Tag Archives: denim

Completed: Scout Tee + Gorts

10 Aug

Today’s post features a two-fer – a top AND shorts! Woohoo! Be prepared for a slight photo overload ahead.

Scout TeeI’ll start with the top. This is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. It’s your basic woven tshirt with a scoop neck and a relaxed, boxy fit below the bust. I know everyone and their mom has made this pattern already, and I’m only a few years behind on the bandwagon! Honestly, the pattern didn’t appeal much to me until recently – I generally prefer to wear more fitted shapes, especially at the waistline. This was a bigger deal in the past when I had a larger bust – but the girls have shrank over the years, which has made me feel a little bolder about experimenting with different shapes and silhouettes, since I don’t feel like my waist is being quite as swamped as it was in the past. Plus, loose styles are waaaay more comfortable in the summer heat, since they allow a better airflow (I know most of you are thinking, “No shit, Sherlock,” but I have ignored this for most of my adult life! Cut me some slack!). Scout Tee

Anyway, I quite like this style on me! I guess it’s still not the most “flattering,” but I’m kind of getting to the point where I don’t care quite as much about flattering. That’s one major difference I’ve noticed about being 30 vs being 20 – I don’t really give a shit about looking ~sexy~ every time I leave the house. I’m also sure my long-term relationship has a stake in this as well, but I’ve been in long relationships in the past and my attitude was definitely the opposite. Wearing loose-fitting anything – especially around my waistline – is a pretty new style territory for me, one that I’m starting to slowly explore and actually wear out in public. Also, it’s damn comfy.

Scout TeeBack to the pattern! I cut the size 0 and shortened the hem by a couple of inches to give it a more cropped length (but long enough so that it still covers the waistband of my pants). The pattern was really easy to put together – it’s just a front and a back, little cap sleeves, and a neckline bound with a bias facing. I like that it fits through the shoulders and the bust, then falls straight down to the hem. Even though it’s loose, it doesn’t look sloppy. One thing I noticed is that the shoulders tend to pull toward the front – since I used a different fabric for the back, this is a lot more noticeable. It doesn’t bother me at all – I actually like the way it looks, to be honest – but I’m also not sure if it’s part of the pattern, or a fitting issue. Thoughts?

(ps, sorry about the wrinkles – like most of my makes lately, these were taken after a full day of wearing) Scout Tee

The fabric is what really makes this top shine, though! It is GORGEOUS, amirte?! This is a pretty special piece – it’s handwoven here in Nashville! The company who makes this beautiful cotton fabric is Shutters & Shuttles. I don’t know if they even sell yardage anymore, but they used to. I believe they sell yardage to local designers, which – ding ding ding! – is where I got my little piece from. Back when Elizabeth Suzann used to sell limited-edition tops made with this beautiful handwoven fabric (and other colors/styles of fabric as well), she had a whole stash of it. Eventually, the limited edition ended and Elizabeth’s line moved in a different direction. And then she destashed the studio, and this piece ended up in that stash bag I was telling y’all about. It was a very small piece, so it took me a while to figure out what to do with it. A lot of Georgia Tees were made using Shutters & Shuttles fabric, and they all looked awesome, so I followed that lead with my own boxy tee. Scout Tee it was! Except that I didn’t have *quite* enough fabric to cut both fronts and backs, so the fabric sat on my shelf for several months while I looked for a good color match.

Scout TeeWhen I made my coral B5526, the coral voile was stored right next to this fabric, and I realized that they were perfectly matched. Which was lucky enough in itself, because this is a really weird (albeit beautiful) coral to try to match. I bought another yard on my next Mood order, and used the voile to cut the back of this tee. I also used the voile for the bias facing at the neckline – it’s a much lighter weight with less bulk than the handwoven cotton, so it sits on the neckline a little better (plus it looks pretty on the inside!). Scout Tee

I got these little tags in an order from Grey’s Fabric awhile back, and I think they are so cute! I wanna be a crafty fox!

Scout TeeTo crop the hem, I just folded up an extra-deep hem allowance and topstitched it. One, because I like the way the shirt hangs with the extra weight at the hem, and two, because I wasn’t sure if this whole slightly-cropped-tshirt thing was going to be my jam next summer. I might change my mind and want it to be longer (or even shorter, I dunno), so I left the hem allowance there as a bit of a safety measure. And also a big ol’ dangly thread, it seems.

