Vacation! And a Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

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Hey, friends!  Happy July!  I can’t believe it’s July already.  I feel like summer is just starting.  I’m going to take the rest of the month of July off from blogging (although you can still find me on Instagram @lisa.poblenz).  I’m coming off a number of complicated sewing projects (Refashioners 2016–which you’ll get to see in the not-too-distant future, bathing suit sewing, jeans, etc.), and it’s time to regroup, create some new garments, and do family stuff.  I don’t know about you, but when I finish a big batch of projects, I feel a little discombobulated for a while until I figure out what direction I’m going to pursue next and get going down that road.

I finished one wonderfully quick project on Wednesday, however–a Deer and Doe Datura Blouse.

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

I’m finding that while I am most drawn to bright colors and fun prints, I need a few neutral garments to wear with the fun and crazy stuff.  So, to test out this pattern, I chose the most basic view and made it up in a white linen-look fabric from Joann’s that I’ve had forever, and a khaki linen that a good friend gave me.  I also took the opportunity to use some vintage buttons from my mother-in-law.

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Before beginning, I measured myself to see how high the dart should sit on my body and then checked it on the flat pattern.  It seemed perfect, so other than grading up a size for the waist and hip, I used the pattern as it was.  There were a few tricky parts, mainly having to do with sewing together the shoulders, but once I weathered those, it was a quick sew.  (I used Part 1 of this sew-along to help me out, in case you are considering making this top as well.)  The only potential issue is that the neckline seems to gape just a bit, but I’m going to wash and wear the shirt a few times before I decide if I need to deal with that in any future versions.  They’ve updated the pattern since I bought this one, so maybe they fixed that.  I’m not sure.

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

(Thanks to my Instagram Husband for taking these pictures of me!)

Expect future versions of this, though.  I want to try the one with the triangle cutouts next…and in crazy fabric.  One neutral garment at a time is about all I can handle! 😉

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

Do you ever wish you could sew at super speed?  I’ve never really had a handle on my summer wardrobe, but after sewing for a few years, and thinking seriously about what I actually wear (rather than just what I like to look at in fashion, which are often two very different things), I think I’m getting closer to the essence of how I like to dress in summer.  And now I want to sew it all up!!!!  I’ve been stocking up on fabric, but I can’t yet sew at lighting speed or fit garments to myself with shocking perfection.  Alas, my reach exceeds my grasp (but I think they are getting closer!).  Ah, sewing problems!  Ha!

Well, have a great July.  I look forward to more writing and talking with you in August.  We’ll find out then if I spent my time sewing or not! 😉

Recommendations

  • This Piped Floral Shirt Dress from Making It Well is amazing.  I’ll have to pick up some tips from Jo when I finally dive into the wonderful world of shirt dresses.
  • I just have to recommend The Great British Sewing Bee.  As much as I love Project Runway, sometimes it’s just so…ruthless!  The GBSB has a much kinder tone as well as an educational one.  I’ve only watched Season/Series 1 in its entirety, but Series 4 is on now!  You can look at the show’s website here.
  • If you are in the greater Boston area, I highly recommend the magazine edibleBOSTON.  If you aren’t in greater Boston, you may have an edible magazine covering an area near you.  edibleBOSTON is a fun way to learn about farmers, restaurants, small batch food makers, and other foodie things in your locale.  Magazines are free from subscribing businesses and come out quarterly.  You can also read issues online.
  • Aaannnddd…..we’re TOTALLY making this spaghetti and meatballs recipe this summer!

Bathing Suit Finished!

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It happened!  I finished my bathing suit and…I think it works!

Bathing Suit Finished!

When we last met here, I had finished the bottom, but not the top.  During this week, I worked on joining up all the pieces and adding elastic to the neckhole and armholes.  That last bit wasn’t a part of the pattern, but I really like the look it provides, and I was hoping to solve a few problems with it.

Bathing Suit Finished!

There was a small part on the front neckline where I didn’t catch my outer fabric very well when I was sewing all the layers together.  There was no invisible way (that I could think of) to fix that.  Even using clear thread, it would have been visible.

