Tag Archives: denim

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

Today’s project was a struggle!  Thankfully, I can report that it ended happily, but it was a long process getting there.

The challenge:  could I make jeans I liked using the denim I had, which was less than what the pattern called for?  Armed with my Denim Pinterest board and ideas from the Refashioners 2016 jeans challenge, I was ready to take this one on!

I decided to use the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans Pattern from Closet Case Patterns since I had non-stretch denim.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

Idea one was all about a casual, patchy look.  I love clothes that are casual, lived in, and durable.  I decided to cut as much of the top of the jeans as I could from the denim I had left over from my Jutland cutoffs from last year and my Lander Pants.  I would use the worn out jeans we had around the house (kept for patch jobs) to construct the bottoms of the pants.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

This seemed like a great idea, and looked really cool on my sewing table.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

Unfortunately, when I put them on, my cool, patched legs became something akin to denim leg warmers attached to jeans made of thin and much more flexible denim.

Fail.

On the advice of some very wise friends who, although not sewists themselves, often help me troubleshoot my projects, I took the pants bottoms off, and moved them up higher so the pants would end around my ankles.

Everything looked good on the work table again, but when I put them on, the denim leg warmer look was back, and it wasn’t a good thing.  It was time to abandon that idea.

Option two was cropped pants with a raw edge, back slightly longer than the front.  One look told me this wasn’t a good option on these particular jeans.

Fail.

Time to come up with a third option.  At this point, my eldest daughter had a great idea. I could use some of the anchor fabric I was using for my pocket bags on the inside bottom of my pant legs so that I would have cropped pants that could be rolled up to reveal the cute print on the fabric.

I loved this idea!  It wasn’t too hard to execute, and it looked great.  The fabric, with its cute anchors and hearts is directional, so I had to think about that as I planned it out.  Thankfully, I got it right the first try.  The pants are shorter than most cropped pants you see today, but I like them.  They are great for spring and cooler summer days.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

Things were finally on track.  I just had to put on my waistband and back pockets.  I put the waistband on and…they didn’t fit.  And I had trimmed my side seams.  Oh no!

I tried letting the side seams out the little bit that I could, but it just wasn’t enough.  I couldn’t understand it.  I thought they had fit, but when I really examined what I had done, I realized that I must have been close to a 14 waist or between sizes, so I traced a 14 waist and 16 hip when I should have just done a straight size 16.

I wanted to give up, but I was so close to being done.  I decided to try one more thing, and if that didn’t work, I would give the pants away.  I added little triangle wedges at the top of each side seam using the same striped fabric I had used in my pocket facings, but turning the stripes perpendicular.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

I lengthened my waistband at the end so that I wouldn’t change the curve (I had also added a dart at the center back to prevent gaping, and I didn’t want to change that either).  Then I finished everything up, tried them on, and…THEY FIT!  They fit well!  And they were pretty cute!  I was so happy.

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

I think I seam-ripped everything on those pants at least once–more in a lot of places.  I am so, so glad they are done, but also really happy to have a pair of fun jeans that I like, AND to have used up so many scraps.  Not only was my denim left over from other projects, so was the anchor fabric (I used it to make this shirt) and the striped fabric (I used the other side as my right side when I made the striped shorts in this post).  I even used a leather scrap to make a little patch.  Yay!

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

As for the pattern itself, I liked it, and would make it again.  I like the button fly, which is different from other jeans that I have, and the comfortable fit (once I got the sizing right).

Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

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Knee-Length Morgan Boyfriend Jeans, or: Making Jeans Without Enough Denim

I have a few more detail-oriented projects in my queue, but after that, I might need a palate-cleanser of easy projects!  With family sickness (now better), projects that weren’t straightforward, and several muslins (still unsewn), spring sewing has been a bit of a slog.  Even with that, though, I still love sewing.  I’m excited to finish up these last few things and get down to easy and/or summer sewing!  Bring it on!  (If only I can narrow down my ideas!)

