Tag Archives: fashion

Brimfield! May 2022

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Brimfield!  May 2022

Last Friday I went to the Brimfield antique fair in Brimfield, Massachusetts after a few years off. Like so many things that we didn’t do during the last few years, the time off made it feel a bit strange and outside the realm of my normal routine, like I had to break the ice all over again. But with the company of my best Brimfield buddy, Jo-Alice, we travelled old roads again and went to this, one of our favorite events, and it was just as great as ever.

I took a few pictures for you so you could get a sense of the experience, too. Check it out!

Vintage Clothes

There are always so many vintage clothes to see at Brimfield. You can find them scattered throughout the various fields, but there’s always a huge tent at the Mahogany Ridge field. (Here’s a link to a map of the fields I mention.)

Brimfield!  May 2022

I found some real treasures there. Vintage clothes rarely fit me, but I like to take pictures of ideas I could use in my own sewing, or just things that look interesting.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
That embroidery is so beautiful!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Make your own wedding veil!

Brimfield Barn also has an area with some beautiful vintage clothes.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Even the underwear is beautiful!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Baby clothes that look like they were batch dyed. Pretty!
Brimfield!  May 2022

There were lots of other good finds scattered throughout Brimfield, too. Check out this wool jacket.

Brimfield!  May 2022

The pockets were pretty cool.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Now I want pockets like this!
Brimfield!  May 2022

Kitchen Items

I always love to look at all the kitchen tools and dishes because so many of them are still useable in a modern kitchen, and my favorite things to find at Brimfield are the things I can use. Even those that are more display items are often really beautiful. For instance, check out this hand-crank whisk. It seems like an early version of a Kitchen-Aid.

Brimfield!  May 2022
The gear on it is so beautiful.
Brimfield!  May 2022
These cups remind me of some my grandparents had when I was growing up.
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
This booth had some of the most amazing salt and pepper shakers. I think the windmill and the lawnmower were my favorites. The windmill also had a space for sugar, and turning the blades of the windmill made the salt and pepper shakers pop up.

Sewing Tools

There are a lot less sewing tools, patterns, and machines than I would have expected at Brimfield–I’m struck by this every year–but I suppose it’s not surprising. We live in a big country and while there are numerous devoted sewing people out there, it’s not a huge percentage of the population.

After years of sewing and antiquing, I have seen a lot of what is out there, but at J & J Promotions (another of the fields), I ran across a booth that had incredibly beautiful sewing tools, many of which I had never seen before. This booth, in a tent with several others, was run by The Freeman Family, and I had the best time talking to Vickie about what the different tools were used for. Many of them were for fine needlework beyond what I will probably ever do, but some of them were gorgeous versions of commonly used tools.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Look at those embroidery scissors!

One of my favorite things about Brimfield is learning about tools and other things that I never knew existed. The dealers know so much, and while there have been times when I haven’t felt like chatting, I usually really enjoy asking questions about the unique and wonderful things they are selling. It adds so much to the experience of being at Brimfield.

Other Interesting Finds

Some stuff at Brimfield is just weird. And that’s part of the fun.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Somebody forgot to brush!
Brimfield!  May 2022
A three-piece kayak! The last piece was stored inside the front piece. Clever!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022

My Treasures

I came home with a few treasures. I always keep a list of things to look for for myself, the house, friends, and family. I really love finding gifts for antique-loving family members. This time I got those beautiful embroidery scissors I showed you above (a birthday gift for someone who doesn’t read my blog), the steel pennies above for my husband (one is also a gift for someone who doesn’t read this blog), as well as:

Brimfield!  May 2022

some small Wiss scissors and a brass (I think?) thimble–it’s the style of thimble with no end on it. You use the sides to push the needle through. I bought these together for $5 total. I really don’t need more scissors, but I do love good ones, and I seem to unintentionally be starting a collection of Wiss scissors. Whoops! Haha.

The thimble was great because it actually fit me, and as soon as I put it on, I could feel that there was a right way to wear it. Whoever had used it before had used it enough that it started to form to their finger, and you can feel that when you wear it. I love that.

