Fabric: Cone Mills lightweight denim in Indigo
Started: March 4, 2020
Completed: March 4, 2020
I made my first pair of Ginger Jeans last summer at a retreat at Fancy Tiger Crafts and it was an amazing experience that changed me as a sewist. I wear the resulting jeans all the time and they’re so comfortable. However, just as my instructor, the lovely Lauren Taylor, aka Lladybird, warned, with repeated washings they have shrunk a bit vertically. That was just fine for my hem, which I left long, but has been a problem at the rise. It has lowered it just enough that it no longer entirely covers the medical device on my stomach and I find myself tugging on them constantly to keep it covered. So, I decided to make myself a new, even higher-rise pair and I am thrilled with how they turned out.
I measured the different between where my current Gingers fit and a good clearance above my medical device (to account for future vertical shrinkage!) and came up with 1.5″ as the amount I wanted to add to the rise. On the front it was easy to add it at the point indicated on the pattern. On the back I knew I wanted to split it between the pants piece and the yoke and could not find much guidance on how to do so. I took a random guess and put 1″ in the pants where indicated and .5″ in the yoke where it would hit the most width and I am really pleased with the fit I got in that area. I plan on using the same split for future pairs.
The only other modification I made was to remove 2″ from the length where indicated in the pattern. After sewing them up I decided to cut off another 1″. That still leaves enough length for me to fold up the cuff after hemming. This meant I didn’t need to take in the legs around the calves like in my first pair. Looking at the fit in the legs now, I can see that I could have taken in a few places to remove wrinkles, but I just can’t get bothered about precisely fitting stretch jeans.
I could not believe I was able to sew these together in a day. It helped that I topstitched in the same thread I used to sew, so I didn’t need to switch machines or rethread. It still feels so powerful to be able to sew my own jeans. With two new pairs in my wardrobe I am set for a while, and I get to enjoy wearing them. To anyone on the fence about sewing their first pair, I really want to encourage you to go for it! Like most sewing, if you take your time and follow the instructions, you can 100% tackle jeans. You may need to do some basting and rip some seams, but luckily denim is a sturdy fabric that can take it. I’d love to hear about your first jeans in the comments below.