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Completed: Jenny Overall Shorts

29 Aug

I’m just gonna go out and say it now: these pictures are shitty, but I’m posting them anyway. Considering how long it took me to even get photos in the first place, lord knows I’m not gonna make the effort to re-shoot them. Sorry, not sorry!

Also, if you’re seeing this post twice – that’s because I mistakingly published it yesterday, realized my error, and immediately deleted it. I wasn’t going to say anything at all (honestly it’s an embarrassing mistake) but I’ve gotten several comments and emails expressing concern, so I wanted to clarify. The error post yesterday was meant for the Mood Sewing Network. I was just typing it in my blog because I like the format better, and unfortunately I hit the wrong publish button lol. Oops! If you already read the other one, I would still suggest reading this one as well because both posts are different – and this one has more (shitty) photos ! Ok that is all!

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

So these are the Jenny Overalls from Closet Case Patterns – one of many, many overall patterns that are currently available. I’ll be the first to admit it – I haven’t been a big fan of the current overall trend (“current” being the key word here – 90s-era Lauren definitely had a pair of denim overall shorts with Mickey Mouse embroidered peeking out of the pocket. God, I loved those things. Wore them with my purple Looney Toons baseball cap and my Adidas slides with white Tommy Hilfiger socks. You’re welcome for that mental image). In fact, when this pattern first came out – my initial reaction was “meh.” Everyone who was at my weekend workshop in Alexandria VA can attest to that, ha! I received a copy of the pattern from Heather, but truly I was more interested in the pants than anything that has a bib attached to it.

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

So what changed? Honestly… I blame Heather. Shortly after the pattern release, she posted an ass-load of photos of her galavanting all over London & Stockholm in her cropped Jenny Overalls. Every outfit looked rad as shit, and I eventually swayed my overall stance. I think my biggest issue is that overalls seem very utilitarian – which really is not a look I typically go for. This specific pattern is more 1940’s Rosie the Riveter glam, with a high waist and wide legs. Make them out of something other than denim, and they seem pretty sleek. I was willing to give it a go!

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

For this pair, I went with the shorts version although in hindsight I kind of wish I’d made the cropped legs (more on that in a minute). I cut a size 4 at the waist, grading out to a 6 at the hip. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may notice a size discrepancy here – I pretty much exclusively make a size 2 in Closet Case Patterns. Well, my measurements have always been right between the 2 and 4, so I simply sized down instead of up. Aaaaand the 30s are hitting hard, which means I’ve gained a little bit of weight! Just enough that I needed to go up a size – and in the case of my hips and thighs, 2 sizes. Just a head’s up! The sizing on this pattern is still pretty consistent; MY size in particular has been the inconsistent one!

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Rather than use denim, I used Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics as my main fabric. Again, if you’ve followed my blog for a long time you are probably aware that I LOOOOVE this fabric. It’s the best! A great bottomweight, 60″ wide, available in an array of great colors… and less than $15/yard? YES, SIGN ME THE FUCK UP. I can also personally vouch that this stuff washes and wears beautifully. So it was a no-brainer that I opted to use it for this particular project.

As far as construction goes… not too much to report on this particular make. The instructions are great, easy to follow, and I really found this project to be super satisfying to work on. It’s similar to making a nice pair of jeans – lots of pressing and topstitching, and working with an easy fabric. I didn’t make any fit or construction adjustments to the pattern, other than (accidentally) using too long of a zipper. The only thing I’m not crazy about is how bulky the seam allowances are by the zipper – once you factor in pockets, the lap over the zipper ends up pretty thick. I don’t think swapping out for buttons would change that, and I’d rather have the pockets and just deal with bulk, so it’s not a big deal I guess.

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

So… as for the verdict? Well, they did turn out really cute! Every time I wear these out, I get loads of compliments. I think the dark color and subtle topstitching do help to make these look a little less farmer-y (you do you, but personally I do not want to look like a farmer), and the high waist and comfortably loose leg are definitely chic. I like that the bib is proportionally small, and that the straps cross over. All in all, it’s a nice look.