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Lander Pant, Take One

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Lander Pant, Take One

After making three pairs of Ginger Jeans (1, 2, 3) as well as a few other pairs of pants, I’m finally getting in my pants-sewing groove.  I still don’t feel like I have pants-fitting down, but I’m not afraid to try any more.  When the Lander Pant & Short pattern from True Bias came out, I was excited (ok, really excited).  I had already given away all my thrifted skinny jeans, and was feeling the need for some looser pants, or at least nothing tighter than the stovepipe leg view of the Ginger Jeans.  These looked like just what I was after, so I did something I’ve never done before–I preordered the paper pattern.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I already had some inexpensive non-stretch denim in my stash from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA, and plenty of thread, interfacing, and jeans buttons, so I was ready to go.  When I got the pattern, I decided on View C, the boot length pant and traced a size 12 waist and size 16 hip.  I also decided to lengthen the pattern by 4″ since I’m 5′ 8.5″ and this pattern was drafted for someone who is 5′ 5″ tall (I ended up only needing 2.5″ of extra length, however).  I told myself this was a wearable muslin, in the hopes that it would work out and I could wear it.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

The instructions are very clear and helpful, although I did a few things differently.  Like with the Ginger Jeans, I opted to put my back pockets on last, so I could place them while wearing the pants.  I also changed the method for making belt loops, which I felt was just too tricky.  Using a loop turner on denim is not for me!  It’s much easier to cut your fabric strip for your belt loops, turn your seam allowances in and press them, and then topstitch everything closed and cut the long strip apart into belt loops.  These things are minor personal preferences.

The part I really had trouble with was the waistband and crotch seam.  The pants fit great until the point where I added the waistband.  Despite using my measurements to determine my size in that area (and I double checked to make sure I had them right), the waistband was uncomfortably tight.  It was also very high, sitting above my belly button, at my natural waist.  This is what the pattern promises as far as the waist height.  After trying it on, though, and feeling how uncomfortable the waistband was, I decided to go off-book and lower the rise and recut the waistband.  This is not the correct way to lower the rise of pants, but with the jeans near complete, it was the only option.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I decided I wanted to lower them about 1.75″ (or the finished width of my  original waistband), so I marked new stitching and cutting lines and cut a new waistband 7″ longer, and sewed that on.  I decided to cut the pants down after sewing so I could make sure I was on the right track before crossing the point of no return.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

This was more comfortable, but it also meant I needed to curve the waistband a bit.  I added some darts (which added a few drag lines, but what are you gonna do?), and this seemed workable.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I tried the pants on and was pretty happy with them.  They are SUPER wide-legged as drafted, but I decided to keep the width and try them out for a while.  Mine also have more ease in the hips than many other versions I’ve seen online, but I chose my hip size according to my measurements, and find the fit in the hips really comfortable.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I liked the back view, and was happy with them when standing, but after wearing them for a few days, I realized I COULD NOT wear them any longer.  Something is up with the crotch seam such that it cuts into me in the front when sitting, and I cannot wear them any more until I figure that out.  I really hate going back into a project once it’s done, but I put them in my mending pile, and I’m going to compare the crotch seam of this pattern with the crotch seam of the Ginger Jeans, which are very comfortable, and see what the difference is.  I’m hoping I can add in a (hopefully invisible) patch to lengthen the front seam or something so that these can at least be wearable.  I think my Jutland pants actually need this adjustment too, although they are not nearly as uncomfortable (in fact, this is something I have only noticed recently).  It looks like I have a little sleuthing to do, which means I get to learn more about pants fitting.  Right?

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

My overall analysis is that this is a good pattern, the instructions are well done, and Kelly of True Bias has actually put out a design that is different from what everyone else is doing (in a really good way).  As more and more pattern companies come on the scene, it seems to be harder and harder to find unique patterns, so I like that these aren’t available in 1,000 iterations from every company.  If you are thinking about this pattern, I would say: go for it.  Every pattern will have to be fitted to your unique body, and as hard as that can be at times, it also helps us learn and become better at this craft that we love.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the Google Arts & Culture app?  I haven’t explored it fully, but my family and I did have some fun with the selfie feature that pairs your picture with a piece of art the app thinks looks like you.  I managed to get two pairings to different selfies:Matching people to art:  Google Arts & Culture

    and

Matching people to art:  Google Arts & Culture

You can read all about this in this article on Google’s blog.

