Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

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Several pairs of my me-made jeans are ready for retirement, so I finally found the courage to sew up some of my Cone Mills Denim!

I ordered it from Threadbare fabrics, where it is $15-16USD/yard, which is a very reasonable price… until you have to buy it in Canadian dollars and have it shipped here! In the end. even with a 15% sale, it cost (OMG!) $140 for 5m, aka. $70/pair of jeans. I’m gagging just thinking about it. These bloody jeans better last forever! All I can say in my defence is that I’ve consistently regretted not buying the Closet Case Files kits when they are released, so I just went for it.

front back Collage

The good news is that before these pictures, I’d worn these jeans already for 3 days. Yes, they are a bit looser then when they came off the machine, but nowhere near as baggy as my other jeans would now be! I was aiming for a slim, sleek, but not skin-tight fit, and I think with a few adjustments, they’ll be even better. A slightly shorter hem will help with some of the horizontal wrinkling, and a wedge out of the back would help them stay in place better.

Speaking of fit… care to help me diagnose these wrinkles?

back Collage

I know it’s a bit hard to see… but in addition to the “I need room to sit” wrinkles in the upper back thigh, I end up with wrinkling along the outer edge, and quite a bit of wrinkling at my knees. Do I need a bigger knock-knee adjustment? More room in the inner back thigh? I”m open to suggestions!

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I finally tried a pocket stay on tis pair, and I’m totally sold! I’d always worried that it would feel too tight, or pull the back fit out of shape, but turns out quilting cotton has enough natural give to beΒ comfortable but offer a bit of control. I also printed out the larger pockets Heather Lou offers for free. How many versions of this pattern did it take me to make those adjustments? Too many!

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I borrowed this scarf of my mom’s 3 years ago, and never gave it back. Sorry, Mom! I wear it a lot though – it’s one of the rare brown items in my wardrobe, along with this Jalie raglan I refashioned from two RTW tops.

You’ll notice I took a break from taking pics inside: driving to the park seemed faster than cleaning up my photo area at home! It was only -5, so consider it my show of solidarity with Americans dealing with the big blizzard.

So, were these jeansΒ worth $70? Only time will tell! I’ll wash them tomorrow and see how they do – I guess I’d better decide now if I’ll be hanging them to dry or chucking them in the dryer with everything else!

How much would you pay for RTW jeans? And how much would you pay to make them yourself?Β 


60 thoughts on “Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

  1. You might want to try a Pinterest search of ‘how to remove back leg wrinkles’ to see some possible adjustments for the wrinkles on your new jeans. But, on the whole, they look great on you.

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  2. I had to scrape my windshield (with a library card since I have no real scraper) this morning. Does that count as solidarity with your -5? hee hee hee …

    Anyway … your jeans look great! I love pocket stays and miss them in pants that I haven’t made.

    I can’t really read fitting wrinkles in your pics since you’re at an angle and there isn’t enough contrast for my not-20 eyes. If you’d like to send more straight-on pics, I’d be happy to look at them though.

    I recently paid around $50 (which is about $300 Canadian, right?) for a pair of black RTW jeans. They fit great and I’m so behind on my sewing that I knew I wouldn’t make jeans anytime soon so I gave myself permission.

    Stay warm in that white stuff!

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    1. I caved and bought a bunch of RTW cheap (like $5-15 on sale) pants two years back, and it took serious adjustments to make them bearable to wear! Hardly seams worth it, when I’d rather pull on me-made jeans any day. But you are right – when time is tight, it’s better to have RTW pants than NO pants!πŸ˜›

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  3. Great jeans! It’s great to get a reminder about that Cone Mills source, because I have regretted not going for the denim kit too. I once spent $120 on some J-Brand jeans but would definitely not do that now that I know how to sew them.

    I get a fairly similar back leg wrinkle situation, and noticed that if I yank up the waistband in the back middle they seem to go away. I have been thinking that I might need to do a low-butt adjustment, but have not been sure how to — I’ve read scoop out the back crotch and also to make it more L-shaped, I think.

