Closet Case Ginger Jeans High- & Mid-rise

My RTW jeans are on their last legs. So it’s Ginger Jeans time again. The last couple of pairs – my first jeans-making ventures – are great success judging by how frequently I wear them. But this time I need black versions. Actually I would have preferred grey. But the stores just don’t seem to want to sell me grey. So black it is and I’m hoping they’ll fade fast.

The Pattern

Mug Shots

Size Used

Size 4, as recommended by the sizing chart.

Changes Made

Fitting changes

The last two pairs I made were pretty good. So the fitting changes I made last time were the starting point of this batch. I did tweak a couple of things:

  1. Crotch: There was slight pooling at the front crotch on last two pairs, though after washes the pooling disappeared temporarily. This time I tried taking a small wedge off at thigh level (1/4″ at inseam tapering to nothing at side seam). The tilting made the front crotch extend beyond the leg a little bit & I end up shaving this little bit (made Front  Crotch shorter). Shaved off similar amount from Back Crotch as well for my thinner thigh.
  2. Lower legs: The last two pairs twisted slightly & was very snug because of my big calf & how X are stacked. I widened Front Leg below the knee – a bit more on the inseam than the side seam.
Design changes
  • I didn’t like the constantly falling down feeling of the low-rise jeans, so this time both pair were based on high-rise View B. But for one pair, I lowered the waist by 1″ for a mid-rise version. Front Leg (A) was shortened at the waist. Back amount was split between the Yoke (C) and the Back Leg (B).
  • For the mid-rise version I also added flaps to the back pockets based on one of my soon-to-retire RTW jeans.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • Mostly same as last time. But I revised my construction order slightly as it wasn’t as efficient as it could be (see updated PDF Consolidated Jean Sewing Checklist). There was also extra steps for the back pocket flaps (not in the PDF checklist).
  • For back pocket designs I used the Reinforced Straight Stitch (triple stitch) on my Husqvarna Sapphire to make the black-on-black design stand out a bit more.
  • For button holes I went with keyhole shape this time. The thick stem of jeans buttons didn’t like the straight slits of the Heirloom Buttonhole stitch I used on my last two pairs. (That is the stitch on my sewing machine recommended for Jeans.) They wore the stitches out too quickly. The RTW jeans all seem to have a slender tear-drop shape. I don’t have anything similar on my machine. So this time I went with a keyhole shape using a combination of Heirloom Buttonhole stitch for the straight portion of the keyhole & hand buttonhole stitch for the round hole bit.
  • My button & rivet attachment skills are still a bit rubbish. The button tool kit that came with the buttons I used this time did help with the button setting. But I didn’t have any tool kit for the ring rivets, so wasted several pairs when the posts went in slanted. Thankfully I didn’t have the problem of the post poking through the ring rivets that I had last time. These posts are less pointy, and maybe using the button die base to support the rivets also helped a little. I did also added a couple of scrap denim layers to deal with problem of the posts being too long instead of trimming the posts. However for some reason I always seem to have problem with the left front rivets. It came off one of my last batch, and same thing happened again with this batch during the first wash. Come to think of it, all the wasted rivets were for the left front too! Next time I’m going to try donut buttons & nipple rivets I bought from Citron Jeans in Japan (also available on Etsy). They both come with hand tool kits. If that doesn’t work better I might try DM Button’s Jeans Button/Buttonhole & Rivets service. – it seems like London’s answer to NYC’s Jonathan Embroidery Plus that the NYC sewing circle raves about.

The Verdict

Not so great. These new pairs are too tight! Because I did gain a bit of waist flab recently, I made sure to try these on before top-stitching the inseams & side seams. They were fine then. But after I finished them, threw them in the wash at low temp & line dried them, they came out too small. I couldn’t even button up. And this was before I even worn them once! Arrghhhh. (Yes I did pre-wash & even tumble-dried the fabric at least a couple of times before making these Gingers.)

After a few days of torture attempting to wear them in, I was able to slowly zip further & further up, and eventually button up. But I’m definitely getting the muffin-top with these, unlike with my previous Gingers. And they’re also not as comfortable as those old pairs either. These sit much closer to the body at the crotch giving me that constant wedgie feeling. Not sure if it’s the slightly shorter crotch or the fact that the too tight waistband went seeking for a smaller circumference further up (the waistline on these are not at the smallest bit of my waist), thus pulling the crotch up with it. The front waistband also twist a bit.

I think my woes may partly be caused by interfacing the wrong part of the waistband. Unlike last time, I interfaced the quilting cotton facing instead of the stretch denim outer. The quilting cotton is probably already stable (ie not stretchy) enough. This may have left the facing too constrictive & the outer unstable enough to twist.

Unfortunately there’s no easy way to alter these pairs. Because the waistband is cut with no side nor back seams, there’s no place to let out. I would have to replace the whole waistband if I want more comfort. Or do more waist exercise to lose the flab!

Note to self for next time:

  • Use the stretch denim for both waistband facing & outer, and interface the outer with knit interfacing. Hopefully even with top-stitching the stretch denim will be more accommodating than interfaced quilting cotton.
  • Cut waistband with CB seam to allow alteration in case waist continue to spread.


6 comments on “Closet Case Ginger Jeans High- & Mid-rise

  1. katherine says:

    Oh no!! You did such a good job sewing these, it is such a shame they are too small. Thanks for showing us your pattern changes.

  2. Giulia says:

    I try to sew everything nowadays, two things though are not making it : underwear and jeans. So I ask, if I may, apart the interest of experimenting, is the fit worth it? I mean, more than a pair of very good quality jeans (bought at high discount :D)? And what pushed you to use a pattern rather than self drafting?

  3. Rebecca says:

    You could carefully unpick the back waistband cut it off at the sides leaving seam allowances, create a new back waistband and thereby let out the waist. It is probably just about as much work as replacing the whole waistband.

    • That’s a great idea! Thanks Rebecca.

      I might give myself a month to get back into shape first though. And if I can’t manage it, this will definitely save these two pairs. 🙂

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