Tag Archives: smitten kitchen

Just Like Magic…In Which a Down Jacket Becomes a Down Scarf

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Just Like Magic…In Which a Down Jacket Becomes a Down Scarf

Welcome to this issue of Experimental Sewing!  Today’s project involves turning the remnants of a down jacket (from this past project) into a scarf.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

After seeing the scarves Alabama Chanin and Patagonia made from worn out Patagonia jackets a few years ago, I reallllly wanted to try it for myself.  I thought it was a cool idea, and I was intrigued by the thought of recycling a down jacket (plus, I couldn’t pay $90 for one of theirs just because I was curious).  It was time to get sewing.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

I decided at the outset that my goal wasn’t perfect, heirloom sewing.  Undoubtedly the Alabama Chanin + Patagonia scarves are amazing in quality and workmanship, but I didn’t want to worry about that.  I just wanted to know if I could do it and what the process would be like.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

After my first project with this down jacket, which was interesting, but somewhat unpleasant to sew, due to the reality of sewing down in your living room, my husband suggested that I try sewing the scarf outside.  That was a game-changer.  Sewing outside in October, when it was still somewhat warm but not hot, was heavenly.  Any escaping down floated away on the breeze.  I felt like I was in a sweet, sweet dream (the weather was really nice), sewing away on my Featherweight in the backyard. 😀

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

Let’s talk process for a bit, and discovery.  I looked at what I had left of the down jacket, and marked off pieces with  my sewing marker that were as rectangular as possible.  Then I sewed a straight stitch on either side of my cutting lines.  After that, I cut my pieces up.  And then I sewed them back together…as you do.  😉  This left me with something like a long rectangle, but also some exposed, slightly downy edges.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

And that’s when I made my discovery.  I went to an estate sale and came away with, among other things, fleece binding!  I had no idea this was a thing you could buy!  It was perfect for my project.  Rather than buying more to match things, I just decided to use what I had to cover the seams joining the rectangular pieces and the edges.  There was a little hand-sewing involved where the binding crossed from side to side, but not much.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

Before I finished, I also sewed a little rectangle to the inside of one end so that you could weave the other end through, helping to keep the scarf on.

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

Some bonuses include the three pockets that are left in the scarf from the original jacket and, weirdly, the fact that the front zipper is still a part of the scarf and you can zip it up so it looks like you are wearing the front of a jacket.  It’s weird and cool.  (Really!  It’s cool!  I promise!)

Look out!  This could be the next trend coming your way in 2018.  You heard it here first!  😉

Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

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Just like magic...in which a down jacket becomes a down scarf

I don’t think, after doing this, that I’m going to set up shop making a million things from down.  It was fun, but not so much that it’s going to be my new favorite thing.  What IS one of my favorite things in sewing is trying out different fabrics, and this definitely scratched that itch.  I’m pushing the boundaries of my sewing knowledge a little more each time!  That’s a win.

Recommendations

  • I just checked out the new cookbook from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, called Smitten Kitchen Every Day.  I’m still reading through it, but after only making it through the Breakfast section, I want to make every recipe.  Seriously.  I might need this cookbook.
  • I feel I would be remiss if, after this project, I didn’t recommend Wrights fleece binding.
  • I can’t get the great fabric/color combination of this Kelly Anorak sewn by Lauren of Guthrie and Ghani out of my head.
  • Oh!  And one more since we’re talking fabric.  I LOVE this Neon Neppy fabric from Robert Kaufman, and I can’t decide which one I love best:  Blue, Royal, or Charcoal?  The internet really doesn’t do it justice–it has little slubs of neon color throughout, and since I’m clearly in a speckle as well as a neon phase, it’s right up my alley.
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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

Today’s post is a little bit different, but in a good way, I think.  I want to share how to install pearl snaps since there seemed to be some interest after I posted my latest flannel shirt featuring pearl snaps on the blog and on Instagram.  Obviously I’m no expert, but I tested out a few ways of installing pearl snaps, and this was my favorite.

Before we begin, let me just say:  it pays to practice.  I made sure to have extra snaps so I could practice putting them into scrap fabric before trying to install them in my shirt.  Even so, I still had a cracked snap, but because I practiced, all the other snaps came out just right–all functional, and all in the correct location and right way out.

OK.  Let’s get down to business!

 

Tools You Will Need

How to Install Pearl Snaps

  • Pearl Snaps
  • Your shirt or whatever you are installing your snaps in (I’m using a double layer of flannel for this tutorial.)
  • The cardboard–at least two thin layers
  • Hammer
  • Snap Setter
  • Water- or air-soluble marking pen
  • Pin

Here are some close-up pictures of the snap-setting tool I used.  It’s pictured above near the top left of my flannel square.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

The Process

First, make sure that you have at least two thin layers of cardboard as a work surface under your snaps when you are setting them.  I used a single layer of thin cardboard from a shoe box for my first snap.  That snap cracked.  Once I doubled the layers, I didn’t have that problem any more, thankfully.  Learn from my mistake!

