Completed: Dotty Jamie Jeans

12 Jan

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

More gut pictures for your perusal~

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

Dotty Jamie Jeans

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

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

Completed: Ginger Jeans!

8 Jan

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

Ginger Jeans

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

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

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

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

SPOILER: It worked out just fine! Yeehaw!

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

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

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

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

Ginger Jeans

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

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

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

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

Ginger Jeans

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

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

Completed: Albion Jacket for Landon

5 Jan

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

An Albion jacket! Yay!

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

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

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

2014: A Year In Review

31 Dec

Well, it’s the end of the year and time for another wrap up and review! I can’t believe 2014 has flown by as quickly as it did – I feel like every time I blinked, a couple months passed! Crazy! Anyway, it’s been a really really really awesome year. Let me start by showing you a collage of all the crap I made~

2014 - year in review
2014 - year in review
2014 - year in review

And by collage, I mean 3 collages, because all the photos wouldn’t fit in just one. Those 75 garments (yes, ugh, borderline embarrassing?) don’t actually cover everything I made this year – I left a few things out, like multiples (such as tshirts or leggings), anything that wasn’t clothing, and obviously anything that didn’t make it to the blog (since I make all my clothes, a lot of stuff doesn’t make the cut because it just seems pretty redundant). I’d say I probably wrapped up the year with just under 100 garments under my belt. I’m not going to link to the individual stuff I made, because that would take forever – but you can lurk my closet and click on whatever strikes your fancy.

Before anyone starts asking me if my closet is the size of a house, I should point out that I actually don’t have a lot of clothes anymore. Of course, I have most everything I made this year (and anything I’ve retired has been noted in the blog), but a lot of stuff from previous years is gone – purged for various reasons, but mostly because of size and style discrepancies. My weight, while pretty stable at this point, has changed a lot over the years, and the sad fact is that a lot of the stuff I made last year just doesn’t fit anymore (and isn’t worth altering to save). On top of that, I spent a LOT of energy making things that just don’t fit my lifestyle – either they no longer do (such as office-appropriate clothing), or they never did (such as silk party dresses). And then, of course, there’s the smattering of garments that I made just to make – but haven’t actually worn because they just aren’t me. And that’s ok, I think, for the most part. I don’t want to get into a habit of making stuff I don’t wear, but sometimes you want to make something just for the experience of making it (and then find someone to gift it to :P).

Anyway, that came off like a big apology and it certainly isn’t! The ongoing trend for my 2014 closet was basic, wearable ~cake~ clothes, replacing things in my closet that needed to go (for aforementioned reasons). I love almost everything I see in these collages, and I’m excited to continue this for 2015.

Here are some of my favorite/most worn pieces of 2014. Like last year, this was REALLY hard to narrow down – I love all my makes, they are like my baaaabies! But there were definitely a few that stuck out above the rest~

Vogue Coat - Done!
The Vogue Coat
All right, technically I made this in 2013 – but it was posted and worn in 2014, so it totally counts. I wear this coat as much as the weather allows – I love it! It’s warm and snuggly without being heavy, it’s easy to squish into a suitcase, and I love the bold plaid with the gorgeous red silk lining. Total win in my book. Coming up in a close second is the Rigel Bomber Jacket!

Chambray Buterick 5526
Polka Dot Chambray Button down
Butterick 5526 //Top
Butterick 5526 //Bottom
Obviously Butterick 5526 wins the Pattern of the Year award from me – I made this shirt soo many times! These two are my favorites (couldn’t pick just one, sorry!). The plain chambray version is just lovely for summer – it’s soft and lightweight, it goes with *everything*, and I really loved making it up. The polka dotty chambray version is basically my pinnacle of shirtmaking – everything on the inside and out is a personal best for me.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn
Chambray Hawthorn
This isn’t a super special make by any stretch of the imagination (and, um, also my third make from chambray wtf), but I wore the shit out of it this summer. It’s comfortable in the heat, looks pulled together, and it a basic enough staple that you can accessorize it a bunch of different ways. Yay!

