The jeans I spent like two years making

girl in handmade denim jeans with red topstitching standing against a lilac wall

Flashback to February of 2018: Heather Lou of Closet Core Patterns introduced her “No Fear Jeans Month,” which sparked a desire to try my hand at making a pair of Ginger Jeans. I had previously made a pair of Lander Pants and found the process to be surprisingly easy (at least, much easier than I would have expected making a pair of pants to be!), so I felt like I could handle some jeans-making. At the time, however, I was busy crafting a Rumana Coat for that year’s Sew My Style challenge, so I didn’t jump into jeans-making right away.

The project had been on hold for a few months when Blackbird Fabrics sold a batch of some of the last Cone Mills denim from the now-shuttered American Cone Mills plant. I scooped up enough of the 10.75oz S-Gene Stretch Denim to make myself a pair of high-waisted, skinny Ginger Jeans in my size, then set it aside for several additional months.

Finally, one year later, in early 2019, I coaxed myself into cutting into the fabric and getting started. One of the biggest motivators was my purchase of Heather’s Sew Your Dream Jeans Workshop — it’s packed with great tips and visual examples of the jeans-making process. At the time, these jeans were the most complicated sewing pattern I’d ever attempted, which was likely why I put them off for so long. Having a video walkthrough made it much easier to understand the process and gave me the kickstart I needed. I watched the entire workshop before I began, then re-watched it step by step as I made my own jeans.

From that point, it still took me several months to complete the jeans. Whenever I would find time to sew, I worked on them little by little. I took my time because I really wanted to end up with a great quality pair of jeans that I could wear for years. I finally finished them in early 2020 and wore them a few times to work before the entire world shut down and, well, did anybody really wear jeans in quarantine? I know I didn’t. These beauties have been sitting folded up in my dresser ever since.

girl in handmade denim jeans with red topstitching sitting in a chair against a lilac wall

I recently pulled them out to take these photographs, and have had a few opportunities to wear them out more often over the past few months. For my first pair of jeans, I’m thrilled with how they turned out. I basted them together to check the fit before getting too far into the process, and I was happy with the fit on a straight size 6, no grading needed. Now that they’re done, there are a few minor adjustments I’ll make next time, but these are perfectly wearable. My favorite feature of the jeans is the red topstitching. It’s so fun and very unique.

closeup detail shot of handmade jeans with red topstitching front pocket


Grand total: $136.31

Sewn on my Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine and Brother 1034D Serger with Schmetz 100/16 Jeans Needles. The t-shirt I’m wearing is from Wicked Clothes (currently out of stock) and the earrings are from Aster (purchased through my Rocksbox Subscription — click the link to try a free month).

Sewing Plans

This week I’ll be joining in with #fridaysewtacular hosted by Friday Pattern Company! Today’s theme is SEWING PLANS!

My current sewing plans are to finish the many projects that I have cut out/started before I start any more. It’s getting out of hand! Here’s everything I’m working on, in no particular order:

– Kelly Anorack by Closet Core Patterns in an emerald chino twill from La Mercerie (who don’t even sell fabric any more — that’s how long ago I started this!)
– Harriet Bra by Cloth Habit made with the extra Liberty of London Tana Lawn that I used as a lining for my Rumana Coat
– Marlborough Bra by Orange Lingerie with some bits of yellow scrap fabrics
– Hampton Jean Jacket by Alina Design Co made with a bunch of old jeans and leftover fabric from my Ginger Jeans
– a handful of baby clothes I’m making as gifts for June babies
– Gilbert Top by Helen’s Closet Patterns in a floral viscose poplin from Blackbird Fabrics
– a pair of coveralls for Eric using K3389 in a navy duck canvas from Blackbird Fabrics
– Blanca Flight Suit by Closet Core Patterns in a spruce cotton chino twill from Blackbird Fabrics
– A muslin for a Liz Dress by Charm Patterns that I’m going to make out of gold silk from Mood Fabrics once I get the fit just right
– Ginger Flares by Closet Core Patterns in a grey and pink Italian two-tone stretch denim from Emma One Sock
– A Closet Core Patterns Nettie Bodysuit wrap-top hack in a charcoal modal rib knit from Blackbird Fabrics