Tag Archives: denim

Completed: The Kalle Shirtdress

18 Sep

I’ve still got a few more summer projects that I haven’t shared yet, so bear with me here! Although, to be fair – we should be well within the throes of summer heat for at least the next month here (yes, it did warm up again!).

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made this dress a couple of months ago, so what you are seeing a dress that has been worn, washed, and loved quite a bit before taking photos! As a result, it’s probably not as crisp and perfect as it would have looked fresh off the sewing machine – but on the flip, it’s definitely something that I’ve had time to move around in and really get to know fit-wise in ways that might not have been so apparent immediately after finishing it. Plus, you can really see how this fabric looks after several trips through the laundry. For ages, I was firmly in the camp of photos before I wore anything I made, but I’ve really softened up on that lately. This makes more of a delay in posting (since nothing is stopping me from putting that shit on RIGHT AWAY), but I think it can also create more of an honest post, in the sense of seeing how something feels after it’s been worn around a bit.

Also, about these photos – sorry about the dark door background? I did take my tripod outside, but I had one neighbor chopping tree limbs in one yard creepin on me, and another literally sitting on her front porch just straight-up staring at me and it made me way too anxious hahaha. I may need to get something to hang over that door when I take photos (this is the door that leads to the back half of my house – where the bedrooms are – from my living room), but at least the light is pretty!

Chambray Kalle Dress

ANYWAY, back to the dress!!!

This is the Kalle Shirtdress, from Closet Case Patterns. I made view C in a size 2, with no alterations. This one is straight out of the envelope! I was so excited when this pattern came out and my finished dress did not disappoint – I wear it as much as I think I can feasibly get away with! The good thing about dressing kind of bland (simple shapes, solid colors, etc) means that people are less likely to realize you’re repeating an outfit. Or maybe they do and they are too polite to say anything, I dunno and I also kind of don’t care.

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made my dress up in a beautiful, lightweight linen from Mood Fabrics (which apparently is sold out now, sorry!). This fabric is great – it’s light and airy, and almost translucent. It is perfect for those hot summer days when you don’t want anything touching your body. The deep indigo color means that it will also transition nicely into fall – it still looks a bit autumnal, but I won’t be sweating to death in it. Plus, it layers really nicely for those chilly mornings and evenings – it looks great with a cardigan and boots.

I washed my linen three times before cutting it, as I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to shrink at all post-sewing. I believe this also helps keep the linen from wrinkling so much – Carolyn, was it you who told me this? – and I think that may be accurate since this fabric doesn’t really wrinkle much at all now! I’ve worn this dress on all my travels since finishing and it looks great going from suitcase to hanger. I have found that I do need to lightly press the sleeve bands after washing, because they get slightly bunched (probably because the bands aren’t interfaced), but the rest of the dress is fine without any ironing. In these photos, that’s exactly what I did not do. Un-ironed linen dress, y’all!

I finished the insides of my dress with French seams, and topstitched with navy thread. For interfacing, I used this super lightweight fusible interfacing, and then only sparingly – on the button band, upper collar, and outer collar stand – to keep the fabric supported but still soft. The hem is finished with a bias facing, which is an easy way to work with that exaggerated curve. The navy shirt buttons are from Textile Fabrics – and in the true spirit of Textile Fabrics, they are fancy and imported from Italy and cost over $1 each. Ugh. Who knew it was so hard to find navy shirt buttons? Anyway, they look good!

Chambray Kalle Dress

One thing you should know about this dress – it’s not a short dress, but the upper curve of the hem is quite high. And the arm holes are quite low, which means that the dress moves upwards if you need to raise your arms. See how high the dress goes when I reach the sky? Ok, granted – I rarely need to raise my arms *that* high, but it is something to keep in mind! For comparison’s sake, I wear my shorts very very short and only the bottom rose of my leg tattoo sticks out of the hem. If the dress hiked up any higher, you would literally see my underwear. FYI!

