Tag Archives: sewing

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

It’s finally spring!  I’m so ready for it, but before I start digging into spring projects, I have some winter garments to talk about on the blog.  One of those garments is a pair of Jutland Pants for me in yellow corduroy.

The Jutland Pants are a men’s pants pattern by Thread Theory.  I’ve made a few pairs for my husband (here and here), but they also miraculously fit me (see my first pair and my cutoffs).  And, like any good pair of boyfriend jeans, they are loose and comfy.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

This time around, I had to trace a new size, but I was in the middle of two sizes, so I tried to trace right in between the size lines on the pattern sheet.  I’m always afraid of making things too small, so I tend to err on the side of bigger rather than smaller.  With this iteration of the Jutland Pants, I think I went just a little too big.  The pants, which are SO comfortable, are also super loose, and definitely a bit bigger than they should be.  You can kind of see below that there is a bit extra in the waistband.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

When I first put them on, the waistband really stood away from my body at the back, so I put in a few darts after they were otherwise finished.  I tried to line up the waistband darts I was creating with the darts that were already in the back.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I transferred the darts to my pattern piece for the future.  I also came to an important conclusion:  if I’m going to keep making this pattern for myself, it’s time to get serious about making it actually fit me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

As far as this pair goes, I love them.  I recognize that they don’t look great on me, but they do feel great.  I’m so ready for pants with wider legs.  All that being said, however, I plan to make the next pair a bit smaller and do some real work on the pattern to make it fit me just right.  I’m even researching possible ways to make the waistband adjustable for weight gain or loss (seriously–why is that not standard on all pants?).

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Here are some details:

I got my pattern and fabric from Pintuck & Purl.  The corduroy (a Christmas present) is a Robert Kaufman corduroy, and the octopus fabric I used for the waistband and pockets is an old Cotton + Steel quilting cotton print.  Other supplies, like bias binding, thread, and interfacing came from Joann Fabrics.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I mainly followed the directions, with the addition of the darts and an extra bar tack at the bottom of the fly.  One weird thing about this pattern is that it creates a small fold at the bottom of the fly, rather than a smooth surface.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Am I missing something?  It never bothers me when I’m wearing it, but it always leaves me nonplussed when I think about it.

I used faux flat-fell and zigzag stitching on the seam allowances inside to finish my seams, so they aren’t very pretty, but it was quick.  There is provision in the pattern for nice, flat-felled seams if you want them, though.  In order to do that, you should follow the construction order in the pattern.  In future, though, (if I remember), I plan to skip that and construct the front and then the back, like the Ginger Jeans, so I can fit from the side seams before finalizing everything.

Those are my current thoughts on this pattern.  I think my great love for it comes from its comfort and the straight leg shape.  Hopefully I can get it to really work for me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Craft Fail: Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters

It’s been awhile since we had a good ol’ Craft Fail on the blog, but this project was a complete and total loss.  I would say that three-quarters of it was my fault–poor fabric choice, and silly mistakes were most of the problem.  I also had some trouble with the directions.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I bought this pattern, the Tova Mittens, along with two hat patterns, from Last Stitch during the Black Friday sales.  I was really excited about these patterns (and I still am), partly because it looked like you could use shrunken/upcycled sweaters to make them.

This seemed like a fun way to use up some of my favorite shrunken sweaters, which I save for interesting projects like this.  The intended recipient and I went through and picked out a fun combination of sweater pieces so that I could make mittens that would sort of match in an offbeat way.  I also had a few scraps of sweatshirt material (from this project) that I thought would be perfect for lining.

I think problem number one was the fabric choice.  The shrunken sweaters, specifically the pink sweater, weren’t as stretchy as they probably should have been.  Another VERY IMPORTANT thing that I didn’t pay enough attention to was the right side of that pink sweater fabric.  In its shrunken state, both sides look really cool and could have been used as the right side.  Sadly I wasn’t careful enough when cutting and sewing…and…I MADE TWO LEFT-HANDED MITTENS.  Yes.  I did.  And to ice that cake, (and probably because of it), one of the lining pieces on one of the mittens is the wrong way out.  Bad, bad, and worse.  Also funny…once you stop being mad.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

The pattern itself is interesting.  I made the XS size.  The seam allowance is odd if you use Imperial measurements.  For those of us who use inches, it’s 1/5″, which I’ve never seen before, so I just tried to use 1/4″.  I was tracking with the directions until step 5.  I found the picture really confusing.  I ended up sewing the thumb right sides together and then turning it right side out before doing the next step.  Then everything was good until step 8.  I stitched the front and back together with right sides together, which meant that my thumb was on the inside, and I had to be careful not to stitch it.  This is different from the picture (adding to my confusion), but maybe I did step 5 wrong.  I could also see that I was going to have a hole where the thumb joined to the side seam.

