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Jedediah pants!

25 May

It was with much trepidation that I embarked on the Jedediah pants from Thread Theory.  as part of G.’s Christmas present I had promised him a pair. I found some nice black babycord (from Truro fabric) which G liked – when it arrived it felt a bit lighter than I had expected but I think it will make a nice pair of summer weight trousers. Because I was a bit daunted, after I had the pieces all cut I left it sitting in the middle of the living room for over a week! I actually had them mostly sewn up in April but the man was away and I wanted him to try them on so I could perfect the length.

I’ve only made one Thread Theory pattern before (the Fairfield Button Up Shirt) and really liked her instructions. But for these pants/trousers I found them a little hard to follow at times. Especially for the fly – the corresponding images aren’t always next to the instructions and  maybe I was having a brain-fart day but I found it hard to to figure out what I was suppose to do.  I have to say I didn’t find the YouTube video which accompanied the sew-along much help for the fly – it didn’t have the level of detail I needed.  In the end my fly is actually quite good although my top stitching is appalling. But the man is unlikely to notice and on the black fabric its almost impossible to tell. It would also have been nice if there had been a top stitching guide for the the fly  as well as marks for where it is best to place the button loops.

That being said I did like the way the waist band facing was put in and the added detail of having contrast binding. Again it took me a little while to get my head around what I was suppose to do, but it worked out pretty well. With practice I’m sure I’ll make some really nice pants/trousers in the future. I’m thinking some nice chinos in burgundy or a royal blue. I made the size 40 which is the biggest size the pattern goes up to – they fit a bit smaller than RTW trousers and at the waist they are a bit of a squeeze. Because the waist button will be taking so much pressure I decided to add a hook and bar. Next time I may make the waist a wee bit bigger – I think I’ll be able to get some breathing room by simply reducing the seam allowance on the side seams.

Ginger jeans hack

5 Apr

At the moment the main thing I wear every day is ‘dog walking’ jeans. Ie the torn and dirty jeans I wear to take the dog for a walk every day. Not having any work has meant that I rarely gravitate to my dresses and nice blouses anymore. In fact if I’m going out and want to dress up, at the moment that means putting on my Ginger jeans (the only non dog jeans I have now). I love the Ginger jeans pattern and have made myself three pairs so far, one version with the low waist, straight legs and two with the high waist, skinny legs. I decided however it was time to hack it cause what I really want is a pair with low waist and skinny legs.

At the Knitting and Stitching show I got some really lovely dark very dark blue denim (50% cotton, 42% polyester & 3% elastane). To be honest I have no idea what kind of quality it is but I loved the color and feel of it.  I carefully merged the pattern lines of the two versions, which was much easier than I had expected. As before, I’ve made myself size 8 which works perfectly for me if I am using fabric with 3% stretch. They initially are more fitted than comfort would dictate, but experience has taught me they relax enough to be just perfect! Now I just need to wear them in a bit. I’m really pleased with how they turned out and am already planning the next pair!

RTW Copycat with Fehr Trade

29 Jun

For the final IPM2016 contest  it’s RTW Copycat which asks us to be ‘inspired by a RTW (ready to wear) image and recreate that look using indie patterns. Your image might be from the catwalk, a magazine or a shop brochure‘.

My inspiration comes from Sweaty Betty’s cycling collection and I’m reacreating the look with two patterns from Fehr Trade:

And it just so happens that making sportswear was on my New Year’s resolution list hurrah!  Making my own cycling gear felt like a huge achievement and I’m supper pleased with the final result. My entry for IMP2016 contest is over on TMS blog and it has a lot more details about fabric, sewing etc.

 

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One pattern, two ways: Ginger Jeans

14 Jun

It’s already the 2nd week of June and that means the 2nd IPM2016 contest: One pattern, two ways. For this conest we’re challenged to make two garments using the same pattern. You may make the same view twice or two different views/options of the same pattern.

I decided to make Version A & B of Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans. Version A (low rise with narrow legs) is of a light blue medium weight denim (97% cotton, 3% elastine) which I got from Ditto Fabrics. While version B (high-waisted  with skinny legs) is a black cotton twill (97% ctoon, 3% spandex) which I got from myfabrics.

I absolutly love this pattern – I made size 8 for both (the waist measuremnts are exact to mine and the hips are 1/2″ smaller than the real deal but it seems to work perfectly with 3% stretch). My blog for IMP2016 can be read here.

Photos of version A:

 

Photos of version B:

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January Jeans

7 Feb

One of my  New Year’s Resolutions was to make myself a pair of jeans. So when Handmade by Chris announced Jeans in January, it seemed like the perfect incentive to jump straight in. I’ve been eyeing up the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case for ages now and  decided I’d have a go at making them. I decided I’d follow the Sew Along that happened back in 2014 to learn some tips and tricks. Unfortunately calamity struck and I only got to start sewing these the last weekend of January. I nearly finished but then I was struck down by the dreaded lergy and only got to finish them this week.

Choosing my fabric and bits: I learned alot about denim in the first sew along post and dutifully set out to purchase the right type of fabric. Preferably some cheap denim (I’m learning my lesson – first attempts should not be made on expensive fabric). I initially ordered two pieces of denim from MyFabrics at the beginning of January. I liked how their website laid out the weight and fabric composition so it was easy to find exactly the right type of fabric. But after two weeks of waiting for it to arrive I found out that one wasn’t in stock and wouldn’t be replaced, and one wasn’t available in a continuous piece. With only 7 sewing days left in January (as I’m traveling quite a bit for work) I was more than a little frustrated by this news.

So I ended up buying some lovely dark blue denim from Ditto in Brighton (an old favorite of mine). It is 97% cotton and 3% elastane, but there’s no info on the weight. Although I’d initially planned on making version A, because the fabric feels so lightweight, I’ve gone for version B.

IMG_3235Pockets: The pockets came together well but I have to say they required a lot of concentration. It may have been a particularly dyslexic moment but I really struggled at first to conceptualise how they went together. It’s one of those things I guess that once you’ve got it, it seems so obvious. Anyway I used the scraps from making my McCall’s M4769 dress, so my jeans will look real pretty when inside out, gracing the floor.

Front fly: I’ve only ever done two front fly, one on my Maritime shorts (from Grainline) and another on my Simplicity 1969 trousers. Inserting a fly properly gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. Though I must say I followed Pt8 of the Ginger Sewalong closely (rather than following my instruction booklet) as  I found the numerous images very helpful!

Finishing my seams: I’d initially planned to us flat felled seams for the inner leg. But As I am loving the double overlock stitch setting on my new machine, I just sewed them normally, then with the doubleover lock before trimming away excess fabric and top stitching. I think they look gorgeous now – inside and out. The biggest challenge I’ve had with these jeans is the bloody top stitching. I really struggled to get the tension right for the thicker tread, and it continuously jammed. But I got there in the end.

Waistband and back pockets: I used the denim for both the waistband and facing, without applying interfacing. The pattern suggests that this makes a much softer waistband, which is very nice on high waists, and I must say I concur.IMG_3270 I dutifully had followed the suggestion from the sewalong to baste the back pockets and I’m really glad I did. Because now that my waistband was on I could see they were way too low and a touch wide. I moved them up about 3/4″ and in just a smidge. I’ve never before contemplated what pockets do for your butt but its amazing the effect well placed pockets can have.

Loops, button hole and hems: My belt loops were a cinch. Given the problems I’ve had with my top stitching I expected these to be a nightmare but who knew a hammer would come to my aid in sewing? The button hole however proved impossible with the top stitching thread. After about seven practice runs, I gave up and just did the button hole with normal black thread (as I had no matching normal weight gold thread).I needed to take the hems up about 2 1/2″ (instead of the recommended 1″), so I ended up first trimming them then hemming them.

 Button and rivets: These were I admit the detail I was most scared of, but they turned out to be quite straightforward to do with the help of an awl and hammer! It was a little tricky to get the awl through all the thickness on the back pockets though. But the effect is fantastic! .The only downside is that the interfacing at my button hole shows a touch or at least the fraying does. But at this stage I’m not feeling too picky.

A comment on size: I made size 8 which the pattern says is for a 28″ waist (which is my measurements) and a 37″ hip (my hips are 38″). The size 10 hips are 38 1/2″. I ended up choosing the smaller size as I thought with the stretch denim it would be the best fit over time as denim  always gives. And honestly at this point I think the jury is out. They are VERY tight (not camel toe tight mind you) and I think they look amazing. And really until I’ve spend the whole day in them it’s hard to judge it they are uncomfortably so.

Ta-da! I am so immensely pleased with myself! No more shall I fret at finding jeans that fit and in the style I love.

Trousers!

29 Nov

To complete my Capsule Wardrobe I needed some bottoms to go with my new top. I’ve been wanting to make some trousers for a long time. But other than two versions of Colette’s clover trousers (as both capris and full-length),which are so simple, it’s hard to count them as ‘proper’ trousers, I’ve never made any. A few months back I stumbled across Simplicity’s Amazing Fit Trousers and they immediately went on my Autumn/Winter Wardrobe wish list.

But I wasn’t sure about fabric choice. I hummed and hawed but this week finally got round to ordering a swatch from Truro fabrics. It’s pretty hard to choose fabric you’re unfamiliar with online and black fabric in particular I find challenge as its difficult to gauge the photographs. But when my swatch arrived on Wednesday I knew it would be just right. Its  Polyester Blend Suiting fabric – 62% poly, 32% viscose & 6% spandex. Not the type of fabric I’d normally gravitate towards, but I hoped just right for making myself some nice work trousers.

On Saturday I got starting choosing my size and cutting everything out. The pattern is interesting in that you also choose your fit – slim, average or curvy – based on your crotch measurement. Which I have to say I’ve never even thought about measuring. After measuring myself several times I’ve cut out a size 14 average fit.

But it was slow going. Being totally unfamiliar with the pattern pieces, how they fit together, and what it should look like. Every step I poured over, trying to envision what  exact piece of the puzzle it was and how it would come together. This was particularly so for things like the pocket lining and the zipper. I couldn’t imagine how the final pocket was supposed to look like, so I wasn’t confident as I followed the instructions -but I got there in the end. The same goes for the zipper. I’ve only ever done one zipper fly before – on my Maritime shorts – but it worked out perfectly!

After these two hurdles, I progressed nicely: my welts looked good, I attached my carriers and waistband facings with little difficulty, and I even managed to felt my inside leg seams, and basted the outside legs. All good so far.

Then I checked the fit and looked in the mirror. Mmmm. No. That was not the fit I was expected. The lower leg was wider than expected – but that is easy to rectify. The main problem was the gaping under the the bum and the upper thighs. I hummed and hawed. I pined and repined (have you ever tried to pin the crotch of trousers and try them on? I don’t recommend it), so I basted and re-basted.  I realised that I needed to take in both the inner leg seam and the centre front and back seams. The exact seams I had done such a lovely job of finishing with felted seams. Grrrr – that is a lot of un picking.

But the unpicking proved impossible – black stitches on black fabric (with three rows of stitch to be undone). And I ended up taking the risk and actually cutting the centre back seam open before taking in the inner leg seam and redoing the centre front and back. It worked out ok – the insides are an absolute mess though!

I got there in the end but I didn’t finish the garment gracefully – I broke two needles sewing the belt loops, and then kind a just got irritated, so didn’t take care with the front hook closure and my hems aren’t terribly nice either. I guess I’ll probably wear them (and they are fairly comfortable) so it wasn’t a complete waste of fabric and I learned a lot for next time. For one,  given how much I took in on all the seams I’ll probably make a size 12 slim fit.

 

 

The Hokey Pokey

10 Aug

While I was in Japan I picked up this great red polka dot fabric. It has a nice bit of stretch which I thought would make it perfect for the Colette Clover trousers. I’ve made Clover once before, in version 2 (cropped just below mid-calf) out of a very stretchy light weight denim. I made those in February in the height of GBSB fever  and while I love them, I resolved that the second time round I would take my time.

This time I’m making version 1 (ankle length with small in-seam pockets set into the waistband). I loved the idea of these in the polka dots, and for some reason I’ve associated polka dot slim trousers with The Hokey  Pokey song. You know You put your right foot in, You take your right foot out, You put your right foot in, And you shake it all about, You do the hokey pokey, And you turn yourself around That’s what it’s all about. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.

I’ve really enjoyed taking my time in the evenings this week, sewing a little at a time. I finished my inside seams with flat felled seams as well as the crotch seam. I was hesitant at first about using the flat felled seam on the crotch, but as usual the ladies on the Monthly Stitch Facebook group came through with their advice. While it isn’t perfect (I found it hard to sew a straight line on a curved seam), as the stitching is nearly impossible to see, no one but me shall know!

I’m quite pleased with how the little in-seam pockets turned out. I used some scraps of cream silk something or other from the wedding dress saga and it makes me feel well proper and like the real deal.

Polka dots I discovered are quite tricky to photograph. But looking at the photos gives me a chance to really scrutinize the fit as I don’t have a full length mirror I can look in. While I really like these trousers I’m not 100% happy with the fit, but unsure about what exactly is off about them. They seem both too tight and too loose in places, and wrinkles aren’t terribly appealing. Also I’m not sure why I decided to use the black zipper, why I didn’t choose white? But they are fun and I like the spring they add to my step.

 

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