I haven’t successfully purchased jeans for about 5 years. I bought a pair at JCrew 2 summers ago, but they were too big, so I ended up giving them away. My older pairs are looking pretty ratty at this point, and I think one pair is actually my mom’s, so I am super excited about my new jeans-making abilities.
Having never really successfully made pants, I really took my time on these. The pattern is Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, view A with low-rise and straight legs. I’m considering this version a wearable muslin. Based on the measurement chart, I fit right into a size 6. I was skeptical about this, but decided that this would be a muslin and I should start where the pattern points me. So, I set about cutting out all of the pieces in a size 6. I was very careful cutting out, and even laid out the legs in opposite directions as the pattern instructs to avoid the infamous twisty leg. Somehow, even with all of this effort, I ended up with 2 right legs and no left legs! Fortunately, I had enough denim left over to recut the left leg. Phewf.
After everything was finally cut out, I basted the legs, yoke, and waistband together and tried them on. They were a little large, as I had suspected they might be, but I was pleasantly surprised with the fit. In order to make this muslin wearable, I made a few minor changes:
- I shortened the legs by 1″. I’m 5’5″ tall, for reference.
- I used 3/4″ seam allowances through the legs (both inner and outer seams) to eliminate a little bagginess.
- I pinched out two 1/4″ darts in the waistband to make it more curved. Before I did this I had a little bit of gaping in the waistband at the back.
After I had decided on those changes, I took my basted muslin apart. This seemed to take forever, but I did manage to watch an episode of Teen Mom while I did it, so no harm no foul there. Then, I put them back together, following the detailed instructions this time. Fortunately, I already had denim topstitching thread leftover from a previous project and shortening jeans for my boyfriend.
With the relatively minor changes, I am quite happy with the fit of these jeans. The fabric is a little stretchy for my tastes, but this pattern is designed for stretch denim, so I knew that was a risk going in. They’re also half a size too big at the waist, depending on how recently I’ve eaten lunch. For my next version (already planned and materials purchased!), I will cut a size 4 instead of a size 6, and still shorten the legs and curve the waistband. It should go much more quickly the second time around, since I won’t have to baste everything together first.
For the “real” version, I bought some Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I’ve heard rave reviews of this stuff in the blogosphere, so I am excited to have some of my own. I also picked up a jeans making kit from Closet Case Files when I ordered the pattern. This comes with all of the notions needed to make jeans, including rivets and jean button. I stole one button from the kit for this pair, but saved all of the rivets for the “real” deal.
After a full day of wear, I can honestly say that these jeans are comfortable, and don’t look homemade. I have one friend who always seems to notice when I’m wearing something new, whether it’s me-made or not. He didn’t say a thing about these jeans, so I think they pass the test! I did realize that the back pockets aren’t evenly distributed across my rear end, but it took me an entire day of wear (post-pictures) to notice, so I don’t think anyone else will either.
Pattern: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns in size 6
Fabric: 2.5 yards of stretch denim @ $5.99/yard from Joann’s
Notions: 1 jean zipper, 1 jean button, 0.5 yards interfacing, and topstitching thread from stash
Cost: $14.98 fabric + $1.24 zipper + notions and thread from stash = $16.22 ($30.22 if you count the cost of the pattern)
Time: 15 hours