Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 roundup: not-quite-Ginger jorts

After seeing just so many awesome Ginger Jeans floating around the internet, I vowed to finally make my own this year. I bought the pattern and the flares expansion (I will always and forever have a place in my heart for flares), plus the Closet Case jeans ebook to help with some of the construction and fitting parts. I even bought a Cone Mills denim kit, but I'm far too cautious to cut into that for my first jeans attempt.  My hip to waist ratio is pretty non-standard, and I've had a really tough time getting shorts I've made previously to fit through the butt. So I bought some cheaper denim with the right amount of stretch and decided to start with shorts so that I could focus on the hip and waist fit without using quite so much fabric in case they were unsalvageable. I had already printed the PDF pattern months ago, and I taped it together one evening and got to work figuring out which size to cut out.

The size chart put my waist at two sizes smaller than my hips, which made for some awkward grading between sizes across multiple pattern pieces (front + back, pocket facings, yoke and waistband). Then I compared the back crotch curve to the one on my decently-fitting pants sloper that I drafted and fit in patternmaking school, and they were way different. Given my previous issues with fitting shorts straight from the patterns, I started trying to modify the ginger pattern piece to match my sloper more closely, and I finally realized that I was just butchering the thing. What to do? Draft my own jeans, of course. (This is really my answer to every pattern woe I have, big or small, these days. No regrets!)

my sloper, compared to ginger after a few mods to try to get it closer to the same fit

I pretty much guessed at how much negative ease I needed to work with the stretch denim, but otherwise the drafting was pretty straightforward: trace my sloper, cut off the waistband, cut off a back yoke, draft some front pockets by using the Ginger pocket pieces as a reference for how the various pieces related. I drafted my own fly based on my patternmaking class, and the pattern pieces are slightly different from the ones used on the Ginger jeans, so I used my notes from class when I got to constructing this part. I used the back pocket and belt loop pieces as-is from the pattern, because I might as well take a shortcut where I can, when fit isn't an issue. From here I followed the jeans e-book for construction - since I based my pieces off of the Ginger pattern, the instructions worked great. I basted everything together for a fit check, which was honestly not as bad as I feared, made a few tweaks, and moved forward with sewing.

baste-fitting before taking them apart and sewing for real

At some point I decided I wanted to make a button fly for these, but my jeans notions kits were for zip flies, so I had to source some more buttons. TaylorTailor had me covered for some great jeans buttons and matching rivets - highly recommend!

The worst part of the construction process was the topstitching. I didn't yet have my Bernina, so I was constantly switching between regular and topstitching thread on a single machine. My machine was just awful at the topstitching part, jamming up, eating the thread, making big thread nests on the wrong side, and sometimes breaking needles. It was an ORDEAL and I definitely cursed out my machine several times and swore to never make jeans again. But then - they were done! And they were beautiful and I was so proud. I always really love hammering on hardware, so the rivets were a satisfying way to wrap up the shorts.

So, how are they? Pretty good, not perfect, but I'll take it. I did wear them a ton this summer - to picnics in the park, out in muggy NYC in August, to the blueberry patch with Tumbles. I love having a pair of high waisted shorts that go with seriously everything. Honestly my only complaint is a perpetual wedgie situation in the back, and I think I just need to make the crotch curve a little longer on future pairs (this is something that I think would have been far worse had I used the Ginger pattern, based on how the two pattern pieces compare, but I need to investigate more). They were also just a bit snug through the hips, but I've burned off some fat due to my newfound love, aerials, so they are just right now. I'm still planning to make some full length jeans but got caught up in other projects, so we'll see when I get back to those. Hopefully soon, as my RTW jeans are getting pretty worn out and I don't plan to buy more!

out in the wild - New York hotel, blueberry picking

I took some photos back in late summer when we had some spooky, smoky wildfire light for a few days. Also featuring: a linen tank top that I draped, then hated and hacked into a high-low crop top, and still don't really like but would love to replace with something better in a similar breezy linen!

And some in progress/detail shots:

sewn, pre-hardware installation. (they look so naked!)

And... the only photo I got of the delightful pocket cotton I used, plus my finished button fly!

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