Tag Archives: denim

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 :)

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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? :)

Project Sewn: Hello, Dolly!

4 Feb

All right, dudes and dudettes – Project Sewn is up and running! This first week, the theme is Style Icon.

I’m just gonna be real with y’all – as soon as I saw that challenge, my personal motto started rolling through my head. The thing is – I don’t have a style icon. I honestly don’t have a person (or designer, or whatever) who I use as inspiration for my outfits. I mean, I like the way lots of celebrities dress and I’m no stranger to the siren song of a good Joan Holloway outfit, but as far as picking a particular person… naw. I don’t even know, y’all. In the end, I decided to go with someone who I admire as a person who just happens to have amazing style….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Dolly Parton!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I mean, who doesn’t love Dolly, amirite? She’s such an incredibly smart, funny, generous – and not to mention talented as HELL – woman… a true icon in my book. Speaking of books, have you ever read her memoir, My Life and Other Unfinished Business? Or heard about her program Imagination Library, which sends free books to kids to get them excited about reading? Or, hell, have you been to Dollywood?? This woman, she is amazing. She’s not just a style icon for me – she’s a real life icon, the kind of person I want to emulate.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Plus, Dolly (specifically circa 60s-70s) was no stranger to an overly decorated/borderline tacky western shirt. And, dammit, I wanted a western shirt! I’ve actually been looking for an excuse to sew one for years.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I made my entire outfit, obviously, but let’s talk about the shirt first. My fabric is a tiny check gingham seersucker from Mood. I used the Archer as my base pattern (lol, poor Jen, probably never thought her pattern would get used to make this sort of monstrosity SORRY JEN I LOVE YOUR PATTERN THO), and made a few modifications, beyond my normal ones of changing the sleeve placket, narrowing the side seams, and a different method for attaching the collar and collar stand. There’s quite a bit of piping, since we all know it’s not a real western shirt without gratuitous amounts of piping.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Adding the piping was really fun, and definitely adds some pizazz to an otherwise plain shirt. The piping at the back yoke and top of the sleeve cuffs was easy – I just sewed it along the seam allowance before attaching the other pieces. For the front yoke, I had to do a little bit of drafting and figuring out – I ended up tracing the front piece and cutting off where I wanted the yoke to hit (right above the pockets) and then drew my scallops with a french curve. To attach the piping, I first sewed it to the bottom of the yoke, clipped and trimmed and pressed and it toward the wrong side, and then laid the yokes on top of the front piece and topstitched along the piping. The raw edges of the piping are enclosed inside the yoke, so the inside of the front of the shirt is perfectly clean except for a line of topstitching. I think it worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Once I had the shirt entirely assembled, less the pearl snaps and hem, I hung it on a hanger and stared at it for over a month. What to do next? I liked the way the effect was going, but it clearly needed some embroidery at the yokes to give it that western flair. I realized at the point that the tiny gingham check was working against me – any embroidery was going to get lost in all that action.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I had my epiphany right before I fell asleep one night – APPLIQUE! That would show up against the check, and it would still allow me to involve some of the embroidery I so desperately wanted. I knew I still had a piece of vintage barkcloth in my stash that would be perfect (I used the majority of it for my birthday dress a few years back, and have been hoarding the remaining yardage ever since!). I painstakingly cut around each rose and leaf, arranging the pieces so they would be mostly mirrored at the front, and attached them with fusible web to the yokes. Then I hand-embroidered around every piece – partially to keep them attached to the start, but mostly because I just loove the texture of hand embroidery!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I am pretty freaking THRILLED with how it turned out, what do you think??