But… is it a look for me? Not really. I feel kind of uncomfortable in them, to be honest. The fit itself isn’t uncomfortable – the sizing includes an appropriate amount of ease, although I will say that I’m not used to wearing anything quite this fitted at my waist these days (with no stretch whatsoever), so that has taken some getting used to! I also feel weirdly overheated when I wear these if it’s super hot outside, so I can’t wear them if it’s higher than, say, 85 degrees (aka most of the summer in Tennessee). I don’t know why the addition of that bib makes them feel unbearable in the heat, but it’s a thing! Which is why I wish I’d made mine with longer legs – I think they’d be more practical, as I could just wear them in cooler weather. Finally, it has been surprisingly hard to style these. Since they are fitted and high-waisted, they really only work with tight or cropped tops. Anything loose- even if you tuck it in – just looks kind of weird in my opinion. I realize there are lots of tight top patterns out there (including Nettie!), but I don’t have any in my wardrobe as, again, I don’t like wearing tight things in the heat! Pretty much the *only* thing I own that looks good with these is the shirt I’m wearing in these photos – a Papercut Patterns SJ Tee.

Were I to make these again, I’d do the longer version and cut the waistband on the crossgrain so there’s a bit more stretch. Styling-wise, I actually do wear pretty fitted tops the rest of the year so that wouldn’t be a problem.

Organic Twill Jenny Overalls

Overall (lol see what I did there), I do like this pattern and the resulting overalls are pretty cute! The jury is still out on if I really feel sartorially comfortable wearing these, so I’m giving them a few more goes before I make a decision. I’m glad I made them because I did enjoy the experience, and if I decide to pass them on I’m sure someone else will love wearing them 🙂

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

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Tropical Print Chair Cushions (aka boring home decor sewing)

31 Jul

Hello everyone! I’m back again with my annual ONE boring home decor sewing project for the year!

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

When I moved into this place last year, one of the biggest perks was the amazing porch that takes up an entire side of the house! Situated in the perfect spot to catch a good cross-breeze, and shaded by several walnut trees at the peak of summer, it is a seriously cool area (both literally and figuratively) to hang out in. I love sitting out here, whatever the reason – while working in in the morning, while having cocktails with friends, I even use this space to clip my cat’s nails (she loves it haha). Real talk, I am sitting on this very porch right now writing this blog post hahaha.

I brought this patio set (originally from IKEA – here is the table & the chairs)) with me when I moved here – it’s a bit small, as it was originally intended for a MUCH smaller space. Anyway, I have been wanting to add chair cushions to make them a little more comfortable. Since the seats are very small, I couldn’t find any cushions that fit – plus, outdoor cushions are expensive! I figured I’d make my own, which set me on a looong quest to find that perfect outdoor cushion fabric. That fabric ended up being this Sunbrella Fusion Tropics Jungle Leafy Jacquard from Mood Fabrics (surprisingly, still in stock!). I’m loving this botanical vibe that’s currently taking over home design, and this fabric is one of the best ones I’ve seen! Since it’s an outdoor-suitable home decor fabric, I knew it would stand up to the sun, wind, and rain. At $42 a yard, this fabric certainly isn’t cheap – but it’s wide, so even a yard goes a long way.

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

I bought some inexpensive upholstery foam from Walmart and used the seat measurements to make a very basic pattern (basically 2 big rectangles, then 4 smaller rectangles to go around it). I wanted a cushion cover that would box around the entire block of foam, with a zipper at the back so I could remove it to wash if needed. The foam I used is quite thin, so I doubled it for a cushier chair pad. The metal zippers were pulled from my stash.

I debated on whether or not to pre-wash the fabric before sewing – ultimately, I decided against it. The fabric is polyester, so I don’t think it runs the risk of shrinking. That being said, it does fray like CRAZY (seriously, my studio was covered with little green hairs after this project), so I serged every single seam before attaching pieces together. I don’t sew a lot of home decor projects, so I want the ones I do manage to make to last!

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

To attach the cushions to the chairs (mainly so they don’t fly off during a windy day!), I added long velcro strips that wrap around the metal parts of the chair. In retrospect, I’m not crazy about how this looks – I may take those out and replace them with self-fabric ties. But they are functional for now. I had also considered getting fancy and adding piping around the seams, but, again, real talk – that shit was never gonna get finished if I kept upping the ante. Basic and boring is about all I can manage these days.

