Ginger Jeans v. Birkin Flares

All right, so here’s the post that you’ve all been waiting for, right?  I’m on record with how much I love my Ginger Jeans.  But I’ve also been absolutely gushing over my Birkin Flares.  Most people aren’t going to make 5 pairs of jeans (with plans for more), so if you only need one jeans pattern — which one to get?

And of course I’m a lawyer, so in a very lawyerly fashion, my answer to that is: Well, it depends.

Creative Counselor: Birkin v. Ginger

Depends on WHAT, you might ask.  It depends on what YOU want out of a pair of jeans.  Do you like low rise or high rise?  Do you want lots of options or are you set on a single look?  Do you want a tighter fit in the hips to pull in a tummy and lift the buns, or would that drive you crazy?

Everyone’s body is different, as we all know, and jeans, more than any other category of garment, seem to attract the most vehement opinions.

SO, I can’t give you a blanket “buy this pattern, not that one.”  What I can do is give you a side-by-side comparison of the jeans that I’ve made from these two patterns and then my honest opinion as to which pattern I would recommend for different needs.

So here goes.  I’ve made both View A (high rise, skinny leg) and View B (low rise, straight leg) of the Gingers, and I’ve included photos of both.  Front view:

Creative Counselor: Birkins v Ginger

Left to right: Birkin Flares, Ginger View A, Ginger View B

Back view:

Creative Counselor: Birkins v Ginger

Left to right: Birkin Flares, Ginger View A, Ginger View B

Full view:

Creative Counselor: Birkins v Ginger

Left to right: Birkin Flares, Ginger View A, Ginger View B

Naturally, you can make your own judgment as to what you think looks best.  Here are my two cents:

  • The fly extends further down the front of the pants on the Gingers than it is on the Birkins.  I think that gives the front of the low rise Gingers the most pleasing look of the three, but I think the fly looks too long on the high rise Gingers.
  • I like the rise the best on the Birkins.  The high rise Gingers are too high for me, and while I like where the low rise Gingers hit, the waistband gets bent and crumpled because it hits right under where my waist bends.
  • The Birkins have 3″ of negative ease in the hip, which I LOVE.  I can comfortably wear a belt with them for the first time in my life and I have never once had to pull them up during the day.  The Gingers only have 1″ of negative ease, and I still have to pull them up periodically throughout the day.
  • The low rise Gingers give the illusion of shortening my bum, which is nice.  But the negative ease of the Birkins really frames and lifts my bum, which I like better.  The back view on those two (Birkins and Ginger View B) is close, but I prefer the Birkins.
  • The Birkins make me look tall.  And I’m not tall, at all.  That may just be because of the flare leg, and the Ginger now does come with a flare add-on, but I love how long my legs look in the Birkins.
  • This is something you can’t tell from the photos, but I really prefer the construction on the Birkins.  A lot of it is the same, but the waistband and fly methods are different, and IMO the Birkin method is superior.  And that pattern includes some additional little details that I prefer for the finished product.

In short, my preference goes: (1) Birkin flares; (2) Ginger View B; (3) Ginger View A.

And then the ultimate question, which pattern would I recommend for a particular need?  Well, I did a chart to answer that question for as many considerations as I could think of:

Creative Counselor: Ginger Jeans v. Birkin Flares

Which pattern best fits your needs?

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28 thoughts on “Ginger Jeans v. Birkin Flares

  1. TamsinW-P

    very useflul comparison, thank you! I have made the Gingers and was interested in the Birkins. I may make another pair of Gingers before I decide whether or not to get the Birkins as well.

    Reply
  2. Debbie Cook

    Very thoughtful (and fair) comparison. I agree the Birkins do more for your behind. 🙂 Some of that is the underlying pattern and some is the yoke/pocket placement (which is essentially still the pattern).

    One more thing for your chart … the Gingers cover a bigger size range. Not much, but one smaller and one bigger (measurements-wise) than the Birkins.

    Reply
  3. lisa g

    Thanks for the side by side look! Have you done a flat pattern comparison? I’m most curious about how the crotch curves differ from each other.

    Reply
  4. Kathy

    Excellent review as always. Do you have to be really careful when purchasing fabric for the Birkins so it has enough stretch so you can actually zip them up?