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The last thing my shirt needed was a little bit of pearl snap action! I got mine from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall experience. I actually bought both red and black pearl snaps, but once I got the shirt finished, black was the clear winner. Also, I just really love hammering shit in my sewing room, ok.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Ok, now let’s talk about the pants! I used a Theory stretch denim from Mood and my pattern is McCall’s 6440. This is my first version of this pattern (you’ve already seen my leopard pair, ooh la la), and I went through a BIG fitting curve with these. I initially cut the size 8, based on the finished measurements – and they were huuuuge! Pretty much every thing about them sucked except the crotch curve, basically. I spent an entire evening trying on, pinning, basting, trying on, repinning, basting, trying on… ad nauseam. I’m happy that they worked out in the end – they are SO fun to wear, and look super pin-up, yay! – but getting there was a process, plus the insides are full of thread tails from all that basting. Oh well!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Some gratuitous butt shots for ya. You’re welcome.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Oh, yeah, and in case you were wondering – I can also wear this shirt untied with the sleeves rolled down, like a proper Archer, which makes it much more wearable in day-to-day life :)

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now at this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Ok, fine, but where the hell are you going to wear that thing, anyway??” Guys. Guys. I live in Nashville. I’m not so stuck up my own butt that I’m not above rolling down to the tourist district and getting my Honky Tonk on. Let’s be real – Honky Tonkin’ is the best part about living in Nashville, as far as I’m concerned. OF COURSE you can go dancin’ in normal people clothes, but why the hell not throw on your best western digs and cowboy boots and dress the part? This being made of seersucker is even better – it’ll be much more comfortable come summer, compared to my RTW black cotton western shirt, especially with the looser style.

I’m also going to wear it just for the heck of it because, well, it’s awesome ;)

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Also, in case you were wondering – I DO have cowboy boots! I just thought this outfit needed a little tone down from the ~country~, hence the Keds :)

Ok, hope you’re ready for some detail shots… I took a million :\….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The waistband of the pants is faced with more gingham seersucker. I love when my pants match my top, even if it’s only on the inside!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Don’t look too closely, but the embroidery on the front yokes is actually not a perfect mirror. Since the flowers weren’t printed to mirror, I had to get super creative with my cutting and appliqueing on one side, but I think it worked out quite nicely!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Sleeve placket + pearl snaps + piping = ♥

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Yokes

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Embroidery – the flowers are outlined in a 4 thread split stitch, and the leaves are outlined in a 2 thread chainstitch. I love the effect and textures with the applique and embroidery – it’s just a little bit Alabama Chanin.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Snaps to anyone who sat through this entire post! I have one gift for you, which I found while I was trolling the nets for Dolly inspiration (click for source):

dolly parton style inspo

NOW do you see why I chose her as my inspiration? God, I love that woman.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now head on over to Project Sewn and see what everyone else has been up to! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

Completed: Hummingbird Separates

8 Jul

I hope everyone had a good weekend – holiday or not! I celebrated by basically NOT leaving the house, except to get an oil change (for my truck) and donate blood (from my body). It was rainy and cold all weekend, which is really abnormal for July. No complaints here!

I didn’t get too much sewing done, surprisingly (rain makes me want to lay on the couch, which means that I knit!), but I did make myself a new outfit to wear over the weekend – using the new Hummingbird pattern.

Hummingbird Set

Every time I sew up one of this patterns, I am reminded of just how much I loooove Cake (not the food, the pattern company! Although, I’m not one to turn down the food, either…). These patterns are basically my dream patterns – easy to customize the fit, easy to adjust during sewing, easy to sew (but with just enough challenge to keep things interesting), basic & wearable for all occasions. Not to mention, Steph recently changed up the paper patterns to include sizing lines in different colors. It’s like a party in the envelope, guyzzz.

Hummingbird Set

This is the whole set – both the top and the skirt. This is my second top from this pattern (and no, you haven’t seen the first because I never blogged about it. It won’t be in this post either because it was in the wash while I was taking pictures! Soon!), and my first skirt. I wasn’t sure if I would even make the skirt, since a fitted/straight style isn’t really something I wear much of – I like to be able to mooooove… ride my bike, sit on the floor, crawl under tables, you know, the usual – but it’s surprisingly comfortable! These pictures were taken after a full day, so pardon my wrinkles.

