This month is all about flowers now that they’re finally here. Spring feels like it’s coming so slowly, and each new flower is both surprising and wonderful. Here are a few. Enjoy!
I’m really excited about the jeans I have to share with you today. I love all the details I put into them! Just like the gingham shirt from last week, jeans provide a fun chance to experiment with details.
I made the decision to swap one of the tops (Simplicity 2255) on my 2017 Make Nine plan for some Ginger Jeans, partly because I needed some jeans, but also because I was no longer sure if that top was the right use for the precious fabric I had planned for it.
I knew that Me-Made-May was coming up, and I needed more pants, AND, last but not least, Pintuck & Purl was hosting a Jeans Sewing Master Class with Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Patterns, maker of the Ginger Jeans pattern…and, you know, I thought that warranted a new pair. 😉
I am both completely in love with these jeans and slightly annoyed by the subtle fit issues that I didn’t notice until after these were finished. We can leave the annoyances until later–let’s talk about the fun stuff!
I knew before I even had the fabric that I wanted to use yellow exposed zippers on these (partly because I completely forgot to put them in my green pair), and I knew I could do it because I learned how when making my Refashioners 2015 jacket (worn in the picture above). The instructions come from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (1976 edition), my favorite sewing reference.
I’ll give you a quick rundown of the other supplies I used and where they are from, in case you are curious (I’m always curious about these sorts of things.). Also, I know there are a billion links in this post. I love information, and I want you to have all the information I have in case it will help you. None of these are affiliate links, although I do work part-time at Pintuck & Purl.
One great discovery with this pair of jeans is that my Singer Featherweight sewing machine does great with Gutermann topstitching thread. I was ready to swear that thread off because it didn’t do well in my Elna 3005 the last time I made jeans, but this time I set up both machines so I could use my Elna for construction and my Featherweight for topstitching, and both machines did great with their respective threads. I used the red Coats topstitching thread in the Elna and it worked great. It’s so rare that anything disagrees with my Elna that I assumed the problem was with the thread, but I’m glad I tried the Gutermann with the other machine (admittedly, I only did this because it was the only yellow/gold topstitching thread I had on hand and I didn’t want to run out to get more).
So, with the exception of the exposed zippers, which I had to put in before doing the pockets, I followed the directions as written. I made a size 14, View A (low rise, stovepipe legs). The back pocket topstitching design came from a bunch of topstitching designs Heather sent out to newsletter subscribers. It was really fun to pick one out.
I was also inspired by my coworker Lauren to add bias trim to the hem of the my pants and a contrasting thread color on my buttonhole as well as some contrasting bartacks. She makes cool clothes.
So let’s talk fabric. I chose this great stretch denim, and I really love it. It’s very different (in a good way) from the inexpensive denim I used for my first pair. It has a great hand and feels substantial, yet still stretchy. What I DIDN’T do (but should have) is wear my jeans around for a few hours after basting them. I was impatient. I admit it. I basted them, wore them around for a few minutes, and called them good. And they were. They were just right. So, I sewed them up, and finished them off. I washed them to get any chalk marks off and hung them up to dry (by the way, I did wash and dry the fabric in the dryer more than once before making these). Then, I put them on and…they seemed a little looser than I remembered…and a little longer than my other two pairs. Hm. In my concern about not making them too tight (you know I love some ease!), I didn’t account for differences in fabric. This stretch denim is stretchier than my other two pairs.
I also asked Heather to take a look at my jeans during a lull in the jeans class (I was around to help out on day one), and she gave me a few fitting tips that she said could remove the excess fabric in the back and my need for a belt. Her advice was both generous and helpful, and might also apply to my gray pants with the mysterious extra fabric in the back. She is a fitting master. It was amazing to see her help everyone.
So, final analysis: I LOVE these jeans. I think they are my coolest-looking jeans to date (the green pants are sort of in their own category, I think), and I am always mystified when people don’t stop me and tell me how awesome they are. 😉
That being said, I really wish the fit was as perfect as I thought it was when I basted them together and tried them on. They are a little looser than I want them, and I definitely have to wear a belt. BUT…this is all part of the learning curve for making pants, right? As much as I wish I had all pants-fitting knowledge magically deposited in my brain, that is never going to happen, and I really do remember fitting things better when it is something I’ve had to learn the hard way (Darn it! WHY is there no silver bullet/magic potion/easy answer? Learning and skill development actually takes WORK! Shocking!).