Vogue 1395
Vogue 1395
THIS DRESS THO. This is probably my favorite – I wore it soooo much this past year! It’s fancy enough to wear for casual-ish weddings, but it’s also lovely for a day of daydrinking in the park with friends. The print is so pretty and the silk make it feel really special. Plus, the elastic waist + tie mean I can eat a buffet’s worth of food and still feel comfortable (but look like I’m trying!).

Marlborough Bra
Marlborough Bra
Didn’t see that one coming! This bra – while not 100% perfect by any means – makes me so happy whenever I wear it. I can’t wait to make more, to tweak the fit to perfection, and to start playing with fabrics and trims. Making this one bra has really opened my sewing to another level (the level of “oh yay I can keep endlessly sewing and not worry about filling my closet too full because EVERYONE NEEDS UNDERWEAR AMIRITE”), and really challenged my skills and given me something new to work toward. I’m really really excited to take s Maddie’s bra making workshop this January, to really polish up and learn from someone who’s skills and expertise I really trust (and, of course, get to hang out with Maddie! Pretty pumped about that too ;) ).

Now let’s talk about what an awesome year 2014 was! Holy shit! I love these kinds of posts because I love looking back and reflecting on all the good stuff that happened. 2014 was a SERIOUSLY good year for me – just on the heels of a crappy 2013, and much needed. SO many things changed for me this year, and I went through a lot of firsts as well! Here’s a sum up of my year~
– I participated in Project Sewn, but I didn’t make it past the first round. That’s okay, though, because I also learned that sewing contest things are NOT for me! Too much pressure, too many deadlines, too many rules! I don’t like being told what to do, and I prefer to work at my own pace.
– I went to NY twice this year – in March, for a short weekend with Clare, and then again in August. MAN, I love that city! Don’t think I’d ever want to live there, but it’s pretty fun to visit :)
– On the subject of travel, I also spent nearly 2 weeks in London this year! That was the first time I’ve been out of the country in over a decade, and the first time I did it solo! AND I had to get a new passport and everything! Traveling internationally is kind of stressful and terrifying, but it’s also really fun and fulfilling. Already planning my next big adventure :)
– 2014 was the year I started teaching – I taught a few classes at the local community college here, Watkins, and also at WORKROOM SOCIAL in NY and at Tilly Towers in London!
– I also taught an online class at The Sewing Party, which we got to film (that was fun, especially since someone else did all the work haha). That week was also the first – and probably only, ever – time I’ve had my nails done professionally haha :)
– I got to visit the McCall Pattern Company offices while I was in NYC, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. It was cool to meet the people behind such an iconic company (whether or not you like what they produce, you can’t deny that they are pretty iconic for the sewing world!) and see all the cool behind the scenes bits, as well as learn some history! Big highlight of my year :)
– I co-hosted an Outfit Along this summer, where we made dresses and knit cardigans! That was fun!
– I also co-hosted a sewalong for Vogue 1419, along with Meg from the McCall Pattern Company, which was intense and exhaustive and absolutely awesome. And I love my new coat! :D
– I organized my sewing patterns, which took forever but I’m glad I did it. As of this posting, they are still organized (yeah!) and I still haven’t created a digital catalog of them. Oh well :)
– Sewing firsts – first bra, first socks.
– I never posted this on the blog (bc it doesn’t relate to sewing at all), but this year was the first time I had to sue someone :) Haha! The result of a traffic accident (100% not my fault – the other guy ran a stop sign), I had to chase that piece of shit down for over a year and take him to court before he finally paid up. All for about $1,000 worth of damages, which was paid through his insurance – even my lawyer was surprised (most companies write off about 5x that much, but I’m telling you – that guy was a total piece of shit).
– My hair went through some interesting color choices this year – starting with brown, then bleached orangey-yellow (that was supposed to be immediately covered, but I liked it so much I kept it for a few months haha), then turquoise, then purply-blue, then just blue. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep this color – I like it now, but that can change quickly. At any rate, my Driver’s License is due to be renewed this year so I need to figure out a good color for the photo haha :) I do need to be better about posting photos in order, though, because right now the color varies wildly based on how much it’s faded in the picture – and since I don’t always post in order, my hair looks like the result of Photoshopping madness (I wish I knew enough to change my hair color that way – might save me some bad color choice drama in the future haha oh well)
– By the way, my dad is officially cancer-free! He had 12 rounds of chemo throughout the year, which was brutal for him (especially since his stubborn ass kept trying to run those ultra marathons he loves – he was just waitlisted for Barkley, which he claims is the hardest race in the world because of course it is), but they’re over! Now we are just going through lots of genetic testing to see what caused it, and if it’s a concern for us kids. The good news is that it’s not Lynch Syndrome, which it was we initially thought.

Day 6: Me! 😁 at my sweet sewing job, with my sweet sewing machine boyfriend, Turbo (don't tell my Bernina!). #bpSewvember

One big change that happened this year was my job situation! At last posting, I had just left my gig at Muna’s (after quitting my long time job in advertising that I worked at for 6+ years) and I was kind of floating on no employment. I haven’t written an update since because I wanted to wait until I’d worked this new job for awhile, then, it seemed unnecessary since I do mention it from time to time. But anyway, I’m working 2 solid jobs now (on top of occasional teaching and other freelance work), and I just love them both!

My main job that pays the bills is being a personal assistant. My boss isn’t anyone famous – she’s just a normal 36 year old woman who makes really good money in network marketing. I am pretty much her paid mom/girlfriend – I clean and cook for her, help her pack for trips, do her grocery shopping and laundry, help with some administrative stuff, take care of her cat, etc. It’s a really awesome job and she’s a really awesome person to work for. We both get on really well together, she takes care of me, and my job is super flexible. I’ve been doing this for about a year now (started Jan 2) and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon :) I also only work part time – but it pays better than the office job. So there’s that! Only downside is that I have to do my own taxes now (booo, but on the flip side – write offs! :D), and I can’t ride my bike to work because of distance + need for a car (gotta have a car to be a PA!). So I do miss my bike, but that’s about the only negative. Everything else is a benefit, woohoo!

My second job is as for sewing production at Elizabeth Suzann. I started this in January, working a couple hours a week. Elizabeth was initially concerned that she couldn’t afford to hire a seamstress – SO MUCH has changed in such a short time; she now has 3 of us (Nashville sewing friends, if you’re interested in part time sewing work, Elizabeth is always looking for new people to add! Email her and maybe we can be co-workers :D)! I work 3 hour work days, 2-3 days a week. Someone gives me a pile of cut fabrics and I just sew as much as I can :) It’s really fun and I really enjoy it – we’ve got awesome machines at the studio (Turbo, my main industrial, is all foot controlled. You use the pedal to raise the presser foot, backtack, *and* clip your threads. It is amazing!!), and we listen to ridiculous music or watch movies while we work. My coworkers rule, Elizabeth & her husband are amazing bosses, and there are always dogs around and lots of coffee and cookies. Love my job!

Officially the proud owner of a shiny, new, CURRENT passport! Woohoo! ✈️

So yep, that’s a good sum of my year! Lots of great new things happening, lots of positive change – I feel pretty good about it!

So what’s in store for next year? Honestly – I’m not sure! I have a few things to look forward to – Bra-Making in January, another Pants Making Intensive in March, a Weekend Sewing Retreat in September, and my best friend & I are going to Peru in June! So there are definitely some exciting things in the plans :) Other than that – I dunno! One thing I know I don’t want to do is bog this blog down with a lot of deadlines and schedules and promotional things. One big mistake I made last year was to treat my blog like it was a job – which is kind of bizarre because it certainly doesn’t pay like a job! :) As a result, all the deadlines and scheduling and writing posts for other people’s businesses really made maintaining this blog the opposite of fun. I don’t like that, and I don’t see why I should have to subject myself to something that isn’t really benefiting me positively (not the blogging part, obviously, but driving myself crazy trying to have an 8AM Monday posting of a book review, you know?). Pattern testing is also losing it’s luster because it’s a lot of work that you’re basically doing as an unpaid favor – which, I’m not opposed to helping my friends, but I don’t want to do it for people I don’t know because my time is very precious to me. It’s hard because I fall into these habits and I can get a little obsessive about how I do things – and that includes blogging – but I’m giving myself permission to let go and relax a little. I’m going to keep blogging – and I might even keep up with a regular schedule, if that’s how it works out – but I’m not going to let this blog govern such a large part of my life anymore. When you have to skip hanging out with your buds in order to schedule a post for a no-profit blog, that’s crossing a line for me.