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

Before you install your snaps, lay out your shirt as you plan to wear it with your plackets or cuffs aligned and mark the desired location of your snap with your marker.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Next, put a pin in the place that you marked.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Holding the pin in place, lift your top layer and mark around the pin on the bottom layer.  This way the snaps will line up when you go to put your shirt on.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

There are four pieces to each snap:  the pearl part with prongs, the male part of the snap that is attached to the pearl part, the female part of the snap, and the back part with prongs that the female part attaches to.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

It’s a good idea to put the pearl side of your snap in first.  That way you make sure the visible part of the snap is right where you want it.  In order to do this, lay the pearl part of the snap on your cardboard with the prongs facing up.  Lay the right side of your fabric over the prongs and facing the cardboard with the placement mark you made centered over the prongs of the snap so that it is in the middle of the snap. Gently push the fabric down (being careful not the stab yourself with the prongs) until all of the prongs protrude through the fabric.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Next, carefully place the male side of the snap over the prongs and put the snap setting tool over the snap.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

The tool should have an indentation that will allow you to cover the snap without worrying that you will flatten the male part of the snap (and yes, it both makes sense and is completely weird that we are talking about male and female parts of a snap).  Holding the snap setting tool over the male part of the snap which is resting on the pearl prongs, hit the tool with the hammer several times.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Check to see if the snap has been pounded on enough by trying to slide your fingernail between the two snap pieces.  If your nail won’t go between, you’ve done it!  If it does go between, place the tool back over the snap as before and give it a few more hits with the hammer.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Good job!  You’re halfway there!

Now lay the back side of the snap with the prongs on the cardboard, prongs facing up.  Carefully line up your placement mark from the corresponding area of your cuff or placket so that the mark is in the middle of the prongs and press down on the fabric (again, trying not to stab yourself with the prongs) until all of the prongs come through.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

If you want to, you can gently lay the part that you already did over the top just to make sure things look like they are lining up before finishing the installation.  Now is also a good time to check that you aren’t putting the second part of the snap in backwards (I have done this).

Now take the female part of the snap and lay it over the prongs, placing the side with the deepest grooves down on the prongs.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

If you are unsure about which way to orient this part of the snap, here is something I found helpful.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

This is the side you want up (below):

How to Install Pearl Snaps

and this is the side you want facing down onto the prongs (below):

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Place the snap setting tool over the female side of the snap and hit it a few times with the hammer.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

Do the fingernail test again to make sure it’s been pounded on enough and then test your snap by snapping it together.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

It should be all set (ha, ha)!

There are multiple types of snap setters and you may end up liking another style better.  I chose this one because of the two I had been given, this metal one and a blue plastic one, I liked this the best.  If you have a favorite tool for setting snaps, tell me about it in the comments!  I love discovering new sewing gadgets!

Recommendations

  • This week I made Smitten Kitchen’s Black and White Cookies, and they were excellent!
  • This article from the Mood Sewciety blog cracked me up:  How to Workout with Your Sewing Machine
  • Last week I watched the movie The Young Victoria about the years just before and after the start of Queen Victoria’s reign.  It was such a good movie and really makes you admire both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as well as the force for good that they were together.
  • For your viewing pleasure, I give you Leonard Nimoy singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.  I have a whole new view of Mister Spock now.  😉

I Made PANTS! Unselfishly, Even…

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Is it still unselfish sewing when you get the knowledge, even if you don’t keep the garment?  Of course it is!

Finishing this project kept me on a serious sewing high for a good week.  I made real, true pants!

Let me introduce you to the Jutland Pants, Variation 2 (cargo pants) by Thread Theory Designs, Inc.

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

I made these for my husband, and I think they are a success!  I don’t measure success by perfection.  In this case, success meant finishing the project and producing a wearable garment that fit well enough to be worn.  I’ve made leggings before, but I’ve never successfully made fitted pants.  I dimly remember an unwearable pair that I attempted for myself before I really got into sewing and an unfortunate craft fail, but this is my first finished pair of fitted pants that…fit.

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

So, let’s talk details.  What I really wanted to create was an awesome pair of pants like these ones from Duluth Trading Company.  The inspiration pants have all sorts of special features and although I didn’t include all the possible options in this first home sewn pair (like lining, knee pads, or a crotch gusset), between the pattern and the Thread Theory website, you can learn how to put all these cool extras into your pants.  When I saw this pattern at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, I knew it was one that I wanted.  Thread Theory patterns are not cheap, but in making these pants, I felt that, more than any other independent pattern I have tried, this one offers great value for my money.  This is something I couldn’t make up on my own, print for free off the internet, or easily find from another company.  There probably are other cargo pant patterns out there and while I make many “Big 4” patterns, I was really glad to have the more individualized support that Thread Theory offers.  They have a sew-along on their blog and in the two instances when I got tripped up and e-mailed Morgan (one of the owners), she got back to me and answered my questions.

