sewing is a total super power!

What I loved about this pattern:

  • The ability to customize your fit. It is like the Three Bears version of sewing: this rise is too high, this rise is too low but this rise is just right. Except instead of “nomnomnom” you get “hot dang my butt looks ace!”
  • The pocket stay. I need this in all the pants I make. It is like a magical fabric hug for your stomach.
  • The instructions. I found these super clear and the zip insertion method was so well laid out that I will be using it for all fly fronts in the future.

What I would change for next time:

  • Get the correct denim. I want to be clear on the level of stretch I get rather than being sucked into majestic indigo with no concept of lycra/spandex percentage.
  • Tweak the fit further. I can see drag lines on the front and wrinkling around the back of the thigh so it’s back to the fit books!
  • Stick that full side thigh adjustment in straight away. Because my thighs are mighty and they deserve to be adjusted for!

THE DEETS

Pattern:         Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

Fabric:           2m mystery stretch denim from The Fabric Store, lining and interfacing from my stash.

Notions:        Thread, topstitching thread, button and zip from Addicted to Fabric

Size:                14

Alterations: Full side thigh adjustment, 1 cm full seat adjustment, pinned side seams as required.

See also:        Try Curious, Cut Cut Sew, Cashmerette and loads more peeps!

Overall, I am happy with the rad new skills and techniques I’ve learned! The jeans are comfy enough to wear around the house but I won’t be rocking them out in public any time soon (mostly because I was doing some thread tidy ups and accidentally snipped a hole into back and the repair job is bad). Will I give this pattern another go? For sure. Though I have the Safran jeans traced out and ready to go first so the Gingers will be on the back burner for a bit. Also, it’s nine billion degrees here at the moment and the idea of wearing jeans makes me want to cry. But then I would dehydrate further so no crying. I’ll just make that Dawson crying face.

So I’m going to focus on the fact it is the start of a rad new year, my health is finally much better and this lady made herself a pair of jeans. WINNING AT LIFE!

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Comments

  1. I loved your post, your jeans, your enthusiasm and pics especially! I can feel your pride and excitement and honestly I would be there too if I’d made a pair of ginger jeans! I have the pattern AND the instruction ebook too but I haven’t ventured into the world of making jeans YET. I just can’t imagine they’ll turn out but they are in my future for sure. I keep looking at those wonderful ripped, embroidered jeans online for hundreds of dollars and there is no way I’m buying a pair (by the way I am 62 years old and wore those ripped and embroidered jeans and jean skirts 40 years ago and loved them to shreds) – I’m determined to make myself a pair for old time’s AND new time’s sake. I think you should consider a fabric that has cotton/polyester/spandex combo. I have a pair of red jeans that have that combination and it’s the perfect stretch and comfort 😉

    • Yes! So give into the excitement of making your own jeans – you get to feel like a sewing wizard when you zip them up! The cotton/poly/spandex idea is a great one – thank you for the suggestion! 😀

  2. Congratulations on the jeans. Did you have to use the walking foot? I would think denim is thick and once those layers start adding up. Whoa.

    • My good old Janome actually managed this one without the walking foot – Daisy was kicking some denim layer butt! I did slow things right down when the layers started adding up – the little loops were tough!

    • I am so gearing up to make some more pairs but the weather needs to break a little first! So looking forward to seeing your awesome jeans this year!!!

  3. It’s great to have the skills and tools to just make something you need. They look great. The Overflowing Stash had just posted an article from Fashion Incubator (by Cone Mills Denim) re the denim leg twist issue. I haven’t read it all yet but will.

    • Thank you so very much for that link! It is AWESOME! SI’ve printed it out and am going to pull the old highlighters and note pens out because there are lots of good stuff in there – who knew about skew?!

  4. These look great! I had an issue with the legs twisting on the Gingers also (both legs) and I think it is a drafting issue – I’ve used some other jeans patterns with legs that slant differently with no issue. Congrats on sewing jeans and watch out because it’s obsessive!

    • Thank you! It took ages but I’m pretty happy where they are now 😀 I hear you on the box of shame – my first pair languished there for quite a while!

  5. IMHO, the horizontal back of the leg wrinkles are fine. It’s the ones that angle up from crotch to hip on the back leg that are rear view “fitting wrinkles,” and you don’t have any of those. Major victory.

  6. I made my first Ginger jeans for a similar reason – my old ones were just about worn through at the inner thighs, and I needed more to take on holiday! I was dismayed to discover one of the legs was twisted from the knee down, and I’m so glad to find I’m not alone. I know I cut everything on grain, so I was really baffled. It’s not TOO obvious as I also cut quite a bit off the leg length because I’m short, but it still irritates me every time I wear them. I will check out this thigh adjustment and see if it helps!

    • Hello Twisty Knee Twin! It makes me feel so much better that other people have had this issue as well – it was seriously stumping me O_o My fingers are crossed that the full side thigh adjustment works!

  7. I am with the person that said it is a drafting issue. I have had the same problem with two pairs and cut both on the grain. When I lay my front pattern over the back they don’t seem to follow the same line. This is unlike other pants patterns I own. I made a pair of Levis rub off from my favourite pair and I haven’t had a twisting issue but once again the front and back follow the same line. For my next pair I think I will combine the two patterns.

    • That is a very interesting observation regarding the same line in the legs – I’m going to go and check this out. The hybrid pattern idea sounds like a good one!

  8. I’ve heard a lot of ladies mention that they made knock-kneed adjustments on these, and it solved a host of problems…Not sure what your knee situation is, but it might be worth a try.

    And p.s. if you hadn’t mentioned the twisting, I wouldn’t have noticed in the photos.

    • Great minds think alike – I have been investigating this adjustment for next time! Glad to hear the twisting isn’t too obvious – I have become super paranoid!

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