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

See how sheer the fabric is? It’s not noticeable when I’m wearing the dress, and also, I wear nude undergarments (nothing patterned).

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I think that’s about all I have to say about this dress! I really love this pattern and I am excited to try the other versions in different fabrics. I also realize that this is like, my fourth chambray/denim shirtdress – but you know what? I don’t care. At least I’ve figured out what I like, I guess πŸ˜›

Chambray Kalle Dress

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

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Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! πŸ™‚

Completed: Denim RosarΓ­ Skirt

3 Jun

Told ya’s I had another RosarΓ­ skirt up my… sleeve? Skirt? Hm.

Denim Rosari Skirt

At any rate, a Big Warm Welcome for version #3! Yay!

Denim Rosari Skirt

Denim Rosari Skirt

Considering this is the third time I’ve sewn (and posted about!) this pattern, there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been covered. This is a RosarΓ­ skirt, size 34, and I made the version A pockets. If you haven’t already figured it out, I luuuurve this pattern β™₯

I should probably point out that all the wrinkles are from a day’s worth of wearing and about 2 hours of driving. Normally I would apologize for how unkempt I look, but gah you guys this is ~the real life~. Also, I always look unkempt. I blame the humidity, but honestly, I’m just lazy enough to not want to spend a bunch of time fussing with my appearance.

Denim Rosari Skirt

Anyway, I made this version using a leftover piece of my Cone Mills Denim (from the kit I bought from Closet Case files last year). I had enough to cut either shorts or a skirt, and decided a skirt was the way to go. This fabric was perfect for the pattern because it’s structured enough to really emphasize the flare, it’s heavy enough to accommodate all those buttons without the band collapsing on itself, and it’s got just enough stretch so the waistband is SUPER DUPER comfy. YES YES Y’ALL.

Denim Rosari Skirt

Denim Rosari Skirt

I’ve been wanting to make a replacement denim skirt for some time now – just something really simple to wear when I want to be casual but need a step away from shorts. Some of the other versions I’ve made in the past have ended up a little too fussy for my current style preferences (like, I really loved my denim Kelly skirt but I am reeeeally over that style right now. And I love the Hummingbird skirt but I rarely wear it because I don’t get a great range of motion with how fitted it is down the legs. I LOVED my denim Ginger, but Current Lauren prefers something shorter. Also, lolz at that old-ass blog post, lord), so it was time to start anew! I like that the waist on this one is really high, so I can wear it with cropped tops. I like the button front, because it definitely makes it look more like a “jeans skirt” (instead of, I dunno, a skirt made out of denim). And I like how short it is. Yay for short skirts.

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I DID make that tshirt. It’s a Renfrew and I used white bamboo jersey to make it. Also lurve this tshirt pattern. Man this post is just full of favs today.

Denim Rosari Skirt

Denim Rosari Skirt

In the interest of keeping things relatively sleek and simple, I opted to use navy denim topstitching and even then only sparingly. I wanted the focus to be on the denim itself, and not the topstitching (although I guess that all flew out the window when I added those big honkin’ silver buttons haha). It’s still a jeans skirt for sure, but it’s a sleek jeans skirt. That is what I tell myself.

Denim Rosari Skirt

There is a small party on the inside, though! πŸ˜‰

Denim Rosari Skirt

Denim Rosari Skirt

The pocketing is some red polka dot cotton I had in my stash. I am not entirely sure where it originated from, my guess is the flea market. I used red thread in my serger to finish the seams, rather than flat-fell them, because I like the extra splash of color πŸ˜‰ You can sort of see this on the outside of the skirt, as I used the red thread also on my belt loops. Whoops. Whatever, YOLO.

Denim Rosari Skirt

For those of you who have been silently cursing my smug ass for using that professional snap setter in my other 2 skirts – rejoice! I just used a hammer to set in these jeans buttons πŸ˜‰ But you can still be mad, I guess, cos I did buy the buttons in the NYC Garment District heh heh heh.

