Tutorial: An Easy Elastic Waistband

29 Jan

Hey dudes! Real quick before I jump into tutorial-land this morning – New Vogue Sewing patterns are out! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had quite a few people ask me when I would be posting my review. Not gonna happen, guys – at least not for this set, and no, not because of anything to do with me+The McCall Pattern Company. Have you seen the new patterns? There’s really nothing to make fun of! Which is good, because it shows that Vogue is listening to our pleas, I guess, but no jokies for us this time around. The only pattern I see that I really don’t like at all is this Koos Van Den Akker monstrosity that calls itself V1441- but, again, it’s Koos Van Den Akker, which should explain everything. Kind of hard to poke fun at something that’s intentionally designed to look crazy, you know? :) In the news of things I do like – there’s V9077, which is a dress I don’t completely understand, but I think I like it anyway. Aaaaand, that’s about all that warrants any mention from the new collection. Sorry if you were expecting more! Trust me, you don’t want to see a post of me trying to pull humor out of a humorless situation :) Feel free to turn this into a debate on whether or not I’ve sold out to Vogue (the answer is no, but, I REALLY love a good conspiracy theory, and I’m sure some of y’all do too!)

Ok, so, onward to the tutorial!

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I’ve had a few requests for this, so here ya go – my tutorial for attaching an elastic waistband to your leggings (or skirt, or whatever. I ain’t here to judge your love for elasticized comfort!). While the usual method of leaving a hole in the seam and feeding the elastic through is definitely non-brainer easy, I prefer this particular method as it doesn’t allow the elastic to twist at all – not while you’re feeding it through the hole (that ALWAYS happens to me, ugh!), and not while you’re wearing and washing them. It stays in place and that’s pretty awesome! Also bonus is that you don’t have a tiny hole to close up afterwards. Whoop whoop!

Anyway, I learned this method from Katie of Papercut Patterns, and it’s definitely my favorite way to elastic the shit out of my waistbands. It is my understanding that she updated that the Ooh La Leggings pattern has been updated to include this method, so this is mainly for those of us who have an older copy of the pattern and/or want to elasticize something else. It does require a little bit of finesse while sewing, but it ain’t nothing you can’t handle ;) This is also a great method if you are using an elastic that is too wide and thus needs to be cut down – I started with 3″ wide elastic, but I needed 1″, so I just cut right down the middle (well, ish). Since the elastic is going to be attached to the fabric by machine, it’s ok to cut is as the stitches will prevent it from unraveling over time :) Just make sure your elastic has a very tight weave – if it’s a loose weave, it’s best to leave it uncut as there ain’t nothing that’ll keep that shit from unraveling!

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Start by cutting your elastic to the desired size (I prefer about 4″ of negative ease at my waist, but it’s a matter of personal preference!), including an additional 1″-2″ for overlap. Pin the elastic with the inch overlap so it makes a circle.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Sew down all four edges where the elastic overlaps, making sure it’s secure. Ideally, you’d use a zigzag stitch for this – but my machine was already threaded with the double needle, so I used a double needle. I have yet to have a problem with this stitch, so there’s that! I like to stitch over each area twice to be really sure that it’s secure – you don’t want your elastic coming apart after you’ve sewn it into your pants!

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Divide the elastic into 4 equal sections, either by using a ruler or just folding it in half and half again. Mark each point with a pin, making sure one section is in the center of the part you just overlapped and sewed. If your pattern does not include notches for dividing the waist into 4 equal sections, you’ll want to do so now as well on your garment.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

On the INSIDE of your garment, match the 4 elastic sections with the 4 pants sections, keeping the overlapped elastic at the center back. If you trimmed down the width of your elastic, it is a good idea to match this area to the raw edge of your fabric, so it will be sewn and enclosed later. You will notice that the elastic is not quite as long as the garment in each section – that’s ok, we will stretch to fit in the next step :)

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Using a serger (or a sewing machine with a zigzag stitch), attach the elastic to the garment. Go slowly and focus on one section at a time, stretching as much as you need to to get the pieces to fit. If you are using a serger, be careful not to trim off too much of your elastic edge – if at all possible, try not to trim off any. Keeping your elastic one uniform width will help with accurate topstitching later.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Your garment should look like this – on the inside, attached at the top, elastic loose at the bottom.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Now fold the elastic to the inside one time, which will completely encase it with fabric. Pin into place if needed – I like to pin again at the 4 equal sections (this part doesn’t have to be exact, you can just eyeball it).

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Using a twin needle or a zigzag stitch, topstitch the elastic into place along the previously sewn edge. Gently stretch the elastic in each section, the same way you did when first attaching it. I’ve found that it’s easiest if I hold both the front and back with my hands, and gently guide the fabric as I sew. Stop with the needle down as you finish each section, readjust, and start the next section. Backstitch at the end.

If you’re using a twin needle, you’ll need to topstitch from the right side – this is where keeping the elastic a uniform width is handy. I mark my machine with a post-it note (I’m not adorable enough to use Washi tape, which I see everyone else using haha) to keep everything aligned so I catch the edge of the elastic as well as sew a straight line, but you can also feel it through all the layers. If you are using a zigzag stitch, you can get away with sewing on the wrong side so you can keep an eye on the elastic – but do try to sew a straight line, otherwise, it’ll be real obvious haha.

