I've been wanting to make Closet Case Patterns high waisted Ginger jeans for a very long time now, but I've constantly got distracted by something else to sew. Then a few weeks ago I finally bought the PDF pattern and started my search for the right denim. After a chat with Tim the owner of Anglian Fashion Fabrics the right denim was found. I went in one day and he had found it, the exact shade I wanted with 5% stretch.
Last week I put the pattern together, which is a bit like doing an enjoyable jigsaw with cellotape.
From then on, every time I had sewing time I was like a woman obsessed working on my jeans. I made sure I read the instructions carefully and checked the really useful Ginger Jeans Sewalong online for advice with fit issues and photos to explain bits that just didn't make sense at first. I also experimented with topstitching and sewing bar tacks so I knew I had the tension and stitch length just so for my machine. I had a choice of red, white or gold topstitch thread and in the end I chose the red, but to be honest the gold is my favourite colour for jeans. The other thing about topstitch thread is that it's really thick compared to your usual thread. You only use it on the top and keep your usual thread in the bobbin case. Make sure you buy topstitch needles that have a bigger eye, otherwise you'll be spending a happy hour cursing trying to thread your denim needle! You might also wish you had two machines as there is a constant switching between topstitch thread and needle to your standard one.
Now this is a really important bit to read if you're making the same alterations as me, just in case you make the same mistake I did. Before I cut my cloth I measured the pattern to make the alterations I knew I'd need as I'm long in the body as well as being tall. The pattern is for a 32" leg and I need a 34" so I lengthened the pattern here. The front rise also needed to be lengthened by 2" and the back by 4". All good so far, until I hit an issue much later in the construction, which is really important to mention now if you find yourself making the same pattern alterations. Lengthening the rise at the front was absolutely fine, however, my calculations for the back rise hadn't taken into account the yoke that was to be sewn to the back later on. Once I had constructed the front and back of the jeans and then sewn the back and front legs together at the inside seam I tried them on and was really pleased with how perfectly they fitted. I pinned the waist so it wouldn't move and then using a mirror fiddled about until I got my back pockets placed correctly just low enough on my bum. Still feeling really pleased with myself at this point, I took my time measuring both pockets so they were mirroring one another before I topstitched them. Job done, this is where I hit an issue and realised the mistake I'd made back when I made my first alterations to the pattern. When I pinned the side seams together I found the back was a good few inches longer than the front. Then I thought of course I'd forgotten about the extra length given by the back yoke in my calculations. At this stage the only thing I could do was to unpick the entire yoke, topstitching and all and move it down to where it needed to sit before sewing it together again. I knew that the pockets would now be too high, but I just couldn't face unpicking all that spot on stitchery I had done. I'd done a lot of unpicking of stitches by now. All of this worked perfectly thank goodness and didn't affect the fit of the jeans at all. As I said the only part that I'm not happy with here is the height of the back pockets.
After all that reading I think you might like to see what the finished jeans look like before I waffle on about other things that might help anyone else making their own Ginger Jeans. As you can see they're a pretty good fit, but me being highly fussy and a perfectionist they're not as spot on as I'd like, so I will be wearing them, but I'm thinking of them as more of a Toile than my favourite pair of jeans. More will and need to be made.
Where I've made subtle changes to the pattern is to sew the pocket bags wrong and right sides together. This is so I can see the floral fabric on the inside of my jeans and the inside of the front of my pocket.
I'm not happy with the tension of my topstitch thread on the underside, but that's something I need to work on, However, I felt the raw edge by the zip looked ugly so I chose to bias bind it.
I was really pleased with the construction of the fly and how neatly it all works together. Oh yes, if you're making alterations to your front rise like me, don't forget to lengthen your Fly Facings and Fly Guard too. Just saying in case you forget like me and then have to cut another set out.
Now, I sewed the fly to the right as the pattern states and that's fine, but it just feels odd having it facing the boy way. After a lifetime of unzipping my jeans to the left it just doesn't feel right, so with my next pair I'll sew the fly to the left.
Here are the pesky pockets that I can only blame on my lack of concentration when making alterations and laziness in not unpicking them. They need to hug the curve of that big old bum more.
The front I'm really happy with, except that fly position.
Now anything else I can tell you about making these?
Well I chose to face the waistband in the same floral I'd used for the pockets so I ironed medium weight interfacing to the denim to give it more strength.
Finally, my next pair will have slightly longer legs as after wearing them for a day they rose above the top of my boots and needed pulling down all the time.
So, my opinion is that this is an absolutely great pattern with the wonderful fit that it promises. Any issues I hit were to do with my personal preferences and the alterations I had to make as at 6ft with a long body I'm not standard issue. No one is to be honest, so make sure you really pay attention when you're making those alterations.
I would also add that you shouldn't be afraid of making jeans. There is so much advice on the Sewalong if you need more help and it's just a matter of really taking your time and understanding each stage before you do it. If you hit issues there's always your handy seam ripper sitting there to help you out. Good luck.