Sunday, 11 November 2018

Wide Legged Jeans

I used to be strangely scared at the idea of making jeans. Then I made a pair, and I realised that there really is nothing to fear. Now, I really enjoy making jeans! I have just finished making my second pair of jeans and I know that even more pairs will follow. I've wanted to make a pair of wide-legged jeans for a while, pretty much ever since the Megan Nielsen Ash Jeans pattern came out with that variation. However, I try to avoid buying a new pattern whenever I can, so I decided to try and hack the Closet Case Ginger Jeans pattern that I already own. This heavy weight denim from Minerva Crafts seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the jeans a go; I still can't believe that what I had in my mind actually succeeded!

Somehow, jeans have become one of my favourite things to sew. Although I still hate the fitting (and I did have several fitting issues with these that I will touch upon later!) I love longer more involved makes. There's something so satisfying in the way jeans come together. My favourite step has to be installing the fly, the Closet Case instructions are flawless and I love the method they use. For me, after the fly is installed the fabric transforms from nothing to an almost complete and wearable item of clothing. I love how professional jeans look when finished with topstitching and hardware too.

Onto the fitting issues... There were definitely several parts of the process where I began to wonder if I'd ever be able to actually wear these jeans. As you can probably see from the photos, the jeans are way too tight on the hips. This was absolutely my fault rather than the fault of the pattern for several reasons, the first being the fabric. I used a non-stretch denim, and while you can absolutely make non-stretch jeans, you absolutely have to size up if you do! The Ginger jeans are designed for stretch fabrics so it's no surprise that they don't fit. I just about got away with using the smallest seam allowance I possibly could, but it's still a struggle to wear them. However, I had a similar problem at the start with my other jeans and they have stretched a lot with wear and are now very comfy, so I'm really hoping that these will stretch over time and wear too. I am really annoyed that this happened again especially as I had the same problem initially with my other pair, but because those now fit I didn't think to make adjustments at the time of cutting the fabric. I have noted the problem in very big letters on my pattern pieces now though, so fingers crossed the mistake won't be happening a third time!

The main adjustment that I made is the same one I made on my previous pair, and one that I have to make on any non-elasticated bottoms. I find reading other peoples tips/reviews on patterns really helpful and one of the most helpful Ginger Jeans reviews that I found was this one by Guthrie and Ghani. Lauren mentioned that she took a wedge out of the back yoke and I guessed that I would need to do the same thing due to having a sway back. I actually still had quite a large gape at the waistband even after this adjustment, so I also took out a triangular wedge from the waistband and waistband facing. I did exactly the same thing on my first pair of jeans so I knew it was the right adjustment to make. To be honest I could have done with taking even more fabric out of the back yoke on this pair but I just wasn't able to with the limited room over my hips, so again that's something I'll bear in mind for next time.

Enough talk about the challenges and annoyances - let's talk topstitching! Every time I go into my local haberdashery to choose thread I always admire the silver topstitching thread and have joked about using it for several projects, on which it would have looked very over the top. Well, I finally topstitched something in silver and I think I found the perfect project! Topstitching is a classic feature on jeans but I wanted to add a bit of a twist to it. On my last pair of jeans I played it safe with colour-coordinating topstitching but I love topstitching and I really wanted to use that silver thread. Using such a contrasting colour was nerve-wracking but I just took my time and I love it SO MUCH! I really feel as though the topstitching as elevated these jeans into something really special. What I like about the design of the Gingers is that they're high waisted which means I can really show off the topstitching too (because what's the point of spending hours agonising over stitching if no-ones ever going to see it?!).

I still can't believe how well these jeans turned out. Despite a few fitting issues I think they're very wearable. The topstitching has to be my favourite aspect but I also really like the wide legs, I'm hoping to make another pair of wide legged jeans in the spring too. The rivets are a finishing touch that I think really add to these jeans too, I love the professional look that hardware gives.


  1. I'm so glad you mentioned your top stitching thread color because as soon as I saw these jeans, I wanted to know what color you used! These look so cute on you and you did a fantastic job with them. I love sewing jeans; I have made so many pairs now. Once you get the fit adjustments made to your pattern, it's wonderful to make jeans whenever you find new material to try. I have found that now I make jeans, I don't even want to buy them anymore because my own fit so much better. I remember trying on several pairs in the stores till I found the right fit, so it only makes since that one would have to tweak their fit to get it perfect when you make your own. I have the Ginger jean pattern, but I haven't had time to try it out yet. I have two other successful patterns, but seeing what others have made pushed me over the edge to buy yet another jeans pattern.

  2. These are fabulous! The silver top-stitching looks brilliant and the fit is superb. You should feel mighty proud of yourself!