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

Elastic Waistband Tutorial

And that’s it! Not too hard, huh? Like I said, I really love this method because it keeps the elastic from twisting – it stays in place foreeeever! Also, the overlap at the center back is a handy way to quickly tell front from back just by feeling it – which, I don’t know about you, but I don’t sew tags in my clothes, so that’s pretty freaking useful! Only downside is that you’ll really have a lot of work to do once the elastic eventually wears out, but I personally think it’s worth it, if only to prevent elastic twist!

Let me know if you have any questions! Or if you just want to discuss those new Vogue patterns. Maybe you see something ridiculous that I overlooked??

Completed: Ooh La Leather Leggings

26 Jan

Ok, so, the title of this post is a tiny bit misleading – these aren’t leather leggings so much as they just have a panel of faux stretch pleather. BUT, it sounded catchy (as long as I ignore all the weird Google search terms that will likely lead people straight to this post, aiee), so it stays.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, like, ~Ooh La La Leather~ or some shit, amirite?

Leggings & Ensis Tee

In all seriousness, I’ve mentioned before that this is my favorite leggings pattern. I have a couple more patterns in my stash that I haven’t even bothered to try because I JUST CANNOT QUIT me some Ooh La Leggings. I love the way they fit and I love the seaming detail. Made up in a thicker ponte, they almost pass for actual pants. Made up in a thinner material, they are great for lounging and sleepwear. Made up in some crazy lycra, they make amazing workout/yoga pants. Basically, they are my dream leggings and you will have to pry this pattern out of my cold, dead hands.

Because I love this pattern so so much, it goes without saying that I’ve made a metric Shit Ton of these leggings over the past two years. Obviously most of them haven’t made it to the blog – after sharing a couple pairs, they kind of get redundant. And y’all know how much I hate redundancy, at least when it comes to my own blog. So while you might occasionally see a pair pop up in a post (without needing to be the center of attention), they spend much more time in the real world than they do the blog world. And I do wear the shit out of all my pairs, so there’s that.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

With that being said, I think it’s ok/non-redundant to post about this pattern if I’ve done something ~unique with it. Which is exactly what I did. Check out my (faux)(p)leather (paneled) leggings, y’all!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I found this stretch pleather on Goldhawk Rd while fabric shopping in London. It was one of the very few things I had on my list to buy, as I knew I’d need to be able to actually touch the fabric to make sure it stretched enough and wasn’t toooo shiny. Not that I’m against shiny pleather pants – I had a pair when I was in high school, back when I worked at Hot Topic and thought I was sOoOoOo punk rock (and no, I have no idea why my mom didn’t veto those things! HAHA! I must have looked like such a little baby hooker!) – but, being nearly 30 now, I’m an adult and I have to tone things down just the tiniest bit, at least when it comes to my pants. ANYWAY, this pleather is pretty good, I think – as far as pleather goes. It’s very stretchy, it’s not too shiny, and the wrong side has a nice fabric backing so it’s actually quite comfortable against the skin. Or, rather, as comfortable as pleather leggings can get.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Since my pattern was nice enough to already have all the piecing done for me, I just cut the side panels in the stretch pleather, and the remaining pieces (front and back legs, as well as the yokes) in this black polyester Ponte de Roma. The Ponte de Roma was pretty shiny on one side – like, way more shiny than I was expecting – so I sewed it with the wrong side facing out, which looks a bit more polished. I sewed everything on my serger, as I do, and omitted the topstitching as I was afraid that piercing the pleather would cause it to wear holes that would eventually tear.

As far as actually sewing the pleather, that part was surprisingly easy! Keep in mind that stretch pleather (as well as non-stretch, as well as leather, etc) does show pin holes, so you need to be reeeeeally mindful of your pin usage (aka, don’t use ‘em if you can’t pin inside the seam allowance!). I traced my side panel piece with a Chaco liner before cutting on a single layer. I did not pin my pieces together, except for one part at the hem just to hold it in place while I topstitched (I usually don’t pin my hems for knits, just press them – but you can’t press pleather! One little pin hole at the hem is ok with me, anyway). The sewing part did not require any special forethought or tools – due to the fabric backing of this material, it went through my machine just fine without the need for a Teflon foot. I used a regular stretch needle. Et voila!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

While I’ve got your attention, I guess I’ll also talk about my shirt – because y’all know I made that shit too!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

The pattern is the Ensis Tee, also from Papercut Patterns (ooh, I just heart me some Papercut!). I’ve made this before, albeit in a thicker/less drapey knit, so I think this version deserves a little bit of spotlight :) It’s amazing how different it looks with a drapier fabric, yeah? Honestly, I like this version a lot better – I think it’s a lot more flattering (plus, it’s wool, so it’s pretty snuggly!). The top yoke is a piece of wool knit I bought in Paris, and the bottom is this cool steel grey sweater knit. I bought that knit on a whim, and it’s pretty cool – it has a lot of dimension to the color, and you can really see the knit stitches due to the somewhat loose gauge. It’s also wide and VERY stretchy in both directions – I might use the rest to make a pair of tights. Also, I need some kind of grey knit intervention. I keep buying pieces and this shit is getting out of handddd. Like, I really want that pewter grey but I’m gonna resist. I must resist.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This is basically the same picture as above, just without my head.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This tee whipped up fast! I had it cut and sewn within a couple of hours – and honestly, it took that long because of all the topstitching I added. I topstitched the colorblocking at the yokes and sleeves, as well as the neckline, using my stretch twin need and wooly nylon in the bobbin. I think it adds a little extra to an otherwise plain tshirt. Oh, and that yellow tab at the neckline is my laundry reminder not to wash this in the machine – because it’s wool :)

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I kept the curved hem, left off the hem band, but added cuffs to the sleeves. Happy sweater-hybrid-tshirt-thing!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

And here are my leggings again, because I know you’re just dying to see them one more time. As a side note – I used a different method to attach the elastic waistband (rather than feed it through a hole like the pattern instructs). I took some pictures while I was doing this, which I’m hoping to make into a tutorial at some point later this week.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, that’s mah new threads! Basics with a lil’ twist! What do you think? Am I going to burn someone’s eyes out with my leather leggings? Should my mom have not let me leave the house in those pleather pants? Man, I wish I had pictures of that ensemble. Sooo glad the only social media platform we had back then was makeoutclub.com HAHAHA.

As a side note – if you think my hair looks green, it’s because it is! It was due for a redye, and I decided to go green :) I’m using a new dye that I bought in London, at the suggestion of Nicole – we’ll see how it holds up! I gotta say, I’m not looking forward to the fading… green always fades so ugly. Also, these pictures are REALLY deceiving. It’s much brighter and more emerald in real life. I took these pictures on a grey and overcast day, so the color is kind of sludgy here. I don’t know how to color correct my photos, so this is what you get. Sorry, not sorry :)

Completed: The Portside Travel Set

22 Jan

For the past couple months, I’ve been planning to up my luggage game. Over the years, I’ve made do with a fairly old suitcase (handed down from my parents – I’m not sure exactly it’s age, but I know there are receipts in the pocket from when we went to Disney World in 1994, so at least 20 years!) and a really ratty/cheap duffel bag. My travel schedule is starting to ramp up this year, and one thing I don’t have is a duffel bag that is suitable for a weekend getaway. The aforementioned ratty bag was pretty small and difficult to carry comfortably. Also, I broke the zipper while I was in Paris – rather than repair it (it was really REALLY cheap – even down to the hardware, which I also threw away with the bag haha), I decided to make a new set, courtesy of Mood Fabrics.

Portside Travel Set

The Portside Travel Set is the perfect pattern for my casual luggage needs – a roomy duffel bag, plus a matching dopp kit and a small zippered pouch. The pattern is designed so you can really play with color blocking and fabric options, and it’s not difficult at all to put together. The duffel bag is nice and big (20″ x 11.5″ x 12″), and includes both hand and shoulder straps (the shoulder is adjustable, as well as removable!), a zippered top, and two exterior pockets. The dopp kit has both a zippered top and a zippered exterior pocket, plus a small handle. The little zippered pouch is one of the most basic things ever – like the kind of pouch you’d make in a ‘learn to sew zippers’ class – but I can see it being very useful. And it all matches! Yay!

Anyway, let me also point out that making this set gave me an excuse to peruse the home decor section of Mood Fabrics. I rarely sew with home decor fabrics (I know some people love them for clothing, but I’m not much of a fan, unless it’s for a very specific purpose), but I totally jumped at the opportunity! There are SO many cool designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 3! I started with this cool turquoise geometric print, matched it to a charcoal grey faux suede, and lined the inside with grey and white polka dots (I’ve been eyeballing that polka dot fabric for over a year now – so glad to finally have an excuse to buy it!).

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I went over all this briefly in my post for the Mood Sewing Network; here I’d like to talk a little more about the pattern itself. Overall, it’s a great little pattern – good instructions, the pieces fit together, and I think the end result is really nice. There were a few points in the pattern that I found a bit confusing, though. For one – I completely mixed up the main and contrast fabrics when I was planning my fabrics! I assumed the contrast was the bottom half – i.e., the part I’ve made out of suede. That’s actually the main fabric, as far as the pattern is concerned. The contrast is the top part. This isn’t marked anywhere on the pattern except on the pieces themselves, which meant I ultimately ended up marking the line drawing with a map of what piece was what before I knew what piece to cut from which fabric. The contrast and self changes for the dopp kit and pouch, so I would really recommend at least mapping out the design before you start cutting. I know I would have been PISSED if my bag had ended up with the suede being the top sections, ha.

Speaking of the suede, that wasn’t difficult to sew at all. I used a standard 80/12 needle and my normal machine feet (no need for a special Teflon foot or anything), and since my iron has a shoe, I was even able to press it and fuse interfacing to it. The bag is lightly interfaced – more so to keep the cotton from wrinkling, less for structure. It’s pretty floppy when it’s empty.

Portside Travel Set

The instructions, like I said, are pretty good. The only part that really confused me was assembling the shoulder strap for the duffel bag. I have made plenty of stuff with sliders – hell, even all my bras have adjustable straps with sliders – but this bag uses D-rings for the sliders. I could not figure out how Jen did this, and even googling didn’t really help (turns out everyone else uses sliders too, who woulda thought?). I just ended up playing around with the straps and rings until it worked. Couldn’t tell ya what I did to get to that point, sorry! At least they look good now!

Portside Travel Set

Also, sewing up the little dopp kit was… interesting. Not all the pieces matched up perfectly (I read this in a random google review of the pattern as well – so either we cut it wrong, which is possible, or there’s a minor drafting error. I know Jen is really precise with her drafting so I hesitate to believe that it’s an error on her part, but I thought I would point that out), but I just trimmed off the excess. We are talking about rectangles that form a bag, after all – no crazy fitting or anything. I really struggled to get the bottom sewn on square – it’s passable as it is, but it’s not my best work.

Then again, it’s a dopp kit. I’m not unpicking that shit hahaha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I love all the neat details in this tiny bag, though! The front zippered pocket is a personal favorite – also love that little leather zipper pull! And check out that print-matching at the top zipper! That was actually unintentional, but it worked out amazingly well. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super impressed with myself haha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Like I said, the pouch was really easy – like, sewn up in under 20 minutes easy. Since it’s unlined, I serged the inside with matching aqua thread (it was almost navy because I didn’t feel like re-threading the serger, until I reminded myself that I paid for this serger specifically because it self-threads haha). The zipper pull – as well as the pulls for the dopp kit – is loosely based on the pattern included in the travel kit. I had to change it up a bit to get it to fit my smaller-than-normal zippers.

Portside Travel Set

One thing I did not anticipate when I started this project was how much all the materials were going to cost me – and how difficult they’d be to source. The fabric wasn’t terribly expensive (and since it’s a project for the Mood Sewing Network, it was free for me), but all those little extras add up! I found my swivel hooks and D-rings at Joann’s – not in the sewing section, but in the… dog-leash making section? Joann’s, keepin’ it weird as usual. I bought my cotton webbing from A Graff Supplies on Etsy. This was after shopping around quite a bit – Joann’s didn’t have the right colors and widths, Mood was sold out of most everything, and any other supplier I found only carried one of the two widths I needed. A Graff Supplies had both widths, with a great selection of colors – and while I did spend $15 on JUST WEBBING, I can’t imagine it being that much cheaper anywhere else. I would have loved to find nylon webbing, but cotton was much more prominent in my searches. All my zippers are from my stash – the black zip on the duffel bag is new (I bought it for a dress, which I obviously never made haha), the rest are vintage. Been looking for a use for those turquoise zippers :) Oh, and the little leather scrap for the pulls is from a shop on Goldhawk Road in London. I bought it because I loved the color, bonus that it matches my bag!

Portside Travel Set

The bag is REALLY floppy when it’s empty (to get these photos, it’s stuffed with every pillow from my couch, plus a couple of blankets), so it was hard to get an inside lining shot! The lining is all polka dots – the self fabric at the bottom is actually a fabric-covered removable piece of thin plastic, to keep the bottom from sagging open.

Portside Travel Set

This isn’t in the instructions (hence why it’s self-fabric – I ran out of lining!), but it’s a trick I learned when I made one of those Amy Butler Weekender bags years ago (which I still have, and yes, it’s too small for a weekend! More like an overnight bag haha). You cut the plastic the same size as your bottom, remove the seam allowances, and make a fitted sleeve to cover it. I like that it’s removable because now I can roll the duffel up if I need to. As far as sourcing plastic – I ended up buying it on Amazon. The EZ Quilting Template Plastic is 18″ x 24″, which I needed (anything sold at a craft store is usually 12×12) for the base. It’s quite a bit flimsier than what I wanted – I doubled up and bought two, but it’s still not as rigid as my Weekender. Still, it’s better than nothing. Plus, I have quite a bit left that I can use for bra pattern templates, yay!

So, in case you couldn’t tell – this bag is pretty big. Like, I could probably squish myself into it if I tried hard enough:

Portside Travel Set

But, like I said – it folds down pretty flat for storage (or putting in a suitcase, which is what I usually do – then I have a bag for all the fabric I buy hahahahaha):

Portside Travel Set

Anyway, I’m happy to check this off my to-do list – and I can’t wait to put it to good use! It’ll definitely come in handy for my trip to Philly at the end of this month. Now I guess I just need to start looking for a new suitcase – mine is starting to give signs of wearing out (wires poking out, the zipper is struggling, corners are threadbare – I told you it was old! And very well-used ;) ).

Portside Travel Set

Just look at that unintentional print-matching. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and SEW ALL THE DUFFLES, then I don’t even know who you are anymore.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. Notions and pattern were purchased by me!

Completed: The Watson Bra & Bikini Set

19 Jan

Hey look! I made another bra! And matching undies!!

Watson Bra

I’m loving my Marlborough bras so so much (yes, plural. I actually have two now, but I’ll save #2 for another post – this post is all about Watson), but I was really intrigued by the new Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit. Instead of a low movement fabric, this baby is sewn up in a fabric with lots of stretch. The cups are higher and more modest and there is no underwire. What really got my attention was the longline option, as well as the included bikini bottom pattern. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Watson Bra

Since I’m still pretty new to this whole new world of lingerie, I let the pattern hold my hand when choosing a size and following the instructions. I measured to a 30D (to recap, in case there is anyone new here, I usually wear a 28DD), which fits pretty spot-on. Which is good, because other than hold the little cups up to my boobs while I was sewing them – I wasn’t able to actually try the thing on until I was completely finished with it. Talk about a bummer if that hadn’t worked out! Thankfully, the fit is pretty good. One cup has a tiny bit of sideboob action going on – but that breast is also slightly bigger, so I’m at the point now where I’m trying to decide if it’s worth tweaking the fit for a really custom bra. I’m pretty happy with the fit of the band – it’s nice and tight, like I like it, but it’s also very comfortable.

Watson Bra

The pattern has you cut the cups and cradle in a stretch fabric, the band in power mesh, and then the cradle is lined with a non-stretch to stabilize. Lining that section was obviously a little difficult for me – and I ended up getting quite a few folds as a result. Wah. For my next make, I am going to try fusing my stabilizer to see if that helps. It’s not the end of the world with these folds – but of course I’m always looking to improve.

Watson Bra

The bra includes standard bra hardware – hooks and eyes, adjustable straps, and decorative elastic. I do like that about the pattern, because it makes it look a lot less like some kind of soft training bra that a pre-teen would wear, and more like… a cute bra without underwires, I guess.

Watson Bra

Because of the needed stretch fabric, this bra doesn’t require the same sort of fitting that a structured bra would command (such as the Marlborough). It’s very soft and forgiving. The pattern is rated as being pretty easy and a great way to introduce beginners to bra-making. That being said – while I didn’t find the bra necessarily difficult to make, I do think that the Marlborough was easier to sew! Mostly because that lycra was stretching and sliding all over the place, and getting the cups in just so required quite a bit of precision. Still, it only took me a couple of hours to make, so that should count for something.

The instructions are pretty good! I might be biased – because I’ve already made two bras, I have my copy of Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction on stand-by, and I’ve had enough bra-making conversations to know at least a little of what I’m talking about – but I found them very easy to follow along with. One part that was missing was determining strap length, but it’s my understanding that the pattern was updated with directions on how to do this (I personally just cut two 18″ straps. Worked perfectly! They are adjustable, after all). There were a few minor parts of the pattern that I changed based on preference – such as trimming the excess fabric before topstitching the elastic to the wrong side – but what’s included with the pattern is great as-is. There’s a lot of helpful info for choosing fabrics and trims, and tips for stitch settings when choosing your zigzag stitch. Also, there is currently an entire Watson Bra sewalong happening at Cloth Habit right now, so there’s that if you need even MORE hand-holding!

Watson Bra

Here’s an inside shot. As you can see, I did not finish my seams – just left ‘em raw. It seems to work fine for my other bras, anyway. In the future, I’d love to learn how to properly finish my seams – or even line the whole thing – but I really want to nail down fit and technique before I start going too far down the deep end.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Rather than try to source all the materials and notions myself, I decided to splurge on a Watson kit from Blackbird Fabrics. The kit includes everything you need – 4 way stretch lycra, matching powermesh, elastics and trims, metal strap rings and sliders (stupidly, that was my favorite part haha. THEY LOOK SO GOOD), even the aforementioned cradle stabilizer and cotton knit for the crotch lining (for the undies, obviously). There’s enough in the kit to make both the bra and the matching bikini, and you can choose if you want a kit for the standard band or the longline. Since my boobs run on the small side, I’d reckon I could probably make 2 or even 3 bras with how much fabric I have left over (and maybe even a little bit of trim!). This color set is sapphire blue with black trims – and it’s soo beautiful! I can’t wait to see what other color combos Caroline comes up with.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Here’s the matching underwear – sorry it looks so unimpressive haha. I cut the XS based on my hip measurement (I was very apprehensive about this, as I normally wear a small), and the fit is pretty good. I think the butt area needs… something. Maybe I didn’t stretch the elastic enough. I feel like it makes my butt look flat, but Landon tells me I’m being ridiculous. Either way, they’re pretty comfy. I wore them all day yesterday and didn’t get a wedgie, which is awesome haha.

Since these posts are somewhat useless to me without a live model wearing the goods (if you want THAT, go holler at Heather Lou), here’s another floating bra photo for your consideration:

Watson Bra

For a non-underwired bra, it’s surprisingly supportive! I also wore this all day yesterday (with the matching bikini, bc, duh), and it’s really really comfortable. Way more comfortable than those Bambi bras I made. And it’s REALLY cute on – I am thinking that with a couple minor tweaks to the strapping and back hook, this would make a fabulous bathing suit pattern. I just need to figure out how to stabilize that cradle – it has to stay rigid, and I think the stuff I’m using isn’t really water-friendly (and definitely wouldn’t hold up in chlorine or salt water). Any suggestions or ideas?

Also, it’s not lost on me that I would consider making a bathing suit from this pattern, but can’t bear to show my skin with the bra in this blog post. Oh well.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Bra making is SO MUCH FUN, you guys! Good thing that happens to be a hole in my wardrobe, because I really love making them and I definitely want to do more! I’m really looking forward to the Bra Making Workshop in Philly next weekend – I have sooo much to learn, and I know Maddie is going to be an amazing teacher!

Completed: Dotty Jamie Jeans

12 Jan

In case you couldn’t tell, I spent the first weekend of 2015 making pants. You already saw my Ginger Jeans – now let’s revisit an old favorite! My beloved Jamie Jeans, I knew we’d meet again! ♥

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Ever since I made my first pair of Jamies in black stretch twill, I knew I wanted to make this pattern up again. I had a couple fitting changes that needed to be addressed – mostly reshaping the crotch (which I did on my original pair after they were sewn up, so it wasn’t reflected on the flat pattern) and pinching out some excess from the inseam. Knowing that the fabric I was using had considerably less stretch than the twill I used for the first pair, I decided not to remove any additional sizing/width, as that can be fairly easy to tweak during final fitting.

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I love this dotty fabric! You can’t see it too well (wait for the close-ups), but it’s a dark navy denim with tiny white pindots all over. LOVE IT. Been looking for something similar to this for yeeears. I actually found this magical piece of beauty all the way in Paris – it’s one of the fabrics from my coupon haul. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I think it was around 10€ for 3 meters, give or take. A few other fellow meet-up-ers were also lurking on this shit, but thankfully there were quite a few pieces to go around, so everyone who wanted some went home with one :) Yay!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

It’s kind of a peculiar fabric – a medium weight denim twill, and the dots are painted on (not printed). I can’t be 100% certain, but this may be the piece of fabric I accidentally dyed all of Landon’s undershirts with (sorry, Landon!). The back side does look like it bled a lot, but I also threw some black silk into that load – so who knows? Anyway. The fabric does have stretch, but not nearly as much as the twill – so I’m really glad I left off my additional sizing changes from the original pair (I believe I took out 1/2″ at the side seams, and even more at the center back and down the legs), because these are pretty snug as is! The denim is very stiff, but I’m hoping it relaxes a little more as I wear them. As of this posting, the only time I’ve worn them was during a really cold day, and I had on tights underneath to stay warm. Tights don’t make these pants super comfortable, but, then again – no pants are comfortable with tights underneath. So there’s that.

(Don’t look too closely, but I accidentally gave myself a weenie in one of those pictures lololol. Y’all are just lucky that I have no idea how to photoshpo that shit out haha)

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I think they fit quite a bit better than the black pair I made, but there’s still definitely room for some improvement. Need to shorten the crotch length just a little more, and also remove some more width from the upper inseam. I also need to add some width to the calves – they are REALLY tight, like painted-on tight. It’s not uncomfortable, and I don’t think it looks bad – but I also can’t wear tall socks with these pants haha. Which I guess doesn’t matter for this particular pair, bc I think they look best with ballet flats, but, you know. Future Jamies. Fuck. I’ll get it eventually!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Having made these before and writing such a long post about the construction and fitting process, I don’t think there’s much else to add. I guess it bears noting that I didn’t bother with flat-felling the seams like I did on my jeans – I just serged and topstitched and called it a day.

Oh! I can talk a little about the waistband. Since the denim wasn’t as beefy as the denim for my Ginger Jeans, I did interface the waistband. I used lightweight knit fusible for the facing side. I love this interfacing because it gives a minor amount of support (enough to keep the waistband from collapsing on itself), but it doesn’t affect the stretch factor. Which means they’re still comfy, woohoo! Also, one fitting change I made for this pant – and possibly future pants, maybe – was to cut the one piece waistband into two pieces, so they can angle right at the center of my lower back (pretty much the same waistband as is on the Thurlows). This produces a much better fit than the single piece waistband does for me. There is a seam there now, but it’s covered by the back belt loop.

Dotty Jamie Jeans

NOW you can see the dots! And isn’t the topstitching pretty? I used light blue denim topstitching thread (it ain’t anything fancy – just a spool of Gutterman that I picked up from Joann’s), which gives an interesting contrast to the dark blue fabric. The silver jeans button is also from some class of big box fabric/craft store (either Joann’s or Hobby Lobby, I don’t recall) – I bought a pack after the button on Landon’s Gap jeans wore a hole through the waistband and fell out. You know what, after typing that, I don’t feel bad about dyeing his tshirts now. Who do you think sewed a patch on those jeans and hammered in a new button? ME, that’s who. Just don’t tell him how much I secretly enjoyed it hahahahaha

More gut pictures for your perusal~

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

This is me trying to show you the cool pocket fabric haha. Leftover from one of these dress, by the way!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I think I’m about pants’d-out for the next couple of weeks (until I get my hands on some red twill, anyway, heh heh heh), but I feel pretty good about the two I’ve accomplished! Big ol’ snaps for ringing in 2015 with two successful projects! Hopefully that’ll be a recurring theme for the rest of this year :)

As a side note – WOOF, my hair color is faded. Can you believe the photos were taken maybe 2 days after I shot the Ginger photos? I didn’t do anything to my hair during that time (I only wash it once a week), other than style it – the only thing different is the lighting. Kind of crazy how much of a difference it makes!

Completed: Ginger Jeans!

8 Jan

Ok, now for the forreal first finished project of 2015 – jeans!!

Ginger Jeans

Damn straight I made jeans! And pretty good-looking jeans, if I do say so myself :)

These are the Ginger Jeans, by Closet Case Files. Full disclosure right here – Heather sent me this pattern, gratis, as a friend-gift with no strings/review requests attached. While I did not pattern test for this particular pattern, I was involved with fitting tweak email chains waaay back before this shit went into testing (because you know me, and I love talking about crotches).

Anyway, I was excited to try this pattern because – one, JEANS!; and two, JEANSSSS!!!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Y’all, this is a really really good pattern. I know I sound biased – and maybe I am, because I lurve me some Heather, and ESPECIALLY because I had a really good almost-out-of-the-envelope experience with making these. It can be hard – if not impossible – to design a pants pattern that is going to fit and flatter every single body it comes in contact with, considering how wildly different everyone’s bodies are. I think the fit of these seems pretty good across the board – I’ve been watching everyone’s finished Gingers popping up all over the place, and most are great right out of the envelope (or with very minor changes). Personally, I had to make a few small tweaks, but they’re not any different than what I do to *all* the pants I make.

Ginger Jeans

I started with the size 2, which corresponds closely with my measurements, and made view B with the high waist. Having participated in this rodeo before, I went ahead and adding my personal ~Lauren~ fitting changes directly to the pattern pieces – which means, I scooped out some of the crotch to give it more of a J shape (more info on that in this post) and added a 1/2″ wedge to the back crotch for some extra bum room. I compared the pattern pieces to some well-fitting patterns and RTW jeans to make sure the crotch lengths and depths were good, then I cut straight into my denim. No muslin this time – which was risky, but I feel pretty confident in my fitting at this point, so I was willing to take one for the team if necessary.