    I love your blog and don’t often comment– thanks for all your energy and generosity!

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    1. Aw, thanks Bryony! What a lovely compliment. I’ll try pulling up my centre back and see if that fixes the wrinkles for me, too!

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  4. I laove your jeans. They look really nice. I’m not sure on the wrinkles though. My first guess would be either the knock knee adjusment or more room at the inner upper thigh. I have paid 80.00 for a pair of jeans- more than once. now that I’ve got the gumption to sew my own- I doubt I ever will again. I’m about to embark on making the ginger jeans with the flares soon.

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    1. OOoh, the Ginger flares are going to be so good! I can’t quite get my head ready for flares yet, but I feel sure that in less than I year I’ll be making some too! I’m always a little slow to get on board with trends, but then I love them, just a bit late!πŸ˜‰

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  5. Seeing you wearing the shawl/scarf was a nice surprise! It was part of a set: gathered print skirt and long cream peasant-style pullover shirt, plus the shawl. I never wore the entire combo together, as it was pretty overwhelming on my short frame! The fabric is a fine wool. Enjoy!

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    1. I’m so glad you kept the scarf, even though I’m assuming you don’t have the set any more? I really love the colours in this scarf – let me know i you ever want it back! Do you remember when I borrowed it? It was for my pioneer costume at Island Lake, and that day I had to drive across town in 15 min after school to interview at Parkinson… and I got the job, so now it seems like a lucky artcile of clothing!❀

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  6. Gillian your jeans are great! I haven’t ventured into a pair yet myself but I have the pattern and instruction book sitting on my bookcase just waiting…You’ve inspired me! Yours are a great fitπŸ™‚ I am in Victoria BC and I know what you mean about ordering fabric from the US now — yikes with shipping and possibly customs charges the costs are getting prohibitive. I hate to think what’s going to happen the fabric costs in our own stores once their stocks have run low. Good time to be thinking about what you’re planning to make this year!

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  7. YIKES! Our Canadian dollar is brutal right now! I’ve always had good luck buying ready to wear jeans at the thrift store, so I don’t think I’ve paid over $10.00 for a pair in like forever. My handmade Gingers have always cost me more than buying them RTW. BUT! I get a more personalized version of jeans when I sew them myself, and that…as the commercial goes…is priceless.

    For me, sewing is a hobby and isn’t hobby just another word for money pit? At the end of the day, it’s about loving not only your jeans, but the process of making them, which my friend, includes the giddiness that comes with Mr. Brown dropping off a parcel with your name on it!

    Have an awesome day Gillian!

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    1. I love your logic! A hobby IS just a money pit… and at least I get to wear my hobby and therefore make it useful! My husband’s boxes of comic books, not so much!πŸ˜›

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  8. Your jeans look fantastic, Gillian!! I love that both you and Katie/What Katie Sews have posted super cute pull on Gingers this week! I’m so glad you decided to cut into some of the Cone Mills denim… I really love that you can wear it over and over again without washing! In the past, I’ve made my Cone Mills pairs (I’ve made 3) a bit tighter than when using other denim – just because they do relax a bit, but then stay put. I get some similar wrinkles below my bum when my waistband isn’t tight enough – so maybe tightening up the back waist a little on your next pair could help with that. I also usually use a larger seam allowance for my knees to tighten them up and avoid wrinkles, but I have more problems on the front/sides than the back.

    Not sure if any of that helps – but I think this pair looks great! And I used to regularly pay $90 for RTW jeans that never fit as well as my Gingers do!

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    1. Great suggestions! My back waistband is definitely loose in this pair, so I’ll see if I can easily snug it up… and I’ll try basting the knees a bit narrower and see if that helps!

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  9. Holy cannoli, 70 bucks for fabric for a pair of jeans! I’m crossing my fingers that they’re worth it! I think I used to spend about 35-50€ per jeans (buying at H&M or something like Esprit when it was on sale) back when I used to buy them RTW, and I guess when I’m sewing I expect to pay less for the fabric at least. On the other hand, if the fabric is such a high quality that you can expect the jeans to last more than a year or two (or whatever the shelf life of your usual denim is), I guess it’s worth the price!

