Retro take on Ginger jeans, a year later

Today I have three things to tell you about: a guest post, some jeans, and a giveaway (that’s coming up tomorrow). But, back story first!

Over a year ago, I sewed a pair of Ginger jeans from Closet Case Files. I loved them and wanted to immediately make another pair with a higher rise and even more of a retro look. And I didn’t do it, as is so often the case when you get excited about something but then forget to make the time for it. Whoops.

While I own pants with a lower rise, it’s literally three pairs: the 2 pair jeans I do house projects like painting in, and my first Gingers. All my repro brand RTW jeans (I think at this point all from Freddies of Pinewoods or Lady K Loves) hit my waist, all my other trousers hit my waist. That’s my style and what I wear all the time, so that’s what I wanted. But I didn’t yet have that in a handmade pair of jeans.

So this spring when thinking ahead, I knew at least one more pair of jeans was in the cards. Hopefully more. And then I was contacted my Mood Fabrics to do a collaboration with them, and the first thing that I cooked up was jeans and a striped t-shirt out of some of their yummy fabrics. Perfect idea for a spring outfit, right?!

If you pop on over to the Mood Fabrics blog, you’ll get to read my guest post from yesterday, about the Ginger jeans and striped tee that I sewed out of fabrics from Mood!

It’s an outfit I’m really pleased with, and I’m tickled pink that Mood gave me the incentive and opportunity to put it together faster than I likely would have otherwise gotten around to!


So do go read my guest post at Mood about both my jeans and the stripey top, but here’s a little more about fitting my jeans and changing the style a tiny bit, too, because I know some of you are really into that. And, y’know, so am I. 😉

What I wanted out of my jeans for the look I was going for:

  • hit at my natural waist
  • have a slim leg with a cuff
  • have slightly deeper front pockets (borrowing the the idea from a retro pair of jeans I own)
  • omitting rivets and using contrasting angled bar tacks instead (borrowing the idea from a pair of vintage jeans I saw online)

I knew from my first pair of Ginger jeans that everything from the crotch up fit great, the thighs were pretty much fine, the calves were too tight, and the ankles too wide. And each pair of jeans involves fitting, but I wanted to work on the legs a tad. I puzzled as long as I could and finally committed pencil to paper and called it a day. Because you really do have to baste the fit of every pair of jeans (I KNOW), I figured I’d have to tweak the fit some when basting, anyway.

I mentioned this in my guest post, but I’ll mention it here, too: fitting came back to bite me on the ass a bit, with this pair. Don’t get me wrong—overall I’m totally pumped about these. I mean, look at that happy face! Not a lie, I loooove these!


But. When I basted the fit, I second guessed myself and decided the thighs and legs were too tight. The denim was a pretty rigid medium weight Theory indigo denim from Mood, stretchy but not all that stretchy, so I was worried. And I let the seams out a bit. What resulted was that the thighs ended up being bigger than I wanted, which was more noticeable after a few wears. And I didn’t notice it until I took photos, but I it gave me a a weird fold of fabric above my knees, which I didn’t remember ever having on my first pair at all, so I can only assume it was from letting the legs out too much. You can see it below:


Although once the fabric all relaxed that fold just dissipated into natural wrinkles, but it still annoys me. I’m not one to wash my jeans with every wear (hardly! I admit), so I need to remember that if I want a truly slim fit that looks like it mostly does in these photos (first wear) but a few days later, I really should probably try for skin tight (as in, too tight for my taste) when sewing them up, as they’ll be relaxing soon, anyway. And likely, a slightly lighter weight denim. I love rigid, but it’s not the best for a slim jean, I don’t think. Since there’s not that much stretch, it doesn’t seem to recover very well. I did take the side seams in a bit after finishing these and wearing them a day (since it didn’t involve any unpicking of seams or topstitching, because oh hell no), but even still, lesson learned for next time.

That all being said, if the ankles were any tighter in the denim I used, I wouldn’t be able to get them on! So I’m glad they have just the perfect amount of room.

Ginger jeans cuffs

But no matter about the fit quibbles, because there are so many great details about jeans to focus on instead!

Ginger jeans yoke

Ginger jeans bar tacks

In terms of changing the rise, here’s what I did to get them to sit at my natural waist: on my first pair of Gingers, I raised the high rise style 1″. On the back I split that with 1/2″ to the yoke piece and 1/2″ to the back leg.

I went another 1.25″ up this time, totaling 2.25″ to get the waist to my own natural waist (your mileage may vary). This time I split it in the back with 3/4″ to the yoke, and 1/2″ to the back leg. I might reverse this in the future just to see if I like it any better, but this is all kind of personal preference at this point. Then to take the waist in, I just gradually shaved off about 1/4″ on each side front and back (which totals 1″ smaller circumference at the waist), starting about 3″ down the yoke piece in the back, and same spot on the leg in the front. I might shave a teeny bit off the center back seam and waistband next time.