Brimfield!  May 2022

I got this bag for my husband, but it wasn’t quite the right shape for him, so now it’s MIIINNNEEEE! Yay! It’s perfect for me.

And, here are my favorite things that I got:

Brimfield!  May 2022

A pair of turquoise earrings, and a turquoise ring. I got them at different places, but I have enjoyed wearing them together. One of my big goals was to find a silver ring with a big, semi-precious stone in it. This one is just right and fits several of my fingers depending on if it is humid or not outside. I really enjoy looking at turquoise jewelry, although I rarely buy any, so it was great to find two good deals on these.

It was so good to break the ice and get back to Brimfield, but what made it even better was spending the whole day with Jo-Alice. I have done Brimfield alone, and I love it, but it’s even better when you can go with a friend who is a good match for your pace and shopping style.

One of the things that I noticed at one point is how Brimfield really turns the normal ideas of what is valuable upside-down. We were in a booth looking at some completely torn up jeans, but they had been hung up like a work of art. Nearby, there were some jeans for sale that had been beautifully mended. There are a lot of things you can find at an antique fair that in normal daily life get forgotten or overlooked, but in that context are treated as treasures and valued for the work that went into their creation and the potential for work or beauty they still hold. As a maker and as a Christian, those themes of finding beauty in the broken and overlooked are ones that I hold dear, so it was cool to see them played out here, too. Sometimes the things that get cast aside have more value than we realize if we have eyes to see. I love that.

At the end of the day, we were sweaty and tired from walking on and off for nine hours, but we had a wonderful time, ate like Hobbits, and talked the day away. If you get the chance to go to Brimfield or a local antique fair, I highly recommend it.

Sweater Knitting: Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

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Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Oh, boy, this was a big one! Today’s project is the Arrowhead Cardigan by Anna Cohen for Imperial Stock Ranch, and it took me a long time and a lot of head scratching to figure it out, but I did it!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

This cardigan was definitely above my skill level, but I’m happy to say that perseverance paid off, I learned a ton, I conquered some fears (steeking!), and made it to the finish line. And it fits, which I have struggled with in the past.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Now for the details!

The Yarn

Sweaters are a big undertaking when it comes to finding and choosing yarn, especially if you want to watch your costs. Plainly put, it’s expensive to knit a sweater. Yarn cost is always a factor for me, especially on larger projects. Thankfully, there is a wide range of yarn and price points, if you are willing to dig a bit. And I love the digging–it’s like a treasure hunt.

I found what I was after online at WEBS (yarn.com) in the closeout section. Univeral Yarn Deluxe Worsted offered some bright colors in a 100% wool yarn (non-superwash, worsted spun) at a great price. Reviews were a bit mixed, but I decided to take the risk. My skin isn’t super sensitive to wool and I planned to wear this over a shirt.

I ordered three skeins of “Blushing Bride” (pink) and seven skeins of “Strip Light Yellow”. With shipping, my cost was around $50. That’s more than I like to spend on fabric for a sewing project, but for a sweater, that’s really economical. When the yarn came, it looked and felt great. Before ordering, I had done my best to determine if the colors were far enough apart in value (gray scale) that they would stand out distinctly, and they were. In person, they were just as good.

The Pattern + Knitting

I was really struck by this pattern when I saw it. The design was beautiful and it looked oversized and cozy in all the best ways. I looked at others’ projects on Ravelry and really liked the sweater in different colors as well. Also, I have to admit the original styling for the pattern was right up my alley, and it didn’t hurt that I knit most of this while watching the first 13 seasons of Heartland (a Canadian show set on a horse and cattle ranch) with my daughter. Sometimes I think of this as my “Heartland Cardigan”. All I need is a horse and a farm to go with it! Oh, and a lifetime supply of farming knowledge. You know, the little things. ūüėČ

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

My gauge came out pretty close to correct at about 17 stitches and 16/16.5 rounds over 4″ x 4″ (the pattern calls for 17.5 stitches and 21 rounds over 4″ x 4″ (10 cm x 10 cm)). I never worry too much about row gauge since I can change the length of the sweater as I knit. I had already gone down from the suggested needle size of US 8 to a US 6, and since I am typically a loose knitter and this sweater has plenty of positive ease, I went down one size as well from the large to the medium. For my body ribbing, I used US 4’s. Since knitting smaller circumferences can tighten your knitting, for my sleeves I went up to US 7’s with US 5’s for the sleeve ribbing. And then I just hoped and prayed it would all work out.

I decided I wanted the pink to be my dominant color (the one that would stand out the most), and after looking through some notes on Ravelry, I decided to catch my floats every 7 stitches. I recolored all my charts so I wouldn’t get confused and knit the wrong color (like I did in one of my Sparks socks), and I made full, colored charts of the sleeves so that I wouldn’t make mistakes there. Those charts took me a long time to color and create, but it was so worth it!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can see one of my sleeve charts in the background of this picture.

When I tell you this pattern was above my skill level, I’m not kidding. I’ll admit that I am used to using patterns that hold my hand, and I love that. It gives me the confidence to dive into things I have never tried, knowing the help is there for me to figure it all out in the course of the project. There was a lot more assumed knowledge with this pattern, and occasionally I would have to think about a direction or next step for a few days or dig into some knitting books or the internet to figure out how I was supposed to proceed. It meant I made pretty slow progress, but the breaks to puzzle things out ended up paying off each time. I’ll skip the blow by blow description of what I did on each step, but if you could see my copy of this pattern, you would see margins filled with notes.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

I have a theory that really, really wanting to make something can carry you through a big project, even if it’s beyond what you have done before. This sweater further solidified that idea in my mind.

An Error

If you take on this sweater, which is a good one, despite the complexity, you should note that there is an error in the medium size instructions. When you begin the body and have to join in the round, the part that says to knit 105 stitches should say 106 stitches. If you don’t change that, you will be short of the 220 stitches you are supposed to have after joining in the round. This will also impact your stitch counts as you go through the pattern. Sometimes you will have to add a stitch, sometimes two, at various points, so keep an eye on that. The charts were fine, by the way, it was just the written directions that were off.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Eek! A Steek!

This sweater is knit from the bottom up as one big tube, with panels of stitches in the areas you will have to open up for the front opening and the armholes.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can see the steek panels here in the center front and on the tops of the sides.

You open these areas by sewing within that panel (I used my sewing machine) and then cutting down the middle.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
The burgundy lines are the zigzag stitches I sewed in the central steek panel. This stitching anchored my knit stitches so the sweater wouldn’t fray when I cut it.

Seems scary, right? And it was, but also exciting. I practiced on my swatch after doing lots of steek research on the internet, and that worked out well.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
My gauge swatch/practice swatch
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
I protected the back side of my sweater with a piece of cardboard between the layers.

It’s such a crazy idea to cut your knitting, but it really works!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

After doing that, whether at the front or sleeves, you pick up stitches to knit the sleeves and the ribbing around the front opening, and then later you knit facings to cover the raw edges and the sewing machine stitches. I worried that sewing down my facings would show from the outside, but it didn’t.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
The facings are the vertical pink lines at the opening

Since my row gauge was off, I decided to steek the front opening after finishing the body a little before the directions told me to. That way I could try the sweater on and see if my sleeves were at a length I liked before adding the final patterning and ribbing at the wrists and finishing them. Once I had steeked the front, I also blocked what I had to get a better sense of that sleeve length. And I was nervous, because I was not knitting quite as loosely as I had expected, so I just needed to see how things were going.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Doing all of this gave me a lot of helpful information, and I’m so glad I did it.

This is the project where the idea of using lifelines really solidified in my brain as well. I found the shoulder area especially confusing to knit, so before starting, I added some blue pearl cotton to my live stitches in case I messed up and had to rip back. Luckily, I didn’t have to rip back, but it was nice having that security. You can see a bunch of these blue lifelines three pictures up where I had just cut my front steek.

Finishing

I began knitting in August of 2021 and I finally finished my sweater in March of 2022. Seven months! I didn’t work on this non-stop, and usually only put in time while watching TV on a lot of evenings. I’m really happy with how it came out and that it actually fits.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can change the fit a little depending on how tightly you wrap the front
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

It’s very interesting, now that I have knit several sweaters that actually fit, to see what I reach for and what fits best in my current wardrobe. I don’t wear this quite as much as I thought I would since it can be a little hard to find pants and shirts to go under it, and I tend to reach for pullover styles more (my purple Wool & Honey sweater is my most-worn sweater by far). It’s very comfortable, though, and I like wearing it. It has pilled somewhat, but the pills are very easy to remove. It is not scratchy unless I am wearing a bag on my shoulder that presses it down, and then it is a little scratchy in that area. I feel like my yarn choice has paid off, however. I love how bright the sweater is, and the amazing designs in it. If you don’t look too closely, it sometimes looks like the sleeves match up with the pattern of the body. They don’t, of course, but it’s easy to think they do initially.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

This sweater really stretched me, and taught me a lot. It helped me conquer the fear of steeking, and helped me realize that if I think long enough, and search hard enough, I can find the answers to a lot of knitting questions. This project made me feel like I levelled up, specifically in stranded colorwork, which is my current favorite area of knitting.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

‘There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing’: Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

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‘There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing’:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

We’re in the last few weeks of fall, winter starts on December 21, and the temperature is dropping! Time to work on cold-weather clothes. Yay! Now, I’m not talking about coats. That’s an area I haven’t yet explored. I’m talking about the clothes you wear throughout your day.

I don’t live in the coldest place in all the world, but it does get cold here in Massachusetts. We usually have a respectable amount of snow, and the temperature spends plenty of time below freezing. I get cold. But the Alaskan proverb I used as part of the title of this post has proven true for me. I have learned how to layer, and in order to do that, I need clothes with some room in them, unless they are made of stretchy, warm fabric. So let’s talk patterns and fabric that will work for winter and winter layering!

Tops

During the cold months, I typically wear a camisole, t-shirt, sweater/sweatshirt, and then sometimes another sweater, vest, or flannel shirt over that, if I’m really cold. I love the idea of wearing cute woven tops, but I always reach for the knit t-shirts. If you find that you do the same, here are a few to try:

Woodley Tee from Thread Theory

This t-shirt is “a classic relaxed fit t-shirt sewing pattern”, according to Thread Theory’s website. It looks like the perfect everyday t-shirt. Thread Theory pays meticulous attention to detail, so you know that any pattern from them will be high quality. They also have a men’s version of this pattern here.

Not only am I excited about this pattern because I know Thread Theory creates great things, I’m also excited that it’s being shown as a pattern you can do real work in (check out the other pictures in the pattern listing on the site to see what I mean). No, I don’t work on a farm (at least not yet), or on a construction site, but I still like clothes I can “get things done” in. I work in my home, and I need to be able to do a million different jobs in my everyday clothes, not to mention that I love quality workwear as a clothing type for its design and durability.

Another pattern that I have long wanted to try, but haven’t yet is Vogue 8950, which is one of their “Very Easy Vogue” patterns.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

This pattern would be great with leggings or if you need a shirt long enough to tuck in. It could also help you use some smaller off-cuts of fabric you might have around for the back, chest, and shoulder sections.

Another top that you could take in a lot of different directions (base layer, fancy top, everyday shirt, sweater) is Burda Style 6990.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

This raglan top can have a wide or narrow neckline, mock turtle, turtle neck, or cowl neck, as well as a few different lengths. I wish Burda Style’s size range was more expansive, but regardless, it looks like a good pattern, and is listed as “super easy”.

For a raglan with a few different options, but more expansive sizing, check out the Visby Henley from Itch to Stitch.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I made this last year, and found it to be a great pattern.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
My Visby Henley in wool blend waffle knit

Pants and Leggings

I like two types of bottoms in the winter: either woven pants with room for long underwear underneath or leggings–the cozier the fabric, the better.

The woven pants I’m excited about this winter are from Simplicity 8391*, a pattern I have really grown to love.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

The pants in this pattern are cropped, but it’s easy to add length. My last pair was made from denim.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

It would be a cinch to add another inch or two and make these from velveteen or wool (lined, of course), both of which I have in my stash. Keep the decorative buttons, like I did on my denim pair, for a cute sailor-inspired look, or leave them off and make straight/wide leg dress pants. It would be no problem to wear a pair of long underwear pants, leggings, or tights underneath for added warmth.

For an (almost) all-in-one option, what about the overalls from Kwik Sew 3897*?

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

I had sort of written this one off as not quite what I wanted until I saw Martha’s version of it on her blog, Buried Diamond. I absolutely love her overalls. In fact, I highly recommend her blog for some major sewing and bright color inspiration.

Now, let’s think about leggings! My favorite leggings in the colder months are the ones made from stretch fleece, like Polartec Power Stretch. I source most of my Polartec fleece online from Mill Yardage. My husband got me their complete swatch pack, since Polartec makes so many different types of fleece, and it has really helped me choose the right fabric for various projects, even when ordering from sites other than Mill Yardage. Power Stretch is one of my favorites.

I think it would be great used in the free Peg Legs Pattern from Patterns for Pirates.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

From what I have read, they fit like compression leggings, so if you want that fit, use your size according to your measurements. If you want a slightly more relaxed everyday fit, go up one size.

I really can’t believe I haven’t tried this pattern yet. Not only is the the basic pattern free, they have created an add-on pattern with different options like side pockets, colorblocked side panels, a contour waistband, etc.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

They also have a maternity add-on,

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

and a colorblock pack, with even more options–all for free!

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

Things to wear over those t-shirts

Now we need something to wear over the t-shirt or over the sweater that’s over the t-shirt. I’ve got it covered! (haha, no pun intended)

One very intriguing sweatshirt/sweater I found is Vogue 1635.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

I hadn’t even noticed this pattern until I saw Lori’s version of it on her blog, Girls in the Garden. It’s a really interesting pattern that uses a zipper as a design element along one sleeve and up into the collar.

Just about the only woven shirts I wear when the weather gets cold are flannels and shirt jackets. Simplicity came out with a unisex pattern in three lengths that looks really cool. It’s Simplicity 9388, and I’ve already seen the longer version making the rounds on a few different blogs.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

McCall’s 7913* is great if you have a pre-quilted fabric or if you want to quilt your own. This one is also unisex and has a shirt jacket or a vest option.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

I love a good vest. Right now I’m in the process of making the Men’s Santiam Vest from The Green Pepper Patterns for myself, since the size range in the women’s version was a bit smaller than what I wanted.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

I’m pretty excited about this one, but I seem to be sewing at a glacial pace these days, so it’s coming, but it’s not ready yet. I’m planning to use some insulated Carhartt canvas I got at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI this summer, and I’m going to line it in a curly Polartec fleece from The Rain Shed and add wool accents. So exciting!

I’m also interested in The Green Pepper’s pattern for the Plush Polar Jacket and Vest (#507). I have a gray fleece vest from L.L. Bean that I got in high school, and these days it’s a little snugger than I would like. I’d love to replace it with one that fits me better in a fun color. Someday!

If I wanted to dress up, I like Burda 7769, which I have had in my pattern library for a long time, but have never made.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

It looks like they have reissued this pattern with updated photos. Wouldn’t it be cool in wool or velveteen? Yes, it would! I don’t need too many nicer-looking clothes these days, but I do need a few, and this would be fun.

One last vest that you could make look sporty or dressy is Simplicity 1499.

There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter
There is No Cold Weather, Only Cold Clothing:  Sewing Ideas for a Cold Winter

I made this once from a quilted flannel I upcycled, but I have never tried View C. That style could easily be made nice for when you want to look a little more put together.

