I made it! Ginger jeans: pants for a pants hater

Ginger Jeans. Have enough good things already been said about them on the internet? I’m going to say no, not enough, because I haven’t added to the chorus of “best pants ever” just yet. But now I am.

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I ordered the Cone Mills Denim these are made of way back when Heather Lou offered denim kits the first time, and then promptly left the fabric sitting in the box it came in on the floor of my sewing room. I finally pulled it out a few weeks ago and got so far as setting the fabric and the instructions on my table, with a commitment to stitching these up before fall. My pal Molly was over and saw the instructions and said “Are you making jeans? Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear pants!”

She’s right, I kind of hate pants. Partially because I just like skirts and dresses more, but it’s also a temperature issue. In the summer, it’s way too hot for pants. In the winter, all my pants are too slim for an under layer, so I wear skirts and pull on two pairs of wool tights to keep myself cozy. By my calculations, this leaves approximately 6 weeks in Minnesota where it is not too hot or too cold for regular old pants. In addition, like most women, finding pants in stores is hard- I’m short and my butt is big and my calves are muscular. I had one pair of jeans I kind of liked, but they were so tight that when I gained a few pounds they became downright painful to wear and got retired.

I made my first Ginger Jeans muslin for view A (the low rise version) last winter out of some extremely stretchy salmon pink denim I picked up off the discount shelf at Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul. I’d dreamed it would be a wearable muslin, but my big ol’ butt had different ideas. I started off sewing a size 18, but it was way too big. I sized down to a 14, and with the stretch of the fabric it was closer, but not big enough at all for my butt, and a bit too small around my calves. This post from Tasha at By Gum By Golly   was very helpful, and I added a butt smile to my muslin- a whole three extra inches of fabric at the center! Like I said, my butt is big.

After I made my muslin adjustments I sewed up a pair in grey stretch twill. I wore them a bit during the spring, but the fabric was so much less stretchy than my muslin fabric that they’re not very comfortable. I then transferred my muslin adjustments on view A to view B and made pair of high-waisted purple short shorts. I’ve worn them all summer and loved them, although I realized that with view B I don’t need quite as much extra butt space.

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All of that brings us to these wonderful jeans you see before you. I truly couldn’t be happier! Some fabric just wants  to be made into garments, and that’s definitely true of the Cone Mills denim. I set up one machine for seams (my Singer Touch & Sew) and one machine for topstitching (my Singer 301A), which made it so much easier. I did a pocket stay, which gives you nice smooth front without too much tummy squishing. I also decided to just serge and top stitch my seams, since the last time I did flat fell seams (on the grey twill pair) I had to do a lot of unpicking in spots where the flat fell shifted while sewing and didn’t catch. I’m sure this just a skill that takes practice, but at the moment I don’t love flat felling, it always ends up looking messy on the insides.

The shirt here is an altered linen thrift store top that I’ll share more about next week.

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The design on the back pockets came out of sketching ideas with a chalk pen, and I really like how that came out. I copied the pocket placement from my purple shorts, but I think they turned out a bit too wide set unfortunately. I feel fine about it, but I do plan to be a bit more careful with the next pair.

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Since I’m pretty short, I actually have quite a bit of denim left over! Heather just posted an awesome Ginger skirt hack, so I’m planning to attempt to squeeze one out of what’s left. What can I say? These pants are amazing, but I’m a pants hater, so a skirt version may be even better.

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I made it! Deer and Doe Belladone #3

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This is my third Belladone, and dare I say it… I think I finally got it right! Not to say I didn’t like the previous versions – I loved them. But this one is just about perfect. In fact, it feels like a bit of a Goldilocks situation, and now it’s just right.

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My first Belladone (sidenote: damn am I glad my hair has grown out) was made out of a soft cotton fabric. It’s cute and, hilariously, perfectly matches my bike (both are light blue and hot pink). However, the soft drape didn’t show off the pleats and exaggerated A-line very well. And unfortunately, whether I iron it or not, it always looks a bit rumpled.

My second Belladone was made of some gorgeous black fabric with lurex woven in, which I picked up at Modern Domestic while I was on vacation in Portland earlier this summer. There were a few issues that have led to me (gulp) not actually wearing that dress at all yet this summer. First of all, it just feels too fancy for my day to day summer lifestyle- like it kind of feels like a job interview outfit, except the cut out back and the short skirt make it a bit inappropriate for that. Second, while I SWEAR the bolt said it was 2% spandex, that ain’t true. This fabric has zero give. So it’s just a touch too tight. I did, however, make some crucial fit adjustments that got rid of the back wrinkles I was plagued with when I made the first one.

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Which brings us to Belladone #3. I picked up some wonderfully heavy stretch sateen at S.R. Harris recently and whipped this baby up. With this luscious fabric combined with my fitting changes from Belladone #2 it’s perfect! I love how sturdy it feels. For notions, I recently came across a bag of 20+ red invisible zips at the thrift store (so all my future dresses will have red zips for the time being). I was also the lucky recipient of a ton of vintage buttons and bias tape from a new sewing friend. I realized that I don’t love the exposed bias tape look, so although it’s red and matches perfectly, I hid it on the inside. My happy little secret- I mean, who doesn’t love nice insides, right.

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I’m really learning the beauty of a good TNT pattern. It feels so nice to sew a dress up when you know what all the steps will be! It just flies by, and soon enough, you have a new dress.