I also wanted to stabilize those openings and give them more support so that they would be stronger and hopefully not gape when wet.

Finally, I was hoping the edging would magically tighten and take in the little bit of excess under the arms.  So…that didn’t happen (which I expected, but you always hope for that happy accident!), but I’m more optimistic about the other things.

When I began to apply the elastic, I realized it was a make-or-break moment.  The suit would either be much better for the addition or it would be ruined.  I bet on the side of better and went for it.

It worked!

Bathing Suit Finished!

Bathing Suit Finished!

After letting go of my perfectionism, I ended up with a swimsuit that isn’t perfect, but is actually finished and is, I think, a wearable first draft.  I’ve tested it briefly.  Now to see how it does over a whole day at the beach.

If you happen to be working on your own bathing suit and want to try applying elastic like I did, check out this tutorial on the Kadiddlehopper blog.  I used the advice here on both the stitched and turned elastic for my leg holes as well as the bound edges in the top.  I actually have this blog post printed out and saved in a binder so I don’t lose it!

As for the few other details on this suit, here they are:  I fully lined both the front and back of the top and bottom.  I also used powermesh from the Imagine Gnats shop as the lining fabric in the built-in bra of the top.  I have nothing but good to say about buying from there–super fast shipping and great service.  All my elastic was 3/8″ swimwear elastic, and I used wooly nylon thread in my bobbin, with 100% polyester Güttermann thread in the top.  I used a walking foot, plus a stretch needle and Jalie’s method (found in the pattern) of sewing a long zigzag stitch first (width: 4.5, length: 0.5) and then going back and doing a straight stitch while stretching the fabric slightly (length: 2.5) at the actual seamline.  For pattern and fabric details, see my first post on this swimsuit.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Bathing Suit Finished!

Bathing Suit Finished!

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me!  It means so much, and it really helped me finish well.  My neighbor’s mom, who I just love and who is an amazing seamstress herself, is now convinced that I can sew anything.  Little by little, right?

Here’s some fun for your weekend.

Recommendations:

  • I have really been loving the Instagram feed of @suzyquilts.  There is something about her bright and beautiful pictures and her patterns…and I don’t even quilt!  (Well, I do have a quilt that’s been in-progress since 2008, but I’m talking quilting as a regular practice.)  I love the stripes she uses in her Kris Kross quilt.  Tempting…  You can also find her website here.
  • If you like the crop top look, but not the idea of baring your midriff, Allie J. will show you how to “make your own (fake) crop top” in this tutorial.
  • We like thinking games in our house, and one of the games we play on the iPad is Monument Valley.  They bill it as “an illusory adventure of impossible architecture and forgiveness”.  It feels a little bit like trying to figure out an M.C. Escher visual puzzle with calming, completely non-scary background music.  Good for any age.
  • Explore.org has links to lots of wildlife cameras.  It’s pretty cool that you can see African wildlife, ospreys in Maine, or pandas in China any time you want.

Bathing Suit Progress…and a Breakthrough

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I think it’s time for a progress report.

Making bathing suits (year three)

But first, how about some mental anguish?  ;)  As I was procrastinating and freaking out about this project, I had a breakthrough that now seems completely obvious (funny how that happens sometimes).

I expect to create the perfect suit.

Despite the fact that I rarely allow myself to be a perfectionist in my sewing, despite the fact that I understand that skills take time to build and ‘finished is better than perfectly unfinished’, I’m putting a perfectionist’s pressure on myself with this project.  Of course I’m procrastinating and freaking out!  That’s completely unrealistic!  I may have made suits before, but it takes time (and considerably more practice) to become skillful.

I guess it just goes to show that perfectionism can sneak up on anyone.

Once I realized this, I decided it was time to chill out.  So, I put on some surfing to distract me and psych me up to sew bathing suits and got going.  Now we can talk progress.

This is year three of attempting to create a bathing suit that I love.  The last two years have (sadly) been fails.  Year one was a pretty spectacular fail due to my not clueing in to some very awful print placement, forgetting to add in the necessary internal support, and the fact that it came out too big.  That suit just got cut up to become bottoms.

Making bathing suits (year three)

Making bathing suits (year three)

In year two I made every iteration of the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns.