Once I got to the cuffs, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to use the fold line shown on the cuff pattern piece in step 9 or 11.  It wasn’t shown in the picture or mentioned in the directions.  Step 11 was very confusing in general.  Was I supposed to fold in half what I had already done or fold half the cuff up so the seam was enclosed?  It didn’t end up mattering, because the cuff I had made was never going to fit the mitten.  This was undoubtedly my fault–I’m sure my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough, so I chucked it and used ribbing from the green sweater, which worked much better.  Unfortunately, I attached the cuffs wrong-way-out.  Yep.  I did.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I think a big part of my problem in understanding the directions is that I’m coming at this from an American sewist’s viewpoint.  We are used to having a lot of hand-holding.  Even the Big 4 patterns, for as much as people complain about them, actually have a lot of information included in them if you take the time to read it.  I think that sewists in Europe (where this pattern is coming from) who are used to Burda patterns are a lot more self-sufficient and used to figuring things out for themselves.  While there actually are a lot of directions and illustrations, I found them hard to understand at several points.

I would try this pattern again in a fleece with a distinct right and wrong side, and I think things would go a lot better, although I do wish the directions (pictures and words) made a bit more sense to me.  At this point, I have shoved these mittens in a corner, and will probably recycle them after publishing this post.  On to the next thing!

Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

Today I have some cute little zippered pouches to share with you.  If you think you have seen something like this before on the blog, you’re right!  I made these as gifts back in 2017.  🙂

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The Open Wide Zippered Pouch is a free tutorial from Anna Graham of the blog noodlehead.  It comes with options for three different sizes.  I chose to make two of the small size bags and reverse which fabrics were on the inside and outside, so I could have the best of all worlds with this pair of bags.  I got my fabric (Rifle Paper Co. Menagerie Rosa in Hunter and Violet Metallic quilting cotton) and zippers from Pintuck & Purl.  I used Fusible Featherweight interfacing from Pellon (because I had it on hand for garment-sewing) that I got from Joann Fabrics.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The small size bags start out as 10″ x 7″ rectangles of fabric, making the finished size slightly smaller.  These are great for holding pens and pencils or as travel bags to hold all your odds and ends.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The tutorial itself is easy to follow and gives you a nice finished product where all the raw edges (including the zipper’s raw edges) are enclosed.  My stitching on the zipper tab got a little wobbly, but I didn’t feel like ripping it out to do again, so I decided it was good enough.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

This is a great, useful scrap buster and is good for gifts, including gifts to yourself.  😉

Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

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Simplicity 1887 Pants in Crushed Stretch Velvet

Hm…Well, this was an experiment.  I thought about calling this post, “A Lot of Dorky Pictures and some Weird, Weird Pants”, but that got pushed out by a more practical title.  Picture-taking is hard and I had a lot of pretty crazy facial expressions that you’ll have to take my word on.  😀

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I will tell you that the jury is still out on these pants…I just can’t decide how I feel about them.

Over the summer, I made View C of Simplicity 1887, a pair of sparkly linen shorts, which I love.  I have wanted to make the pants ever since I got this pattern.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

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Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Despite the fact that I could have made these out of a drapey denim-like chambray living in my stash, I decided to take a chance on something much less practical–crushed stretch velvet.  Because, why not?  I saw the velvet at Joann Fabrics, it was close to Christmas, and I knew I could whip these up pretty quickly if I could find a bit of time.  And then I would have fancy pants for Christmas Eve!  I always want to make something fun for church on Christmas Eve, but I rarely do.

So I bought the velvet (well, technically it’s Stretch Panne Velour Knit Fabric).  It’s a polyester/spandex blend:  90%/10%.  I loved the color and in the winter I’m all about fun textures.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finally managed to find a bit of time and I whipped these up.  I’m not the fastest sewist, but when you don’t have to finish any seams (and since this is a knit, you don’t), sewing goes a lot more quickly.  It also helps when you’ve made the pattern in some form before.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I made one mistake and one change.  My mistake was in not being careful when lining up the front and back waistband.  The side seam edges need to match up so that when you fold the waistband in half to baste the bottom edges together, they will match up easily.  I tried to fudge this, but then I paid for it going forward.  The one small change I made was to use 1 3/8″ wide elastic in the back waistband instead of two lengths of 3/4″ elastic and two casings.  I don’t remember why I did this–probably it was based on what I had on hand, but it turned out ok.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

When I finished these, I just wasn’t sure what to think.  They are so comfortable, although the smooth wrong side of the fabric is a little on the colder side.  Luckily, these pants are pretty roomy, so you can definitely fit some long underwear underneath if necessary.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

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Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

I finished them before Christmas Eve, so I threw them on with a sweater and blazer for church, but I definitely felt like the ’80’s called and wanted their clothes back.  I didn’t want to make a snap decision, though, so I wore them again with a different top and it was better, but still not quite there.  I really love the soft texture and the color, though, so I’m going to reserve judgement and keep trying these pants.  If I finally decide I don’t love them, they will make some pretty great lounge pants.  The pattern itself is definitely worth trying again in another fabric–a midweight Tencel twill would be great, actually!  The flat front waistband with elastic back, the big pockets, and the relaxed fit are real winners.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

No matter what I end up deciding, I’m really glad I tried making these fun, weird pants.

Simplicity 1887 pants in crushed stretch velvet

Quick and Easy Baby Gift: Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

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Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

Today I have something a little different for you.  Baby pants!

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

One of my best friends is having a baby soon, and I wanted to make something special for her soon-to-arrive little boy.  I had just finished the coziest pajama pants for myself (yet to be blogged), and I had some leftover fabric.  It was perfect for some soft and cozy pants for a tiny baby.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

A little search on the internet led me to this free pattern:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant from Made by Rae.  It comes in a roomy newborn size, so I decided that I would make a few from any cute boy flannel I had, and would buy some little newborn onesies to go along with them.

I found two pieces of flannel in my stash:  the Cloud9 organic flannel I mentioned from Pintuck & Purl designed by Eloise Renouf and a faux bois flannel from Joann Fabrics.  Both are from several years ago, so the fabric isn’t around anymore (unless Joann’s has reprinted).  They are favorite prints of mine that I have been saving for just the right projects.

The pattern itself was really quick and easy to sew.  I changed a few things from the printed directions, but not many.  I used French seams, since I didn’t want any fraying on the inside that could wrap around little baby toes.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

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Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Then I basted the side seam allowances down where the elastic casing would be at the waist to make it easier to thread the elastic through.  Finally, I hemmed the bottoms by pressing up 1/4″ to the wrong side, and then pressing up that much again to the wrong side, enclosing the raw edge.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

If you follow the tutorial on Rae’s blog, she tells you to hem the bottom (it’s just missing from the PDF instructions) and includes lots of pictures for all the steps.  She talks about sizing, noting that these are roomy enough for babies wearing cloth diapers, and goes over ways you can adapt the pattern for slightly older babies.

This was a really quick, easy, and satisfying sew.  I haven’t been inspired to sew baby gifts much in recent years, but I think this might be my go-to sewing project for baby gifts for a little while.  The cuteness is real!  😉

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Before I go, I have a question for any other bloggers out there.  Where do you store your pictures?  This blog is a free WordPress blog, and I ran out of picture space long ago. I’ve been storing my photos on Flickr because you could have a free account with unlimited space.  However Flickr has been sold, and in order for me to keep using Flickr (and not have half my photos deleted), I need to pay a yearly fee.  With the exception of about four people, the only people who save my Flickr photos or follow or message me on Flickr are definitely not people in the sewing community.  Let’s just say I’ve had to block a lot of sketchy accounts.  If I could keep my photos private and still have them show up on the blog, I would.  Because I don’t make money with this blog, I’d prefer not to pay to keep it going.  Is there some other obvious way to store photos?  What do you do?  Do you pay or not?  I will if I have to, but if I can keep blog production free, that would be great.  Thanks for any help you can give!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

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Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

As my husband helped me take the pictures for this post, he and I chuckled.  Another t-shirt post!  Everybody’s favorite!  Usually the plain t-shirt posts, woven and knit, don’t get much response on the blog, but I post them anyway because I think they help the community (the more information on individual patterns, the better) and they help me (I forget what I’ve done in a very short amount of time), so here we are.  Look how excited I am!  I bet you are excited now, too, right?

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

The good news is, while these t-shirts aren’t perfect, I’m really glad I made them.  They are good first drafts that give me the information I need to make even better versions in the future if I want to.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

Pictured above:  both t-shirts almost finished–they just need hems.

This is the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio.  I chose this pattern because it was a good basic with a lot of variations (four sleeves and four necklines, all interchangeable).  I don’t usually want to take the time to hack patterns, so I liked that this had a lot of options.  I’ve made a green scoop-neck, long-sleeved version and a striped short-sleeved, crew-neck version.  I didn’t love the long-sleeved one, but that was due to my fabric choice.  The crew-neck version was better.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

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Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

So here’s what I did for this project.

I chose a size 12 for the bust and a 14 for the waist and hips, as well as the standard short sleeves (rather than the cap sleeves) to go with the v-neck front.  This is a slim, but not tight fit with some positive ease, like a good, basic t-shirt.  I chose a 100% polyester fabric from JoAnn that was gray with neon flecks for one of my shirts (I got drawn in by the neon flecks, pictured below.  So good!) and a cotton/polyester blend from Fabric Mart in white for the other.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

