Tag Archives: completed

Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie :)

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline :)

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

Completed: Little Cable Knee Highs

13 Nov

Ugh. I know, I know – two sock posts in a row. I hate to do this to y’all because I know it’s boring AF for the non-knitters (and to be honest, I’m almost borderline boring myself at this point haha), but this is what I got as far as photos! I’ve been back for a couple of days, but shit’s been hectic and I haven’t had time to fix my hair and stand in front of a camera. So, you get socks! Merry Christmas!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Anyway, the truth is – even though they are socks, these totally aren’t boring because I made them and I endlessly entertain myself. So there’s that! :)

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

The pattern here is Little Cable Knee Highs, which is a free pattern from Purl Soho. Hey, yo, my knitters – who else looooves the Purl Bee? Favorite online knitting tutorials, hands-down. When I’m looking up a new technique – not just for knitting, but with anything, really – I find that I can’t really follow a video. I prefer a well-photographed tutorial with lots of words! In my experience, Purl Soho has some of the best – I especially love (and revisit, and revisit, and revisit) the ones for Kitchener Stitch and short rows. I find the new layout of the website really hard to navigate, btw, but that ain’t nothing Dr. Google can’t work around.

Anyway, Purl Soho has lots of beautiful, *free* patterns, and these Little Cable Knee Highs are pretty cute! I first saw the pattern when Michelle made a pair, and I decided that I needed a pair as well. Never mind that we are talking TALL-ASS socks knit in FINGERING WEIGHT yarn. Spoiler alert: these things took foreeeeever to finish.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

I started these waaay back when I left for Peru in June, 6/4/15 to be exact. I cast on the first sock while waiting at the airport. I knew I wanted to bring a knitting project with me while we were traveling, but since I was just packing a carry-on (a backpack carry-on, nonetheless – for two weeks of travel! Whyyy), I didn’t have a lot of room for a big project. Socks seemed like a great idea because they are so tiny, and knee-high socks would keep me entertained for a really, really long time. So I took my sock project to Peru, where they were knitted all over Lima and Iquitos – even in the rainforest! These socks are so cultured now.

Still, two weeks later – I’d finished about half a foot. Then I put the entire project on hold in order to finish my Vianne project, since that one had a deadline. Once I picked them back up again, it was an endless circle of knitting and tiny cables until I finally finished back in September – just in time to wear them while I was in Portland, Maine! So, again – traveling socks!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Length of time aside, the project itself was fairly easy and mindless. These socks are knit toe-up, and the pattern is written for DPNs. I followed the DPN instructions for the foot, but once I got to the leg I switched to circulars for Magic Loop, which made things soooo much easier and faster. The little cable is really fun to knit and breaks up the monotony of knitting endless circles. Knitting 5″ of ribbing was not very fun, but I managed. I used a Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off for the BO, which ended up being a little too stretchy and I think doesn’t look as good. It doesn’t bother me enough to rip out and re-knit, though, but I did keep that in mind for the second sock. I also did a poor job with knitting the heel on the first sock, so it’s kind of sloppy – but again, I was able to do a better job on the second sock. That’s one good thing about having two socks to knit; it gives you a chance to improve the second go!

This was my first toe-up sock project, and I don’t think I like it very much – joining 8 stitches in the round is really, really hard! Those stitches are left live and grafted together after you finish the sock, which I somehow managed to mess up on my first sock – and as a result, there’s a strange little bump at the toe (I don’t even remember how I messed it up. I think I dropped a couple stitches and then tried to pick them up and just created a disaster. My knitting group meets at a bar, and while I probably should not drink and knit – I do, and drinking makes dropped stitches ok. Right?!). I was able to mostly block it out, though, so it’s no thing! For the second top, I grafted the toe closed as soon as I had enough knitted yardage to grab onto, which worked out quite well and meant that I was finished when it came time to bind off.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

I bought the yarn at my local yarn store, Ewe & Company, in Kingston Springs TN. It’s Dream in Color Everlasting Sock Yarn and it was soooo nice to knit. I think the color is a bit too variegated for cables, so they don’t show up that great, but I’m ok with that because I think the socks turned out lovely regardless! This yarn was a major splurge for me – I needed 2 skeins, and they were $25/skein. So yeah, a pretty expensive pair of socks! It was part birthday gift to myself (don’t you buy yourself birthday gifts? Because you should, it’s the best), but I don’t think I’ll spend $50 on another pair of socks anytime soon hahaha.