Hummingbird Set

We can discuss the top first. I cut the size 30 bust/26 waist (Cake patterns are based off your measurements, not standard sizing) with a 17″ length (this ensures that the peplum hits the right place – I think it does! What do you think?). This is exactly how the pattern is written, with NO alterations. Can you believe how good it fits straight out of the envelope?!

Hummingbird Set

Unfortuately, I don’t think I’ll get much wear out of this top. As cute as this stripey fabric is, it’s kind of tragic – loosely woven, and stretches like a mother (it also unravels. A KNIT. I can’t even…). It’s the same fabric I used for my Stripey Tiramisu, and it just sags and bags after a couple hours. I don’t know why I bought sooo many yards of it, but ugh, I did. So I’ll just enjoy the top while I can, I guess.

Hummingbird Set

To make this work with my fabric, I had to drastically shorten the neck and arm bands to keep them from being floppy (this is super easy, since you sew those on while they’re flat, instead of in the round – you can just cut the excess off). Instead of using interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams, I pulled out the big guns and used 1/4″ elastic. I also used the same elastic at the waistline; hopefully this will keep the weight of the peplum from pulling the shirt down too much.

Hummingbird Set

Ok, skirt’s turn! This is a 26 waist/35 hip (the measurements closest to my own, obviously). I actually ended up needing to take in quite a bit during the side seam fitting – about 1″ off each side of the waist. Fortunately, this pattern is made to allow for fitting during that stage of sewing, so it didn’t mess up my pocket placement or anything.

Hummingbird Set

Be warned that this skirt is a bit on the short side – I only hemmed mine 1/2″, and this is the length I got.

Hummingbird Set

I used the same denim leftover from my Peter & the Wolf Pants – I think the stretch is key to making this skirt super comfortable. And bonus, this skirt barely took any fabric – less than 7/8 yard!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Sooo these pictures were taken with my new camera, btw. I think they look pretty good, but it’s obvious that the close-ups need better focus. I also discovered that I do not like the self-timer on this camera; it takes the pictures rapidly with no time between. Good thing I ordered a remote last week!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Ok, I’ve officially run out of things to say about this set. Here’s some flat shots!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

SURPRISE FANCY POCKET LINING, YEEEAHHH!!!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

I took a close-up of the fabric so you could see how awful it is. It is literally a knitted fabric – that’s stockinette right there. Isn’t the macro feature on my camera delicious, though? Expect lots of close-up shots, I can’t get over it.

Hummingbird Set

I can’t wait to try the flouncy version of this sucker. Gonna shake my tailfeathers all over the place :D

Psst! I have a couple announcements, real quick!

- My awesome sponsor, Sweet Little Chickadee, is moving to NY and closing shop for a month or so to handle the move – but in the meantime, she’s having a quick sale to empty out stock. Use the code MOVINGSALE to get 15% off your total purchase (this includes sale items!) through Tuesday, July 11. I know the blog post says Sunday 7/7, but Juli just informed me that she is extending the sale, soooo… shop your hearts out! But hurry! :)
– Speaking of shopping, I’ve started the mind-numbingly awful process of preparing some of my handmade and vintage clothes to be put up for sale on Etsy. I took tons of pictures and measurements over the weekend, and I’ve been slowly adding them to my shop. I thought it would be real awesome to have everything up and running by the time I wrote this blog post, but obviously that hasn’t happened yet. Check back at the LLADYBIRD shop if you are interested in buying a little piece of my history – I plan to have them all in the shop by the end of the week (and I’ll mention on the blog and/or Twitter when that’s said and done).

I hate the idea of selling my beautiful handmade clothing, but none of this stuff fits me anymore and it’s too much of a size change to take in. Rather than hoard it for no reason, I’d love to see this stuff go to a loving home where it will actually get worn. I’m not trying to make a huge profit here, so I’m pricing everything pretty low. Proceeds are going to fund some upcoming medical expenses I have, if you’re curious. Also, I am NOT trying to turn this into a big blog about how everyone should buy my shit, so don’t worry about that. Again, if you’re interested – check out my shop!