Now for the shorts! Ginger Gorts

I made Jorts – or Gorts, as I am calling these (jorts is a really annoying way to say jean shorts, in case you were wondering!)! Remember when I utterly failed at that shit last year? Man, those shorts look fucking stupid in retrospect. What was I thinking? And if you were wondering – I never wore them beyond that blog post. They were just tooo uncomfortable and I was terrified the zipper was going to bust. They sat guiltily in my dresser for a few months before I finally chucked them.

Anyway, I’m glad I failed at that shit because I learned some very important Sewing Life Lessons:
1. Don’t make jorts out of a pattern intended for trouser shorts. It looks fucking stupid. Better to start with a jeans (pants) pattern and cut it short accordingly.
2. Jorts need fancy jean topstitching, or they aren’t proper jorts. And, they look stupid.
3. Until you figure things out otherwise, jorts need some stretch in the fabric, else they won’t be comfortable.
4. For zipper security, there needs to be a bartack connecting the fly shield to the front of the pants. This is EXTREMELY important. That’s why my zipper kept breaking on the fail pair – pulling the shorts on and off was putting way too much stress on the bottom of the zipper, which caused it to break. I eventually figured this out by inspecting a pair of my jeans – the bartack that hits right at the curve of the fly topstitching is intended to take the stress off the zipper, so you can pull on and off your tight pants. I had left that bartack off, which made my pants weak right at the crotch (kind of like most men lololol amirite)(sorry).

So, with those lessons in mind, I re-attempted the jorts. These are way better! Not perfect, but better. I know they look pretty wrinkly in these photos, but again, those are wearing wrinkles – not fitting wrinkles. Well, maybe a couple of them are fitting wrinkles. I am human, after all.

Ginger GortsI call these Gorts because I used the Ginger jeans pattern to make them! Ahahaha aren’t I clever! I just love this pattern and I spent a solid chunk of my time in Peru dreaming about making more jeans because I just looove all the detail that goes into the topstitching – but knowing that I don’t need jeans right now, because it’s way too hot! So I was happy to compromise with shorts instead. To make the pattern shorts-appropriate, I just measured the inseam of my favorite shorts and cut that length + 1″ from the inseam of the pattern. In retrospect, I should have added a little more length so that I would have a proper cuff (I didn’t plan these to have a cuff, but they were too long once I’d already hemmed them and I didn’t feel like-rehemming). Maybe next time! Also, if I go with the future cuff, I need to widen the bottom of the shorts at the hemline, because they are a little tight at the thigh (cuffs need to be wider so that when they flip up, they are the right width. This is hard to explain without pictures, so here’s an example in this book I found. Thanks, Google Books!). Giving them a good stretch when I put them on helps, though. Ginger Gorts

For fabric, I used a stretch denim from Mood Fabrics. The weight was perfect, but the stretch was a little less than what the pattern calls for (which I determined the unscientific way by comparing it to the denim I used to make my first pair of Gingers). I added 1/4″ to the side seams to accommodate for this, but they are still a little bit stiff. The other bummer is that this fabric has a severe bleeding problem – the first time I wore these jeans, they rubbed indigo dye all over the inside of my purse. I was carrying the only nice purse I’ve ever owned, which HAPPENS to be white. Wah!! I was able to get the majority of the discoloration off with a stain remover, but now I’m afraid to sit on anything remotely light-colored. I washed the denim a second time with a cup of vinegar in the wash to set the dye, but they are still rubbing off a little.

All in all, though, I’d say these are a good practice run! When I finally make my fancy Ginger jeans with the Cone Mills denim kit that I bought earlier this year, I am hoping that I’ll have enough leftovers to make some solid Gorts. We’ll see! Pants first!

Anyway, photos:

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Every time I make jeans, I want to experiment with different colored topstitching thread & serger thread – but I always punk out at the last minute. With these, I used bright blue thread for the button hole – baby steps! It also matches the lining and the serger thread.