With that being said, this blog has really gone through some wonderful growth over the past year. I’m continually surprised at just how many people keep up with this shit, and I love and appreciate every single one of you. The comments I get on my posts are such a treasure trove of information – if you haven’t made it a point to read through them, you should! There are always so many tips and input and a lot of times, the comments are better than the posts themselves :) Thank you for all your wonderful emails & comments, and thanks for making my blog into what it is! Y’all are the best!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a wonderful next 12 months! I want to really focus on my bra making, and I want to work on projects that require a little more time to complete (like… more coats! Yay!). I loved learning watercolor painting this year, and I want to explore more of that next year. I do want to travel more – just depends on how my budget works with that :) I want to continue spending tons of time with people who are important to me, and I want to have great experiences :)

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Here’s to a bright and beautiful 2015!

Completed: The Bruyère Top

29 Dec

Now that’s one plaid flannel top that definitely doesn’t look like something a man would wear, amirite.

Deer & Doe Bruyere

This is the Bruyère top from Deer & Doe. I’ve actually had this pattern for quite a while – I bought it immediately after it’s release. I LOVE the cute and feminine twist it gives to a plain button down, and I knew it’d be beautiful in a plaid flannel. I’ve been sitting on it for this long because I haven’t been able to find the right plaid flannel – either the plaid was unbalanced (get out of my nightmare), or the colors were ugly, or the flannel was shitty. Or maybe a combination of the three. Either way, no Bruyère for me :(

Deer & Doe Bruyere

This plaid flannel actually came from the same place that the pattern did – aaaaaall the way from Paris, France! Yup! It was the first piece of fabric I bought during my shopping spree, from Les étoffes du Sentier. The shop had a 3 meter minimum, but it was only 5€ a meter and I figured 3 is a safe number for a button up, so I went with it. It’s a nice soft cotton plaid flannel and I like how the colors are so un-girly, especially with this pattern. And, bonus – even after plaid-matching, I have leftovers to make something else with! Yes!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

First, though, check out those matched side seams! Ahhh yeah!!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

And the other side!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

And the back!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Hi!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Seriously, though, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out (if you couldn’t tell :P ). I cut the size 34, and the only fitting change I made was to remove a little bit of length from the peplum and sleeves, because I am so short. Other than that, it fits pretty well! I’m surprised at much much I like the collar – I was afraid it would look flat and dumb, but the flannel gives it some lovely body.

For cutting the plaid, I cut on the single layer and cut the waistbands, cuffs, placket and back yoke on the bias. Since the bias tends to stretch, I also cut my second yoke on the straight grain, as well as a second set of waistbands. Further, I interfaced my waistbands (to be really sure they don’t stretch out), as well as the cuffs, collar, and placket. I’m not sure why these aren’t included in the instructions, but my guess is to keep the overall look of the shirt very soft and unstructured. Which is fine, but, I do think anything that has a button will need a little extra help from interfacing. I’d definitely make some test button holes before you commit, at any rate!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

I spent a really long time trying to decide how to order the construction steps for this. The instructions are fine as they are – the process for attaching the placket/collar/facing is very clever (and clean!) and it works. However, I’m a diehard who wanted flat felled seams. In addition – I wasn’t 100% on the fit of the side seams, and I wanted to sew that last so I could tweak it after attaching the placket (when sewing flat felled shirt seams, once generally attaches the sleeves before sewing the side seams. Sewing a flat felled seam in the round just sounds like a painful thing I don’t want to do). Because of how the shirt is assembled per the instructions, you can’t really switch them out – you have to have the hem sewn to add the placket, but the side seams need to be sewn to add the hem. I know this sounds really vague and probably doesn’t make sense, but if you look at the instructions for this shirt vs ones for, say, the Negroni, it will. Anyway, this is what I ended up doing:
– I left the side seams open and sewed about 2″ of the shirt hem by the placket
– Followed the instructions for adding the collar, placket and facing
– Attached the sleeves with flat-felled seams
– Sewed the side seams with flat-felled seams
– Finished the remainder of the hem