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

And that’s pretty much it for this project! Short and sweet, pretty simple, but a nice touch to my outdoor space! I actually finished these a couple of months ago and they have been living on my porch since then – through Tennessee summer storms and crazy sunshine (although my porch is pretty shaded, so not *that* much sunshine), and you can see how well the fabric has held up! The colors are still nice and bright, and the cushions have avoided stains. I will bring these inside when winter comes, of course, but they are great for staying out all summer long.

Writing this post made me realize that I have been in this house for a solid year now, and still haven’t shared my new studio! I finally got around to taking photos over the weekend, so I’ll be sharing those soon 🙂

Chair Cushions made with Mood FabricsSoooo then – who’s coming over for a cocktail?!

 

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own 🙂

Completed: Scuba Watson Bra + Bikini Set

26 Jun

I can pretty practical when it comes to sewing garments – I’ve figured out what I will and won’t wear, and stick with those styles & colors pretty consistently across the board (save for the occasional wild hair because YOLO). However, this goes completely out the window when it comes to making lingerie.

Me: I should really make some neutral bras, almost all my summer clothe are see-through.
Also Me:

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

ha! I realize there is a trend right now of wearing your underwear as outerwear, and while I did not sew this set with that intention in mind, I will certainly mostly definitely be following it. Because, again, YOLO. btw, sorry about the YOLO.

In all seriousness, though, I actually do need some new bras in my wardrobe. Most of the stuff I sewed in the past has gotten quite ratty and stretched out, and definitely needs to be replaced. I also appear to have gone up a cup size (wah), so they don’t quite fit right, either. It seems really silly to have the ability to make beautiful underwear and yet still be wearing the faded/ratty pieces that give me quadboob, so I’m slowly trying to fix that.

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Sooo, this fabric! This is the Italian Red & Orange Floral Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics. I’ve been creeping on this fabric for a minute now (it’s actually still available if you want to creep, too!) but I honestly don’t like the way Scuba feels and didn’t have any interest in sewing anything out of it. It seems that the thickness and body of Scuba – aka, the two features that people enjoy the most – were everything I did not want in a fabric. Eventually, the creeping got to me and I decided to buy a yard and see what I could figure out.

You know what works splendidly with this fabric? Lingerie. There’s enough stretch for comfort (assuming you are making a pattern that requires stretch), and the additional thickness means you get a little extra coverage. So I decided to make a Watson Bra & Bikini set with this fabric. If you look at the product listing for the fabric, you’ll see that the floral design is fairly large scale, which means it got chopped up to make the cup pieces for the bra. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like that; turns out I LOVE it. It turns this decidedly floral style into something more abstract and a bit painterly. I think it’s very pretty!

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

I did have to do a bit of testing to figure out the best way to sew this scuba – needle choice is very important, otherwise you’ll get skipped stitches (and there is a lot of topstitching here, so I definitely wanted to avoid that). I actually tried every single needle in my arsenal before determining that the 70/10 Jersey needle (not stretch, not ballpoint) was the way to go. After that – it was pretty smooth sailing! I don’t know how well Scuba does or does not press, but you don’t have to press it for lingerie (hence all the topstitching) so that wasn’t an issue.

I’ve made this pattern numerous times before, so nothing new to report on that end. I did go up a cup size, which means I sewed a 30E for this piece. I lined the entire bra with lightweight power mesh – this isn’t necessary (the scuba is comfortable enough on it’s own), but I like the clean interior finish. The bridge is also lined with sheer cup lining under the power mesh, for added support. All elastics are from my stash; likely mostly from Pacific Trimming or Tailor Made Shop. I kept all the elastic white except under the arms, which is orange (just cos a little to get a little wild sometimes).

Oh, I also made some matching underwear, too!

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

I am making it a point to sew 1-2 pairs of underwear with each bra that I make – so that I actually have matching sets (and stop complaining internally that my lingerie doesn’t match). I did cut two pairs here, but I wasn’t careful about pattern placement and the other pair looked like there was a flower exploding out of my butt. So. Scrapped that one, will revisit later haha. The underwear is single-layer scuba (no power mesh), except for the crotch lining, which is 100% organic cotton (cos I’m a fancy bitch). Again, all white elastics.