Hopefully this has given you a few more winter things to try. I always love seeing pattern round-ups and people’s ideas of different patterns for different seasons. What are you sewing that you are excited about this season?

For past winter pattern round-ups, check out my “Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas!” from 2020, and “My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns” from 2019

*For any patterns no longer listed on their company’s website, I have linked to Pattern Review, so you can see a picture of the pattern with line drawings. This usually means the pattern is out of print. Out of print patterns can often be found on third party websites like Etsy and eBay.

Field Trip: The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

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Field Trip:  The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

I went on a field trip last week to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see Georgia O’Keeffe:¬† Art, Image, Style.¬† I heard this exhibit was coming way back in May on the Thread Cult podcast.¬† It was exciting because the exhibit isn’t just about her paintings, but also contains her clothing, some of which she sewed.¬† I had a free pass to the museum and I saved it just for this show.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Georgia O’Keeffe is not one of my favorite painters, but having studied art, and now applying my artistic side through making clothing for myself, this exhibit sounded exciting to me.¬† I certainly wasn’t disappointed.¬† I loved it.¬† The funny thing is, it wasn’t the paintings that I loved or her¬†exact clothing style.¬† I loved seeing the two together with images of her by various photographers, seeing her tiny, tiny stitches, seeing how she created her own style.¬† I’ve never read a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, so I don’t know what her personality was like, but going through the exhibit gave me a sense of someone who found out what she liked and quietly went with it (feel free to set me straight in the comments if she was loud and dramatic or something).

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Because sewing has become my own form of creative expression, I was moved to see how she created her own style that exemplified who she was…and she did it at an amazingly high skill level.¬† The miniscule and beautiful stitches, pintucks, and mending on her clothing was wonderful to me.¬† She sewed her clothing by hand!

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

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Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These tiny lines in the fabric are pintucks–small folds of fabric that she created and stitched down by hand.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Garments shown above are all believed to have been sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.¬† These pictures really cannot convey the beautiful and precise hand stitches she used.

The exhibit was divided into two parts–before she went to New Mexico and after. ¬†Sewing wasn’t her main mode of expression, and as she went on in her career, she started to have others make her clothing, but even when she wasn’t sewing for herself, she used her apparel to express who she was.¬† It wasn’t a loud explosion of color or attention-grabbing fashion.¬† She quietly found her style and stayed with it, but when you see her fashion choices in the time after she began visiting New Mexico, things start to feel very contemporary. ¬†Some of the clothing she was choosing then is what people wear every day now.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These garments weren’t sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.¬† The styles are still in vogue today.

It wasn’t about being sexy, grabbing attention, or screaming at other people to follow her.¬† It was just about what she liked.¬† And you know what?¬† We are following her.¬† The show ends with a recent Dior fashion show that has numerous elements obviously inspired by O’Keeffe.

There is something really compelling about someone who quietly does their thing.¬† I’m tired of the loud and blustery.¬† I’ve done it, but I think I respect this more.¬† Even if my take on this show isn’t a clear and accurate picture of who she was, it certainly caused me to think.¬† It’s ok to carve out a unique path in fashion and in art.¬† It doesn’t have to be overly sexualized, because we’re more than that as people.¬† It doesn’t have to be loud to be compelling.¬† It doesn’t have to be in-your-face to make a difference.¬† Sometimes quiet diligence is what prevails.

This exhibit is showing through April 1, 2018.¬† You can see more pictures of the exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum’s website as well as on my Flickr page.

Recommendations

  • The Peabody Essex Museum has an excellent gift shop.¬† They have all sorts goods related generally to art and specifically to their exhibits, currently including black hats as that was a distinctive item of apparel that O’Keeffe adopted in her New Mexico years.¬† I found my own black hat that really felt like me.¬† Fashion and art take courage because both involve putting yourself out there.¬† I’m going to wear this until it doesn’t feel awkward any more, because I LOVE it.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

  • O’Keeffe was influenced by the writing and art of Arthur Wesley Dow, which reminded me of how much I love his work.¬† Some of his landscape paintings and his use of color really stop me in my tracks.
  • Since we were talking about fashion, I really like some of Dansko’s ankle boots lately.¬† Comfortable¬†and¬†good-looking!

