Tag Archives: sewing

A Linen Jacket for my Friend: Simplicity 8172

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A Linen Jacket for my Friend: Simplicity 8172

It’s not too often that I sew for someone else, but today’s project is one of those rare ones.  I can probably count on one or two hands the people I’m willing to sew for, and my friend Jo-Alice definitely makes the cut.  If I listed all of her wonderful qualities, this blog post would become a book, but let’s just say that she’s one of those rare people who manages to be both very real and very loving—not an easy feat.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

When she mentioned that she liked some of the views of Simplicity 8172 after I made it last year, I mulled it over and then asked her if she still liked the pattern and would want me to make one for her.  She said she did still like it, and after I convinced her that I really wanted to make her something for her birthday, she agreed.  Being a maker of things herself (you can see some of her pottery and knitting here), she knows the time that goes into creative projects, and she didn’t want to pull me away from my personal to-make list, but this was a gift I was happy to spend the time on.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

I found some beautiful Limerick Linen by Robert Kaufman Fabrics at Pintuck & Purl as well as a floral rayon by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton + Steel (this one I think?).  Jo-Alice chose View C, because it had some nice waist shaping, and I made a muslin out of an old sheet to check the fit.  We thought we were going to have to shorten the pattern, but the muslin showed that the length was good as drafted.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

It was important to think about seam finishes on this project since the pattern doesn’t always specify what you should use.  Because the linen was on the lighter side, I chose to use French seams throughout.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

The fabric itself is a slightly loose weave, which made it a bit shifty, but it was such a beautiful fabric, that I loved working with it regardless.  I kept my eye on things to make sure that everything stayed on-grain, and it was fine.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

I decided to make my bias tape from the rayon which, admittedly, I stalled on.  I really wanted to teach myself how to make continuous bias tape, but I was intimidated by learning a new process.  My co-worker, Bea, an accomplished quilter, gave me a few tips on using starch on my fabric, which was the push I needed to keep going.  She let me borrow some Linit starch, which she said to mix 1:1 with water in a spray bottle.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

Next she told me to spray the back of the fabric (testing in a small area first) and then press the fabric.  I didn’t use steam.  This stiffened the fabric enough to make it really easy to work with.  It was still flexible, but wasn’t overly shifty or slippery.  After that, I used the tutorial for making bias tape in Learning to Quilt:  A Beginner’s Guide by Lori Yetmar Smith.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

I made single fold bias tape to the size I needed using a bias tape maker (I got assorted sizes on Amazon—similar to these).  One yard of 44″ wide fabric make A LOT of bias tape.  I definitely could have used less, but you don’t know until you try.  And…it’s not like I mind having all this beautiful leftover bias tape.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

While my bias tape was uniform on the visible side, the edges that were folded under weren’t perfectly even.  To help myself out when applying it, I sewed a line of basting stitches 3/8″ from the edge where I was going to attach the bias tape since that was the seam allowance there.  Then I lined up the folded edge with my basting stitches so that everything would look nice and even.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

The one area where I wasn’t quite sure what seam finish to use was the cuffs.  I did a quick experiment with some scrap fabric just to see if all those layers would be too bulky, but with the lighter weight of the linen it seemed OK to me, so I was able to use French seams there as well.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

Overall, this was a very simple and pleasant project.  I was worried at the end that the fit would be different than it had been on the muslin, but Jo-Alice loved it, and it looked beautiful on her.  I like this longer view much better than the short view (View A) that I chose the first time I made this.  And, although I told her that she didn’t have to pose for blog photos, she has always been a huge supporter of my creative projects and assured me that she was more than willing.  She makes a great model.  We had lots of fun shooting these pictures even though it was gray and rainy out.

A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

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A Spring Jacket in Irish Linen:  Simplicity 8172

 

 

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Spring Pants! Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I’m finally done sewing sweatshirts, and now I’m on to pants!  I always crave color after the winter months, and it’s been pretty gray this spring, so I’m happy to have made a pair of pink pants.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

(Picture-taking is always more fun—and sillier—when my husband is my photographer.)

