Ginger Jeans and Bow Neck Knit

Edit: Can I be a super cheeky lady and ask that you please have a look at the pyjama party at Closet Case Files and vote for my PJ’s?? I love those PJ’s (in fact I’m wearing the pants right now) it it would be amazing to win one of those prize packs. And it’s pretty tough competition!

It’s been a while since I posted! But that certainly hasn’t meant that I’m not sewing. In fact, I have a bit of a backlog of projects to photograph (the weather hasn’t been the greatest for photos here recently).

So I have two things to show you today. The top is a bow neck blouse based on the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern. I’ve made this pattern modification once before, and finally decided to make another one, taking photos for a tutorial over on the Curvy Sewing Collective. It’s a pretty easy modification if you have a t-shirt pattern that fits you (ideally with a v-neck already but that’s easy to change) and doesn’t use up much more fabric than the t-shirt itself.

I love a good bow neck blouse! And this one is made in a super soft merino wool that I bought from a clothing label’s closing down sale. It was horribly off grain but I was able to sneak in this top with the short sleeves (I’d used the rest of the fabric for a Jenna cardigan I gave to one of my sister-in-laws), and it’s perfect for work.

Merino jersey is sort of like a wonder-wool fabric. The stuff we get is usually really nice quality (and you CAN get it cheaper sometimes but usually ranges from $20-30/m), it’s machine washable (just goes in with whatever else I’m washing), doesn’t smell, and is good in hot AND cold weather (in the same way that silk keeps you cool in the hot, and warm in the cold).

I usually buy mine at The Fabric Store, but Levana (aka The NZ Merino Company), one of the last fabric mills in the country, have just started selling it online! I hope they get some of their other fabrics on there too – they sell lovely cotton/lycra jersey’s and last week I bought some technical fabric for running leggings, including some supplex!

The top was made primarily on my overlocker, using my regular machine when attaching the first side of the bow neck, and with my twin needle on the hems. Somehow I seem to have eased in one side of the center front seam so it’s a bit warbly, but hopefully noone else notices that…. I put some strips of knit interfacing on the front shoulder prior to stitching, and used spray adhesive to press most of the hems up before I stitched up the side seams – I learned this from a Craftsy class and find it really useful, as pressing the hems when they’re still flat is much easier than when they’re all attached!

The other garment I’m sharing today is – my jeans! I’ve made jeans once before from Jalie 2908, and while I was proud of the construction, the fit was all wrong (my fault, not the patterns). This time around I used, of course, the Ginger jeans pattern from Closet Case Files.

To be honest, I first made this pattern MONTHS ago, soon after it came out. While we were still living in Featherston, in fact (and we moved here, err, almost 4 months ago). I initially wasn’t so sure about it but when Suzy posted her tester version and looked SO FREAKING GOOD, I nabbed the pattern, bought some denim, and made them up in view B (high waisted). The denim I bought was a blackish denim from The Fabric Store which felt like it had the right amount of stretch. They fit with almost no alterations (just had to curve the waistband more), and about 3 hours after putting them on and dancing around in glee, they had bagged out.

I still wear them constantly, and they’re so comfortable, but I was pretty disappointed at how badly they kept the stretch. Unfortunately I haven’t got any photos of them, d’oh!

These jeans are made from a denim with lycra from The Fabric Warehouse. I thought I was pretty lucky to find a polka dot denim! It was a bit lighter than I’d usually buy but, y’know.. polka dots.

I made these the same size as the previous ones, but also curved the yoke a bit more. And, well: fabric choice makes a BIG difference. This denim is a lot firmer and so they were pretty tight when I first tried them on – so tight I thought they were unwearable. Luckily I’ve managed to wear them in a bit so they’re much better! I still think they’re a bit tight though (would be perfect if the fabric was a touch stretchier)

You can see it sort of flattens out my bum and tummy weirdly.

All the seams are faux-felled (overlocked and top-stitched) rather than doing true flat felled seams (which I did in the first pair). I need a bit more practice top-stitching with this thick top-stitching thread through several layers of denim, but I’m getting a lot better! Hopefully it’ll be perfect by the time my CCF denim kit turns up (I bought the bullet on international shipping when it became available the second time, because good stretch denim is hard to find!)

I’m pretty happy with the fit. There is some slightly weird fitting going on in the front crotch (I know exactly what’s going on but not sure if I want to discuss it) which would be fixed with slightly stretchier fabric, I think. Wrinkles in the back are needed in order to sit and move. There is some rippling at the side seams down from the bar-tack, and I think this is because I overlocked too far away from the seam so it’s not laying nice and flat.