Ginger Jeans

SPOILER: It worked out just fine! Yeehaw!

Ginger Jeans

There are a couple more things I’d like to improve on for my next pair – all up in dat crotch (sorry that you have to look at it). I think this photo illustrates that pretty well – see how the front is just a little too long when I stand a certain way? You can also see it in the photo below – what looks like a really really poorly photoshopped thigh gap is actually just excess fabric bending all weird. I need to pull some excess out of the inseam, maybe about 1/2″ (like, maybe what I added to the back crotch haha!). Honestly, that’s something I could do to this existing pair of jeans as it is – but I also flat-felled that damn inseam, and realistically, I know I probably won’t unpick and fix unless it starts annoying me way more than it does right now. I also need to take a small wedge out of the center back of the waistband – it’s a one-piece curved waistband, but I’m starting to notice that two-piece darted waistbands fit my backside much better. This one isn’t bad, it’s just a little loose. Something to fix for the next pair! The calves are also prettttttyyyy tight – like, these are not the pants that I will be wearing knee socks underneath! I guess I have big calves, though, because that’s an issue I have with all pants (sewing patterns and RTW). Overall, though, I’m really happy with the fit of these. I didn’t have to do ANY changes to the legs, and I think they look pretty good!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Construction on these was pretty straightforward and not at all difficult, although it was time-consuming to do all that topstitching. I followed the instructions on the pattern, as well as the sewalong for places where I needed a little extra clarification. I decided to go balls to the wall with this make and treat them like a real pair of jeans – contrast gold topstitching, flat-felled seams (everywhere except the side seams), proper rivets, the works. Doing all these extras definitely added time to how long it look to make them, but I still finished over the weekend :P Go me!

For fabric, I used a denim/lycra blend that was purchased a Paron’s Fabrics in NYC last year. Heather actually helped me pick this one out, and I am surprised at how much I like it. The recovery is okkkk – it’s not the very best, like my RTW jeans (which are from Imogene + Willie, and WHEW that denim is – as my dad would say – THE BOMB DOT COM) – but it’s better than some stuff I’ve used in the past! The photos you see here were taken before I’d worn them for a day, so they’re at their tightest. As of this posting, I’ve worn the jeans twice and they haven’t bagged out much at all, which is a pleasant surprise. That being said, I really really really want to get my hands on one of Heather’s denim kits, because the Cone Mill denim included in those is basically the same shit as my $200+ I+W jeans. I missed the last sale due to financial restraints, but I’m saving my dollars and waited with bated breath for the next shipment, because you best believe imma be all over that shit like white on rice. NEEDS MORE JEANS.

At Heather’s advice, I did not interface the waistband of my pants. I think I might actually be a convert to this method – the waistband is still stretchy (so it’s super comfy), but the denim is thick enough to give it some structure. I did interface my button and button hole area, as well as the parts noted in the instructions (the fly, the tops of the pockets… I think that’s it?).

Ginger Jeans

For the topstitching, I used Gutterman jeans thread (the gold color, obviously) in my needle and regular ol’ navy polyester thread in the bobbin. At the suggestion of my sewing machine mechanic, I revved up the needle tension to a 7 and lengthened the stitch length to a little over a 3 to get a nice stitch. I used my #10 edgestitching foot (favorite foot ever, holla) to create even lines, and a 90/14 denim needle to pierce through all the layers. Since the guts of the jeans are assembled with the standard navy thread, this meant that I did a LOT of thread-changing to make this pair of pants. For future pants, I’ve lugged out my old Pfaff so I can keep both machines threaded and just switch back and forth, but the changing was ok for this first go-round.

Also, speaking of topstitching – I loved all the bartacks involved with making jeans. So much fun and SO satisfying! My machine actually doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, but I just reduced the zigzag stitch length and width until it looked good.

Ginger Jeans

If you have super eagle eyes, you may notice that the double topstitching is slightly different at the pockets vs the yoke/crotch seam. I had to widen the lines to properly catch where I folded the pockets under, but I really don’t think the wide-set stitching looks as good as the narrower set on the back. Oh well, just something to change for the next pair :)

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

I looove the star rivets, though! And check out my cool jeans button! All the hardware (including the zipper) was purchased at Pacific Trimming in NYC, same time as when I got my denim. All that stuff was sooo cheap (I want to say the rivets were, like, $0.10 a piece of something crazy like that. I bought a whole bagful HAHAHA), wish I had better access to it on the regular! To set my rivets and my button, I used the good ol’ hammer-and-cast-iron-skillet combination. Worked like a charm!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Fun pocket lining! Also, I think I cut the fly interfacing too wide – bummer that it peeks out. Oh well, again – something to change for the next pair :P

Ginger Jeans

Proof of flat-felled seams, and also machine thread snarls. Whoops.

Ginger Jeans

I’m pretty happy to have officially made LEGIT jeans (I have made “denim trousers” in the past, but nothing with topstitching and rivets and all that fun stuff!), and even more happy that they are super wearable! Now I just need to bang them out in all the colors my wardrobe requires and I’ll be set for life, at least as far as my denim is concerned :) I really want to try some different topstitching colors and details – looking at my I+W jeans, I really love the multiple colors of thread they used, and the little plus shaped bartacks. I also want some wacky insides – printed pocket fabric and colorful serger thread, anyone?