AND A BONUS HERE’S ANOTHER WATSON I MADE:

Spandex Watson Set

AKA my attempt at pretending I was going to sew something neutral (this dusty rose is pretty neutral on me, fyi). It all went great until I decided to add black elastics 😛

So I actually bought this fabric from Spandex House back in March – it’s just a basic, I dunno, spandex knit – in order to sew some underwear. I had just bought the Joan bra from Agent Provocateur and was considering the matching underwear, except they were slightly uncomfortable, very unflattering (on me) and also $60 and you know what, let’s not. So I took my bra to Spandex House and found the exact same spandex, figuring I’d sew my own matching underwear for WAY less than $60/pair. Which I did, but I also decided to make this non-neutral Watson bra, too!

Spandex Watson Set

Spandex Watson Set

So yep, there’s that. Same 30E, but the regular (not longline) version. Lined with matching powermesh (also from Spandex House), with black elastics and topstitching. It’s… neutral-ish. I like it! 🙂

Spandex Watson Set

The matching underwear is unlined and finished with black foldover elastic.

Next up – I need to make some underwired bras in my new cup size, and realistically at least one needs to be neutral. I am hoping to combat the beige boredom by finding a pretty lace to compensate, and sewing it up in the Berkeley Bra pattern. Stay tuned!

**Note: The floral scuba knit was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All other patterns, notions, and spandex were purchased by me, though!

Completed: Black Merino Wool Joni Dress

31 May

Well, I definitely made a wool dress and here are photos of me modeling it in 90 degree heat.

Merino Joni Dress

To be somewhat gentle on myself, I started (and finished) this dress when there was still a bit of a chill in the air. I didn’t think to take photos until the other day, and even by 8AM it was solidly hot and humid outside. Case in point: I curled my hair about 15 minutes prior. Can you tell? Nope!

This isn’t even my worst offense when it comes to seasonally-inappropriate garments… I still have a (truly fabulous) coat that hasn’t made it’s rounds yet. I even took photos, but I just looked at them and am pretty sure they need to be retaken. But probably not until next year because LOOOOL Y’ALL IT BE HOT OUTSIDE.

Merino Joni Dress

Anyway, I posted a dress so I’ll talk about the dress! This is the Joni Dress from the new Tilly & the Buttons book, Stretch! – it is also the same dress Tilly is wearing on the cover. While the twisty front looks complicated (I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t feel a LITTLE intimidated to start sewing it! We all get our weird cold feet sewing hang-ups from time to time!), it is deceptively simple! This is a book designed to introduce beginner sewists to working with knits, after all!

Anyway, what I liked about this dress – other than that twisty goodness – was the fitted shape with the swirly skirt. I have seen a lot of knit patterns with the twisted detail (JFC how many more times am I gonna say twist in this post I’m so sorry), but not many with the very fitted look in conjunction. I like, I like!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

As I said, sewing this dress up was pretty easy. There’s a little bit of stay-stitching, a clever twist (sorry), and then your basic knit fabric sewing construction. The waist has a length of elastic sewn to it to keep the skirt from drooping over time, which is a feature I always appreciate in a knit dress. The neckline is finished with a self fabric facing, which gets topstitched down. I used a serger to sew most of the dress, except that facing part – the first time I tried that, it was too damn bulky! So I seam ripped it out and started over, using a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch to attach the pieces. This made for a much smoother and less bulky finish. Other than that, really straightforward for the most part. I added the little elastic runching to the sleeves (a hack option outlined in the book) and let the skirt hang for a couple of days before hemming, which I used my coverstitch to do. Oh, and I made a size 2 with no other fit adjustments (including length).

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

A little chat about the fabric now: wool, huh? Yeah baby THIS IS MERINO WOOL! Or, specifically, merino/bamboo jersey – and it is DREAMY. I found it on the Mood Fabrics website, which has delighted to me to no end. You may or may not know my love for merino – it’s been a hot minute since I had my hands on a piece to sew up. I love merino for it’s warmth and breathability, that it’s anti-microbial, and machine washable. It is my dream fabric and I’d probably use it for nearly every knit I make (at least in the winter), but unfortunately it can be a bit cost-prohibitive. The stuff I found at Mood Fabrics is still a little high at $30/yard, however, it’s here in the US so at least there are no international shipping fees to deal with (in the past, most of my merino came from New Zealand!). There’s not a huge color selection available on their website at the moment, but, y’all know I dress like a tragic goth in the winter so black is totally fine with me!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

