One of the hardest things to do when you take up a craft like sewing is to judge how difficult a particular project might be, or how tedious you might find it to put together.
I have wanted to make jeans for a couple years, and I’ve procrastinated on making them that long because of both these things. I was sure that putting them together–zip fly! all that topstitching! fit issues!–would be more of a challenge than I could handle. And I was also pretty sure that the very precise nature of the construction–zip fly! all that topstitching! fit issues!–would drive me absolutely nuts. It seemed like a no-win…until I took into the account that getting good at making jeans would mean I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO GO SHOPPING FOR JEANS AGAIN.
That’s a big, big win.
So I jumped. I got the Ginger Jeans pattern from Closet Case, I pulled out some denim I’d bought for a long-abandoned skirt project, and I got to work.
I learned A LOT making these jeans. Such as:
- The denim I had was not, as I’d thought, stretch. It was nice to realize I wasn’t having to let the side and seat seams out as far as possible because I couldn’t do math, but because my fabric did not have the amount of give in it accounted for in the pattern measurements. Which is NBD, if I want to use non-stretch I just need to remember to cut a 16.
- I LOVE TOPSTITCHING. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
- A lot of the fiddly construction bits I’d been dreading, like the fly, were not that hard at all. This is probably due to Heather’s amazing pattern directions and the even more amazing e-book she put together for first-timers. But the fly went in without a single problem, and mock flat-felling around the curved crotch seams was a piece of cake.
- Despite following her instructions for laying out the pattern pieces in opposition, my left leg does have a tendency to twist when I’m wearing it… gotta be more careful when cutting next time.
- Non-stretch denim aside, I need to add probably 1/4″ to the seat curve of my jeans. Because booty.
- The older I get, the higher I want my rise. I stitched up the low-rise stovepipe leg view of these jeans, and I’ve got a serious case of plumber butt whenever I bend down. I am toying with the idea of putting a couple inches of pajama elastic inside the back waistband to help keep them up and also improve the fit a little.
So for my next pair (eee!), I have some plans:
- Try it with stretch denim, dork.
- Try a mid-rise instead of the low (already got the pattern expansion for that).
- Try a skinny leg.
- MUSLIN FIRST.
- In particular, check the muslin for how much I need to add to the inner thigh (where my storebought jeans always wear out first) and the seat curve, and how much/if I need to adjust the curve of the waistband.
My next pair of jeans is queued up for the fall, but I’m hoping to apply some of these lessons to a couple other projects for the summer (like the Moji-ening), so keep your eyes peeled!