Denim Rosari Skirt

On a completely unrelated note – I received an email last week that there is a cool new sewing app in the works, and they need some help with survey responses! If you love filling out little boxes about yourself (who doesn’t?), they can sure use your input! Here is the link to the survey – Mo’Stash Survey – and also, can I get a HELL YEAH for cool new sewing apps??

Ok, that’s all for now I guess!

Completed: Ginger Jeans + Silk Cami

15 Feb

Well, it’s finally too cold to take photos outdoors.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Hello, wall!

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Anyway, I made another pair of Ginger jeans – and finally used up my second piece of the Cone Mills denim I’ve been hoarding since I bought it last year (FYI, in my last post it was brought to my attention that Threadbare Fabrics also sells Cone Mills denim by the yard. I haven’t ordered from them yet – but it made it much easier to cut into my precious stash knowing that I could get more of the stuff. Yay!). This is the lighter weight of the two denims I received in my kit; I think it’s a 10oz. It’s thinner and a little stretchier than what I used in my previous pair, and I like it a lot more. Actually, it’s almost identical to the denim I used in my very first pair of Gingers – same color and everything. I realize I essentially made two pairs of the same pants, but that first pair is starting to show it’s age (saying that I wear them a LOT is a huge understatement), so I am just thinking I’m ahead of the curve for once.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

I was originally saving this denim to make a pair of flares – either using the Ginger jeans flare expansion add-on (um, btw, how genius is that idea?!) or the new Birkin flares that everyone is obsessing over, but in the end I just decided to remake my ol’ TNT (especially since the fabric on the first pair is a bit subpar quality, and one of these days I might have an unfortunate butt-rip happen. Hopefully not in public. I am wearing cute underwear at all times just in case, though). Like I said, I can reorder more of the Cone Mills, so perhaps there will be flares in my future. Just not this pair. No ragrets.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

I wanted to improve on my last pair – they’re ok, but the bunching at the knee really bothered me way too much. I tried to research what the issue was – some people suggested that I might have knock-knees which is causing the bunching, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case (I definitely don’t look like I have knock-knees, anyway). One of the comments in my last jeans post suggested checking out Cation Designs as she has a few posts on pants fitting. I usually refer to my pants-fitting bible, Pants for Real People, as it has never steered me wrong. However, this particular fit issue wasn’t covered in the book (I think it’s a product of tight/stretchy jeans, which they certainly don’t show any of in the book hahaha), so it was good to have a back-up resource! And this post in particular is FANTASTIC – plus, I think I found my solution! Yay! The #10 Hyperextended Calf alteration sounded like what I was dealing with – the calves of my tight pants are always REALLY tight, which then causes them to ride up and bunch at the knee (I have muscular calves, so this makes sense!). I did this alteration to my jeans pattern, adding 1 1/8″ to the calf (this was just a wild guess; I wasn’t about to slash up a pair of pants to figure out the exact amount I needed). It worked pretty well, but I think I could stand to add even a little more width. How they are now, though, is pretty magical -they only bunch a little, and I think that’s just from moving around. I don’t have giant folds of denim hanging around my knee. It is AWESOME. However, I am not a huge fan of how big it makes the ankle – I can deal with this pair, but on my next pair I would like to figure out a way to keep the tightess at the ankle while still allowing some room in the calf. Anyone have suggestions? Just tapering the ankle at the side and inseams doesn’t work, FYI. haha.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Other than that one alteration, not a lot of changes to this pair. I added the length back and then removed about 2.5″ – I wanted them to be long enough to pool a little at the ankle. I used my original Ginger pattern – the one before it was updated with a pocket stay – and sewed the size 2 instead of the 4. Topstitching and all that is pretty simple – one color of jeans topstitching thread. I did add an X to one leg in lieu of a bartack. Kind of a riff on the + on my I+W jeans haha. What, they’re made of the same denim!

Silk Tank

This silk cami is something I made ages ago and completely forgot to photograph for my blog! It’s a Ruby Slip that I modified to include gathers at the bust and silk bias finishing on the edges and straps, and then shortened to cami length. I made this slip a couple of years ago out of some really amazing 4ply silk, and I love how it looks so it was only natural to use it for a cami pattern.

The silk I used is a really wonderful new silk from Organic Cotton Plus, called Peace Silk. I really love OCP and I’ve been happy with all the fabrics I’ve received from them, and this silk is pretty fantastic too. It’s a wonderful lightweight, organic silk, with a feel similar to a thicker china silk or a less crepey crepe de chine. Really easy to work with, and feels amaaaazing after a wash in the machine. It’s called Peace Silk because it’s produced in a way that does not kill the silk worm and instead allows it to emerge from the cocoon first. While I definitely have no problem eating meat or wearing animal fibers, I thought that was a pretty neat solution! Plus, the name just makes me happy πŸ™‚

That’s about all I have left to talk about, so here’s a bunch of pictures of my butt:

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

And some flat jeans shots:

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Everything was constructed on my Pfaff 7570, and topstitching was done on my Bernina 350PE. I used regular black poly thread for piecing, and Gutterman jeans topstitching thread for the topstitching. The aqua serging thread is just a fun color that matched my pocketing (which I got from the free fabric pile at A Gathering of Stitches because GOD it’s beautiful!) and my zipper (from the Garment District!). I wanted to add rivets, but they need to be trimmed down and I apparently don’t own wire cutters anymore, womp womp.

Overall: A+ jeans, would sew again (and I will – I have enough Cone Mills left to make a couple pairs of jorts! HA HA HA IT NEVER ENDS).

In closing, two things:

One, here is my Calvin Klein ~modeling~ shot. Can’t you see people just banging down my door to be a jeans model? Gah.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Two, the Spiegel 60609 winner! Yay! First of all, I cannot BELIEVE how many entries that giveaway got – over 1,100! That’s definitely the biggest one I’ve ever hosted on this blog (and I guess y’all agree with me that one should never say no to a free sewing machine, amirite). Thank you for blowing up my email last week and making me feel super duper popular haha. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments – and yes, I read every single one of them! – but there can only be one winner:

winner1 winner2

Congratulations, thefilling!! I want to also mention that this comment filled me with delight – although, what is exactly is a snapback hat? (Can I see a picture? Can you tell me more about this cheeseburger print? We have a lot to discuss, dude) We will be in touch to get your new 60609 out to you ASAP πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

If you’re still trying to holler at the 60609, watch this space – I have some upcoming projects and tutorials that use the machine so you can see it in ~action~. And if you don’t care about the 60609, well, I hope you at least find the content interesting πŸ™‚

Have a great day, everyone!

Completed: The Stacie Jean Jacket

16 Oct

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - side

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

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

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

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

Stacie Jean Jacket - pattern adjustments

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

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

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - front

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - cuff and placket

Stacie Jean Jacket - cuff and placket

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - inside

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

Stacie Jean Jacket - back

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

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

Completed: Fancy Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

9 Oct

I’ve been swimming through muslin hell this whole week (crazy me decided to even make a SECOND MUSLIN to verify all my changes, wtf who am I turning into amirite), but fortunately, I have an old make from pre-Maine that I can share with y’all! Jeans! Yay!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - frontCone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Remember when we were all scrambling around to buy those fancy Cone Mills Denim kits with our Ginger Jeans earlier this year (and last year too, for that matter)? I’m so happy that I made space in my budget for one, because Cone Mills denim is awesome. It’s the same denim they used to make Imogene + Willie jeans (which I can personally vouch for as I own 2 pairs – they wear really well and hold their shape beautifully, which means I never need to wash them in order to shrink ’em back down at the end of the day), and although the kit wasn’t cheap – it is certainly cheaper than buying the actual jeans. By the way, if you’re thinking, “Where the hell is this kit so I can buy one???” I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that they were on limited pre-order, and have been sold out for a while now 😦 Hopefully there will be more where that came from!

