Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ginger Skinny Jeans: A Muslin

Thanks again everyone for your warmth and heartfelt good wishes!  Well, I am finally sewing again.  It felt so good to sit down and sew.  I have been contemplating sewing a pair of denim jeans for quite some time.  I have seen many positive reviews on Pattern Review.com and various blogs of the  Ginger Skinny Jeans pattern by Closet Case patterns so I decided to give it a try.

I started by making a muslin from an inexpensive denim I found in New York City in one of those little fabric stores on 38th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.  It was only $6 a yard.  Boy is it a sturdy fabric!  It is a little stiff so I pre-washed it 3 times in order to soften it and get all the shrinkage out of the fabric.  This fabric did not fade at all and it is thick and still a little stiff.  Since the bolt did not have the fabric content, I decided to do a burn test to see if I could figure out the fabric content.  The fabric did not melt and left ash which tells me it has cotton but boy this fabric is indestructible!  That's ok, though, especially for a muslin which would be stitched and unstitched and stitched again.

Speaking of unstitching, I have discovered this nifty little seam ripper by Dritz.  I purchased it at JoAnn's.  The rubber tip is amazing!  The package says you use the rubber tip to help you grab the little pieces of threads left behind after you remove a seam but I found it is wonderful in helping you massage the little holes left by the needle and that is what I value most about it.



I used a size 100/16 Singer needle with a 3.0 stitch length and regular all purpose polyester thread for the main seams.  For topstitching, I used the brown color jeans topstitching thread by Coats & Clark with a stitch length of 3.5.  I used the jeans topstitching thread on the top and the regular polyester thread in the bobbin.  I finished the seams with my serger.  I pressed the seams with a steam iron.

For the back patch pockets, I simply freehanded a topstitching design on them.  With muslins, I usually just put together the main pieces to test for fit but since so many have had a positive experience with this pattern, I took my chances and decided to cut and sew all of the pieces in the hope that I would have a wearable muslin in the end.



I decided to make the high waisted version which includes a stay for the tummy.  I made the stay out of woven pre-shrunk non-stretch cotton muslin fabric.  The pattern instructions have you interface the zipper section but I don't think that is necessary for the version with the tummy stay.  The pattern has you attach the stay all the way to the edge of the fly so I believe it can double as interfacing.  I think the stay plus the interfacing plus the fabric folded plus the zipper plus the zipper guard is just too much bulk for my taste.  I will therefore eliminate the interfacing for the next version of this high waisted jean and rely on the stay for stabilizing the zipper area.



For the front of the pant, after I was done inserting the zipper, I traced the topstitching pattern onto cardstock to use as a template.  I simply placed the cardstock on top of the front aligning the straight edge to the center front and traced around the template so I had a guide for topstitching.  I am going to use this handy little template for other pants I make in the future.



Here is the front of the jean:


Here is the back.  I attached the front to the back and discovered, as usual, an excess of fabric below the derriere at the thigh area.  I decided to take in the thigh area at both the side seams and inseams and it helped quite a lot.  I am glad the fabric was so sturdy since I stitched and unstitched the seams several times until I was happy. I used a long machine basting stitch and once I was happy with the fit, I used the regular machine stitch of 3.0.  I still have to attach the belt loops and sew up the hem:




I have large calves so the jeans are a little snug around that area, an issue I encounter with ready-to-wear jeans as well.  I let out the seam at the calf area as much as I could.  They are not tight so I can still wear them but I will definitely be making an adjustment for the next version.

So far, I have discovered this pattern to be well drafted with a good fit.  The pattern instructions are excellent although I had to get used to the illustrations having the white side refer to the right side and the shaded side refer to the wrong side.  (It is the reverse in the big pattern companies which is what I am used to.)  It is important to use stretch denim as suggested by the pattern.  Otherwise, the jeans will turn out too small.

I am pleased with how the muslin turned out.  For my next post, I will model them so you can see the fit.

I encourage anyone contemplating making jeans to try this pattern.  Just dive right in!  If you feel a little unsure, use inexpensive fabric and have a seam ripper handy.

Ginger Skinny Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns
Happy sewing!

22 comments:

  1. Oh you are making the Gingers too. They look wonderful I know they are going to be fabulous!

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    1. Thank you Faye! I look forward to seeing your fun giraffe print jeans!

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  2. Welcome back! Glad your house is repaired and you can sew again! This is a great looking muslin. Your topstitching is so good, can't wait to see the fit.

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    1. Thank you Bianca. I enjoy topstitching so I got to enjoy that task with these jeans.

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  3. This is such an informative post loaded with lots of great tips 😍
    I also love that seam ripper -the top really does grab threads

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    1. I am glad you like the tips. Yes, that seam ripper is great!

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  4. Fancy that! I have just purchased 2 denims for this pattern also, One practise, one hopefully for real(!) so thanks for the informative post. And I also have one of the stitch unpickers with a rubber on the end. They are genius! So good to see you are back sewing again and what a great start; your jeans are looking good!

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    1. Thank you so much! I look forward to seeing your versions of this pattern - I know they will be beautiful. Yes, it is so nice to be sewing again.

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  5. It is good to see you back Tomasa! I can't believe those jeans are your muslin--they look SO good! Also, what is this about the white side meaning the right side of the fabric? I haven't looked at my Closet Case Files instructions yet, and I will be sure to pay attention to that.

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    1. Thank you Vanessa. Yes, I had to really look at the illustrations because my eye wants to read them the reverse of what they mean but you get used to it.

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  6. They are looking good! There is something magical about jean topstitching.

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    1. Yes, I agree! Topstitching looks great on denim, especially when there is a contrast.

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  7. Peggy Sagers suggests washing stiff fabrics with a can of Coke to soften it..she said she got that from a NY fabric rep. And if you have pooling under the bum you likely need to take a dart out at mid hip, tapering to nothing at each side seam. This removes the excess fabric that hangs loose, but you have to determine that before cutting the fashion fabric. You could try that in a simple fabric to see if that would resolve the pooling. Nice work!

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    1. Thank you for pointing out that tip about Coke. Faye from the blog Faye's Sewing Adventure posted a Peggy Sagers video on her blog where Peggy talks about that Coke tip. Unfortunately, I had already cut out the jeans by then but I will keep it in mind for my next pair of denim jeans. Thanks for the reminder! I will also keep in mind your suggestion regarding taking a dart out at mid hip. I will have to experiment with that tip. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Wow! These pockets are perfect! I am interested in that pattern. Your post is always informative:)))

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    1. Thank you Eli cat! It is an excellent pattern. I know you would make a wonderful pair of jeans with this pattern.

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  9. I can't believe this is your muslin. They look really great. The top stitching is so beautifully done.

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    1. Thank you so much! They came out better than I expected.

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  10. So glad you are settled in and returned to your precious sewing. These jeans are looking great and your mastery of the details is spot on. I love those stays. They act like little girdles. I don't interface either when I used them.

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    1. Thank you so much, Bunny! Glad to know I am on the right track regarding the interfacing. I love those stays too.

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  11. I am very intrigued by those Ginger jeans... I have seen many nice versions and I'm tempted. Can't wait to see you model them!!

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    1. I say go for it! I know you will make a fabulous looking pair of jeans.

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