Hummingbird Set

Ok, I guess that’s it!

Completed: Peter and the Wolf Pants

21 Jun

So I’ve been sitting on this pattern for a couple of months now – Katie sent these to me as a surprise spring gift. An awesome surprise, I might add. Who doesn’t love getting surprise patterns in the mail, amirite!

Anyway, my immediate first thought was to make these up in a light polka dotted denim. Doesn’t that sound like it would be amazingly cute?! Unfortunately, I couldn’t source the right fabric – this pattern calls for fabric with a little bit of stretch, and I couldn’t find any sort of stretch bottomweight that also included polka dots (I know there are lighter-weight fabrics out there, but in my experience, their thinness requires either 1. Commando or 2. Thongs, neither of which I’m comfortable with rocking. TMI? Whatever.). I remembered this polka dot DIY post from Portia and I figured, hey, I’ll just get light denim and make my own polka dots, yeah?

Peter & The Wolf Pants

But, you know, I was seduced by all the pretty dark denim at Mood Fabrics. OH WELL. This stuff is from Theory and it is amazeballs. Nice and dark, robust without being super heavy, and just the right amount of stretch.

Btw, you’ve probably figured out that I did eventually end up with polka dot bottoms – in the form of shorts. Hey, it works!

Anyway, let’s talk about these pants!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

This is the Peter & the Wolf pants from Papercut Patterns. The way these pants are cut is really unique – in addition to side and inseams, there are seams straight down the middle of the front and back legs, as well as some interesting pocket/yoke action and the cutest little scalloped hems. As you can see here, they definitely do emphasize the hips, but that’s what I like about them!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

I cut a size XS, although in retrospect, I really should have gone down another size to the XXS. I had to do a LOT of alterations to get these to fit the way I like, and I made some easily-avoidable mistakes along the way. Pretty much EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM could have been eliminated if I had made a muslin first. Why didn’t I make a muslin first? I dunno, I guess I was feeling ~cocky with how good those Rite of Spring shorts fit me straight out of the package.

So, LESSON 1: Make a muslin. ALWAYS MAKE A MUSLIN.

Here is why this is so important, why I keep knocking this into your heads and why I should listen to my own damn advice:
– I tried these on right before I put in the zipper, and the sizing was MUCH too big through the waist and the legs. Normally, that’s not toooo bad of an issue because one can just take in the side seams (I do this all the time, u guise), but the way the pockets are placed means there isn’t a lot of side seam to take in before you start cutting into pocket territory. I couldn’t pull from the center seams because I’d already done all that topstitching and I’m ssssooooo laaaazzzzyyyy. I sat and thought about it for an evening, and ultimately decided to remove the majority of the excess from the BACK of the pants, rather than equally distributed between the front and the back. It worked, and my pockets are still there – yay! – and you can’t tell too much that the front is bigger than the back (unless you’re really studying where that side seam hits), except one glaring error…
– The front scallops now ride toward the inside of my ankles, instead of being centered in the middle of my leg :( Believe me, I tried really hard to fix this, but ultimately it’s just a matter of physics… the front is twisting, since it’s wider than the back. It’s not too terrible since they both pull about the same amount, so it looks intentional. But you and I, we know the real truth.
– The crotch curve was wrong for my shape and it looked like I was hiding packets of ketchup down the front of my pants at the crotch. WOOF. Please don’t take this to mean the crotch curve was bad across the board – I just mean it didn’t work for my specific shape (obviously it’s good for some people – look at the model on the envelope!). We all have different crotch curve shapes (how many more times can I say the word “crotch” here?) and mine is apparently a pretty pronounced J – something I learned when I was sewing the Colette Clovers. Fortunately, redrawing a curve is super easy – even on mostly-assembled pants, I mean, you’re basically just creating a new seamline – and that eliminated most of my issues in that one area. If this sounds confusing and slightly terrifying, it’s not! There is TONS of information on Google, as well as in various pants-fitting books.
– I also should have slightly shortened the crotch depth. Not even by much – just a little pinch of fabric (you can see where it’s puffing out a little. STOP STARING.). Unfortunately, I can’t fix this now as it’s something that needs to be adjusted to the flat pattern before cutting. #1 reason why you should make a muslin first. Womp womp.