That being said – the amount of money I dropped on these socks did make me more inclined to actually finish them, rather than let them sit in UFO purgatory once I started to get bored with how long they were taking, especially when I got to the second sock. I always consider my entertainment part of the price of anything I make as well (since I’m not spending that money going to, say, a movie or the bar. Bars other than knitting night, I mean :B), which I think is important. For me, sewing and knitting is just as much as entertaining/relaxing hobby as it is a way to clothe myself, so that is part of my consideration when it comes to my budget.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

When it comes to buying the materials for these sorts of projects, I try not to cheap out too much. For ME (and I’m only speaking for myself – I know that budgets and the like can be a very sensitive subject for people, so I’m not trying to preach at anyone here!), I value quality over quantity. Rather than buy a bunch of cheap yarn and fabric for a dozen projects, I’d rather spend that whole wad on ONE really nice project. I know I’m going to value the time I spend working on the project, and I’m going to really put my best effort in with fit and ripping out mistakes. With cheaper materials, it’s easy for me to give up and get sloppy since shit was so inexpensive to begin with. But you better believe – if I’m spending $30 a yard on a nice piece of fabric or $80+ on a single sweater, I’m going to really do my best work so that I get my money’s worth out of it. Not to mention, the enjoyment I get from working with really nice materials! I’ve noticed that a lot of people who start with really cheap yarn or fabric are more likely to abandon a project (or leave mistakes because they don’t want to take the time to fix it) before it’s finished, because they didn’t invest a lot of money into it. Even if the materials were super cheap to begin with, that can add up over time!

This is not to say that the most expensive projects are always destined to be the best ones, or that it’s impossible to make something nice with cheaper materials. I know that budgets differ wildly, and while $20 might seem inexpensive to me, that might be a lot for someone else! But I do think there’s some value in spending as much as your budget can comfortably afford (whether it’s $10, $20, or $100 – enough that you have to really think about what you’re spending that money on, enough to make you sweat just a little bit) for a single project, and then giving that project your best effort so that you really get your money’s worth out of the end result. It makes you more conscious of what you’re buying, which means spending less in the long run. Especially at the rate that I plow through my projects – this makes me slow down and appreciate what I’m doing. All good things, in my book!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Anyway, I know everyone has a different perspective when it comes to budgeting for your crafts, and that’s just mine! I’d love to hear yours! Do you choose quality or quantity when you’re shopping for yarn or fabric? Does a more expensive material make you super careful with what you’re making, or do you get paralyzed at the thought of using it? Do you value inexpensive materials or not? You know my thoughts, now tell me yours!

Completed: Vanilla Latte Socks // +My sewing retreat at AGOS

2 Nov

I am on a sock ROLL these days, you guys! Trying to up my sock drawer game before the cold weather really sets in – there’s nothing like a cozy pair of hand-knit socks to keep your feet warm! Not to mention, socks are THE BEST travel knitting project. I love that the project is small enough to fit in a Bento Bag (my Bento Bag is actually homemade and pretty terrible looking, but this is the one I want and HINT HINT MOM CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT HINT ::ahem::) so I can carry it around in my purse for whenever the maker’s urge strikes. Plus, I don’t need to carry several skeins of yarn to complete the project – or lug around a huge half-finished piece (as is with the case of a sweater). AND, sock yarn makes a great travel souvenir. Done and done.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m going to skip out of order and share my most recent sock project first (oh yes, there’s an unblogged sock project before this one hahaha) because I also want to talk about the trip I took while I was working on sock #1 from this pair! Oh yes, these are totally my travel socks.

But first, I will talk about these socks a little bit more! The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks, which is a free pattern on Ravelry and makes for a simple top-down sock, knit in sock weight yarn. This is one of those projects that has thousands of makes, and for good reason – it’s easy, it’s straight forward, and it makes a really nice pair of socks. I like that the pattern includes different options for knitting the heel flap and finishing the toe. It was a GREAT travel project, as it didn’t require a lot of my attention, but it was interesting enough to knit so that it didn’t get boring.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

For my socks, I knit the size small (I wear a 6.5 shoe) and followed the instructions for the Eye of Partridge heel flap and the rounded wedge toe. I knit the pattern via Magic Loop on circular needles, as I reeeeeally don’t like to travel with DPNS because my stitches always fall off!(even with the little rubber stoppers. Or they poke through the stoppers and stab me through my bag! This happened in Peru with the aforementioned Previous Pair of Socks haha) Changing the pattern to incorporate Magic Loop was as easy as just switching the needles. Seriously. Really easy. Although I would recommend if this is your first pair of socks, follow the instructions exactly as written before you start changing needle type, as patterns written for DPNs will have you put a certain number of stitches on each needle, which can get confusing if you’re a n00b. Once you figure out the anatomy of the sock, though, changing things up is a breeze.

I wanted to try self-striping yarn for this pair, and HOLY SHIT I AM INFATUATED. For those of y’all who don’t know what the deal with self-striping yarn is – those stripes are all the result of the way the yarn was dyed. I didn’t have to switch yarn colors or weave in ends or anything. Self-striping yarn is AWESOME, you guys!! Instant striped socks, wheee!! :D And this particular yarn is pretty cool, too – this is Jawool Color Superwash by Lang Yarns, which I’ve never heard of, but my local yarn store totally sold me on it. It comes with a little spool of reinforcement yarn, which you can hold double with your regular yarn to reinforce the toes and heels (or darn future holes with). I reinforced the toes, but not the heels – only because I forgot to when I was knitting the heels :) There are tons of color options for the stripes, but I really loved the unusual color combination of this one. Since it’s fingering weight yarn, I knit the socks with size 0 needles.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I found the pattern really enjoyable to knit, and waiting for the next stripe color to appear was way more entertaining than I could have imagined. I started this pair en route to Portland, Maine, where I had a sewing retreat a little over a month ago. I finished the first sock exactly one week later, while I was waiting in the airport to fly home. The second sock took a couple of weeks to finish – mostly during weekly knitting group meetings, or watching TV with Landon. Not a lot of memories attached to that second sock, ha!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I did want to talk a little bit about that trip, because it was a really wonderful week! As I mentioned, I had a Sewing Retreat held at A Gathering of Stitches (or AGOS, as we call it :) ), which is located in beautiful Portland, Maine. Y’all. I was warned by some people that I’d really like Portland, but I had NO IDEA how much I was going to fall in love with that city! Portland is absolutely amazing – it’s a beautiful town with cool little shops (like an entire shop dedicated to SOCKS, ahh!) and places to eat, there’s a big emphasis on local food and culture, and the place is so small that you can really just walk to anywhere you need. So many cool old New England houses, so many cool businesses, so much amazing coffee (my very favorite was from Tandem Coffee, which of course I brought a bag home and I’ve been trying to drink it as slooowly as possible. It’s the weirdest, yet most amazing coffee I’ve ever tasted. Trust.). If it wasn’t for the awful winters, I would move to Portland in a heartbeat. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t dream about it while I was there. I had my house picked out and everything hahaha.

agos2

So, the retreat was a pretty loose, relaxing 4 day weekend of sewing. I had 11 awesome women who showed up at the studio every morning, and each had their own individual project to work on. AGOS Studios was the perfect spot to have this – it’s a large space, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out. There were cutting tables, multiple irons (including, of course, a gravity feed iron – which I think most everyone was planning on buying one after the week was over haha! Gravity feed irons are AWESOME!), sergers and sewing machines (everyone had their own machine, whether they brought one or borrowed from the studio). Each student was given a little goody bag of small sewing supplies and notions – stuff like seam gauges and tape measures and my favorite Chaco Liner and candy. It was a really good goody bag haha. Samantha (the owner of AGOS) also had a selection of additional notions and fabric and supplies (such as thread and interfacing) on hand in case anyone needed to buy last-minute for their project.

We were provided lunch every day – and it was always something amazing and local, with dessert included. The food was REALLY REALLY good!! We had a “get to know each other and eat pizza” night the evening before the weekend officially started, which was a great way to get to know all the people who showed up, and learn a bit about each other. And we had a multiple-course, incredible farm-to-table dinner at The Well at Jordan’s Farm on the last night. I still have dreams about that meal, tbh.

agos3

All the students who signed up for the retreat were just amazing. There was a huge variety of projects and skill levels – from beginners to people who have been sewing for 40+ years, learning basic construction, tailoring, fitting, and even making jeans (I had 2 students who made Ginger jeans! And another who made some awesome red pants). I wasn’t sure how exactly the weekend would work out, since there was only 1 of me to help 11 people, but it ended up working really well! Everyone was fairly self-sufficient, and while I certainly stayed busy, there was never really a long wait if anyone had a question. People were also keen to help each other out, which is my favorite part because I love eavesdropping in on that shit and learning a thing or two myself! We had one woman at the retreat who wasn’t a student, but just there to check things out the first couple of days – her name is Adele, and she rents studio space at AGOS and is a master at bridal alterations (or, rather, a master at every sewing project she puts her hands on. Adele is amazing!). Adele actually made me a custom sloper; she wants to teach a class on this technique that she perfected and she needed a body model. The accuracy of that sloper was incredible – I think the only fitting we did needed a small change to the shoulder, and that was it. Plus, she drafted it up in about 20 minutes, on less than a dozen measurements (it’s my understanding that body slopers usually need something like 40 measurements). Pretty neat stuff! Plus, I have a sloper to play around with now, yay! :D

I had such an amazing time at the retreat – hanging out with and getting to know all the awesome people who signed up, and falling in love with Portland! Samantha was really great to work with, we got along right off the bat and she was so helpful with any Portland-related questions I had. Plus, she put together this entire retreat on her own – from the space, to the catering, to booking my AirBNB for me (which was ADORABLE, btw!). I just had to show up on time haha. I’m a shitty planner, so this was perfect for me. While I like doing project-based classes, I really thought the loose layout of this retreat worked out really well, since everyone got to work on projects that they were actually excited about. Plus, it was really fun to go from talking about finishing knits, to hammering in jeans rivets, to figuring out the kinks in a FBA. That might sound stressful to some teachers, but I was in heaven!

agos1

Post-retreat, I took a Megabus up to Boston and spent a couple of days there before flying home (at that airport was where I finished my first sock haha). That was more of a personal trip than anything, so I’m not going to go into detail about everything I did there. I did, however, spend my days with Jenny, where I saw the Appleton Dress pattern right before it was released! And I had Shabu Shabu with a bunch of awesome Boston sewing bloggers! And I had drinks with Norma and we talked about bras! And I got to go shopping at Grey’s Fabric and Gather Here! And I saw robots at the MIT Museum! So yeah, Boston was great!

