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Completed: Fancy Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

9 Oct

I’ve been swimming through muslin hell this whole week (crazy me decided to even make a SECOND MUSLIN to verify all my changes, wtf who am I turning into amirite), but fortunately, I have an old make from pre-Maine that I can share with y’all! Jeans! Yay!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - frontCone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Remember when we were all scrambling around to buy those fancy Cone Mills Denim kits with our Ginger Jeans earlier this year (and last year too, for that matter)? I’m so happy that I made space in my budget for one, because Cone Mills denim is awesome. It’s the same denim they used to make Imogene + Willie jeans (which I can personally vouch for as I own 2 pairs – they wear really well and hold their shape beautifully, which means I never need to wash them in order to shrink ’em back down at the end of the day), and although the kit wasn’t cheap – it is certainly cheaper than buying the actual jeans. By the way, if you’re thinking, “Where the hell is this kit so I can buy one???” I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that they were on limited pre-order, and have been sold out for a while now :( Hopefully there will be more where that came from!

EDIT I have just been informed that Threadbare Fabrics sells Cone Mills Denim! Yay!! I apologize in advance for those who end up emptying their bank accounts after reading this post :)

Anyway, the point of that somewhat sales-y sounding paragraph was to say that I finally used one of the pieces of my denim for this pair of pants. I received the kit way back in April and have been anxious to sew it up, but I wanted to wait until it was actually something closer to pants-season before I got too excited.

Also, just a head’s up before we delve too far into this post – sorry in advance for all the weird bobble-head shots. I didn’t realize my camera was tilted so much, and I don’t care enough to retake the photos. Also, there be VPL in most of these pictures. Not sorry about that! Deal with it!

deal with it

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

The denim itself is what really counts when it comes to a good pair of jeans. You want a material that is a good medium weight (not too light, but also not too heavy) and if it has stretch, an awesome recovery. The single thing that’s plagued me the most when it comes to making my own pants is finding material with a good recovery! I hate having my pants bag out by the end of the day – it’s annoying enough for every day life, and utterly useless if you’re traveling and don’t have access for a quick wash (or just plain don’t own a washer and dryer, which was totally my situation up until we moved this year!). Plus, washing denim too much can fade out the color and cause the fibers to break down faster. I like my jeans to be a really deep, dark indigo blue, so fading isn’t my first choice. Figuring out fabric recovery is really difficult to do without actually wearing the fabric – which means you have to sew it first. So whenever someone gives me a head’s up on some good stretch bottomweight, I tend to snap it up without hesitation. I knew the Cone Mills denim was good stuff, so I’m glad I was able to get my hands on some before it sold out.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

This certainly is not my first pair of Ginger Jeans – I’ve made a classic indigo denim pair, a red cotton twill pair, a gold denim pair, a version of jeggings and shorts version. What can I say – when I like a pattern, I tend to stick with it :) And I REALLY like this pattern – it’s a nice, classic jeans pattern with all the good details you see in store-bought jeans, minus the shitty denim and strange fitting issues.

Having made this pattern numerous times made me feel confident enough to break into my mega-expensive denim for the pair you see here. I knew I already had the fit pretty good, so I could focus more on visual details with this version. That being said, there are a few changes to this pair that aren’t evident in my previous makes.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

The biggest change is that I went up one size, to a 4. While I like the fit of the 2 (all my other Gingers are 2s, fyi!), I’ve gained a little bit of weight over the summer and I got this weird paranoia that I was in denial about my size. Those 2s are great and super comfortable, but the legs are so tight that they look painted on. I was horrified at the thought of people thinking I was trying to squeeze into a too-small size, so I went up to the next size. I think the 4 definitely fits better, but the are a little different. Namely – those wrinkles at the knee. What is the deal with those? The calves aren’t too tight (they are looser than the tightness on my 2s, and my 2s don’t wrinkle like that), so that’s not the issue. Maybe they’re too loose at the knee and need to be taken in a bit? Thoughts? Btw, the wrinkles look worse in photos than they do in real life!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

Since I was going up one size and I don’t trace, I had to reprint the pattern. I know Heather updated the Ginger jeans pattern at some point last year, and I had both an original version (that I got when it was first released) and an updated version (that came with my purchased denim kit). I printed the new version so I could try it and compare to the original one. I don’t recall exactly what changes were made to the jeans, but there are some slight differences in the rise and the shaping around the crotch and hips. The waist is definitely a lot higher than it is in the original version – and this was after I shortened the crotch. The major difference in the updated version is the pocket bags – instead of normal jeans pocket bags, there is a drafted pocket stay (also called an instant tummy tuck).