This merino is pretty lightweight, with a lovely drape and a nice soft hand. Mood’s website says that it is slightly translucent, but idk I’m wearing this with some pretty neon undergarments and you can’t see through shit – so take that as you will. It was very easy to work with – reasonably stable (as much as 4 way stretch jersey knits can be, anyway) and it did not curl when I cut it. I only had a chance to wear this dress twice before it got too hot, but I look forward to snuggling back up in it again when the weather allows! It is super comfortable and I think it looks pretty good!

Merino Joni Dress

Here’s a terribly overblown photo so you can see a little more detail.

Merino Joni Dress

That’s all for this dress! I’ve love to have a summer version – maybe made up in a patterned (or striped!) knit – but I’m trying to be realistic about how many clothes I truly *need* in my closet. So we’ll see if that actually happens or not. And, as a side note – yes, I got bangs again! Felt tired of looking at my face and decided to change up my look 🙂

** Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!

Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

1 May

Here we have a tale of fabric bought wrong, then made right. Gather round, my children.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I bought this french terry from Mood Fabrics on a whim back in September. I usually swatch fabrics before ordering online – even with my knowledge of fabric and fibers, you can still be surprised by texture, hand, and color – but sometimes I get a little wild and order shit blindly. It usually works out fine, but every now and then it can backfire. Guess what happened here.

So, the french terry – it’s a glazed french terry from Helmut Lang (since sold out, yo’re welcome), which I figured would be great because 1. Helmut Lang is always expensive; and 2. It’s fucking french terry, how could you go wrong?

This, this is how you go wrong. This is one of the weirdest fabrics I’ve ever received from Mood. It was stiff and kind of scratchy, remarkably similar to how your bath towel feels when you dry it on a clothesline. I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I was really disappointed that I wasted part of my allowance buying it, because I absolutely hated it. The color was nice, but color doesn’t mean anything if the fabric itself scratches you when you touch it.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I did try washing the fabric multiple times to see if perhaps there was a sizing on it (or if the glaze has something to do with it?) that would be removed and thus soften it – but no matter what I did (hot water, cold water, different detergents, high dryer heat, etc), it didn’t change the hand of the fabric. I stuck it on my shelf and tried to figure out if there was something I could do with it. I don’t back down from a challenge, but sometimes I have to roll a problem around in my head for a minute before I come up with a solution.

During this time, I was sent an advance copy of Tilly’s newest book, Stretch! (hello, hi, that’s an affiliate link). I love most of the patterns and projects in that book, and the one that really stuck out the most to me was the Stella Hoodie pattern. I am not a huge fan of the athleisure trend, so the joggers were a bit lost on me (it’s fine if you wear them, but those are PJs are far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wear PJs in public), but I looooooved the pictures of the hoodie lengthened into a dress! I thought my weird french terry might work with that pattern – and, at the very least, it would probably function great as a swimsuit coverup.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I made the size 2 of this, based on my measurements and the suggested size from the book. I don’t remember how much length I added, whatever the book suggested (probably 8″ or 10″ – and then I cut some of it off when it came time for hemming). I did simplify mine a bit from the book – rather than line the hood and the pocket, I just turned under the seam allowances and stitched them down. The whole thing was sewn on my serger, other than the button holes (which my machine had no problem sewing, although I did back them with a little piece of fusible interfacing first), and the hems were done on my coverstitch machine. This fabric was very, very, very easy to work with – stable, not at all shifty of curly, and only shed a little bit when cut. It pressed nicely, which was great for getting those sharp hems.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I originally envisioned a black drawstring for the hood, but red was all I had on hand. I actually like it! It’s a nice little sporty pop of color. God, I sound annoying.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

If you’re curious about my leggings – they are the Virginia leggings, made ages ago (in 2015, I think). My fabric is a wool knit from Paron in NYC. And those white lines are mock flatlocking done with my serger (where you sew the two layers together and pull them apart, or whatever it says to do in the instruction book I honestly I don’t remember haha) – which I 100% did because I didn’t have enough yardage to cut full length legs, so they had to be pieced. I added additional piecing so it would look intentional. It actually, in retrospect, looks kind of stupid, but honestly I usually wear these as long underwear so whatever I don’t care.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

So that’s about it for this little dress! I actually quite like how it turned out – despite being apprehensive up until the very last minute of hemming. It’s cute and sporty and I feel cute in it. I think it will make for a good swimsuit coverup – but it also works as a cute little dress. As much as I didn’t like the fabric when receiving it, it works really well for this garment since it hold its structured shape. And since the garment is not close-fitting, the fabric isn’t scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. A very pleasant surprise!