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    1. The jeans i’ve been making with cheap denim only last a year or less, so I’m going to treat these more carefully and hope they stay nice!

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  10. Nicely done! I’ve noticed lately that the few fit issues you mentioned seem to come up in a lot of blog posts – a wedge out of the back, under butt wrinkles, and some weird fabric at the knee – I have these problems too! I’m going to try to lower the back crotch curve, which shortens the amount of fabric in the back, and also tweak the yokes for that wedge.

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    1. Those tweaks sound good! To be honest, I think we are (as a community) way too harsh on our me-made pants – I know that I get the exact same wrinkles on RTW jeans, so while I’m interesting in improving them, I’m not too stressed!πŸ˜‰

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  11. You definitely sewed yourself a really nice pair of jeans!! I hope they are worth what you paid for them as well. For myself, I don’t think I have ever paid that much on RTW jeans. In fact, the ones I buy now are $19.95 from Walmart!! So, I could definitely pay twice as much for a pair I sew for myself, but couldn’t justify much more.

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    1. I’ve got a $20 pair of jeans from Walmart… and if the damn things would stay up, they’d be a bargain! Even with a belt, they quickly slide down to hang under my belly and it is sooooo not flattering. I think if I could find cheap jeans I liked, i’d buy them, but repeated experiments have rarely gone well!πŸ˜‰

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  12. I have never worn a pair of jeans but am a firm believer that you get what you pay for with fabric* so these ones should be keepers. I think that they look great on. I have no idea of why you are getting wrinkles there as I don’t make trousers but maybe they have the wrong shaped crotch curve (???). Fitting trousers just seems too hard. Bloody hell, I thought that you would be getting the -squillion degrees C temperatures. It has been hovering in the low minuses here too. Maybe the US is sucking up all the cold?πŸ™‚ Xx

    (*unless it is on sale/vintage/thrifted)

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    1. Wait, you never wear jeans? Ever? Is it a fashion thing, or because it’s hard to find the right fit?
      The big storm didn’t affect us up here – we’ve just had normal winter weather! Some pretty bad driving this week, but not enough to close anything! It helps that (like Scotland, i’d imagine) we actually have enough snowplows to keep roads open.

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  13. I bought a pair of RTW jeans last year made from Cone Mills denim and they’ve only stretched a slight amount. I’ve only washed them once (kinda gross but true), when I first got them, and there’s no sagging. They were spendy – $200ish pricetag before a coupon – but they’re the only solid black jeans I intend to make or buy, and I plan on them lasting some years and the fit is perfect. I think I’m more willing to spend money on a workhorse garment now that I sew! Although I think I’d be rankled if the price was mostly due to the exchange rate. Anyway, long story short, I’m interested in Cone Mills fabric! Which one did you end up buying from Threadbare? I’d like to make another pair of indigo jeans with some fit improvements, so I’d love to hear what you thought of the fabric weight you got. Btw, the less you wash and especially dry, the longer your garments will live!

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    1. Only washed them once? Do you do the freezer thing? I must be messy because after a few wears i end up sitting in something or dropping something on pants, so I chuck them in the wash. I am going to be good and hang these to try though!πŸ™‚

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  14. OK – 70 bucks for one handmade garment is not your regular MO – but if you wear them a lot (and I suspect you will), they’ll be cheaper than any RTW pair you might have found. And you made them, which means you get to brag too – which is worth at least 50 bucks over the lifespan of the jeans.

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    1. Bragging rights are important!πŸ˜› Plus, it’s a little experiment into buying good quality fabrics… it’s the kind of thing I always admire other people (like you!) for doing, but I tend to go for a bargain myself!

