Archive | November, 2012

Completed: My Central Park Hoodie

30 Nov

A funny thing happened last weekend – I celebrated (ok, I’m using that term very loosely here) my 1 year knitting anniversary! Crazy how it’s only been one year – I feel like I’ve been knitting an entire lifetime. And hey – I made 4 sweaters in the meantime (Agatha, Miette, Blagatha, and Chuck. Whew!), amongst other things. And here it is – my 5th sweater!

Central Park Hoodie
This is the Central Park Hoodie, which is kind of Ravelry-famous. I was really excited to knit this pattern; it’s been sitting in my queue for months. I put it off for so long because I thought it was be ~sooo hard~ with all those cables.

Spoiler: this was the most boring pattern I have ever knitted.

Central Park Hoodie
To be frank, I hated this sweater pretty much the entire time I was knitting it up. Isn’t that dumb? I don’t even know why I finished it; I knew it would be a UFO forever if I put it aside, and anyway, I guess I wanted to give it a fighting chance. I’m glad I finished it because – surprise! – I do actually like it, but we were definitely livin’ on a prayer there for a while.

Central Park Hoodie
I hesitate to blame the pattern for my h8 – although the pattern is not without it’s faults. First of all, it’s very dull. Apart from a few cables (which are easy as FUCK, don’t ever let someone tell you that it’s hard!), it’s all stockinette, all day. And since this hoodie is knit in pieces rather than the round, that’s a hell of a lot of boring purling! Speaking of which, I have learned that I do not like knitting in pieces. Seaming is lame. From now on, I’ll probably knit everything top-down in one piece. But I am glad I learned how to seam.

Central Park Hoodie
My real hate here focuses on this yarn. I used Ella Rae Classic Superwash – it was on sale, so the total ended up at around $35 (for wool yarn! UH HUH!). Hey guess what THIS YARN SUCKS ASS YOU GUYS. Sure, it’s soft and springy and it was cheap as shit – but it’s got some kind of weird agenda where it likes to grow the second it gets wet. I don’t know if that’s a quality of just the Ella Rae superwash (I hope so, because I found a heathered, non-superwash Ella Rae last night that was amazingly beautiful and now I want to buy large quantities of it), or all superwashes. Knitters, what’s the deal?

Central Park Hoodie
ANYWAY, the growing was an issue here. Thank god I properly blocked my swatch, so I knew the width would sort out (as each panel I knit originally looked child-sized. No lie, the ladies at my knitting group kept asking me if I was sure I was I knitting the right size haha), but length was an entirely different issue that I forgot. The sleeves, for example, should have blocked at 24″. Mine are 31″. I knit them to the correct size, I just didn’t account for them growing like teenage boys once they got in contact with water. Ugh.

Central Park Hoodie
I solved the sleeve problem by rolling back the cuffs. And look – sleeve cables! Whee! Oh, I knit the sleeves at the same time; partially because I wanted to try something new, and partially because they were boring as hell and I knew the second one would never get knit.

Central Park Hoodie
My other mistake (apart from the growing conundrum) was that I did not bind off the ribbing loosely enough. I tend to bind off very tightly – even using a larger needle doesn’t help much – so this is no surprise. But, oops, see how much longer the back is from the front? Even coaxing the fibers open with a blocking didn’t solve this issue. I ended up tacking down the bottom corners of the binding, to make the hemline look circular and what I hope appears intentional. Ha!

Central Park Hoodie
I mean, it’s sorta cute I guess.

Central Park Hoodie
Due to the ulta-tight binding, the hood doesn’t exactly sit comfortably. As you can see, I am very unhappy about this. OH WELL.

Central Park Hoodie
I would like to add (haha I just typed ass accidentally there, wtf) some closures to the button band. As much as I like the slouchy open look, I’m not an open cardigan kinda gal. I don’t know what to add, though! I think buttons are a no-go, since I can’t add buttonholes at this point (the stitching is very loose and open). I considered a zipper but I don’t think it will look right with the wide band. Snaps? Frogs? Toggles? What would you do?

Central Park Hoodie
I pinned it closed for the pictures. I do like the way it looks when it’s closed!

Central Park Hoodie
Overall, it’s a pretty cardigan. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I’m pleasantly surprised!

Central Park Hoodie
I’m just glad that it’s finally DONE and I can move on with my knitting life!

Central Park Hoodie
See how open the stitching is? Thank you, Ella Rae, for your shitty superwash yarn.

Central Park Hoodie
And here you can see my first attempts at seaming, to the right. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terribly bad either!

Central Park Hoodie
My whole outfit is handmade, btw! That’s my Plaid Clusterfuck top (see, it does look ace with a high-waisted skirt and a cardigan!) and my Denim Ginger (which is hands-down the me-made piece I wear the most – at least once a week!).