My goal in making these was to have a somewhat casual alternative to jeans in a color that I liked.  I wanted the fit to be on the relaxed side and the fabric to be one that would look generally casual to create pants that look like a good pair of worn-in chinos.  My choice:  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

This is the third time I have sewn this pattern now, so I want to talk about the pros and cons of it.  (You can see my gray pair or pants here and my octopus print pair here.)

Pros

I love the construction order provided.  Much like the well-loved Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns, you sew the front and back separately and then baste everything together so that you can fine-tune your fit.  There are also larger seam allowances provided in key places to help in that process, should you need extra room.

These pants have wonderful, huge front pockets.  Every time I put my hands in, I’m reminded how great they are.

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I love the look of the bias binding inside the pockets and finishing the inside of the waistband.  If this waistband finish is too bulky for your liking, they also give instructions for making a narrow hem.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Cons

The main cons to this pattern are in the zipper area.  The zipper is (in my opinion) not set in deeply enough, which means that it sometimes peeks out.  I did manage to remedy that in this pair of pants by lining up the left edge of the zipper tape with the center seam, and positioning the top stop of the zipper 3/4″ below the raw edge.

To me, the zipper seems slightly off-center.  It’s not too evident in the picture below, but I notice it.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

The zipper opens opposite of most pants–right over left rather than left over right.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I’m not a fan of the faux welt pockets.  I just skip them.  I want real welt pockets or nothing.

Spring pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Potential Errors

I added 5/8″ to the end of my left front waistband piece (piece #15) so that it would actually be longer than the left front (it is supposed to be 5/8″ longer).

Fitting

I used the curvy back pieces (there are curvy and standard/average back options).  I always end up with some excess fabric in the back.  This may be so I can sit or maybe I should try the other back piece.  After basting everything together, I saw all the drag lines, started thinking about how I should work on those, and then decided that the pants were good enough as they were.  I made the decision that I wasn’t going to overfit—it was more important to me to finish.  I do have a pair that is one size smaller than my current measurements, and it fits well and has fewer drag lines, so while I like the ease, you may prefer to size down one size if you make these.

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Materials

Pattern:  Simplicity 1696 from Joann Fabrics;  it doesn’t look like this pattern is available on Simplicity’s site anymore, but you can probably find it on Etsy

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Just making sure I’m not stepping in any rabbit poop.  Looks like we have some wild rabbits around here!

Fabric:  Cloud9 Tinted Denim in Heather from Pintuck & Purl—I really love this fabric and have used it in several projects; homemade bias tape made of leftover quilting cotton from Fancy Tiger Crafts; old sheets (used as pocket lining)

Sprint Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Interfacing (Pellon fusible midweight) and thread (Gütermann) from Joann Fabrics

Final Thoughts

Mixed.  I feel the greatest love for the pockets, construction, and fabric I used, while feeling really annoyed about the zipper area.  I love this particular pair of pants, but if I make this style again (and can fight off laziness and my desire for speed) I might consider trying Burda 7447 (also out of print—check for it on Etsy) or the Chi-Town Chinos from Alina Design Co.  Despite my ambivalence toward the pattern, I’m so happy to have a new pair of pants in my wardrobe that is bright, cheery, comfortable, and that is a nice alternative to wearing jeans every day.  I really like these.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

It’s still cold spring here, but I think this is my last spring sweatshirt…and it’s a good one.  This is the Brunswick Pullover from Hey June Handmade, my first pattern from this company, and probably not my last.  This is a great pattern.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I made View A with the cowl neck of View B in a size 16 bust and 18 hip. I used a green Polartec Curly Fleece from Fashion Fabrics Club (just like last week’s sweatshirt) and a Rifle Paper Co. quilting cotton from Pintuck and Purl.  The zipper on the pocket was from Wawak (I wanted the specific length called for rather than a zipper I would have to shorten, so I had to order it) and the anorak snaps, thread, and interfacing came from my stash.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Hey June Handmade is a company whose patterns I’ve had my eye on for awhile.  Last year, I planned to make the free Durango Tank, but never got around to it.  I saw this pattern release, though, and really liked the pattern as well as the various photos of people’s finished pullovers around the internet.  Katie’s Brunswick with the striped hood and other details was really inspiring as was Loni’s Brunswick with the white outside and Rifle Paper Co. button placket.  This last one was the inspiration that stuck with me as I looked for my own fabric.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Although I prefer paper patterns, this is only available in PDF currently, so I decided to put my preference aside and go for it.  Adrianna Appl, the designer, makes this PDF really easy to use with layered sizing (meaning you only have to print the sizes you need) and loads of information about printing and taping PDF’s, cutting your fabric, and sizing before you even start.  I was impressed from the very beginning by the detail and depth of information.  There is a lot of hand-holding in the pattern in the best way.  Adrianna does everything possible to ensure that you have a good and successful experience sewing her pattern.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I think the thing that really drew me to this pattern is all the fun little details you can add that take this from merely a cozy sweatshirt to cozy sweatshirt with a distinctive twist.  Here are some close-ups of my choices:  a contrast zipper pocket on the sleeve,

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

functional snap plackets on the sides lined with contrast fabric,

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

and a big, cozy cowl neck.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

A few notes from sewing the pattern:

  • I used a walking foot and a jersey/ballpoint needle as well as a lighter presser foot pressure.
  • To mark the pocket on the arm, I used tailor’s tacks since fabric marker or chalk wouldn’t have shown up well on the fleece.
  • Because I was using fleece, I couldn’t press without melting the fabric, and therefore couldn’t use fusible interfacing.  I opted to hand baste some sew-in woven interfacing at the necessary points.  Where the pattern called for pressing, I finger pressed.
  • It can be a little bit hard to tell the front from the back when the pullover is finished if you used the cowl neck option (unless you memorize which arm the outer pocket goes on), so I made a little tag out of a pretty bit of selvage and sewed it inside the back near the neck seam.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

This was a really enjoyable pattern to sew.  I love, love, love the finished product, and I’m so impressed with all the attention to detail in this pattern, that I would love to sew another from this company.  Plenty of patterns out there are good, but I think the quality of this one is a step above.  I’m glad I tried it.  It’s been fun to have a bright colored sweatshirt to fight off the spring rain and chill, too.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite outtakes/silly shots:

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

Many thanks to my long-suffering photographer.  😀

 

 

Want a Patagonia-Style Fleece Pullover? Try the Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover in Polartec

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Want a Patagonia-Style Fleece Pullover?  Try the Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover in Polartec

If you sew, what drives you to make a particular project?  Maybe sometimes it’s wanting your own version of something you saw another person make.  Maybe you can create a designer-inspired piece for an affordable price.  Maybe you love construction and couture details.  For me, I often want to see what it would be like to make something.  I find this to be the case in both cooking and sewing.  I may only make the food or article of clothing once, but I want to know how it’s made and what it takes to make it.

That’s what happened when I was contemplating some patterns by The Green Pepper at Joann Fabrics one day.  I had never tried any of these patterns, but I noticed one that was for a fleece jacket like the ones at L.L. Bean.  The pattern in the store may have been a zip-up version, and I was interested in the classic pullover style, but it got me thinking.  This style has been around for decades and is probably more well-known from Patagonia, an early adopter of fleece fabric in garments.  (In fact, this pullover at Patagonia looks amazingly similar to what I ended up making.)  I found The Green Pepper F722, Polar Pullover and Vest on Etsy.  There is a similar style on The Green Pepper website, number 512.  It looks like an older pattern (copyright 1999) and is a slightly different version with a different finish for the sleeves and collar and only one pocket flap option.  My pattern has a copyright date of 2013 on the envelope.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

For fabric, I hit the jackpot at Fashion Fabrics Club.  This website can be a little overwhelming, because there is just so much, but looking at the fabric on a screen bigger than a phone helps.  I found Polartec Double Sided Curly Fleece in Sour Lemon

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

as well as woven Supplex in Dark Turquoise (which I thought was nylon, but the website says is cotton), and a stretchy nylon/spandex Creamy Pink Jersey Knit (no longer available) for my inner neck edging.  I chose colors I liked together on my computer, and ordered them, hoping they would work in real life.  Shipping took awhile, but when I finally got everything, I was thrilled.  The colors were great together!  Other odds and ends came either from my stash or Joann’s, with the exception of my snaps.  The pattern calls for heavy duty snaps, and I, being a snap novice, didn’t really know what that meant.  So, I went looking for snaps in the color I wanted, rather than worrying about what “heavy duty” meant.  I found Snap Source pastel pink size 16 snaps at Wawak, which I thought looked most like what I was seeing online at Patagonia and L.L. Bean.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