That worked out great! My shirt is finished with flat-felled seams and it looks beaaaaaauuuutiful on the inside as well as the out :D

Deer & Doe Bruyere

What else? Well, I added PEARL SNAPS. God, I love those things – nothing like being able to Hulk out of our clothes at the end of the day amirite. I feel like the very top needs a pearl snap (it’s not marked on the pattern), however, I couldn’t get the prongs through all the layers so no pearl snap there!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Here’s the inside. I finished the edge of my facing with pinking shears – I think anything else would show a ridge on the right side. Of course, I probably should have first sewed a line of stitching before pinking, because it’s already fraying like crazy, but whatev.

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Deer & Doe Bruyere

I guess that’s it! Glad I finally got this finished – plaid flannel shirt of my dreamssss ♥

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Just a couple days left until the end of the year – aiee!

Completed: I Knit Socks!

24 Dec

I cannot believe it’s been 3 years since I learned how to knit! Where has time gone?

When I was first starting my journey into knitting, there were really only two things I was interested in making – sweaters and socks. The sweaters, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, have not been a problem – as of last count, I’m working on #18 (yes! I looveeee sweaters!). Socks, on the other hand, have remained a bit of a mystery to me. I made it worse by trying to be picky about every pattern I considered – I wanted to learn to knit socks on Magic Loop, I wanted to do two at a time, I wanted the yarn to be fingering weight, etc etc. I am pretty sure it was less that I wanted a ‘specific pattern’ to make my first pair of socks with, and more that I just wanted some more excuses to allow me to push everything to the backburner! Needless to say, I haven’t knit a pair of socks – or even attempted to knit a pair of socks – since I first started my Journey of the Knit ‘way back in 2011.

Dancetty Socks

UNTIL NOW HEH HEH HEH.

Dancetty Socks

Sorry about the pictures! It’s surprisingly hard to take photos of your own socks – who woulda thought? As you can see, my reupholstered chairs are well used and loved, and, yes, that is a ladder with a plant on it under an American flag in the background (results of some drunken “how hipster can we make this wall?” night. I always laugh when I see the Hipster Wall. It stays.).

Anyway – socks! My first pair, go ahead and feast your eyes!!

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Every time I think about how ridiculous this must have looked to anyone who might have happened to peer in my window (Truth: We don’t close our curtains. At least not in the dining room, where this took place), it makes me laugh more. Oh, the things I do for blog photos.

Dancetty Socks

Imma try to keep this short and sweet, because it’s Christmas Eve, after all (sorry to give y’all socks for Christmas! Am I the worst ever or what?!). The pattern is Dancetty by Abbey Morris (keep reading for a coupon code!), and I used one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for both of them (with tons leftover). I’m just going to be totally straight and upfront with y’all – I ultimately chose this as my first sock pattern because Abbey offered it to me in exchange for a review. Otherwise, without that gentle push, I might still be spiraling down the endless turmoil of “I don’t know what sock pattern to knit fiiiiiiirst!!” Abbey assured me that, with my knitting experience (17 sweaters, man!), I would find these easy enough for a first time. The ladies at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn, were confident I’d have these finished in a week. In reality, these took me two months. One month per sock. Ha!

Dancetty Socks

I knit these socks with size 0 DPNs (double pointed needles) – the 0 was based on my gauge swatch, and the DPNs are how the pattern is written. I actually really appreciated the way the pattern was written, because it kind of dumbed things down enough to where I could easily follow the instructions (pretty much blindly on my first sock, ahaha) and still get a good result. Each section tells you how many stitches to have on each needle, and there are separate lace patterns to follow based on what part of the sock you’re knitting. Apart from the whole lace sock thing, this was a somewhat mindless knit. The lacework… woof. That’s where things got interesting (and why these took me so dang long!). On at least the first sock, I think I unknit every other row, because I kept making so many mistakes. I’ve never been one to think lacework was super difficult, but something about it being in sock form was just ruining my brain (that, and I was trying to do this while watching TV and/or drinking. Whoops?). That being said, I was really happy to turn the heel – I’ve always heard that turning the heel is magical, and it kind of is!

