High-waisted Ginger Jeans (View B)

Hey Everybody!! How's spring treating you? (Or Fall I suppose depending on your hemisphere). Or I've heard some of you out east are still suffering with winter. Blah!! Come on Mother Nature!! It's starting to warm up in Cowtown (Calgary), but right now we are at the cabin at White Lake (near Salmon Arm in British Columbia) and it's super springy here. There is still a bit of a chill in the air, but it's sunny, and as long as you stay in the sunshine, it's feels warm. Anyway, I've been going jeans crazy! I want to make all the jeans! I finished these bad boys about a week or so ag0, and I am now working on another slightly modified pair using my kit denim. Yep! I finally worked up the courage to cut into the beautiful Cone Mills denim I purchased from Closet Case Files months ago. I am really excited to see how it wears, but so far it feels wonderful. But enough about that, let's get to the pair at hand: the High-Waisted Gingers. IMG_6402I have wanted to try out Version B of this pattern for quite some time now. There have been all kinds of amazing looking high-waisted Gingers out there, and every time a new pair popped into my blog feed, I thought "I gotta try those".  So I finally put the pdf together (which went swimmingly, by the way), traced it off, cut it out and got to work.

IMG_6388Full disclosure: I would never tuck my shirt in like this, but I wanted you to be able to see just how high-waisted these bad boys are, and how they look on a round, smooshy, vertically challenged figure such as mine. I made a size 10, and didn't change anything except to shorten the legs (at the lengthen/shorten line) by 2 inches.

IMG_6390Unfortunately, when you can see the whole jean, I don't think it is the most flattering garment for me. I think rather than suck things in, they just squish things around. That being said, I think they look great with my t-shirt untucked. I also think if I would have went with pocket stays, that may have helped quite a bit too. From now on, I will always make pocket stays!

IMG_6394I do totally dig the vintage/retro feel of the high-waisted jeans, especially with cuffs and paired with my chucks. (Shanny is going for the money shot in this pictureˆ - she's such a ham.)

IMG_6395Here's the back, again I think they look great with my t-shirt down, but not so much with my t-shirt tucked in. The yoke is much to long for me, and the pockets need to be moved up a tiny bit.

IMG_6389I think with some minor tweaking, this version will look really great. I'm just a bit too petite/short-waisted for it as is. My plan for the next pair is to shorten the rise a little (about an inch), and for the back I will take that same length out of the back leg and the yoke (so 1/2" each).

The fabric I used for this pair is some of that designer denim that Girl Charlee has been selling. It's my second pair using their denim, and I am happy to report that it's really nice. The recovery is great, and it seems to stand up well to multiple washes. I don't think they have this exact fabric in stock anymore, but they do have some other ones that look promising.

IMG_6396Something I did differently with this pair is that I used a different topstitching thread. Instead of going with my usual Gutterman topstitching thread, I used some heavy weight, lavender Sulky thread (specifically it's called Premium Sulky Heavy 12 Wt. Mercerized Cotton - it comes in tons of colours which is awesome). It worked great! I had way less issues with my machine being finicky and getting thread caught in the bobbin area, and it was so much easier to make bartacs with. I also used a topstitching needle, instead of a denim needle and I think that really helped too.

IMG_6405So I could easily end this post here, and you could go off thinking that everything is hunky dory over here in the Where Heather Grows sewing land, but that would not be true. After I wore these jeans for a couple days, I decided that the waistband was just not comfortable. It felt great when I was standing, but when I sat for more than about 10 minutes they felt really uncomfortable. The waistband was digging into my belly, and I just didn't like it! I had used denim for both my waistband and the facing (which I didn't do on my previous pairs - I used quilting cotton for the facing), ao I decided that this was the problem. The denim was making the waistband too stiff. I debated just leaving it, but then I thought, "No way, then they'll just sit in my cupboard and I won't wear them". And otherwise these are a perfectly wearable pair of jeans, and the curiosity cat part of me really wanted to know if changing the waistband would help. So off I went, I cut myself a new waistband (I'm short so I had extra denim leftover) and a new facing out of some quilting cotton. Then I patiently and carefully unpicked the waistband. Everything was going great until I pulled up the zipper, and completely pulled the zipper pull right off!!

frabz-Noooooooo-c1d2bdI was so choked! Anyway, still not wanting a pair of jeans I worked so hard on to go to waste, I proceeded to repair the zipper. I did a google search, but I couldn't find a way that I would be confident with, to put the zipper pull back on. So I unpicked the whole fly, and inserted a new zipper. It was not easy, and I ended up having to redo the topstitching around the fly (four times!!), but I got it done. Then I installed the new waistband, and I am happy to report, they are much comfier!! Yay!!

Unfortunately, I have started work on another pair of Gingers (yes, those kit denim ones I mentioned above) and I am having all kinds of problems with them too. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I was thinking that everything was going great, my topstitching was looking awesome (probably the best I've ever done) and then I got to the place where I could try them on. The topstitching proceeded to come loose in a couple different places (what's up with that?) and for some reason, the fit in the front is all screwed up (I'll spare you a photo but lets just say there is a toe of the camel variety and it is very unwelcome!). I do not know what I have done. I didn't change anything with the crotch curve, and I don't know what is going on with the topstitching. The only thing I can think of is that the topstitching thread that came with my kit is either a) too heavyweight for my machine or b) faulty. And I must have screwed up a seam allowance or something for the fit. Anyway, last night was a dark night full of feeling sorry for myself, ice cream, and wanting to cry over my horrible sewing skills, but after some great pep talks from my Instagram buddies (thank you all so very much!), and a good night's sleep, I am feeling much better. I'm going to try and salvage this project, but in the end if I can't, then I'll just throw it in the bin and move on. I mean, it's only fabric (and yes it's really gorgeous Cone Mills denim fabric) but no one's going to die if they end up in the trash. I mean it's not open heart surgery or something like that. And we all know I have lots more jeans, so I don't have to go naked. Anyway, I think it's really good to share my fails, and my faults too, so there you have it!

Sending you all lots of good sewing vibes and hoping you aren't having any disasters like me (but if you are, trust me it will get better!).

Tropical Pyjamas

Hey everybody! It's finally time for something different! Pyjamas - with piping and everything! I'm sure by now, most of you have seen Heather Lou's latest pattern (and if not, head over to Closet Case Files and check it out). This time it's all about upping your lounge wear game and I am all for that. John recently bought me some pyjamas (for Christmas) and I absolutely love wearing them. I never used to be a full set type of girl. I used to only wear pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt, but this latest pair I own has changed my thinking. They are flannel (kind of like these but with penguins) and snuggly, and I love wearing them as a set. Who knew matchy-matchy could be so fun? Anyway, being a new full pyjama set convert, I was thrilled to see this new pattern for the Carolyn Pajamas. I really love all the versions included with this pattern, and that they are designed to be fitted, feminine, flattering and comfy, not the usual boxy unisex business.  This girl likes to lounge in style. Plus, I will be way less embarrassed answering the door in the middle of the afternoon in these babies, than in my usual pug-hair covered yoga pants and ratty t-shirt. (Heather Lou the UPS man thanks you too.)


I have never sewn with piping before, nor have I sewn a notched collar, so I decided I would try the shorts version first (version C). It seemed like less fabric so a good place to start just in case I made of mess of them. I should also mention that the pdf went together really well. All of the markings match up, and I like how you can print the top, pants and shorts separately. Also, I love that you can put the pattern pieces together individually. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it, but you don't have to stick all the pages together to form one giant paper. You can put the first 2 pages together for 8 or 9 rows, then the 3rd and 4th pages together for 8 rows and have all the pattern pieces. Here, I'll show you the layout so you can see what I'm talking about.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.15.41 PMHopefully, it's okay that I show you that little diagram, but do you see what I mean? Closet Case Files' pdfs are really well thought out, and always a breeze to put together.


I made up a quick muslin of the shorts in some cheap rayon I had lying around before I cut into this tropcial gorgeousness. I chose the size 10, but found the shorts a little too snug for pjs, so for this version I made a straight size 12 for both the shorts and the top, and I think they both fit perfectly! In fact, I can't really get over just how perfect the fit of the shirt is. I mean check out those shoulders. Once again, it feels like Heather Lou drafted this pattern just for me.


The fabric is a really gorgeous tropical print rayon voile from Blackbird Fabrics. When I saw it I knew it was destined to be warm weather pyjamas so I snapped it up right away. Unfortunately, I think it is now sold out. Have you ever sewn with rayon voile before? I hadn't until this, and let me tell you it is amazing! This fabric is so incredibly soft, and flowy, and silky, and it was a dream to sew with. I wish I could send each of you a little swatch of it, so you could feel it. It's beautiful! And it makes for an uber luxurious set of pyjamas.


I went with store bought piping that I picked up at my local Fabricland. I think it looks okay, but it's a little stiff and bulky (the shorts can almost stand on their own). For my next pair I will either make my own smaller piping, or go with flat bias tape piping. I think this stuff might be more suited to pillows and cushions and what not. This was my first time piping anything and I was a little nervous but it went okay. I started with the shorts and my stitching doesn't look the greatest when you get really close up, but I'm okay with that. I mean, who's going to be getting that close to my cuffs while I'm in my pyjamas anyway? The pugs maybe, but they love me and I feed them, so they can overlook wonky stitching every now and then.