Soma Swimsuit Test Suits

I wanted to practice and then hopefully create a tankini by hacking my favorite bikini view.  Unfortunately, I have no practice constructing bras, so I couldn’t create the desired support well.  I wore the tankini once, but by the end of the day, the structural elements started to come out of their places, so…no good.  I also decided I wanted bottoms that offered fuller coverage.

Soma Swimsuit Hack by Pattern and Branch

So here we are at year three.  I finally found a fabric that I completely love at the Fabric Fairy (she has a lot of excellent swimsuit prints), but I can’t find a tankini pattern that I’m really excited about.

Making bathing suits (year three)

I’m using the bottoms of the Jalie tankini (#3023), but I’m not jazzed about the top.  It’s good, but I wanted something a little different.  So my solution (which I realize may lead me to another fail) is to use lisette/Butterick 6295, a work-out top that I really like, and to add extra elastic to the neck and arms.

Making bathing suits (year three)

Here’s where I am as of Wednesday evening:

Making bathing suits (year three)

After putting so much time and energy into searching for a pattern I love, I’ve decided that this is what I really want:

I want a pattern designer to create a tankini pattern that has interesting details to set it apart from the crowd, offers full bottom coverage and the option for internal support up top (in the form of underwires).  I think you could (please!) also include a sports bra pattern as another view with the same optional underwire support and cool details.  That would make me so happy.  Jalie?  Fehr Trade?  Closet Case Files?  Someone?  Please?

Until then, I’m working away at this as well as several bathing suit experiments that will not be for me.  After this, I just want to make something easy for myself.  I want to return to my selfish, simple, sewing ways.  Well…until I find the next exciting challenge.

Recommendations:

  • I’ve mentioned how much I like the podcast Thread Cult and I’ve also mentioned the 3-D printing company Nervous System.  Guess what?  In episode #40, Christine interviews one of the founders of Nervous System about 3-D printed clothing, and it is FASCINATING.  The dress Nervous System made is a thing of beauty (and wonder!).
  • It’s been so much fun to discover new artists via Instagram.  One of my current favorites is Anisa Makhoul (@anisamakhoul on Instagram).  I love her saturated colors and cool style.
  • Watching surfing movies has helped me make it through the last few winters, but now it’s bleeding into other parts of life as well.  I’ve decided it’s my new figure skating–fun to watch when doing projects (as I mentioned above–good for when you are sewing bathing suits!).  If you want to start down the surfing rabbit hole, let me enable you.  The World Surf League app, which is free, lets you watch surfing live when events are on (or you can go to their website).  I follow them on Instagram (@wsl) so I always know when an event is happening.  My favorite is when I can watch the women surf.
  • I have to dedicate this video to my husband’s family.  I think they played this song a lot when he was growing up, but I doubt they did it like this.

The Sewcial Sew, The Refashioners 2016, and Me-Made-May 2016 (Whew!)

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Hey, friends!  It’s time to get back to some sewing!  A lot has been going on in the sewing arena over here, and I wanted to share some exciting places my blog has been popping up as well as give you a quick progress report.

In May I linked up my jeans post with Allie J.’s blog for her Sewcial Sew:  Basics challenge.

Every month she puts out a challenge, and if you sew something within the month that fits the theme, you can put a link to your blog post on the page.  At the end of the month, she posts a round-up of all the links.  It’s a great way to discover new blogs and it’s really fun to look at everyone’s projects.  As Allie says, the theme is general enough to allow a lot of latitude, but should give you some guidance if you aren’t sure what to sew next.  This was my first time joining in, and I really enjoyed it (plus, Allie said some very kind things about my jeans, so that doesn’t hurt!).  Thanks, Allie!

The June 1st blog post over at the Makery revealed the blogger line-up for this year’s Refashioners 2016 challenge…and guess who’s on the list?  Me!  I’m so honored to be included in this group.

Refashioners 2016

The Refashioners challenge is a chance to take a specific type of garment and refashion it into something entirely new.  Creating clothing in this way is really fun.  It takes a lot of thought to decide how to refashion the item(s) you are working with, but the end results of everyone’s creativity is truly fabulous.  Last year’s theme was men’s dress shirts and I made a lined jacket from four shirts for the competition.