If you are thinking about making jeans, the Ginger Jeans pattern is a GREAT pattern. It was much less scary than I thought it would be and the directions plus the sew-along are really, really helpful and well done. Heather clearly does her research. Go for it!
It can now be officially established (if it wasn’t before) that Simplicity 1538 is a Tried-N-True (TNT) pattern for me. I think this is my fifth one (see previous versions here: wearable muslin, pink tiger quilting cotton, flannel, flannel with pearl snaps). I love this pattern.
Buttons are from Jo-ann Fabrics.
I was inspired to add these fun blue accents after I saw a shirt by another sewing blogger (unfortunately, I can’t find my inspiration picture anywhere!).
I love those little details whether they are hidden and only something I know about or if they peek out and add to the look of the garment as a whole.
This project in particular really brought home how much fun those little details can be and make me love shirt-making even more. Shirts and jeans are great canvases for these kinds of creative touches.
I didn’t do anything new to the pattern fitting-wise. You may or may not remember from previous posts that this shirt is a 16 at the bust, graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips. I also lowered the dart and did a major broad back adjustment (more about that here). Those things are pretty standard for me when making woven tops, and it’s great to have a pattern where all that stuff is already done. I used French seams on the arm and side seams. I’m pretty happy about those. They aren’t perfect, but they’re good, and they make me happy when I look at them.
Now let’s get to the fun details I built into this shirt. For starters, I did not try to plaid match anything. Once a gingham is this small (1/4″ squares), I officially let myself off the hook. I just don’t care. What I do care about is being able to contrast the straight horizontal and vertical lines of the gingham with some diagonal bias lines. I put the outer back yoke, the front button placket, the cuff placket, and the outer cuffs on the bias.
I debated doing the same on the collar stand and collar, but left them on the straight of grain this time so they would contrast with the yoke. I added blue accents to the insides of the cuffs, the inner yoke, the inner collar stand and the underside of the collar.
It took me awhile to find a blue that I liked with this gingham, but I’m really happy with this. The buttons were also good finds–they have a subtle design, but when I saw them against the shirt, I knew they were right.
This is the second gingham shirt I have made (the first is here), and while I sort of thought that cotton gingham was pretty similar across the board, I should have known better. My first gingham was a great deal at Hancock’s (RIP, Hancock’s!), but the quality isn’t great. As soon as I made it, I was wondering how long it would hold up. No regrets or anything, but I doubt it will last 10 years. The feel of this is much better. Maybe it’s just the difference between actual quality shirting fabric and run-of-the-mill gingham. Lesson learned. I think this red and white one will be around for a while.
So, now it’s just a matter of celebrating spring in my preppy new shirt! Hooray! I love the fit. I love the fabric. I love the pattern. This is a great shirt. Bonus: it’s one of my 2017 Make Nine projects. One more done!
When I was growing up, I was a tomboy. I’ve grown more “girlie” as I’ve gotten older, but there is still a side of me that loves the practical and strong in clothing. I love a good dress, but I also get a lot of inspiration from workwear. That was why, when I realized that the Thread Theory Jutland Pants that I made for my husband (here and here) fit me as well, I started planning my own pair.
I’ve always loved straight- and wide-leg pants, but after several years of closer-fitting styles being the norm, it’s a big change to go back. I wasn’t completely sure about my idea…until I borrowed one of the pairs I had made my husband so I could test out the fit. So. Comfortable. I was sold.
The pattern and fabric for these pants came from Pintuck & Purl.
The fabric is a 100% cotton grey English canvas (which I obviously should have pressed before taking these pictures–oops!). This is the same fabric I used for my husband’s second pair of Jutlands, but in a different color. The pants came together really quickly since this is the third time I’ve sewn them, I didn’t bother with special topstitching thread, and since I forgot to flat-fell my outseams (oops again). I also left off the cargo pockets and knee patches, retaining only the hem reinforcements.
I borrowed patch pockets from Simplicity 1020,
and back pockets from the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns. (I’m still not sure if I like that decision or not.)
In fact, in a triumph that I will probably never experience again, I sewed these pants in a single day. Yes. One day. I was proud of myself.
