Ginger Jeans of My Own


“What are you doing?” he asked me. It was the pounding that caused him to poke his head into the room — he looked confused and slightly alarmed.

I stood there with the hammer poised a few inches above an overturned cast iron skillet.

“Making jeans,” I replied. And whacked a rivet into place.

I made jeans.




These Gingers Skinny Jeans took me just shy of a year to complete from the initial muslin, mostly because I was stymied by the idea of altering the pattern. But before I go into the various modifications I did indeed need to make, I want to address this image above.

As you can see, I used indigo thread for what is obviously not blue denim. Until I saw this photo, I actually thought the fabric was blue. I was going for a subtle look, deliberately choosing to skip contrasting topstitching. So much for that plan. It had been a while since I’d purchased the fabric, so I’d forgotten that I purchased black denim. I’m going to have to do something about the lighting situation in my house. Or maybe my eyes need to be checked.


At any rate, I’m incredibly proud of my new jeans made out of Osaka denim from here (the link is to the indigo denim, which they were out of when I was at the store. The black denim was slightly cheaper at $15/yd).

ginger-blackdenim1I started out with a size 12 for view B, and ultimately ended up cutting a size 6, predominantly because the Osaka denim is nice and stretchy. However, my calves are solidly a size 8 so I graded up for the lower leg portion. Look at those buxom and sturdy babies. Other changes I made:

– Reduced leg length by 3 inches.

– Tapered the leg opening by about 1 1/4 inches

– Moved the pockets up to the size 12 markings (I think this means my rear end sits high? Or maybe having a non-existent butt means the pockets need to be moved higher. Dunno).

Most of the fiddling had to do with trying to figure out which size worked best for me. I’m embarrassed to admit that I printed out and taped together the pattern pieces from scratch 4 times instead of just modifying what I had already printed up. What can I say, sometimes you just need to start fresh. In my case, it takes a lot of fresh starts. I’ve killed a small tree, I know.

I also killed another tree by printing out the über helpful ebook Sewing Your Own Jeans that Heather created. It was well worth using up my ink cartridges for the 90+ pages because I doubt I would have been able to sew the jeans without this handy guide. With clear (and always witty) step-by-step instructions and plentiful photos, this visual learner was thrumming with happiness. I was also blown away by the alteration tips and tricks — that Heather, she knows what she’s doing.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about high rise jeans, concerned that I might be spiraling into mom pants territory, but they are so crazy comfortable that I don’t even care if the hipster youth of Seattle are sniggering behind my back.


The best part was that once I figured out the sizing and read this AMAZING post by the genius behind the Ginger Jeans herself, it really wasn’t difficult to sew at all. Sure, I made mistakes and the pockets don’t want to stay entirely flat and there are some extra pooling at the ankles as well as generous whiskering around the knees and at the back of my thighs that might indicate I need to make a few more tweaks, but you know what? They look profesh. Truly. And I love love love love them.

They even look good rolled up like I usually do with all my jeans:



Very Pacific Northwest, right?


The verdict? Jeans are fun to make! In fact, I had such a great time that I immediately cut out a second pair. I’m about half-way done, and I’ll show you next week!

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Mary Ann. Cograts!

P.P.S. Secret Valentines! Emails have gone out with partner information. We ran into a minor snafu when we found a couple of dupes after we’d sent out some emails, but they should all be sorted out now. Please let us know if you have any questions at

P.P.P.S. Happy MLK Jr. Day to my fellow US residents!


45 thoughts on “Ginger Jeans of My Own

  1. They look great! I have a jeans pattern cut out and ready to sew. I’m just waiting to get my ether back from the repair shop. I’m so excited to try. Buying jeans is always my least favorite kind of shopping, so I’m hoping I can get the fit on handmade jeans will be much better!

    1. Thank you Sara! If I added all the hours I’ve spent in the past, I’m sure they would be the equivalent of years! You can absolutely get better fit with handmade, and I’m looking forward to seeing your finished pair 🙂

  2. How awesome are they! Jeans-making never fails to impress me, but those are extra smart 🙂 Not sure if I’m convinced I could make it work, but I’m considering it…

  3. Your jeans turned out amazing! They look great on you! It must feel so good to have completed a project that was in the works for so long.

    1. Thank you Kristin! The actual sewing time, once I decided on the sizing, was probably only about 8 hours over a three day period. I was cowed by all the adjustments I needed to make, which was why I kept dragging my feet. I highly recommend Heather’s post that I linked to — it’ll get you PUMPED 🙂

  4. Those are amazing! So very cool! I think a high waist makes sense. I’m not a gusher, so don’t have many words for how awesome they are!

  5. Love them, they look totally professional and the fit is perfect. You’ve gone over another sewing mountain. Pathfinder for those who never even thought of making jeans. Congrats!!!!

    1. I agree that sewing Jeans feels like leveling up and I kept muttering to myself “i can’t believe I’m making jeans! That fit!!!” 🙂 Thank you, Greta!

    1. Haha! The hipsters have written me off, but I’m always intrigued to see what they’re wearing :-). Thanks Helen!

  6. I am SO GLAD you finished these! They were like your Odyssey for 2015. I think the fit looks great and promise, absolutely no hipster is laughing. More like “How do I be her? Maybe I should take off these Mom Jeans to start….” And thank you for your kind words my wonderful friend! xoxo

  7. Well, you look absolutely gorgeous in all the pics! Oh right, the Ginger Jeans – they look great, styled either way. A year? Hmmm, I’d better get started on my muslin! You know someone will ask this, right? What is that white blouse you are wearing? Is it a RTW, or your own design? It’s beautiful.

    1. Oh, you’re making my head grow to an obscene size – thank you for the kind words, Melissa! The top is one of my favorites that I got from Anthropologie about 5 or 6 years ago. I wear it all the time and need to make a similar design!

  8. i am sure that just like myself–you will probably never want to take these off! my ginger jeans are FAR from perfection but i am close to wearing both of my pairs out. i really need to do an alteration to the crotch area (TMI) i know… but these look so great on you! glad you did the work and it paid off 🙂

    1. Trust me, the crotch adjustment was the part that had me scratching my head the most and so far I think it’s okay that I didn’t make any. And yes!! I’ve worn them two days in a row and think I may sleep in them 😉 kidding. Stretchy denim is key, though, because the denim for my second pair is not quite as stretchy and I’m already seeing some issues…anyway, thank you, Sarah!

    1. Coming from a fit expert, your words carry a lot of weight, Delphine. Thank you! I hope you’re settling in NYC nicely :-).

    1. Totally brag-worthy, right?? I’m just happy that I’m no longer saying “I’ve been working on my first pair of jeans…” After a year, it made ME roll my eyes at myself :-).

  9. So good!!! They look great and you were braver with all your tweaks than I was. I just finished my first pair too and I think I needed to go down at least one size but I wasn’t brave enough. I did View A and I think I need to tweak the leg width too. Just finished them yesterday and threw them in the wash to settle. YAY for jeans!

    1. YAY!! It was a pretty big plunge for me to keep going smaller — For less stretchy denim, I’m probably a size 8 (with size 10 calves) but the denim I used is practically a knit :-). Thank you, Bridget!

  10. No one is going to be sniggering because I zoomed in and your butt looks amazing! Major achievement!! My gingers are still a sad heap of fabric. Maybe 2016 will be jeans year for me too. I sure do need a new pair!

    1. Girl, you are knitting cardigans and sewing coats. Jeans will be a piece of cake!! And ha! Glad that my butt passed the zoom test :-).

  11. They’re wonderful! The hipsters I’ve seen are wearing VERY high-waisted jeans these days, btw, so you might get an appreciative nod 🙂 See you very soon!

  12. hooray, you did it! i need to get on to pair no.2, too. off to invest in heather’s ebook right now… you’ve convinced me.

    1. The ebook is totally worth it, Ailsa! I love the way she writes instructions and I’m consulting the ebook constantly as I’m finishing up my second Gingers :-).

    1. Haha! Shoe-making, here I come! I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to make sandals…in fact, I seem to remember Sophie of Ada Spragg making espadrilles. Now THAT was impressive. Thanks, Jing!

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! There’s a lot of tweaking for sure, but I’m now starting to think I might enjoy figuring out fit. We shall see 🙂

  13. SANAE! Yes, that deserved all caps:) I know how this project has lurked on the edges of your creative endeavors for awhile, so what a liberating feeling to have slayed the dragon, so to speak. And they look fantastic! The great thing about sewing your own wardrobe is the ability to custom design to your own specifications and to get such a great fit – as clearly demonstrated by these photos. And please share the deets on that first top – love it!

    1. Thank you, Lucinda! Yes, it was a long haul with these jeans, but man, SO worth it. I’m putting finishing touches to my second pair now and I think I may be officially hooked to making jeans :-).

      Oh and that first top is practically a vintage Anthropologie purchase from a few years ago :-).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *