Tag Archives: sewing inspiration

Fall Sewing Inspiration

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One of the best things about sewing is the limitless possibilities it presents.  Every pattern or bit of gorgeous fabric is loaded with possibility.  As if that weren’t enough, people-watching provides its own set of garment styles and combinations to consider, as does “shopping” for ideas in stores.  Sewing gives me the power to make the things I see in the colors I want with the modifications necessary to fit me well.  While I like the process of sewing, with its inherent building of skill on skill and opportunity to try new things, I think my favorite parts are the planning and the finishing.

Fall Sewing Inspiration

I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to focus on for the fall for a long time now.  While in the warmer months I like to sew woven fabrics like cotton and linen in order to make garments that stand away from my body and allow air to flow, in the cooler months I have different priorities.  I want my clothes to allow for layering and feel like a warm hug.  😉  I’m looking for pants that either have enough room for long underwear to fit underneath or that are stretchy (like leggings) for ultimate comfort and flexibility.  I find myself drawn to knit tops (typically t-shirts) more frequently than woven tops because they are comfortable and can hold warmth in.  Additionally, in the last few years I’ve been thinking that it would be helpful to focus more on cardigans or light jackets rather than pullover-style sweaters and sweatshirts.  That way I can layer, adding interest to my outfits with various colors and textures, while keeping in step with the temperature around me.

All this leads me toward these garment types to focus on:  looser pants, t-shirts/knit tops, and cardigans/jackets.  I’m going to list some pattern ideas (with links and/or pictures) in each category.  I don’t plan to make all of these–they’re just ideas–but hopefully, if you are thinking along similar lines, you’ll find some interesting patterns to inspire you as well.

Pants

I’m tired of exclusively wearing closer-fitting jeans, even though it’s the silhouette I’ve grown used to seeing myself in.  It’s time to try some different styles.  I want pants that have ease for comfort and for the practicality of layering in colder weather.  For that reason, I’ve been exploring a few options.

  • Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.  I made a shorter version of these this summer, and I’m hoping they could be a good staple jean, especially if I go up a size for winter.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

  • Butterick 4995 wide-leg pants, View B.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    I’ve had this pattern for ages (it is actually out of print (OOP), but you could find it on Etsy).  I have linen set aside for these, and currently have a muslin/toile cut out to see if I like the shape enough to make a final version.  If I do, I may see how I like linen for fall, or make it in another fabric and save the linen for spring/summer sewing.

  • Lander Pant by True Bias.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    I wasn’t thrilled with these the first time I made them, but after wearing my first attempt for awhile, I think I could modify the fit to a place that I like.  I’ve seen some good corduroy versions of these.

  • Chinos.  I’m not entirely sure what pattern to use.  My top contenders are Simplicity 1696 (OOP), which I’ve made before (in gray sateen and octopus print),Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    Burda Style 7447 (OOP), which I haven’t tried yet,

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    Alina Design Co. Chi-Town Chinos, or Pauline Alice Port Trousers.  What I’m looking for is a tapered, but not tight style with a mid-rise, angled front pockets, and back welt pockets.  I’m leaning toward using the Simplicity or Burda patterns since I already own those, but I can’t decide if I like the fit on the Simplicity pants or not.  The zipper definitely needs to be set deeper in, but otherwise they are more or less what I want, and they are a known quantity.  I have Cloud9 Tinted Denim in “Heather” (pink) that would be great for these.

T-shirts/Knit Tops

  • Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    As soon as I tried this t-shirt, it became a favorite (merino wool knit and cactus print double brushed poly versions here).  The best part?  It’s FREE!  You can download the PDF to make it yourself, AND they have expanded their size range from what they had previously.  I have a wool knit and some Cotton + Steel cotton/spandex knit set aside for t-shirts.  My t-shirt situation is pretty sad right now, so I want to try to rectify that.

  • Coppélia by Papercut Patterns.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    This top can be a cropped wrap top or a longer faux wrap top.  My first version of the faux wrap top didn’t have the amount of stretch or ease I wanted, so I passed it on, but I would love to try again, especially since I want another chance to get that neck-band right.  I loved this pattern, even though my initial attempts weren’t perfect.

  • I had forgotten about Vogue 8950 (still in print!),Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    which is very similar to Papercut Patterns’ Ensis Tee.  This would be a fun take on a t-shirt with great color blocking options, and it’s a Very Easy Vogue pattern, so it could be a nice, quick win.

Jackets

  • Simplicity 8700.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    One of my long-term dreams has been to copy a favorite ready-to-wear jacket that I thrifted several years ago.

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    It’s slightly too small to be really comfortable and the upper back is too narrow, so I have often wished for a version that fits better.  I think this pattern could help me approximate my jacket.  If that doesn’t work, other pattern options could be these patterns designed for Simplicity by Wendy Mullin–Simplicity 4109 (OOP)

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    or Simplicity 3966 (OOP).