After struggling a bit with piping the shorts (I started off using my zipper foot, then my regular foot which worked better than my zipper foot but still wasn't great), I ended up buying a piping foot for my darling Pfaff and it made a world of difference. So if you plan on doing much piping work I would definitely recommend getting the proper foot. It made my life so much easier, and it made my sewing look a lot better too! By the time I got to the cuffs on the shirtsleeves, I felt much more confident in my piping abilities.


I also struggled a little bit with the notched collar too, but I am confident that my next one will go much smoother. The instructions were fine, but I still consider myself a beginner sewer, and I am definitely someone who needs to do things at least once to figure them out, so I know next time will be a lot easier. And also since I made these, Heather Lou has added a tutorial to her website that is quite helpful for visual learners like myself.

All in all, I am thrilled with how these turned out and I can't wait to make more. I already have a stash of fabric reserved for more sets. My dream is to have a set of these to wear everyday for every season. They are like my version of the leisure suit.

Do you wear pyjamas? And if you do, do you wear the full set, or just one piece? Also what do you think of the pyjama on the street fashion trend? Would you wear them out of the house?

PS: This post comes to you live from Las Vegas. John is here for business and I tagged along. I thought it would be cute to photograph these in the hotel room, but it ended up just being a little creepy so John ended up taking my picture by the window instead of on the bed. LOL

Ginger Jeans Take 2

First off, thank you all so much for the comments on my last post, for all the helpful tips and support, and also for reading my blog. I have never had so much feedback and I am super grateful for it! Best blogging/hobby community ever! Yay Sewcialists!! Secondly, I have to apologize for these photos. Not my best photography, but the day I took them it was cold and I was having troubles with my tripod, so I took them inside. The colour/contrast is not as good as it usually is but I think you can see well enough to get a good idea of how these Gingers fit!


So as I mentioned last time, I decided to go down to a size 10. This was a great decision as I think the fit is even better now. I also decided to make the legs a bit slimmer as this time of year I mostly wear boots, and skinnies are so much easier to tuck in. I took a 1/2" off of each side of each leg, grading to nothing about mid-thigh. So that takes a total of 2" off each leg. I used this tutorial and it worked really well.


The denim I used is from Girl Charlee and I am really happy with it. It's got a nice stretch and it recovers really well. I have been wearing this pair for about 3 days now and they haven't bagged out. They stretch with wear for sure, but not so much that it's noticeable to the outside eye and not so much that I feel like I have to wash them again to get them fitting properly.


I used a different colour for the top-stitching thread this time too. It's more of a coppery-orangey colour. I like the gold, but I though it would be fun to switch it up. I was debating doing red or blue topstitching too, but I chickened out and went with something more "regular". I don't have much to say about construction this time. The pattern instructions are still very straight forward, and I found things went more smoothly and faster the second time around because I had done everything once before. I really like making jeans. It's so soothing and satisfying; challenging but not overwhelming. I also love wearing jeans so I'm sure there will be many more pairs to come.


Check out that fit? (I can't believe I am posting a photo of my butt on the internet again, yikes!) I was a tiny bit worried that by going down a size the fit might change, but I am happy to say that I think it just got better. There are still a couple little wrinkles in the front, so for my next pair I might try to lengthen the front crotch just a smidge as Katie suggested in the comments of my last post. But other than that, I don't really want to mess around with them too much.


I'm not sure if I mentioned this last time, but I had a heck of time getting the topstitching around the fly to look right. I unpicked it three times before I was happy. On this pair, I only unpicked it once. You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Also, I used barracks to sew on the belt loops this time. My beautiful Pfaff actually has a barrack function, so it makes it really easy.

I also took a few shots during construction, so you could see the insides this time.



I know Heather Lou suggests having the right side of your pocket fabric showing, but that just didn't seem right to me. I had some kind of mental block about it for some reason. This way if my pocket turns out you see the right side of the fabric.


I love this rainbow variegated thread with denim (well really, I love it with everything, but it looks extra awesomesauce with denim). One of my favourite things about sewing my own clothes is being able to add little details like this. I love having a unique piece of clothing that no one else will ever have. I can't believe it's taken me so long to really start sewing my own clothes. I can't imagine all the craziness I would have come up with when I was younger. I do remember cutting my jeans up the side seams and adding a strip of fabric. Did you ever do that? A couple of older cool girls at school were doing it, and I loved my pair that I did it to and wore them to death. I wonder why I stopped there? I was probably just too intimidated by fancy patterns. If only I had had the internet back then. The things I would have gotten up too...oh well, I am happy that I am doing it now!

