Ginger Jeans Maternity Hack

Wow, it's been a while. Let's blow off the dust from this little blog and show you my latest project: maternity jeans!

Stitching on the back pockets is from Closet Case Patterns expansion pack

Seriously, I am not that serious.

Yes, I am currently 24 weeks pregnant with baby #3 (it's another boy!) and with that means the dreaded maternity jeans...

Ready to wear jeans always require a great deal of pulling up for me. My booty is flatter than average and so pants have a tendency to slide down as I move. Maternity jeans take this sliding down to def-con 90s thug levels of sagging. Seriously, I spend 90% of my time pulling my pants back up. It's annoying, to say the least.

When I saw that the Curvy Sewing Collective was hosting a Curvy Pants Month, I knew it was time to drag out my stash of denim and finally sew up a pair of Ginger Jeans, from Closet Case Patterns. These have been on my sewing list for years, but fear has kept me from jumping in. Completely gut a prom dress and turn it into something lovely? Sure, I'm game. Make a pair of pants? My mom always told me they were more trouble than they were worth.

I'm here to tell you that they are not!

Using View A from the pattern (the low-rise stove pipe version), I cut out a size 16. I don't really remember what my pre-pregnancy measurements were...this pregnancy caught me a bit off guard and I had fluctuated quite a bit up to becoming pregnant. So I guessed. For my little bottom, I did a 1/2" flat bum adjustment and added 2" to the length for my long legs.

To turn the Ginger into a maternity jean, I left off the waistband and sewed the front fly down flat. For the belly panel, I used an old belly band and sewed it in place of the waist band. I carry my babies pretty deep and high, so I didn't need to swoop the front panel down at all. Easy shmeezy.

Also, because I am cheap, frugal and lazy, I didn't add any hardware to these jeans. Maybe I'll add on rivets at a later point, but for now, I just bar tacked where the rivets would be.

Cutting and sewing these jeans up wasn't hard, but I was patient and took my time - Heather's instructions and sew-a-long are very clear and thorough. I tested all my stitches on scrap fabric before I sewed the actual pieces, which saved a lot of seam ripping. A lot, but not all. After basting the legs together, I realized the tension was off on my top stitching, making it pull and wave. I found that pulling the bobbin thread through the eye of the bobbin case (like you would for a button hole) solved the issue nicely. If I can avoid messing with the tension screw on my bobbin case, I will!

More photos of the process @madeinspareoom

When I tried them on the first time, the result was comical. Those stove pipe legs were more like chimney stacks! Either my fabric had more stretch than I thought (my test at home was 30%) or my legs are thinner than I guessed. The hip and upper thigh fit well, so I grabbed the seam ripper and took the legs apart.

After deliberating for a few days, I decided to take the longer route in altering the pant legs. I wasn't 100% confident that I could mark the adjustments on my own, while wearing the pants, or that I could accurately tell the hubs how to pin the legs. Preggo brain is real, guys. So, I decided to lay the View B (mid rise skinny leg version) pattern on top of my cut out legs and cut out the narrower size 14. This worked out beautifully! I still needed a little more taken out of the leg, but it wasn't very much. Maybe a 1/4".

For the belly panel, I used an old belly band. Now that I've worn the jeans twice, I realize that using a 10 year old panel wasn't the smartest move. It's already started to tear in a few places. Luckily, buying a stretchy knit or another belly band and replacing the old one is an easy fix.

Glasses: BonLook
Earrings: Valentine's gift from the Hubby

Shoes: Betsey Johnson, purchased for $10 at Ross

Sweater: Liz Lange for Target...not sure how old, as it was a hand me down.

Check out that well fitting bum!!

For a wearable muslin, I'd say these jeans turned out fabulously. I wore them Saturday night and most of today, with very little readjusting. Even with crawling around and bending down at the library! A pair of well fitting jeans sure feels makes you feel like a million bucks. Especially if you don't have to do the pull-your-pants up dance every two minutes. Maybe I'll be more lady like in public now...

The only alteration I will make to the next pair is to do a knock knee adjustment, as those knee wrinkles are a bit annoying. Other than that, these jeans are AHHHmazing!

**I was not paid nor compensated for this review. Both pattern and fabric were purchased from my own account. All opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

Appleton Dress by Cashmerette Patterns

**Disclaimer: this post is over a year old and these are all subpar mobile phone pictures.

A few months ago, I took the plunge and purchased an Appleton Dress kit (pattern + fabric) from Cashmerette Patterns. I've had my eye on the Appleton since it's release, but couldn't bring myself to spend the money on it. What can I say? I'm cheap. 

