Living in comfy clothes seems to be the new norm. Cozy pants especially. Fleece-lined leggings, flowy lounge pants, soft cotton harem pants, and PJ's of course. Gimme all the couch surfing pants.
Jeans don't really fit into the cozy pants category but, I'm going to talk about them anyway. Jeans are something I rarely reach for when I get dressed in the morning (afternoon?). If I do wear jeans, I reach for my Calvin Klein high waisted skinny jeans. They fit my body like a leather glove. So, when my friend told me about the January Jeans sew along, I jumped on board!
The Jeans Fitting Journey
This post is a little different than my usual pattern posts. Hundreds, if not more, Ginger Jeans tutorials already exist. So, I wanted to do something different. I'm taking you through my jeans fitting journey. Beware though, it's gonna get ugly before it gets pretty.
The January Jeans sew along was hosted by some lovely ladies in the UK, on Instagram. They set up a Slack app group for all of us to post and share photos to. We had live Zoom calls every Monday and then we were put into smaller Zoom groups. It was a whole jeans journey. We helped each other with fit issues and got feedback on our own jeans.
If you've ever wanted to dabble in jeans sewing, you really need to get the fit correct. Here we go!
Make a Muslin
Jeans sewing is an easy process. I've made a few pairs of jeans from Gertie's book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. However, this was my first time making a zipper fly and I was a little bit intimidated. Sewing one in your muslin is a great way to practice a new skill or technique. It wasn't hard at all!
I really do recommend sewing a muslin first. It's a trial run. You can rip out seams, cut fabric to make space for your hips and legs, and practice topstitching. Use it as your "scratch piece of paper". Through my first muslin (that I made with 0% stretch fabric) I found that the so-called high waist wasn't high enough for me. My first adjustment would be to the rise.
The photos below are of my first muslin fit. I cut out a straight size 12. I like to cut one size that is the closest to my measurements and go from there.
**It took a lot of courage for me to post these photos below. So, please be nice. :) The pants are clearly too tight, too small, and too ill-fitting overall. But, I decided to set my insecurities aside and show you that the correct fitting can do your body good. So, this is the first muslin fitting and it's bad! Hahaha
I took these in my daughter's room, so I blurred out the blankets on the floor for her privacy. ;-)
As you can tell, the fit was snug around my bum and tummy area. An easy adjustment would be to grade up to a size 14 or 16 in the waist area. However, I knew I was going to add height to the rise area.
Yes, if your first muslin was a total bust, do a second one. You could easily unpick seams and go from there. However, I was changing the pattern, so I needed a second muslin. The second would be a wearable muslin pair of jeans. I grabbed some clearance denim, made my adjustments to the pattern paper, cut the new fabric, then sewed the second pair with the adjustments.
And WOW! What a difference from the first muslin. I loved the waist height. I loved what the full tummy adjustment did for me. I did not love the low bum adjustment because it added excess fabric in my rear and in the back of my thighs. You can see all the bulk in the photos below. This pair was cut in a size 12 just like my first muslin. You can see how my pattern adjustments really changed the fit.
Leg Twist Hack
I had a serious leg twist issue with one leg. I followed the cutting directions to a T, too. I cut on the single layer and alternated each leg just like the pattern recommended. Ugh!
I unpicked the inseam and side seams and sewed them back up. No more annoying twisty leg. So, if you do have this issue, I recommend unpicking the seams. Sew the inseam by starting at the cuff of one leg and go up. Backstitch at the crotch seam. Then, sew the other leg by starting at the cuff and sew up to the crotch. This may or may not be the correct way but, it fixed my issue.
Photos below are of my wearable muslin pair of Ginger Jeans. I've worn these around a few times and they fit well enough. The denim only has 1% stretch while the pattern calls for a 2%. They are a little stiffer than I'd like but, no seams have popped open when I bend over. Yet! LOL
One back pocket is lower than the other but it didn't bother me enough to re-do it. Shhh, it'll be our little secret. ;-)
There is extra fabric and bagginess on the back thighs because of the low bum adjustment. It wasn't needed. I guess I have a high bum. Who knew? Hahaha!! And again, it didn't bother me enough to rip open the seams and fix it. This pair was supposed to fall into the "good enough" category. And they do just that.
Red cotton fabric was used for the pockets, you can see it peaking out a bit. I also did red bar tacks in place of rivets.
Whew, I hope you're still with me. Now, it's time for the final pair!
Final Pair of Ginger Jeans
I chose dark grey denim for my final pair of Ginger jeans. I love a red accent too so, I used red topstitching in place of rivets and made red pockets again.
For the final pair, I did the adjustments that seemed to work best for my body.
I love the fit so much! My bottom half isn't very curvy due to my apple shape figure. Therefore, these jeans fit so much better than any RTW pair I've ever owned. They fit my legs and waist perfectly. I'm truly happy with the fit.
Now that you followed me through my fitting fun, are you going to make your own jeans? I really do encourage you to make a pair. I've made pants before but they didn't have all the stitching detail. These taught me more about fitting your own body and how perfecting the fit really does make all the difference.
If you're still on the fence about jeans making, maybe these trousers are more your speed. They're wide-legged and flattering on everyone.
Or, would you rather stick to an easier project? Sew up a little something here, here, or here.
Either way, go sew something! You deserve it! :D
Happy jean sewing,
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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