The Jean Genie
Following my first flirtation with jeans sewing, I went on a denim buying bender. I had a general understanding what I was looking for based on the recommendations of other jeans sewing bloggers, but I was completely surprised by the packages that landed on my doorstep!
The first two denims I bought are Cone Denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I bought yardage of both the 9oz S-gene and the 10.5 S-gene knowing that they were different weights but not thinking too deeply into it. WELL, these are two totally different fabrics! The 9oz is VERY stretchy while the 10.5 oz is nearly rigid. I was surprised, actually, how little stretch the 10.5 oz has. They are both beautiful. And, they are both considerably lighter than the denim I used when I sewed my Birkin Flares. I was a little confused by the contrast between them, then my next fabric delivery landed on my doorstep.
My second shipment of denim came from Mood. I ordered two Japanese Denims: Palace Blue (sold out)& Proenza Schouler Black. I also bought a generic White Denim. You guys. They are all totally different. None of the five denims I bought feels or behaves entirely similar to another. On a whole, my confusion deepened. But, I officially understood why both Lauren and Heather included instructions to BASTE fit before sewing any final stitching. Fabric always plays a role in the final fit of a garment, but when it comes to fitting jeans, fabric and fit are completely entangled!
I can say with confidence that I will have to sew different pattern sizes for each of those five different denims. The jeans in this post are sewn using the Ginger Jeans Pattern and 9oz Indigo Cone Denim. This was my first time sewing this pattern, and it was a really excellent experience. The pattern is well written, the instructions are clear, and Heather includes a series of tips and pointers on sewing jeans at the forward of the instructions that I found very handy and helpful. At this point in my sewing experience, I've only worked with five pants patterns, but of those five patterns, Heather's method for installing a fly is my ABSOLUTE favorite.
I very highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking to sew jeans. That said, I don't think this is the perfect pattern for MY BODY. My body is: petite. When I was deciding which size(s) to cut, I chose the lowest possible rise of the high waisted version. My hope was to achieve a mid-rise jean. And, I think that I achieved that, but I still could use a smidgen reduction in the rise. My body is: bottom-heavy. I have all my curve below the waist. And, that curve is quite dramatic. I also have thick thighs. SO, even with grading between sizes, I ended up with my most common RTW fit issue, gap waist. My finished Ginger jeans look and fit as well as most RTW jeans, but my goal with sewing is to have jeans that fit better than RTW.
The thing I like least about this pattern (really it's the only thing I can think of that I disliked) is that the waistband is cut to the same size as the actual waist measurement of the jeans. Since I sewed the Birkin Flares first, I was spoiled by Lauren's method of cutting the waistband on the stretch grain of the fabric with negative ease. Stretch easing the jeans to the waistband creates a REALLY nice fit between the hip and the waist, because it pulls everything inward.
I do want to have more pairs of skinnies in my closet. I think my next attempt will be a mash-up of the two patterns mentioned. (Binger Jeans?). And, I am head over heels for the 9oz Cone Denim I used on this pair. The color is BEAUTIFUL and it's lovely to wear. More of this fabric is on my shopping list... as soon as I finish sewing through my first denim splurge. :-D
Fantastic!! Those are great on you. You are an unstoppable pants-making machine. I'm glad to hear your opinion on the 9oz Cone Mills as I've been debating between that or the 10.5oz for another pair that's more forgiving. I love the Gingers I just made (umm except the button that popped off so I have to do a new one *sadface*), with a Theory denim from Mood, but it's pretty rigid and not the most comfortable fabric for tight jeans, and caused some of the wrinkles to act weirdly stiff until it relaxed a bit. It's astonishing just how utterly different denims can be! But it can make the task of fitting a bit daunting *and* trial and error, neither of which are factors I love, I admit. In my perfect sewing world I want to be able to repeat, repeat, repeat!
4/17/2016 12:35:38 pm
I like to follow your trousers making proces. I'm also making jeans at the moment. I made already 4 pairs for my husband with 2 different patterns and they are all a good fit right out of the envelope. But making trousers for me doesn't work out that great. I have the same waistband gap problem and if I make the waistband any more fitted I feel like strangled all day long. I'm thinking of sewing some wide elastic in the waistband or to use a knit fabric in stead of jeans but I haven't quite figured it out. Good luck with your next pair.
4/13/2016 11:26:43 am
I don't know much about sewing but I know there's a way to correct the dreaded gap-waist after you've finished something. It has something to do with cutting out a triangle section or two or three in the waistband and then stitching things together. I'm not sure, though, because I'm not a sewer :)
Well your jeans certainly look fantastic and well-made, body/pattern mis-matches aside! You are so right about denim being all over the place when it comes to stretch and weight (I've been on a few denim-buying binges of my own), and I will have to take your basting recommendation to heart when I finally get around to my own jeans. =) Can't wait to see your other denims made into more great jeans!
These look awesome, Michelle! Jeans, while not really that hard to sew (besides all the steps) are rather finicky when it comes to fitting and fabrics! I think this pair looks fantastic, and I also really love the 9oz denim.
THANK YOU for saying that. I'll make a pair of jeans (or pants) from a pattern, then sew the same pattern, same size, out of what I think is a very similar weight and stretch material, and they fit differently. It makes me insane. I even fit them as I go, but each material wears differently. I appreciate that a talented sewist such as yourself experiences somewhat of the same problem. The details on your Ginger jeans are great:)!
These look amazing! You are a machine! I have never taken the jeans-making plunge but in a way that's because you and I have opposite problems-- I'm more top-heavy, so I never have a hard time finding RTW jeans but have a HORRIBLE time finding button-downs, wrap dresses, etc. that don't gape! That's the great thing about sewing...you can finally make all the things you've been frustrated when trying to buy for years!
These look awesome!! Isn't that 9 oz denim fabulous?
Leave a Reply.