Ginger Jeans First Steps

Ginger Jeans Equipment Collage

I’ve started sewing my first pair of jeans. This has involved dragging out, cleaning and prepping every piece of equipment I own! I have three machines lined up:

Can I complete a pair of jeans, using a machine that cost £52? Let’s find out! Why am I even attempting this? Because I can’t face changing thread and stitch length again and again and again every time I need to topstitch – which will be a lot. So, two sewing machines it is.

JL Mini sewing machine

I’ve decided to use affordable denim for my first attempt at the Ginger Jeans. The fabric has a lovely brushed texture. I couldn’t see the point in testing fit with anything other than denim. At best, this will be a wearable toile. At worst, a learning curve. Can’t argue with that!

The PDF pattern is a surprisingly small 28 pages. The instructions are brilliantly clear and comprehensive – I’d recommend printing out in colour if you can. So far, I’ve found these jeans a very satisfying exercise in small, achievable tasks that can be broken down into time-friendly steps:

  • Tape together and trace pattern
  • Cut out fabric
  • Prep equipment
  • Sew pockets, coin pocket, and facings

Ginger Jean Pieces

Nothing scary there. Quite the opposite – downright enjoyable. Of course, we haven’t arrived at fitting yet. Shudder. I keep reading talk of flat bottom adjustments, crotch whiskers and waist gapes.

This project still has the potential to go horribly wrong…

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33 Responses to Ginger Jeans First Steps

  1. Thimberlina says:

    Good luck! I think I’d want to wear them inside to show off that gorgeous fabric you’ve chosen for your pockets! 😀

  2. deadlycraft says:

    Crotch whiskers??!!! I haven’t heard that one before. My mind probably went to the wrong place with that… Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

  3. Cora Bright says:

    I’m with you on the 3 machines, I used that principle to make Angela Kane jeans with her video tutorials great fun! I need to work on the fit though not easy with all the pocket and top stitching detail. I think with the next pair I will omit all top stitching and concentrate on the fit and leave the embellishment for Later. I had thought using a pants pattern that fitted and copying the alterations onto the jeans pattern that a lot of fit issues would be eliminated, I actually think it exacerbated the problems and if any one else suggests copying a well fitted rtw I will shoot them, why do you think I’m trying to make my own? It was still a great learning experience and great fun even if I can’t wear the end product in comfort.

    • Alison says:

      I know just what you mean, I signed up for the Craftsy class Jean-ius not realising that I needed a properly fitting pair of jeans to copy. That’s the last time I go click-crazy just because all classes are $19.99!

  4. Louise says:

    I’ve seen ginger jeans everywhere on the web lately. Can’t wait to see how you do. Brilliantly I’m sure! Good luck!

  5. Ali says:

    I’ve just made the Misty jeans from Style Arc, my first attempt at jeans, well jeggings really. With a couple of bottom adjustments, they turned out a really good fit. Have been considering the Ginger Jeans for quite some time but they seem a bit scary! What percent Lycra does your fabric have, I’ve read that makes a big difference to the fit?

  6. camelia says:

    I am so tempted to make this jeans also, I read all over the internet that the fit is really good, but we are talking pants ! After a trauma with the Jamie jeans 🙂 I just don`t have the energy for more fitting, hahah. I also used a 25 euro sewing machine for the seam stitching and my Pfaff for the topstitching, that is so easy !

  7. Chris says:

    Crotch whiskers are a horrifying thought, regardless of what they might be 😉 . You know, when topstitching I only ever switch out the top thread, I leave in the bobbin with standard thread. That way switching isn’t too bad and I don’t have to set up the three-machine scenario

    • Cherry says:

      Oh good tip if you haven’t 2 machines! Are crotch whiskers a variation on the camel’s foot?

      • Jen (NY) says:

        Whiskers are when wrinkles radiate outward from the crotch towards the side. (Oddly, briefly fashionable 10 years ago or so). Camel toe results from a crotch curve that’s too tight, but then there is fabric bunching around it too. Lots of that problem with the high-waisted 70s pants.