I drafted a pocket stay (Crazy Dog Lady!) from a tutorial I can’t find – but there is now a tutorial for one by Suzy on the Curvy Sewing Collective, and one on the Ginger Jeans Sewalong. These act by not only keeping the pattern in place, but tend to keep the tummy tucked in a bit as well – I first learned about them in my Not Your Daughter’s Jeans jeans (where they DON’T have that extra line of stitching parallel to the fly, so all my pens/phone/money cards seem to migrate towards the center front, creating odd and unflattering bumps)

Here you can see my top-stitching! It took me a while to work out the right tension so the gold thread can be seen on the underside too. And speaking of the underside… this fabric is scratchy! I wonder if the lycra isn’t woven into the fabric properly because it sometimes feels like little needles poking me in the legs. I’m hoping this will get better with wear and washing.


Patterns: Sewaholic: Renfrew and Closet Case Files: Ginger Jeans

Fabric: Red merino jersey, $10, and denim $24

Notions: Thread (regular and top-stitching), interfacing, button; all from stash.

Total: $10 and $24

So, what do you think? I really like both these garments and can’t wait to get my denim kit from CCF! I recently bought some stretch bengaline for a Style Arc pattern but am seriously considering just making another pair of these, possibly with an elastic waist (tutorial by Gillian here).

It was so sunny the camera automatically turned black and white (??) when the autofocus was off.

27 thoughts on “Ginger Jeans and Bow Neck Knit

  1. I like the top a lot but those jeans are really freaking cool! I think they suit you very well and I’d go so far as to say they are in my top 3 ginger jeans makes I’ve seen so far.
    I’m thinking about giving them a go myself but I’m slightly scared because I would have to grade them up about 2 sizes at the hips and one at the waist and also lengthen the upper part as well as the legs because I’m so damn tall.
    These have felt like slightly to many fiiting issues for me but seing your amazing ones and the pretty ones that Cashmerette posted recently makes me want to give it a try. :)

    • Oh thank you Sarah!! That totally made my day

      If it helps, I am 178cm (5’10.5″) tall and didn’t have to lengthen these – so I’m guessing others might have had to shorten them (though I haven’t seen it mentioned often). And I made a size 18 (size 45 hips) even though my hips/bum is more like 47-48″. I think Jenny (Cashmerette) said she was above the size range too but was able to make the 18 (and my goodness hers are gorgeous, aren’t they?). I can’t say much about the waist because I had to size down for that.
      Sophie-Lee recently posted…Ginger Jeans and Bow Neck KnitMy Profile

      • Oh thank you for that information, that helps me a lot. I am actually 189cm tall, so there will be lengthening going on but I’m between 50” and 52” in the hips so I may not have to do as much grading as I thought, a couple of inches in the sideseams might be good enough. Now I definetily want to give it a try! Now I want to start them right away but it’s way past midnight in Berlin so I might just go to bed instead. :)
        Have the loveliest day,

      • Useful to know about sizing. I’m 180 cm and hips the same as you, Sophie-Lee. I made my husband a pair of jeans and want to make myself a pair now. Looking for a good pattern; rather like the high waisted version of these. Seems difficult to know best size though as so dependent on stretch and recovery of fabric.

        • Yeah I guess the ideal is to get a whole heap of one denim… but then you only want one pair of the same colour, right? Otherwise just make sure you try them on before finishing off your side seams and inner seams!

          So much easier making pants for Mr. Guy…
          Sophie-Lee recently posted…Ginger Jeans and Bow Neck KnitMy Profile

  2. What a cute outfit!!!! I’d buy polkadot denim in a heartbeat if I found some. A couple of pairs of my Gingers stretch out pretty quickly, too… My favourite pants all have 30% stretch or more, but that’s hard to find! I’ve got a piece of bengaline from a friend that I haven’t used, so I’ll be watching curiously to see how yours turns out! :)

  3. Cute outfit! I love finding comfy (read: I don’t have to iron) tops that are suitable for work – I will have to check this modification out. Your jeans look great too, such a neat fabric choice! And thanks for letting us know about Levana’s new online shop, it’s my favourite shop but I live in the south island too :( My bank account doesn’t say thanks though 😉 Can’t wait to see your backcloth of projects!

  4. Ooooh, your jeans look so good! Seriously impressed! Love the polka dots- what a fun touch! I find stretch denim so hit or miss when it comes to recovery- doesn’t seem to matter where it’s from or what the price point it… there’s almost no way to predict what’s going to bag out and what isn’t! Annoying!
    Ginger recently posted…Finished: Ladies’ Tailoring I (TL 111)!My Profile

    • Yeah and I’m finding it hard even estimating how tight they’ll be – the first pair weren’t very stretchy but the recovery was very slack so they’re loose. This pair felt really stretchy when I tested it out, but the recovery is so strong/fast that they are TIGHT.

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