OMG, Finally! (Jeans!!!!!!!!!)

Hey everyone!

I meant to share another post entirely, but we took photos for everything at the same time and I am so excited about this project that it jumped the blog queue. (The other post is coming soon, promise!)

What’s got me so damn excited? JEANSSSSSS!!!!

SSJ (19 of 25)


SSJ (18 of 25)

Side view: no twisting!

SSJ (10 of 25)

Admiring myself

SSJ (23 of 25)

Showing off the crotch?

SSJ (1 of 1)

Overexposed to try to show the black fly topstitching…not super successful!

Closer Seam

Close-up of the flat-felling on the inseam

SSJ (15 of 25)

Closer look at the side; sorry for the awkward hand intrusion!

SSJ (17 of 25)

Exciting pocket/butt shot, sorry y’all. O_oย 

SSJ (20 of 25)

Trying to hike them up!

SSJ (22 of 25)

Matching shirt + pockets!

SSJ (24 of 25)


I have been planning this project for AGES now, but could somehow never make jeans for myself a priority item. My first sincere attempt was undone by fabric that was too stretchy (which is apparently a thing? Who knew! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but I came back to these in August, determined to make them happen. Apart from a few little things, I am THRILLED with these!

I wanted to keep them versatile, so I stuck with black topstitching and gray bartacks and nickel hardware. I got stuck with a tacky bright gold zipper though, LOL! Unfortunately, the topstitching gets lost in the denim, but that’s okay. And my back pockets look more like cousins than twins (I don’t know where I first read that phrase, but it perfectly sums up my experience with sewing exterior pockets). The denim I used is from Fashion Fabrics Club, and I’m pretty sure I got it for like $4 a yard. It is stretchy but firm and substantial, and really perfect for skinny jeans. Plus the “smoke black” color is soย 90’s!

Pattern Notes

The pattern I used is the one I cloned from an old pair of Aeropostale jeans.ย While the original cloned pattern was very low-rise–requiring a 2.5″ zipper!–I altered it to be high-rise. I have come around to that look and feel in jeans…mostly because I am super into cropped tops right now! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was naughty and went to Madewell and J. Crew last year to try on–but not buy–their jeans, since I was curious about the higher rise by then. I took some measurements from a few pairs of 9″ skinnies, which I liked best, for science. I compared those measurements to my original pattern, and made my alterations from there.

I know I could have just started with a high-rise pattern, like View B of the Ginger Jeans pattern, which I bought right when it was released. But in my opinion, the proportions of that particular pattern are “off”: they’re just too tall overall IMO, plus the zipper is weirdly long and the yoke always looks too tall. (And that’s to say nothing of some other bug-bears I have with that pattern draft-wise, but this isn’t the time or place to get into that!) In order to get the proportions right, you have to distribute any extra rise height correctly in the front AND back. What I learned from the RTW jeans was how best to do that and achieve the lookย I was after. I think my pair look proportional with my body; they don’t look “high-rise,” they just look like jeans.

I mean, look at them:

That’s a Madewell pair of 9″ rise skinnies on the left (original photo is property of Madewell). The proportions are pleasing to the eye and not exaggerated in height (i.e., no mile-long zipper). Success!

Now as I said, I would change a few things about these jeans. For instance:

  1. The waist is too big, despite my taking out almost 3″ already. This included unpicking the top of my flat-felled back crotch seam to take a big-ass wedge out there, plus another 1/2″ at each side seam. Boo.
  2. The front pocket openings need to be larger/deeper, both for visual and practical purposes.
  3. I could stand to take about 1/4″ off the length of the front crotch. I am not terribly worried about the lines you can see above–those are caused by my stomach-slash-pubis area being too flat versus my pointyย comparatively prominent hip bones and front thighs. I might fix it, but I might not. Whatever.
  4. Maybe narrow the lower legs a bit for a closer fit, a la J. Crew’s “toothpick” cut.

Construction Notes

Putting these together was pretty straightforward, since I’ve made jeans before. I followed my own notes on the fly front, and flat-felled the inseam, back crotch, and yoke seams. I forgot to put my belt loops on before sewing the waistband to the jeans and its facing, so those could be cleaner next time. Once again, I used Angela Kane’s buttonhole method; seriously, I don’t think I’d ever do that any other way on jeans!ย I did all my sewing with a 90/14 Jeans needle; over any big bumps, I folded up some scraps of denim and put them under the back of my presser foot and that was a big help. Finally, I used true Topstitching thread for all of the topstitching EXCEPT for the gray stuff. My machine will work with that heavy-ass thread, provided I tweak my settings properly and don’t try any bartacks!


So here we are, one pair of self-made jeans down with many more to go! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am so excited that these turned out to be wearable, and am feeling good about making lots more pairs. Goodness knows I’ve got the denim to do that, LOL. Before I go, here is a hilarious .gif Tom made of the two shots we got of me trying to hike these pants back up where they belong:


Maximum Effort

You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜€

I will be back VERY shortly with another post featuring the outfit I made to wear to our most recent band gig. (Spoiler alert: one of the pieces was in some of these photos!) See you soon!

Talk to me: would you ever bother making jeans? What’s one thing you’ve always meant to sew for yourself but can’t seem to prioritize?


28 thoughts on “OMG, Finally! (Jeans!!!!!!!!!)

  1. YAS. KWEEN. I was totally expecting to read about the Ginger Jeans or some other pattern, but I am thrilled and amazed that you rubbed off a pair of RTW jeans! (Again!) They fit your frame perfectly and look super professional. High five to you!