What I should have done, but didn’t, was look at the cutting layout for the t-shirts.  I haven’t made a t-shirt in a little while, and I wasn’t thinking about how wide knits often are.  I should have folded my selvages in toward the middle like the cutting layout shows, but instead, I just folded my knits in half and layered one fabric over the other, lining up the folds so I could cut both out at the same time.  I was very proud of that move….until I realized that my gray shirt was going to be an inch shorter than I had planned because of how I had folded the fabric, and I didn’t have enough to recut it.  Oops!  As it was, I had already removed 4″ from the length of the pattern at the bottom, so the gray shirt is actually 5″ shorter than drafted, I think.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I ended up using a 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 1/4″ called for because otherwise my needle would go off of my fabric.  I had planned to use my serger, but it’s still new to me, and I adjusted too many things at once, so it wasn’t working.  I used a jersey 80/12 needle and a 3-step zigzag with a height of 4.5 and a stitch length of 0.5 as well as using a light presser foot pressure and 100% polyester thread in the top and in the bobbin.  I did not finish my seams as suggested in the “Sewing the Knits” section of the instructions.  I don’t think that is necessary unless your knit is prone to unraveling.  I do suggest trying out your stitches on scraps of your knit before sewing your shirt.  Once you sew the stitch you think you want on a doubled up scrap of your fabric, stretch it hard in both directions.  If the stitches pop, adjust your stitch length and/or width (or which stitch you are using) and try again until the stitches don’t pop when you stretch the fabric.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I made sure to sew twill tape into my shoulder seams (you can also use clear elastic) so that they wouldn’t stretch out.  This wasn’t in the directions, but experience has taught me that this is a good idea.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I wish the instructions for installing the V neckline had been explicit about what type of stitch to use when.  A lot of knit sewing on a sewing machine requires a zigzag.  I had to guess if that was necessary or if I could get away with a straight stitch.  I used a straight stitch (and 1/4″ seam allowance) when sewing the ends of the neck binding together, as well as for the staystitching at the point of the v-neck.  When attaching the neck binding to the shirt body, I sewed with a straight stitch near where I had staystitched, but then went around the rest of the neck with my 3-step zigzag, sewing over the part I had previously sewn with a straight stitch.  You can see all the wrinkles around my neck–this doesn’t make for the smoothest seam, but I was afraid that if I used a straight stitch I would pop the stitches when I pulled it over my head (speaking from experience).  I tried to mitigate the not-so-straight edge by using a double needle to topstitch around the neckline.  It didn’t work completely, but I haven’t popped any stitches!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I also used a twin needle to topstitch on top of the shoulders for a nice look and to keep the twill tape inside from flipping around in weird directions, and I used a twin needle on my hems, pulling the thread to the back and tying it off.  I often have trouble with my twin needle hems coming loose after a while.

My v-necks are a little bit rough, but I got them in, and I’m happy with them for my first tries.  I’m trying to be patient with myself as I learn new things, although it’s not always easy!  I definitely subscribe to the idea that done is better than perfect (aka unfinished forever).  Onward!

The last thing I realized AFTER I was finished was that both fabrics are…kind of see-through.  And no, I didn’t see that coming.  I have no idea how I missed it, but these shirts definitely need skin-colored undergarments and probably a camisole underneath.  So, maybe I just made myself a few undershirts instead of regular shirts.  Oh, well!  Learning experience!

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

My one little “trick” that I was pretty proud of was using Steam-A-Seam 2-1/4″ for my hems.  Steam-A-Seam 2 is a sticky, double-sided, fusible strip that you can use to temporarily hold fabric in place until you press it and then sew it.  It’s a little finicky, since it can stick to your fingers, but it’s very helpful.  My only tip as far as this goes, is to make sure that you fully cover the edges of the Steam-A-Seam with your fabric and stitching.  I found that on my sleeves, once I had hemmed them and then washed the shirt, the fabric rolled back slightly, and the edges of the Steam-A-Seam scratch my arms just a little.

Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

Even with all their issues, I’m calling these t-shirts a win because I learned a lot:  I like this v-neck silhouette and I would make it again.  I can (hopefully) avoid the mistakes I made this time on future versions.  And every t-shirt I make helps me get that much better at sewing knits.  Looking back on other knit projects, I realize that I still have a lot to master in the way of professional techniques, but since the fit on knits is so forgiving, my many “learning experience” projects don’t bother me as much as my wonky projects in woven fabrics.  I don’t have a lot of my early woven garments, but I still wear a lot of my early knit projects.

I’m hoping to sew some more t-shirts soon, this time long-sleeved ones using the free Plantain Tee pattern.  Do you have a favorite t-shirt pattern?  If so, please share!

I’m going to take next week off since Thursday is Thanksgiving in the US, so I’ll be back after that!  Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!

 

Why Do You Make Things? (Or: The Knitting Project That Didn’t Work Out)

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Why Do You Make Things? (Or:  The Knitting Project That Didn’t Work Out)

Today I have a knitting project that I finished earlier this year, but have waited to post until the weather turned cool.  This isn’t so much about my failed and salvaged hat project, though.  It’s about what that failed and salvaged hat made me consider.

Why do you make things?

Last winter, I decided I would knit the Traveling Cable Hat, a free pattern from Purl Soho in some beautiful yarn from Romney Ridge.  I’ve knit cables before, so I thought I could do it, even though it might be challenging.  I’m not a perfectionist, and I don’t like to go back and fix every single mistake.  I prefer to finish.  This project, however, was one I tried to be precise in.  There were parts I didn’t understand, so I looked things up and asked other knitters.  I ripped back when I made a mistake and read and reread the directions to try to get things right.  I got frustrated and persevered, and to say I wasn’t enjoying myself is putting it lightly.  My husband kept asking, “Why do you keep knitting?”  The question surprised me at first, because he’s always one of my biggest supporters.  He always encourages me to push through, knowing I can finish the project.  But he could see that this one was one long, downhill slide.

Why do you make things?

When I sew, I certainly don’t enjoy every moment of every project.  There are times I get frustrated and have to put my project aside for a while until I can figure out how to solve a problem or until I’m not so annoyed, but overall I enjoy it.  I enjoy knitting, too, although I’m not nearly as successful with knitting as I am with sewing.  In fact, my last few knitting projects have ended up…OK, but not amazing.

Why do you make things?

His question made me think, though.  Why do I sew?  Why do I knit?  What am I looking for in my photography?  What do I want to get out of each and is it the same for every one?

It’s important to think about what we do.  After all, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)  I don’t mean you have to give great weight to every activity in your life, but it’s worth it to figure out what you want to get out of your creative endeavors and why.

So, here’s what I came up with, for me, at this point in my life.

Knitting is for enjoyment.  I like knitting.  I like its tactile nature and I like the act of knitting.  I want to knit things that are simple enough that I can work on them while talking to a friend or watching a movie, but still interesting enough that I’m not completely bored.  However, this is not the craft I currently want to challenge myself in.  I don’t want to dive deep and learn every knitting technique and method out there.  I don’t want to do a ton of problem solving with my knitting.  I want a project that’s not too taxing, but is still enjoyable.

Photography is for seeking out and capturing beauty.  I’ve also been thinking about photography in this vein.  Even with this medium, which I’ve loved since I was quite young, I don’t want to get into the technical aspects.  I’m interested in composition and accurately recording what I see that I find beautiful, but I’m not interested in doing that deep dive right now.

Sewing is my creative practice.  Sewing, on the other hand, is exactly the place I want to dive deep.  I want to try new things, read all the blog posts, magazines, and books, and add skill to skill.  I want to see what it will be like to make certain kinds of things.  I love the planning and the finishing in sewing.  I love to wear what I’ve made, and I love discovering that I can learn new things and get good at something!  I don’t get into the process in the same way that I do with knitting–I’m heading for that end goal–but I do like the problem-solving involved with sewing.  It makes me smarter and it teaches me about how to handle other hurdles in life.  This is where I want to spend my mental energy and challenge myself.  This is where I want to work hard and grow.  This is my medium, my craft, and my art.  At this time in my life, sewing is my creative practice, and through it, I have learned so much, and I have gained so much.  I’m really thankful for it.

So after struggling with that pattern through the ribbing and the cable set-up, and after thinking all this over and coming to these conclusions, I gave up on it and stitched the rest in stockinette stitch, using another pattern to figure out the decreases for the top.  And I enjoyed it.  I can’t tell you if the Traveling Cable Hat pattern is good or not.  I gave up on it.  But I’m glad I started it because it (and my husband’s question) made me evaluate why I’m creating in the ways I’m creating and what I want to get out of each medium, where I want to spend my mental energy, and what I should call success in each area.

Why do you make things?

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Why do you make things?

What do you want to get out of your creative pursuits?  They don’t have to be sewing or knitting or photography.  They might be your hobby or they might be your job, but why do you love them?  What is the end goal for you?  Even if you can’t yet figure out the full and complete answer, taking the time to think through these questions will be worth the effort.

Kalle Shirt in Cotton and Steel “Mochi” Speckled Navy Lawn

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Kalle Shirt in Cotton and Steel “Mochi” Speckled Navy Lawn

It may not be the best for cool fall temperatures, but I love my new Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

I made myself a little batch of sewing projects to transition from summer to fall, which seemed like a good idea when it was still warm.  It seems like less of a good idea now that it’s cooling off, but I’m committed!  And I have no regrets when it comes to this shirt.  I love it.  I have a little confession to make, though.  When I was trying to figure out what to wear the shirt with, I fell for the color combination of these thrifted pants with the shirt.  In my mind, this outfit was going to be AWESOME and would take the sewing and fashion world by storm!  Hahahaha!  It’s sort of a silly outfit with the wide shirt and wide pants and makes me look a little pregnant (I’m not), so THAT didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but these pictures took a long time to take, and there’s no turning back now, so here we are.  I suppose I ought to know better–most of my worst fashion moments come when I think I look super amazing.  A bit of “Pride goeth before a fall”?  😉  OR, on the flip side, “You have to risk big to win big”?  Haha.  Whatever!  Here we go!

Cropped Kalle Shirt

Despite the calendar saying October, two days after I finished sewing this shirt, we had 80 degree (Fahrenheit) weather, which is nice and warm, and I got to wear it to work with my sparkly linen shorts.  Perfect!  Part of what I love so much about this project is the fabric it’s made from.  My first plan was to cut up a linen tablecloth I have but don’t love.  I had been thinking about repurposing that tablecloth for a while, and then I saw Linda’s shirt over on her blog, Elle Gee Makes, and it was just the push I needed to actually do it.  Unfortunately, no matter how much pattern and fabric puzzle-piecing I did, the shirt just wasn’t going to fit on the available fabric.  So, I turned to my stash.

That’s when I saw this speckled Cotton + Steel lawn, a part of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s “Mochi” collection.  I had originally purchased this fabric from Pintuck & Purl to sew up a shirt pattern from the 1980’s, but I reassigned it to the Kalle.  It’s such a great fabric with so many different colors.  Also, I loved splatter paint designs as a kid, so there’s that.  😉  If you aren’t familiar with lawn, it’s a smooth, plain-woven fabric that is great for making shirts from.  It feels finer and thinner than most quilting cotton and is crisp rather than drapey.  This particular one is made from cotton.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

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Cropped Kalle Shirt

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Cropped Kalle Shirt

Let’s talk design details.  This pattern has a lot of options with three lengths and different collar, back pleat, and button placket options.  You can even optionally buy a PDF pattern for long sleeves.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

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Cropped Kalle Shirt

I chose the cropped shirt (View A), which I lengthened by three inches, in a straight size 14.  My measurements would put me in a 12 bust, 14/16 waist and 16 hip, so I guess I chose the 14 to split the difference and avoid having to grade between sizes, even though that’s what I usually do.  I’m happy with how this turned out, though, so I think it was a fine choice.  As for the other options, I chose the band collar, back box pleat, and hidden button placket.  One bonus:  the relaxed fit of this shirt meant that I didn’t have to do a broad back adjustment.  That’s rare for me.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

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Cropped Kalle Shirt

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Cropped Kalle Shirt

I did have several moments of confusion while sewing this pattern.  Unlike some patterns, however, I could tell that this was because I was learning new techniques, not because the instructions were bad.  This was my first hidden placket, for instance, and I sewed my buttonholes through only one layer of fabric instead of two at first.  Luckily, I figured it out and managed to fix it, so all was good.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

After sewing the side seams, there is a suggestion that you could flat fell the seams.  If you want to do this, you would have to change things up a bit since flat felled seams are typically made on the outside–or you could just make them on the inside.  I chose to serge my seams because I’m still trying to get used to my serger and one of my goals is to actually USE it.  So far I only have black and white serger thread, so I used black here (as you can see below).

When it came to attaching the facing, rather than topstitching it into place, I just made sure my top thread and bobbin thread were the same color and I stitched from the underside to make sure I was catching everything.  Unlike my normal practice, I didn’t choose contrasting thread for topstitching–I just used navy throughout, which hides a lot of mistakes!

Cropped Kalle Shirt

The only other area I got confused on was attaching the sleeve cuffs.  I think the instructions could be a little bit clearer in this area.  I was very confused, so I turned to the sewalong online, which differs from the instructions after the second point.  I found that easier to follow, so I printed the information off and put it in my instruction booklet for the next time I make this.

And I do hope to make this again at some point.  I’m interested in trying the tunic length with the popover placket.  It will have to wait until at least next year, though, as I really like the look of the short sleeves, and would want to do that again.

Even though the weather is turning cold now, I’m really glad I got this in.  I love this shirt in this fabric, and I’m excited to wear it.

Cropped Kalle Shirt

Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

I’m working through a batch of transitional garments as we go from warm to cool weather, and first up is a pair of Morgan Jeans from Closet Case Patterns.

Morgan Jeans!

I made a short pair this summer, and wanted to try a full-length pair, hoping for some pants that would be good for daily wear and that I could layer over long underwear in the cold weather.

Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

My measurements put me in a 14 waist and 16 hip, but as I discovered this summer, that 14 waist is just too small.  I ended up adding extra fabric at the top of those pants, so I wrote myself a note to make a straight 16 next time.  Well…as I read the description, I noticed that these are drafted to fit closely, assuming that the non-stretch denim will relax over time.  I don’t love tight jeans and I wanted these to fit over long underwear in winter when layering is an act of survival, so I chickened out on the sizing and decided to trace an 18 to be safe.

Morgan Jeans!

I was lucky enough to be visiting Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA when they were having a denim sale and, after vacillating between some non-stretch selvedge denim that was 30″ wide and a 60″ wide non-stretch denim, I went with the wider fabric, not least because I could make two pairs of jeans for the price of one in selvedge denim.  The more thrifty I can be, the more projects I can make!  That’s a huge consideration for me.  Happily, I managed to get enough denim to make a pair of jeans for about $15.

Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

The pattern and topstitching thread came from Pintuck & Purl, as did the Cotton + Steel fabric I used for my pockets.  It was left over from this shirt.

Morgan Jeans!

My jeans buttons are from Wawak.

Morgan Jeans!

