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flattering back pockets jeans

I would like apologize right off the bat for the butt-apooloza you just got a ticket to. If there was a way we could talk about this without using my butt as an example, I would spare you, but al-ass. Butt stand-ins are hard to come by.

I think the power of a great pair of jeans is 50% back pockets. They can look great from the front, but if the pockets aren’t right, you’ll feel it every time you put them on. There are two main considerations, just like in real estate: location and size. The only people who can pull off small pockets are 12 year olds. The rest of us need something that is proportionate to our bodies. The Ginger pockets are about 1/2″ wider than average, which I think works well for most butts, but the perfect location for them will be a little different for everybody.

Earlier in the sewalong I instructed you to baste them to your back legs before topstitching. Now that we’ve got our waistband attached, we can properly do a butt assessment. If you have a large mirror and a hand mirror you can take a look and see how you feel about where they are now. You can also take a butt selfie (sharing it on instagram is optional).

I am going to share some butt selfies I took when I was in the research stage of this pattern to show you how much pocket placement matters. All in the name of science, folks.

flattering back pockets on jeans

Okay, so on the left we have a perfect case of “Mom butt”. This is a pair of Not Your Daughters Jeans and they are totally living up to their name. Pockets placed high like this make your bum look about twice as long as it actually is. If you have a flatter behind and have jeans that do this you should burn them in a fire. The pair on the right is MUCH better. The pockets are set much lower and wider. This creates the illusion of a smaller, curvier behind, but since I have a bit of a booty I think they are a little too widely set.

flatteirng back jean pockets

On the left we have what I consider to be almost perfect placement. The pockets are correctly spaced and angled in slightly giving a nice curve, but are perhaps 1/4″ too low (it is crazy how much of a difference a quarter of an inch makes!) On the right, the pockets are too small, too high and too far apart, giving the illusion of a much bigger, flatter bottom.

Here are some general things to keep in mind when deciding on pocket placement:

  • As a rule, the pocket should be centered on the fullest part of the bum.
  • Pockets that angle in create curves.
  • For wider bums, set pockets closer together.
  • For small bums, pockets can be set wider apart to create fullness.
  • Lower pockets are generally preferrable. Some people (small butts) can get away with setting the pocket below the crease of the bum, but in general your pocket should end around where your bum meets your leg.

With all that in mind, once you’ve figured out the perfect placement of the pockets on your Ginger Jeans, it’s time to topstitch them in place.

Starting from the inside corner, sew a line of topstitching 1/8″ away from the edge of the pocket. Use a hump jumper when you start, and backstitch twice at the beginning to secure. You can sew your second line of topstitching 1/4″ away from the first, but I like to curve the second line at the corners for a softer look. Whichever you choose, marking the stitch line with chalk makes it a little easier to follow.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - back pocket placement-2

If you’re not using rivets on your back pocket, you can also sew a little angled line at the top edge to reinforce the seam. You can see that on the left side of the pocket below.

topstitching pockets

And that’s it! I’ll be back tomorrow to talk belt loops and hemming.


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installing waistband

Today we’re installing the waistband on our Ginger Jeans. There are a number of ways to do this but after making a dozen or so pairs this is my favourite method for getting a clean, strong waistband.

Gather your waistband and it’s facing. Like we discussed earlier, the facing can be cut from your denim or a stable lining. It really just depends on the effect you want. For this example, I am using two layers of my stretch denim with no interfacing since I prefer a softer, stretchier waistband for the high waisted version of Ginger.

To start, sew your waistband and facing together against the shorter curved side. Sew a line of stay-stitching along the seam allowance of your facing, and press the seam allowance towards the facing.

waistband and facing waistband and facing

Press the seam allowance of the facing along your stay stitch line, and then fold your waistband along the top seam and press flat.

waistband & facingjeans waistband & facing

Pin the waistband to your jeans, matching the notches with your side seams and center front.

attaching jeans waistband

Sew the entire length of the band at your 5/8″ seam allowance. When you are starting and ending the waistband, use a basting stitch, but a medium stitch everywhere else. We need to make sure the waistband is meeting up evenly when the jeans are zipped, so a basting stitch makes it easier to remove stitches if necessary. You will be sewing over zipper tape; you may use pliers to remove the teeth on your zipper that extend past your seam, but I never bothered. I just sew really carefully over the teeth and have never broken a needle.

