back-seams
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GINGER SEWALONG PT 9: ASSEMBLING THE BACK

Ginger Jeans Sewalong: Assembling the back legs

In our last post, we learned how to install the fly front zipper for our Ginger Jeans. Today is an easier day. We’ll be attaching the yoke to the back leg, sewing the center back seam and basting our pockets into place.

To get started, pin each yoke to each leg. The longer side of the yoke is the CB seam, in case you get confused.

Ginger Jeans Sewalong: Assembling the back legs

One thing to keep in mind is that you want to align your pieces based on where you will be stitching rather than the edges of the fabric. When you line up the pieces based on the seam allowance, you will have little wedges of the yoke that extend past the leg. However, after you sew the line and press your seam allowances down, you should have nice clean lines along the hip and center back.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - sewing the back seams-2

Once you’ve sewn both yokes, finish your seam allowance with an overlock, zig zag or flat fell seam finish.

Ginger Jeans Sewalong: Assembling the back legs

Press your seams down and sew two rows of topstitching along the top edge of your leg.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - sewing the back seams-6

Normally this is the point at which you would topstitch your back pockets onto the legs. However, since this is likely the first time you’ve made these jeans, you don’t know exactly where you want those pockets yet. Every bum is as unique as it’s owner, so I prefer to baste the pockets down for the time being. Once the jeans are more fully assembled, we can decide if the location works or not; if we need to move them around a bit, the basting stitches are easy to remove. Matching the small circle markings that indicate pocket placement, align the back pockets that we assembled earlier in the sewalong and sew a basting line around the sides and bottom of each at 1/4″. Keep in mind that the slightly curved pocket edge should be on the center back side.

attaching back pockets

basting the back pocket

Once both of your pockets have been basted to each leg, line up the legs along the center back seam and sew at the 5/8″ seam allowance. Complete using your seam finish of choice. Again, my serger was having timing issues so please forgive the shoddy serging in the pic below.

sewing the center back seam

sewing center back seam

Press the seam to the left (or the right on the inside). I like pressing on my sleeve board to get around the crotch curve. Use your clapper if you have one to get those seams nice and flat.

pressing center back seam

We are going to add two rows of topstitching to this seam. There is a bit of a height difference where the yokes are attached to the legs, so this is when you may want to use your humper jumper or a piece of folded cardboard to help your foot sew an even line. As you approach the seam, prop the back of your foot up with whatever you’re using and continue sewing. Remove the humper jumper after you’ve sewn over the thicker seam.

humper jumperGinger Jeans Sewalong: Assembling the back legs

And voila! You back is now assembled. I’ll be Monday to help you sew your side seams. We’ll also nail down the pocket placement at that point. Have a great weekend!

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Watson Bra by Closet Case Files
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ME-MADE LINGERIE: THE WATSON BRA

Watson Bra by Closet Case Files

Let’s take a little sewalong break, shall we? Because today I saw that Amy at Cloth Habit finally dropped her new pattern and I couldn’t wait to show you my new Watson Bra!

Amy is the reason I started making my own lingerie; her bra sewalong last year was so detailed, thoughtful and smart, and I seriously cannot get enough of her colour sense and design aesthetic. We share a love for 1970’s style, in particular the sexy, insouciant glamour of 70’s lingerie, so I was super elated when I heard her first pattern was inspired by this period. Full disclosure: Amy and I are pals. We’ve been there for each other over the last few months, since pattern-making can be a lonely and frustrating business from time to time. It’s been lovely having someone to talk about crotch curves with, share information, and in general be an encouraging support system when needed.

I was sort of an informal tester for this pattern. After I launched Ginger, I needed a break from making jeans so I asked to have a sneak peak at Watson to give my hands a denim break. I haven’t made any new bras in a while and everything I have is getting a little raggedy; perfect timing to make an easy, breezy bra doncha think?

Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files

I have been stockpiling lingerie fabric and notions for the last year, so thankfully I had everything I needed to make Watson in my stash. I chose a purple mesh, a pretty scalloped elastic for the top edge, and some standard bra strap and band elastic, all in black. Since the band needs to be less stretchy, I doubled up the mesh there, but the cups are a single layer and the cradle is lined. I made a 34D in the longline version and didn’t bother making a proper muslin with this bra because I trust Amy’s grading; I wasn’t disappointed. The fit is fantastic. The cups are flawless and the cradle lays perfectly beneath my bust. I’ve had some issues in the past with bra fit when there wasn’t an under-wire present to cradle the girls, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the cradle worked. Amy doesn’t call for adding stretch to the cup elastic, but I think my particular elastic could gave used a touch of stretch at the top; the scalloped trim doesn’t lie perfectly flat, especially under my arms. For my next version, I may lengthen the band by about 1cm, but otherwise I’m really happy. If it wasn’t so sheer I would have tried to model it for you, but you guys really don’t need to see the nips.

While I like the support it gives, it’s not a big, pushup-y padded bra that we’re probably more used to wearing. It’s more of a natural “these are my boobs, but prettier” look and I’m super into it. My explorations in bra making has taught me that I much prefer celebrating what I actually have, rather than trying to make the girls look like something they’re not, if that makes any sense. And not to be too TMI or anything, but the fella, who is not normally into lingerie, was pretty delighted when I flashed him.

Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files

Construction wise, this is a pretty simple pattern to assemble. The instructions are really thorough and I think it’s a perfect introduction to lingerie making because there is no under-wire; in my opinion channeling is the hardest thing to sew but you don’t have to worry about it here. I have a bunch more planned since I can whip one up in a few hours – I have this crazy silver spandex that I’d like to use to make a pretty bralette with a regular band to wear under drapey tops. The pattern also includes a pair of bikini undies (I will NOT say the “P” word) but my big booty is really a boy shorts only sort of situation so I didn’t bother making a pair. I’d like to make a matching pair of Ladyshorts with some leftover mesh so I’ll have a matching set since that pattern really works for my caboose.

Anyway, I really, truly love this pattern. It’s a unique design and a great alternative to more traditional bras. What about you? Think you’d like to give the Watson Bra a try?

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sewing-fly-front-zipper
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GINGER SEWALONG PT 8: SEWING A FLY FRONT ZIPPER

Sewing fly front zipper

For a lot of people, the scariest thing about making jeans is the fly front. There are a lot of methods for installing them, and not all of them are easy to wrap your head around. I did a lot of research to find the best way to sew the Ginger Jeans fly, so hopefully these step by step photos will show you how easy it is to actually do.

Before we sew our legs together, we need to finish the fly extension of the left leg. The fly extension on the right leg will be trimmed off eventually, so don’t worry about it for now. Simply overlock or zig zag around the straight edge and as much of the curve as you safely can on your machine. When I’m serging, I try to fold the crotch curve out of the way and stop just before I reach the seam allowance.

finishing fly extension

Next, you will be sewing your two pant legs together at the front crotch seam. Starting at the center front notch, baste a straight line to the circle marking next to the bottom of the fly extension. You can draw a line with a ruler if this helps. You want a nice long stitch since you will be removing this stitching once your fly has been installed. When you reach the circle, switch to a medium stitch length, sew a few stitches, and backstitch just to the circle. Continue sewing normally along the 5/8″ seam allowance.

sewing fly front zipper

Now it’s time to cut a notch from the corner where your fly extension meets the regular seam allowance to the circle. Be careful not to cut into your stitching.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-3

Finish that short crotch curve using an overlock or zig zag stitch – be sure to trim down to 3/8″. This is the one seam that must be finished this way, even if you are flat felling your seams. Also, I have to apologize for my horrible serging in the following photos. My serger was having major timing issues when I shot this tutorial. Please don’t judge me.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-4

Press your fly extension open and your finished seam to the left on the inside.

crotch seam on jeans

Flip your jeans to the front, and sew two rows of double stitching to the right of the crotch seam, making sure your fly extension is lying flat and you finished seam is caught in the stitching.

edited: You can also sew just 1 row of topstitching along the crotch if you prefer the way it looks. Or, you can wait until your zipper is installed, go back and add the second row and stop sewing at the fly topstitching, finished off with a bar tack. It really is a matter of preference, so take a look at RTW pairs in your closet to see what works for you. I like the double line so that’s what I’ve called for in the pattern.