I obviously haven't worked up the nerve to try flat fell seams yet. The serger/overlocker way is just working out so well for me, and it looks pretty too! As you can see, I skipped out on the rivets again. It's not because I don't like rivets, it's because I couldn't find any locally. I have finally ordered a bunch so I will give installing them a try on my next pair. Or I might even add them to this pair, we'll see when they get here.

So there you have it, Ginger Jeans take 2! I have been wearing them pretty much non-stop since I finished them. I can't wait to make more!

What is your favourite thing to sew? Are you doing any handmade Christmas gifts this year, and if so, have you started making them, or are you procrastinating really hard like me?

And just in case you are going through pug withdrawals, here is a picture of Quincie checking out my butt:



Happy Sewing!

JEANS! I Made Jeans!!

I made Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans to be exact - and I'm pretty tickled with myself. Can you tell? IMG_5739

I would love to tell you that I am a pants fitting wizard and I make pants all the time getting the fit perfect, but I think we all know that just isn't true. This pattern did all the work for me. I feel like Heather Lou drafted this pattern just for me; the fit is amazing! I honestly did nothing to it, well I shortened the legs by 3" but that's it! This is how it fit me right out of the envelope...err..computer pdf file. You know what I mean.


I took these photos when these babies were fresh out of the wash so there is something going on with the one leg in the picture above, but I assure you it's just cause I didn't straighten them out as I was super excited to get them photographed. Upon looking at these photos, I know there are some wrinkles in the front and the back, but I'm not anxious to mess around with anything as I think the fit is so much better than any RTW jeans I have. But that being said, if you have any advice for me, I would love to hear it.


I made version A - the mid-rise stovepipe leg version. I am a little scared of the high-waisted version as I am so short, but after making this version and seeing all the awesome high-waisted versions out there I may just give it a go. My top-stitching isn't perfect, but I'm quite happy with it, and unless you get up close and personal, you probably won't notice any wonkiness. I added bar tacks to the back pockets as I didn't have any rivets on hand for this pair, and I really like how it turned out. You want to see another picture of my butt now, don't you?


I made a straight size 12, and while the fit is pretty spot on, I find them a little loose after wearing them for awhile as jeans always seem to stretch out. They are perfect when the first come out of the wash, but after about an hour they stretch out quite a bit. I took these babies with me when we were away last week, and after about 3 days of wear they were pretty baggy, so for my next pair I plan to size down. In my experience, that's just the way jeans are. On my hunt for the perfect fitting jeans over the years, I've worn high end designers like Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige, 7 for All Mankind, AG, and I've worn Jessica Simpson, Gap, Old Navy, Next, Top Shop, and Joe Fresh (and many, many others). All of them stretch out with wear, so I always try to start with a snug fit. I'm sure going down a size will fix this issue.

I bought this denim from Corrine at The Sewing Affair and it's awesome. It's a gorgeous dark wash, and it's super comfy and soft. After sewing with it, and wearing it, I would definitely recommend it. It's a great weight for jeans, but I imagine it would work perfectly for a skirt or a jacket. I really want to make a denim jacket; know of any good patterns out there?


The leg on this jean is great (although I usually wear something a little skinnier in the winter as it makes them easier to tuck into boots). It's slim and it looks great cuffed too. I should also mention that I interfaced the waistband with a medium weight fusible interfacing. I love this feature. It makes the waistband maintain its shape. I have a round belly and I usually find that after wearing a pair of pants for awhile, the waistband folds over and kind of bunches up, but that isn't a problem with a little bit of stabilization (is that a word?). It's so awesome to be able to make your own jeans and add little things like that. I also used my rainbow variegated thread to serge all the seams, which looks awesome if I cuff them, and I used a really light weight cotton to line the waistband and for the pockets. For my next pair I will use a little bit heavier cotton as I think it will wear better next to the heavier denim over time.

So there you have it: my Ginger Jeans. I really enjoyed the jean making process and I am just in the process of cutting out another pair (I took a break to blog - FINALLY); I see many more pairs in my future. I am so happy I bought this pattern because it fits me so well. I am now having dreams of cords and chinos, and even dress pants, the possibilities are endless! The instructions with this pattern are really good and the sew along is great for visuals. If you have ever been intimidated by sewing pants, this is a great pattern to quell your fears (well it was for me anyway). And don't be intimidated, it's just sewing. Go slow and sew one seam at a time, it's easy when you break it down step by step. (Another great tool I would recommend is the Pants Construction class by Sandra Betzina on Craftsy. It's awesome and has lots of tips and tricks. Plus Sandra Betzina is a hoot and a wealth of knowledge.)

Have you sewn jeans, or pants before? How did it go? Got any fitting tips and tricks to share? Do you have a favourite RTW (ready-to-wear) pair of jeans that fits perfectly or have you always been searching, like me?