As far as the pattern goes, here are my notes:

  • I bound the edges of the pocket facings with bias tape, because I think it looks really nice.Morgan Jeans!

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    Morgan Jeans!

  • I also like the look of French seams at the bottom of the pockets (this is a suggestion in the pattern).Morgan Jeans!
  • I recommend sewing your buttonholes, slicing them open, and using Fray Check on them before you sew the fly placket into your pants, just in case you have issues.  It’s not such a big deal to recut the piece and redo it before sewing it in.  I accidentally sewed my bright thread on the bottom of my fly placket, so next time if I want contrast stitching, I’ll put it for my top thread and in the bobbin.Morgan Jeans!
  • One thing to note, my button fly placket extended above the top of my pants.  I think I should have matched the top of my fly shield to the top of my button fly placket, because I matched the top of it to my pants and it was weirdly low.  I had to trim it and finish it with my serger.  Incidentally, I have a new-to-me vintage serger that is working!!!  I was able to use it to finish my seams. A billion thanks to Pintuck & Purl for servicing it!Morgan Jeans!

More tips:

  • When putting the back together, wait to trim the seam joining the yoke and back legs until after you have topstitched it–then you don’t have to worry about missing the seam as you topstitch.
  • As Heather, the designer, suggests in her Ginger Jeans sewalong (in this post), it makes sense to finalize your back pocket placement at the end so you can put them in the optimal spot for your unique back side.  In the end, I moved the pockets a little bit, but not too much. Morgan Jeans!

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    Morgan Jeans!

  • One other new thing I tried was installing the waistband using Lladybird’s tutorial (skip to the end of the linked post).  It was really helpful and makes so much sense.  The gist of it is that you sew your inside waistband seam first so that when you are turning under the seam allowance and finishing the waistband, you are topstitching from the outside, and you never have to worry about catching an inner facing–it’s already attached.  It makes more sense in the post, but it’s a very logical order of steps.  I like it.
  • I interfaced my waistband this time to make it less stretchy, but I really should have graded my seams better around where my buttonhole was going to go.  I had to sew through so many layers to make my buttonhole that I ended up fudging things to make it longer and it still takes a good amount of effort to get that top button buttoned and unbuttoned.  You don’t want to have a bathroom emergency in these pants!Morgan Jeans!

Last tip:

  • Use Fray Check on the edge of your belt loops to keep them from fraying every time you wash them.  It doesn’t take care of the fraying entirely, but it helps.

All right, now after all of that, what’s the final consensus?  Well…my jeans are really comfy…they will fit over long underwear…but they do look a little big.

Morgan Jeans!

They’re perfect when they come out of the dryer…for about 5 minutes, and then they are comfortably loose.  Also, it may be the style with boyfriend jeans, but I’m not sure that I like them cuffed.

Morgan Jeans!

So I guess I’ll have a better take on them after wearing them during cold weather, but my gut feeling is that, especially if I were to make these in a thinner denim, I should go down to a 16.  Or maybe I should just look for a pair of pants with a straighter, wider leg.  I think I convinced myself that these were like that, but they really are a closer fitting, non-stretch jean, which is actually obvious from the cover art and the sample photos.  Well, live and learn!  That one’s on me!  😉

Morgan Jeans!

The good news is that whether or not these are the perfect jeans for me, the pattern itself is high quality and well done, which is consistently true with Closet Case Patterns.

Summer Sewing Inspiration

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Summer Sewing Inspiration

It’s summer!  I don’t have a finished project to share today (although I do have one in progress!), so I thought it would be fun to share some summer sewing inspiration with you.

I love summer clothing that is loose-fitting so that the breeze can blow through and keep me cool, and at the moment, I just want to sew easy things.  However…since I don’t always feel this way (and I know other people go back and forth, too), I’m including some simple as well as more complex patterns in this list.  Some are free, some are from independent designers, and some are from the Big 4 (Butterick, Simplicity, McCall’s, and Vogue).  Let’s dive in!

Tops

It would be terrific to find some staple patterns that are either great basics to showcase fun fabric or have interesting style lines.  I’m currently making the Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top.

Summer Sewing Inspiration

This is a free pattern that seemed like a nice twist on a basic tank top.  I’ve heard this is pretty cropped, so I’m making the pattern as is, but may lengthen it in the future.  I’m using a vintage sheet and some vintage trim that I have on hand, but it would also be great in the new Mariner Cloth designed by Alison Glass for Andover or a drapey linen or silk.

Another pattern I’m curious about is Butterick 5948.

Summer Sewing Inspiration

The illustrations on the pattern envelope are pretty basic, but I think that’s the point of the top. It’s basic and can be used as your everyday woven t-shirt or tank.  It can be something you make to blend with the rest of your wardrobe or it can stand out and feature a cool fabric. View F with the length of E really appeals to me since I don’t have a go-to woven t-shirt pattern.  This would be cool in Robert Kaufman’s Neon Neppy or a crepe de chine.  Rayon challis isn’t my favorite fabric, but it would be really nice made up into one of these shirts.