If you make the same adjustment to get an even higher rise like I did, I’d highly recommend doing pocket stays instead of typical pocket bags! I think that’s now in the most current version of the pattern, anyway, but if you don’t have that, Heather outlines it in this post. They basically act a bit like shaping undergarments, pairing a non-stretch fabric with the stretch denim to make the front nice and smooth, which is extra helpful for high rise styles, I think. Along with lengthening the rise, I lengthened the pocket stays the same amount, too.


I’m so short that to get double cuffed jeans, these legs are 1/2″ shorter than the original pattern piece! I planned ahead and used red serger thread (along with the strategically placed red bar tacks and a red buttonhole), which I think is a nice pop of color with the cuff. I totally plan to repeat that on future versions!


And the only other change was to deepen the front pockets 3/4″ which I think gives it a slightly more retro look, especially with the high waist. It was a small enough adjustment that I didn’t need to make any changes to the coin pocket length or anything, either. I might go another 1/4″ deeper next time, too. I waffled about leaving or omitting the coin pocket as it’s a mixed bag with vintage jeans, but in the end kept it in.


I’m frankly not even sure why I bother documenting the minute fitting tweaks I made! Because I know every denim is toootally different, and I doubt the changes on one pair can really be applied to the next. Especially as I’d like to try some lighter weight denim that will be more comfortable to wear in the warmer months ahead, I’m sure I’ll end up making all sorts of different changes on the fly. Which is the truly annoying part of sewing jeans, to me, as I hate fitting as I go. I want to be able to sew and repeat! Alas, that’s just not the nature of the beast sewing stretch denim.

But the changes in the rise and front pockets I definitely plan to keep, and I’m beyond thrilled to have a starting point now for future jeans that really have the retro vibe I want. I definitely need some lighter weight denim ones, maybe capris, a straighter leg… the sky’s the limit! Hey, that’s one of the reasons it’s great to sew your own clothing, isn’t it?!!


outfit details

Ginger jeans – made by me
Butterick top – made by me (pattern hack tutorial here)
clogs – Maguba Rios
earrings – Vivien of Holloway

Fabric for both the jeans and the top were kindly provided by Mood Fabric in exchange for my guest post, but I picked them and the post is all me. 🙂

Wait wait, I did mention a giveaway, now didn’t I…!

As a Friday treat, check back on my blog tomorrow for a chance to win a gift certificate to Mood Fabrics, good anywhere around the world you may be doing you sewing. Stay tuned tomorrow!

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , ,

Golly, 17 Comments!

  • Tasha, these look fantastic! You did a wonderful job capturing the feel of vintage jeans! Jeans sewing is its own fitting universe, isn’t it? I’m having so much fun playing with denim these days. I …maybe… ordered another Japanese denim from mood last week. 😀 lol. It doesn’t actually count as denim, because it’s a tan color…or so I explained to Mike when it landed on the doorstep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀


  • These are fantastic! I love the striped jersey too! Congrats on another wonderful outfit. The red touches make all the difference.


    • Thanks! I really love the red touches, too. I used a light blue buttonhole last time which partially gave me the idea to go all matchy!


  • These jeans look amazing! I’d love to try my own one day. Love this outfit!


    • Thank you! I would highly encourage it. They’re a lot of steps and seem intimidating, but when you’re in the midst of doing it, it just kind of feels like normal sewing, and at the end… WHOA. You have jeans!! 🙂


  • Really fabulous outfit! That blouse is so chic and has the loveliest subtle nautical vibe to it.

    Happy Friday wishes,
    ♥ Jessica


    • Thanks!! I thought about that nautical vibe, too. I have a pair of Miss L Fire red and white striped flats with nautical designs on top that I’ll definitely be wearing with this top at some point this summer!


  • Those jeans are just insanely cute and flattering on you! Even with the fitting problems you see, they still look so great on you. Well done!


  • […] checked out my guest post for Mood Fabrics, and yesterday’s post here on my blog with more details about my jeans. I’m so pleased with that outfit and now I get to share my joy with one lucky […]


  • Wowsza! Aren’t the Gingers the best? If ya hadn’t said you are short….I’d never had thought as these jeans elongate your bod like no other. Great post…I’ll be watching for more ?.
    G x


  • Wowzah! These are so good! I especially love your handy work with the red thread. Really nice touch, and I’m gonna have to try that myself one of these days.


  • I love your retro take on these jeans Tasha – they look fabulous on you!


  • Oh. My. WORD! Tasha, these are beyond fabulous. You look amazing in them and I love all the little details you added! Just WOW!


  • Wow these look amazing and well done for working with denim. I absolutely love the style of them and the high waisted style of them looks gorgeous on you. I love the top you’re wearing with it as well, these look so good. I’d love to be able to make some jeans as good as these, in awe! I adore the retro vibe! XxxX


  • Wow these look amazing and well done for working with denim. I absolutely love the style of them and the high waisted style of them looks gorgeous on you. I love the top you’re wearing with it as well, these look so good. I’d love to be able to make some jeans as good as these, in awe! I adore the retro vibe! XxxX


  • you look great!


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