Sock #2 took about the same amount of time as sock #1, but the process was much smoother. Since I already knew what I was getting into, I didn’t make as many mistakes – but I did take a lot of breaks, which was why this was so slow-going! I know that Second Sock Syndrome is a real thing for sock knitters, but for me, it was nice to be able to try again the second time around and make improvements when possible.

When I finished both socks, they were initially a little short in the foot. An overnight wet block (I used sock blockers, mostly because I wanted to buy something new, but you could just block them like a sweater too I guess, and pin the heck out of them) solved that problem. I’m also wondering about the cuff – see how it’s scrunching down? How can I get it to stay up? (A knitter’s lament) Should I thread thin elastic through the edge like I do with my hats?

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Anyway, this was a fun pattern to knit up! If you can do simple lacework, short rows, and knit in the round – you can knit socks. It’s really not much different than knitting a sweater (although it might take as long! Oh no, wait, that’s just me :P haha!). Next up, I want to try knitting socks with Magic Loop – while I didn’t think the DPNs were fiddly to knit with, it was hell on earth trying to transport the damn things. They kept slipping out of my stitches and wreaking havoc on everything, no matter how I tried to store my WIP. Also, note to self: don’t buy bamboo DPNs, you will snap those sticks like the toothpicks they are. Good way to feel like a Hulk Woman, though.

Next sock pattern in my knitting queue? Good question! I’ve had my eye on these Little Cable Knee Highs (have you seen Michelle‘s? Oh my god, Becky.), except, ugh, the DPNs again. Any good suggestions for fingering-weight socks knit on circular needles?

Want to try Dancetty yourself? Use the code “Lladybird” to receive 50% off any pattern from Abbey Morris Designs Ravelry Shop. This code is good through January 31, 2015! Thank you so much, Abbey!

Dancetty Socks

That’s all for now! Ravelry notes are here. I hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely end to your December! I’m just now awakening from the throes of my DEATHBED (first time feeling human since Sunday night what up y’all), and I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family, the boyfriend, and my handknit socks. Yay!

Disclaimer: Dancetty was provided to me, free of charge, from Abbey Morris Designs, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. And I am very happy to finally have a pair of a hand-knit socks in my arsenal. Christmas miracles really do happen.

Completed: My Perfect Tshirt

18 Dec

One neverending sewing quest of mine (that is admittedly quite stupid, to be honest) is the lifelong search of my perfect tshirt fit. Nice and fitted with good scoop neck – you’d think this would be easy to find, but nooo. I haven’t really found a tshirt pattern that was 100% exactly what I wanted, through and through. There have been plenty of “almosts” – you know the kind, you wear them around for a day, perform a little machine surgery in the evening, and after a couple of tweaks, they’re pretty spot-on. Those are nice. Sometimes, though, you want it to be right the first time. And therein lies my problem.

Heart Sweater

I do love the Renfrew pattern. Loooove it! It’s a really really good beginner tshirt pattern, and I love all the options it comes with. My only complaints are that it’s a bit too loose for my tastes (I think you guys have figured out by now that I prefer my clothing to be painted on), and I feel like the scoop neck sits a little too high. As far as super basic tshirt patterns go – that’s about the only option I’ve tried. Other patterns (Plantain, Briar, SJ, Coco, Bronte, etc etc) are lovely, but they’re a bit more specialized than what I’m going for (aka, PLAIN. Plain tshirt!). Nettie was real close, but it’s just a smidge too tight (I mean, that makes sense – it’s a bodysuit ffs) and I couldn’t get the shoulders and back to work with my body, no matter how much I tweaked them.