  • I’ve really been enjoying listening through some of the fiction works of writer Wendell Berry (most recently Hannah Coulter and That Distant Land).  He creates a community that isn’t perfect, but still manages to make me want to be my best self.
  • I think I could make a coat like this men’s wool shirt jacket from L.L. Bean by using Simplicity 4109.  One day, I WILL realize my shirt jacket dreams! 😉
  • Funny stuff from Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell:

The Perfect Summer Cutoffs: Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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The Perfect Summer Cutoffs:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

It’s late summer here, and I think it’s time I introduced you to my most-worn shorts of the season.  This year I finally realized that the shorts I’ve been making myself are kind of…well, short.  This may have been obvious to everyone around me, but it really wasn’t obvious to me until I realized that I wanted some longer shorts and only had one pair that I had thrifted.  But I know how to sew, so that’s a problem I can fix!  😀

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Enter what is quickly becoming a favorite pattern not only for my husband (see versions one and two of his cargo pants from this pattern), but also for me (my pants version is here):  Thread Theory’s Jutland Pants pattern.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

My husband loves this pattern because he loves cargo pants, but I love this pattern because, for some reason, it fits me!  It doesn’t fit me to the sewing world standard of “perfect fit”.  It fits me in the way women would want a pair of men’s jeans to fit for that authentic “boyfriend jeans” look or in the way that you want a pair of work pants to fit.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

This summer, I dreamed of a pair of long cutoffs that weren’t tight, but were loose and comfortable.  More and more, I realize that I want my summer clothes to be loose and breezy, and my winter clothes to feel like a warm hug.  😉

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Before our trip out to visit family earlier in the summer, I cut these jeans out of a non-stretch denim that I bought at Fabric Place Basement, and flew through the sewing!  I wanted these done FAST, so I didn’t do much extra top-stitching or any seam finishes beyond zigzagging my seam allowances.  I didn’t even hem them, because I wanted them to look like cutoffs.  I figured that I was making them secure enough to last, but if they showed some fraying and wear and tear, they would have even more of that authentic look.  And let me just say, I LOVE these shorts.  In fact, I have to hold myself back from wearing them every day.

The only thing I did differently from my pants version (besides the length) was to use the actual Jutland Pants back pockets rather than the back pockets from the Ginger Jeans.  I knew that the Jutland Pants back pockets were bigger and more square, but I just wanted to try them to see if I would like them.  And I do!

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Another thing I like about these shorts is that you can wear them long or roll them up one or two times, giving you some different options.  I probably wear them rolled up twice most often, but I really like all the different lengths I can achieve.  Now I’m beginning to wonder if they would look good in canvas and if I have enough left over from other Jutland pants I’ve made…

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

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Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

That might be a job for next summer, though.

Recommendations

    • After going to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I would definitely recommend them!  Now I want to go back and go camping!  (You can see my last post for some pictures of our trip.)
    • I just finished listening to the audio version of Willpower:  Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John  Tierney.  It was a really fascinating psychological look at what willpower is and how you can cultivate it in your life.  I think I need to go back and listen through it again.
    • Devon Iott (@missmake on Instagram) does it again!  I’ve got her version of Style Arc’s Josie Hoodie in my head, and now I want to make my own!
    • This video is a little longer than what I usually post, but it was interesting to learn about the “Pros & Cons of Common Fabrics” both for everyday and as far as environmental impact.  I definitely learned some things!

Finally Just Right: McCall’s 6848 Shorts

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It may be September, but summer isn’t over until the first day of fall on September 22, so it’s been shorts-land over here lately.  Yes, Shorts-Land is a place, and that place has been my house, where I’ve been sewing up a ton of basic and not-so-basic shorts this summer.  Like many aspects of sewing, I’ve been putting shorts and pants off because I didn’t know how to fit them, but I also know that I really need to try if I’m ever going to learn.

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McCall’s 6848 is a pattern I’ve been tweaking little by little, and I think I finally have it right.  This is actually a pajama pattern, but after making my first pair of shorts from it (View D), I realized this it was going to be more of a summer staple than pajamas.

McCall's 6848

McCall's 6848

One thing I’ve found in the little bit of pants/shorts sewing I have done is that bottoms sometimes feel as though they are too high in the front and too low in the back for me.  This was definitely the case with my first pair of these shorts.  So, I got out the good ol’ Singer Sewing Reference Library books and looked up fitting, until I came up with some ideas.  For my second pair of shorts, I took a wedge out of the front and added a wedge into the back.  This got my shorts really close to what I wanted, but the front legs felt just a little…well, not tight, but not quite right–a little like they were pressing against me too much in the front of the legs.  So, for this last pair, I lengthened the back crotch point just a bit and…finally just right!!!

