Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jeans, Jeans, JEANS!!!

So the revamping of my first Ginger Jeans led to a jeans production line here. I had another cut of inexpensive Italian stretch denim that I purchased from Michael Levine at the same time as the denim from my first pair so I made some quick alterations to my pattern based on advice from the post I mentioned last time about fitting issues.

I sewed them up in two sessions over the course of about a week or so and they turned out pretty great.

They are snug. Perhaps a bit too snug in areas but I wore them for a whole day yesterday and was ok with them. The waistband is denim and the facing is quilting cotton and I got lazy and didn't interface the cotton. I should have because the worst thing about these jeans is the waistband being flimsy and too stretchy. Live and learn I guess. I always wear a belt anyhow so it's not the end of the world. 

The second worst part is that at the center seam on the butt my stitches were showing through. I think I accidentally used my topstitching thread in this seam and the stitch length was too long and the tension not tight enough. I was able to easily remove this line of stitches last night and the seam doesn't seem to be at risk of completely opening up, but I'll be careful. 

What I learned from this pair is that I am allowed to be creative with my seam allowances. I should have used the full 5/8" at the waist and lower legs but should have lowered it to 3/8" at the hip and upper thigh. Had I done that they'd be perfect I think. 

These were much faster to sew up because I decided to just finish all the seams with my new serger. They still look super clean inside without using the flat felled seams and from the outside you can't tell at all. On closer inspection my Gap Outlet jeans are all finished with serger seams too, so I feel justified. 

I finished these jeans about 3 days ago and immediately got the bug to do it again. I had purchased the Morgan Jeans pattern and some 100% cotton bull denim earlier this month. I was going to try out the Morgan jeans with this white denim but when I compared my ginger hacked pattern pieces to the morgan jeans pieces I knew it would take a lot of adjustments to make them work. So I made a couple more adjustments to my Ginger Pattern and forged ahead with the white denim. 

Following Closet Case Files 14 common Jeans adjustments post I shortened the crotch by another 1/4" and then when sewing I did a Round Pubis (what an awful name) adjustment. Then on my own I curved the waistband and yoke just a bit more than I had previously. When sewing I sewed 5/8" at the waist, 3/8" at the hip and upper thigh and then 5/8" (maybe a scant bit more) through from the knee on down. It made a HUGE difference in how they fit. Even though this denim has ZERO stretch they are comfortable and don't gap at the waist. Part of that is that I also made the back rise a bit taller than the front rise. It looked really weird having almost an inch of extra back fabric at the top of the side seams but once I graded it down to meet the front and sewed on the waistband you'd never guess. As a result the yoke pieces are super narrow at the side seams but no one but me would notice that. 

Anyhow, here they are in all their glory. I'm still not certain white jeans are my thing but I am so happy with the fit I think I'll have to wear them to just give them a try. 

Oh and you'd never notice from these pics, but I totally had to frankenhack the front pockets after everything was all said and done. The front pocket bags were so obvious I knew it would drive me bananas and I'd never wear them. So I cut them out following the curve of the pocket facing as best I could and then sewed them shut. Doesn't look awesome on the inside, but who cares. 

Here's what the fronts looked like before I did that. I think you'll agree it was the right choice. 

Jeans mastery unlocked!! Even though none of the pairs I've made are "perfect" they are all at least as good as the crappy store bought jeans I've been wearing up until now. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Update: Jeans Making

I sewed up my Ginger Jeans a good 5 months ago and have only worn them once. I wasn't super happy with the fit, and once I realized that my choice to use regular thread, although easier, meant popping top stitching in places I just didn't feel awesome about them and so they languished in the closet. I came very very close to sending them to Goodwill when I did the great purge of 2016 but I couldn't bear to part with them. They were  lot of work and I had had such high hopes.

Let's go back a bit. I made a muslin and based on that I did some quick and dirty alterations to my pattern pieces. This is my first ever pair of "fitted" pants and so I don't know why I thought it would magically come out perfectly on my first try? Demanding much?!