Ginger GortsOh, right, and the backside of the button hole is emerald green :) Ginger Gorts

For the topstitching, I used my new 1/4″ foot. THAT THING IS AWESOME. There’s a dull blade that sits exactly 1/4″ from the needle, to help you align your stitching and ensures erfect parallel lines every time. Totally worth the $$$ I spent on it. Although I should probably focus on my bartacks next – those clearly need a bit more work. My machine doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, so I have to trial-and-error with experimental zigzagging.

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsYou can also see that I changed up the positioning of the rivets – they are only on the front pockets. The pattern has you put 2 rivets on the back pockets, which I did with my first pair, but I never really liked the way it looked. RTW jeans don’t typically have rivets on the back pockets – ok, ok, SOME DO, but not the majority! – and I thought it made them look sort of homemade. I also recall reading, like WAY back in the past, that the original Levi’s didn’t have rivets on the back pockets because they would get too hot when the gold miners sat next to a fire. Full disclosure, it was a research paper on the history of jeans/Levi’s that my cousin wrote for one of her classes in high school, and I found it because I was snooping in her room when she wasn’t home (what? She had a really cool Barbie Dream House that she wouldn’t let me play with). That one statement was really fascinating to me and has stuck with me through the years (although I don’t remember anything else about the paper). This would have been around 1992-1993, so yeah, a while ago (and yes, I realize we are talking about a paper written by a high schooler, back before you could use the internet for research – so obviously I can be completely off my mark here). A quick Google tells me that the rivets also scratched cowboy’s saddles, which might be another reason why the back pockets ones were eliminated. Either way, I think they look weird and out-of-place on the back pockets. So front pocket rivets only for me! Scout Tee

And that’s it for this outfit! Tell me – has your style relaxed as you aged? Do you find yourself experimenting with new silhouettes, or do you stick with the tried and true? How do you feel about rivets on the back pockets of jeans? Do you think the cowboys were onto something?

Completed: Polka Dot Denim Hollyburn Skirt

23 Mar

Hey y’all! I just got back from a fabulous weekend in New York – in addition to teaching a very successful Weekend Pants-Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL (seriously, my students were total rockstars and sooo much fun to chat and hang out with!), I also managed to take in a pretty good fabric haul. It was a very fun, very delicious weekend in the city, but I gotta say – I’m so happy to be home, back in the lovely 75* weather. Oh, Tennessee, how I have missed you! Today, we celebrate with my new favorite skirt, which is perfect for wearing with bare legs. Yay, no tights!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

I figured it was time to revisit the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, so here she is! I’ll confess that I actually finished this skirt a few weeks ago, but I haven’t actually worn it until the same day these photos were taken. It’s just been too dang cold here to wear skirts with bare legs, and I was bound and determined to wear the skirt without tights. Now that the season of bare legs is starting to creep in (watch, I bet I just jinxed it with that announcement), imma wear dis shit with PRIDE and JOY.

Also, you’ll notice in about half these pictures that the sun was sooo bright, I could barely hold my eyes open. Ain’t complaining.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Anyway, right, Hollyburn! I love this pattern so so much (see previous versions: one and two), so naturally I had to make a new version for 2015. This skirt pattern is probably my favorite, at least for right now – nice flared shape (without being so flared that it looks costumey), separate waistband with belt loops, back zip, and those wonderful pockets. I think it’s a great, solid wardrobe basic, so it made sense to add a couple more to my summer wardrobe.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

For this version, I changed up just a couple minor things – just enough to warrant a whole blog post about it (JK I’d post about this anyway because IT’S MY BLOG AND I DO WHAT I WANT lolz). The fabric I used is a medium weight stretch denim that is printed with thousands of tiny polka dots – if it looks familiar, it’s because I made a pair of Jamie jeans with it. I LOVE putting my leftover yardages to good use, and I really really loved this fabric, so double win! Since the fabric is a stretch denim, I changed up the cutting layout just a little and cut the waistband so the stretch ran the entire long length (aka, around my body when I’m wearing it). The waistband needs to be interfaced, so I used a fusible tricot interfacing, which gave the waistband a little bit of structure but didn’t compromise the stretch.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Also, I wanted this spotted baby to be pretty short, so I cut a few inches off the length. Yeah buddy!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Good thing I don’t work in an office anymore, because I could not see this length (or lack thereof) being suitable for work! Ha! But isn’t it cute? The structure of the fabric really works well with the shape, which is extra exaggerated the shorter it gets.

