Ginger Jeans x Closet Case Patterns
This review is my honest opinion of a pattern I received free of charge from Indiesew.
I don't think I ever thought I'd be sitting here writing about how I made my own jeans--but here I am, writing about how I freaking made my own freaking jeans. And I'm here to tell you its 100% possible for you too!
Before I even entertained the idea of sewing jeans for myself I knew that the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns was practically the name in modern jeans patterns. Knowing it was a well made pattern from a reputable company, I decided it was the perfect choice for diving in to jeans and headed to IndieSew's website to grab a printed copy.
The Ginger Jeans is a stretch denim pattern that comes in multiple options like a skinny vs stovepipe leg (plus a flare add-on) and a low rise, mid rise, or high rise with a tummy slimming pocket stay. I chose the skinny leg with low rise (which is really mid rise for me because I'm so short) and used this Italian stretch denim with a hardware kit from Threadbare Fabrics.
So lets talk about how it went for me making my own jeans. When I decided to give it a try I can honestly say I didn't have any fear about trying it. I had read the tips in the Closet Case jeans sewalongs, I had already learned how to troubleshoot common fit problems in pants with my Flint Shorts, I knew my first pair would be my test run, and I really was feeling pretty good about it.
But people. When I did that first basting fit, I honestly questioned if I should even be wearing jeans at all. It. Was. Rough. They were far too big everywhere yet the crotch didn't have enough room, still super long despite removing length already...I honestly didn't know where to start to make them wearable. The air had been let out of my denim balloon.
One of the benefits of sewing your own clothes touted by so many is that you get to custom fit garments to your body, resulting in clothes that wear so much better than anything you'd find at a store. What they don't tell you, is that to get to that point you have to become intimately and acutely acquainted with your body and all of the bumps, lumps, and rolls that it possesses. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for my body and all of the awesome things it can do, but I'm not sure I was mentally prepared to face the c-section "shelf", the post baby pubis, and all the other ways my body has changed in the past few years as I stared in a full length mirror examining every inch of my lower half and how it looked in my work-in-progress jeans.
This reality was intensified by the fact that January and February were also host to a sewing challenge called Sewing Makes You Love Yourself. I had listened to the Love to Sew Podcast about the challenge just before starting my jeans, so this idea of sewing affecting my self image and self love in a positive way was on the forefront of my thoughts as I began this project. So I'm hearing all of these stories about how sewing has positively influenced countless individuals and their thoughts about their mental, emotional, and physical existence, and I sat in my studio feeling so down about myself because of a pair of half finished, never made them before, pants that forced me to actually study my body.
I ended up taking a month long break from my jeans thanks to my serger breaking and needing repaired, which gave me some time to regroup and get pumped to try again. And I think this is the real secret to those people that find self love/positive body image/confidence in sewing: persistence. I don't think its the sewing in and of itself that produces those feelings. Rarely does a garment (especially something like skinny jeans) come off the machine fitting perfectly without some sort of alteration. Its the determination, the troubleshooting, the grit they exercise that makes them successful at taking a two dimensional pattern aimed at fitting infinite body types and fitting it to their three dimensional, unique body and subsequently makes them feel like a million bucks.
So persist I did. I made multiple alterations like taking in the jeans a couple inches everywhere (plus a little more in the waist), giving more room in the front crotch curve for a rounder pubis, moving the front pockets in towards the center front, and taking off some more length. And they actually started to come together! I couldn't believe that these jeans that had once brought me to the verge of tears were now resembling something not only wearable, but something I would want to wear.
I can't say these jeans fueled a complete mental metamorphosis about how I see my body right now, but I can say that I did feel pretty amazing after I finished them and its hard not to stare at this photo of my own bum--I mean, look at that tush, folks. Plus, I will pat myself on the back for my Wonder Woman inspired back pocket topstitching.
So lets talk about next time. I do have to remind myself that technically these were a muslin--which, glass half full, its pretty cool that my jeans muslin is completely wearable! First and foremost, next time I plan on using some different denim. I'm not sure if the quality/recovery of my denim wasn't great or if I need to adjust their fit, but these do start to bag out pretty quickly. I was able to order some Cone Mills S-Gene denim that I've got stashed away for the next time I'm feeling up to trying jeans again. I think I could also use some more finessing in the crotch area. Finally, It looks like I didn't evenly shorten the legs of my front and back pattern pieces because I've got some weird twisting at the bottom, so that's an alteration I need to revisit.
While some patience and persistence is necessary in sewing and fitting your own jeans, I can confidently tell you that the actual construction is so doable. As Heather of Closet Case Patterns says, if you can sew a straight line, you can sew jeans. And its true! If jeans or fitted pants in general has scared you, give that fear the boot and just go for it--and now's the time to do it because through the end of the month all of the jeans patterns at Closet Case are on sale! You've got just a couple days to dive in and grab a pattern or two. So order those supplies, put on the Awesome with Alison podcast (one of my favorite, guaranteed to make me feel like I can do anything, podcasts), and freaking do it.