The Refashioners Challenge 2015

(You can read about my entry here.)

This year’s theme is jeans.  You can use one pair or you can use ten!  What do you think?  Are you game?  If you want more details, either about the blogger series or the competition that follows, check out Portia’s blog.  There’s plenty of inspiration on my Denim Pinterest board if you need a little help getting started.

For extra reading on the idea of refashioning, you can also find Portia and fellow participant Marilla Walker in this Seamwork article.

Last but not least on the sewing challenge front was Me-Made-May ’16.  I made my pledge to wear at least one me-made article of clothing daily, wear two me-made clothing items in the same day at least once a week, and not to repeat items within a week.  I also decided I wasn’t going to make a big effort to take daily outfit photos this year since that was a lot of work last year.  I took some quick and easy photos here and there for Instagram, but that was it.

Me-Made-May 2016

So how did it go?  I would say it went well.  I decided pretty quickly that I was going to throw the no-repeats-within-a-week restriction out the window.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough clothing that I had made, but because sometimes I loved an item so much that I wanted to wear it multiple times in a week.  I was amazed at how much easier it was to do the challenge this year over last year.  A full year’s worth of sewing has really filled a lot of holes in my wardrobe and/or replaced garments that didn’t fit as well and that I didn’t love as much as those I’ve made.  It’s a great feeling to see that accumulation of skill and accomplishment.

While it may seem like I haven’t been doing much actual sewing lately, the opposite is true.  In addition to working on my Refashioners project behind the scenes, I’ve been gearing up to face down one of the (many) areas of sewing that I have yet to successfully master:  swimsuits!  I am deep in the trenches of swimsuit making.

Making bathing suits (year three)

Cut out bathing suits, jeans remnants, and mending are piled everywhere!

I had a whole long section in this post giving you an update on where I’m at with all that, but I decided to cut it and save it for another post.  This one is getting long, so let’s wrap it up with some fun recommendations instead!

Recommendations

  • If you want to try your hand at making a bathing suit, you might like to look at the many suits featured on the Curvy Sewing Collective’s Curvy Swimsuit Sewing Pattern Round-Up.  There were several pattern companies they featured that I wasn’t familiar with.
  • Are you mourning the death of David Bowie?  Do you like puppets of the Jim Henson type?  How about Jennifer Connelly?  If any (or all) of these apply to you, may I humbly recommend a blast from the past?  I put before you the movie The Labyrinth.  I didn’t listen to David Bowie’s music, but I LOVED him in The Labyrinth.  It’s still one of my favorite movies.
  • My favorite book growing up (starting sometime in elementary/middle school) was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  I knew I had finally found the perfect iteration of this story when I saw the edition illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg.  His illustrations capture the essence and feel of the story better than any others I’ve seen.
  • I think I need to start using this method to cook my shrimp.

Do you think it will work on chicken?

Outside in May

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Spring!  Fickle, right?  And doesn’t that just make us love it all the more?  One day it’s nice and warm, and the next it’s cold and dreary.

As hard as that is, I think it makes us love those gorgeous days more vehemently.  And all the flowers!  We checked our lilac bush every day until it opened, and now we smell it each time we walk past.

I hope you enjoy these spring pictures–flowers and non-flowers alike.

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Outside in May

Here’s one more that my husband took of me when we were out on a walk.  Just prepping for this post! 😉

Outside in May

See you next week (hopefully with some sewing to discuss–it’s been too long!)!

The Brimfield Report: May 2016

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It’s Brimfield time again!  I love Brimfield!  What is it?  The Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA is the largest outdoor antique market in the United States.  It happens three times a year in May, July, and September from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  Usually my wonderful husband takes a day off to watch the kids so I can get up long before the crack of dawn to head out there for a full day of antiquing.  I love it!

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Unlike some people who go to Brimfield, I’m not a serious collector of anything.  I keep a list throughout the year of antiques I’d love to find, but I’m usually looking for things that are maybe mid-century, on the smaller side, and something I can use.  I save up Christmas and other money, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent it all.  I love to look at everything, hunt for treasures and gifts, and get lessons in both history and the psychology of Brimfield.  It’s never dull.  I walk all day, and then I enjoy some good food.