I know this sounds like a lot of issues, but I just want to stress that all of them could have been EASILY solved if I’d just made a damn muslin first! ARGHGHHGHGH.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Well, at least I remembered to shorten the inseam before cutting my fabric; the original inseam is over 29″ and I needed something much shorter, plus I wanted them to be cropped. I love the length!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

My yoke seams don’t perfectly match up due to all the side seam that I had to cut off, but at least I preserved the pockets!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

I subbed out the invisible zipper for a lapped zipper. I really think an invisible zipper would look best, but I was concerned that I would have trouble with the bulk of the denim+invisible zipper. A lapped zipper doesn’t look terrible, although I wouldn’t necessarily say it looks great, either.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Look how good the butt fits, though! I should also point out here that I widened the waistband so it would cover my navel – this was easy, instead of cutting 1 waistband and folding it in half, I cut two and sewed them together at the top. Next time, I will opt for a curved waistband instead (this one is straight), as I find the straight doesn’t hug my curves as well. Just a personal preference!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Personal fitting woes aside, these are REALLY cute. I love all the topstitching, it really highlights the cool yoke and pocket detailing.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Peter & The Wolf Pants

For sitting through this giant long post, here are some pictures of me swatting away the skeeters.

Peter & The Wolf Pants
Peter & The Wolf Pants
HAHAHAHAHA

In all seriousness, though! I know this post sounded like a big Debbie Downer review, but I do really love these pants! Slim-fit, stretch pants like these can require a bit of tweaking to get the fit right (remember the everyone’s personal saga with the Colette Clovers?), but it’s worth it in the end, as you can crank these out over and over once the fitting adjustments are done. Which is what I plan on doing – wool cigarette pants for winter, please! Hey, maybe I’ll even find some dotty fabric ;)

Peter & The Wolf Pants

PS – My top is McCall’s 4488, an old make from last year.

Completed: Another Kelly Skirt, In Denim!

15 Apr

Let me just start off by saying I LOVE this Kelly skirt pattern. It’s incredibly simple – 5 pieces, and the skirt sections are nice and rectangular (which is magical when it comes time to make flat pattern alterations, especially to the length). Easy and fun to sew, and super duper flattering. I love it and I want to make its babies.

Denim Kelly Skirt

And I love my denim version – I really really do – but DAMN GIRL we got off to a rough start :(

Denim Kelly Skirt

I bought this denim at Mood while I was NY (I’m starting to sound like a broken record… sorry! I told you I bought a lot of shit while I was there, deeeal with it haha). While I can’t tell you exactly what it is so you can find some for yourself (although George might, he found it and squirreled it away for me because he is awesome), I can say that it is a lovely light/medium weight, dark dark denim with no stretch. The color is super rich, and it has a nice body without being super heavy and stiff. Also, I bought like 3 yards of it. Expect more denim-wear, aha :)

Denim Kelly Skirt

So, like I said – this is the Kelly skirt. I made this lil’ dude before in corduroy. I wanted to make this immediately after that silk near-disaster, as something easy and mindless that didn’t require a lot of focus. Plus, my wardrobe was desperately missing a denim skirt, as my faithful denim Ginger is just way too big for me to continue wearing at this point. Kill two birds with one stone? Don’t mind if I do!