In other news, if you’re still holding out for a good french terry, may I recommend this french terry from Mood Fabrics. I got a few yards of this and it is GREAT – super soft, super stretchy, super drapey, super bamboo (yas bamboo). Plus it comes in tons of colors!

**Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I also received the Stretch! book from Tilly & the Buttons as a gift, but was under no obligation to post a project from it (I just really like the book!). All opinions, as always, are my own!

Completed: The Hampton Jean Jacket

27 Mar

I actually finished this project months ago – like, as in, 2017. Took the photos in mid-November, and then started this blog draft at the end of that month. I have no idea why I never finished writing it up, but… better late than never, I suppose?

Hampto Jean Jacket

At any rate, despite my apparent reluctance to post this project, I am actually pretty happy and excited about it! I love me a good denim jacket, and have always considered it a wardrobe staple for the way I dress. My style has changed a lot over the years – in my teens I was ~punk rock~ (insert hysterical laughter in hindsight yere), in my 20s I was really into vintage, and now I tend to dress just pretty boring overall (I like to think I look “classic,” but let’s be real – it’s boring AF, whatever, don’t care). With all those style changes, the humble denim jacket has always held a special place in my heart and a leading role in my wardrobe.

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I think it’s safe to say that there are lots of people who feel the same way as I do about the versatility of a denim jacket, however, it’s been hard to find a sewing pattern that includes all the features you see in one (such as the welt pockets, or a sleeve placket). I have made the Staci Jean jacket in the past, but it wasn’t quite up to par – the fit was more generous than what I prefer, and it really bothered me that it didn’t have actual pockets. I ended up not getting a lot of wear out of that jacket and later donating it.

The Hampton Jean Jacket is a great pattern that includes all the features I like in a jean jacket – those welt pockets, functional in-panel pockets with a top flap, a two-piece sleeve with a placket and cuff, and front and back yokes. Sewn up in a denim fabric with contrast topstitching and metal jeans buttons, it’s almost indistinguishable from the RTW versions you see in stores (almost, but just a little bit better – because it’s handmade by meeeee 🙂 haha). I love that someone took the time to create this pattern, and y’all, it’s a good one. Not that the Style Arc Staci jacket is a bad one, but it’s very basic and lacking compared to this one. This was exactly the type of pattern I have been looking for to fill this hole in my wardrobe.

I bought my denim at Mood Fabrics when I was in NYC last year – specifically for this jacket (sometimes I buy for specific projects, sometimes I just stash… but in this case, it was indeed for this pattern). I wanted something that was a good weight for a jacket, although not too heavy, and with little to no stretch. I found this piece in the denim section of Mood (on the bottom floor) and I just love the dark indigo wash. I originally thought about distressing and bleaching the fabric, but ended up just sticking with what you see here (apparently you are supposed to distress before topstitching… so yeah, that wasn’t happening). As with all denims, this fabric should soften and fade as it is washed and worn, which I’m looking forward to seeing. In the meantime, I do like the way it looks now, too!