McCall's 6848

 

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They feel exactly like I want them to.  For this pair, due to my need for basics, I decided to try out the new Art Gallery Fabrics Denim.  I got it at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH (who, by the way, I’ve started doing some social media for, which is super cool).  I was kind of skeptical about this thin fabric.  I didn’t really believe it was denim, because the weight is closer to a quilting cotton, although it’s much drapier.  When you look at the weave, though, it really is a denim weave.  All that to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it.  I managed to make these up before the road trip we went on in July, and they were perfect in the car.  I guess it’s always a good day when you can wear something designed as pajamas in your everyday life.

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I even put a little lace flower in there as my back tag.

The one extra thing I did (besides that flower) was add some long bartacks at the sides.  I know from experience that these shorts can catch on things…and rip.  It’s no fun ripping a hole in the side of your new shorts.

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The only other thing I would change if I made these again would be to add pockets.  It’s pretty annoying not to have any, but I think, at this point, I want to focus more on fit than modifying patterns with extra features.  So, I’ll save it as a future idea.

Recommendations

  • I’ve got to recommend it again–BRIMFIELD!  It’s going on now, and if you are an antique-lover anywhere near western Massachusetts, I highly recommend you go.  Brimfield is the largest outdoor antique market in the US and it’s going on this week until Sunday.  You can find all the details at the above link.
  • I tried one of the best recipes EVER on Monday.  It was Bostocks from the Seven Spoons cookbook.  It’s an amazing combination of day old brioche (like challah bread), orange simple syrup, and almond cream.  It’s totally worth the work, and you can make the various elements ahead of time.  Check your library…I bet they have it!
  • How about more learning about fabric?  Here’s a link to another of the Cotton + Steel substrate series.  This time it’s all about their cotton/linen canvas fabric!  Interesting!
  • And finally, I’ve got one more video from Cotton + Steel about how their fabric is manufactured and printed over in Japan.  It’s pretty cool to see how it’s all made:

 

Pleasant Pathways Shorts, or I Need Some Basics

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Hi, guys!  I hope you’ve been having a good week.

Today’s project is brought to you by the need for basics.  I’m like a lot of sewing people.  I get drawn in by the pretty, happy, shiny prints and end up with a closet full of crazy, crazy fun…that doesn’t all go together.  I also tend to make a lot of tops, because I’m still trying to get over my fear of sewing pants due to my lack of fitting knowledge.

Well, you can’t learn if you don’t try, right?  So, along with the tops, I’ve been working on shorts this summer.

Pleasant Pathways Shorts

This pair, however, was more of a known quantity, so I made them up earlier this summer when I went nuts sewing easier, known stuff after all the complex things I’d been doing.  I’ve made this shorts pattern before, back when I started sewing seriously, and the fit has always been great.  I never needed to alter them.  Besides the fit, the other great thing about this pattern is that it is free, free, FREE!  You can find it here.  It’s one that Anna Maria Horner made for Janome.

Pleasant Pathways Shorts

I still wear my first pair of shorts from this pattern (the green ones in this post).  In looking at my measurements now, I should probably grade out at the hip, but I used some stretch denim that was left over from my Ginger Jeans extravaganza, so the fit turned out great, and they’re very comfortable.

Pleasant Pathways Shorts

I didn’t have a navy zipper, so I used what I had, which happened to be red, but thanks to my fairly new invisible zipper foot, you can’t see the red much.  Plus…I don’t actually mind.  I like little surprising details and contrasting colors.

Pleasant Pathways Shorts

Someday I’d love to add pockets and maybe a waistband to this, but for now, this pattern was just what I needed as far as sewing a known pattern and something basic that fit well and matched with most things.  I highly recommend it.

So that’s it!  I hope you give these a try if you are looking for some simple shorts.

I’ve still got some summer sewing to fit in, so you’ll likely be seeing more of that here for a bit.  Summer isn’t officially over until September 22!

Pleasant Pathways Shorts

Recommendations

  • As an art lover and a surfing…spectator, I love seeing the boards at Album Surf.  Check them out for some serious eye candy.
  • I thought Hila’s Nautical Outfit turned out great!  Striking colors and patterns!
  • Cotton + Steel Fabrics teamed up with Colette Patterns awhile back to explain some of the different fabric substrates they use.  If you’ve ever wanted to learn about double gauze, check it out on Cotton + Steel’s site here.
  • Here’s a video about Cotton + Steel’s double gauze collection, Bespoke.  It was interesting to hear about their thought process and to learn more about double gauze itself.