My First Memade Pair of Pants for Myself - Jeans from ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual’

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First off, I have to admit something.

I like to hoard sewing and knitting books.

 Well, ok. I don’t think that my hoarding has ever seriously gotten out of hand since I’ve mostly been able to fit my books on book shelves instead of having random piles of books here and there. And I have been able to let go of books that I haven’t seen myself ever using. Below you can see all my sewing pattern books - perhaps I’m not such a terrible hoarder after all. But bear in mind that on top of these I have my kntting pattern books and some technique books on knitting and sewing.

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But what’s problematic about the knitting and sewing books piling up on the shelves is that I’ve never made any of the projects that are between the covers. Sure, I’ve fantasized about making the garments, but I’ve never really committed myself to actually making them.

Why? Perhaps I won’t go into too much detail here, but one reason is that I don’t exactly enjoy sewing when I have my family home.  It’s partly because I feel guilty for not spending that time with them and partly because I need some privacy to be able to concentrate on the task at hand. Can you relate?

This is different with knitting, though. I do knit in the presence of my family, but not for long periods of time. But knitting is something I can handle with other people being around me. It’s also probably the logistics related to sewing why I need alone time to work on a sewing project. Our apartment isn’t huge, so I usually have my sewing machine in the bedroom and my overlocker on the kitchen table, while the ironing board stands in the hallway. The fabric and pattern cutting happens on the living room floor. Basically, I take over the whole apartment when I sew.

Ok, I was here to write about the new, and my first ever pair of pants for myself, but as I started writing I suddenly realized that, at the same time, it was probably also my first ever make from the sewing books I’ve accumulated. Yay!

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So, these are the jeans from the book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I started tracing the pattern towards the end of the Christmas week when I was starting to feel better after a terrible cold and I finished these in two days. I probably could have made these in less time than I did but the zipper at the back was giving me a hard time. I did manage to get it in the first time, but I was not happy the way the stitching looked, it did a slight curve along one side of the zipper. I have always hated or, more accurately, been afraid of zippers. That, and I’m also quite a perfectionist when it comes to straight lines of stitching.

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Anyway, I can’t even remember how many times I inserted the zipper (too many), but it’s in and, no, the stitching still is not even. But I’m not willing to let it overshadow the fact that I’m extremely proud of these jeans! As I already mentioned, it’s my first pair of pants for myself and also my first pair of proper pants with a zipper opening and not stretchy pants with an elasticated waist!

The fabric I used is medium-weight stretch denim as called for in the pattern. The color is really dark blue and, therefore, it’s quite difficult to see the details properly in the photos even after heavy editing. However, I hope you can get an idea on the fit. I try my best to improve my photography and editing skills for future posts.

I have known that the sizing of Gertie’s patterns favor a curvy figure. Therefore, looking at these jeans now, I can’t believe I have never tried any of her patterns earlier. I didn’t make any major alterations to the pattern (other than lengthening the legs) and that resulted in a very good fit. There are a few horizontal lines at the front in the crotch area, but other than that the fit couldn’t be any better. If I wanted to eliminate those horizontal creases on a future pair, I would need to widen the curve of the front leg piece.

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The only alteration I made was to add 2.5 cm (1”) to the length, and I think with that minor alteration, the leg openings hit me in the right spot. The only trouble with the legs during wintertime is that they aren’t particularly skinny, so it does look a bit funny when I tuck them inside my winter boots. I think these jeans would look perfect paired with winter boots with some heel and with the leg over the boot, but heels just aren’t the most practical in the winter, at least not for my lifestyle and daily activities. On the other hand, the slightly wider legs mean that I can better fit a pair of merino wool thermal pants underneath. However, I think I could still make the legs a bit narrower next time.

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As for following the instructions, I omitted top stitching on the pocket opening and around the pocket facing. I reinforced the crotch area with a second line of stitching even though the instructions didn’t ask to do this. And I also interfaced the seam allowances at the back for the zipper.

With the jeans being a variation of the main pant pattern in the book, the Cigarette Pants, and with the instructions on different techniques, such as inserting a zipper, being part of a different section in the book,  the book has you flip through several pages and several sections if you need to refer to every piece of the instructions to complete the project. With that said, I also understand that this is a very logical thing to do with so many patterns and their variations included in the book. The book would be a mammoth if the instructions were written in full length for each pattern and variation.

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Just to reiterate, I love my new jeans!


Do you collect sewing and knitting books, and do you make the projects in them? Have you sewn your first pair of pants/trousers yet and have you sewn these exact same Gertie jeans? Do comment, I’d love to hear from you and discuss all things pants! 😄