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

With a pocket stay, the pocket bags go all the way across the front into the fly. This helps pull everything in and give you a smooth line in the front (hence the tummy tuck name). I wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable, but I tried it anyway and I’m glad that I did! I don’t care about smooth lines or whatever (I mean, c’mon, I’m basically always rocking dem VPLs. Death to thongs!), but what I do love is that the pockets stay in place when you pull your pants on. You know how tight pants always have to get the pockets shoved back down after you go to the bathroom? Not with these babies! Plus, since the pocketing isn’t folded over anywhere, there isn’t a weird bump at the coin pocket. I never was a fan of that.

Damn, shoulda pressed those insides before taking the photo. That fly shield wrinkle looks awful.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

All the topstitching and jeans-y details are what really made these fun to sew up! I just love the way jeans topstitching thread looks when sewn up against denim, so good. I kept my I+W jeans on hand and used their stitching colors as inspiration for this pair (here’s an old post where I took close-ups of the jeans right after I bought them, if you’re curious). The kits came with the zipper, button, rivets, copper topstitching thread and denim needles. However, you can buy all that stuff individually as well – Taylor Tailor has most of it in his supply shop for really reasonable prices. I did buy the orange topstitching thread from Taylor Tailor, which I think looks awesome next to the gold topstitching.

Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures of my butt and crotch, here are some flat jeans shots.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

As you can see, I used the orange topstitching thread pretty sparingly – just for the bartacks and belt loops. I can’t say I thought of this myself, as I pulled the inspo straight from my I+W jeans. They also use a third topstitching color in the second line of stitching, which is not something I did with this pair. Also note that the I+W jeans don’t use rivets, but I did use them here. I love hammering those things in and I think they really finish off the jeans nicely. I just kept them on the front pockets and coin pocket – I don’t like the look of rivets on the back pockets.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Again, using my I+W jeans as inspiration – I flat-felled only the back yoke seam, and serged + topstiched the leg seams (this will make it way easier to take in the legs if I need to, so yay!). I used orange thread in my serger, which mimics the orange bartacks. I LOVE the way it looks!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Whew! Sorry about all that cat hair!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

This is my absolute favorite little detail of these pants – the side leg bartack is a little L for Lauren :) On my I+W jeans, they have a little + sign on one leg in place of a bartack, and I thought, hey I can do that with an L. It’s only on one side, and it’s quite subtle unless you already know it’s there.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Welp, that ended up being a super long post! Do you see now why I love making jeans so much? All the little details are so fun and make the end result look extremely professional. Not to mention, all the customization options – from fit, to denim, to topstitching details. I’m so glad Heather released the Ginger pattern and I’m even happier than we were able to get some of that fancy-ass denim to make it up with! I still have one more piece for one more pair of jeans – and I’m thinking I might do the low-rise version next. Could be fun!

Completed: The 70s Denim Skirt

22 Sep

First make of my F/W sewing plans is done and ready to wear! Before you think my sewing speed reaches world-record status (I mean, I’m fast – but I’m not that fast!), I should point out that I had this skirt mostly complete before my sewing plans were completely solidified. So I had a head start with this particular garment! I actually took a little longer than usual to make this (not that I’m racing myself or anything, ha), as I ended up getting sick that week, which put the whole project on hold for several days while I tried to rest up and recuperate. But anyway, it’s done and now I can wear it! Yay! The 70s denim skirt I’ve been waiting for!

Style 1559 denim skirt

It would appear that the 70s is back in this year, in a big, bad way. I am super excited about this! I loved that shit when it came back into style in the 90s, and I’m happy to see it’s back again 20~ish years later (no comment on feeling old and/or shouldn’t be wearing that shit the first time it came around. Duh, this is the second time, it cancels itself out). While I don’t really follow fashion or allow it to necessarily dictate what I choose to wear, I can say that it’s nice when something I love does go into style because that means it’s easier to source it! Of course, that doesn’t really matter so much when one makes their own clothes – using a vintage pattern, no less – but I’m excited to see what trickles into the fabric selection. :D

Anyway! I’ve seen a lot of this skirt style – mini a-line with a button front and jeans topstitching – and I knew I wanted one for my own wardrobe. Rather than deal with the heartbreak of buying vintage (where it’s never your size and/or the seller has some interesting ideas about what to price it at), I wanted to make my own. Actually, I always want to make my own! I’ve been thinking/lurking on this particular style for a couple of months now, and tried to figure out how I could hack an existing pattern from my stash into my dream denim skirt. Then I found this pattern, and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern is Style 1559, which I bought on Etsy. It’s amazing how much this pattern encompasses everything I wanted in my skirt – a-line shape, side pockets with topstitching detail, button front, mini (ok, it’s not a mini but I can MAKE it a mini). The seller had several sizes, so I even got to pick what size I wanted! Etsy is awesome!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern was pretty easy and straightforward to put together. The only thing I changed – other than the obvious length difference, which ended up being something crazy like 9″(I wanted to go even shorter, but I’m going to wear this around a bit as-is and see if that changes) – was that I made a pocket facing piece, so that I could cut the pockets out of lining rather than denim. This was really easy; I just used my Ginger jeans pattern pocket facing as a guide. I also added more buttons than what you see on the pattern – I wanted more, and closer together. Oh, and I added belt loops (just stole the pattern piece from my Ginger jeans). Otherwise, easy stuff! Not a lot to report on as far as that is concerned.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Sorry about the butt wrinkles! I took these after a full day of, well, sitting :P

I’m not totally sure how I feel about those back pockets. I added them for shits and giggles – they’re part of the pattern, and they look cute on the envelope. I am pretty sure they are not doing my butt any favors whatsoever, but I also don’t feel like ripping them out. Thoughts?

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The denim I used is pretty legit, and also straight out of the 70s! :) One of my awesome readers, Jim, sent me a big ol’ piece of this stuff about a year ago. It took me this long to figure out what to do with it – it’s pretty thick and heavy with absolutely no stretch. Perfect bottomweight, but most of my pants have a little bit of lycra in them these days. I considered using it to make my denim jacket, but the color is a little light. However, it is perfect for this skirt. Totally a match made in heaven – in more ways than one. I love this kind of denim because it really softens up with washing and wearing, and the faded/worn look is even better looking than when it’s new.

Sewing this denim was as easy as you’d think. The cotton content meant that it pressed really well, and my machine handled all the layers without any problems. I used normal polyester thread to piece the seams, and denim topstitching thread for all the topstitching. The fishing is a mixture of flat-felled and serged seams, same as what you’d see with jeans. I really enjoyed playing with all the topstitching on this skirt; it looks reeeeeally good against the denim!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Random sidenote, but I also made my top! That’s a Agnes top, which I actually sewed up AGES ago (like, as soon as it was released) but then realized that it was way too freakin’ hot to wear anything with sleeves like that so I stuck it into the drawer in anticipation of cooler months. The fabric is a thick cotton knit that I picked up in the Garment District.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The buttons really make this skirt! I used smooth copper buttons, to match the gold topstitching thread, which I bought from TaylorTailor. I actually bought 25 of the things (what? They’re cheap haha), so stay tuned for more denim fun stuffs! As a side note – did y’all know that Taylor and I actually live in the same city? True story! We finally met irl for the first time at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago. I promise I tried to keep my fangirling under control hahaha.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

Again, with those pockets! Argh! I think the thing that bothers me the most about them is the topstitching – the top line of stitching is too far away from the edge, and it looks derpy. I thought it looked derpy as soon as I finished stitching the first line… and then, instead of unpicking it, I kept sewing. At this rate, I’m fairly confident that I’ll never actually fix it. I’ll just complain about it.

Style 1559 denim skirt

That’s all for now! I’m off tomorrow to Portland, Maine, for my long weekend sewing retreat at A Gathering of Stitches, which I am SO looking forward to! Four days of sewing and talking sewing and living and breathing sewing in beautiful New England? Pinch me. Talk about an awesome weekend! Anyway, I’ll be gone until next Wednesday, so this blog will be quiet until then. See y’all next week!

Completed: Blue Lace Watson Bra

15 Sep

I’ve almost got my lingerie drawer in it’s happy place. Almost. Just a couple more bras on my list and then we are good!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front

I REALLY like these Watson soft bras! I think they are so pretty, and also oh-so-comfy. I’m not the sort of person who really finds bras uncomfortable – even underwired bras – as I like the feeling of support above all else. However, you can’t deny how comfy this soft bra is! It’s a good bra for lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday (which is exactly what I do most weekends) or even sick days (which is exactly the case today. Wah!). And while I have a few comfy Watson bras already in my bra drawer, I certainly don’t have one that is this pretty!

This is definitely the prettiest bra I’ve ever made. Just look at it!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - close up

Always up for learning new finishing techniques, I wanted to try a few things with this lace bra. For one, I wanted to try an all-over lace band that incorporates the beautiful scallops at the bottom edge, instead of a picot elastic edge. All the bra patterns I’ve sewn thus far have been drafted for the elastic edge, but I see so many pretty RTW lace bras that use the scalloped edge and I was determined to try it out for myself. I also used the scallops on the edge of the cups, and experimented with a different way of finishing the scalloped edge of the cups. More on that in a second, though, because I want to talk about the lace that I used first.

I mean, the lace definitely makes the bra. I received this lace from the Tailor Made Shop on Etsy, right when Ying first opened up her shop back in June. It’s taken me this long to sew it up because I really wasn’t sure what to do with it – even the flat yardage is really really pretty. It took me a couple of months to decide how to cut the lace and use the scallops, and figure out how to finish everything so that the bra wouldn’t be too flimsy and would wear well. I’m glad I took my time with this, because I’m super happy with how it turned out.

Tailor Made has a lot of beautiful laces that are all suitable for bra making, as well as a selection of elastics, rings and sliders, underwire channeling – pretty much anything you need to make a bra. There are also kits, which I haven’t tried yet, but I’m really loving the color combinations that Ying has come up with. A lot of new stuff has been added since I first looked at the shop, and it’s all pretty awesome! I can confidently say that the quality of the stuff I received is really nice, and the prices are super reasonable. BTW, there’s a discount code at this bottom of this post – so either read on, or scroll to the bottom if you’re feeling antsy :)

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back

Anyway, back to my lace (and bra in general)! I used the Navy & Silver stretch lace for the entire bra – cups, cradle, band – and cut it so that the scallops ran along the bottom of the band and cradle, and the inside of the cups (as drafted, the pattern piece for the cups is a bit too curved for lace scallops, but there is a tutorial on the Cloth Habit site about modifying your pattern piece to have a straight edge). The lace is pretty flimsy on it’s own, so I underlined every single piece with soft navy powermesh (I bought this when I was in Philly at the beginning of the year. It’s a bit less firm than I like for my bands, but it’s great for underlining to add some stability! And the color match is perfect for this lace). The cradle is lined with two layers of powermesh, going in opposite directions (the pattern calls for that areas to be first with no stretch, which I usually use tricot lining for that, but I didn’t have any in navy, so I tried the powermesh. Works pretty well! There’s a small amount of give, but it’s still pretty firm). The straps are made with this lovely floral picot edge elastic (didn’t get a good picture of them, but it has a faint embroidered floral design in the center and a picot edge on both long sides. It’s really pretty!), and I have white matte enamel rings and sliders as well. The rest of the supplies came out of my personal stash. Rather than try to match the navy lace, I just used white findings for everything and I think it looks really nice.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat close up

One thing that I really like about this lace is that the topstitching I did just sinks right in. You can’t even really see it, which makes the whole bra look really clean. And I love those tiny scallops! They’re so pretty. Cutting the lace to accommodate the scallops about did my head in, but it was totally worth it.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - sewn elastic trim for scallops

So, here’s a little how-to on how I got the bottom scallop to work. With most bra patterns, they have you sew the elastic to the right side of the bra, then trim the fabric and turn the elastic to the inside, and topstitch (this is why you would use a picot edge; one side peeks out). This is a great finish, obviously, but turning back the elastic would mean turning back the scallops, so I lurked on some RTW bras at Victoria’s Secret and realized that they just sew the elastic directly the inside of the bra with two lines of zigzag stitching. Because my lace is underlined with powermesh, I cut the pieces to go all the way past the scallops, as shown, and then sewed the elastic to the inside of the bra with two lines of parallel zigzag stitching. I positioned the elastic so that the edge lined up with the innermost point of the scallop.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - removing powernet from scallops

Then I used my applique scissors to trim the powermesh up to the elastic, leaving the scallops intact.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - finished bottom elastic trim for scallops

Ta da! Here it is from the inside. Really easy! As a side note, my wide non-picot elastic is from, I think, Sew Sassy. I ordered a bunch of stuff from the site a few months ago, and was a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the majority of it. I don’t remember what this particular elastic was labeled as (either strapping or band elastic, I reckon), but it’s really ugly and I figured I’d never use it. However, it is perfect for this use here that I have discovered. Yay for stash hoarding! Haha!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back flat

For the cups, the scallop edge needs to be stabilized so that it doesn’t stretch out of shape over time. Also, since I underlined the cup with the powermesh, I needed something there anyway to keep the two edges together. I’ve used clear elastic in the past, which works okay, but it doesn’t look that great from the inside and it tends to bunch up a little. So I tried something new – I used the selvage edge from my powermesh as a replacement for the clear elastic. It’s really soft – way softer than clear elastic – and it still has a good amount of stretch. It’s also a perfect color match for the mesh, obviously, so it’s almost unnoticeable. It gives stability, but it doesn’t pull or bunch at all. I LOVE how it turned out. Don’t care if this is the wrong way to make a bra – I’m doing this with all my cup scallop edges!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - inside flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - super artsy inside

Here are some more inside shots. I serged all my raw edges with a 3 thread overlock, so the inside is super clean.

If you want to see what this bra looks like on a real person, click here for a somewhat unflattering picture angle. Again, please don’t pin this image or anything! Posting this strictly for science purposes.

Now! If you love my Watson and want to try out Tailor Made Shop, you can use the code LLADYBIRD for 10% off! This code is good through 9/30/15, so get it while you can! Yay for discounts!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - side front

One a completely unrelated note – WORKROOM SOCIAL is officially moving to a bigger space next month! Besides being exciting in itself, this also means that my Weekend Pants Making Intensive has a couple more spaces open! If you missed the chance to register when it was last announced, you still have an opportunity now. The class is November 7-8 and includes the pattern, use of machines and tools (you bring your own fabric and notions), and snacks, a catered lunch and cocktails on both days. You can read more about it on the registration page, or in this blog post. This class sells out pretty fast, so act now or forever hold your peace :) There are also some spots left for our Garment District shopping trip the day before (11/6), which is a nice addition to the pants class where you can check out the Garment District, learn about fabrics that are suitable for pants, and even buy the fabric that you will use in class.

Note: The blue stretch lace, white strapping, and rings and sliders were provided to me free of charge from Tailor Made Shop, in exchange for a blog post mention. All other supplies were purchased by me, and all opinions are all mineeee!

Completed: Red Cotton Twill Thurlows

11 Sep

I’m pretty sure I’ve added “make red shorts” to my summer sewing list for at least the past couple of years. I had a really awesome high-waisted pair that I made a few years ago and wore the hell out of (red shorts go with everything, don’t ya know), but eventually they got too big and I sold them off. I’ve been meaning to replace them for years, but never got around to it – partly because I couldn’t find a good fabric that I liked, but mostly because I kept getting distracted by the new & shiny.

Sooo, this post is dedicated to those red shorts. I finally made some! Although they’re nothing like the OGs – no high waist, no pleats, none of those – but they’re red, and that’s the most important part.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

I’m going to keep this (relatively, for me) brief, because nothing about this project is new information as far as my blog is concerned. I used the Sewaholic Thurlow trousers as my pattern. This is a really, really fantastic pants pattern and I’ve made it up numerous times – from jeans to red skinnies to shorts to more shorts to MORE SHORTS. (+ even more that I did not link because, well, that’ll be enough for now). I even had a Thurlow Sewalong on this here blog like, a thousand years ago! I loooveeeeeee me some Thurlows! They are beautifully drafted, have an awesome butt-fit, and they look really nice and professional when they are sewn up. Thurlows win.

That being said, I’ve talked about the Thurlows a LOT on this blog. It’s kind of hard to keep waxing poetic about something you’ve already publicly loved on to the point of it becoming embarrassing PDA, so I’m going to refrain in this post. Nothing new about this project. I made my usual size with my usual adjustments (for more details on that, see one of the many MANY posts I’ve written about this pattern hahaha) and followed the instructions. Yawn.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Even my fabric choice doesn’t really offer much in terms of exciting and new. I used an Organic Cotton twill from Mood Fabrics – it’s the same fabric I used last year to make my tie-less Miette skirt. I had just enough to squeeze out a lil’ pair of shorts, so, awesome! I love using this twill to make Thurlows (yeah, even fabric choice isn’t a first – I’ve made this pattern using the deep wine color before, too hahaha), as it holds it’s shape really well and is comfortable to wear. It also washes and wears beautifully, which is, well, pretty important too. The only thing that sucks about this fabric is that it tends to sell out pretty quickly on the website!

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

To make up for an unexciting pattern review – here’s an ~exciting~ photoshoot! Well, this isn’t nearly so much exciting as it is just different from the mess of trees I usually have going on in my photos (which I ain’t complaining about one bit, because I can – and will – stare at those trees all day long. They are so beautiful!). Landon and I took a hike a couple of weeks ago, in search of this waterfall, and we ended up taking these photos just because the scenery was so awe-inspiring. My hair is a rat’s nest of a mess and these were taken with his phone – but I like them! I don’t normally go for photo-shooty type pictures on this blog (I personally don’t think artsy photos do a good job of showing details. Also, I abhor the idea of having to leave my house to take pictures for a blog haha), but I’ve posted about this pattern a zillion times, so I think it’s ok if you can’t see every little detail.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

What’s exciting about these pictures is that, even though we were hiking to get to this point – it’s not like we hiked very far, or even had to drive anywhere to begin the journey. We started out in our backyard and traveled through the neighbor’s yard to find this spot (I should add – our neighbor has repeatedly invited us to explore and enjoy his land. He’s the one who told us about the waterfall in the first place). So, while this isn’t literally in my backyard – it’s close enough! We only had to walk about 30 minutes. Yeah, neighbor has a LOT of land hahaha. Way more than our puny-by-comparison 5 acres!

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

God, I love living in the country :D

And because this is still at sewing blog, here at Thurlow short gut photos:

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Oh, I did change up what pieces I cut from the lining. The waistband and fly facing are self-lined (instead of using contrasting lining fabric); only the pockets are cut with lining. I did this because I always felt like the lining showed from the right side, which I wasn’t a fan of. I guess this may not work for really heavyweight fabrics, but it was fine with the cotton twill. Everything else stayed pretty much the same. Also, I dunno why my fly shield doesn’t cover the bottom of my zipper, but, oh well. Finally, I have come to accept the fact that I use this striped cotton for pretty much all my pocket linings, and I will not apologize for that. It makes a really good pocket lining hahaha.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

