Megan Neilsen Dawn Jeans

A summery version in light blue rigid denim

After making more Closet Case Patterns Gingers jeans than I can count on one hand, I felt like it was time to branch out my jeans making repertoire! After we received a lovely delivery of new non-stretch denims a month or so ago I decided to go for the Megan Neilsen Dawn jeans.

To hear me chat about them and see the pattern adaptions I made, check out my latest Youtube video. 

Pattern details and variation chosen

The Dawn jeans are a classic high waisted rigid denim pattern with four cuts (tapered, straight leg, wide leg and shorts) and multiple lengths for tall, regular and cropped. They have a high rise to sit on the natural waist and you can choose between a button or zip fly - so there are lots of options to choose from!

I choose to make view B which is the straight leg version and I made a zip fly.

Fabric choice and options

I used some of our light blue non-stretch rigid denim which is 100% cotton. Despite its rigid name, it's actually pretty pliable and easy to work with. I think it might be due to the processes it has gone though to have the lighter faded colour tone to it. It comes in 3 other shades - a dark blue, mid blue and light grey.

The pattern suggests that you can also use linen, twill or corduroy too, which makes the pattern really versatile. It’s not quite linen season yet at g&g but we do have some lovely new drills that would be suitable, or if you are thinking more towards autumn then out range of Robert Kaufmann cords would also be great

Size made and alternations

My wait and hip measurements fell across quite a few sizes so I had a bit of size merging to do. At the waist I am between a size 6 and 8 but over the hips I’m more like a size 2/4. So I measured the rise/length of the crotch by combining the measurements of the front crotch line and back (not forgetting the back yoke) and taking account of the seam allowances. I think put the measuring tape on the crotch line on my body to try and roughly work out where the jeans would actually sit. I then measured my waist at that point and compared it to the pattern pieces.

So in the end I cut a size 8 at the waist and merged to a size 2 at the hips and legs.

I also did my standard flat bum adjustment by taking a ½ inch wedge out of the back crotch line and the same again in the back yoke. I knew to do this from trial and error really and making lots of pairs of trousers before and having this work. And also, when I buy ready to wear trousers they are typically baggy in the bum and ruffle at the small of my back as there is too much fabric.

These adjustments seemed to really work for me and even though I baste fitted them I didn’t need to make any other changes. When I make jeans I always sew the fly in and make the front pockets. I then baste the rest of the jeans together without the waistband and back pocket to check the fit. I then unpick everything I basted and put it all back together again properly with top stitching.

Jeans comparison  - Dawns vs ginger

As I’ve only ever made one type of jeans before the dawns, and I know quite a few of you guys will have tried the ginger too, I thought it might be useful to do a little comparison of my experience of making them both.

Fly front - the way the fly is constructed is different as there is a separate fly section to sew on in the dawns, but in the gingers its already attached and part of the front leg. The instructions were really good though and as long as you are accurate and have all the pattern makings transferred onto the fabric I’m sure you’ll be fine. 

Front pocket bags - on the Ginger jeans the lining of the front pocket extends into the fly front which make a pocket stay and gives the jeans more structure and support at the front. Whereas in the Dawn jeans it’s not attached. I’m not sure if its a post-partum thing, but I actually like having that pocket lining going into the fly as it just feels nice and supportive, so the next time I make the Dawns I might see if I can figure out how to make it that way.

Rise - Despite both the Gingers and Dawns both being described as high rise, for me the Dawns sit higher - by about 1.5-2 inches. I really like them this height, but thought it might be useful for you to know the difference.

Overall I’m really pleased with them, they are super comfy and have worn in well so far. The only thing I’m undecided on is the length. I pictured a frayed, cropped hem but I’m too chicken to cut them in case they end up too short! A frayed hem seems so permanent and you can’t really go back after you’ve done it! So for now I’ve just turned them up a few times and left them to fray - maybe in the summer I’ll go for it!

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