  8. Ottilie says:

    I just started a pair of ginger, too and I admit, I’ m still a little scary! Thank you for encouraging, Michaela

  9. Keep thinking positive! After all, you haven’t messed up yet, who knows? Maybe you won’t…

  10. Jenna says:

    The VERY best of luck. The ginger jeans are next on my docket too. I’ve been searching for some affordable denim so that I can have a go. How scary! When I first started sewing I always thought – shoes, jeans, and underwear are the things I’ll have to buy still. Amazingly, shoes are the only thing remaining (and I have no plans on dancing into the shoe making business)!

    • Jenna B says:

      You can do sandals really easily, do an internet search for ‘I CAN make shoes’. I was immediately hooked, and now have a shoe making corner in my sewing room (loft).

  11. Jill Smith says:

    your very brave, l used to make all my clothes but never jeans l bought them. The older l get the more l keep away from hard jobs. With dresses if l had one that was a good fit l used to take it to bits and make a new tissue pattern and it worked well.

  12. amazed your using the JL mini, can be a super tricky beast. Trouses other than pj’s always scared me – mainly as I guess I’ve been told how tricky they are. Can’t wait to see how you get on and encouraged to try making a pair now!

  13. helen says:

    I’m just about to start sewing my first jeans this evening. Fabric all cut and ready to go. I’m following the Craftsy Jeanius course and copying a great fitting pair of Levi’s that I have. So far so good. The only real issue is that my fabric has 3% lyrca and my toile was 100% cotton. Luckily the fitting adjustments were minimal but I had to think about how the size would change with the lycra. I only have one main machine and I have wished I had two so one can just be for topstitching.
    Good luck and looking forward to the finished jeans.

  14. Good luck, glad you are enjoying it so far. That’s the main thing isn’t it?

  15. Debra says:

    I’m guessing that crotch whiskers are lines radiating out from the fly area, in a pattern like a cat’s whiskers? I really want to know but there’s no way I’m googling that. Maybe with images turned off…

  16. Nice fabric choice, I can’t feel the denim, but the colour is lovely! I’m just working on two pairs of jeans now. One has some stretch so the fit will be more forgiving and the other doesn’t have stretch, but I think I might make those more of a looser summer style as the denim is so light. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

  17. I’m a much less-experienced sewist than you, and I found the Ginger Jeans to be a very satisfying sew, and really not that difficult either because of Heather’s fantastic instructions. I HIGHLY suggest you baste your pieces together and check the fit before you go any further, especially since you aren’t sure of the lycra percentage. My first pair with 2% stretch (recommended by the pattern) fits pretty well–some excess in the back thigh, but not too bad. My second pair, however, has only 1% stretch, and was far too small! I didn’t baste beforehand and had to go back and rip out seams and and re-sew with 1/4 inch seams to get them to fit. Baste every time, because the fabric really does make a huge difference on this pattern!!! 🙂

  18. Sheree says:

    I never thought I would ever be tempted to sew jeans, but have seen so many on-line that have impressed me, so never say never.
    I have great faith in you.

  19. I too used 3 machines lol I think it makes it a bit faster to get through. I LOVE that pocket fabric. It’s very pretty!

  20. Pam Speak says:

    What a lovely colour, I’m nowhere near ready to sew jeans and probably won’t be for a while but I really enjoy reading other people’s sewing journeys. I learn so much reading your blog and I’m sure your Ginger jeans adventure will be no different.

  21. Rachael says:

    I used this very fabric to make some skinny Jamie jeans, it wears really well and doesn’t stretch out of shape, so I think it will be perfect – best of luck.

  22. Good luck with your jeans sewing. Your idea to use two machines is ace. I’m soon to own two machines too.

  23. hi there! I started my jeans about a week ago. I ran into a little trouble. It looks like you’re doing well. can’t wait to see your finished product.

  24. Claire says:

    Excited to see how these go want to have a go myself like the idea of two machines for sewing makes sense

  25. Robyn says:

    I’m making my first pair of Ginger’s too and I’m at exactly the same stage. I’ve gone with a black moleskin using view b. So far, so good 🙂

  26. I followed the Ginger jeans tutorials to make my Burda ones. I too liked the breakdown of tiny steps to make jeans. i am getting ready to try another pair soon with a lower rise. My first pair are a bit M&S high waisted!… but so comfy.. don’t tell anyone. Good Luck. Jo x

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