There’s not much else to say about this skirt, so have some flat shots:

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Construction was plain and straight forward – all seams were serged and pressed open, and there’s a bit of topstitching at the hem and waistband (not that you can really see it against this fabric, but, know it’s there). And, I gotta say, I’m super pleased with how nicely that invisible zipper went in. Look at that beautiful seam match and the sharp corners at the top!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

I’ve been meaning to remake a new denim skirt for AGES (sadly, my Kelly and Hummingbird are both way too big at this point, and have thus been passed on to eager friends with grabby hands), as it’s a good wardrobe basic to have that goes with pretty much everything. Actually, prepare for me to sound like a broken record for the next few months because that’s where a lot of my sewing is headed – no, not more denim skirts, just more wearable basics to replace the pieces I had that don’t fit anymore and/or are due to retire. And maybe more denim skirts. I can’t make any promises here. I actually just bought a great yellow denim at Mood this past weekend, so you can at least expect a sunshine Hollyburn in the future ;) yay for summer clothes and summer colors!

Oh, and in case you were wondering – my Merchant and Mills tshirt is from Uniqlo! You’ve no doubt already seen these aaaaall over Instagram, but I thought I’d point it out because we don’t have a store here and I didn’t even realize you could buy that shit online. You can see the entire collection of available goods here – and, ugh, now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t see those tote bags! Oh well! I bought 2 tshirts – which, considering that I don’t buy new clothes anymore (except for underwear, and a new pair of jeans in both 2013 & 2014), is a bit of a big step for me. I feel very strongly about fast fashion and knowing where my clothes come from and aaall that good stuff, however, I also tend to see things as very black and white with no grey area and I’m trying to get past that mental hurdle. Sometimes, you just gotta choose your battles and know when to compromise. Two little tshirts don’t make me a terrible consumer, especially since it’s not like I plan on dumping these when the season ends. For the most part, I try to shop locally and ethically, and be aware of where my food and goods come from. But every now and then, you just want to buy something mass produced from China. At the very least, at least it’s supporting (or advertising) Merchant and Mills, I guess, which makes me feel a bit better.

Anyway, that’s about it! I’ll be packing and moving for the rest of the week, and hopefully by this time next week I’ll be settling into my new house IN THE WOODS. Cannot wait! :D

Completed: Organic Cotton Jeggings

9 Mar

Good morning, friends! I hope this post finds you well – I have missed all of you! If you missed out on the drama last week (and/or were wondering why I suddenly fell silent and my website went poof into the night), I had a bit of an issue with an expired domain and transferring it back into my name. You can read the boring backstory about it in this post, but basically – everything should be fixed and up and running. If you’re still having problems getting to the site (I was until last night, thanks to my internet provider), try clearing your cache and cookies and see if that helps. Sorry for all the dramz! Shit should be back to normal from here on out!

Anyway, enough of that boring internet talk – let’s talk about why we’re all here! Sewing and fabric and actual fun happy stuff, yeah!

Ginger Jeggings

For this week’s project, I bring you: Jeggings. I’m not sure if this means I’ve cracked some kind of sewing power code with all the ridiculously normal/boring things I’ve made at this point, or if it means I’ve hit rock bottom (I mean, we are talking about the ultimate comfort clothing here. I am not above making fun of jeggings, just so we’re clear). You tell me. What I can tell you is that these are INSANELY comfortable and now I kind of get the hype.

Ginger Jeggings

I’m not really much of a comfort-clothes seeker/wearer – I’m ok with being a little pulled in for the sake of looking nice when I’m out in public. That being said, it’s not a very interesting story as to how I came about obtaining a pair of the ultimate comfort/secret pajama clothes. It started out as a fabric review for Organic Cotton Plus. I was prowling around on their website, looking for something to pick as my next project, when I came across their organic knit denim. The fact that it’s called “knit denim” should have raised some sort of warning flag, but I didn’t even notice it – I just saw denim and immediately got starry-eyed. I’m always on the lookout for a good denim source, and this sounded too good to be true. Organic cotton denim with 5% lycra? GET ON MY BODY. I submitted my order and anxiously waited for my shipment.