These pants are rugged and neutral, and will coordinate with a lot of other colors. I made these with the goal or having something workwear inspired, but also of having actual work pants. In fact, it took me so long to get pictures of these, that I had already done some outdoor work while wearing them and, much to my annoyance, stained them. I guess they’re legit now, right?
So, despite the fact that these aren’t form-fitting in any way, I LOVE them. I love how they feel and I love that I feel tough when I wear them and don’t have to worry about a stain or two. I kind of hope Thread Theory develops women’s versions of some of their men’s patterns. Then I could take inspiration from the likes of Carhartt and Duluth Trading Co. and apply them to my wardrobe. 🙂
Hey, friends! Long time, no project! That hasn’t been intentional. I have a bit of a backlog to share with you, so let’s get started on this week’s project, a wool/Lycra knit Lark Tee from Grainline Studio.
This is my first Grainline Studio garment since the Hemlock. I wasn’t in love with that particular pattern (or its instructions) and so I shied away from the company as a whole, but they do have a number of pretty great-looking patterns, and people seem to love them, so I decided to dip my toe in a little bit. And to be completely honest, I wear my Hemlock all the time for pajamas. I guess it just goes to show that first impressions aren’t everything, and it’s worth it to wear a garment for a while before deciding if you like it or not.
This project came about because I really need a good, versatile t-shirt pattern that can become a TNT (tried-n-true) pattern for me, and after searching the interwebs for one pattern with lots of options, I found that Grainline’s Lark Tee had the largest number of options to cover all your basic t-shirt needs in one pattern. I used to say I wouldn’t sew t-shirts when I could buy them so cheaply, but I admit to getting sucked in. A t-shirt is a great palate cleanser between more intense projects.
I still had a good amount of my green wool/Lycra knit fabric (used in this shirt), which seemed like a good match for the pattern. I borrowed the pattern from a friend, so that I could see if I liked it before really committing.
I chose the long-sleeved scoop neck view, tracing a 12 at the bust and grading out to a 14 at the waist and hips. In looking at the pictures, I think I could have maybe gone down a size, but I usually err on the side of more ease rather than less. The instructions and illustrations were very clear and easy to understand, which I really liked. Maggie at Pintuck & Purl had told me that the shirt runs long, but I decided to keep the length so I could use it for layering (for reference, I’m 5 ft. 8.5 in.). She has a great version of this shirt on the shop’s blog. Reading her post is part of what finally convinced me to try it.
My initial reaction was that the shirt was…ok. It is definitely a straight fit and not defined at the waist. Also, this fabric might not be the awesome match I thought it was. I have to wear it a little bit more to see what I really think, but despite my potential fabric and sizing blunders, I’m beginning to like it. I think it could become a wardrobe staple. I’d like to try a short-sleeved version as well as versions in other types of fabric at some point.
***Since taking these pictures and writing my first draft of this post, I spent a day wearing this same outfit, but with the shirt tucked in and with a long cardigan over it, and I really like it. It’s comfortable and (I think) looks good.***
I have to admit, I’m kind of excited to experiment with this pattern, and I’m glad I gave Grainline another try. Looks like I need more knit fabric. Darn. 😉
As I was choosing my projects for the year, I wanted to make sure I had a few pants (or trousers for my non-American friends out there) on my list because I realized that I still fear making them and therefore I avoid them. It’s not the construction that I fear. It’s fitting. Here’s the problem with fitting…you might know something isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean you know the cause of the issue. How can you fix a problem if you don’t even know what the problem is? But when I look back at my experience making button up shirts, which I have come to love, I realize that you can’t figure out your common fitting issues if you never make the garment in the first place.
So, this year pants are on the list.
I’ve had this particular pattern for a long time, but I’ve never made it before now.
It’s one of the Amazing Fit series, so it sounded like it had a lot of extra fitting tips inside, and it definitely delivered. Before beginning, it directs you to take certain measurements to determine which back piece you will use–slim, average, or curvy. Once I measured myself, I chose curvy. There are some great tips for fitting as you go as well as extra-wide seam allowances in key places. The pattern has directions for adding faux welt pockets to the back, but after trying them out, I thought they looked fake, so I took them off again. Otherwise, I did everything as instructed. The only fitting I did was to take the inseams in by 1/8″.
That being said, I think there is excess fabric in the back, and I don’t know what to do about that. MY FITTING FEARS HAVE COME TO PASS! AHHHH!!!!