The pattern looks complicated, but it’s pretty easy to follow. Sewing a jean jacket is pretty similar to sewing jeans – minus the obvious difference between the two articles of clothing (like, you don’t sew a fly front in the jacket and you don’t set a sleeve in jeans.. or maybe you do, I ain’t here to judge your life), just a lot of flat felled seams and topstitching. Y’all know I fucking LOVE making jeans, but I also have way too many pairs as it is, so this was a nice way to get that jeans-making experience without adding yet another pair to my wardrobe. Instead, I managed to fill a gap at the same time! I love it when that happens!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I waffled for a bit on what size to cut – my measurements are closer to a 2, but I ended up making the size 0 after comparing the finished measurements to an existing RTW denim jacket I own and like the fit of. I wanted this one to be a slim fit that looks great both opened and closed (I rarely ever wear my denim jacket buttoned unless I’m like, actually cold or something, however, I needed to make sure there was enough space to close it if it came down to it!). My only complaint about the sizing is how the sleeve length is measured – for whatever reason, it’s measured from the top of the shoulder to the bottom, instead of at the underarm. This led me to originally believe that the sleeve was something crazy like 5″ too long, and I actually altered the pattern and nearly cut it before I thought to actually compare the pattern piece to a different sleeve pattern piece. I was under the impression that the standard is to measure from the underarm to wrist (like what is basically your arm inseam), but now I’m second-guessing myself and thinking maybe I’m the nutty one? Thoughts?

Anyway, like I said – this pattern is really easy to follow. It’s obvious that a lot of thought when into the instructions; they are clear, easy to understand and follow, and the diagrams are beautifully done. There is also a sewalong on the blog if you do happen to get stuck, although it seems like it’s basically a photographed copy of the instructions (i.e., no additional information or tips, just the exact same instructions except with photographs to guide you). I found the sizing to be accurate and the pieces fit well together. I don’t know much about Alina Design Company, however, this was a very pleasant first experience so I am happy about that!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

For sewing, not much different than sewing jeans. I used a 90/14 denim needle, navy all purpose polyester thread to construct, and a lightweight topstitching thread for all the topstitching – Mara 70 from Wawak, which Jennifer introduced me to a couple years ago during one of our jeans workshops. It’s heavier than regular all-purpose thread – which is 100wt – but not as heavy as traditional topstitching thread – which is typically around 30wt. It still looks nice and thick so your stitches really stand out, but it’s not so thick that it causes your machine to jam or nest, and it is very easy to thread through a standard needle. If you’ve been having issues with topstitching thread, I really recommend trying this weight!

I tried to finish most of my seams with flat-felled seams, but a few (such as the front yoke seam and the armscye seam) had to be serged and topstitched for a mock flat-fell. My RTW denim jacket is like this – a combination of flat-felled and mock flat-felled, and this is all explained in the instructions as well. I washed and dried the denim on the hottest setting a few times before cutting, and have washed it more than necessary since finishing to get it to soften up a little bit more. I know it’ll fade with time, I just want to speed that time up 🙂

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

My only complaint with the pattern is that I think it is lacking some necessary interfacing. There is interfacing at the button placket, sleeve cuff, and bottom band – and that’s it. No interfacing at the in-panel pockets or flaps (which have buttons and button holes, so they *should* be interfaced – at least with a little square where the aforementioned buttons and button holes are), or on the back tabs where, again, there are button holes. I was able to add these in before closing up those areas, but I am a little surprised that they were included with the instructions, especially considering how in-depth the entire pattern is as a whole. One thing I did like was that the collar is not interfaced – you might need to do that if you are using a lighter weight fabric, but for this denim, the weight of the 2 layers of fabric was plenty. I love the way the collar sits!

Hampto Jean Jacket
Anyway, the jacket turned out pretty fucking awesome – if I do say so myself. I think the sleeves could stand to be shortened about 1″, but I usually wear my jacket sleeves rolled up anyway so I’m not terribly concerned about it. The length is perfect for wearing with pants, not so much dresses and skirts (perhaps with something that has a lower waist, but I think the long length paired with a high waist looks unbalanced and a little sloppy – at least on me!). That being said, I already made a second version that is cropped – specifically to wear with dresses and skirts – so watch this space for that!

*Note: The fabrics used in this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. 

Completed: Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt

2 Mar

Ok, so, apologies in advance for posting a really boring sweatshirt today, but, I feel like this post is warranted for two reasons – really awesome fabric, and a previously overlooked version of a pattern.