This year, for the first time, one of my friends was a vendor.  Laurel’s business is called Retromat Vintage and she sells vintage clothing as well as other things that are interesting and cool.  Here a just a few pictures of some of her goods.

Brimfield Antique Show

I vote for bringing gloves back.

Brimfield Antique Show

Or how about hats?

I got the chance to work for her for about 20 or 30 minutes and, despite my nervousness, it went well.  She gave me some sewing goodies that I wanted in return…and a lobster roll.

Brimfield Antique Show

I felt richly rewarded for my minimal work!  Thanks, Laurel!  Laurel also gave me this Necchi-Elna catalogue, which was fun to look through since I have a much-loved Elna.  I had no idea they were one company at some point.

Brimfield Antique Show

The pattern was a freebie from another vendor.  It has no instructions, but I’m working on tracking those down…

I also got to see my friend Maggie from my favorite fabric store in NH, and we had some fun checking out the vintage sewing goodies.

My strategy this time, since I wanted to be available to Laurel if she needed me, was to hit my favorite fields first, and then walk through whatever other fields I could get to.  All the fields have interesting names.  Because I love to delve into whatever I am really interested in, I started a notebook to record favorite fields (currently New England Motel, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows), notes to remember, etc.  Inside I have directions to Brimfield, a page for each field with notes, general notes about where I like to park (in the middle), and my wish lists for the current year and years past.

Also included are a few Bingo lists I’ve made.  My husband creative Brimfield Bingo when we went together one year:  think of the craziest things you can (because you never know what you might find at Brimfield), and then check them off if/when you find them.  While I didn’t play Bingo this year, here are a few of the weirder things I saw:

Brimfield Antique Show

In case you lose an eye…

Brimfield Antique Show

or become a cook in a giant’s kitchen.

My notebook started to get so full of vendor cards, that Scott got me a little accordion file so I can keep track of which vendors are in which fields.  Yes.  We ARE cool.

Brimfield Antique Show

Want to see what else I got?

Brimfield Antique Show

Owl scissors!  At $2 apiece, I wish I had bought a bunch more for gifts.  Maybe next time.

Brimfield Antique Show

A sleeve board for pressing sleeves.  Don’t worry–I’ll clean it up before using it on my sewing projects.

I also got some fun jewelry:

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

And I got some gifts, some of which have to remain secret, but here’s one that doesn’t:

Brimfield Antique Show

And finally, here are some pictures of things I saw as I walked around.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

A Singer Featherweight sewing machine complete with case!

Brimfield Antique Show

Not everything is antique–some things are upcycled from antiques or are handmade goods like these jeans or supplies for making other things like the yarn below.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

It was a great Brimfield, I have to say.  I had a lot of fun looking for treasures and hanging out with Maggie and Laurel.  If you’ve gone to Brimfield, I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or favorites.

For posts on Brimfields past, see these links:  2014 and 2015.

 

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized! Or…I Made Jeans!!!

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I didn’t think it could be done.  Could I ever make jeans?  I doubted myself and procrastinated for ages.  Until finally, I used my old sewing trick that has served me so well:  just do the first step.

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

This is great for life outside of sewing as well, but I mainly use it to get myself moving on “scary” projects.  Even if the first step only takes one minute, once I do it, I can be done for that day.  Next time, take the next step.

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Eventually I tend to get caught up in the process and things move along.  That’s what happened with these jeans.  It took me forever to trace the pattern, and forever to cut them, and forever to get to sewing them, but at the point of sewing, I took the first step…and then the second…and then worked on them for a whole day!  By that point, things were getting exciting, and I couldn’t wait to work on them again.  After another day of sewing, I had them done!  They are the most comfortable jeans I think I have ever worn.  And they fit!

