Jeans are the most-worn garment in my wardrobe, and while my first pair of Ginger jeans was a really satisfying sew, I’m not 100% happy with the fit. I hadn’t anticipated that the denim would stretch out during wear, and they ended up looser than I’d like around the hip and thigh. More denim palazzo pants than skinny flares…
So I thought I’d enlist some help with my next pair, and booked into a jeans workshop at Guthrie & Ghani in Birmingham. It’s a two-day course, taught by Layla Totah, with six people per class. Each of us chose either the Ginger or Morgan jeans, brought along fabric and notions and we set about making them up with help and guidance from Layla.
Workshops are my favourite kind of sewing meet-up: much as I love the cake and fabric shopping I’ll always find it easier to chat to new people when we’re all working on something together. Despite two inches of snow overnight on Saturday, we’d nearly finished by the end of Sunday’s session – I polished off the belt loops, a few of the rivets and the hems at home.
This time I chose some slightly heavier weight stretch denim (11oz) in a dark indigo wash (still in stock as I wrote this) and I opted to make the low-rise stovepipe leg option. For the pocket lining, I used leftover Liberty lawn from my Fifi lounge set.
Layla was a big help with my fitting issues. She suggested I sized down, cutting the 14 rather than the 16 and letting the stretch in the fabric take some of the fitting strain. The lower rise made the fitting process easier because I didn’t have to deal with grading down at the waist or as much of a gape in the centre back, but we still took over an inch out of the centre back seam. I added my usual 1″ to the crotch depth and 1-2″ to the leg length, and let out the inner thigh seams by 1/8″. And that was it!
Looking at these pictures, I can see the zip is under a bit of strain at the front, so I’m hoping the fabric will give a little to relieve that. And the side seams are pulling towards the front at mid-thigh, so if I was being perfectionist, I’d probably add width to the front thigh and take it out of the back thigh. But the dark wash is so forgiving I’m going to let that go for now!
The G&G sewing studio has Brother sewing machines and Janome overlockers, so I didn’t have to wrestle with bar tacks on my machine again. And it really helped to have some expert help with tricky parts like the fly front.
In the main, I did things the same way as last time. I left off the topstitching on the inner thigh so I could fiddle with the fit a bit more after closing the side seams. I also cut the waistband facing from denim rather than lining fabric to give it more body and interfaced both of the waistband pieces.
Back at home, I tried adding the belt loops with my old Singer 201 rather than my Janome DKS30. The Singer is sometimes described as ‘semi-industrial’ and it made light work of going through ten (yes 10!) layers of denim in places, but it still struggled to penetrate the topstitching thread when I went over it for a second time. So I think the best solution is probably either:
- to leave off the belt loops altogether; or
- to attach them using ordinary thread, matching the colour to the topstitching thread.
I’m going to wear this pair around a bit and then decide whether to make more… I’ll keep you posted.
Have you been to a great sewing workshop lately? What did you make, and what did you think of it?