As far as all the fabric and notions went, I bought duck canvas on sale from Joann’s for my main fabric.  My original plan had been to get some really nice canvas, but then I thought that I ought to start with something cheaper for my first try.  The lady cutting my fabric looked really doubtful when I told her I was going to use it for pants.  She told me it was the kind of canvas you used to make bags like you might get at L.L. Bean.  It really shook my confidence, but I got the duck canvas anyway.  In the end, it worked out great!  Encouragement, people!  That really would have been preferable!  I also got a metal zipper that was as close as possible to the size called for, but a little longer because I couldn’t find the exact size.  I bought medium weight fusible interfacing and a jeans button from Joann’s.  I had Velcro, bias tape, and something that I hoped was broadcloth or another suitable pocket material in my stash.  I didn’t line the pants.

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Unlike nearly every sewing project I’ve ever done, I actually made a muslin for this one.  I had an old sheet that came in handy for this.  I took all my husband’s measurements and then made up a sample without the extras like the cargo pockets, knee patches, and hem reinforcements.  The added benefit of the muslin, besides checking the sizing, was that I could practice a few areas like the fly and the main pockets.  It turned out that the muslin was mostly right, but after evaluation, we shortened the pants by about an inch and made a straight size instead of grading between two sizes.

This is definitely a complex pattern and I thought more than once that I was glad I hadn’t been the one who had to design it and then figure out how to communicate the directions for sewing it.  You can tell that a lot of work went into creating this pattern.  There were times when I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, so I had to turn the questioning part of my brain off and just follow the directions.  Luckily, they didn’t lead me wrong.

Here are some “in progress” shots:

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

The two questions I wrote to Morgan about had to do with how to shorten a metal zipper (Could I really just use the waistband as the top stop rather than trying to remove teeth with pliers?  Yes, thank goodness!) and if I was supposed to do a second line of stitching on the seat seam as pictured (You can, but you don’t have to and it complicates things if you are doing a lining.).  For the zipper, she recommended leaving at least one metal tooth above the seamline and letting the zipper tape extend into the seam allowance by about a centimeter.  At that point, you can cut off the excess.  I hand-cranked my machine when I went over the teeth just to be safe and avoid breaking needles.  This was a billion times easier than trying to take out teeth with pliers!

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Concerning the second question, here is what Morgan said (I hope it’s ok to quote her–it will be more accurate and less confusing than if I paraphrase):  “I didn’t end up including this in the instructions due to how it might complicate things when sewing the lining.  I usually stitch the seat seam by clipping the seam allowance at the base of the fly just as you describe.  I stitch rather than pressing the seat seam so that the seam allowances stay to one side.  Depending on the fabric I am using, the seam just under the fly can look a little bit ‘warbled’.  If this is the case, I clip one seam allowance a couple of inches below the fly so that they can sit pressed open rather than both pressed to one side.”  I did the extra line of stitching before she was able to get back to me (because I was impatient) and while it was mostly ok, it did turn out a little funny, like she mentioned.  After being worn a few times, though, it’s not noticeable any more.

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

When I finished, the most amazing thing happened.  I was proud.  I was so excited.  But mostly…I was grateful.

I feel grateful.

I’m grateful that I get to sew.  I know it’s a privilege that I have the time to improve my skills in something besides cooking for my family (let’s just leave housework out of this).  We may not have a ton of extra money (we don’t), but we have been blessed enough that we have been able to make it, somehow, even though I have been home, and thanks to God’s blessing and the public school system that my kids are able to attend, I can do this.  I don’t get all the housework done and, alternately, I don’t get to sew all day every day, but for this time in my life, I have been able to sew enough and have had the support and friendships to enable me to get my skills up to the point that I made my husband a complicated pair of pants.  Maybe I won’t be able to sew forever or even want to, but for now, I’m really, really grateful to God, my family and friends, and now to Thread Theory that I made a pair of pants that my husband likes and wears.

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

I promise nothing about the length of my blog post when I finally make myself jeans.  😉

The icing on the cake is that sometimes, my husband wears this:

Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

I made his shirt and pants!  I’m so proud.  Now to get over my fear of making myself pants…and to conquer bathing suits…and sew all the things!!!!

And don’t you think these need a clever leather tag on the back?  I’m taking suggestions for what it should say!  Leave yours in the comments!

Recommendations:

  • Just when you think you’re an INDIVIDUAL something like these awesome, AWESOME biker-style jeans comes along…and you just want to copy them.  I want these jeans.
  • Double Chocolate Banana Bread (recipe from Smitten Kitchen).  I was skeptical, but it’s so good!  If it’s from Smitten Kitchen, that will probably always be the case.
  • More Christopher Walken.  More Jimmy Fallon.  More Will Farrell.  More Cowbell!