Silk “Secret Pajamas”: McCall’s 6848

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Silk “Secret Pajamas”: McCall’s 6848

It’s time for another garment from my 2017 Summer Sewing list! ¬†McCall’s 6848, View C is a top I’ve made before (in pre-blogging days, maybe?)…and one that I love! ¬†I really wanted to make this simple top out of a flowy fabric to wear to work and church as well as with casual bottoms. ¬†When I saw that Fabric Mart had black silk crepe de chine on sale, I knew that I had found my ideal fabric.

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

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Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

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Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Now I know that silk is often viewed as a fabric that needs a lot of special care, but that is really up to you. ¬†If you want to dry clean your silk, you can, but you can also throw it in the washer and even the dryer if you want to. ¬†It does change the look of the fabric a bit if you wash it, but it doesn’t damage the fabric in any way. ¬†So, while I actually prefer the look of the prewashed silk, I knew that I wouldn’t dry clean it due to cost and inconvenience, so I prewashed and dried.

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

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Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Sewing up this pattern was really fast and easy.  I made it in a size large this time.  It only has three pattern pieces:  a front, a back, and a neckband.  It was easy to sew the side and shoulder seams with French seams, and the neckband encloses the raw edge around the neck.  For the sleeves, I just did a basic hem with the raw edge turned under so that it was enclosed.  Fast and easy with no exposed edges left to fray in the wash!

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

(front view, above)

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

(back view, above)

I love the boxy cut and drape of this shirt and, while I wear it as an everyday shirt rather than as pajamas, I can feel how lovely this would be as a silk pajama top. ¬†If you are looking for a basic drapey, boxy shirt pattern that is quick and easy, this is for you! ¬†I’ve already got another cut out in rayon. ¬†Highly recommend!

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Recommendations

  • Proceed with caution if you try this one out! ¬†Cooking Fever is a fun (and addictive) game where you have to serve your customers food as quickly as possible. ¬†The better you do, the more (virtual) money you’ll have to upgrade your appliances and restaurant. ¬†My fast food establishment is pretty awesome by now, I have to say! ¬†ūüėČ
  • The Refashioners blog series and competition is up and running again this year with a theme of suits. ¬†If you love refashioning, you can remake a suit into a new garment to compete for prizes (rules and prizes can be found here). ¬†Right now, Portia, owner of the Makery blog which is hosting the event, is posting inspiration by various bloggers. ¬†I was completely blown away when I saw Joost’s zebra-inspired coat. ¬†You HAVE to check it out!
  • I just finished the audiobook version of¬†Wonder by R. J. Palacio. ¬†It was a great kids’ fiction book about the power of kindness.

The Refashioners 2016

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It’s finally time to talk about The Refashioners 2016!

Refashioners 2016

I’ve been waiting a long time to share my #jeanius project with you.

The Refashioners is a challenge created by Portia Lawrie of Makery that showcases creative ways to refashion whatever the chosen garment for that year’s challenge is.¬† If you’ve been following along, you already know that this year’s garment of choice is jeans (#jeanius!).¬† Check out what I made!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

I’ve written about my creative process over on Makery, but if you want more details on working with the particular pattern I chose, Vogue 8750, you’ve come to the right place.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

As soon as Portia sent us our brief for this year’s Refashioners challenge, the gears in my mind started turning.  My local big box fabric store was having a pattern sale, so I went down there with notebook and pencil in hand, sat down in front of the big pattern catalogue books, and started making list.  Lists and lists of patterns that I might be able to create out of different pairs of jeans.  I decided to look for something that had multiple narrow pieces so I could cut them out of jeans legs.  I finally settled on Vogue 8750, a skirt pattern.  I chose View A, which is the shorter (but not actually short) pencil skirt.  This looked like it had a lot of possibility for color-blocking, and I was hoping to find some super-cool denim at my local thrift store.

