Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

Back-to-school season means dreaming of new jeans, right? Which have to be the holy grail of the handmade-wardrobe world. For anyone attempting to have a partially me-made wardrobe, we all pick and choose which things we can and will make for ourselves and which we’re content (or stuck) with buying. For those who sew, jeans are probably the hardest mental hurdle to get over, and I would argue also the hardest physical/technical hurdle. That is some serious sewing. But in the past couple of years, it’s become amazingly common to see intrepid sewers making their own jeans, largely due to Heather Lou of Closet Case Files’ wildly popular Ginger Jeans pattern (skinny jeans), which she followed up more recently with the Morgan Jeans (“boyfriend” jeans, or what I prefer to call jeans — just regular old jeans, people). In between which, there was a Ginger add-on for a flared leg. Heather Lou not only offers what are reputed to be very good patterns, but she also has an ebook and kits to help you over the hurdles.

It’s unimaginable to me, at this juncture — I’m in awe of all of you who’ve done it. But at the same time, just like I’m always saying if you can knit a mitt, you can knit a sweater, my friends who’ve sewn Gingers tell me it’s just sewing — there’s just more of it, and yeah, you deepen your skills along the way.

Someday. Someday …


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24 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The blue jeans

  1. I really admire people who can sew this well. A friend of mine is one of them and I’m in awe. Sigh……

  2. Jeans are also my “holy grail” of a handmade wardrobe. One day I will get up the nerve to attempt a pair of Ginger jeans… so far very intimidated, even though I’d call myself a skilled seamstress. Bras and panties, too! My goal is to one day only wear what I’ve made.

  3. It just seems to me the fit issues would be so hard! If course, finding ready-made jeans that fit isn’t always a picnic either. :)

    • I’ve made a pair of Gingers, and when I was testing the muslin and it didn’t fit beautifully, I was surprised at how strongly I got that feeling of ‘it’s not the fit that’s wrong, it’s your body that’s wrong’ that can come with jeans shopping. It was really nice to have the power to tweak the fit into something way better than what I’d get in the store, but I had to take some deep breaths and be very kind to myself. Heather’s blog also has a lot of great tips on fitting, so that was very helpful.

      But the pattern is some kind of wizardry. She really breaks things down into simple steps, so if you can sew a straight line you can absolutely make these jeans. I still have no idea how the front of the pants came together, all I know is that I followed the perfect instructions and all of the sudden there was a totally professional-looking zip fly. I just sat there zipping and unzipping it and laughing like a maniac. It’s so satisfying.

  4. Those jeans look great. I used to have a lot of problems finding jeans that fit, then a discovered a brand that makes them in a kajillion styles and shapes and cuts. And they are truly comfortable, even wear-during-PMS-comfortable. You’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hips.
    Being only a straight line sewist, I have the utmost of admiration for those with the skills to pull this off.
    Did you see Alison Dykhuizen’s posts a few months ago about sewing bras? Totally inspirational stuff. Her blog is the Sweatshop of Love.

    • I knew I’d spell her name wrong! I just thought it would be her last name. The maker I’m referring to above is Allyson Dykhuizen.

      • I don’t sew, lots of sweater knitting though. But who makes those jeans? I need to bottom out those tops!

    • Hi Meredith,

      Since I’ve never sewn anything and probably wont’ start with jeans–which brand is t that has kajillion styles and is comfortable?

  5. As a knitter and a sewer, I found the jeans easier to make than some sweaters I have tackled and quicker!! I have made three pairs of the ginger jeans and have the morgans waiting to be cut for fall! They really are fun to make and not that hard and you can make that first pair in a week of sewing off and on. She breaks them up into nice sections in her tutorials. Heather’s instructions, tutorials and ebook are amazing and help to make them not that hard. She has the best instructions as to fit and solved all my sewn pants fitting problems. Possibly the most comfortable jeans you will ever wear…….plus wear them with a sweater you have knit and the compliments will just flow:)

  6. Seeing this post made my day ;)

    Nothing gets me more excited than seeing people tackle things like jeans; the story we tell ourselves is we can’t do it, that it’s too hard or scary. The reality is that it is mostly straight stitching. Just a lot of it, in a particular sequence. I know people who’ve made beautiful jeans after only sewing for 6 months. It’s totally achievable, we just have to stop telling ourselves it isn’t. Especially because actually putting them on for the first time is basically the next best thing to being embued with superpowers.

  7. I would totally have tried this 35-40 years ago. As it is, you will pry my old lady Jag jeans with the yoga waistband off my cold, dead, antique butt. It’s the fitting–a lot of which is a real nuisance to try to do on myself.

  8. jeans are on my to try list. but first i have to get brave enough. i would love to be able to though. you see i have a small low waist but i have a butt. trying to find pants that fit me is darn near impossible. then when i do and i need more, they have quit making them.

  9. Many years ago I bought a Craftsy class called “Jean-ius” by Kenneth D. King. I only recently watched it–brilliant! He takes you step by step through the process of making a pair of jeans using a pair you already have (and hopefully love) without taking them apart first. His class is FULL of really great tricks and tips too. I never considered making jeans before, but now I believe I’ll give it a go.

  10. Holy cow. Jeans! I’ve been in awe of Gridjunky’s recent jeans alteration project. I’d never thought of MAKING jeans! I never will, but still…

  11. I have that pattern laying in wait. Any sewing is just another seam, another skill. Just like knitting. There are some things to do that are more difficult. It takes patience :) I don’t have the patience yet for jeans…but I will :)

  12. I’m not afraid of sewing jeans per se, but my sewing machine is not up to the task and it gets frustrating working with heavy fabrics. So I don’t. Some day!

  13. I’ve actually signed up for Workroom Social’s Ginger class, as my present for turning 50. I figure if I’m going to sew, I may as well sew things I want.

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