Fitting the Ginger stretch jeans

Yes I know, I am VERY late to the Ginger party! I have used itch to stitch Liana for stretch jeans, and I really love them. However, I wanted to try to make a pair of high waist jeans, and it seemed easier to use the Gingers, that are high waisted. Ha!! I had forgotten about the pain of fitting pants! Another reason I wanted to try the Gingers is all the lovely versions I have seen on the internet – maybe I can get an ever better fit than Liana?

Now that I have fitted the Gingers, I have to say that is easier than it seems. I get totally overwhelmed every time I have to fit something, but in my experience it takes maybe a few days to get the fit right, and the most important thing for me is to walk away from it when I get overwhelmed. And a good seam ripper :p Overall, I am happy with how the Gingers turned out, maybe they will even replace the Lianas – I will have to see. The biggest difference between Liana and Ginger is the angle between the hip and the legs, and I will have to see how these feel to wear. I prefer the PDF of the Lianas (more notes on the Ginger PDF at the end of this post), as it is more user friendly, but I think both patterns are great. They both come with great instructions and sew alongs, so I think both patterns would be great for a first-time-jeans-sewist. I guess it will depend on your body type which of the patterns will need the fewest adjustments to work for you. For my pear shape figure with a relatively flat and low butt, the Lianas were easiest to fit.

I bought the Ginger pattern ages ago, and printed them in size 12, according to my hip measurement. Thats when I realized that the Ginger pattern I had bought was mid-rise, not high rise.. I thought that all rises were included in the pattern. Oh well. So, I raised the waist by 5 cm/ 2″. As you can see in the photos of the first muslin, I made the full rise in the pants themselves, not in the yoke, so it looks a bit funny. For the second muslin I corrected this.

The first muslin – light blue denim

Before I cut my muslin, I made these changes to the pattern pieces:

  • 1,5 cm/0.6″ low butt adjustment (scooping out the back crotch seam)
  • 1,5 cm/0.6″ flat butt adjustment (shortening the back crotch seam)
  • Flat pubis adjustment (flattening the front crotch seam)
  • Added 3 cm/ 1.2″ to leg lenght
  • Added 5 cm/ 2″ to the rise

I had some whiskers at the front crotch, so I straightened the curve here a bit more, which took care of most of this. However, I struggled with the backside. I had a lot of wrinkles on the back thigh, and lines under the butt.

Photo 1: I have made low but adjustment, flat butt adjustment, added to the rise and the length of the legs. Lots of wrinkles happening below the butt!
Photo 2: I made additional low butt and flat butt adjustment. Also took a large bit out of the yoke CB. Oh my! Crazy stuff happening on the back of the thighs, but under-butt wrinkle is smaller. Pocket placement very wrong, must lower!
Photo 3: So, I let out the flatt butt adjustment again, and lowered the pockets. Much better, but I really would like a smooth back thigh look.
Photo 4: I had an interesting epiphany; a while ago I read an article about fitting, that explained that it’s all in the proportions. That you could for example need a full thigh adjustment, even if you have thin thighs, if they are full in comparison to other parts of your body. With this in mind I looked at the folds and lines, and I guess that they would suggest a full thigh adjustment. I tried, and it definitely helped. Mind blown! I would have never ever thought I would need a full thigh adjustment.

At this point I had sewed and ripped the seams so many times, that I really couldn’t see my adjustments any more, so I had to make a new muslin.

The second muslin – dark blue denim

I traced the changes to my pattern pieces, and also added a 1 cm/0.4″ knock knee adjustment and shaved around 1 cm/ 0.4″ of the back inner thigh to reduce fabric bulk. I then sewed the Gingers in a darker blue denim, same quality as the first pair (I bought a bulk of stretch denim here).

I used a larger yoke for these, to balance out the high rise; I forgot to reduce the rise of the back piece, so, well.. That’s why it looks funny. With these alterations they definitely look better, but still too many wrinkles in the back thigh.

Also, do you see those drag lines on my butt, pointing down? This is an adjustment I make to almost all of my pants patterns, but forgot here. To add room here, I add some room on the vertical part on the CB seam. The pink line in the photo below is the original seam line, and the navy is where I stitched to avoid the pulling in the butt area.

Tadah (I could add some more here actually, as I have some uni-butt going on still):

I also got a very useful tip in a sewing group on Facebook I’m in, to get rid of the back thigh wrinkles – removing 1/2″ from the back leg inseam and stretching from the knee up. Almost all of the back thigh wrinkles have gone, yay!I can see that I need a bit more knock knee alteration, judging from the front knee wrinkles.

At this point, they were too large in the waist, and I still had some whiskers in the front. So, to make it narrower in the waist I stretched the waistband quite a bit when I sewed it on, hoping this would do the trick. Also hoping that attaching the waistband would remove the whiskers. 

 It DID help a bit with the whiskers, but the narrow waistband created small wrinkles below the waistband, and a strange puff in the side seam. Someone in the Facebook group suggested that I try to lower the front rise by 1/2″, tapering to nothing at the side seam – a very good idea, but I had already attached the waistband AND TOPSTICHED IT…  At this point I almost gave up, turned my machines off and went to bed. Grr! But when I woke up today, I was full of energy once again, and grateful for the front-rise advise. So, I unpicked the waistband, shortened the zipper, lowered the frontrise by 1/2″, made the waistband longer (as it no longer fit, and I didn’t want to stretch it due to the wrinkles) and took the side seam in by 1 cm/ 0.4″ in both sides. I forgot to unpick the topstitching in the sides, so it does not look very pretty now. 

 But look at the fit now! I am very pleased 🙂 Definitely less front crotch wrinkles now. I might just flatten the front crotch seam a bit on the pattern pieces too, to avoid wrinkles here. 

Now all I have to decide is the placement of the pockets! It is crazy how the placement and size of the pockets affect how the butt looks. With the pockets angled I get much more of an hourglass figure, which I kind of like, but also feel like I am cheating haha! I have tried and tested a gazillion pocket placements (and had Peter take the photos, and for once he was all like “sure, honey, just let me know if you need more photos of your butt!”) and ended up with something very similar to the placement on the left. I will have Peter take photos of the finished jeans later, and make a separate post with them.

Phew! All done with the fitting of the Gingers!

For my next version I will flatten the front crotch seam just a tiny bit, and lower the rise slightly – maybe 2 cm/ 0.8″.

Notes on the PDF pattern:

  • I read somewhere on the internet that the 3 rises (low-, mid- and highrise) are not drafted from the same block for the Gingers. So if you have fitted the high rise, you cannot take these adjustments to the other rises. I think it would be easier if they had used the same block for all the versions of Ginger, and just changed the rise part and bottom part of the pants (slim/ stovepipe), so you wouldn’t have to re-print the whole pattern. For the Lianas you only have to reprint from the knee down to get the different bottoms (skinny, stovepipe and flare are all included in the Lianas).
  • The pattern for Ginger is not layered, and all sizes are with black line. This means that you cannot trace the pattern very precise, as you have all the lines for all sizes. It is much easier to blend sizes in the Liana as well as you can choose only to print the sizes you need, and they then have different colors.

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