So yeah, good times in September! Like I said, I reallllly loved Portland, and I am dying to go back! Samantha and I have talked about doing another retreat for 2016, and hopefully we’ll be able to work something out. I really loved doing the bring-your-own-project style that we had going on, and I’m certainly keen to do more. If you’d like to read more about the retreat and see more photos, Sam has a post up on the AGOS Blog about her experience. And if you know of any other places where I should be stretching my feelers about one of these sorts of retreats in 2016 – holler! I’d love to travel more for this sort of class next year, I’m just not sure where to start asking!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m actually headed back out this week for another sewing class – the Pants Making Intensive at Workroom Social! YAY!! I am really excited to see the new space that Jennifer has, and super excited to get to making some pants! Speaking of which, I think we have one more space open in that class – so if you’re a last-minute kinda person and were thinking about signing up, go check it out :) In the meantime, I will see y’all next week!

Completed: Crazy Aztec Waver Jacket

28 Oct

Well, my winter jacket is ready for this year! Guess I can cross that one off the list!

Papercut Waver Jacket

Before we get too deep into this post, I have to warn you – I took a LOT of photos of this jacket. It’s a big project and one that I’m especially proud of. I am not even sorry that you’ll have to look at like 40 pictures of it now. Yep.

Papercut Waver Jacket

As I mentioned in my Fall/Winter sewing plans, I’ve been collecting all the bits and pieces to make this jacket for a couple of months now (PROTIP: Making a coat can get expensive when you start buying all the crap that goes into it, but you can make the cost hurt a lot less by buying everything in phases :) HAHA). I’m pretty set on the heavy winter coat front – my Vogue coat is still serving me well nearly 2 years later, and the Ralph Rucci knock-off is a wonderful piece to wear when I’m dressed up. My wardrobe does have a small gap in lightweight jackets – my black and gold bomber jacket, while awesome, is a bit short to really be cozy, and my orange Minoru jacket is really better suited for the super mild spring temperatures as it’s really not that warm (it’s just cotton with a poly lining, after all)! What I needed was a longer jacket, preferably one with a hood. I always miss having a hood.

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

The Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket was my pattern choice – it’s a really cool, casual style and I liked that it included a hood, as well as the waist-cinching drawstring. This pattern is pretty similar to the Sewaholic Minoru, although without all the additional gathering nor the hood-stashing wide collar. I think the style of the Minoru looks pretty good on me, so I knew the Waver would as well. I also found an eerily similar replica (with set-in sleeves rather than raglan) at the GAP a few months ago, so I was able to try it on and see what I thought before I started making muslins. I love it when things work out that way!

I cut the size XS, which is my usual size with Papercut. I like that the jacket has some shape, but there’s still enough room in there for me to pile a sweater on underneath (which is about the max layer of clothing I’d have on if the weather was appropriate for a jacket like this!). My muslin revealed that I didn’t need to make any fitting changes, other than shorten the sleeves about 1cm (ooh, look at me, sounding all international and shit).

Papercut Waver Jacket

Of course, the fabric really makes the jacket! This cool navy Aztec virgin wool is from Mood Fabrics, and I’ve had a big piece squirreled away in my stash for months. It’s a pretty lightweight wool, which is perfect for my needs, and suitable for this pattern. I love all the colors in the print! Trying to cut those pattern pieces to match all the bold, colorful lines was a little bit of a struggle, but I made it work. I lined the jacket with English blue silk charmeuse (the exact one that I used appears to be sold out at this point, sorry!). I really did agonize for a long time over what color lining to include – the fun side of me loves contrast linings, but the boring side of me thinks it makes things look a little cheap (except that red lining in my plaid Vogue coat; I have no regrets about that one!). I actually like a more subdued lining, and prefer the contrast in the form of texture, not color. So I went with English blue, which perfectly matches the navy in the wool.

I didn’t do a lot of crazy tailoring with this coat – it was actually a fairly simple project. I did add a back stay (made of medium-weight muslin and using this tutorial from Sewaholic) to the back to keep it from stretching out, and I catch-stitched all the wool seam allowances down so that they’d stay flat with wear (similar to this, but without any of that horsehair interfacing. This is a casual coat that doesn’t need heavy tailoring!). There’s no padstitching in this project, or bound button holes. While I LOVE big projects with lots of interior details, not every project has to be couture-worthy. Especially if it’s a simple jacket.

Papercut Waver Jacket

ha! Bet you didn’t notice those big patch pockets, did you? I cut those so they are hidden in plain sight right on the front of the coat. Good thing I have radar fingers, otherwise I’d never be able to find them when my hands get cold.

Papercut Waver Jacket

I also added inseam pockets (not included in the pattern, but as easy as stealing a pocket piece from another pattern and popping it into the side seams as you are sewing it up!), sewn in silk charmeuse, along the side seams. The wind blowing in my hair for this photo is an added bonus, and you are welcome for that.