OK, so it’s not quite as scary as I thought. 😉
You can see it better in the picture below.
The fabric I used for these pants is a cotton/spandex sateen from Jo-Ann Fabrics. It’s a little on the light side, although it is a bottomweight. So, here is my question for you, readers: do you think all the back wrinkles are due to fabric choice or something else? The feel of these pants is perfection. They are comfortable and not too tight. But the look of the back leaves something to be desired. Should I have gone with the average back? Is it something else entirely? The few shorts I have made before have generally needed more length in the back crotch seam rather than less, but maybe these are different? I’m not sure.
After trying them on, I decided not to worry too much about it. Hopefully I’ll run across the answer at some point (maybe one of you will have it), but since these feel so comfortable, I decided not to let my fitting questions stop me from finishing the project.
So, final analysis? This is a great pattern, which I highly recommend. For myself, I may not have figured the pattern out to perfection, but I now have one more pair of pants under my belt (haha), and I’m a little bit less afraid.
It happened! I finished my bathing suit and…I think it works!
When we last met here, I had finished the bottom, but not the top. During this week, I worked on joining up all the pieces and adding elastic to the neckhole and armholes. That last bit wasn’t a part of the pattern, but I really like the look it provides, and I was hoping to solve a few problems with it.
There was a small part on the front neckline where I didn’t catch my outer fabric very well when I was sewing all the layers together. There was no invisible way (that I could think of) to fix that. Even using clear thread, it would have been visible.
I also wanted to stabilize those openings and give them more support so that they would be stronger and hopefully not gape when wet.
Finally, I was hoping the edging would magically tighten and take in the little bit of excess under the arms. So…that didn’t happen (which I expected, but you always hope for that happy accident!), but I’m more optimistic about the other things.
When I began to apply the elastic, I realized it was a make-or-break moment. The suit would either be much better for the addition or it would be ruined. I bet on the side of better and went for it.
After letting go of my perfectionism, I ended up with a swimsuit that isn’t perfect, but is actually finished and is, I think, a wearable first draft. I’ve tested it briefly. Now to see how it does over a whole day at the beach.
If you happen to be working on your own bathing suit and want to try applying elastic like I did, check out this tutorial on the Kadiddlehopper blog. I used the advice here on both the stitched and turned elastic for my leg holes as well as the bound edges in the top. I actually have this blog post printed out and saved in a binder so I don’t lose it!
As for the few other details on this suit, here they are: I fully lined both the front and back of the top and bottom. I also used powermesh from the Imagine Gnats shop as the lining fabric in the built-in bra of the top. I have nothing but good to say about buying from there–super fast shipping and great service. All my elastic was 3/8″ swimwear elastic, and I used wooly nylon thread in my bobbin, with 100% polyester Güttermann thread in the top. I used a walking foot, plus a stretch needle and Jalie’s method (found in the pattern) of sewing a long zigzag stitch first (width: 4.5, length: 0.5) and then going back and doing a straight stitch while stretching the fabric slightly (length: 2.5) at the actual seamline. For pattern and fabric details, see my first post on this swimsuit. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thanks to everyone who encouraged me! It means so much, and it really helped me finish well. My neighbor’s mom, who I just love and who is an amazing seamstress herself, is now convinced that I can sew anything. Little by little, right?
Here’s some fun for your weekend.
I think it’s time for a progress report.
But first, how about some mental anguish? 😉 As I was procrastinating and freaking out about this project, I had a breakthrough that now seems completely obvious (funny how that happens sometimes).
I expect to create the perfect suit.
Despite the fact that I rarely allow myself to be a perfectionist in my sewing, despite the fact that I understand that skills take time to build and ‘finished is better than perfectly unfinished’, I’m putting a perfectionist’s pressure on myself with this project. Of course I’m procrastinating and freaking out! That’s completely unrealistic! I may have made suits before, but it takes time (and considerably more practice) to become skillful.
I guess it just goes to show that perfectionism can sneak up on anyone.
Once I realized this, I decided it was time to chill out. So, I put on some surfing to distract me and psych me up to sew bathing suits and got going. Now we can talk progress.
This is year three of attempting to create a bathing suit that I love. The last two years have (sadly) been fails. Year one was a pretty spectacular fail due to my not clueing in to some very awful print placement, forgetting to add in the necessary internal support, and the fact that it came out too big. That suit just got cut up to become bottoms.