topstitching fly front

Now it’s time to insert your zipper. In the photos below, I am lining up the left edge of the zipper teeth to the center seam. I shot these pics before I sent the pattern out for testing, and a few people pointed out that they preferred their zipper to be set deeper in the fly so it doesn’t peak out at all. If that’s the case, align the left edge of your zipper tape to the center seam. Depending on the width of the zipper tape, this will set your zipper into the fly 1/2″ – 3/4″. It will not effect the size of the waist, just the location of the zipper. Make sure your zipper is face down.

installing zipper for fly front

Once your zipper is aligned the way you prefer, pin it into place along the right fly extension only. In general, I line up the bottom of the tape with the bottom of the fly extension. You want at least 1/2″ between the bottom of the fly extension and the zipper stop since you will be topstitching here later and you don’t want to hit the stop with your needle.

installing zipper for fly front

Using a zipper foot, sew close to the zipper teeth, ensuring you are stitching only to the right fly extension. You can sew another row of stitching along the right edge of the tape as well, but it’s not mandatory since chances are your zipper tape will wind up being encased by the fly shield later on.

installing zipper for fly front

Flip the zipper and the right fly extension under. You will now have a strip of denim to the left of the front of your zipper. You may have a little more width than what you see here depending on where you aligned your zipper tape.

installing zipper for fly front

Stitch a line about 1/8″ away from the folded edge of this strip using a zipper foot.

installing zipper for fly front

Flip your legs back so that the wrong side is facing you. If you grab the zipper and the right fly extension, you’ll notice that you can now move it to the left. Fold it to the left as much as it will go without pulling the fabric. Pin it into place.

installing zipper for fly front

Sew close to the left edge of the teeth, and sew another row close to the edge of the zipper tape to secure it the left fly extension only.

installing zipper for fly front

Your zipper is now sewn in! Round of applause. Turn your jeans over, and use the fly topstitching guide to trace a line on the front of your pants. Make sure the  bottom of this guide is at least 1/2″ below your zipper stop while still catching the fly extension below – I like to mark the location of the stop with a pin. Trace another line 1/4″ inside the one you just drew.

marking topstitching for fly front

With the front of the jeans facing you, topstitch along those guides, making sure your fly extension is laying flat. Sew slowly around the corners, watching the needle rather than the guide to make sure your line has a nice curve. Stop stitching at the center front seam, and backstitch a few times to secure.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-25

Almost there! Before we add our bar tacks to secure the zipper, we need to prepare the fly shield. Fold it wrong sides together and sew 5/8″ along the angled edge. Trim to 3/8″, snip the corner and press flat.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-26

If any little corner pieces are peeking out you can snip them too.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-28

Turn your jeans so the wrong side is facing you, and line up the folded edge of the fly shield to the finished edge of the left fly extension. Pin into place.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing fly front zipper-29

Depending on where you aligned your zipper tape, you may have to trim off the excess on the right fly extension. If you have a serger, sew the fly shield to the fly extension only, cutting off any excess as you go. If you’re using a regular machine, you can finish this edge with a zigzag or overlock stitch, or wrap it in some bias tape. Again, please ignore my horrible serging below. Damn serger timing!

how to secure serged stitch

If you’re serging, use a large darning needle to weave your thread tail back into your serged stitch so it doesn’t unravel on you later.

how to secure serged stitch

From the front of your jeans, mark where you’d like your bar tacks to go. I generally sew them just above the where the topstitching curves, and just below the zipper stop. If you have any wonky topstitiching on your curve, you can hide it with some bar tacks!

bar tacks at fly front

Practice some bar tacks until you get the tension and width right. You can use regular thread in your bobbin, but you may have to tweak the tension to get a nice even stitch. On my Bernina, I set my stitch length to .5 and my zig zag width to 1.5-2, which gives me a dense, strong bar tack. You basically want the same stitch you use for buttonholes here, so check your machine buttonhole function to get the right settings (thanks to Sallie for that tip!) When stitching, make sure your fly shield is lying flat – the bar tacks will help secure it in place.

fly front with bar tacks

fly front fly shield

Remove your basted stitching along the center front seam using a seam ripper to just above your topstitched lines.

fly front zipper

AND YOU’RE DONE!! I know there were a lot of photos in this post but I’m hoping it helped you figure this step out. It can be a little confusing at first but once you get a handle on it, it becomes second nature.

Now that our fronts are assembled, it’s time to get cracking on the back legs. See you in a few days!

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