Honestly, this might be my new favorite fabric at Mood (up there in the ranks with their Bamboo Jersey and Organic Cotton twill). AND they have plenty of colors still in stock (although as of this posting, currently sold out of this particular green – sorry!)! It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

In all seriousness, though, I wanted to really focus on the fabric for this post. I promise it’s a really good one and worth the praise! I found this Moss Bamboo and Cotton Stretch Fleece on the Mood Fabric’s website a few months ago, via swatch (I always take advantage of my free swatches and usually end up throwing random stuff in my cart before I place my order! I have discovered some REALLY cool fabrics that way that I might have otherwise overlooked). I’m not even kidding when I say it’s one of my new favorite fabrics – they have loads of colorways and it’s nice and wide (60″) so you need less yardage.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

The fabric is comprised of 66% bamboo, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. That little bit of spandex is essential for giving the fabric a great stretch with a fabulous recovery. Plus, I really love bamboo fabrics – they are soft, easy to wash and wear, and they are antimicrobial so they have fantastic stink-reducing properties!

This fabric is considered a sweatshirt fleece, meaning it is has one side that is nice and smooth and the opposite side is soft and brushed. Unlike your typical sweatshirt fleece, it’s a slightly lighter weight with a softer drape. It is also a 4 way stretch, which, WEIRDLY (don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you) has more stretch along the grain rather than the crossgrain (if I recall, 40% at the cross grain and something like 80% along the grain). It’s soft (did I mention that it’s soft? Because it is FUCKING SOFT), it snaps back into shape, and it comes in a nice array of colors – what isn’t there to love?

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

This sweatshirt is actually the second garment I made using this fleece – my first garment was a pair of black Virginia leggings. I don’t have any photos of those – let’s be real, they are black leggings and basically impossible to photograph – but I wear them ALL THE TIME (here is a photo on my Instagram – I’d already been wearing them for 3 days at that point haha). Think of your favorite fleece leggings or tights – and then just imagine them in bamboo instead of poly (so no stink and no pilling). Because of the spandex, the fabric doesn’t bag out – meaning no baggy knees or butts. Also, in retrospect – they look pretty much the same as the pants I am wearing (the Cecilia Pant from Elizabeth Suzann – aka my MAGIC PANTS seriously you guys these pants are magical), so maybe I should have just worn the leggings for this photo!

So anyway, about this project! After my success with the leggings, I bought 2 more yards of this hunter green colorway without a real idea of what I wanted to make with it. I knew I wanted a sweatshirt, but a plain sweatshirt seemed like such a cop-out. So I went with the Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt.

I will be completely honest – I did NOT like this particular view of the Fraser when I first saw it (or, to be even more honest – any subsequent versions that I’ve seen since). I dunno, the super contrast yoke just looks unflatteringly Western to me (and I typically love me some Western wear) – very costume-y, very Wonder Woman. I had no intentions of ever sewing up that version (I do like the other versions – you can see the one I made with a collar here), but weirdly, I thought of it when I was trying to decide what to do with this fleece. I thought it might look good with the contrast just being the wrong fuzzy side of the fabric, so the color still matched but there would be some subtle texture differences (again, just like my version with the collar).  I’m actually pretty pleased with the end result – it’s still a nice sweatshirt but with a little more interest… and it doesn’t look costume-y. And I have worn it every day this week, no lie, so obviously it’s a massive success in my book haha.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics
Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

I made a size 0 and slimmed down the hips (Sewaholic Patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, and I’ve found I don’t need the extra room down there). I also cut this on the lengthwise grain, instead of the crossgrain – remember when I said the fabric had more stretch on the lengthwise grain? I think it would work either way, but I wanted a reeeeeally stretchy, comfy sweatshirt! Shortened the sleeves about 1″… they are still slightly long, but in my experience it’s better to keep them long and allow for a little more shrinkage, then re-hem if necessary. I have waaaay too much bracelet-length sleeves as a result of not being aware of this for the first half of my sewing career haha.

I did have to pay careful attention to the stitching at the center front V, as well as matching the sleeve contrast seam to the bodice contrast seam – for those, I based first on my sewing machine (much easier to take the stitches out if you mess it up) before using my serger. I used the single needle chainstitch on my coverstitch machine to topstitch the contrast, to give it a little more dimension. Other than that, a very quick and easy sew! I did notice the the fleece flattens when you press it, but it’s easy to fluff back up with your fingers.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, that’s all for this one! A simple project, but also a big gushy heart-eyes love song about some amazing fabric! Now, quick, y’all need to buy it before I snap up the rest of this stuff! 🙂

** Note: The fabric used for this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!