That’s all for today! I have a few more projects that are patiently awaiting a post (I told y’all, I’m behind), and then it’s on to sewing for the next season! I’ve been writing out my plans and gathering supplies, and I’m really looking forward to switching gears for the cozy. Another thing I’m looking forward to is seeing what this area looks like when the leaves start changing. I am pretty sure it’s gonna be insanely gorgeous :D

Made Up: Stretch & Sew Bikini

8 Sep

You know, for someone who doesn’t go swimming very frequently (or sunbathing, for that matter, as evidenced by these photos. Eh, what can I say – as an ex-smoker, I’m trying to be careful with my skin these days!), I sure do make more than my share of bathing suits. They are really fun and satisfying to sew up, though! I try to quell that urge by making undergarments instead, but sometimes you just wanna make something that gets shown off!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front

For our short trip to Cancun last week, I thought I would make another bathing suit to drag along – partially so I wouldn’t be stuck trying to wriggle into something damp on the second day (yeesh! I hate that!), and partially because, dammit, I wanted something new and sunshine-y to take on vacation! When Karen announced the Made-Up Initiative – which is currently funded at 248%, btw, because we are all awesome – I decided to set those plans into action and pledged to make the damn swimsuit.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - sideI reckon there’s something about announcing intentions that causes them to immediately go awry, but, yeah, this was totally the Swimsuit That Almost Didn’t Happen. True story, if I hadn’t already made a big stinkin’ pledge, I probably would have put this project to sleep early on. I really hate the idea of not seeing something through, though, so I soldiered on and stuck it out. Happily, the end result was this lil’ paisley dream! Yay!

My first attempt was with a completely different pattern, McCall’s 4330 – a string bikini straight outta the 1970s. The pattern called for wovens, but I thought I could adapt it with a stretch knit. It actually mostly worked, except, I tried on the top about halfway through and realized that I DO NOT LIKE the way I look in a string bikini! Eep! Too little coverage, well, everywhere. I know that’s the whole point of a string bikini, but I was not feeling it. I considered giving up at this point.

Instead, I dug around in my stash and found this copy of Stretch & Sew 1390, which is for a cute little halter-style bikini that is, again, straight outta the 1970s. I liked that it offered more coverage – both top and bottom – than the string bikini, and I liked that it was actually sized and drafted for swimsuit knits. I’d never sewn with a Stretch & Sew pattern, but I have definitely noticed the cult following that these patterns get, which is always a good sign in my opinion. I traced off my size (you have to do this with these patterns; the instructions are printed on the nested pieces. Sort of a pain, since it means the instructions are on a GIANT sheet of paper, but kind of nice in the sense that you are forced to keep all the sizes!), made a mock-up of the bikini top, and then prepared to cut in my actual swimsuit fabric – when I realized that I had nowhere near enough yardage to do this. I was using leftovers from a previous suit – bikinis are so tiny and they barely take any fabric, so this usually isn’t a problem. However, this suit has few seams & looong halter-tie straps, which means it *does* require more yardage, which I didn’t have. At this point, we were less than 2 weeks out from departure. Again, I considered giving up. Dun dun dun!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front close up

Spoiler alert! I found an awesome paisley swimsuit fabric at The Fabric Fairy, immediately ordered it, and it was at my house within a week. Since I’d already worked out all my fitting adjustments before ordering the fabric, that meant I was able to get right into sewing once I received everything. The whole suit was made up in an evening session. Pretty awesome! And I actually like this fabric a lot more than anything I was trying to pull out of my stash, so double win for me!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back close up

The pattern is well-drafted and very simple to assemble – there aren’t a whole lot of seams, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The bikini top is self-lined, with the outside shaping created by soft gathers, and the inside has a few darts. The straps tie behind the neck, halter-style, and the bottom is encased with wide elastic all the way around and closes with a swimsuit hook. The bottoms are just your standard bikini bottoms, lined in swimsuit lining and edges finished with elastic.

My original tracing and mock-up trusted the sizing of the pattern, which ended up with it being much too big. I ended up cutting the bikini in the size A cup and shortening the elastic for the midriff by about 3″ (I imagine most anyone would have to make this adjustment, as they just have you cut it to 27″ for all sizes and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are either bigger or smaller than that!). For the bottoms, I just kept cutting the size down until they finally fit me. They were really huge – which I prefer negative ease with my swimsuit bottoms (so they don’t look like a saggy diaper when wet!), and these were quite the opposite. I think I ended up going down about 3 sizes to get the fit that I wanted.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top on dressform

I followed the instructions pretty closely as written, except that I topstitched the bottom band of the bikini top to avoid doing any handstitching, and I sewed the elastic in the bikini bottoms a little differently. Most of this was made on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch, except finishing the edges of the bottoms before attaching the elastic – I serged those edges first, so they’d look clean on the inside. Oh! I also added really thin swimsuit cups to the bikini top, sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining. They are super thin, so they don’t really add any padding – just eliminate any nipping that could potentially happen haha.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top

Top of the swimsuit, flat. The elastic goes all the way around the ribcage, which makes for a very secure top (you just need to make sure that it’s the right circumference for your ribcage, since it closes with a hook and doesn’t tie).