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

The hood was a big selling point for this pattern! I love jackets with hoods, but I never really come across jacket patterns with hoods that I actually like. It’s nice to have a hood for rain and light snow, so I’m glad this pattern has a hood! It’s a nice 3 piece hood, too, so it stays on your head without squishing it, and stays put (and it’s big enough to cover my head even when my hair is pulled up in a bun!). The pattern calls for lining the hood with self lining (aka the jacket fabric), but I was afraid that wool would give me weird hat head, so I lined the hood with more silk charmeuse instead. I figured, they make pillowcases out of silk, so hood lining can’t be too far off… right?

As you can see, I also added faux fur around the hood. Yeehaw! I love this detail in coats, and I was keen to add it to this coat as well. This black and white faux fur from Mood is really nice stuff – it’s super soft and almost feels like real fur. It’s certainly way better quality than any other faux fur I’ve sewn. This doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to sew – I still had fur flying everywhere as I cut it, etc etc – but the payoff is worth it!

What you can’t see in these photos is that the fur is actually removable – just in case I change my mind and want it off, it won’t be difficult to remove it (I doubt that will happen, but I like having options!). I sewed the fur trim the same way you’d make a fur collar, loosely following this tutorial from Casey, although I did not add any interfacing as my fur has a pretty heavy backing as-is.

Papercut Waver Jacket

I sewed black twill tape around the edges and then folded it to the inside, catch-stitching everything down securely.

Papercut Waver Jacket

Then I laid my silk charmeuse lining on top, covering all the insides and attaching the folded edge of the lining to the twill tape on the fur, using teeny hand stitches. The fur trim was then attached to the perimeter of the hood, using invisible hand stitches. I briefly considered using snaps or buttons+loops, but decided that I didn’t want anything to show when the fur was removed. The stitches will be easy to pull out if I need to take the fur off, but you can’t see them when the fur is on, either. You can see what the jacket looks like without the fur here, if you’re interested!

Papercut Waver Jacket

Here’s that blue lining! You can see another change I made to the jacket – instead of using a drawstring to cinch the waist, I added wide elastic. This was mostly due to comfort – elastic isn’t constricting like a rigid draw string is – plus I think it looks better on me. I did have to change up the order of construction a bit to get this to work. First I bagged the lining as usual (per the pattern instructions). I left off the drawstring channel pattern piece and instead sewed through all the layers of the wool and lining to make a channel (similar to the construction of the Minoru), then fed the elastic through that and tacked down the ends.

Papercut Waver Jacket

I also added a little leather tab to the back of the neck, so I can hang the coat more easily (or from my finger haha).

Papercut Waver Jacket

I actually like this way this coat looks unbuttoned, which is a first for me!

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

I do wish that I had paid more attention to my pattern-matching on the front of the coat, so that the design would continue uninterrupted. Oh well! It still turned out pretty cool despite that mishap, and there are triangles down the center front instead. I’m ok with that!

Now for a buttload of dressform and flat pictures:

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

The buttons are antique glass buttons that I bought at the flea market earlier this summer. Love them so much! That guy has the best buttons.

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

Papercut Waver Jacket

My favorite part!! The leather tab was an idea I took from an old American Eagle coat – I just cut a strip of heavy leather, rounded the ends, and punched holes so I could run stitches through it. And the woven label is from Wunderlabel – isn’t that the best finishing touch? I had a hard time deciding what mine should say – I wanted it to say Made in Nashville, but I don’t really live in Nashville anymore (I mean, we are close enough but I’m a huge weirdo/stickler about that sort of thing!), so The South works ;) Anyway, this was my first experience with Wunderlabel – I’ll have more of a review up in the future after I’ve used more of the labels. But in the meantime, I’m sewing them on everything!

Papercut Waver Jacket

While I certainly did not push myself to hurry and finish this project, I did wrap things up pretty quickly! I think it took about a week to get everything sewn up, after making the muslin and cutting the fabric. I’m glad I finished it, too, because I think it’ll come in handy when I’m in NYC in a couple of weeks. Hell, it’s already starting to get cold here – I will probably be able to wear it later this week! :)

Papercut Waver JacketNote: The fabric for this jacket was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network (over a period of months, I might add! :) ). Pattern was given to me as a gift. All comments on this blog post 100% mine, however!

Completed: White Graphite Sweater

20 Oct

I started this sweater back in Feburary, which gives it the title of Longest WIP Ever (for me, anyway). Not because it was complicated to knit, but rather because I put it on the backburner several times in order to work on new and shiny projects. Yep, I totally broke my own personal rule about UFOs! But I did finally complete this unfinished object, so I’d reckon that it’s all good :)

White Graphite Sweater - front

For this sweater, I used the Graphite pattern, and knitted up a size XS. Based on my gauge swatch (can you believe I’m still faithfully knitting these before starting a project?! Mostly because I told myself I would turn all those swatches into a blanket eventually. Despite all my swatches, it’s still a pretty tiny blanket haha), I went down a couple of needle sizes to an 8. The pattern has you knit the ribbing with an even smaller needle – in my case, that would be a 6 – but I didn’t do that with this sweater because I totally forgot. Oh well!