With the help of a pattern and all the inspiration on my then-secret Denim Pinterest board, I went to my thrift store looking to find some railroad denim or…something inspiring. (I have a little railroad denim obsession at the moment).  No railroad denim.  But I did find…THIS!  Yellow denim, white, denim with hearts, and my own older pairs of dark blue.  Now it was all coming together!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Last year’s Refashioner’s contest helped me make a move up¬†from beginner to intermediate sewist. However, still not being super experienced, I don‚Äôt always make a muslin.¬† (Who am I kidding?¬† I skip it whenever I can.)¬† I know…I know…¬† It‚Äôs helpful, and I‚Äôm moving in that direction, but I‚Äôm not there for every project.¬† I actually DID make a practice garment for this one, though.¬† I made two, even!

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The first showed me that I needed to size down.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

A lot of people say they find this with Big 4 sewing patterns–I typically don’t, but in this case it was necessary, so it’s¬†a good thing I made a muslin.¬† I used the second muslin¬†to try lowering where the skirt sat on my hips and practice putting it all together a bit more.¬† The pattern tells you to ease the top of the skirt to the ribbon facing, but I had a lot of trouble with this and didn’t really want the skirt up at my natural waist.¬† I found that skipping the easing and just¬†cutting a ribbon to match the top of the skirt solved both problems.

Muslins can also be a great way to procrastinate on cutting into your final fabric while appearing busy.¬† ūüėȬ† I finally got up my courage, though, and found that I could easily fit my pattern pieces onto the jeans I had chosen (large men’s jeans for the white and yellow).¬† I tried out using one pair of children‚Äôs jeans for my middle panel, but had to backtrack when I saw that it just didn‚Äôt work.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The thing I wish I had done (and I’m still not sure how or why I didn’t after two practice garments) was think about how and when I was going to finish my seams.  I realized part way into my final draft that I really wanted to bind the edges of the seams with bias tape.  This is something best done as you go along and before you join various parts.  You can see a few places where my bias binding doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the seam.  Lesson learned.  I actually contemplated starting over when I realized that (plus, I was getting pretty good at making this pattern after a couple of versions), but it seemed to defeat the purpose of refashioning to throw an otherwise good garment-in-the-making out because of one little detail.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

The other interesting thing I discovered was that sometimes, in matching up seamlines (namely on the sides), it wasn’t about moving the pieces up or down to get them to match, but making the seam allowances the correct width for them to match. One of my sides matched immediately, and the other took several passes through the machine, taking the side in millimeter by millimeter in order to get it to match.  The skirt in-progress looked messy and crazy, but as I got things lined up, trimmed and bound my seams, and finished edges, it came together into something that looked polished.

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

When I finally finished, I had a thing of beauty.¬† It’s certainly not perfect, but I’m proud of it.¬† I think the best compliment I got was when I was in Rockport, Massachusetts shooting pictures, and I stopped in an art gallery.¬† Rockport is famous for its artists, and one of the artists in the gallery complimented me on my outfit.¬† When a person who spends their life looking for beauty compliments you on your outfit, you know you’ve done something right!¬† ūüėČ

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

Refashioners 2016:  Jeanius

My favorite thing about this challenge is that it makes me think like an artist. You get your parameters, but within them you have freedom.¬† How far can you push it?¬† What will you do to make your garment distinctive?¬† Will it be simple and sleek or heavily embellished?¬† This is what I talk about in more depth in my post on the Makery blog.¬† If you haven’t already, I hope you check it out and look through all the other posts as well to get some inspiration.¬† What do you think?¬† Will you be diving in?¬† There’s a pretty tempting prize package!

Last, but never least, thank you to my photographers–my husband Scott and my friend Colleen.¬† I appreciate your help SO MUCH!

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!¬† ūüėČ

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!¬† ūüėČ

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 G√ľttermann 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?¬† ūüėȬ† 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.

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.)