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - self lining

Darts on the inside/self lining of the bikini top.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini bottoms

Bikini bottoms!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side back

No matter how many swimsuits I make, I will admit that I always feel a tiny bit stressed when I wear them out for the first time! Will it hold up? Is something going to go surprise see-through on me? What if the fabric sucks and bleeds color all out into the water? Thankfully, this one didn’t give me any problems and I really enjoyed wearing it during my vacation! I think the paisley fabric is so pretty and it makes me happy to look at it :) I’m glad that I stuck this one through and ended up with a fun little swimsuit as a result!

Did you pledge for The Made-Up Initiative? How is your pledge coming along? The deadline is in 2 days!

Completed: The Sway Dress

3 Sep

Y’all, this heat is making me do crazy things this year. As in, I made a tent dress. Out of LINEN. I’ll just let that one soak in for a minute.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

I doubt it’s the most flattering thing I could be putting on my body, but you know what? Fuck it. This shit is BEYOND COMFY.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Katie sent me this pattern, the Sway dress, right after the launch of her most recent collection, Chameleon. While I loooove the way it’s styled on the envelope (especially that winter version with the turtleneck! Ahhh it looks so chic and cozy!), I was pretty sure there was no way in hell I’d be putting this kind of tent shape over my body. My waist, the world has to know that I have a waist!!!1!

Then I turned 30, then it got really hot, and then Katie is basically like my mom because she knew better before I even realized it for myself.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

If this dress looks like it took 2 hours to put together, that’s because it did. It was super fast, super easy, and a really satisfying project to work on. The pattern is extremely simple – front, back, facings, and then pockets. That’s it! No darts, no tricky seamlines, no closures. I cut the size XXS with no alterations, and made this up in an afternoon. The directions are clear and straightforward, and I really like that the facings are all-in-one, so that the arm holes and neckline are all encased at the same time and everything stays in place really well. it’s a nice, clean finish, and it looks really good from both the outside and the inside. Letting the dress hang for 24 hours to stretch out the bias was the most time-consuming part of the whole sewing process, but even leveling the hem wasn’t that bad.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - back

AND, because the dress only really fits at the shoulders and falls loose everywhere else – it’s totally reversible! You can wear the front to the back, or vice versa. Say what now?! I was originally Team V-neck, but after wearing the dress around a bit, I actually like the v in the back.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - pockets

Since the dress is already totes appropriate for hot weather, I went the extra mile and made it out of some dark blue heavyweight linen to keep things extra cool and breezy. I really did not know what to expect with this linen – I’ve bitched and moaned before about how much I don’t like linen for it’s shifty nature and constant wrinkles – but this particular linen is a lot more tame than most of the ones I’ve sewn with. Because it’s so heavy, it’s not as prone to shifting around or wrinkling (while I did take these photos before wearing it around, I have since worn it for a full day and even with a couple hours of driving involved, it barely wrinkled at all). It does still fray like mad, so I made sure to finish all my seams with the serger and that solved that problem. This is the kind of linen that would get me sewing with the fiber on the regular – and now that I’m looking at the Mood Fabrics website, it looks like they added more colors! Yay!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - neckline

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - necklineThe only part where I deviated from the pattern was to cut the pockets out of a lightweight china silk, instead of the heavy linen. I’m sure the linen would have been fine, but I like how light and not-bulky the silk pockets are. Plus, they feel gooood on my hands!

One thing I will change for future makes of this pattern is to raise the arm holes, because they are pretty low on me! It might just be because I’m petite, but I was showing a little bit of bra when I first tried on the dress. I took in the underarm seam just a bit, which helped a lot, but I do need to be careful of which bra I wear with this dress because it definitely can and will still show at my underarms. I think raising the underarm about 1/2″ will take care of that. Also, if you plan on making this pattern – watch the length! I did not adjust the length whatsoever and it’s preeeeeeetty short on me (I’m 5’2″). Like, if I raise my arms too high… y’all are gonna see some cheeks. No, seriously, I tested that shit in front of a mirror. The struggle is real.

That being said, I love the micro-mini length combined with the exaggerated tent shape. I especially want to put this into action in a cozy black wool, and wear it with black tights.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Inside guts. It’s a simple dress, so really not much to see here!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - twirl

I’m still not 100% that this is the best look for my body (I’m sure there is someone out there who thinks I’m trying to hide a pregnancy), but I am 100% in that this dress is SUPER comfortable and perfect for the summer heat!

