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Jeans Sewalong: Week 1

It's time to start the springtime Jeans Sew-along! This past Friday we began our jeans with a focus on picking patterns and sizes, choosing fabrics, deciding on modifications, tracing and cutting pattern pieces, and a tiny bit of top stitching. We all decided to make the same pattern, Closet Case File's Ginger Jeans, so it will be great opportunity to see how they look on several different body types. Here's what the panel had to say about week one!

Sara's Ginger Jeans: Week 1

I'm so excited to be sewing jeans this month! I made one pair of high-waisted Ginger jeans about a year ago and wore them until they had too many holes. Although well loved, my last pair was slightly too high on me and the waistband wanted to roll down. I decided to attempt to correct that with this pair of Gingers. Following Closet Case's tutorial I reduced the rise on my pattern by 1". There are several pieces that you'll have to modify so I'd recommend reading the tutorial to make sure you don't forget a piece. Once I adjusted my paper pattern, it was time to cut out! I'm using a stretch denim from Cone Denim Mills that has 2% spandex. Since Cone Denim is a US-based company, I decided to go with a theme and grabbed a piece of our American Made Brand solid quilting cotton in brick red for my pocket bag/stay pieces.

A while back, I learned that denim can come in a right hand weave or a left hand weave and that this is the most common cause of jeans that twist around your ankles pulling the side seam into the wrong place. For more information on denim check out this article in a recent Seamwork Magazine edition. To make sure my fancy new jeans don't end up with twisted legs, I opted to cut the leg pieces on a single layer of fabric. I realized that to make sure that my pieces were on grain, I would be better off if I traced my pattern pieces onto the denim before cutting. It's a bit tedious, but it's only 4 pieces! As well as making sure your pieces are on grain, Closet Case recommends that you flip your leg pieces top to bottom. There is a diagram of this in the pattern's instructions if you need a visual reference. I cut the rest of my pattern pieces out with my denim folded double. The only other modification I made was to cut out the largest/longest waistband. When you lower the rise of jeans, that makes the waistband longer. I don't know exactly how much longer I'll want, so I figured the largest size would give me plenty of extra to work with.

The first thing that you do when sewing these jeans is to sew the pockets, front and back. I set my top stitching up, ran a few test stitching lines to determine what stitch length I liked (3.0-3.5 was our preference it seemed), and then ran the top edges of my back pockets and coin pocket through the machine. I tried using an edge stitching foot and it worked well for me, but it's not for everyone. I also shocked myself and everyone else by accurately eyeballing my top stitching distance at exactly 1/4"! Yeah!

Also, my denim totally turned the inside of my washing machine BLUE. I ended up getting most of it off with elbow grease, baking soda, and vinegar. Shout makes these things called Color Catchers that I like for preventing dyes from bleeding into other fabrics they are washed with, but I was out of them that day.

Jaime's Ginger Jeans: Week 1

It's jeans time! I'm super excited about this sew-along. Jeans are a daily part of my wardrobe so being able to sew my own is a huge step in my mission to wear handmade. I did attempt to make jeans before and the fit/fabric was not ideal so I'm expanding on what I learned for this second attempt. For the fabric this time around I'm also using the US Cone Mill denim. This is a heavier weight denim with less stretch than what I used last time. I'm also using the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans pattern this time which I think will fit great. I'm making the high-rise skinny jeans (view B) which are very similar to the Imogene + Willie jeans I've been living in for the past year.

So far I've just picked my size (the stress!) and cut out my jeans. I cut out a size 8. I'm a little scared. It's right on for the waist measurement, but I'm a size 10 in the hips. There is not a huge difference between the sizing on the pattern pieces so I'm hoping I can make these fit in the hips with adjustments to the seam allowance there. I'm planning on basting them first to try them on before going in full throttle.

I love a sew-along! I've learned a lot so far between my fellow sew-alongers and the pattern. There is so much great information that I didn't know the first time around making jeans. I learned that you can put a cup of vinegar in the wash when washing your fabric to set the dye more. I also learned to cut the jeans out in a single layer so you can flip the pattern pieces of each leg, like Sara talked about, to eliminate the twisted leg syndrome that can happen in jeans sometimes. I learned to just put the gold top-stitching thread in the top of the machine and use regular black or navy thread in the bottom for nicer top-stitching. If nothing else, these jeans are really going to improve my sewing skills. Pro-tips galore!

Kaylee's Ginger Jeans: Week 1

I'm excited and a little anxious about starting my jeans this week. While the other two ladies have both made jeans before, this will be my very first pair! Crossing my fingers for success. I also decided to use the US Cone Mill denim for its deep indigo color and 2% spandex, which I have read is ideal for this pattern. For my pockets I have gone for a teeny tiny Liberty of London splurge, ten amazing inches of Polka Sky A. I wanted to have a pop of fun when I open up my pockets!

Picking a size was STRESSFUL. I measure between a size 14 and 16 for my waist measurement, but am planted firmly in a size 18 for my hip. I decided to do what I usually do in this situation. I cut out a size 18 to accommodate my largest measurement and plan to take some fabric out of the waist to give me a better fit. Luckily the pattern has you baste the whole garment together before the final seaming. That way I can make sure things are fitting how I would like before I am fully committed. Week one is always the least exciting for me. I can't wait to dive in and get to some real sewing now!

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