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      You definitely can’t use a 100% cotton denim — it needs to have some spandex. But so long as it has 2-3% spandex, it should be fine. Now each denim will behave a little differently, so the fit may not be exactly the same on each pair, but they should work. And denim will relax with wear so they’re meant to be a little too tight when you first put them on. As you wear them, they will stretch out.

      Reply
  5. Lodi

    I’m considering the jeans-making. Can you explain “negative ease”? (FYI, Both jeans look great on you! How to choose?)

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      Thank you! Negative ease means that the finished measurements of the garment are smaller than the wearer’s measurements. So when I say the Birkins have 3″ of negative ease, I mean that if my hip measurement is 38″, the finished hip on the jeans is 35″.

      Reply
  6. Kathryn

    This is such a brilliant review Katie, thank you! I’m hoping to make some trousers this year, and if that goes OK I’d love to try jeans too. All of yours look great by the way;

    Reply
  7. Ginger

    How are the waists in these jeans? With the 3 inch negative ease in the Birkin’s hips is the waist negative too? Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      I find the waist really comfortable once I’ve worn them for a bit and broken them in. It is quite tight when you first put them on, but denim relaxes a lot with wear and the waist stretches out to where it’s comfortable.

      Reply
  8. Sam B.

    Great… Now I need the Birken’s, too. Maybe after my capsule, though, jeans may be too complicated for a newbie like me.

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      Haha! Jeans aren’t complicated, but they do take time and precision. You can definitely do it, but getting a few more pieces, especially a few woven pieces, under your belt will help a lot with confidence before you tackle a bigger project like this!

      Reply
  9. Lori

    Great review. Was just wondering which you would choose if you had slim legs and a small bum but a baby belly and really really don’t want a muffin top. The Gingers seem to be more for a nice booty which I don’t have and am afraid the legs will be too large but the 3 inches negative ease in the Birkin’s makes me afraid that I’ll just have the same muffin top problem as I have with RTW. With that much negative ease the baby belly has to go somewhere and I’m afraid that will be up to my waist. Any advice?

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      I would actually go with the Birkins in that case, and here’s why. The rise is the main thing you need to think about with the baby belly. The rise on the Birkins is probably high enough to pull in a belly and really help minimize it. You should probably do a muslin in stretch denim, though, because you very well may need to do a full belly adjustment.

      Reply
      1. Lori

        Thanks so much Katie. The thought of all that negative ease just scares me is all. I measured the rise of a pair of my favourite high waisted RTW mom jeans and it is the same as the Gingers… But they are not the best at holding me in. I have some stretch denim off cuts that I spent a wack of time in the fabric store matching together to get enough yardage for jeans and they were inexpensive but for some reason they are valuable to me… Funny how are brains work isn’t it. They are designated for just what you are saying. It just seems like every pair of jeans is its’ own muslin and to make a pair that fit you need to buy twice the fabric for them – one for the muslin and one for the real deal. Full belly adjustment – I’ll need to look that up. Thanks so much again for replying as this is quite far back on your blog. I found it by accident looking for reviews of I can’t even remember which pattern it was you sewed now. But I have read back quite a ways through it and it is really a good source of reviews. Just got the Ginger pattern all printed out and but now I guess I’ll print the Birkins too. I may just make one of each. I have enough of that special denim to make two pairs. That way I can compare them the way you did yours. And it will only cost me about 10 buck a pair and my time. So I just need to to it already. Thanks again and have a lovely day. Off to stop my 20 month old’s photocopying of blank pages spree… He loves that he pushes a button and it does something, spits out the paper and then he takes it out and stacks it on top. At least the paper can be used again.

        Reply
        1. Katie Post author

          I made some high waisted Gingers and I didn’t find them to be very good at holding me in either. That’s where I like the hip and waist fit on the Birkins. Because of all the negative ease, they’re great and holding in my mom belly and the rise is high enough that it doesn’t give a muffin top. The low rise Gingers would definitely give you a muffin top, so no matter which ones you choose, do the high rise.

  10. Lori

    Thanks Katie,
    I was wondering if that might be the case. About the high waist eliminating the muffin top even with tight jeans. Maybe I will just try the Birkins first then. My high waisted pair that don’t hold me in so wonderfully are quite nice to wear around home though… Very comfortable so there is that too! haha Thanks for the response.

    Reply

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