White Graphite Sweater - front

Oh, by the way – Kevin Pancho piggy is back in some of these pictures. Everyone say hi to Kevin! She’s currently in the process of invisible fence training, hence her collar. Kevin loooves rooting around in the woods a little too much (like, she disappeared for over 2 hours more than once!), so we had to take some measures to keep her safely in the yard. Training is going a lot more smoothly than it was at the beginning, but man, is that pig stubborn!

White Graphite Sweater - side

White Graphite Sweater - side

Anyway, enough about that pig! Back to my sweater!

I used Plymouth Yarn Homestead for this, purchased from my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn (actually, since I moved, I have a new local yarn store! More on that when I get around to posting projects from the stuff I’ve bought from there, though!). This yarn is 100% wool, Aran weight, and Haus of Yarn only had the natural colors. I don’t know why I gravitated to this off-white – it’s beaaaaautiful on the skein, but not really so much against my face. Ugh. Me and my visions of white sweaters, the endless mistake.

White Graphite Sweater - back

This sweater also gave me the stark realization that I need to pay more attention to suggested yarns for my patterns. I know this is a VERY obvious thing for me to admit, but I have never really given much thought to the suggested yarn, other than weight and ply. I just always stick with 100% wool, regardless of what the pattern tells me to use. Since I don’t really knit patterns that require a different fiber (for drape, or stitch definition, or what have you), this hasn’t posed a huge problem, but it does limit me. I think this sweater would look a lot better if I had used a yarn with a little more drape, like the suggested Debbie Bliss merino. Just something to keep in mind for my next sweater!

White Graphite Sweater - back

As for the pattern, I knit it exactly according to the instructions, with no further fitting adjustments. It has a nice fit, I think – form-fitting without being snug, and it skims over the body. I do think it’s a bit too long, though! It does not look bad in these pictures, but I prefer a little more of a crop with my sweaters, since I wear my pants so high-waisted (I think it looks weird to have high-waisted pants and a long sweater! Or maybe it doesn’t look weird, but it certainly feels weird!). But, the almost butt-skimming length will work in my wardrobe. I can totally wear it with leggings and pants with a lower rise.

White Graphite Sweater - front

Like I said, the pattern was super super easy. This would be an easy first sweater project – lots of endless stockinette in the round. It’s knit top-down, and you make increases for the raglan sleeves and then separate those stitches from the body. From there, you knit in an endless tube to make the cool broken rib knit pattern (which, again, SUPER easy. Just knits and purls!). After you knit the ribbing and bind off the bottom, you knit the sleeves (putting the live stitches on the needles, rather than picking up bound-off stitches as with traditional set-in sleeves). Since they are raglan, there’s no sleeve cap to knit – you just knit an endless circle. Finally, the neckline is picked up and knit with a rib pattern. Easy!

White Graphite Sweater

White Graphite Sweater

Blocking the thing (where you wash it and lay it flat to dry, pulling it into the desired shape and size) really made a difference in the finished sweater! Not only did it set the stitches and make them nice and flat/even, but it relaxed the yarn and gave it a nice drape. Where the raglan sleeve “seam” (really just a series of increases) ends, there was a poof right over my armpit when I put the sweater on. Totally not a good look. After blocking, though, that relaxed into a soft little fold, which I can live with.

Doesn’t that yarn look so delicious and swishy!? YAY.

Ok, I don’t have anything else to say about this project, so here are some pictures of me trying to make friends with Kevin. Whatever, I know y’all are just here for the pig.

KEVIN PANCHO

Holy shit, I look like I’m balding in these pictures hahahahah. I swear that’s just the flat spot I get from sleeping haha. Oh lord!

KEVIN PANCHO

I’m glad I finished this project and can finally put it to rest! While I’m not crazy about the color on me, I think I’ll like it with a colorful collared shirt underneath it :) (I did consider dyeing it, but then decided… nah. Haha!). What’s on your knitting needles these days? What’s your favorite wool sweater yarn? I’m about to cast on for my next sweater, but I’m always looking for new projects to add to the queue!

Completed: The Stacie Jean Jacket

16 Oct

Hot on the heels of my 70s denim skirt and Cone Mills Ginger jeans, I have ONE MORE denim piece to share with y’all and then I swear I’m done (well, for now anyway haha). I made a jean jacket! Skirt, pants, jacket – my dreams of wearing a full Canadian Tuxedo are finally realized :P

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

I have wanted a new jean jacket for several years now. I had a really ace one back when I was a teenager – it fit just the way I liked and the color was spot on. I covered it with patches, buttons and pyramid studs (again, I was a teenager) and wore it for nearly a decade. It even survived Hurricane Katrina – not without a few new mold-induced holes, but y’know, ~punk rock~ or whatevs. I actually still have it, but it’s pretty old, and I’m definitely not cool enough to wear it anymore. Anyway, that was the best denim jacket. Denim jacket #2, the desperate replacement, was fairly subpar and primarily bought out of necessity rather than because I actually liked it. It never fit right, and the wash is one of those weird faded green-indigos that always looks dirty. It’s gone through a couple of alterations to both size and length, which somehow made it look both better and worse at the same time. I’ve been wanting to replace it for years, but it seems like all the stuff I find in stores has a really odd fit or is pre-destroyed/ripped/faded, which I’m not a huge fan of. And while I’ve never been opposed to making one myself, I never came across a pattern for one. Well, until now, anyway!

