Finished - Ginger Jeans!
I set myself the goal at the start of May to make myself some proper jeans, you know, with a fly and everything (I did make some unblogged Style Arc Misty Jeans whilst early pregnant, and I shall be revisiting that pattern, however with a pull on elastic waistband I feel that they don't really count in my jeans making tally).
Since having the babe I have gone through several pairs of RTW jeans, mostly purchased secondhand, and all have the exact same fitting issue - too loose in the waist, but fit in the hips/bum. I know I could try to alter some RTW jeans, or pay to get that done, and for an otherwise perfect pair I might have considered this, but I had a few jeans patterns in my stash, plus some Cone Mills denim, and this autumn, on the cusp of Me Made May I felt ready for the challenge.
I decided to start with the Closet Case Patterns Gingers, which of course needs no introduction. I went for view B, with the high waist and narrower leg. Measurements put me half way between 12 and 14. Closer to a 12 for the waist. Relying on 5/8 inch seam allowances I went with a 12.
My wearable toile fabric is a nice dark khaki cotton-elastane corduroy from Spotlight. There was no way I was going to be using contrasting topstitching thread, and I hoped the dark colour would hide any beginner jeanster stuffups. Current Sarah is most pleased with this decision by Past Sarah. Being an unusual colour I used regular all purpose Guterman thread and did a triple straight stitch for top stitching.
The pattern and instructions/accompanying sewalong is excellent, of course. I was most appreciative of the pattern pieces for the one view all being on one piece of tissue when tracing (can't remember the last time I traced off a paper pattern!). Once I had made the front pieces, including the fly (took me 49 minutes exactly, and I have no shame in claiming it to be bloody amazing) I basted everything together to check the fit.
Once I had them on it was clear they were just a little small everywhere except the waistband (not a surprise!). I reduced the seam allowances in the side seam and inseam to 1/2 inch and all was much better. I also had a few draglines under my bum suggestive of needing a low seat adjustment. I've never done such an adjustment before, but my fitting books tell me that often the low seat and full seat adjustment go together (and also the low seat is often the future of the full seat body shape as we age!). I used the adjustment method suggested in the CCP jeans fitting, scooping the lower crotch curve as depicted here. Interestingly this also made the jeans more comfortable in the front crotch area, as did reducing the SA of the back crotch inseam, the 'easy' version of a full seat adjustment. I suppose that makes sense - if one's bum is large and pulling the garment backwards it stands to reason that things may not be so comfortable in the crotch region.
The pockets were way too low on me and I was glad I only basted them on - I moved them a good 1.5cm upwards. So apart from reducing seam allowances from the hips down, and some crotch curve tweaking and pocket shifting, the only other fit adjustment I needed to make was a small swayback adjustment on the yoke.
I did find that the order of construction made it hard to tweak the crotch fit - all the previous pants I've made have the crotch seam sewn in one pass, from front to back. Because the front and back pants are sewn separately I found that tweaking the inseam at front and back then attempting to match these points up sewing up the inseam in one go was tricky as they weren't 'trued' anymore.... I don't know if that makes sense.... but it was tricky. And annoying.
Now. Mistakes. Oh the silly mistakes. Note to self for future jeans making - write down the distance between topstitching lines. And make sure you use the right topstitching thread at night. Because very dark green and black look very similar at night. And don't second guess the instructions with construction order and think you know better - I made the mistake of sewing up the side seams before the inseam, and thus couldn't top stitch the inseam seam allowance. As for bartacks.... my bartacks on my pockets are an absolute travesty. It is, of course, my own fault as I did not practice them. My machine has a bartack setting and I was just too blase relying on it. They are all over the place and I am so glad the stitching is not contrast. They are truly dreadful.
For the waistband I did interface it, as the corduroy is very soft, and it's very comfortable. I chose to use the "alternative" method posted on the CCP website for sewing the waistband as I find I tend to get a messy bulky front corner. This worked a treat and I love the neat finish inside. My test buttonhole was beautiful, and my actual buttonhole is even worse than my bartacks. Next time I will trim away more seam allowance from the very end of the waistband to reduce the layers of fabric there. I also applied my button about half an inch too close to the end of the waistband, which makes it loose and pretty much does nothing useful in keeping the waistband snug. I need to remove it, patch the hole and redo it. Such a learning experience!
I'm pretty pleased with the fit and outcome. The cord relaxes quickly, so they aren't the skinny jeans I was hoping for, but are pretty comfortable and very wearable. For my next version, in Cone Mills denim, I will size up, and may even do an extra full seat adjustment. I can see why people get addicted to jeans making - it's most satisfying. I chipped away at these over 2 weeks of nap times and the occasional evening sewing session and was delighted with myself getting them finished before the end of the first week of June.
What's your fave jeans pattern? What tips and tricks have you accumulated with your own jeans making adventures?