This is a unisex pattern with all available sizes in one envelope, and according to my measurements, I was a medium in the chest and waist and a large in the hip, so that’s what I traced.  I opted for the pullover with the collar and rounded chest pocket, but you can also choose a vest, hood, or pointed pocket.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

As soon as I took the pattern instructions out of the envelope and started reading them, I could see that a lot of time, thought, and care had gone into making these directions.  There is a lot of information to help you before you begin, which is great.  My favorite part, though, was all the detail that was put into the construction directions.  This pattern doesn’t assume you have a serger, and gives clear, thorough instruction, including which direction to sew your seams, when to use a straight stitch and when to zigzag (something not all knit patterns have), and lots of small details that will give you a professional finish.  I was only a few steps in before I felt like I could trust this pattern.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

I made sure to use a walking foot, a jersey/ballpoint needle, and a lighter presser foot pressure, except for the neck facing, where I changed to a stretch needle after some trial and error.  I was surprised that a lot of my seams were sewn with a straight stitch and finished with a zigzag, which also served to flatten out the seam allowances.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

One slight issue I had on the front placket was in section J, step 1, where it said the placket should extend half an inch above the top of the jacket.  That wasn’t the case on my jacket—it’s possible that I made an error, but after measuring the pattern pieces to be sure, I think the error is in the pattern.  I went back and recut the placket, making it 3/8″ longer.  This error seems to be on all sizes.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

One other issue I had, which was my fault occurred while installing the snaps.  I was trying to use prong snaps, when the pattern had called for heavy duty snaps, which are larger and have a post.  I got the top side of my snaps in, but couldn’t get the bottoms in.  I bought some heavy duty snaps and did some tests on scrap fabric to confirm that they would work (they did), but I really wanted pink snaps.  After going down a major rabbit hole where I started researching powder coating and other types of paint, and calling people who repair outdoor gear (Boulder Mountain Repair and Specialty Outdoors were kind enough to talk to me and point me in some helpful directions), I finally visited L.L. Bean to do a little sleuthing.  It looks like they are using colored plastic snaps, about the size of my original pink snaps, but they had trimmed all the bulk out of their facings, whereas mine had (in some places) two layers of fleece and four layers of Supplex.  My husband had suggested that I trim this area before I went on my snap saga, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it work until I felt the facings on the L.L. Bean sweatshirts.  So, I went home and opened up the facing, trimming down the bulk in the bottom facing, after which I had no problem installing the bottom of my snaps.  Consider me older and wiser now—I will do this on both parts of the facing next time, which will give me a ton of color options for snaps, thanks to Snap Source.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

Snap saga aside, this pattern was a joy to sew and VERY interesting.  I got really professional results and a brightly colored sweatshirt I can wear during this cool and cloudy spring.  The pockets are a major bonus, including the chest pocket!

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

There’s even a little hanging tab.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

It’s warm and cozy, and it’s very encouraging that I can find professional materials.  It was hard to find heavy-duty snaps in all the colors of the rainbow (although some colors are available), but trimming down the fleece in the facing gives you more options.  I think final cost for this sweatshirt was under $35, which is great, considering that many of these sweatshirts in the store are in the $70–$120 range.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

If I were to make this again, some things that would be fun to try are swapping out the elastic in the casings at hip (pictured below) and wrist

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

for a stretchy binding on cuffs, hem, and top of collar, as well as trying the pointy pocket, possibly in a double layer of Supplex instead of fleece.  It would be fun to order some of my own labels and sew one to the front as well (if only I could decide what to put on them!).  And I’d love to try out some Polartec WindPro so the wind couldn’t blow through.  I’m not sure how many of these sweatshirts I need, but this was really nice to sew.  Since The Green Pepper also has a zip-front pattern (number 507), maybe that would be a good one to try too.  If this is a style you like, I highly recommend this pattern.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

 

 

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

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!