As a side note – I’m off to Cancun, Mexico this weekend! Gonna lay poolside with my bae and drink something with an umbrella sticking out of it (wearing my new Made Up bikini, naturally! Yay for finishing by my self-imposed deadline!). Cannot even wait. Suffice to say, this blog will be pretty quiet for the next few days. This girl needs a vacation!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Pattern was given to me as a gift. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

Completed: Basic Ribbed Socks

1 Sep

I finished these socks a while back – at the end of May, to be specific – and I just realized that I never got around to posting them. Whoops! Better late than never!

Handknit red socksEver since I finished my first pair of socks, I knew I wanted to try again and improve on what I had learned. The biggest issue I had with the first pair was my yarn selection. Since I used an alpaca blend (and before you tell I should have asked the yarn store for yarn suggestions- I did! That was what they said was best for sock-making, for some ungodly reason), the socks tend to slouch and stretch out of shape, and I never liked the little fuzzy halo of fibers that is typical with alpaca. I wanted to try with an easier pattern – one without lace – and a better sock yarn. And here is the result! I think they turned out pretty nice :) Handknit red socksOh, about that random pig in these photos. Ha! That is our pet piggy and her name is Kevin Pancho. Yes, Kevin is a girl (we were under the assumption that we had a boy pig, and then she ended up being a girl whoops hahaha). She’s a potbelly and still just a baby, but she will eventually get pretty big. Before you ask – we have no plans on eating her, she’s just a pet (I mean, unless doomsday comes around and we all start starving to death or some shit. Then, Kevin will be a Food.).

Handknit red socksAnyway, back to my socks (with some random piggy butt)! I used this Basic Ribbed Socks pattern, which is one of those free patterns on Ravelry that apparently everyone has tried (ok, not everyone, but 6k+ people can’t be wrong amirite). It’s a basic, easy sock pattern, knit with fingering weight yarn and constructed from the cuff down. The majority of the knitting is done with a 3×1 ribbing, which keeps the sock from slouching as much, and is a little more interesting than your standard 1×1 ribbing. Because the socks aren’t ridiculously tall, I was able to knit them out of a single ball of yarn. Which means they were quite economical to make! Handknit red socksI knit these for the size 6, which is pretty close to my shoe size (I generally wear a women’s 6.5). The socks fit perfectly, and they are super comfortable! They stay up pretty well, as promised, and the lightweight yarn means that they aren’t too thick to wear with shoes (which isn’t something I’m doing right now, but I’m sure I will be happy for that option come winter!).

For yarn, I used Cascade 220 Fingering. Again, I only had to buy one ball to knit both socks – and I still have a little yarn butt left over. I bought the yarn while I was in Philly for Maddie’s Bramaking class, ‘way back in January, on my evening ladydate with the wonderful Andrea. Andrea took me to her favorite yarn store, Loop Yarn, and this was my yarn souvenir for the trip. I chose this yarn based on the suggestion of the woman working there, and I am extremely happy with how it worked up. I use Cascade 220 worsted weight for a lot of my knitting projects, and while this was my first try with the fingering weight, it’s just as nice as the worsted. Easy to knit and looks good when finished. As you can see in these pictures, it does pill a little with frequent wear (I wear these socks a lot! I even brought them to Peru with me :) ), but, they are socks. Whateverrrr.

I also bought metal DPNs to knit these socks; I was using bamboo before because I like how it grips, but those tiny little needles snapped like crazy on me. The metal ones don’t break (or, I guess, they haven’t broken yet haha), but I have bent them a little bit. As with my first pair of fingering weight socks, I used a size 0. So yeah, teeny little needles!

Handknit red socksHandknit red socksI really enjoyed working with this pattern. It is simple and relatively mindless (so, good for bringing to knitting night, or watching tv, or whatever), and the socks knit up pretty quickly. Turning the heel was fun and magical, and I didn’t feel like I was doing too much endless repetition with all that circular ribbing. I think it’s too soon to say that this will be my TNT sock pattern, however, it’s definitely a contender! I will totally knit this pattern again.

Handknit red socksHandknit red socksHandknit red socksI’m already working on my next pair of socks. Socks are great little portable projects that pack up small and are easy to bust out for a couple of rows at a time. They are especially awesome for traveling, since you aren’t lugging around a bunch of pieces or a big sack of yarn (and if you finish one sock, you can wear it! Yay!). That being said, I also love knitting sweaters, so don’t expect that to go away anytime soon. I haven’t knit as much as I used to in years past – not having a dedicated hour-long lunch break to commit to knitting will do that – but I’m making an effort to get at least a few rows done a couple times a week. Not even because I want to make progress (well, I do, but that’s not the #1 reason), but mostly because it’s an awesome stress-reliever. And it keeps me from falling asleep on the couch hahaha. Handknit red socksI’m including this last picture because Landon and I were arguing about which ~scenic~ spot to take photos. He said the cinderblock was stupid and ugly, I said the deck was even stupider and uglier (sorry, deck.). So you tell me – who was right? Personally, I think Kevin really made the pictures worth looking at :)


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