Hey Everybody!! Look at me, I'm wearing flares!! Can you believe it? These are the much hyped and anticipated Baste & Gather Birkin Flares.
I have to admit that I am really out of my comfort zone here. I have been a pretty die-hard skinny jean fan, and before they came back into style, I was more of a bootcut or straight leg girl (or I guess slightly tapered too as I used to exclusively wear men's Levi's 501s). I did have a couple of pairs of wide leg jeans in the past, but they were pretty much wide all the way down. I haven't really been one to buck a trend, but I find as I get older I know what I like, and I venture out of my staple styles less often. Anyway, I didn't jump on the Birkin bandwagon right from the get go, but after seeing Meg's amazing version, I caved.
Anyway the point is, this is a really different shape for me, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'm 100% in love with it. I want to tell you that these have been my go to jean since I've finished them, but if I did, I would be lying. Don't get me wrong, they have been worn, but when packing for a trip they won't make the cut. I do however feel quite stylish, and fashion forward in these, and I do get lots of looks when I'm wandering around the grocery store, Starbucks, or Fabricland (although those looks might be saying who is this clown in the bellbottoms, vs wow look at that stylish trendsetter. Ha!).
Alright, enough blabbing about my style, or lack there of, let's get into the nitty gritty details. I jumped into these jeans head first and luckily it worked out for me as I decided to cut into some lovely Cone Mills Denim for this pair. I didn't make a muslin, but I knew right from the get go that they would be too long so I shortened them by 2 inches at each lengthen and shorten line (there are two, one near the top of the thigh, and near the top of the calf). I did baste them together and decide the fit was pretty good, so I guess I didn't totally leave it to chance. I probably should have scooped out the back crotch curve very slightly and/or added a little to the rear inseam (apparently the tops of my thighs are bigger than average because I always seem to have to do this), but I didn't and I think it's okay.
While constructing these jeans I carefully followed Lauren's very thorough, and user friendly instructions as I knew (from skimming before hand) she had some different techniques. The fly is constructed differently than with the Ginger jeans, in that the fly extension is sewn on separately. This is not too unusual, it's the same with Angela Wolf's Angel Bootcut Jeans, and with the Sewaholic Thurlows. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, but I don't like it. I prefer to do it the other way which is the first way I learned to insert a front fly (I think I have professed my love for Sandra Betzina before, but if I haven't, know that I love her!). It's much easier and less fiddly. If I make these again, I will re-draw the fly. I also didn't follow the included front fly topstitching guide because I have noticed on a number of pairs around the interwebs, that it looks a bit short. I'm sure it's just a personal preference thing, but I wanted the fly to appear a bit longer.
The other thing that was different with the Birkins, was the way the waistband is constructed. Again, I think Lauren's technique is fine, and I'm sure a lot of people will like it, but I did not. I prefer the old fashioned way. I had a hard time gettng my corners to look right doing it Lauren's way. Anyway, Lauren's instructions are full of great diagrams and they are very thorough and well designed. The pdf went together quickly and easily, and was a breeze to print.
Also I should note that there is no interfacing called for with these jeans (except for where you make the button hole and install the button), and I really like that. It's not the first pair I've made without interfacing, and I really like that it leaves the waistband soft especially in a high-waisted jean such as these. I guess I should also mention that I made the size 31. I was worried that the waist might be too snug, but I think it's perfect.
So I'm not sure the Birkins are going to make my TNT list. I think the pattern is great, and I actually think they look okay on me, but I'm just not the biggest fan of flares. John said that he really liked how the showed off my figure but he just can't get past the "bell bottoms".
In conclusion, if you have never made any type of trousers or jeans before, I probably wouldn't start with the Birkin. It would be a great second pattern to try, if you want more than one, but if you are just starting your jeans making journey, go with the Gingers.
How are you all doing? Have you made yourself a pair of jeans yet? What's your favourite pattern so far?