Would you ever make jeans for yourself, or does this fall in the camp of things you’d rather buy? Have you made this pattern before (if so, lemme see dem jeans, ladies)? As someone who’s literally worn the same pair of jeans for a solid year, how many pairs is too many?

Completed: Albion Jacket for Landon

5 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2015! I’d like to start ringing in the new year by showing you something that I made last year (lolz, sorry). It was for Landon, aka unselfish sewing, which makes for a delightful turn of events.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

An Albion jacket! Yay!

Fair warning – we took a lot of photos (if you don’t recognize the background, that’s cos these were taken in the Smoky Mountains! FANCY!), and I had a really hard time narrowing them down. This dude is just so damn gorgeous looking. I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to deal.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Anyway, I initially planned this coat with Landon earlier in 2014 – according to my Mood orders, it was sometime in January/February. We ordered swatches, settled on fabric and design changes, and I made a muslin. That’s when things just stopped and stayed that way. The muslin was all kinds of wrong and I didn’t feel like dealing with it. I was afraid I might have even cut the wrong size. So, I did what seemed like the most logical solution – I shoved everything in a box and didn’t think about it until a couple of weeks ago, when Landon started asking me again about when he might get his coat. Bless his heart.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Enough time had passed to heal my wounds, so I dug out the old muslin and we tried again. The only thing I remembered being wrong was that the sleeves were all kind of haywire – super twisted all down his arm, and the hem went up near his elbow when he raised his arms. I wasn’t sure if the issues were because of how the sleeves were drafted, or if I had just somehow managed to cut the muslin off-grain (totally possible), but I ripped one sleeve off and cut another – on-grain – to test. It must have been a grain issue, because that solved the problem. Other than tweaking a little bit of sizing at various points, and adding some length, the rest of the jacket seemed to fit pretty well. I made one more muslin with all the changes to verify that we were good to go.

As I mentioned, this is the Albion by Colette Patterns. We chose to make the shorter jacket version in a size XS (based on Landon’s measurements and his personal preferences for ease), and added 1/2″ to the side seams for a little more wearing ease (I probably could have cut up one size – but I’d already shredded the remaining tissue, and this was easier. Actually, he says the arm holes fit really well so it’s probably best we stayed with the small size). I also added 1/4″ to the CB fold, just to give him a little more room back there. The sleeves were mostly fine – except I added 1/4″ to the seams below the elbow, and removed 1/8″ above the elbow. I also added 3.5″ to the sleeve length (NO idea why it was so short!). I think those are all the fitting changes I made. Pretty minor stuff.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

The actual construction took almost no time at all! I had it done within about a week, working off and on as I had time. Since it’s not a proper coat, it doesn’t require any sort of crazy tailoring – really just the same techniques you’d use to make, say, a lined dress. I did add a back stay – I just used leftover muslin – to keep the back from stretching out from all those hugz Landon gives me (aw). I also added interfacing to the places where it made sense to include it – the plackets, the sleeve tabs. It seemed weird that the pattern didn’t mention it, but maybe that’s because it’s written for a heavier coating.

For fabric, I used cotton twill for the outer, and plaid wool flannel for the body lining. The sleeves are lined with silk charmeuse (to aid with getting the jacket on, and also for warmth – cotton isn’t very warm, but wool and silk are!).

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I also added an interior patch pocket for his phone, as well as a hanging loop at the back neck. The interior pocket is cut on the bias, but it’s lined with silk cut on the straight grain (to keep it from bagging out as it gets used). For the hanging loop, I just used the pattern piece from the Minoru Jacket. Not trying to reinvent the wheel here!

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I knew I didn’t want to buy toggles (they’re expensive and they never look quite right), so I made them. I started with these horn toggles from Mood Fabrics, and used scrap leather (given to me by Elizabeth) and cotton cording to make them. I just goggled ‘how to make your own toggles’ (I know, I’m so creative) until I found a tutorial I liked – this was the one I used. I attached the cording to the leather patches at both ends, just for additional strength.

To attach the toggles, I marked their placement on the jacket and then stuck them down with double-sided tape. I traced around the entire toggle – patch and all – with chalk (this is helpful so it’s easy to brush off – I like my chaco liner, personally!) to be really sure of the placement, but the tape mostly helped with keeping things in place while I topstitched. I used my #10 edgestitching foot and just sewed really slow, stopping with the needle down when I needed to turn. Didn’t even need to change my needle – the leather was thin enough for the 80/12. Done and done!

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I like the 3 piece hood! I like that it stays put, and it has a nice shape (you know how some hoods just kind of suck in around your head? I hate that.). I cut the center piece on the bias to ~add interest~.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I REALLY love the lining! I was initially sad to not keep it for myself (that is one helluva a wool flannel, is all I have to say about that), but it’s really perfect for this coat – and those are totally Landon’s colors. When cutting, I just made sure the side seams were matched and that was good enough (and easy!). I’m also really glad we lined the sleeves in silk, because I can’t imagine how awful it would be to try to pull this thing on without slippery sleeves, yeesh. Plus, silk charmeuse. mmm :)

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Anyway, I’m happy to report that Landon loves his coat! He has been wearing it nonstop (seriously put it on as soon as I finished it – to wear around the house hahaha), and been showing it off to all his friends. I’m just happy to make him happy (not to mention be off the hook for another year :P). Oh, and in case you’re wondering – that’s a me-made shirt Landon is wearing, too. Gah, I am the best girlfriend.

**Disclaimer: All fabrics were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. The Albion pattern was given to me as a gift from my sponsor, Indie Stitches.

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