Ok, a couple more questions to wrap up an OBNOXIOUSLY long post!
My grandma asked me to knit her a scarf. Yay! She said she wanted something very simple, not too long and of an average width. And she wants it to be an actual scarf, not a cowl or anything like that.
Knitters: What stitch pattern would you suggest? Stockinette is sooo boring, and anyway, the yarn is acrylic (at her request), so I can’t block it into laying flat. I was thinking of a simple lace pattern or something with a lot of texture, like a seed stitch. Any suggestions? I know she said “simple,” but I’m also mostly certain that she said that because she thought anything more would be too much of a hassle. Which, as a knitter, I would rather be engaged and a little challenged!
Non-Knitters: If you asked for a simple scarf and were handed something with a little more design to it (like lace, ribbing, or texturized) – would you be totally butthurt that the person did not take your request into consideration? Or would you pleased to get something fancy and really only requested something simple because you didn’t want to be a bother?

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Completed: The Plaid Clusterf-

29 Nov

The real name for this shirt is actually The Plaid Clusterfuck. I wanted to put it in the title of this post, but I realize that a lot of people have my blog linked so that the titles show on their blog and I don’t want to make anyone mad soooo YOU’RE WELCOME. Also, meet the Plaid Clusterfuck, as well as my unstyled hair. I like to call it my Brentwood Soccer Mom hair.

Plaid Clusterfuck
Princess seams, bias side panels, and a front ruffle? DON’T MIND IF I DO.

Oh, do you like my little sewing corner? I did some freshening up in the ol’ sewing room over Thanksgiving weekend. I got a second desk from Lauren Winter, painted it a really obnoxious shade of teal green (and I will never do that again. SOO many coats, even with a primer, and it’s STILL not solid! BOO), and also touched up the mint desk as it was filthy with dirty kitty paw prints. Next order of business is to deal with the other side, where my fabric is stored. Mama needs more shelves, wah!

Plaid Clusterfuck
This is McCall’s 5803, which is so out of print, it’s not even in the out of print section of the McCall’s website. Also, it is a Hilary Duff pattern. Remember when she tried to do that?! HAHA. Anyway, I picked this pattern up for free99 during the free out-of-print pattern sale at my local fabric store (actually, it was on the same day that I got that Butterick knit dress pattern. I love free shit, gah.). I thought the shirt was really sweet, in a kind of over-the-top way.

Plaid Clusterfuck
I tried a new FBA on this pattern, adding 1.5″ to the side front. I still don’t really get princess seams; I can never really figure out exactly where that seam is supposed to hit. But I think this one worked out ok.

The original pattern is cut in a size 4, with the aforementioned 1.5″ of bust room added. I also shaved the front seams down by about 5/8″, the back seams by 3/8″, and the side seams just under the arm by 1/4″. I still think the armscyes are a bit too high, but at least they aren’t stupid droopy like The Dress Who Shall Not Be Named. Oh, and I also lengthened the button placket by about 1/2″ and shortened the collar band by a LOT – it was way too long for the neck opening. I’m not sure if that’s because of a pattern error or because I cut that piece of the bias and it stretched when I was fusing the interfacing to it. Either way, it fits now, so whatev.

Plaid Clusterfuck
I had a devil of a time trying to match the plaid up at the princess seams. I futzed around with that shit for-fucking-ever – I’m the kind of plaid cutter who cuts everything on one layer, one painstaking piece at a time – and the lines STILL didn’t match up. UGH. So I ended up cutting the side front and side back panels on the bias, with the front and back on the straight grain. The neck band and button placket were also cut on the bias, as was the front ruffle. Hence why I am calling this shirt a Clusterfuck – it’s going in all kinds of directions! I’m actually surprised at how well it works, to be honest.

Plaid Clusterfuck
Here is my shame, though – THE SIDE SEAMS DON’T MATCH. ARGH!! I guess I forgot to flip the pieces so they were opposing (instead of mirroring). BLECH. And, of course, I didn’t have enough fabric to recut. Not that I would have anyway; by the time I discovered this little issue, I had already serged everything together. It’s not the worst thing ever, but it still drives me nuts. Oh well, I guess we can’t always have perfectly matched plaids :’(

Plaid Clusterfuck
Let’s keep this our Sacred Secret, k?

Plaid Clusterfuck
I just love these front ruffles! FESTIVE.

Plaid Clusterfuck
I don’t know why there are basically two of the same picture. Sorry.

Plaid Clusterfuck
Here’s a better picture of those mismatched plaids. FUCK.

CIMG0063Plaid Clusterfuck
This shirt ending up costing VERY little to put together. The fabric was part of a big lot I picked up from a fellow blogger, the buttons came from the flea market last week (2 cards for $1!), and even the pattern was free. Not bad!

CIMG00Plaid Clusterfuck64
I topstitched the placket and collar band because I think it makes the shirt look more profesh. Also, I totally love these buttons.

Plaid Clusterfuck
This was not intentional, but look at how nicely the plaid matches up at the button plackets.

Plaid Clusterfuck
The ruffles are finished with a rolled hem edge (done on my serger), instead of the suggested turning under and stitching.

CIMG0050Plaid Clusterfuck

As a side note, I’ve been watching my stats for the past few days and I’m like 50 hits away from reaching half a million! HALF A MIL, Y’ALL. OHMEGERD.