Aside from jeans-making being new to me (and therefore intimidating), pants in general intimidate me in the area of fit.  The few times I have made/attempted to make pants or shorts, I can tell something is off, but I don’t know how to fix it.  There were two things, I think, that really saved this pants attempt.  One was that the drafting on these is different from what I have encountered in the Big 4 patterns that I have tried.  In those, I always feel like the front is too high and the back is too low.  This jeans pattern didn’t feel that way at all.  The second thing that saved this project was all the excellent fitting advice that Heather (the designer) offers both in the instructions and in the sew-along on her blog, Closet Case Files.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

So, let’s talk process a bit (Technical Talk Ensuing.  Skim this part if you just want pictures.).

I chose to make this first pair of jeans out of an inexpensive denim in case I had a lot of problems.  I got my denim at Jo-Ann Fabrics on sale.  I noticed that many others had used denim from Jo-Ann’s with success, and so I decided to give it a try.  I also got some interfacing there.

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

I found some rainbow topstitching thread in my stash.  (I wish I knew where it came from so I could get more, but I have no idea.  It may not even be real topstitching thread.)  I used navy thread from my stash for the non-topstitching parts, and some really old thread for the basting.  I’ve decided that basting is an excellent use for old thread.  I have lots of hand-me-down thread and I know you’re not *supposed* to use it, but I do.  I can’t let it go to waste.  Basting seems the perfect use, because if it breaks, it doesn’t really matter.

The fabric for my pockets is some very old Amy Butler fabric that I had in my stash.  My husband saw it and said, “Oh!  You’re making your pockets out of diaper bag!”  Back when I had my first baby, one of my best friends made me a diaper bag with this fabric.  Time to put the scraps to a new use!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Now on to the jeans.  I made View A in a size 14.  View A has a low rise with stovepipe legs–similar to what I wear on a daily basis.

Because I’m new to fitting pants, I just cut the size that fit my measurements without any initial adjustments.  I assembled the front of the pants completely.  Then I basted the back of the pants with the exception of the pockets, which I pinned on.  After that I basted the sides together, all before assembling the waistband.

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

My main issue came at the back.  The back waist gaped.  Heather explained very clearly what I needed to do, and so I made a few darts in the yoke, tried the pants on again, and then took out just a bit more until they felt right.  Then I sewed everything minus the waistband together.

After that, I assembled the waistband and basted it on.  It also gaped, so I followed Heather’s directions and put a few darts in.  On my first try, I sewed the darts in opposite to how they were supposed to go!  Argh!!  I contemplated just recutting the whole thing, but I ripped out the darts and resewed them in the end.

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Once I got that right, I sewed it all up and went after the back pockets.  I started to get nervous when I sewed them on because I was nearly out of topstitching thread.  I managed to finish the pockets with just a little bit left.  Success!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

When I put these pants on for the first time…oh, it was wonderful!  They were so comfortable and fit so well.  I had done it thanks to help from Heather Lou!  What an amazing thing to make your own jeans!

Ginger Jeans Dreams Realized!

If and when I make these again, here is what I would do differently.

  • I would interface the waistband.  I thought I wanted one that would stretch but, I think because I chose a cheaper denim, mine tends to stretch out.
  • I would also consider basting the jeans the slightest bit tighter.  These are so comfortable, but the denim doesn’t have the greatest recovery despite the spandex content.
  •  Lastly, I’m curious about how to do a midrise version, something Heather explains on her blog.  I’d like to try that.

If you are considering making jeans, I highly recommend this pattern.  It gave me enough confidence to move forward and to want to try making more pants so I can learn how to fit other styles to my body as well.  Heather also has a jeans making e-book and published a blog post on basic pants fitting that you might find helpful.

Success!!

Update:  I’m linking this post up with Allie J.’s blog for her series called “The Social Sew”.  Each month she puts out a sewing theme and you can link up your recent projects that fit within the theme.  Since this month is ‘Me Made Basics‘, I thought these jeans would be a great fit.  You can also check out what everyone else has made.  It’s a great way to find new sewing blogs!

