Hello everyone! I’m back from our trip and once I have photos all organized, I’ll be regaling you with a few tales of waterfalls and remote Midwestern lands and such. 🙂 But in the meantime, I thought I’d share what’s on my sewing table! You already know my current knitting project, which saw a lot of progress while we were gone.
I’m going to sew the Ginger jeans pattern! Me a year or two ago would never have believed I’d say I was going to sew a pair of jeans, but there you have it, I am. When the pattern from Closet Case Files came out last fall, I was intrigued… from a distance. I had this vague concept that some people do sew jeans, but until I started seeing more crop up, it truly felt like the final frontier of sewing. And it still does. Sure, I’ve sewn two jackets, but… jeans? Really?
Now I love jeans. LOVE them. Some women who love vintage styles don’t, but I sure do. You know my style is casual, and denim fits right in. When I started dressing more vintage many years ago, that was the biggest hurdle for me, hunting down jeans that fit how I wanted to dress! I could never find vintage ones that weren’t stupid expensive or actually fit well. Plus, I wear them often enough, vintage wasn’t going to be a good long-term option. Finding Freddies of Pinewoods literally changed everything (and I know I’m not alone in this!), and I’ve happily gone through several of their styles and pairs over the years. Now, there are more retro brands making a variety of vintage-inspired jeans with various fits, so it’s not as difficult of a hunt, thankfully!
But still, there’s been a little niggling voice in the back of my head since seeing the Ginger jeans pattern last fall. View B on the left below is the higher waisted, skinny style:
Source: Ginger jeans pattern, copyright Closet Case Files
It doesn’t necessarily read as vintage per-se, but looking through my eyes, the potential for them fitting into a retro wardrobe was definitely there.
For that View B, the waist doesn’t hit at the natural waist, so “high” is a relative term compared to most modern fits, obviously. I kept looking at them with squinty eyes and wondering, “Hmmm… could I make a couple of small tweaks and get a retro looking skinny jean?” Because since late last summer when I realized I actually really like wearing slim-fitting pants, I’ve done it. A lot. A lot a lot. Ankle length, high-waisted slim pants with a bit of a late 50s/early 60s look have become a regular wardrobe staple for me. It took me awhile to realize it, but the 40s wide legs that I loved just aren’t flattering on my small 5’2″ frame, which explains why I always thought they were so cute on others but felt dumpy in them myself. So the proportions of a slimmer fitting leg has been a big win for me.
Which brings me back to the Ginger jeans. I’ve just gotten a great pair of Lady K Loves jeans with a much slimmer leg that I adore and have confirmed I really do like this style, but I want an even slimmer leg, because apparently my proportions include toothpick calves (you can see them on me on Instagram). And for warmer weather in particular, I wouldn’t mind a slightly lower rise, just a hair under my natural waist. Since I’m short-waisted, I’m also curious if this may give me a bit more of the appearance of torso length, so long as it’s still high enough to read as ‘vintage’ in my mind.
None of this is new to me, I’m just sharing with you now! I actually bought the cone mill denim kit when Heather had that on pre-sale in late winter, so I’ve had a lot of time to mentally prepare. In the meantime, I’ve picked up a few cheaper denims to work through to sort out any fitting issues, since I won’t be doing a true muslin. So I’ll use the cheaper denims as full-on test runs before using the really good stuff. And I’m about to dive in!
I’m starting by only making a couple of minor changes at the get-go: I’m adding 1″ to the higher waisted style, which should (if I measured correctly) put them about 1″ below my now-beloved Butterick B5895 trousers. I didn’t want to go any higher without seeing the fit and rise on my body. I’m drastically shortening the leg length (5 1/2″!) so that it hits at my ankle, so it doesn’t have that slightly scrunched ankle you see on many modern skinny jeans. Both are in an effort to get them to read more vintage and less modern on me.
I’m making a couple of minor fitting tweaks learned from my endless fitting with the Butterick trousers (I have others I might do but really want to see how they fit first… I’m already slightly regretting one of the tweaks, so I may change back in version 2.0). Then I’ll dutifully baste it all together like Heather recommends. I suspect I’ll need to take the waistband and yoke in like many have for a swayback and small waist, but didn’t want to do that pre-emptively, especially since I raised the rise so that’ll change where the waistband actually sits on me. I’m slightly concerned in the end that I’ve cut a size too small for my hips and rear end, but the denim I’m using is pretty stretchy, so hopefully it’ll forgive that a bit if it turns out to be the case.
If I can get this fit okay in a few versions without murdering anyone or any sewing machines along the way, I hope to have a great pattern for a pair of vintage-inspired skinny jeans! Definitely more “inspired” than actually “vintage”, of course, at least for the decades I enjoy the most fashion-wise. Kind of more of a modern pin-up retro style, I guess you could say. But something that will totally fit into my wardrobe well!
All this chatter is to distract me away from the things that truly scare the hell out of me about sewing jeans. I mean, sewing jeans, that should say it! All that precise contrast topstitching, thick seam intersections (though yes, I already know and use the “hump jumper” trick to get over thick seams), bar tacks and belt loops, fly front, installing the rivets and jeans button, fitting…
Fingers crossed! 😉