Closet Case File: Ginger Jeans

When I am in a bad mood or unhappy I tend to buy fabric, patterns or sewing books. It is like I disappear into another world and I often have the illusion that with buying a pattern I already own the finished garment. Sounds silly, I know, but happens often enough. This is how I came to the Ginger Jeans pattern. I am in a desperately need for  a pair of jeans. I love my Liana Stretch jeans, but the color is difficult to combine and the raise is a bit too high for my taste. And as the fabric I used for the Liana jeans wears out already minutes after putting it on, it is really difficult to assess the fit. This is why  I decided against altering the Liana jeans and starting with a new pattern dreaming of a perfectly fitting pair of blue jeans.

So now here they are, my Ginger Jeans, not blue and not perfectly fitting, but a real pair of jeans! I made view A: low-rise with stovepipe legs.

Ginger Jeans

Fabric:

I bought some denim from stoffe.de that were on sale for a first test version of the Ginger Jeans. Unfortunately they only had black denim but it was rather cheap and so I decided for a test version this would be fine. The fabric has 2% elasthan. It feels a bit stiff, but it holds the shape over days and does not wear out. For the pocket lining and inner waistband I used some cotton scraps I had in my stash. I love how the orange flower print looks against the black denim.

Ginger Jeans

Alterations:

I do not know how often I read on blogs “I made the Ginger jeans without alterations and the fit is spot on”. So, I am not one of those lucky girls. My experience with pants so far is not the best one and I knew that I would need to fit the pattern and I would need time for that. I had a week off in October so I decided this would be the time for sewing up the Ginger Jeans. I spent three complete days with fitting! And there are still issues to fix. Maybe American patterns just do not fit my body shape? But RTW pants do neither….

Ginger Jeans

I cut the pattern with huge seam allowances so that I would have room for alterations. I started with a size 10 according to my hip measurements. Here is what I did:

  • removing approximately 1.5 cm at the side seams and inseams and tapering to zero at the knee
  • Shortening the leg below the knee by 2 cm (I had to add this later on again)
  • Adding 0.5 cm to each side seam below the knee
  • removing 3cm below the butt and adding the same amount at the bottom of the back leg
  • sway back adjustment (reducing 1cm height and width at the back center seam, tapering to zero at the side seams)
  • lowering the back croth curve by 1 cm
  • removing 3cm at the front crotch and tapering to zero at the side seams to reduce extra fabric
  • shaping the waistband

Ginger Jeans

There were still wrinkles at the back knee but at that point I decided to sew the jeans up and wear them for a time and then decide what further changes would be neccessary. It is also such a difference if you only stand before the mirror, or if you are wearing a garment a whole day. All in all these jeans are wearable, comfy and the overall fit is ok (except for the front crotch). There are still some issues to solve:

  • shaping the waistband more
  • dealing with the knee wrinkles
  • still too much fabric in the front

I also noticed that the point where the inseam and crotch seams meet is shifted to the front. So I think my attempt to reduce the excess fabric at the front crotch was maybe not the right one. With the next version I would try to bring the seams back by lengthening the front crotch and reducing the back crotch seam by the same amount.

I am also a bit frustrated because until now I have not found a solution how to get rid of excess fabric at the front crotch. I have this issue with all pant patterns so far, but I have not found this described in my fitting books or craftsy classes. My first attempt was to make the front crotch curve more straight, so it looks more like a J. But then it was too tight and I had to go back and immediatley there was this excess fabric.

I often have the feeling with pants fitting that I make an alteration to solve one issue, then I make the next alteration to solve another issue, and this reverses the first alteration. Which means the whole process is somehow ineffective.

Ginger Jeans

Construction:

I did not look at the instructions but followed Heathers Sew Along. As this is a test version I kept the construction simple, no flat felled seams. I finished the seams allowances with my serger. For the topstitching I used my regular thread but doubled it. The hem was a bit short, so instead of double folding it to the inside I used a facing. This helped me to get as much length as possible.

Ginger Jeans

Conclusion:

I haven’t made up my mind yet if I like my pair of Ginger Jeans or not. Partly because of the rather stiff fabric (but that is ok, it was cheap after all, and this is a test version) and partly because of the fitting issues. There are still so much wrinkles. And I feel a bit lost as I have no idea how to improve the fit. Maybe I should go back to the Liana jeans and lower the rise. 

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