Recommendations:

  • I just found out that one of my favorite podcasts, Thread Cult, is back up and running.  I thought perhaps it had been abandoned, but it turns out it was only on hiatus.  This podcast is “for the sewing, fashion and textile obsessed”.
  • I’m fascinated by the Instagram account of Tara Curtis @t_jaye.  She makes these fabulous geometric designs that remind me of quilts, but she does it by weaving strips of fabric.  If you love pattern and design, I think you’ll like her work.  She also has a website.
  • Have you ever looked at Cooking Light magazine?  I like their recipes because they are healthy AND they taste good!  Several of their recipes have become family favorites.  You may be able to read Cooking Light at your library (ours lends out magazines) or check out their recipes via their website.
  • Here is an important lesson on compound words.  (Preview this before showing it to your kids–there’s nothing bad, just a few surprising parts that could scare little ones.)

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

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How are you?  I hope, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, that spring has arrived.  Spring is trying to happen here, but it’s still a little cold.  Despite that, I’ve got warmer days on my mind, and after some complicated projects just finished and several other tricky ones in progress, I needed a simple, fast, and summery pattern.  I found just the right thing in Lotta Jansdotter’s new book Everyday Style.  It seemed like just the right thing to go with the lovely pink voile I got at Pintuck & Purl when they opened.

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

I made Variation 2 with the three-quarter length sleeves in a size large.  My only regret (and I find it equally annoying and funny that I did this) is that I didn’t measure the back pattern piece to see if it would need a broad-back adjustment.  The shirt turned out to be quite comfortable, but if I had checked ahead of time, I would have done a broad-back adjustment and it would have been even more comfortable.  After all my recent blog posts about broad-back adjustments (here and here), I didn’t even check.

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

 

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

Ironically enough, I did check the dart height, and that turned out to be fine.  Thankfully, there is good ease in this pattern, and it’s still wearable.

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

Living in New England where the weather changes several times throughout the day, I’m looking forward to having this for summer when a breeze springs up or the air gets cooler in the evening.

Esme Top from Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter

The Esme top gets my stamp of approval as a quick and simple make, especially since there are numerous variations if you want to change things up a bit.

Before we get to the recommendations,  I wanted to mention Me-Made-May 2016 one more time.  I’m participating because I really enjoyed it last year.  Here is my pledge:

‘I, Lisa of patternandbranch.wordpress.com and @lisa.poblenz, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2016. I will try not to repeat any articles of clothing within a single week and I’ll try to wear at least two me-made things together at least once a week.’

I decided that this year I wasn’t going to worry about daily photos, so I won’t be doing weekly outfit round-ups on the blog.  You may see a few photos if you follow me on Instagram, but my focus for this year is the challenge itself.  The only downside so far is that I might forget what I wore earlier in the week without the photos to remind me!  ;)  Check out Zoe’s blog for more information on this year’s Me-Made-May.

Recommendations

  • OK, my friends!  It’s nearly time for one of my FAVORITE events of the year:  BRIMFIELD ANTIQUE SHOW!  Brimfield is the largest outdoor antique show/market in the US.  It takes place three times a year in the town of Brimfield, MA and people come from all over the country (and the world) to shop for antiques, upcycled antiques, and unique materials for creating.  This year, for the very first time, I know one of the vendors!  My friend Laurel, of Retromat Vintage is going to be at Booth 22 of New England Motel, which is one of my favorite fields.  She sells great vintage items.  I’m always really impressed by her clothing, but she has much more than that.  If you go to Brimfield, stop by and show her some love.
  • Have you ever tried a magnetic pincushion?  After buying more pins awhile ago, my little pin jar was full and hard to use, so I bought a Zirkel magnetic pincushion at Pintuck & Purl.  I missed the main selling point until I got home and started using it.  If you drop your pins in the middle of the square magnet, it fans them out around the edges in a circular pattern.  It’s so cool and fun to use!  I knew I would like it, but I had no idea I would like it this much.  Here’s a link to a 14 second video that shows how it works.
  • I’ve mentioned them before, but I think it’s time to officially recommend to you The Curvy Sewing Collective.  This is a great site for so many things!  I find myself returning to it frequently to read their helpful tutorials, pattern reviews, and to look at the great projects from their contributors.  This site also gets two thumbs up for body positivity.  We can all use that!
  • Finally, the Batman vs. Superman trailer…reimagined by kids: