Like I said, I couldn’t decide on just one inspiration for this month’s Friends-themed Sew the Show! After all, there’s not much that says “90s” more than high-waisted light-wash jeans with a crop top, amiright?
Monica’s style improved significantly as the show went on into the 2000s, but when it first premiered in 1993, she was pretty much the epitome of 90s style. When I was rewatching those early seasons, I saw Monica wearing lots and lots of high-waisted pants with various types of t-shirts and cropped sweaters. She wore some dresses (there was a holiday episode where she wore this particularly gorgeous champagne-colored silk floor length gown, but I would have absolutely no use for something like that — bummer), but for the most part Monica was a separates girl.
Which was perfectly consistent with her character. Monica was the ultimate grown-up among all the Friends. She was independent, (usually) had a steady job, and had her own apartment. She was a neat freak who loved to cook and would flip out if someone put the sheets on the bed in the wrong order. Monica’s clothes in those early episodes were as no-nonsense as her personality. No cutting edge style here, like Rachel. No bohemian flair, like Phoebe. Just good ol’ get-the-job-done kind of clothes, just like Monica.
So for my Monica-inspired outfit, I decided to make some practical, no-nonsense pieces to add to my handmade everyday-wear wardrobe. But with that certain 90s flair — high-waisted light-wash jeans and a cropped sweater!
I actually made a different top to go with these jeans — a cute little cropped sweater. But when it came down it, I just couldn’t do it. Remember, Monica was 25 years old with no children and I’m … not.
Still, I’m really, really happy with both of the pieces I made and plan to wear them a lot, particularly with the upcoming Me-Made May!
The sweater that didn’t make the cut for this outfit is the Astoria sweater from the most recent edition of the Colette Seamwork online magazine. I will do a full post on the sweater later since I really do like it. For this outfit I decided to go with this woven Linden top since it is in a very 90s-inspired floral rayon! More details on this top later, because this post is all about those jeans!
The jeans are the wonderful Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns in View B. When I first bought this pattern (on the day it came out, as it happened), I fully planned to stick with the low-rise View A. I was convinced that I couldn’t pull off the high-waisted look without venturing completely into mom-jeans land, someplace I did NOT want to go. But then I kept seeing all of these amazing high-waisted versions around blogland (like these and these and these and these) and I started coming around to the high-waisted view.
When Friends was announced as the April Sew the Show theme, and then Girl Charlee started stocking this perfect light-wash stretch denim, I just had to give it a try.
And you know what? I L-O-V-E them!! These may be the comfiest jeans I have ever worn. The fit is perfect, they don’t pinch or pull anywhere, the leg is comfortably snug (I have skinny legs so it’s hard to find skinny jeans that are truly skinny in the calves for me), and I’m not in danger of flashing any of my backside!
As recommended in the pattern, I basted all of my pieces together to check fit before investing any time in sewing proper seams or topstitching. My basted jeans were a great fit so I actually made zero changes to the pattern for this pair.
After completely a pair, topstitching and all, I still love the fit on these and will make only very minor tweaks to my next pair (yes, I have several more planned 🙂 ). I would like just a tad more curve in the waist band, so I’ll probably pinch out a 1/2″ or so dart in the waistband and make the waistband just a tad shorter to pull the waist in to my curves.
I also plan to add pocket stays in my next high-waisted pair. Heather went over these in her Ginger Jeans sew along, and while I don’t think these jeans pooch out too much, the extra stability over a 3-baby belly would be appreciated.
I’m kind of a shorty, so I took about 2 inches of length off of these jeans, and I might take an additional 3/4″-1″ off my next pair. I like to have a little ankle bunching on my skinny jeans, but these might have just a tad too much.
Rather than the traditional gold topstitching, I decided to use two coordinating topstitching threads from my stash. The cream just looked really nice against this light-wash denim, so I used that for the bulk of my topstitching and used the gray here and there for some added interest. That’s the beauty of handmade jeans — I love being able to add little details like some contrast topstitching or pretty pockets and serger threads.
The zip fly on these jeans may be the best zip fly I’ve ever done! I’ve sewn several thus far — pants for J here and here, and two pairs of pants for Albert — but this was far and away the easiest and most professional-looking one of all! Heather’s instructions for the zip fly are so detailed and complete and the diagrams are probably the best I’ve used in any pattern.
Anyway, I could probably gush on and on about this pattern, but I’ll get down to the nitty-gritty and let the pictures do the rest of my talking. Bottom line is this: If you’re at all interested in making your own jeans, look no further. This pattern is worth every penny — the drafting is top-notch, the instructions are great, it includes lots of thoughtful little details and there’s a detailed sew along. I can’t think of anything else I’d ask for in a pattern!
Cost: $12.00 USD (a freakin’ steal in my opinion)
Fabric: Light-wash stretch denim from Girl Charlee
Techniques required: Pants fitting and alterations, sewing a zip fly, sewing curved seams, flat-felling, installing pockets, precise topstitching.
Similar patterns: Jalie 2908, Named Jamie Jeans.
Modifications: Took 2″ off the length.
Fit: Almost perfect. In my next pair (yes, there will be more!), I’ll take a small notch out of the waistband to make it more curved and shorten the waistband just a tad.
Pattern Format: PDF. This PDF is kind of a beast, I’m not gonna lie. There are a lot of pieces to jeans which makes for a big pattern page. There are lots of pieces of paper to tape together.
- Top-notch drafting. These are the best-fitting jeans I own.
- Great instructions that walk you step-by-step through jeans making.
- Lots of thought given to little details, which is of course what makes a pair of jeans great.
- High and low rise options included with the ability to make any kind of rise you want.
- Lots of thought given to back pocket size, shape and placement for maximum bootyliciousness.
- Skinny and stovepipe options
- Massive PDF files makes taping and cutting a real pain in the rear.
- Jeans can take a lot of fitting. Heather is her own fit model so patterns are drafted to fit her body shape. I happen to have a body shape similar to hers, so her patterns fit me like a freakin’ glove but those with a different body shape might require significantly more alteration.
Overall Grade: A. For most of us, jeans are our most heavily-worn piece of clothing yet the one we are least likely to make. I love that this pattern has demystified jeans making for me and given me the confidence to make as many pairs of handmade jeans as I can wear! I have one of the Ginger Jeans kits with some truly luscious Cone Mills denim to make a couple pairs of dark wash jeans. I also have some white stretch linen-cotton twill for a pair of summer-weight jeans, and I’m sorely tempted to make a pair of hot pink jeans as well! It might be a while before I’m done with this pattern 🙂