For someone who wears jeans a lot in the winter (autumn, spring and a bit of summer too) my collection was looking fairly pitiful – one pair from a charity shop in which the elastic is now going plus some holes appearing and one other nice pair of Ginger jeans that I made last year in black coated/waxed denim.
Jeans are not my favourite thing to make – all the separate pieces, the thread changing and the sounds of choking plus tangled threads as my machine argues with the top stitching thread make for tedious sewing. That said I know from the two pairs I’ve made previously that the effort is well worth it to have jeans that fit well enough not to need a belt to keep up the gaping waistline that I experience in all RTW jeans. How the idea of making two (well actually three as I made a pair for my daughter too) and comparing them, worked as motivation to get on with it, I don’t know, but work it did.
Both patterns are by Closet Case Patterns;– the Ginger jeans have two options -high rise and skinny or low-rise with stove pipe legs and are designed to be made with stretch denim with at least 2% lycra. The Morgan jeans are designed for non-stretch denim with mid-rise and a snug fit at the hip but more relaxed in the leg (boyfriend cut).
First, the Ginger jeans (I made the high rise skinny version) in sky blue stretch denim bought from Ditto Fabrics. Experience has taught me that it is worth trying to source better quality denim particularly if it contains stretch. Spending a few hours making a pair of jeans which are rendered useless after only a few months by failing elastane is not something I want to repeat.
Although I have made Ginger jeans twice before I still basted to test the fit first as the varying weight and stretch of the denim can affect the fit a great deal. In sizing I fall between the 8 and 10 by the pattern’s size guide but I now make the size 8 and increase the seam allowances slightly. Strangely I also have to shave off some of the hip curve even though this is where measurements indicate I should be grading out not in. I also now shave off some of the depth of the inner leg on the back leg piece (though looking at the photos I could probably have taken more off). There is a great post about common adjustments on Heather’s blog here.I’ve mentioned my troubles with top-stitching thread, and this project was yet another battle. I chose a traditional gold contrast colour and for the most part the machine could cope with a straight stitch but back stitching was out of the question and as for the idea of a bar tack…..*
*Olu from Needle and Ted has since suggested that I should be using my topstitching thread in my bobbin holder and not at the top, which isn’t what the name or what I’ve read elsewhere suggests but I’ll be trying that next time and hoping for a whole new experience.
Overall I’m happy with the fit – no need for a belt and no gaping at the waist. There is a fair amount of wrinkling and a slight twist in the grain on one of the legs, but there is always something and these will happily become a well-worn part of my wardrobe. I would add that I wouldn’t normally be wearing skinny jeans with a cropped tee (even a lovely Inari tee in Art Gallery jersey) but for the purposes of comparing fit it’s helpful, if a little uncomfortable (can’t wait to change into a nice long line shirt!).
On to the Morgan jeans which I made in the loveliest soft but thick (ex Paul Smith) denim bought at Simply Fabrics. I’m not sure if it’s because of this fabric which feels so comfortable to wear, or the beautifully drafted pattern but these are quite possibly my favourite trousers ever and I have worn them non stop since hammering the last button in.
Despite the pattern suggesting to size up if using heavyweight denim and being between the two sizes again, I ended up making the smaller size and taking it in a fraction at the seams. I made the same inner back leg adjustment to reduce some of the extra volume there whilst retaining the relaxed fit.
The rise on this pattern is pretty perfect and the details of leather patch (I used a leather alternative) and button fly made for nice variety from the Ginger jeans pattern. I didn’t even attempt top-stitching thread on this version which made them much more fun and quick to sew too, which has probably added to my enthusiasm.
Ultimately I really like both patterns and will be using them again, but maybe not for a little while….as whilst I might love these jeans I’m still not converted to loving making them.