The sewing of the jeans was not difficult at all, as I knew it wouldn't be. Anyone can sew jeans, you just have to follow the instructions and be patient. Don't expect to make them in one day. Take your time. My fly went in OK, but with no serger my guts (of the jeans) looked kind of crappy. I was lazy, really really lazy while sewing these since I had in the back of my head that they wouldn't fit anyways so I just threw them together. So lazy was I in fact, that when my back yoke didn't line up, I didn't bother to pull out my seam ripper and fix it.. lazy... so so lazy. I guess to my defense we can call it a second muslin and cut me some slack.

So I basted them and took in some width, then I sewed them up and did an ugly hem job (see mad about the unlined up yoke above). I wore them once to a play date with my son, was kind of proud that I wore a completely hand made outfit that day, but I was also a little embarrassed of the jeans.

My 8 year old son took these pictures and so it's hard to tell how the jeans really fit. Also they just look like a lump of dark blue. They bagged out pretty bad over the course of the play date and when I got home I threw them in a super hot washer twice and then a super hot dryer hoping that would magically fix all the problems.. haha.. It helped but not enough.

I thought about taking them in and then I folded them up and put them in the closet.. there they sat until today.

Today after hemming a pair of extremely expensive jeans for a friend I realized that even expensive jeans aren't perfect. They have stray threads and wonky top stitching and it's OK.. most people don't notice these things. So I spent a little time on the Internet looking at Gingers and I pulled them back out. I tried them on and realized they fit kind of OK actually. (This probably relates to how many bags of chips I've eaten since December but let's not tell anyone! ) The crotch is still a bit too long and the stove pipe leg was really wider than I want, but other than that they really weren't that bad. So I got out my new serger (yay) and starting at the bottom of the pocket lining I took in the outseam all the way down. Probably took about a 1/4 " off at the thigh down to 1/2" at the ankle. I had pulled out the hem stitches already so I re-hemmed them more neatly with actual top stitching thread since it was already in my machine from the pair I hemmed for my friend.. and Whammo... much much better. Not perfect mind you, but better.

The other thing that had bothered me about them was the uniformity of the color. Most jeans come a bit distressed and that's what I'm used to. So I took out some sand paper and went to town. I put them on and went outside and sanded away on the thighs, around the crotch and some on the shin. Then I took them off and did a bit on the backside all the while being careful to avoid the top stitching. Don't want any more popped stitches than  I know I'm already going to get. They shed blue fuzz like crazy while I was doing this, so I expected the difference to be HUGE!  After all that was done, I threw them in the wash with all my other jeans to get a good toss. When they came out they looked OK. I was not careful about my sanding AT ALL, I just went at it and so it's totally uneven, but I'm OK with that. You can see some color differences. The fit is WAAAAY better now. I'm sure they'll still bag out a bit since this is stretchy denim, but now I consider them to be wearable.  Here's some photographic evidence of that. Please don't mind the crappy pics, I really need to get a remote for my DSLR so I can take better pics myself.
The length is now perfect to wear with flats or sneakers as is. And the leg is tight but not uncomfortably so. 

I like that they give a skinny vibe while still accommodating my more muscular calves. 

Here you can see the distressing. It's not a lot and it's not perfect but now I know that before I sew up my next pair I can hit the denim in some key places with some sand paper. I'll probably have to buy some that's a little heftier than what I used here but I can't wait to mess around with the distressing a bit. 

Rolled up like this is how I'm likely to wear them most often. They look pretty good like this, and now I know that my next pair will fit pretty darn well. 

YAY jeans that fit and are wearable and kind of cute. Far from perfect but after reading Closet Case Files post "14 COMMON JEANS & PANTS FITTING ADJUSTMENTS" I feel better about not searching for THE PERFECT FIT! Thanks Heather Lou for telling me to CHILL OUT! I will, promise.