Ginger Jeggings

The spoiler here is that this definitely is not denim – not in the true sense of what you get when you buy a pair of jeans. It’s definitely a knit fabric – a very thick, stable ponte-ish type of fabric that looks exactly like denim. It’s the right color and has that twill weave look. It thick and squishy with a good, firm stretch. It’s like a marriage of a tshirt and a pair of jeans. I don’t really understand it, but I’m not going to argue with it. At any rate, I had a yard of this stuff and I realized I needed to make something with it. And that’s where jeggings came in. I wanted to see if I could actually make a pair of jeggings. I did, and now y’all get to see how they turned out.

First things first, I realize that these don’t technically classify as actual jeggings. The material does – it’s more of a knit than a denim, it’s very stretchy and it has a lot of spandex in it. However, these are constructed like an actual pair of jeans. They have working pockets (both front and back), they have an actual zip fly, and there is no elastic in the waistband. The only part about these things that makes them even remotely jeggings-like is the fabric they’re made from. However, I’m going to keep calling them jeggings because – well, I made them, and I get to call the shots. Them’s the rules.

Ginger Jeggings

When I was planning these out (after receiving the fabric, but before cutting into it), I debated on whether to make these into jeans-looking pants – aka, true jeggings, with the pockets and fly simply suggested by lines of topstitching. I thought it would be interesting to see how the fabric works when it’s treated like a woven, so I decided to use an actual jeans pattern and follow it the same way I would if I was making these out of denim. I used the Ginger Jeans pattern and basically did not make any changes for the fabric. The size is the same size I used for my woven denim and stretch twill jeans, and all finishing and topstitching uses the same methods as those pairs do. The only difference is that I didn’t flat-fell any of my seams – I figured it was enough that I was making these out of stretch material, so I just serged and topstitched (like you would with leggings). I’m surprised at how well they fit, although I think the legs could be a little tighter around the ankle. Also – they turned out surprisingly long, due to the 4 way stretch. I actually cut 3″ off the pattern legs before cutting (that was the ONLY way I could make these out of a yard of fabric – short inseam!), which should make them the correct length – but they magically grew, and now they’re too long. I’ve cuffed them for now, because I want to wash them a couple more times and eliminate any additional shrinking before I re-hem them.

Ginger Jeggings

Making these was really fun, and surprisingly quick! Like I said, I made them the same way you’d make a pair of jeans, except I didn’t flat-fell any of the seams. Everything was sewn on my sewing machine with a stretch needle and the edges were finished with my serger. For the topstitching, I used a triple stitch (thanks to Emmie for showing me the stitch on my Bernina – I guess this means I should probably read the manual more often, ha!), which makes a nice defined topstitch that also stretches quite a bit. The waistband is interfaced with my favorite stretch interfacing (seriously – this stuff is AWESOME), which gives it enough structure to look nice, but doesn’t sacrifice any of that comfy stretch. There is an actual zipper and button installed, however, I did leave off the rivets.

Ginger Jeggings

Ginger Jeggings

Basically, these look & wear like jeans – BUT THEY FEEL LIKE PAJAMAS. If that doesn’t blow your mind with amazement, then I give up.

Ginger Jeggings

Sorry ’bout that VPL, story of my life. I do think the pockets are a bit low, which is likely due to the 4 way stretch. I don’t care enough to remove them and raise them, so it’s whatever.

Ginger Jeggings

Ginger Jeggings

Here are some gut close-ups so you can better see what I was working with. The material really looks like denim! Everything handled pretty well, except attaching the belt loops did get a little difficult at the end, just because there were soo many layers (I ended up hammering them as flat as I could, which helped a little. Still broke a couple of needles in the process, argh.). All the topstitching was done with a single needle and a single piece of thread, sewn with the triple stitch. I used lemon yellow cotton thread, also from Organic Cotton Plus, which was nice and thick and worked out quite well with the triple stitch. It looks more gold than neon yellow when it’s against the dark indigo, which I really like.