EDIT I have just been informed that Threadbare Fabrics sells Cone Mills Denim! Yay!! I apologize in advance for those who end up emptying their bank accounts after reading this post πŸ™‚

Anyway, the point of that somewhat sales-y sounding paragraph was to say that I finally used one of the pieces of my denim for this pair of pants. I received the kit way back in April and have been anxious to sew it up, but I wanted to wait until it was actually something closer to pants-season before I got too excited.

Also, just a head’s up before we delve too far into this post – sorry in advance for all the weird bobble-head shots. I didn’t realize my camera was tilted so much, and I don’t care enough to retake the photos. Also, there be VPL in most of these pictures. Not sorry about that! Deal with it!

deal with it

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

The denim itself is what really counts when it comes to a good pair of jeans. You want a material that is a good medium weight (not too light, but also not too heavy) and if it has stretch, an awesome recovery. The single thing that’s plagued me the most when it comes to making my own pants is finding material with a good recovery! I hate having my pants bag out by the end of the day – it’s annoying enough for every day life, and utterly useless if you’re traveling and don’t have access for a quick wash (or just plain don’t own a washer and dryer, which was totally my situation up until we moved this year!). Plus, washing denim too much can fade out the color and cause the fibers to break down faster. I like my jeans to be a really deep, dark indigo blue, so fading isn’t my first choice. Figuring out fabric recovery is really difficult to do without actually wearing the fabric – which means you have to sew it first. So whenever someone gives me a head’s up on some good stretch bottomweight, I tend to snap it up without hesitation. I knew the Cone Mills denim was good stuff, so I’m glad I was able to get my hands on some before it sold out.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

This certainly is not my first pair of Ginger Jeans – I’ve made a classic indigo denim pair, a red cotton twill pair, a gold denim pair, a version of jeggings and shorts version. What can I say – when I like a pattern, I tend to stick with it πŸ™‚ And I REALLY like this pattern – it’s a nice, classic jeans pattern with all the good details you see in store-bought jeans, minus the shitty denim and strange fitting issues.

Having made this pattern numerous times made me feel confident enough to break into my mega-expensive denim for the pair you see here. I knew I already had the fit pretty good, so I could focus more on visual details with this version. That being said, there are a few changes to this pair that aren’t evident in my previous makes.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

The biggest change is that I went up one size, to a 4. While I like the fit of the 2 (all my other Gingers are 2s, fyi!), I’ve gained a little bit of weight over the summer and I got this weird paranoia that I was in denial about my size. Those 2s are great and super comfortable, but the legs are so tight that they look painted on. I was horrified at the thought of people thinking I was trying to squeeze into a too-small size, so I went up to the next size. I think the 4 definitely fits better, but the are a little different. Namely – those wrinkles at the knee. What is the deal with those? The calves aren’t too tight (they are looser than the tightness on my 2s, and my 2s don’t wrinkle like that), so that’s not the issue. Maybe they’re too loose at the knee and need to be taken in a bit? Thoughts? Btw, the wrinkles look worse in photos than they do in real life!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

Since I was going up one size and I don’t trace, I had to reprint the pattern. I know Heather updated the Ginger jeans pattern at some point last year, and I had both an original version (that I got when it was first released) and an updated version (that came with my purchased denim kit). I printed the new version so I could try it and compare to the original one. I don’t recall exactly what changes were made to the jeans, but there are some slight differences in the rise and the shaping around the crotch and hips. The waist is definitely a lot higher than it is in the original version – and this was after I shortened the crotch. The major difference in the updated version is the pocket bags – instead of normal jeans pocket bags, there is a drafted pocket stay (also called an instant tummy tuck).