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  15. Oh, and I forgot to say that the tanked Cdn dollar is starting to get very old. I don’t buy from the US anymore. I rarely buy from the UK. Spending 2-3 times as much as I used to makes it all very unappealing. Fortunately I have my all-Canadian reno to spend my money onπŸ™‚

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  16. Gillian, now that our dollar is worse than yours (.65c to 1USD) I have to agree with you that buying from the US is verrry expensive! Postage alone means I cancel everything I virtually buy.
    But here in the land of Oz, clothing has always been pricey. Jeans can cost over $200 without a lot of effort. Luckily I did buy some of that cone mills stuff from Heather when she had the sale on. Time to stop fondling it and just put it to use!

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  17. Only -5? I wouldn’t have even left the house if I could help it, let alone take outdoor photos! The jeans look great overall, and thanks for the denim source. I keep hearing great things about cone milled denim. I think the most I’ve ever paid for jeans is about $35, because I’m honestly cheap when it comes to RTW. I’m certain the last two pairs were around $25-30, and I still felt bad about how much I was spending on them. But since I’ve mostly been rotating between these same two pairs around 4-5 times a week since October or so, it was money well spent. (In other news, jeans are definitely on my list of things to make before the fall.)

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    1. Haha – yup, probably time for yo to buy a third pair of jeans to add to the rotation! I figure it’s like bras – the more you have, the longer they last!πŸ˜‰

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  18. Fantastic looking jeans and I it is a bit hard to see the wrinkles you are talking about, but seriously they will be a much better fit than any RTW.

    Sewniptuck is so right for us here in OZ and $70 US for jeans is very good even with our conversion rate. I also got the Cone Denim kit from Heather just about to wash it for my next pair or two.

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  19. Nice jeans! The denim looks fab-u, so hopefully it holds up well in the wash.

    I must admit, that I don’t wear jeans and don’t much like them anymore! I used to wear jeans all the time, but at my size they were often mens’ jeans — and then I’d get mistaken for a man. So, no jeans for me. But when I did buy jeans, I never spent more than $20-$25 per pair. What can I say, I was cheap!πŸ™‚

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    1. I wonder if you’d like a jeans more if you had a well-fitting handmade pair? Plus stretch fabrics make jeans sooo much more comfortable, and I’m guessing the men’s jeans you used to buy didn’t have much stretch!

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  20. Your photos and writing are wonderful. Your jeans look super with that scarf and with your smile. Thank you for sharing your process. I have never spent 70 or 50 dollars for jeans. I think your pattern will get perfected to eliminate wrinkles. In the mean time wear that smile with them and no one will notice the wrinkle in the back of your jeans. Barbara in Saint Louis

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    1. Thanks Barbara! I figure no one judges my jean wrinkles as much as I do… it’s just a compulsive habit to tweak the fit a bit each time I sew up the pattern!πŸ˜‰

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  21. I know I wrote to you earlier today. Just now noticing something about the wrinkles in the front crotch area. I think those just happen when you sit in any pants. Maybe there is something to do about that but I can not guess what that would be. Also, probably it would be good if you keep that scarf. I love it on you. Barbara in Saint Louis

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  22. I buy $20 Levis from walmart, and they actually fit pretty decent. I wear jeans out quickly (thanks fat thighs! :-/) so I would never spend more than that, whether I made them or bought them. I’m no help on your fitting woes, but it looks like you have quite a bit of advice to get you started. Good luck!

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      1. It’s crazy how that can happen, LOL. Mine are the “signature” or something like that, but I get that they wouldn’t work for everyone. I did end up buying something crazy like a size 10 (I’m only that skinny in my dreams! Ha!) so you might try sizing down more. They’re way better than the old navy jeans that were 3 sizes too big before lunch!πŸ˜‰

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  23. Hi! Not sure if these are any help to you but I’ve documented my fitting struggles with making Ginger Jeans. This all comes from total inexperience in pants fitting, but to remove the back/side wrinkles I was getting, I removed a horizontal wedge from the upper back thigh so that the outer seam from hip to knee was shorter and therefore the back had to be eased into the front. Then I scooped out the crotch curve more.

    https://themonthlystitch.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/gingers-of-a-thousand-muslins/

    https://themonthlystitch.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/ginger-journey-the-ending-and-beginning/

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    1. Thanks Helen! I actually dropped my back crotch curve on this pair so I’d have to ease the back to the front as you describe… but I hadn’t thought of doing the same on the outside edge as well. I’ll take a look at your posts! Thanks!

