Ginger jeans number 4

· sewing ·

Jeans are among my favourite kinds of garments to make. I’ve had particular success with Closet Core Pattern’s Ginger Jeans pattern, and made a low rise version, a high rise version, and even a pair from waterproof softshell for walking and cycling. Pair number 2 (the high rise pair) have been worn so much that the denim has worn through at the thighs, so it was time to make another pair. I’m getting better at keeping sewing notes with each of the patterns so that I can document how I’ve adjusted the pattern and what techniques I’ve used each time, so that I know what to do again and what to change next time. This time, I also had the blog post I wrote for reference, so I was confident that things would go fairly smoothly.

And they did go smoothly for the most part. I bought some good quality denim with a bit of stretch from ClothSpot, and I already had the right length zip, denim buttons and rivets and so on. Of course, I also had my wonderful new (to me) Pfaff too, and was excited to be sewing my first project on it. I must say that having a built in walking foot (IDT system) is brilliant for top stitching. It was so much easier to get even, straight top stitches, even over lumpy seams. I liked being able to store my stitch modifications in a personal menu too, as it meant that I could be much more consistent about it once I had tested out the settings that worked best.

I took my time about the making, enjoying the processes now that I have made the pattern several times and know that it fits and what techniques work best. I used proper flat-felled seams for the first time on most seams, which conceal the raw edges inside the seam. The pattern instructions caution against using them on the front crotch seam (so I overlocked the edge on that one), and I also overlocked the outside leg seams. It is possible to flat-fell seams where you can’t lay the seam flat (sewing ‘in the tunnel’), but it is tricky. I’ve done it before on shirt sleeve seams, but even with the shorter length of the sleeve and the lighter, less bulky fabric, it was tricky. I thought it would be too difficult on a jeans leg with bulky denim. However, I’m pleased with the other seams which are neat and strong. The Pfaff IDT enabled me to sew very precisely on the edge of the folded over seam and not push up a bubble of fabric ahead of the foot, which I’ve had problems with before.

The only slight issue I had was an entirely avoidable user error to do with zips. In fact, it was the same error that I had made on my first pair of Gingers: I trimmed the zip to length before sewing the waistband seam, but for some reason, I removed too many teeth below the seam. Once the waistband seam was all sewn and top stitched, I gleefully zipped up the fly to see how it all sat together, and off came the zip slider. “Oh no, not again”, I thought, only with rather more colourful language. At this point, it was getting late, so my zip slider-less jeans sat on the sewing naughty step for a night, and I tackled the repair the next day.

If you ever find yourself with a slider that has come off (but the teeth of the zip are all intact), here’s what you do to fix it. Once the slider is off, the teeth will generally open. You have to physically ‘zip’ the teeth back together from the bottom of the zip, one by one, by pressing them together with your fingers. This is fiddly, and if you disturb the fabric too much, they will come apart again and you have to start over. Eventually, when you get to the top of the zip, hold the two sides together carefully, and gently slide the zip slider on to the top two teeth, with the smaller mouth of the zip at the bottom. Once it is on, you have to gently wrestle with it a bit to get the teeth to click in place inside the slider, then you can pull it down the zip chain and it will open and close the zip properly. So, it is a problem you can fix, but if you are smart, you will not end up in that position (again…) and save yourself 20 minutes of cursing over a fiddly job. In my case, that wasn’t the end of it, as I still had enough of a gap above the last zip teeth and before the waistband seam that the zip slider would just come straight off again. I ended up sewing strips of the trimmed off zip tape (which is a heavy herringbone cotton tape) over the last tooth on each side which would act as a block and prevent the slider coming off. Next time, I will do the sensible thing and remove the teeth and trip the zip after the waistband seam is sewn.

After that little mishap, everything was plain sailing. The waistband is one of the neatest I’ve sewn (again helped by the IDT system), and I had fun with a top stitching design on the back pockets. Even the jeans button and rivets went on more easily than usual as I had bought a tiny anvil and proper hammer to facilitate the process. They fit really well, particularly around the waist, and I’m happy to have a new pair of jeans. The fabric does seem to be a cat hair magnet (as you can probably see in the pictures), but I’m hoping that will reduce with washing as the denim softens up.