The pattern is the Stacie Jean Jacket from Style Arc patterns. I’ve never sewn a Style Arc pattern before – although I’ve heard wonderful things about them. They’re a bit expensive to ship from Australia, and you only get one size with your pattern (and since it’s a new-to-me company, what if I get the wrong size arghh). All that being said, Style Arc now has an Etsy shop, where you can download PDFs that come in packs of 3 sizes. Praise! Not to mention, as someone who abhors taping together a bunch of pieces paper, the PDFs are pretty small and easy to manage. You can only print one size at a time (they aren’t nested), but it does make it easier to see what lines to cut and reduce the anguish of wasting a bunch of paper on sizes larger than you need.

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

ANYWAY, all that unnecessary backstory behind, I bought the 4/6/8 pattern and printed/cut the size 6, which was based on my measurements on the size chart (finished measurements aren’t given with this pattern, so that was a big ol’ element of trust right there! Well, not horribly because I did make a muslin!) I waffled a little bit before actually sewing it up – or even making a muslin – because the instructions are SO SPARSE. I don’t feel like I need a bunch of hand-holding in my sewing these days, and I rarely even look at the illustrations in an instruction book anymore, but man alive there is literally like, a paragraph, for making the whole coat. All the sentences are really brief, and there are no reminders for stuff like finishing seams or what direction to press them in. No diagrams at all, unless you count the topstitching guide on the second page. Seriously, the instructions are 3 pages long – the first page is the cover, and the last page is the topstitching guide. And half of the second page is a map of all the pattern pieces. So yeah, not a lot of hand-holding with this one! Do you ever look at a new pattern (sewing or knitting) before starting it and get overwhelmed with all the direction since it’s a bit out of context? That’s how I felt about this pattern. Woof. I knew a muslin would be totally necessary, not just for fit, but also to make sure I understood how to put the dang thing together. I was NOT about to spend my weekend ripping out topstitching.

Stacie Jean Jacket - side

It wasn’t until I was in Maine, teaching at the bomb-ass A Gathering of Stitches for my sewing retreat last month, that one of my students (appropriately named Staci ;) ) showed me her Stacie Jean jacket. It was absolutely beautiful and I was immediately inspired. She reassured me that the jacket was easy to construct, and that the sizing was accurate. So, as soon as I got home, I started on my muslin.

I’m really glad that I took the time to make a muslin, because I ended up needing to make some changes around the armscye. I tried to take photos to share in this post, but you can’t really see the fitting issue. I could certainly feel it, though! The armscye was totally the wrong size and my arm movement was severely restricted. I could barely reach in front of me, and everything pulled at the bicep. I googled around and tried to figure out how to fix this issue, but that was hard since I wasn’t really sure what was causing the problem to begin with. Finally, I just sliced the sleeve out of the arm hole and re-pinned and sewed and added fabric scraps to the holes until things started to feel right. I also compared the pattern piece to my current denim jacket (which, although I’m not happy with it as a whole, I will say at the arm holes fit really well hahaha). Look at this!

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

So, clearly, the arm holes were WAY too big for me. Once I figured this out, I was able to adjust the pattern pieces to be the correct (smaller)size for me, plus reduce the height of the sleeve cap so that it would fit the new arm hole. Using a combination of my pinned/basted/pieced muslin pieces and the existing jacket, I added in paper to raise the underarm and add more so that the arm hole didn’t cut too far away from my actual underarm. I also added about 1/4″ to the shoulder, since it seemed a bit narrow on my muslin.

Also, totally wearing my muslin in that photo. Ha!

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

I wish I could give y’all specific directions or a link to a tutorial on how I figured all this out, but it was really a matter of pinning and basting and ripping and trying things on over and over until the fit felt right. I can’t even really share photos because this was a fitting issue that was more focused on the way the garment felt, rather than how it looked. Sorry! I will say that I used this post to figure out how to reduce the sleeve cap, but the arm hole itself was pure trial and error.

While I was rooting around in pattern malarkey and destroying arm holes, I also made a few more fitting changes based on the rest of the muslin. I removed 2″ from the length of the jacket, because I liked the length of my muslin without the bottom band added. I also removed a buuuuunch of length from the sleeves – as drafted, even with the turnback, they were a good 2″ too long. However, I also wanted to add a proper cuff (the pattern has a deep sleeve hem so you can turn it back, but I wanted an actual cuff with a button and placket), so I removed another 2″ at the bottom. I drafted a simple cuff (lol “drafted,” aka I drew a rectangle on some paper) and added a little bit of width at the bottom of the sleeve hem to accommodate the placket.

After all was said and done – I made a second muslin to verify that all my changes didn’t completely ruin the pattern. Everything worked! Yay!! Finally, time to cut into some denim!