The really stupid part about this is that once I started my ~Tshirt quest~, it got harder and harder (or I got pickier and pickier). I admit, I even tried some RTW shirts to see if maybe I should just suck it up and buy them from now on – but those are even worse, not to mention most of them require some kind of tweaking (taking in the side seams, cutting off length, shoulder seams in the wrong spot, *something*). Which, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay $30 for a fucking tshirt that I have to then ALTER. That’s just dumb. So I kept looking for a pattern, kept not finding exactly what I wanted.

Heart Sweater

Soooo I *made* my own pattern. Before you get too excited – I didn’t draft this thing (I don’t want to say I’ll never draft a pattern ever, because I know things change – but, right now, I don’t ever want to draft patterns. Nope.). It’s a Frankenpattern that combines my favorite elements of my favorite patterns, and is now my favorite tshirt pattern. Yay for Frankenpatterns!

To make this baby up, I started with the Lady Skater bodice, because I really love the way it fits. I then compared the neckline to the one on the Nettie bodysuit, because, seriously, Nettie has the best neckline options. This resulted in me scooping the front neckline of the traced pattern just a bit more, to get that nice deep scoop (the kind of scoop that would show cleavage, if I still had cleavage to show off. Wah, I miss my boobs!). I kept the back neckline high, like a normal tshirt. I measured the length of the Lady Skater against the length of the Renfrew and some of my favorite finished tshirts, then adjusted accordingly (if you’re curious – I added the length via relatively straight line, aka, did not flare out into an hourglass shape. I don’t wear my shirt hems around my hips, so having the extra room there just looks silly. A straight cut looks better on me). Finally, I traced off the sleeves and bindings for the Lady Skater – this isn’t completely necessary, but I’ve learned that when I steal my pattern pieces from the envelope, sometimes they don’t make it back. It’s easier to just give the Frankenpattern it’s own pieces so I don’t end up digging and hunting later down the line, you know?

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

I think the resulting shirt is pretty close to being perfect for me! I probably need to redraw that neck curve – it looks a little square – and maybe add one more inch of length. The length here is fine-ish; I hemmed it that long so it would work with the skirt I’m wearing. But I sort of hate how it looks with pants. Or maybe I should just make higher-waisted pants? That would totally be easier, right?

Heart Sweater

Isn’t this fabric so fun? It reminds me of some of the ridiculous shit I wore in my early 20s – lots of cutesy patterns, hoodies, and hearts (I used to buy a lot of my clothes on the sales rack after Valentines Day and/or Halloween, because those are the best prints haha). I found it on the remnants rack at one of my local fabric shops, Textile Fabrics. There was a yard and a half waiting for me, and the price was something crazy good (I think it was around $11? Yay for the remnant rack! Too bad the normal prices at Textile aren’t that awesome :P haha). It’s acrylic, which is kind of lame and not at all warm (and honestly doesn’t wear toooo well – it’s already starting to pill a little), but at least I can throw it in the washing machine and not worry about wool shrinkage! It’s also fine for layering, as evidenced by my silk georgette button up underneath.

Oh yeah, I should add – if this outfit looks eerily similar, that’s because I took these photos on the same day I took the photos for my last blog post. HAHA. Whatever, my hair looked good that day and I had to take advantage of that.

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

Here it is without the under layer. I used a black rib knit for the neckband and cuffs (originally from Mood Fabrics, but it appears to be sold out on their website now), and assembled everything on my serger. The hem is finished with a twin needle. That’s it! Pretty sure this whole thing from start to finish – once I made the pattern, that is – took less than an hour to make.

Heart Sweater

Anyway, it’s nice to have a go-to pattern now that I know I can whip up and not have to fiddle with fitting! I think this particular pattern could use a couple more small tweaks, but it’s definitely on it’s way :) I’ve already made a few lightweight undershirts with it, and those are great in this cold because they are fitted enough to keep the heat around my body where it belongs.

What about you? Do you have a perfect-fitting tshirt pattern (either one I’ve mentioned that just ~does it~ for you, or maybe you have a new love that you want to introduce me to!)? Have you ever Frankenpatterned something to suit your needs, or are you the sort of lucky person who gets their TNT from a purchased pattern? Are you sick of me talking about tshirts? Man, I love tshirts.

deal with it

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