achievement unlocked: JEANS, dude!


See those pants I am wearing? I MADE THEM!


Cue the silly dance!

These are the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans. & I must admit, the name of that pattern company still makes me giggle. The proprietor does not mean “closet case” in the confirmed-bachelor-in-the-1950s way, but anyway.

I bought this pattern last spring & printed it out right away. I made a few flat pattern alterations, & it was all so long ago that I don’t remember what they were. I do know that I cut out the largest size, which supposedly accommodates a 38″ waist. Mine is generally around 39.5″, so I did a small “full tummy” adjustment. I don’t remember if it was an inch or a half-inch. I also made a slight alteration to the crotch curve, & I have no idea what it was.

The thing about these alterations is that I made them based on my measurements at the time, & it turned out that I was almost two months pregnant at the time & didn’t know. I cut out my fabric (not actually a denim; i used heavyweight black twill instead, I think it was like $6 a yard, so definitely not breaking the bank on an untested new pattern) & then put it aside because I felt like doing some craft sewing instead. & then I learned I was pregnant & just did not have the wherewithal to tackle jeans (I assumed it was going to be a long, frustrating, exhausting endeavor, as I’ve only made a few pairs of pants & had never done a zip fly) when I wasn’t even going to be able to fit into them in a matter of weeks.

& then I had a miscarriage, & we moved, & I got sucked into the huge paper-pieced quilt project, & the winter coat, & you know how it goes. The longer a project goes abandoned in the back of a cabinet, the more unbearable it feels to pull it out & finish it. I wear jeans ALL THE TIME & desperately wanted to make my own & live my dream of having an almost-entirely me-made wardrobe, but these jeans just reminded me of the whole miscarriage situation & it bummed me out.

I also worried ceaselessly about the fit. I had cut out the low-rise stovepipe leg version, mostly because I wanted the stovepipe legs & I have a short torso, so I hoped the low-rise would be more mid-rise on me. I definitely DID NOT want the high-waisted skinny version. Not my jam at all. I thought about trying to combine the high-waist with the stovepipe legs but I just didn’t have the patience for it. Anyway, I kept worrying that the waist would be too low & too tight & there would be fuck-all I could do about it because it’s a lot easier to make a too-big garment fit than a too-small one.

Then the Monthly Stitch announced the February challenge, which was all about tackling unfinished objects. I was like, “Ugh, I don’t want to do that,” because I immediately thought of these jeans & just didn’t want to sew them. But I finally pulled them out a few days ago while Ramona was napping & started plugging away.

I basted the jeans together for a test-fitting & hey! They actually fit! They were even a little bit big! In the end, I sewed the side seams with a 1″ seam allowance instead of 5/8″ & that gave me a fit I liked. I probably could have taken them in even more, or even sized down right from the start, but whatevs.

Once I had decided what changes to make based on the basting fit, it was smooth sailing. I flat-felled the yoke seam & serged everything else. I completely botched the waistband application because the instructions in the sewalong were a little unclear & the PDF I purchased somehow didn’t survive the transfer to my new computer, so I couldn’t access the actual pattern instructions. I figured out my mistakes & ripped everything back out (including topstitching!) & did it again. It came out perfectly the second time.

The pattern really did come together very nicely. Everything matched up, & for the most part, the sewalong instructions were really useful. I just did everything Heather said to do to put in the zipper fly, & lo & behold, I cut my basting stitches & had a perfect zipper fly! Not a single step was unclear or difficult to follow.

I chose to eliminate the belt loops because I don’t wear belts. I also made some changes to the waistband: I sewed the waistband to the facing with a 1/4″ seam allowance, & then I sewed the waistband to the jeans with a 1/2″ seam allowance. This was to add a little extra rise, & it worked out perfectly. The finished jeans end right under my belly button, exactly how I like.

The jeans may look a touch baggy in these photos because I’ve been wearing them all day & the twill doesn’t have the greatest recovery. But I am thrilled with the fit. I really didn’t want something skin-tight, which was part of why it took me so long to sew these up. They are drafted to be skinny jeans, & I don’t wear skinny jeans! I prefer “straight legs” that are snug but straight through the calves & ankles–no flare, no tapering. Think Patti Smith in the 70s, except that i am not a 100-pound rock star. Ultimately, I think a combo of having a cut a slightly bigger size than I needed, prioritizing the stovepipe leg, adjusting the waistband rise, & not having the bootylicious kind of figure for whom the pattern is drafted worked together to give me fit I wanted all along.




Sorry I am still covered in basting thread dust. This twill really holds on to schmutz. I also recognize that I would be well-served to move the back pockets a little closer to center.


Zipper fly, button, rivets, coin pocket.


I used viewfinder print quilting cotton for the pocket bags, stay, & waistband lining.


Although these jeans did not come out perfectly, I am pleased enough with the results that I bestowed a label upon them. I will definitely be making more jeans in the future!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

9 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: JEANS, dude!

  1. Those look fantastic! You are inspiring me to bust out some unfinished projects and power through. I have a couple of wedding quilts that have been sitting around for so long one of the couples is now divorced. :\

    1. Oh boy, that’s pretty awkward.

      I really only finished these jeans because it was one of my New Year’s resolutions to contribute to the Monthly Stitch. I definitely DID NOT vote for February to be UFO month, because I DID NOT want to finish these jeans. But I’m so glad I did. I love them, they fill a huge me-made hole in my wardrobe, they’ve inspired me to sew more jeans, & they’ve inspired me to just sew more in general. It feels really good to get that project finished & into my wardrobe rotation!

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