Ginger Jeggings

Proof that there’s actually a zipper in there! The zipper is also from Organic Cotton Plus; it’s just a heavy brass jeans YKK zipper, but it works really nicely with this pattern. The 6″ length was just barely long enough for the high-waisted version of this pattern; I ended up cutting about 1/2″ off in excess when all was said and done. The pocket lining is just some stretch cotton sateen I had in my stash. I wanted to use something with a stretch, so it wouldn’t fight against the stretch of the exterior fabric.

Ginger Jeggings

And here’s the back! Mock-flat felled seams (just serged and topstitched) and patch pockets! I had to cut the waistband in pieces, because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut it on the fold – but the seam is covered by the back belt loop, so it can just be our secret, ok.

Ginger Jeggings

So that’s my little sewing experiment! Turns out you *can* make jeans with jegging material – with all the look of jeans, but the comfort of leggings. Love it! And since there are back pockets, I don’t feel as compelled to cover my butt haha. What do you think? Is this a win or just the weirdest garment I’ve ever made? Have you – or do you – wear jeggings? I always made fun of them, but man, can’t deny how comfy they are!!

As a side note – I mentioned this on Instagram yesterday, but it bears mentioning here too. I’m moving soon! I was finally able to get hold of my landlord with the notice and vacate date (they require 60 days, but they’re gonna let us out in 30 days because they love us for being awesome tenants haha), so we’ll be out of this house by the end of March! My best friend/life partner/former roommate just bought a house in the woods in a small town outside of Nashville, and Landon & I will be moving into the lower level as her roommates! The house is cool as shit, the land is AMAZING (did I mention it’s in the woods? Gah I can’t wait to be a hippie and raise chickens in the forest lolol), and I so look forward to living with my two very best friends in one house. Plus – I get a new sewing room! How cool is that? :)

 

** Note: Organic Cotton Plus provided the materials (denim knit, zipper, thread) for this project in exchange for a review. All thoughts and options are my own.

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: Bikey Maritime Shorts

31 Jul

I love it when a single piece of clothing incorporates a bunch of my favorite things at once.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

Bicycles? Check.
Maritime shorts? Check.
Roisin? FUCK YEA.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I know they look like polka dots from a distance, but seriously there are teeny-tiny little bicycles all over these shorts and OMG SO CUTE.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’m a sucker for bicycle printed fabric – this is a true fact, and I don’t think I even need to say it, because most of y’all are probably nodding your heads (and/or rolling your eyes) from how often I mention it. That’s ok, I’ll say it again – bicycle fabric rules! This stuff is extra special, though, because it came as a gift from my homegirl, Roisin. Recently on her honeymoon in Paris, Roisin posted this shit on Instagram after a fabric shopping bender (seriously… she went home with some really beautiful stuff) and I nearly had a heart attack over the BICYCLE PRINTED DENIM. Because she’s an amazing sport, Roisin offered to go back to the fabric store and pick me up my own 3m length. On her freaking honeymoon! Do you see why this lady is amazing? Because she’s amazing.

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

And because of her, I now am the proud owner of these cute little bike shorts! Yay!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’ve made this pattern – the Maritime shorts – a million times, so there’s not a lot left to say about them. I cut my usual size, and sewed these up as normal. I knew I wanted to stick with a good tried-n-true to be absolutely positive that we would have no fitting issues here, especially after all that trauma I had trying to make jorts. Speaking of which, I think I figured out the issue with the zipper – after inspecting the zipper of my jeans (the ones I bought, not me-mades), I noticed that the fly extension is tacked down right at the base of the zipper, which takes a lot of the strain when you’re pulling them off and on. It’s amazing that something as simple as reinforcing the extension with a bartack really makes such difference but it does. After realizing this, I checked the pattern and it does instruct you to tack the extension down. I guess I skipped over it in my jeans haste? I dunno. But hey, now you can learn from my mistake! :D

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Sorry ’bout all the wrinkles. I took these photos after wearing the shorts all day, so most of them are from sitting and moving around. While this fabric is a denim, it’s pretty lightweight for shorts, so it tends to wrinkle. The fabric softened up quite a bit after prewashing, and also set a few wrinkles in permanently (such as the one you see by the side seam).