    To answer your questions.. YES (heehee) and I just cut out my 4th pair of Ginger Jeans (3rd full-length). I made new pattern pieces for flared legs by tracing from a pair of well-loved jeans I can’t fit in anymore. I also bought the Named Jamie Jeans that I want to make black jeans from and I still have the Mimi G Jeans pattern for another pair. I’m a little scared to get away from the Gingers, especially now that I’ve tweaked the fit enough to make them fit me like a glove. I guess I can always compare pattern pieces!

    I keep telling myself I’ll make underwear and I’ve started 2 pairs of panties already but never got around to finishing them. I also need to start making regular bras because I want to burn my RTW bras by the end of the day. Oh, and Sewaholic Thurlows. They’ve been on my to make list for like 5 years now. It’s getting ridiculous. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You are definitely an experienced jeans maker now–I can’t wait to see these flares! I would definitely recommend comparing pattern pieces and using the shape of your fitted Ginger pattern where you need to: I have the Jamie pattern too, and will be doing the same thing to make sure they fit. (And those will be SO SWISH in black!! Can we still be friends if I shamelessly copy that idea? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      I love that of all the things you’ve made, it’s underwear that you can’t be bothered to finish, LOL! I bought all kinds of stuff to make bras a couple of years ago, but haven’t even taken the kits out of the plastic. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thank you SO MUCH for your sweet comments on my jeans–you made my day! โค

      • Copy away! It would be fun to have an outfit twin. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Your jeans deserve the best comments because they kick ass! I also wanted to mention how much I LOVE your shirts, too (especially that tie front one) but I got so distracted by the awesomeness of the jeans and the gif. XD

  2. Every one of your posts leaves me lost in admiration of your accomplishments! I’ve never had jeans on my list of must-sews, but actually, there are lots of resources now–supplies and instruction–for DIY jeans, so success has never been so possible. I would probably go into a jeans-sewing frenzy. It would be great to have a wardrobe of jeans in the colors and styling I want… Okay, I’m convinced!

    • Coming from you, this is such a wonderful compliment! (Nina would be thrilled that, after 2 years of having the pattern done, I actually *made* them!) With your skills and attention to detail, I don’t doubt that you could make whatever pants or jeans you wanted–I hope you’ll go for it!

  3. Wowwww, they look GREAT!!!! And those pockets look pretty twinsies to me!

    Jeans are on my list of things I want to try. I honestly would be thrilled with any successful actual pants! I’ve made sweatpants, and a few other pant-ish items, but not a good everyday pair that I could wear to death, which is what I want. My weight has been fluctuating which has contributed to my procrastination. But maybe this fall I will DO IT! By do it, I mean make pants.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Ann! You can absolutely make everyday pants, and I hope that this year is your year! I can see how uncertainty about what size you’ll need at any given time would make you hesitate though: sewing is a lot of effort, and you want to be able to wear something after all your hard work! Maybe one of the adjustable or partially elasticated styles would be a good start? Style Arc has several (and they’re stylish, too!), and I think some other companies do as well. Best of luck to you!

  4. So impressed. I can totally relate to having enough denim lying around the stash to make pairs of jeans. I cannot, however, relate to making them, since I always manage to find something else to do so as not to tackle something so intimidating. These look great!

    • Thank you so much! My denim stash is totally ridiculous, considering this is only the 2nd pair I’ve actually made! xD And I get the avoidance: I did the same thing for a while, jeans just seemed too involved despite knowing my pattern would fit properly from the start. But honestly, they’re not very difficult at all, they just have lots of pieces and steps (and thread changes, potentially). And given some of the tricksy fabrics you’ve worked with, you can totally dominate denim. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I think you’re the only sewist I’ve seen who’s talked about the weird proportions of the high-rise Gingers. Every rear photo I’ve seen of them looks totally off to me, but your jeans look absolutely perfect!

    • Hah! What can I say, I’m a cranky little thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just don’t want my butt or crotch to look like they’re a mile long, and that’s the optical effect of those jeans in my opinion; I’m just glad I’m not the only one who thinks they’re not quite right! Thank you so much for your kind comments on my jeans, Catherine–you put a smile on my face for sure.

  6. So fabulous! I can’t believed you got such a great fit from rubbing an old pair of jeans. I’ve flirted with that idea, but never have found the courage, LOL!!! I gave up on Gingers after trying a muslin, too much tweaking necessary for my bod. My old reliable Jalie pattern has seen me through but I also have the Named Jamie pattern, and may try that next, because you have me believing I need a new pair of dark denim jeans, like, right now! Love the shirt too, BTW. That’s a great look on you!

    • Aww, thank you! โค I am very fortunate that RTW jeans fit me fine, I just don't want to give the fashion industry my money anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚ And crotch fitting wasn't something I'd ever tried (and I missed the Pants class offered by my pattern teacher!) so this felt like a safe way to get started. I think if you have a pattern that works for you fit-wise, you are good to go! The Jamie pattern would be perfect for a dark wash denim–you should go for it!

      • The crotch fitting part is definitely the toughest part, and my RTW pair does for like a dream…,Hmmm, wheels turning over here!!! I might have to follow your lead. Enjoy your perfect jeans…

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  8. I think you’ve nailed the proportions! They don’t look “mom jean” but they are also not nineties hiphugger low (god good I can’t believe that shit I used to wear lol). Maybe one day I’ll wear jeans but I don’t really care to at the moment. I prefer tops and dresses and shit like that that is easier to use crazy prints with I suppose. I keep putting off my winter jacket lol…and really a lot of “me” sewing at the moment….*sigh*

    But the jeans look amazing!

    • LOL I am glad I’m not verging into “Mom Jean” territory–I can’t believe those are considered “cool” in some fashion spheres! O_o Meanwhile, I am over here trying to comprehend how you can get through winter without jeans!! You are clearly made of tougher stuff than me, LOL.

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