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  24. They might not be quite perfect but you still have a great pair of jeans! And I think you’ll find using a quality denim will ultimately be worth it. In the past I wouldn’t blink at spending $100+ for a good pair of jeans – partly because I wear them all the time and want them to last and sadly those always seemed to fit me better than cheaper pairs. Recently a favorite pair started to develop a hole in the knee but after 10+ years that’s to be expected. But I live that perfectly broken in & molded to my body feel. Jeans are on my to do list this year. I’m excited about the ginger flares and finally having a pair that actually flares where they’re supposed to. I’m short so a regular length starts too low below the knee but am just tall enough that a short length is too short & I end up with flare high waters. Just another example of sewing coming to the rescue!

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    1. Hahaha – I have the same problem with being short! Except for me, the rise is the issue… if I buy regular length pants, the rise is good but the legs are shaped wrong and too long; if I buy petite the legs are good but the rise is too short!

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  25. Your jeans look great, Gillian! I had pretty similar issues when fitting my Gingers (no surprise since our body types are pretty similar). Initially I thought I needed to add more width to get rid of places with the wrinkles and tried a full calf adjustment, but that ended up making my knee-wrinkles even worse. Then I realized, they weren’t really JUST wrinkles; they were bunches of excess fabric that showed up as wrinkles. So on my most recent pair, I tried the exact opposite approach. I took a larger seam allowance (mostly out of the back thigh), making the jeans tighter, and the wrinkles pretty much went away! I also ended up taking a huge wedge out of the back yoke and waistband.

    Basically what I did was baste the jeans together at the beginning as instructed, then I put them on inside out and just pinned the jeans out until they fit well and the wrinkles went away. I marked the new seamlines with a Frixion pen, then took the jeans apart and trimmed all the pieces down to the new size (before you trim, make sure to add the seam allowance back in after drawing in your new seamlines!). I also laid my traced pieces over my new cut-out denim to transfer the adjustments. Hope that helps!

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    1. Oooh, interesting! I definitely need to take width out of the yoke, and I’ll play around with narrowing the back leg as well! Thanks, Nicole!

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  26. Beautiful jeans. I can relate to the cost of buying fabric from the states. Yeesh!

    I’ve always had a tough time finding jeans that fit me, so since I was a teenager I’ve become accustomed to spending at least $150 on jeans, but wear them until the holes no longer are on trend. I bought a beautiful denim from Girl Charlee about a year or so ago (that I am saving until I work up the nerve) that I spent about $35 on for one pair. For my first jeans I am comfortable with that.

    I feel I’d be willing to spend up to $100 on materials for a pair I’ll make AFTER I’ve made a few pairs, ironed out all the issues and was able to make my dream pair that will last forever. Hopefully I can reach that point one day.

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    1. Practice makes perfect! (Or not – this is my… I don’t know, 7th pair of Gingers?) Jump in and start making those jeans!πŸ™‚

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  27. I love how genuinely happy you look in blog posts – nice work being happy. And damn skippy you should be proud: those jeans are awesome! I love the color too. Denim can be so tricky in color.

    I hang dry all my jeans now – and have been for some time. I am loving the results. I think it makes a big difference because most of my RTW’s have some stretch in them.

    MaLora

    >

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  28. I used to spend way more than $70 on jeans searching for the perfect fit, and never found it, so I think $70 is a great deal for a custom made pair. The dollar is sucking so hard now though, it’s brutal!! Personally, though, I think Cone Mills Denim is the bomb!
    I think your jeans are great and I hope you wear them a ton! I think Nicole’s tips are spot on. The best way to solve fit issues is when you have the garment on. I hope that all helps so that your next pair can be perfect!

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    1. I saw that The Workroom in Toronto was selling some Cone Mills when heather Lou was doing a jeans workshop there – I’m going to keep my eyes open for them to get more stock!

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