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Some additional notes:
– I debated on topstitching with a contrasting thread – either white or gold – but ultimately decided to let the bikes take center stage and kept the topstitching navy. I love how it’s subdued and classy – well, as classy as a pair of short shorts covered in bicycles can be :P
– My pocket lining is Liberty fabric, left over from my recently Liberty make! I know it doesn’t exactly match the denim, but I couldn’t resist pairing these two special fabrics together – after all, they’re both from some of my favorite bloggers, so it seemed only natural :)
– You may have noticed that I didn’t finish the edge of that fly extension. Actually, I did. It’s just up under the waistband because I’m fucking stupid haha. Oh well!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I tucked my chambray button-down in so you could really see the way the shorts look, and I surprised myself because I actually kind of dig the way it looks (even if it does scream ~Fashion Blogger on Pinterest~, which we all know I most certainly am NOT haha!). For the most part, though, I wear the shirt untucked, as in the above photo.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

The best part – those lil’ shorts use barely any fabric at all, which means I still have about 2m left to play with! I’m debating what to do with the remaining yardage. It’s too heavy to be any sort of top (well, any sort of top that I would wear) and I’m not keen on making a matching pair of pants… but a dress, perhaps? What pattern would you suggest?

Thanks again, Roisin, for being such a star and making these cute shorts a reality! When I finally get my butt to London, I owe ya a drink :) Or two :)

Completed: Jorts Fail

28 May

Jean shorts (or jorts, as I like to call them – because it’s ridiculous and hipster and sounds completely stupid) are something that have been on my to-sew list for a looong time. Super long. In fact, my jort supply has long run dry – I used to get those the old-fashioned way, by waiting until summer to hack the legs off my jeans so they’d be warm weather appropriate (and later realizing my huge mistake come fall – argh! Whyyyy!!). Jean shorts are an American thing – and I haven’t worn a proper pair in years. No wonder I always see pictures of bald eagles crying:

zWCcW

Anyway. Back to jorts. I knew I wasn’t going to get them by way of cut-offs (I love my jeans too much to do that to them!), so I figured I’d make a pair from scratch and call it a day.

Jorts

My denim is a bit special – I actually bought it during Imogene + Willie‘s big yard sale. I went because I knew they’d have markdowns on jeans (although, when I finally got there, they’d put all the pants away due to threat of rain, wah), but I didn’t realize they’d also have leftover yardage of fabric! For cheap! I got 4 yards of this ridiculously amazing denim for $5 – yes, it’s super narrow (it is selvedge denim, after all), but still. That’s cheap as shit.

Jorts

The denim was really nice to work with. I always complain that good-quality denim is really difficult to find for the home sewer – either it’s too lightweight, it has too much stretch, it has awful stretch recovery, it feels cheap, the color is awful, etc etc. And while I have found some really great denims that make fabulous skirts and dresses, I’m not so convinced when it comes to pants. This fabric, though, is really good. It’s very sturdy and luxurious, with absolutely no stretch.

Jorts

Jorts

Honestly, I think the lack of stretch is what did me in. These jorts are, unfortunately, a fail for me. Wah!

Jorts

They look WAY better in these pictures than they look in real life – so much, I’m almost second-guessing my fail label. But, no, they’re pretty bad.

Jorts

Jorts

I had a somewhat traumatizing experience while making these. Things were going along great – I’d unearthed my Featherweight to do the topstitching (which is BEAUTIFUL, btw! Well. Beautiful where it’s not crooked lolz), I was having a lovely time stitching that denim, I was confident in my TNT shorts pattern, Grainline Maritime shorts. I love my Thurlows, but these are a fab casual shorts pattern if you don’t want all the fuss of the lining and welt pockets! I’ve made them a couple of times before, and while I’m not going to discuss the sizing and construction in detail on this post, you can read all my thoughts on the pattern here and here.

Anyway, I decided to try them on before attaching the waistband, and the zipper immediately popped in half.

“Well, that was probably a shitty zipper. It looked kind of old, probably just gave up on life right as I was pulling them on. I’ll put in another zipper, should be fine.”