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

My denim is a piece I’ve had squirreled away in my stash for a couple of years now. I bought it at one of the big Imogene + Willie yard sales, and it’s a beautiful heavy, high-quality selvage denim. I got about 4 yards for $5 (whoop!). I tried to make jorts with it last year (that was a big ol’ fail btw), then realized I like my bottoms to have a little bit of stretch, which this denim has none of. I’ve been hanging onto this yardage for way too long considering I didn’t know what I’d do with it, but a denim jacket is a pretty perfect project for this kind of fabric. Of course, I’m used to my old jacket being so soft now, so the stiffness of this new one feels really off. I may wash it a few times to try to soften it up.

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

Muslin horrors aside, sewing this jacket was super fun! Like I’ve mentioned before again and again, I really enjoy working with denim and I love all the detail that goes into sewing jeans (or denim jackets, for that matter ;) ). It’s a good thing I like topstitching, because this jacket has a LOT of it. Fortunately, there is a topstitching guide included in the pattern, which shows you diagrams of where to put what. I also had my old jacket out for reference, which came in handy with that sleeve placket. There is no interfacing in this jacket, although I did put a narrow strip in the facing behind the button holes and buttons – just to stabilize it a bit. It’s not the entire width of the facing. The collar and everything are uninterfaced. Over time, everything should wear in and soften up really nicely.

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

I primarily added the cuffs + placket because I like to wear my sleeves rolled up. The sleeves on this pattern are certainly wide enough to do this without needed a cuff that opens, but I just didn’t like the way that felt. I’m glad that I made the changes to the sleeve, but now I kind of feel like the sleeves are a bit too loose-fitting. The sleeves on my RTW jacket are definitely a lot tighter. That being said, I also can hardly wear a long sleeve top under that jacket without some serious bunching, so I’m going to hold off and wear this jacket around a little before I decide whether or not to narrow the sleeve. I would kind of like to be able to wear a sweater under this. The jacket is sewn with the sleeves inserted flat, then sewn up the side seams like how you’d do a tshirt (interestingly, the sleeve head has no ease whatsoever), so reducing the sleeve width will be pretty simple if I decide to do that in the future. Well, I’ll have to remove the cuff and redo the placket, but I’m sure I can manage.

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

One thing I wish this jacket included is pockets for those pocket flaps! Alas, they are merely mock pocket flaps – they don’t open to anything (or, rather, they don’t open at all – that shit it nailed shut straight through the button ahahaha). My RTW jacket has little welt pockets under the flaps, which I wanted to copy, but trying to figure out those sewing steps – in addition to the sleeve changes and all that fitting drama – was making me feel dizzy so I opted to keep it pocket-less. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve never used those pockets on my jacket. So it seemed kind of pointless to go crazy adding a pocket I didn’t even need.

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

Topstitching!! My favorite!! I used a denim needle and some lovely jeans topstitching thread for all the topstitching. I actually just used a single needle to get the double topstitching – one the first pass, I used my edgestitching foot with my needle moved all the way to one side, which made the stitching line 1/8″ from the edge. For the second pass, I used my 1/4″ foot and centered it on the first stitching line. I’m sure you could use a twin needle for this, but I don’t have any that could handle that heavy denim and thread. Plus, I don’t mind the extra work of sewing the same lines twice :)

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

Sorry these pictures are so blown out! Honestly, all the photos on this post are bad, but I don’t care enough to retake them :P

Stacie Jean Jacket - cuff and placket

Stacie Jean Jacket - cuff and placket

Here is the sleeve placket. Based on the placket of my RTW jacket (and also, Landon’s denim jacket haha), it is just a little extension cut out at the bottom of the sleeve. Maybe 1/2″ wide and 2″-3″ high. You sew the sleeve closed up to wear the placket starts, then turn under the extension twice and topstitch it down. The cuff is literally just a rectangle.

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

The inside of the jacket is sewn with black thread (I have two sewing machines so I can use both when I’m making anything with jeans – one is threaded for piecing, and the other is threaded for topstitching) and the seams are serged.

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

More frustrating than the fitting conundrum was sewing these FUCKING button holes! LORD!!! I can’t even tell you how many I had to rip out – my machine just plain did NOT want to put button holes in this jacket! Working on those things legit drove me to drink that day. At least I finished, them! And then I got to hammer out my frustrations with the buttons, which is always a plus :) The buttons are some of the bag of 25 that I bought from Taylor Tailor, btw!

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

Finally, I added this little hanging loop to the center back neckline, to make the jacket easier to hang! It’s just a little strip of the selvage, folded and topstitched and crammed into the collar seam :)

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

Overall, I’m really pleased with how the jacket turned out (well, other than the width of the sleeves, but I’m gonna sit on that and see how I feel after I’ve worn some long-sleeve shirts under it. I might feel differently about it in a couple of months!)! Despite all my fit-bitching at the beginning of the post, I think this is a great pattern and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking to make your own denim jacket and can be adventurous about the lack of instructions. While I did indeed have problems with the arm hole fit, I googled the shit out of this pattern and haven’t come across anyone else with the same fit issues. This leads me to believe this is a fit issue specific to my particular body shape, and not an indication that the pattern is terrible. Just need to put that out there!

Will I make this pattern again? You bet! I’d love to do a shrunken version in white denim, maybe for next spring :)

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!

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