Completed: Another Negroni for Landon

26 Nov

Alternate title: This Was Supposed To Be Landon’s Christmas Present for 2011.

This has actually been completed for a couple of weeks now – the actual sewing of the shirt came together rather quickly (it helps when you don’t have to futz with the fit during construction!), then it hung for a week or so while we debated buttons. Landon originally wanted pearl snaps – and I was originally excited because I love any sewing that involves using a hammer – but then he decided that they actually hated them… and every other button I offered. Picky guy! Then we were faced with the Darkness Dilemma (I do get up early to take my pictures in the AM, but Landon actually leaves for work far earlier than I do – not happening!). So the shirt waited to be photographed.

Plaid Negroni

I ended up taking these pictures at the first available opportunity – which happened to be on Thanksgiving, at my grandparent’s house in Somerset, Kentucky. Such a pretty backdrop, although a bit bright. Oh, and I guess I should mention that while this shirt waited to be photographed, it did NOT wait to be worn – it’s been worn a lot, and washed twice! Plus, we drove 3 hours that morning. So please pardon the wrinkles :)

Plaid Negroni

This version is essentially the same as the first Negroni, and other than the original laundry list of changes, I made no other alterations.

Plaid Negroni
The fabric I used is a lovely flannel from my local fabric store. It’s super soft and super warm. It also super likes to shrink, apparently. I prewashed it twice, but I guess that wasn’t enough – the sleeves still got shorter after the third wash. BOO.

Plaid Negroni
Cutting that buffalo plaid out was a BITCH. My usual workaround is to cut as much as I can on the bias, but I barely bought enough shirt fabric to make this, so it all ended up on the straight grain. I was feeling super nitpicky about the checks matching up (you should hear me when I’ve had a few drinks & I’m surveying the plaid shirts at the bar. Lots of plaid shirts, very little matching up. Drives me fucking crazy!), but it all came out perfect in the end. Well worth the effort!

Plaid Negroni
I mean, look at those matched checks!

Plaid Negroni
LOOK AT THEM.

Plaid Negroni
I did cut the pockets on the bias. I guess I could have matched the flaps up better, oops.

Plaid Negroni
The unfortunate thing about this materials is that it does tend to wrinkle pretty easily. But, hey, check out the winning buttons – we cut them off an old shirt that was destined for the trash can. Yeah!

Plaid Negroni
I do love me a beautiful sleeve placket.

Plaid Negroni
And, of course, the rolled-up sleeve test.

Plaid Negroni
If you are wondering why there are a bunch of rocks scattered all over the grass here, that’s because I tried to clone out this giant shadow and accidentally added some rocks. I never claimed to be a master at photoshop, guys.

Overall, I think we have a winner! Landon has already worn this several times and it’s gotten lots of compliments (and a lot of people who think I’m fucking with them when I mention I made it. lolwut.). I keep catching him eyeballing my stash, like he’s trying to figure out his next shirt. Ha! I’m thinking the next one will actually have a collar stand and button placket – gotta step it up, keep things interesting! Also, no more handmade gifts from me. Clearly I can’t be bothered to finish them on time :B

Plaid Negroni
Sorry, one more picture. He’s such a babe!

US :3
And here’s a terrible picture of the two of us. D’AWWW!!

Review: eShakti.com

19 Nov

Fair Warning: I did not sew this dress at all. This is a product review for eShakti. They mailed me a dress of my choosing, and now I get to talk about it on the internet woohoo!

When I was first contacted for a review, my initial thought was, “lolwut.” I mean, this is a sewing blog. I make clothes and then we talk about how awesome (or not awesome, I can swing both ways) the finished piece is. Trying out something for someone else’s clothing line just seemed weird and completely against the entire point of this damn blog. I’m not ~punk rock~ anymore, but I still get real weirded out at the idea of selling out, if that means anything.

Then I realized that there are lots of people who read this blog who don’t sew – or don’t sew clothes. There are a lot of us out there who struggle with getting a good fit (and yep, I’m part of this crew! Always learning new stuff!), and it sure would be nice to have a grey area between “Making Everything I Wear” and “Buying Bullshit At The Mall That Doesn’t Fit Over My Ass.” You know?

So, my non-sewing readers. This is for you. And also for me, because, hey, free purple dress :D

If you’re not familiar with eShakti, it is a website that sells cute lady clothes. Mostly dresses, but there are also tops and coats and even skirts floating around if you look hard enough. Everything is adorable, and there is a wide range of styles to cover most events, from cocktail parties to a semi-professional office. What makes them unique, though, is that they not only offer a serious slew of sizes – 0-36! – but you can customize the fit to accommodate your ass. Or boobs, or petite stature, or whatever. In addition (I know, I’m just blowing your mind over here), you can change certain design elements as it strikes your fancy. Changing up sleeves, hem length, and sometimes even the neckline. So basically, it’s like the seamstresses’ dream wardrobe without actually pulling out the sewing machine and doing it yourself. FANCY.

Oh, I forgot to mention the price range. Most of the stuff they offer is under $80, and any customization is $7.50. Not too shabby, eh?

For my dress, I went with the Ruffled Tiers, except mine is purple, obviously, and not black. I didn’t see the purple one on the site anywhere, so sorry if you’re salivating in jealousy over mine (on the other hand, I did just discover this green goddess one, this silk (!!!) one, and this one that is totally channeling Liz Taylor, and now I’m really jealous haha). It was really hard to NOT just get a fancy cocktail dress, but seriously? I own like a dozen of those things and I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually wore one. So I went with something office-appropriate, in a pattern/fabric that I wouldn’t sew myself (too slinky!), that would also be suitable for biking. I did end up customizing the sizing (since this is normally an issue for me with RTW), but I kept the general style of the dress the same as it looks on the site.

And how did that turn out, you might ask?

eShakti dress
ME GUSTA.

Seriously, though, isn’t it just adorable? I’m a big fan of the color, especially… and all the cascading ruffles. The off-center neck bow is my favorite part.

From a construction perspective, I have no complaints. Obviously, we’re not talking about the finest couture here – this dress is polyester, after all – but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. I actually studied the insides like I was studying for a test, except that I was giving it the Evil Eye the entire time and waiting for it to slip up somewhere.

eShakti dress
I would like everyone to know that this dress is absolutely perfect for cycling in – a good length to prevent flashing, and the shirring in the back keeps it snug without cutting off circulation.

eShakti dress
My only beef is that the armholes are a bit low on me – see my bra peeking out? Yikes! I think this problem is pretty unique to me and my body, though – I definitely have low shoulders in comparison to my bust size (hence why it is so important to do a FBA on sewing patterns and not just size up), and most stuff has to be taken up quite a bit there. Out of all the measurements I gave, shoulder height was not one. So I’m going to chalk this up to LT-body problems and not point fingers back to eShakti.

That one doesn’t bother me too bad, though, because…
eShakti dress
THIS DRESS LOOKS SO FUCKING AWESOME WITH MY MUSTARD AGATHA CARDIGAN.
Doesn’t it?! I knew it as soon as I spied it on the site. Actually – it looks good with ALL my handknits, including the Chuck sweater. The top is fairly sleek and smooth, so there isn’t much bulk when you wear stuff over it. Add in a ruffly tiered skirt and a little bow at the neck and now we’re just talking straight-up adorable.


Right now, they are offering $25 off your first purchase! Someone should go buy this dress, because holy shit I want.

In conclusion: Big thanks and thumbs up for eShakti!
In other news, I have a new garment on the sewing table that just needs picture… hope to get a post up this week :)

~*~Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post, although I did receive a sample to review & keep. All opinions on this product are my own.

Completed: Butterick 5078

13 Nov

Whenever I finish up a big project, I like to ease myself back in with something short and sweet (also, I had a really bad muslin disaster with another pattern and I don’t want to talk about it, except to say that woven kimono sleeves are clearly my Kryptonite). Knit fabrics are especially good for this, since most of the fitting works itself out in the form of stretch fabric.

I’ve had Butterick 5078 lurking in my stash for a couple of years now – it’s out of print; I picked it up during my local fabric store’s annual “Buy $10 Worth Of Fabric, Get A Free Out of Print Pattern!” sale (yes, that is a real thing. It is hell on my bank account, if you want to know the truth.). I liked the line art as I reminded me of a dress I used to own – until it went the way of the Tragically Cheap Buffalo and died in the wash one day – but I never got around to making it because it sucks up a surprising amount of knit fabric, which I never seem to find significant yardages of at the thrift store.

Butterick 5078

But hey, this fabric is pretty cool, yeah? It was given to me by an awesome blog reader, Heather (yo girl, if you got a blog PLZ LINK ME UP), who hit the motherload of vintage fabric at an estate sale and sold a big wad of it to me for stupid cheap. This stuff is perfect for this dress – fairly stable with a slight stretch, a nice thick warm fabric for winter. The print has flowers and butterflies, which isn’t exactly my thing, but the grey on black kind of cancels out the extra girly girly. I had about 1/4 yard less than I actually needed, but I was able to get everything cut out on grain with some clever cutting layouts and a lot of screaming and cursing.

Butterick 5078
Speaking of the cutting layouts… this shit is weird. The bodice front & waistband drape (the runching around the waist) are actually cut on the bias, not the straight grain. For some reason, cutting my knit fabric this way caused the pieces to lose most of their stretch! I KNOW. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around that one. Obviously I can still pull the dress on, but it’s a tight fit.

Butterick 5078
The runching on this dress is so weird. I initially thought it might look better with a lighter, more fluid knit – but I scoped out a few on pattern review, and I actually think my stable knit looks a little better, even if it is bulky. There is a whole ‘nother waistband underneath the runched one, so the drape could easily be omitted for a smooth waist.

Butterick 5078
I sewed this up in a straight size 8, with no alterations other than shortening the hem about 3″. For future makes, the front bodice definitely needs to be lengthened – it cuts straight across my boobs. Not really a good look! And I think the runching could stand to start a little lower than it does right now. The bulk is kind of making me look thicker than I am.

Butterick 5078
I like the skirt, though!!

Butterick 5078
I tried to take a ~twirly picture and instead, I got this. This is the second most awkward picture I’ve ever posted on my blog (first awkward obviously being the teeny peeny I neglected to mention I had… haha, forreal, though, I am so delighted to see so many people have their mind in the same gutter as meeee!). It also made me laugh really hard when I saw it, and I thought it would be cruel to NOT share it with the rest of the world. God, I’m so generous, you guys.

Butterick 5078
Here you can see that unfortunate bodice-meets-midriff-right-over-my-boobs seam. Also, this dress needs some bra snap holder things.

Who am I kidding, I’d never be arsed to sew that kind of shit on a KNIT DRESS.

Butterick 5078
I sewed the entire thing on my serger, minus the hems – which I sewed on my machine with a double-needle. Overall, I think this dress took about 2 hours to sew.

To be honest, I didn’t like this dress after I pulled it on. The bias cut made it really difficult to pull over my head, the runching covered what I feel like is one of my better assets, and the horrible bust seam placement made me feel like I had these super weird high and flat boobs. UHM.

However, it is comfortable. Like, the kind of sneaky comfortable that makes you feel like you’re getting away with wearing pajamas. And Landon likes it – his words, “That looks like you bought it at a store. That’s supposed to be a compliment!” And it’s polyester knit, which means I don’t ever have to iron it. I would like to make this again, provided I can find the right knit.

Butterick 5078

Thurlow Sew-Along: My Completed Thurlows!

12 Nov

Also known as “The Brown Old Man Pants I’ve Been Pining Over For The Past 10 Years” – here they are! The end result of the Thurlow Sew-Along :)

CIMG0081
I probably could have done a better job of getting those creases down the front leg centered better, but… nope. Idgaf right now.

CIMG0110
Shit, I forgot to tell you guys that I cut my hair!

CIMG0106
Well… I did. I should have whipped out my measuring tape & gotten a proper inch length, but we ended up cutting off something in the realm of 8″. 8″! That’s like a perfect… Jimmy John’s sub.

CIMG0119
Anyway, I’m pretty thrilled with how these fit. Just the way I like it!

CIMG0125
A good rear-view is always important.

CIMG0120
Bonus: They go perfectly with my Mustard sweater! Like a match made in Heaven or some shit.

For those of you who sewed along and have pants or almost-pants – link share, please! We all want to see (but especially me, because I am nosy as hell).

For those of you who hate pants and sew-alongs (and fun, I guess) – sorry for not being sorry! I’m back to regularly not-scheduled posting this week, though :)

For those of you lurking on the sidelines – just do it! Take the plunge!
Muslin Fitting
Choosing a Fabric
Adjusting the Back Pockets
Sewing the Front Pockets
Welt Pockets
Sewing the Fly Zipper
Attaching the Waistband
Belt Loops and Finishing

b1
See? Even Amelia approves.

CIMG0101
FUCK IT ALL, I LOVE THESE PANTS.

BYE.

Thurlow Sew-Along: Belt Loops & Finishing

9 Nov

This is the last post in our sew-along, folks. We are about to finish up these bad boys once and for all!


Today we will be sewing steps 20-22 – making and attaching the belt loops, adding a button and hook and eye, and hemming the pants. That’s it! That’s all that’s left!

b2
Belt loops first! If you don’t want to add belt loops to your pants, that’s fine – you can skip this part and scroll down. If you are adding belt loops, I hope you can see this picture. It should enlarge through Flickr if you are having trouble.
Finish one long edge of the belt loop piece – preferably with something that won’t add much bulk, as this fabric will be triple folded onto itself. Mine is serged. Fold the piece into thirds – start by folding the unfinished long edge about 5/8″, press, then fold the finished edge over that, and press again. Topstitch on either side of the folded piece, making sure to catch all layers through both rows of stitching.

b3
Cut the belt loops into 6 equal pieces. The instructions call for 4 1/2″ length, but I find that to be a bit too long for the width of the waistband, so mine are 3 1/4″.

b5
This step is totally optional, but I like to finish the raw edges of my belt loops so they don’t unravel over time. If you have a serger, just shove them under the presser foot one after the other and serge in one long line. If you don’t have a serger, you can zig-zag with your sewing machine. Repeat on the other side.

b6
You will end up with something like this.

b7
Then cut all the little pieces apart.
Again, this step is optional. If you don’t finish the edges of your belt loops, I’m pretty sure the sewing police won’t arrest you for fraud or anything :B

b8
Take your first belt loop and fold one end back about 1/2″ or so (however little you can get away with, due to the bulk). If your belt loops are closer to 4″, you may need to fold more back.

b9
Pin the belt loop to the pants waistband, right along the top edge. The belt loops are centered over the back darts, side seams, and front pockets. The diagram in the pattern is very helpful if you need more placement guidance.

b10
Fold the bottom of the belt loop back approximately the same amount as the top (in my case, 1/2″) and pin along the bottom of the waistband.

b11
The belt loops are not intended to lay perfectly flat along the waistband – there should be a little bit of room. You know, so you can fit a belt in there :)

b12
Continue all the way around the waistband until all the belt loops are pinned down.

b13
To sew them down, stitch as close as possible to the top edge of the waistband. I like to go over this stitching line a few times – forward, backward, forward again, and then a small back stitch to secure. Don’t want those belt loops going anywhere!

b14
Sew the bottom of the loops down in the same manner, getting as close to the seam as possible.

b15
Here is what my sewn on belt loops are looking like. Shnazzy!

b16
All belt loops should be sewn on at this point.

The next step is hemming, but I like to save that for last and I find the fit of my pants is slightly affected without a proper closure at the top. So I’m going to skip 21 and jump straight to step 22.

b17
Button hole goes on the left front – it should be placed right at the edge before the triangle point starts.
Sew your button on the inside of the right front, being careful not to stitch on the outside of the pants.

b18
Hook goes on the right front – butt it as close to the edge as you possibly can, without it actually showing from the outside. I like to sew mine on using a blanket stitch, as it tends to be a bit more secure.
To locate the exact placement of the eye, zip the zipper closed and rub the edge of the hook (where the eye would sit if it was closed) with a soft piece of chalk until it is coated in powder.

b19
Close your pants up and press firmly over the hook.

b20
When you open them again, there should be a little chalk print where the hook was.

b21
Sew your eye right over it! EASY.

You can go ahead and hem your pants at this point. The pattern allows for a 1 3/4″ seam allowance, which can either be turned and topstitched or hemmed invisibly with a slip stitch. Tasia has a great tutorial on invisible hemming with seam binding – hers is shown on a dress, but it would work just as well with pants.

And that wraps it up for the sew along! If you’re still catching up or have only been watching from the sidelines, don’t worry – these posts will be here indefinitely, as long as you need them. If you have any questions that were not covered, I’m always happy to answer via comments and/or emails. Hopefully these pictures & word vomit made you feel much more confident about tackling pants. Because, dude, pants are awesome. Especially when they have cowboys inside them :)

I’ll post a reveal of my finished pair on Monday. PANTSSSSS.

(thanks, Andi, for reminding me that this exists!!)

Thurlow Sew-Along: Attaching the Waistband

7 Nov

Holy shit, do y’all even realize what is going on today.


FINAL COUNTDOWN PANTS PARTY TIME.

Ha! But in all seriousness… we’re just a few steps away from being finished! Let’s get excited, yeah? :)


Today we are attaching the waistband, steps 15-19. You should have a semi-finished pair of pants at this point, all major seams sewn except the back extension. We will get to that today!

wb1
You should have two waistband pieces – a right side (with one square end) and a left side (with one pointed end) – cut in both your regular fabric and your lining fabric, and one set should be interfaced (I opted to interface the side with my fashion fabric, as it needed a bit more structure. Do what works best with your particular fabric, though!). Stack both left pieces together and both right pieces together, and sew along the top edge – the un-notched, concave curve – and the center front (the aforementioned square/pointed ends).

wb2
Trim, grade, and understitch the seam allowance.

wb3
You won’t be able to understitch all the way into the center front sections – that’s ok! Just understitch as far as you can :)

wb4
Open up your waistband pieces, and start pinning the main fabric side to the top of your pants, right sides together. Don’t worry about the lining at this point. Go all the way around, center front to center back (and yep, back extension is still open. We’re getting there!). Sew this seam.

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Trim your seam allowances.

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And press everything up toward the waistband.

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Now for that pesky back extension! See my pretty, bright pattern markings? We are going to sew right over that. Pin along the marked line, all the way up through the waistband. I know, the marking doesn’t extend that far but do the best you can. The instructions indicate that you should baste first, check the fit, and then sew your permanent seam. However, if you already made a muslin, you don’t need to worry about basting first – unless you really want to fine-tune the fit. Personally, I always baste first. Even after multiple muslins :)
Be very careful to ensure that all your seams are aligned when you sew up the center back seam! If one side of your waistband is wider than the other, it will result in one side that has a little peek of lining popping out. So double-check before and after you sew!

wb8
Press open the center back extension. Those giant seam allowances are supposed to hang around – later, you can adjust the waist of your pants, making it bigger or smaller as needed :)

Sooo… pinning the waistband. Fair warning: this part is a bit fiddly and you will probably end up hating me for making you slog through it. I know, it sucks! But it’s better than unpicking a bunch of stitches, or having a janky looking waistband. Spend a little extra time up front making sure everything is lined up, and it will save you hours of banging your head against the wall when you realize that your third waistband attempt looks even worse than the first one.

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Start with your lining all spread out and hogging the spotlight inside your pants.

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Fold the lining under to the inside until the fold is covering the stitching underneath by about 1/8″-1/4″.

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Now flip the waistband over and pin through the front, right in the middle of the ditch between your pants and your waistband.

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When you flip the waistband back over to the lining side, the pin should just be catching the lining. The fold underneath the pin should be no more than 1/4″ – anything more than that will just look sloppy.

wb14
Repeat all the way around the pants, skipping the 3″ or so section of lining that covers the back extension. We aren’t going to stitch that part down, so just leave it open.

wb13
STOP PRESS. Are those chickens?? SHUT THE FUCK UP.

ahem.

wb15
With your sewing machine, stitch all the way around the lining, exactly in the little waistband/pants ditch that you pinned into. This is called stitching in the ditch. Yes, I know. It’s so clever.
Again, don’t worry about the section with the back extension is. Just skip over it and continue stitching in the ditch.

wb16
Afterwards, you can tack down the lining over the extension. The instructions call for just a few stitches worth of tacks, but I like to slipstitch mine down all the way so I know it’s not going anywhere. And also, I used yellow thread, because yellow is delightful.

wb17
Give the waistband a good steam press, both inside and out.

That’s all! That wasn’t so hard, huh? :)
Expect a wrap-up post in a couple of days – belt loops, buttons, and hemming. And then PANTS PARTY 2012, YO.

Thurlow Sew-Along: Sewing the Fly Zipper

5 Nov


Today, we are inserting the zipper into our pants and making the fanciest of flys – with a facing and a fly extension! FANCY Y’ALL. This is my personal favorite part of the pants-process – when they actually turn into pants, and not just 4 giant pieces of fabric flapping around the sewing room :)

We will be sewing steps 9-13. I know it sounds like a lot of ground to cover, but this should actually go a bit faster than the welt pockets – plus, you only have to sew one zipper, not two!

Here is your background music for this task. It seems fitting, although I’m guessing Danzig’s fly isn’t exactly the same fly we are dealing with today :P

Steps 7-8 should already be completed at this point, FYI!

f1
Take your interfaced fly facing (piece 11) and finish the curved edge.
Sidenote: The pattern placement wasn’t intentional when I cut this piece out, but HAHAHAHA dude is totally going to be lurking the inside of my pants!

f2
Sew the facing to the right front, right sides together, stopping at the notch.

f3
Trim & grade the seam allowances, understitch, and press the facing to the wrong side.

f4
Get your fly extension (piece 10) and fold in half along the fold line, right sides together, and sew along the bottom. Trim seam allowances, turn right side out and press. Sew and finish the long side.

f5
Place your zipper over the long finished edge of the fly extension, face up, with the zipper stop matching the notch. Sew. If your zipper is longer than 4″ (and really – where the hell does one find a 4″ zipper?), go ahead and match up the end with the notch and let the zipper excess hang off the top. We’ll cut it off when we get to the waistband attachment.
Sorry that the left side of my zipper tape looks all chewed up, it is. We got in a fight.

f6
Sew the zipper to the left pants front, face down, stopping at the notch. You can sew directly over your previous stitching line, to make things a little easier!

f7
Turn the facing to the back and edgestitch close to the zipper teeth.

f8
Now this might be a little hard to see, so bear with me here! Zip the whole thing closed, and then pull your right front over to the left from until the fly facing seamline is matched up with the second notch on the left front. At this point, I like to pin the whole thing closed so it doesn’t try to get sneaky when I push everything under the sewing machine.

f9
Flip your pants over; the right (un-attached) side of the zipper should be lined up with the fly facing. Pin the two of them together as shown, being careful not to catch anything else in your pins – no pants front, no fly extension. Just the facing and the zipper tape! As you can see, the zipper tape won’t go all the way to the edge – that’s ok! It’ll end up somewhere in the middle.

Go ahead and sew the zipper tape to the fly facing, using two lines of stitching.

f10
Flip the pants back over – it’s time to draw the stitching line for your fly! Yeeeeahh!!
Keeping the pants pinned close, locate the zipper stop and mark it (I used a pin, but you can also use chalk or whatev). This isn’t totally necessary, but you do want to be careful that you don’t try to sew through the stop – it could break a needle (“Wah” you say) or throw off the timing of your machine (“FUCK” you say). So watch out!

f11
I like to start at the top and work my way down when marking my fly line (I know Tasia’s is the opposite, so do whatever you want, yo!). Measure 1.5″ from the center in a straight line, curving the line as you reach your marking for the zipper stop. Bring the line under the zipper stop to ensure that you don’t sew over it.

f12
Here is my fly all marked up.
Don’t you love my BRIGHT ASS NEON YELLOW marking!? Liz sent me a couple pieces of this marking wax and a brand new box of hook&eyes, after I lameted about accidentally throwing mine away right after I bought them in Chicago. It was completely unexpected and totally amazing of her to do, but what else do you expect from someone who brings macarons to a sewing meet-up? :) Thank you again, Liz!

ANYWAY, topstitch right over your markings, directly through the pants front and fly facing. Leave the fly extension out of this – you do want the zipper to actually work, no? :)

f13
Since the poor extension feels lonely, give her a couple of tacks to the facing so they can still hang out. You can do this by hand, or the lazy way like me – with a tiny zigzag on your machine :) This picture was surprisingly hard to take; look at the diagram in the instructions if you need more elaboration on where to stitch.

f14
And that’s it! You should have a beautiful fly zipper, with a gorgeous fly facing and an outstanding fly extension.

f15
Doesn’t that look professional as fuck?

Go ahead and sew up your side seams as indicated in step 14. We only have a few more steps left!

Thurlow Sew-Along: Welt Pockets

2 Nov

Moving on to the next part of our sew-along – the Dreaded Double-Welt Pockets

\
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

I will admit, this part gave me some serious hair-pulling when I first attempted it because the instructions run on the sparse side. Don’t worry, though – I took LOTS of pictures and even ran a few through my beloved Microsoft Paint, so hopefully y’alls first attempts will be a much smoother process :) The procedure itself it fairly simple, it’s just very precise. If the idea of welts is still terrifying – make a test welt pocket on some of your leftover scraps! No shame!!


Today we will be sewing steps 4-6.

Before you do ANYTHING with these pieces, take a moment to ensure that you have transferred all your pattern markings and notches to the fabric pieces. Like I said, welts are very precise, so the markings for this step are pretty critical. With that being said, the slash lines for the welt pocket should be transferred to the right side of your pieces; everything else should go on the wrong side.

If you have not already done so, go ahead and sew up your back darts and press them toward the center back (or, as Tasia writes: “centre.” Ehhheheehehe how cute, I wish I was Canadian sometimes lol)

WP2
Take your back pocket facing (piece 13) and finish the long edges with your preferred method of seam finishing.

WP3
Place the facing on the back pocket lining (14), both with right sides up, matching the notches. It took me a bit of head-scratching to figure this part out – see how the notches aren’t exactly centered on the sides of the facing, but rather creep up in one direction? The notches should be closest to the top of the lining (the end with the single notch). It’s hard to explain this without the ability to flail my arms around, so hopefully this picture makes a bit of sense!
You are going to edgestitch this piece down, in the same manner that you edgestitched the front pocket facings. Again, this piece’s job is to act as a little curtain for your welt pocket windows.

WP4
Speaking of welts… take your interfaced welt pieces and fold them in half, wrong sides together. Press and baste the long edges closed.

IT IS TIME.

WP5
The welts start out on the right side of your back trouser pieces (so yeah, I sure hope you transferred that marking to the right side!). The welt gets placed along the pocket line, with the raw (ie, non-folded) edge just exactly butting up against it.

WP6
Here it is with both welts pinned down. I highlighted my pocket line in pink so you can see exactly where it is.

WP7
There should be a notch at either end of both welt pieces. These indicate where you will start and stop stitching.

WP8
Stitch down the center(e) of each welt, starting at one notch and ending at the second. Don’t forget to backstitch!

WP9
Grab your pocket lining, and place it face down, upside-down over the bottom welt, matching the raw edges. Sew the lining to the welt only, being careful not to catch the pants back in your stitches.

WP10
Finish the raw edge.

WP11
Ok, time to cut into those pants and set the welts free! Cut straight down your slash line (disregard that it looks like someone chewed on mine!), stopping about 1/4″ from the end of your stitching lines. From the end of your cutting line (the marked X) to the end of your stitching line (circled), you want to cut at an angle, connecting the two.

WP12
Here is a better picture. Be careful not to cut too far, but don’t be timid and not cut deep enough – you want to end exactly at the stitching line. This would be a good time to practice on those scraps :)
Do this to both welt pockets, top and bottom, on either end.

WP13
Grab your pocket lining and pull it through the hole until it’s on the wrong side of your pants back.

WP14
I like to give my welts a quick press at this point, just to make sure I’ve clipped far enough and that everything is looking good so far.

WP15
Flip the pants back over, right side facing up. Fold over one side to expose the end of the welts. See the little triangle there? We are going to stitch that down to the welts, exactly on the indicated stitching line.

WP16
When sewing the triangle down, a few things to keep in mind: keep the welts butted together. You can hand-baste the welts closed if you are having trouble with this. Also, you want to get as close to the edge as possible, without actually catching non-triangle fabric. Use a zipper foot, and hand-baste the triangle in place before you start sewing, to ensure that it won’t move when you’re at the machine.

WP17

WP18
Now take that bad boy over to the iron & give ‘er a good press!!

See? Hard part over! Now to turn those welts into pockets and not ass-windows.

WP19
Pull the top (aka, notched end) of the lining toward the top of your pants back, folding at the fold line. All the right sides should be encased in the pocket and you should be looking at the wrong side of the fabric.

WP20
See the top welt stitching line? We are going to sew right on top of the welt only, to make sure that our pocket doesn’t have secret back fat pocket space.

WP21
Be sure to catch only the welt & the lining. Again – the pants back isn’t invited to this party! SORRY.

WP22
Now sew up the sides of your pocket, and finish the edges.

WP23
Then baste the top of the pocket lining to the pants back.

WP24
Ta da! Beautiful, functional, double-welt pockets!

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? :)
If you’re caught up to speed, go ahead & complete steps 7 & 8. Next week: the fly & all it’s fly-glory, woohoo.

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