I am so happy that I bought the kit. The fabric is to die for and this is the first pattern I've used that didn't need major alterations. It was even easy to make using just a regular sewing machine. Jenny at Cashmerette has put a lot of hard work into her patterns and it shows.

Picture Day Dress

I made my first oliver + s Fairytale dress for E's 2nd grade pictures. I've made three since, so you could say it's a favorite. The pattern actually sat in my queue for almost a year before I finally splurged on just the right fabric. Which was Cotton+ Steel Mustangs, purchased from I hesitated to buy it because it's a) quilting cotton and b) expensive. My general inclination is not to use quilting cotton for clothing, as it's heavier and more stiff than say, a cotton gauze or lawn. For kid's clothes, though, one can get away with using quilting cotton. Which is fantastic, given all the lovely choices these days. Oy. Remember the days of only being able to find hideous quilting cotton at JoAnn? Anyways, Miss E adored the fabric and I'm glad I indulged her. Those Cotton + Steel folks make one high quality product.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I made a straight up size 7 and it was wide on her slender frame. There were a few instructions that I found time consuming (like hand stitching the lining to the zipper. You better believe I used my machine.), but overall, it's a fantastic pattern. Just size down and add length if you have a string bean.
She hates her modeling, sadly.

Client work: 2 Going Away Dresses

Last May, a sweet Brazilian needed a Going Away Dress for her wedding. The bride had an idea of what silhouette she wanted, but as a tall, long legged girl, she couldn't find any RTW dresses in a sensible length. Her mother-in-law is a dear friend, so I offered to make her a dress.

After they sent me these inspiration photos, I went on the hunt for a pattern with similar lines.  Simplicity 1873 was very close and the client loved it. (side note: Cynthia Rowley patterns are fantastic) After wandering around JoAnn, we decided to make two dresses using view A. One out of a cotton twill and another out of a sateen. 

First, I made the cotton twill, using the pattern with no alterations. This turned out to be a beautiful dress - the twill made lovely, crisp pleats and hung like a dream. Unfortunately, I only have shoddy smart phone shots of it. I rushed to finish the first dress in time for the wedding, then took my time with the second. Oh well.

Of course, the navy sateen gave me a giant head ache. It did not want to press at all. So, I ditched all the pleats from the pattern and gathered the waist and arm seams instead. Which actually turned out to be lovely. I photographed the dress and sent it to the client, only to find out that it was too short! We had purchased the remaining yards on the bolt, so I couldn't just add on or redo the skirt, and the dark black navy was impossible to match. In the end, I added 4" bais tape hem out of white sateen. Not my first choice, but it worked. (I took pictures before adding the length to the hem.)

4th of July: What Geth Wore

 Each year I dither for weeks about keeping up with my crazy tradition of sewing 4th of July outfits. And each year I find myself burning the midnight oil the night before. I have a hard time giving it up, even though the kids get filthy the second I put my creations on them. Maybe I'll give it up next year... Yeah, right.

Fourth of July Outfits

For Geth, I made an oliver + s Sketchbook shirt and a pair of Mini Hudson pants. For the button down, I chose a nautical chambray I found at Hobby Lobby a while ago. It's been waiting in the stash to become either shorts or a shirt. JoAnn had some lovely red ponte knit (it's soooo soft) that I bought specifically for these mini Hudson pants.

front view

I've made two pairs of Mini Hudson pants now and I love them. My loathing of sweatpants runs deep (really, they are such a cop out piece of clothing), but these are stylish and comfy. Win, win. Geth loves them, too.
pocket detail and tag

back view

During July's KCW, I made a muslin of the Sketchbook shirt, as I've found oliver + s patterns to be more generous in the ease than I like for my lean little man. This ended up being true for this pattern as well. I graded between a size 18 - 24 m width and a 4T length.
oliver + s Sketchbook shirt

front view

The Sketchbook's collar is in one piece, which looked unfinished and more feminine to me.  For a shirt that I spent so much time on, I wanted it to look as professional as I could, not just half done. So, I added a collar stand, using the option B mandarin collar and redrafting the view A collar to accommodate the stand. Now the collar folds perfectly and looks less homemade. (I'm rather picky about that.)

collar detail

collar stand detail
collar stand back detail

Other than reducing the width ease and adding the collar stand, I didn't stray from the pattern. oliver + s patterns might seem expensive, but they really are worth the extra money. (I've purchased mine during sales) Everything I've made from their line ends up looking lovely. Not to mention that they are beautiful - their designers did a fabulous job doing the technical writing and illustrations.

back view

back detail
I foresee many more modified Sketchbook shirts in Geth's future - it's so nice to have a dress shirt that doesn't appear to be swallowing him whole!