Denim Kelly Skirt

Well, I don’t know what I did wrong here, but the making of this skirt was a HOT MESS from practically beginning to end! You can’t tell from the finished skirt, because it’s awesome (and I’m totally tooting my own horn here, dgaf. toot, toot), but there was lots of screaming and cussing during the process. I know, I cuss even when I’m thrilled with how things are going – but I’ve never cussed AT my machine until this. Sorry, Nina :\

Denim Kelly Skirt

My biggest issue was that top stitching thread. My machine was NOT having it, and kept throwing fits at me every time I tried to sew. If you think the topstitching looks good – well, that’s because I ripped out out several times. I had a lot of practice at that point! Good thing denim is forgiving when you hit it with the steam iron, because I had a big ol’ denim needle and everything. The machine just kept flipping it’s shit over the thread – I had to use all-purpose (aka, regular) thread in the bobbin, which caused the tension to freak out in a major way. I probably spent about an hour fussing over the bobbin tension, trying different threads and needles and changing the numbers and… ugh. That was the biggest issue. I was so concerned, I actually asked the Bernina store if my machine was behaving normally or if I needed to take her in for a check-up. General consensus was that the machine was being finicky due to the thread, that these things happen, and next time I should try a topstitching needle (me: oooh, those exist?!).

Denim Kelly Skirt

So, I spent foreeeeever messing with that, and ripping seams and restitching and re-ripping, and finally I had my waistband on – topstitched and everything. I put the skirt around my waist to check the fit. Uhmm… I know my last skirt was a tiny bit big, so I sliced off just the tiniest bit of size for this time… and it was TOO SMALL. Like, a good half-inch smaller than my actual waist measurement. Wtf?! I don’t know what I did, but I must’ve fucked it up somewhere. I also couldn’t let the waistband out at the seam allowances because I’d aggressively clipped the corners for when I turned them out :X

Denim Kelly Skirt

In the end, I unpicked the old one and cut a new waistband. It wasn’t too painful to do – especially with that steam press interfacing fusing masterpiece I now have. YEP. I also ripped out one of the front plackets and sewed it slightly narrower, to give the skirt a little bit of extra room up top.

Denim Kelly Skirt

I also had problems with my button holes. The machine just wasn’t having it… especially when I tried to make them vertical. I ripped out 4 button holes before I just let them be horizontal. I also had problems with top stitching the hem, but I won’t get into that. I can just be an idiot sometimes.

Denim Kelly Skirt

After seam-ripping my button holes open, I don’t really like the way the threads are hanging out there everywhere. So sloppy! Soooo, I bought myself a button hole cutter. FANCY. I can’t wait to use it!

Denim Kelly Skirt

You may notice that I didn’t have enough buttons – the pattern calls for 7, I had 6. I compensated by only putting one on the waistband, and sewing a hook and eye below it so it wouldn’t gape.

Denim Kelly Skirt

The topstitching did turn out nice in the end, after MUCH finagling. Just a little tip – when you’re topstitching, increase the stitch length slightly (for me, I go from 2.5 to 3). It makes for a prettier stitch :)

Denim Kelly Skirt

And hey, here’s a little surprise – polka dot in the pockets! This is the same Marc Jacobs fabric I used for my Miette wrap skirt.

Denim Kelly Skirt

One last thing – remember when I said I only had 6 buttons for this skirt? Wellllll, I was trying to jump on Landon’s back and unfortunately I broke the bottom button. Haha! I mean, split the shank and everything. So now I only have 5. If the hem stitching looks mis-matched, it’s because I pinned the skirt together at the bottom for the pictures and I didn’t do quite a good job. I promise that shit actually matches… I spent a good 45 minutes futzing with it, you know ;) OH, and in case you were wondering… that is totally an original Stray Cats shirt, and it is totally awesome.

This will be great for Me-Made-May – I LIVED in my denim Ginger last summer. So glad we can finally be reunited, even if it’s a different pattern :)

Me Made May – Week 2 Roundup

11 May

I know what you’re thinking – two posts in one day? Is the world really in the process of ending? Is Jesus coming back (no, actually, that was supposed to happen last May, except we all know SOMEONE didn’t bother to show up to his own damn party)? At any rate, I hope y’all love meee because you’re going to have to look at my mug twice today, teehee.