In year two I made every iteration of the Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns.
I wanted to practice and then hopefully create a tankini by hacking my favorite bikini view. Unfortunately, I have no practice constructing bras, so I couldn’t create the desired support well. I wore the tankini once, but by the end of the day, the structural elements started to come out of their places, so…no good. I also decided I wanted bottoms that offered fuller coverage.
So here we are at year three. I finally found a fabric that I completely love at the Fabric Fairy (she has a lot of excellent swimsuit prints), but I can’t find a tankini pattern that I’m really excited about.
I’m using the bottoms of the Jalie tankini (#3023), but I’m not jazzed about the top. It’s good, but I wanted something a little different. So my solution (which I realize may lead me to another fail) is to use lisette/Butterick 6295, a work-out top that I really like, and to add extra elastic to the neck and arms.
Here’s where I am as of Wednesday evening:
After putting so much time and energy into searching for a pattern I love, I’ve decided that this is what I really want:
I want a pattern designer to create a tankini pattern that has interesting details to set it apart from the crowd, offers full bottom coverage and the option for internal support up top (in the form of underwires). I think you could (please!) also include a sports bra pattern as another view with the same optional underwire support and cool details. That would make me so happy. Jalie? Fehr Trade? Closet Case Files? Someone? Please?
Until then, I’m working away at this as well as several bathing suit experiments that will not be for me. After this, I just want to make something easy for myself. I want to return to my selfish, simple, sewing ways. Well…until I find the next exciting challenge.
Hey, friends! It’s time to get back to some sewing! A lot has been going on in the sewing arena over here, and I wanted to share some exciting places my blog has been popping up as well as give you a quick progress report.
Every month she puts out a challenge, and if you sew something within the month that fits the theme, you can put a link to your blog post on the page. At the end of the month, she posts a round-up of all the links. It’s a great way to discover new blogs and it’s really fun to look at everyone’s projects. As Allie says, the theme is general enough to allow a lot of latitude, but should give you some guidance if you aren’t sure what to sew next. This was my first time joining in, and I really enjoyed it (plus, Allie said some very kind things about my jeans, so that doesn’t hurt!). Thanks, Allie!
The Refashioners challenge is a chance to take a specific type of garment and refashion it into something entirely new. Creating clothing in this way is really fun. It takes a lot of thought to decide how to refashion the item(s) you are working with, but the end results of everyone’s creativity is truly fabulous. Last year’s theme was men’s dress shirts and I made a lined jacket from four shirts for the competition.
(You can read about my entry here.)
This year’s theme is jeans. You can use one pair or you can use ten! What do you think? Are you game? If you want more details, either about the blogger series or the competition that follows, check out Portia’s blog. There’s plenty of inspiration on my Denim Pinterest board if you need a little help getting started.
For extra reading on the idea of refashioning, you can also find Portia and fellow participant Marilla Walker in this Seamwork article.
Last but not least on the sewing challenge front was Me-Made-May ’16. I made my pledge to wear at least one me-made article of clothing daily, wear two me-made clothing items in the same day at least once a week, and not to repeat items within a week. I also decided I wasn’t going to make a big effort to take daily outfit photos this year since that was a lot of work last year. I took some quick and easy photos here and there for Instagram, but that was it.
So how did it go? I would say it went well. I decided pretty quickly that I was going to throw the no-repeats-within-a-week restriction out the window. It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough clothing that I had made, but because sometimes I loved an item so much that I wanted to wear it multiple times in a week. I was amazed at how much easier it was to do the challenge this year over last year. A full year’s worth of sewing has really filled a lot of holes in my wardrobe and/or replaced garments that didn’t fit as well and that I didn’t love as much as those I’ve made. It’s a great feeling to see that accumulation of skill and accomplishment.
While it may seem like I haven’t been doing much actual sewing lately, the opposite is true. In addition to working on my Refashioners project behind the scenes, I’ve been gearing up to face down one of the (many) areas of sewing that I have yet to successfully master: swimsuits! I am deep in the trenches of swimsuit making.
Cut out bathing suits, jeans remnants, and mending are piled everywhere!
I had a whole long section in this post giving you an update on where I’m at with all that, but I decided to cut it and save it for another post. This one is getting long, so let’s wrap it up with some fun recommendations instead!
Do you think it will work on chicken?