sewing jeans waistband

Fold your waistband flat and do the zipper up. You want the waistband on either side of the zipper to be perfectly even. If one side is a little wider, remove the basting stitches and adjust. Once you are sure the band is even, you can sew permanent stitches along each end. If your denim is quite thick or you want to remove bulk, grade the seam. Leaving the waistband alone, trim the top edge of the jeans to about 1/4″. Press the seams up and trim off the excess zipper tape.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing waistband-8

If you haven’t interfaced your waistband, you’ll want to add a few squares where your button and button hold will go. I mark the locations with a pin and then press interfacing to the waistband and facing on each side.

interfacing waistband

Flip your waistband inside out and pin closed at the fly, so that all of the seam allowances are facing you. Using a ruler, draw a straight line along the ends of the waistband to align with your fly; this is your sewing guide.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - installing waistband-17

Sew along this guide, trying to get as close as possible to the edge of your fly without actually sewing it. Trim your seam to about 3/8″, and cut off an angle along the top corner.

attaching jeans waistband

Turn inside out with a corner turner if you have one, and press the waistband flat.

sewing jeans waistband

The trickiest thing about sewing your waistband is getting an even, squared off line of topstitching around the finished corners. Use a marking tool if it will help you know where to stop sewing. From the outside, pin your waistband closed, making sure the folded edge of the facing is laying flat inside your jeans.

sewing jeans waistband

We are going to start sewing on the left side of the jeans just above the fly topstitching. The facing can be a little fiddly here so pin as necessary to make sure it lays flat. Start sewing about 1/8″ away from the edge and backstitch to secure. This part is highly visible so take your time.

topstitching waistband

Continue sewing all around the entire perimeter of the waistband about 1/8″ from the edge, making sure you are catching the facing with your stitching (I try to hold the facing in place with my fingers while I’m sewing). This is a great time to pull out your edge-stitch foot. Try to do this in one step since it’s really obvious when you start a new line of topstitching over an old one. When you get to a corner, keep your needle down, raise the presser foot, turn the fabric and continue sewing. At some point you will have the bulk of the fabric on the right side of the needle which is a little annoying. Stitch slowly at this point and try to keep your stitch straight. When you get to the very end, backstitch to secure.

topstitching waistband

topstitching jeans

Your waistband is now done!

I am going to cover topstitching your pockets in another post since I think back pocket placement is worthy of greater discussion. See you then!


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sewing side seams


Ginger Jeans Sewalong: Sewing side seams

We are getting close to the finish line; today we’ll be sewing our side seams. Can you taste the sweet, sweet victory?

In our last post we assembled our back legs and basted the pockets so everything should be ready to be joined together.

Starting at the inseam, pin the front legs to the back legs, wrong sides together. Make sure your topstitching is matching at the crotch junction, and then match the notches at the knees, pinning to the ankle. I like to start from the ankle and sew to the crotch for each side. If you’ve dropped the back saddle like I explained in my pants fitting post, you’ll need to ease in the back leg to the front between knee and crotch.

sewing jeans inseamsewing inseamsewing inseam

Finish the seam using your preferred finish. If you are zigzagging or serging, you will need to secure this seam down. Press the seam allowance to the front, and sew one line of 1/8″ topstitching along the entire length of the front legs.

topstitching inseam

Now sew your side seams, matching your notches. Finish the seam using your preferred finish. If you haven’t tested that the waistband fits, baste it on now before topstitching, just to make sure all is well.

sewing side seamssewing side seams

Once you’re confidant that the fit is good, press each side seam towards the back. To keep this seam in place, and to help strengthen your pockets, we need to topstitch one line of thread here like we did for the inseam. Using a marking tool, locate the bottom of the pocket lining and indicate how long you’d like your bar tack to be. You will sew a line of topstitching and then switch to your bar tack to secure the lining in the seam. Use your hump jumper or a piece of cardboard to stitch over the raised yoke seams.

topstitching side seams and adding bar tacktopstitching side seams and adding bar tacktopstitching side seams and adding bar tack

And that’s it for today – I was going to go over securing the back pockets but I think it makes more sense to do that once we’ve sewn the waistband and can properly assess the fit. See you Wednesday when we attach the waistband!


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