Jessamy's Golden Gingers
Posted on 30 October 2018
Hello Everyone! It’s Jessamy from JessamybMakes. Jess has asked me back on the blog today to share my experience sewing with the Micro Wale Stretch Corduroy from the shop. Those of you who know me will not be surprised that I picked the Mustard colorway to work with. I mean, how could I not? Without a doubt, I knew that I needed to have a pair Mustard Ginger Jeans, that from here on out I will call my Golden Gingers.
One of the first things I noticed about the stretch cord was how soft it is. It is a micro wale, meaning it has fine ribs and a slight nap, giving it a velvet-like texture. You will often see corduroy described with a number and wale, for example 16 Wale. The number refers to how many ribs per inch there are in the fabric. Thus, the higher the number, the finer the ribs.
This corduroy has about 20% stretch and is on the lighter side, weighing in at 6.5 oz per yard. In comparison, the ever popular Cone Mills S-Gene Denim in the shop is 11 oz per yard. I was a little surprised by how light and stretchy it was at first. I even considered sizing down one size, because I was worried the finished jeans would be too big/stretchy to stay up. In the end, I decided to go with my regular size and overall I’m pretty happy with that choice!
It is important to think about laying out your pattern pieces on the fabric before you cut. Corduroy has a nap to it, meaning there is a pile to the fabric. This means that the fabric will look slightly different when viewed from a different angle. Due to that difference, you want to cut out all your pattern pieces facing the same direction. You may not be able to follow the cutting layouts given in the pattern. With the Ginger Jeans pattern, the layout suggests alternating the direction of the pattern pieces in the layout. I had to adjust the pattern piece placement to make sure everything was cut properly and in the same direction. Luckily, I was able to nest all the pattern pieces facing in the same direction, but depending on what you are sewing and the size, you may need extra fabric.
SEWING AND CONSTRUCTION
I wasn’t exactly sure how the corduroy would play with my machines, so I decided to do some test stitching before I started constructing my Gingers. As a side note, I always do this before diving into a project. It’s good practice to make sure you are using the right needle, thread and tension settings before you get started!
I initially ran a folded edge through my machine to test the top stitching thread (swatch #1). I did not like how the initial test stitch went! My machine has a tendency to stretch fabric and I feel like I have to resort to my walking foot more frequently than I would like. I then switched to using my walking foot, to see if it would reduce how stretched out the fabric edge would be (swatch #2). In the last example I also interfaced the edge of the fabric, along with using the walking foot (swatch #3). For my machine, this gave me the best results. The Ginger Jeans pattern does call for interfacing on most edges that will be folded over and top stitched, so this last example is a true representation of how the fabric will look stitched up in the pattern.
I think if you can adjust the presser foot pressure (say that 10x fast!) you could skip the walking foot, but I am not able to do that on my machine. I did not feel the need to use my walking foot for the main construction of the jeans, but I did switch to it for all the top stitching.
The other thing I decided to do was sew up a pair of Gingers in the more typical 11oz denim side-by-side. This may have been a bit crazy, but it gave me a good feel for how the fabrics behave. The truth is, not that differently! I will say that my denim was slightly easier to navigate, as it wasn’t quite as stretchy as the cord. The only real difference was I did not need to use the walking foot to get smooth even top stitching as I did with the corduroy.
When sewing pants I always baste fit my pieces together to check fit. I feel this is always worth the extra effort, because once you start finishing seams and topstitching, it’s a lot more work to rip something out if it doesn’t fit properly. It took me about 15 minutes to baste fit the jeans together (waistband and all!). I found that the Golden Gingers fit very well, with no additional adjustments. The fabric is stretchy and soft enough that it is form fitting, without leaving a ton of drag lines. In contrast, the heavier denim was gathering around my knees. I needed to go back and let out the calf seams a bit to alleviate that issue.
I also used the Fly Front Jeans-Making Kit in Gold. I highly recommend getting the kit if you are sewing jeans. It has all the additional supplies you need, including a denim needle. I opted not to install rivets on these Golden Gingers, so now I have some extra for another project (because I can never get those rivets to go in smoothly on the first try!)
WASHING AND WEARING
I am so happy with how these turned out! I was slightly hesitant at first about choosing the right size, and how these would wash and wear, but I was nervous for no reason! They are my favorite new pants, and will be getting tons of wear this winter. We generally have fairly mild winters here, so I think these will be the perfect weight.
I have washed and worn these several times since finishing them. I always wash my handmade on delicate, toss them in the dryer for a few minutes to get the wrinkles out and fluff them up, then air dry the rest of the way. I really think this helps with the longevity of your handmades. I have found that they do tend to stretch out a bit by the end of the day. I’m still happy with my choice not to size down, but I do want to point this out in case that is something that bothers you. I can still wear them multiple times in between washings, which is my normal practice with pants.
I hope you enjoyed this long and wordy exploration into my Golden Gingers! I know that there is limited yardage of a few colors left in the shop, and hope you can snag some of this awesome stretch corduroy for yourself!