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    They’re out of print, but you can find them on Etsy or eBay.  I have some olive cotton twill that would work for this type of jacket.

  • Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns.  This is a really intriguing pattern.  It has interesting seamlines and definitely fits the category of clothing that could be like “a warm hug” for cold days.  The cocoon shape is such a weird, yet interesting fashion idea.  I go back and forth on how much I like the look of this one, but I find it really intriguing, and I’d love to make one.  Curiosity often gets the best of me with interesting patterns.
  • Women’s Kimono Jacket by Wiksten.  This falls into the same category as the Sapporo Coat in my mind.  I’m not sure it is always good-looking (although I have seen several versions that I thought looked great on Instagram), but it would be so comfortable and tick all my cool-weather clothing boxes.
  • Cardigans.  I want to think about this category further, but so far my only plan is to take the version of McCall’s 7476 I made last winter and cut it from floor-length to knee-length.Fall Sewing Inspiration

    McCall’s 7476

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    As fun as it was to parade around like Darth Vader in his flowing cloak, the length I chose isn’t the most practical, and it needs to be chopped.  If I were to make this again, I would also raise the V front a bit.

So those are the things I’m mulling over most for fall.  Of course I’ve also considered a skirt or two, a jumpsuit, some activewear, etc.  I always have so many ideas, that I tend to forget a lot of them, which is why I write them down and then periodically look back through my sketches and notes.   I plan and plan and then finally come up with my next batch and a general list of ideas for potential future projects.  They never all get made, but that doesn’t bother me.  I also make myself a seasonal mood board on the back of the door nearest my sewing machine.   I’m not sure how good I am at weaving all of the mood board ideas into my sewing, but some of them do show up, and it’s a lot of fun to make.  One thing from my most recent mood board that stands out is that I really want to find a way to incorporate bright colors into my cool-weather garments.  That has been an ongoing project for the last couple of years, and one I need to work harder on.  I’ve found a lot of inspiration from Katie Kortman on Instagram.

In case you are interested, here is the first batch of projects that I already have started for the transition into fall (pictured at the top of this post):

  • Restyle of a basic skirt.  I want to change the back to an elastic waist and add pockets.
  • Two Lark Tees.  I have felt mixed about this pattern, but I haven’t tried the v-neck yet, so I’m going to give it a go and see if I like it.  I have two cut out.
  • Morgan Jeans.  These were going to be for later in the fall, but I put them on the fast track, and they are already finished.  I just need to photograph them.
  • A Kalle Shirt (shown below).  I lengthened the cropped version.Fall Sewing Inspiration
  • A muslin of Butterick 4995 wide-leg pants.  I want to see if I like these enough to make a final version.
  • My current ongoing knitting project is the Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter.  I’m taking my time on this and learning to knit do colorwork while knitting Continental-style.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

Everything is traced and cut out, so now it’s time to sew, sew, sew (and knit).

Fall Sewing Inspiration

I got this antique drying rack on my last visit to Brimfield.  I’m testing it out as a structure to hold my traced and cut projects.

I’m hoping all the ideas I listed above will guide me as I make future plans throughout the fall and winter.  So, what about you?  If you want to play along, answer one or all of these questions in the comments below:

  • What is your ideal type of clothing for fall?
  • What are you planning or hoping to make in the cooler months (or the warmer months if you are in the Southern Hemisphere)?
  • What is inspiring you right now in your sewing?

Recommendations

  • After all this talk about planning, I have to recommend Episode 58:  Planning Projects on the Love to Sew Podcast.  If you like to plan projects (whether or not you actually make them), you will love this episode.
  • I’m recommending this to myself as much as to you:  go shopping and try on types of clothes that you are interested in sewing.  Don’t let yourself obsess over the fit or sizing of the clothes in the store.  Focus on if you like that style and if you would be excited to make it and wear your version that you made.  These days you can find a sewing pattern similar to most ready-to-wear styles.  How many failed projects could we save ourselves from if we did this?
  • I’ve been listening to The Innocence Mission a lot lately.  They make great music to sew to.  It’s like being in a quiet, magical world.

 

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I’m really excited about the jeans I have to share with you today.  I love all the details I put into them!  Just like the gingham shirt from last week, jeans provide a fun chance to experiment with details.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I made the decision to swap one of the tops (Simplicity 2255) on my 2017 Make Nine plan for some Ginger Jeans, partly because I needed some jeans, but also because I was no longer sure if that top was the right use for the precious fabric I had planned for it.

I knew that Me-Made-May was coming up, and I needed more pants, AND, last but not least, Pintuck & Purl was hosting a Jeans Sewing Master Class with Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Patterns, maker of the Ginger Jeans pattern…and, you know, I thought that warranted a new pair.  😉

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I am both completely in love with these jeans and slightly annoyed by the subtle fit issues that I didn’t notice until after these were finished.  We can leave the annoyances until later–let’s talk about the fun stuff!

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I knew before I even had the fabric that I wanted to use yellow exposed zippers on these (partly because I completely forgot to put them in my green pair), and I knew I could do it because I learned how when making my Refashioners 2015 jacket (worn in the picture above).  The instructions come from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (1976 edition), my favorite sewing reference.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I’ll give you a quick rundown of the other supplies I used and where they are from, in case you are curious (I’m always curious about these sorts of things.).  Also, I know there are a billion links in this post.  I love information, and I want you to have all the information I have in case it will help you.  None of these are affiliate links, although I do work part-time at Pintuck & Purl.

  • Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns:  Pintuck & Purl
  • stretch denim: Pintuck & Purl
  • yellow exposed zippers:  ZipIt Zippers on Etsy (a really great shop for zippers!)
  • sparkly gold fly zipper:  Pintuck & Purl
  • jeans button:  Wawak
  • yellow Gutermann topstitching thread and navy Gutermann construction thread:  Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • red Coats topstitching thread: either Pintuck & Purl or Jo-Ann’s
  • interfacing:  Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric for pockets, waistband lining, and bias tape on the hem:  ?? (I can’t remember where I got this!  It’s been in my stash for a long time.)
  • gold leather patch:  a gift from Elizabeth Berthoud of Sac A main

One great discovery with this pair of jeans is that my Singer Featherweight sewing machine does great with Gutermann topstitching thread.  I was ready to swear that thread off because it didn’t do well in my Elna 3005 the last time I made jeans, but this time I set up both machines so I could use my Elna for construction and my Featherweight for topstitching, and both machines did great with their respective threads.  I used the red Coats topstitching thread in the Elna and it worked great.  It’s so rare that anything disagrees with my Elna that I assumed the problem was with the thread, but I’m glad I tried the Gutermann with the other machine (admittedly, I only did this because it was the only yellow/gold topstitching thread I had on hand and I didn’t want to run out to get more).

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So, with the exception of the exposed zippers, which I had to put in before doing the pockets, I followed the directions as written.  I made a size 14, View A (low rise, stovepipe legs).  The back pocket topstitching design came from a bunch of topstitching designs Heather sent out to newsletter subscribers.  It was really fun to pick one out.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

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Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

I was also inspired by my coworker Lauren to add bias trim to the hem of the my pants and a contrasting thread color on my buttonhole as well as some contrasting bartacks.  She makes cool clothes.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So let’s talk fabric.  I chose this great stretch denim, and I really love it.  It’s very different (in a good way) from the inexpensive denim I used for my first pair.  It has a great hand and feels substantial, yet still stretchy.  What I DIDN’T do (but should have) is wear my jeans around for a few hours after basting them.  I was impatient.  I admit it.  I basted them, wore them around for a few minutes, and called them good.  And they were.  They were just right.  So, I sewed them up, and finished them off.  I washed them to get any chalk marks off and hung them up to dry (by the way, I did wash and dry the fabric in the dryer more than once before making these).  Then, I put them on and…they seemed a little looser than I remembered…and a little longer than my other two pairs.  Hm.  In my concern about not making them too tight (you know I love some ease!), I didn’t account for differences in fabric.  This stretch denim is stretchier than my other two pairs.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I also asked Heather to take a look at my jeans during a lull in the jeans class (I was around to help out on day one), and she gave me a few fitting tips that she said could remove the excess fabric in the back and my need for a belt.  Her advice was both generous and helpful, and might also apply to my gray pants with the mysterious extra fabric in the back.  She is a fitting master.  It was amazing to see her help everyone.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So, final analysis:  I LOVE these jeans.  I think they are my coolest-looking jeans to date (the green pants are sort of in their own category, I think), and I am always mystified when people don’t stop me and tell me how awesome they are.  😉

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

That being said, I really wish the fit was as perfect as I thought it was when I basted them together and tried them on.  They are a little looser than I want them, and I definitely have to wear a belt.  BUT…this is all part of the learning curve for making pants, right?  As much as I wish I had all pants-fitting knowledge magically deposited in my brain, that is never going to happen, and I really do remember fitting things better when it is something I’ve had to learn the hard way (Darn it!  WHY is there no silver bullet/magic potion/easy answer?  Learning and skill development actually takes WORK!  Shocking!).

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

If you are thinking about making jeans, the Ginger Jeans pattern is a GREAT pattern.  It was much less scary than I thought it would be and the directions plus the sew-along are really, really helpful and well done.  Heather clearly does her research.  Go for it!

Recommendations

  • I just found out about @tinycarpenter_ on Instagram.  It’s a little Lego guy who uses big people tools for his carpentry work.  Fun!
  • I love sewing inspiration, and I find a lot of it in catalogues from companies like J.Crew and Boden.  Often when I see clothing that I really like, I can think of a pattern that matches it.  I think of this as shopping for inspiration.
  • And, um, here is a little prom dress inspiration for you (hahaha!):