I left off last Friday, so we’ll pick this up starting Saturday!

5-5
5/5
Dress: BOMBSHELL
Shoes: Steve Madden
Excuse my disgusting sewing room floor, I hate vacuuming!
Ooh, but see my iPhone!? Landon bought me an early birthday present! He is the best :) I’m on Instagram now if you want to follow me :)

5-6
5/6
Dress: Simplicity 4170
Cowboy Boots: courtesy of my mom’s closet :)
Necklace: Fire Finch, here in Nashville
This is actually the very first dress I made with a pattern – so it’s super pre-blog (I think I made this in 2006). Don’t get too terribly excited about how good it looks, though – the original bodice was total shit – I didn’t line it, didn’t gather under the bust (lolwut), inserted the zipper rather terribly by hand, etc. The bodice you see now is what happened after I learned some skills 6 months later, ripped it off, and re-made. It’s still kind of amateur looking, but that’s ok!

5-7
5/7
Dress: Vogue 1086
Cardigan: Thrifted, reconstructed by me
Belt: Handmade
Necklace: Thrifted bracelet, reconstructed into a necklace by me
Shoes: Target

5-8
5/8
Top: Jalie 2921
Skirt: Express
Sweater: Free People, sized down quite a bit by me (it’s supposed to be loose-fitting)
Shoes: Steve Madden

5-9
5/9
Top: Simplicity 4400
Skirt: Thrifted, sized down & repaired (the shirring at the waistband was completely busted so I sewed in new elastic… does this count as Me-Made?)
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Jessica Simpson
Earrings: Thrifted
The light was really bad that morning, so here you get to see the side & crawl space of my ugly house!

5-10
5/10
Top: Sewaholic Renfrew
Skirt: Colette Ginger
Cardigan: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted
Feather Earrings: Tennessee Renaissance Festival
Shoes: Giani Bernini

5-11
5/11 (today!)
Top: Jalie 2921
Trousers: Vogue 2925
Shoes: Walmart (lol yep)
Scarf: Flea market

If you don’t recognize my top, that’s because it’s very new & very un-blogged! This top was actually the whole reason why I bought the Jalie pattern – I thought it looked quite similar to Colette’s Jasmine pattern, except in a nice knit instead of bias-cut woven. I’m not going to make a separate post for this top, just because I would basically be repeating my last one, but I will go over the minor pattern changes I made:
– I shortened the neck ties quite drastically. I can’t give you a real measurement – I just put on the pink top, pinned the ties until I liked the length, and copied that to my pattern piece.
– Instead of arranging the ties as suggested by the pattern (through a hole in the front seam, tied, or fastened with a buckle), I wrapped a small piece of matching bias tape around them & sewed it into place by hand.
– Took in a little bit at the side seams to make it more fitted.
– Shortened the sleeves to cap sleeves.
– Top-stitched the hem & sleeve hems with a double needle in matching blue thread.

I am rather pleased with the result! Although, it is quite sailor-y so I definitely run the risk of looking really costume-y… I think I kind of look costume-y in this outfit, actually, but IDGAF.

Oh, I should probably talk about that ADORABLE dog standing behind me… that’s Turtle :) She is the dog of my bestie/life partner, Morgan (the one who moved to Macedonia!). Her mother is keeping Turtle while Morgan is fulfilling her time at the Peace Corps. Anyway, she’s actually out of town visiting Morgan, & the originaly dogsitter had some medical problems so I’m taking care of the dogs for her until then! I just love Turtle, she’s such a little sweetie (and Percy, the other dog, was lounging on the steps directly behind my camera FYI :) I’ll try to get a picture of her at some point). This also explains why I’m suddenly standing in an area with an amazing garden backdrop – it’s her house! And look – you can see my little truck in the background :)

Me & Turtle :)
Man, I love this dog. She’s such a ham.

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