So I unpicked the zipper, inserted a new one (have you tried to insert a zipper into a front fly that’s already been assembled? It’s… weird. Not a fan.), attached the waistband, and was getting ready to stitch down the waistband facing when I decided to try the shorts on again.

Oh, right. I popped that fucking zipper too. DAMMIT!

This is when I took an emergency trip to the fabric store (guys, I never do this – but desperate times call for desperate measures and I am DESPERATE for some jorts ok) and bought the strongest denim zipper I could find. I figured the shorts were probably straining against the bottom of the zipper because there was no give in the fabric, so I decided to let out as many seams as I could. I gave myself as much extra room as I could squeeze out, and then reinserted the (third!!!) zipper and finished the waistband.

Then I tried them on. Meh.

Jorts

Jorts

The fit is just… weird. I’m guessing my emergency unpick didn’t work as well as I had anticipated, so now I’ve got some weird lumps in seams that shouldn’t have weird lumps. They also just feel vaguely uncomfortable – I get that selvedge denim is pretty tough, and needs to be worn in a bit before it’s actually comfortable, but I don’t like it. Not in shorts, anyway. I know it looks like they are painted on, but they are honestly not that tight (except I guess somewhere around the base of the zipper, where it strains when I pull them on). Then there’s that whole issue with me being terrified that I’m going to snap this zipper every time I pull them off.

Jorts

Jorts

Jorts

Here’s a closer photo of the shorts and the way they fit. You can see they’re kind of off – it’s not horrible, but it’s enough to bother me. Actually, I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that the damn waistband isn’t lined up. I have NO idea how that happened – it matched up perfectly the first time I attached it (right before I popped the second zipper), but it looks terrible. Oh well.

Jorts

Aside from the fit – and the laughingly terrible waistband assembly, seam pucker and all (fyi, that’s where I gave up) – the construction is something I’m moderately proud of. While I didn’t go as far as doing flat-felled seams (and thank GOD for that, since I ended up unpicking them. Well, it didn’t help in the end. But, you know), I did topstitch them with proper denim thread. It looks so good!

Jorts

Well, I guess it would look better if the topstitching were straight, haha! Oh well! Like I said, I used my Featherweight to do all the topstitching – I figured it would be better than unthreading my Bernina every couple of seams. I’m really glad I did, because being able to switch machines made things go a lot faster. Plus, the Featherweight just produces some of the prettiest topstitching! Now I understand why people flip their shits over these machines. They’re pretty fun!

Jorts

Of course, that machine handles entirely differently than the Bernina I’m so used to, so I definitely went through a bit of a curve with this project. My topstitching isn’t straight, but that’s ok. It was a good practice and I’m over these shorts anyway :)

I’m totally ashamed to admit that I’ve barely used that Featherweight since I bought it, btw. I used it to make a failed Amy Butler bag right after purchase, and after that it just sat on my cabinet as decoration… until I pulled it out to make these failed shorts. And now I’m wondering if this is a jinxed machine ohgod.

Jorts

Anyway, here’s that damn fly that gave me so much trouble. At least I have lots of practice sewing flys now! Haha!!

Jorts

Sorry for all the unclipped threads and general messy inside. I think I just mentally gave up on this project after the first zipper broke.

Jorts

So, overall – these jorts are definitely a fail for me. Not entirely happy with the fit, I think the topstitching looks sloppy, the back pockets are weirdly in the wrong place, they’re uncomfortable, the stupid waistband looks stupid, but most importantly… I will always always be afraid I’m going to break that zip when I’m taking the shorts off. Not worth the stress. Also, as a side note, that’s my Briar I’m wearing and I’m thinking it looks too big and droopy on me now :( Sad.

I’m not entirely bummed with this project, because I had a good time making them (despite the multiple zipper incidents) and I definitely learned a lot during the process. This probably makes me look bad now, considering I just announced my pants making extravaganza, but you know what? Mistakes happen. None of us are immune to the occasional sewing fail, and even if I don’t get a completed outfit out of it, I at least come away with the knowledge to improve on future makes and not repeat those mistakes. I’m also really happy that I reunited with my Featherweight! Maybe I’ll get around to actually fulfilling my sewlution of using that machine to make an entire garment. Sure, it was set for 2013, but… better late than never, right? :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,742 other followers