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

With a pocket stay, the pocket bags go all the way across the front into the fly. This helps pull everything in and give you a smooth line in the front (hence the tummy tuck name). I wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable, but I tried it anyway and I’m glad that I did! I don’t care about smooth lines or whatever (I mean, c’mon, I’m basically always rocking dem VPLs. Death to thongs!), but what I do love is that the pockets stay in place when you pull your pants on. You know how tight pants always have to get the pockets shoved back down after you go to the bathroom? Not with these babies! Plus, since the pocketing isn’t folded over anywhere, there isn’t a weird bump at the coin pocket. I never was a fan of that.

Damn, shoulda pressed those insides before taking the photo. That fly shield wrinkle looks awful.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

All the topstitching and jeans-y details are what really made these fun to sew up! I just love the way jeans topstitching thread looks when sewn up against denim, so good. I kept my I+W jeans on hand and used their stitching colors as inspiration for this pair (here’s an old post where I took close-ups of the jeans right after I bought them, if you’re curious). The kits came with the zipper, button, rivets, copper topstitching thread and denim needles. However, you can buy all that stuff individually as well – Taylor Tailor has most of it in his supply shop for really reasonable prices. I did buy the orange topstitching thread from Taylor Tailor, which I think looks awesome next to the gold topstitching.

Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures of my butt and crotch, here are some flat jeans shots.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

As you can see, I used the orange topstitching thread pretty sparingly – just for the bartacks and belt loops. I can’t say I thought of this myself, as I pulled the inspo straight from my I+W jeans. They also use a third topstitching color in the second line of stitching, which is not something I did with this pair. Also note that the I+W jeans don’t use rivets, but I did use them here. I love hammering those things in and I think they really finish off the jeans nicely. I just kept them on the front pockets and coin pocket – I don’t like the look of rivets on the back pockets.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Again, using my I+W jeans as inspiration – I flat-felled only the back yoke seam, and serged + topstiched the leg seams (this will make it way easier to take in the legs if I need to, so yay!). I used orange thread in my serger, which mimics the orange bartacks. I LOVE the way it looks!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Whew! Sorry about all that cat hair!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

This is my absolute favorite little detail of these pants – the side leg bartack is a little L for Lauren πŸ™‚ On my I+W jeans, they have a little + sign on one leg in place of a bartack, and I thought, hey I can do that with an L. It’s only on one side, and it’s quite subtle unless you already know it’s there.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Welp, that ended up being a super long post! Do you see now why I love making jeans so much? All the little details are so fun and make the end result look extremely professional. Not to mention, all the customization options – from fit, to denim, to topstitching details. I’m so glad Heather released the Ginger pattern and I’m even happier than we were able to get some of that fancy-ass denim to make it up with! I still have one more piece for one more pair of jeans – and I’m thinking I might do the low-rise version next. Could be fun!

Completed: The 70s Denim Skirt

22 Sep

First make of my F/W sewing plans is done and ready to wear! Before you think my sewing speed reaches world-record status (I mean, I’m fast – but I’m not that fast!), I should point out that I had this skirt mostly complete before my sewing plans were completely solidified. So I had a head start with this particular garment! I actually took a little longer than usual to make this (not that I’m racing myself or anything, ha), as I ended up getting sick that week, which put the whole project on hold for several days while I tried to rest up and recuperate. But anyway, it’s done and now I can wear it! Yay! The 70s denim skirt I’ve been waiting for!

Style 1559 denim skirt

It would appear that the 70s is back in this year, in a big, bad way. I am super excited about this! I loved that shit when it came back into style in the 90s, and I’m happy to see it’s back again 20~ish years later (no comment on feeling old and/or shouldn’t be wearing that shit the first time it came around. Duh, this is the second time, it cancels itself out). While I don’t really follow fashion or allow it to necessarily dictate what I choose to wear, I can say that it’s nice when something I love does go into style because that means it’s easier to source it! Of course, that doesn’t really matter so much when one makes their own clothes – using a vintage pattern, no less – but I’m excited to see what trickles into the fabric selection. πŸ˜€

Anyway! I’ve seen a lot of this skirt style – mini a-line with a button front and jeans topstitching – and I knew I wanted one for my own wardrobe. Rather than deal with the heartbreak of buying vintage (where it’s never your size and/or the seller has some interesting ideas about what to price it at), I wanted to make my own. Actually, I always want to make my own! I’ve been thinking/lurking on this particular style for a couple of months now, and tried to figure out how I could hack an existing pattern from my stash into my dream denim skirt. Then I found this pattern, and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern is Style 1559, which I bought on Etsy. It’s amazing how much this pattern encompasses everything I wanted in my skirt – a-line shape, side pockets with topstitching detail, button front, mini (ok, it’s not a mini but I can MAKE it a mini). The seller had several sizes, so I even got to pick what size I wanted! Etsy is awesome!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern was pretty easy and straightforward to put together. The only thing I changed – other than the obvious length difference, which ended up being something crazy like 9″(I wanted to go even shorter, but I’m going to wear this around a bit as-is and see if that changes) – was that I made a pocket facing piece, so that I could cut the pockets out of lining rather than denim. This was really easy; I just used my Ginger jeans pattern pocket facing as a guide. I also added more buttons than what you see on the pattern – I wanted more, and closer together. Oh, and I added belt loops (just stole the pattern piece from my Ginger jeans). Otherwise, easy stuff! Not a lot to report on as far as that is concerned.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Sorry about the butt wrinkles! I took these after a full day of, well, sitting πŸ˜›

I’m not totally sure how I feel about those back pockets. I added them for shits and giggles – they’re part of the pattern, and they look cute on the envelope. I am pretty sure they are not doing my butt any favors whatsoever, but I also don’t feel like ripping them out. Thoughts?

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The denim I used is pretty legit, and also straight out of the 70s! πŸ™‚ One of my awesome readers, Jim, sent me a big ol’ piece of this stuff about a year ago. It took me this long to figure out what to do with it – it’s pretty thick and heavy with absolutely no stretch. Perfect bottomweight, but most of my pants have a little bit of lycra in them these days. I considered using it to make my denim jacket, but the color is a little light. However, it is perfect for this skirt. Totally a match made in heaven – in more ways than one. I love this kind of denim because it really softens up with washing and wearing, and the faded/worn look is even better looking than when it’s new.

Sewing this denim was as easy as you’d think. The cotton content meant that it pressed really well, and my machine handled all the layers without any problems. I used normal polyester thread to piece the seams, and denim topstitching thread for all the topstitching. The fishing is a mixture of flat-felled and serged seams, same as what you’d see with jeans. I really enjoyed playing with all the topstitching on this skirt; it looks reeeeeally good against the denim!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Random sidenote, but I also made my top! That’s a Agnes top, which I actually sewed up AGES ago (like, as soon as it was released) but then realized that it was way too freakin’ hot to wear anything with sleeves like that so I stuck it into the drawer in anticipation of cooler months. The fabric is a thick cotton knit that I picked up in the Garment District.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The buttons really make this skirt! I used smooth copper buttons, to match the gold topstitching thread, which I bought from TaylorTailor. I actually bought 25 of the things (what? They’re cheap haha), so stay tuned for more denim fun stuffs! As a side note – did y’all know that Taylor and I actually live in the same city? True story! We finally met irl for the first time at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago. I promise I tried to keep my fangirling under control hahaha.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

Again, with those pockets! Argh! I think the thing that bothers me the most about them is the topstitching – the top line of stitching is too far away from the edge, and it looks derpy. I thought it looked derpy as soon as I finished stitching the first line… and then, instead of unpicking it, I kept sewing. At this rate, I’m fairly confident that I’ll never actually fix it. I’ll just complain about it.

Style 1559 denim skirt

That’s all for now! I’m off tomorrow to Portland, Maine, for my long weekend sewing retreat at A Gathering of Stitches, which I am SO looking forward to! Four days of sewing and talking sewing and living and breathing sewing in beautiful New England? Pinch me. Talk about an awesome weekend! Anyway, I’ll be gone until next Wednesday, so this blog will be quiet until then. See y’all next week!