Another garment I’m considering is Simplicity 8172, View A, a kimono-type jacket.

Summer Sewing Inspiration

This is in no way a traditional kimono, but is loosely inspired by that garment type with its wide sleeves and loose fit.  I have some beautiful polyester crepe de chine from Mood that friends got me for my birthday a few years ago.  I’ve been waiting to find just the right garment for it, and this may be it.

Lastly, I would love to find a Tried ‘N True (TNT) boho top pattern.  I thought about the new Phoenix Blouse from Hey June Handmade or the Roscoe Blouse from True Bias, but I just don’t know.  Both are close, but I don’t think I’ve found the right one yet.  Any suggestions?

Bottoms

At the end of last summer, I started to realize that some of my shorts are kind of short.  This never bothered me in the past–in fact, I didn’t even notice it–they just seemed like a good proportion for my body, but that shorted length doesn’t feel as comfortable to me as it used to.  I think I want something a little longer.

I love the easy elastic-waist fit and slightly longer length of the short in Simplicity 1887.

Summer Sewing Inspiration

It has a flat front with a tie and pockets.  I can see this in a sparkly linen (probably because it looks like that’s what the sample is made from).  Robert Kaufman makes a great Essex Yarn Dyed metallic that I’m hoping isn’t too lightweight.

For more of a gym short take, there are the City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho, a free pattern.  I’ve been looking at these for the past few years, but haven’t tried them.  They come in adult and kids’ sizes.  I bet they would be fun made up in a great printed quilting cotton, a chambray for something more basic, or peachskin for a look inspired by board shorts–or you could go luxe and use some Liberty of London fabric like they do in their samples.

If you are after something more complex and classic, the Thurlow Shorts from Sewaholic is a great pattern that I made in yellow last year (there is also a pant view included in the pattern).

Thurlow Shorts in Tinted Denim

If I end up wanting a more in-depth project, I would love to make a few more pairs in some of the other colors of Tinted Denim from Cloud9 Fabrics.  Note that I straightened the legs considerably in my version.  The original is more flared.

Thurlow Shorts in Tinted Denim

One more option if you want to dig into an interesting project that will take more time is Butterick 4995 (out of print, but available on Etsy).

Summer Sewing Inspiration

These wide-leg pants come in shorter and longer lengths and have been on my list for a few years.  I have some yellow linen from Fabric Mart that would be great for View B.  (This linen does go on sale periodically, so if you can wait for a sale, it’s definitely worth it.)

I still don’t feel that I’ve found my favorite easy woven skirt pattern.  Maybe the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae?  It looks simple, but has pockets and some fun customization options.  Otherwise, maybe the Brumby Skirt from Megan Nielsen would lend itself to an elastic back waistband hack.  It has an exposed zipper, but you could omit that and change the back waistband.  Can you tell I’m into the elastic waists this season?

Brumby Skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen

This is a different look, but I have two of the Short Skirts in my closet from Natalie Chanin’s book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  This is an A-line skirt made from four panels that sits low on your hips.  The top edge is covered with fold over elastic, and because it’s meant to be made from jersey, you can leave the bottom unfinished.  Despite its name, this skirt is actually knee-length on me.  Created before I started blogging, these garments are great everyday skirts if you make the basic, unadorned version.  I have one made from a knit sheet and another patched together from a few coordinating t-shirts.  While you certainly can sew these by hand and heavily embellish them, if you use the pattern and sew them on your machine, they are very quick and forgiving projects.  Just a little thought if speed is your aim.

I would also love any maxi skirt suggestions.  I made the ankara one recently, and I like wearing it, but I’m open to trying other ideas as well.

Dresses

Last year I made the Hannah Dress from Victory Patterns, and I still love it.  (Here’s a link to the pattern.)

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

This falls into the ‘more complex, but very fascinating’ category.  It’s some serious pattern origami.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

I don’t think I’ll make it again this year, but I would love to make it again in a cotton or linen at some point since the rayon challis I used shifted and puckered quite a bit.

Here’s a dress that looks like a good everyday dress:  the Forsythe Dress from French Navy Patterns.  I like that it’s loose, has pockets, and has interesting seam lines that you could use to feature fun fabric (stripes, maybe?) if you wanted to.

I’d love a good maxi dress pattern.  Any suggestions?  Something really flowy would be nice.  I just realized that all the long, beautiful dress pictures I’ve saved on my “Fashion Ideas for this Year’s Projects” Pinterest board all have long sleeves.  Hm…

Of course, once you get started with ideas, they never end.  I went a little crazy planning projects and managed to completely exhaust my brain, so I’m trying to slow myself down just a little and do some easier projects to take a little break.  I’ll also be taking a break from the blog in July.  I plan to post next week, and then will take July off, and maybe even a little bit of August.  We’ll see.  I hope you all have a great summer and if you have favorite summer sewing patterns or patterns you are excited about and are thinking of making, please leave me your ideas in the comments.  I love new sewing ideas!