I made jeans! Ginger jeans

hello! guess what?? I made jeans and I’m just a bit pleased with myself.

Fitted trousers or jeans have been on my wish list/to do list for ages.

Then I acquired this fabric. A lovely soft brushed cotton(?) with quite a bit of stretch. and you know…….. animal print!wpid-20150727_081825.jpg

2 identical remnants from Tessuti! both 1 m, enough for jeans even with nap.

Barbarajanemade Ginger jeans.jpeg

Cordova jacket, windy day at the gallery, me trying to stop the jeans falling down.

There was a bit of discussion on Instagram with Melanie and Lara who also have this fabric. Melanie was deciding what to make. Lara has made some very elegant Style Arc Misty jeans.

I thought I’d go for a wearable muslin of Closet Case files Ginger jeans.

I’ve admired so many Gingers. Have a look at those made by the pattern’s namesake also Carolyn’s.Barbara Jane Made Ginger jeans Cordova jacket.jpeg

I was nervous about making jeans. My machine did not like top-stitching. First I tried Gutermann top-stitching thread and Schmetz top-stitching needles. Should have been an unbeatable combination, but no way, just a hot mess of tangles and snarls. I found some very helpful top-stitching hints on Jenny’s Cashmerette blog.Barbara Jane Made Ginger jeans.jpeg

In the end what I found worked best (most of the time) with my PFAFF:

  • a Schmetz jeans needle
  • Gutermann upholstery thread in the needle
  • normal Gutermann in the bobbin
  • a stitch length of 4
  • tension of 7.

The upholstery thread is not as thick as the top-stitching thread and didn’t seem to snarl up as much. It is also more economical. You only get 30 m of topstitching thread on a spool, compared to 100 with the upholstery. 30 m doesn’t go far with all the topstitching on jeans. I used my standard presser foot for all, but next time I will try the blind hem foot for the edges like those on the pockets.

I can see how more that one machine would be a real boon. I was constantly having to change thread, tension and stitch length switching between normal stitching and top-stitching. you can’t leave all the top-stitching to the end either. I might just see if I can find the machine I learnt to sew on……….. my grandmothers hand-operated Singer.

I did re-do the pockets. Based on the pattern they were half-way down my thighs. I really didn’t like them. Heather of Closet Case files does say pocket placement is highly individual and suggests leaving pocket placement until you do a final try on. I didn’t, so ended up unpicking all the topstitching and placing the pockets much higher, over the yoke in fact. Much better.

Pockets re-stitched, centre back seam taken in

Pockets re-stitched, centre back seam taken in

Barbara Jane made Ginger jeansjpeg

Giant pears, Ginger Jeans, Cordova jacket.

I loved choosing the lining/pocket fabric.  In fact having pretty jeans innards is enough to have me making more. This is a quilting cotton, though it looks like a much more expensive Japanese fabric. It makes me smile every time I see it.

barbara jane made ginger jeans.jpg

pocket and waistband lining Ginger jeans

As a wearable muslin I’m pretty happy with these. They are a bit big. Heather does say all fabric behaves differently and it is really necessary to baste and try on during construction. Even though I did (what?! yes really!) they still ended up too big especially after a days wear. I could take a wedge out of the back…but all the top stitching………….. After seeing these photos and spending the photo shoot yanking them up, I have taken an inch out of the centre back seam including at the waistband and an inch off each inside leg, much better, still comfy.


Have you tried making jeans? Do you know a source of jeans fixings? The snaps I’ve used are not great quality. When you put all the sewing time in it seems a shame to be let down by the hardware. Any online sources you can recommend?

Any ideas gratefully received……………….. because (sneak peak) I’ve started on my second pair of Gingers!…..a size down…………..


Happy sewing!



23 thoughts on “I made jeans! Ginger jeans

  1. Pingback: Pineapple jeans | Barbara Jane made

  2. Pingback: Ginger jeans #2 | Barbara Jane made

  3. Ditto the above comments re MRecht for denim & hardware.

    Top stitching – I hand baste the stitches in leftover thread. Then I use the jeans thread in the bobbin and very carefully carefully follow the basting stitches. I use a jeans needle or super heavyweight needle and sometimes take off the “needle down” function on my Pfaff. That allows me to hand crank through thick seams.

    LOVE your jeans!


    • Thank you Jean! It has been a learning experience, one of the many things I love about sewing. Like Lizzy said jeans are not really difficult, just lots of steps. I found the instuctions and sometimes the Closet Case files sewalong very useful.


  4. I found that pattern ran big as well. I measured my rtw pair and used that as a guide for sizing. Ginger would have had me at a 10 and I ended up with a 6 which was perfect. I am also on the lookout for decent jeans buttons because the only ones that have worked for me are spares that have come with rtw jeans.


  5. I bought the same fabric from Tessutis in Sydney with a slim fit pants in mind. I’ve never made jeans – but have several patterns on the I must do that one day list.


    • Its amazing how many of us have the same fabric. It is so true, so many patterns, such little time. I found the Ginger instructions and sewalong very helpful if you decide to go that way.


  6. I can’t even imagine making jeans at this stage of the game. But I see so many making this pattern, maybe some day, and what a nice job with what must have been a challenging project. And you have matching shoes! That is just so clever.


  7. Yes, I was going to recommend M Recht for your accessories, and they also sell high quality denim. Your jeans are excellent, and I love the animal print. I made the Gingers and they were too big for me too. I am on a never ending quest for the perfect jeans pattern…


  8. Jeans are a fun challenge. Rather like shirtmaking there are a lot of steps and rather than being overly difficult it’s methodical. Have you checked out M Recht for accessories etc?


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