Tag Archives: stretch fabric

Completed: Navy Cotton Twill Ginger Pants

1 Nov

Gah, it has been WAY too long since I made a pair of pants – according to my blog, that last pair was published in a February! LAME, TIME TO RECTIFY IMMEDIATELY.

Also, damn, my hair has gotten long since then. It seems to grow soo slowly until you look back and realize you’ve really gained some inches over the months, yay.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Anyway, Ginger Jeans! Again! I love this pattern so much, it’s definitely my pants TNT. The style is so classic, I can make a million pairs and have no one be the wiser that I’ve been wearing the same pattern for 6 months straight. I’m still tweaking the leg fit, but I really think the waist/hip fit is nailed down solid. And I love how it looks in different fabrics. While I primarily make this pattern up in denim, I’ve really wanted to try more colorful stretch twills. And here we are with that!

Sorry in advance for the terribly quality of these photos. Navy is almost as difficult to shoot as black, who would have thought!?

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

Anyway, I bought this navy stretch cotton twill from Mood Fabrics, back when I was in the NYC storefront in March – specifically with the intention of making myself some sweet pants out of the yardage. It’s a good stretch bottomweight for the kind of pants I like to wear – a lighter bottom weight (it’s still technically bottom weight, however, it’s about the lightest you can get away with – if that makes sense!) with a really good, solid amount of stretch. I have learned that I don’t like wearing really heavy fabric as pants – just don’t care at all for the way it feels. Maybe I’m sliding quickly into knit-fabrics-for-every-garment fabric territory, but I really like lightweight, super stretchy fabrics on my booty. Since that’s so freaking DIFFICULT to find with denim (get the right weight, and you lose out on recovery. Get the good recovery, and it’s like wearing raw denim in terms of stiffness, ew), cotton twill is where it’s AT. Bonus if that shit is colorful. I like colorful things.

This cotton twill seems to be a lot more along the lines of a cotton sateen, to be honest -it’s pretty shiny, for one. I rather like the effect – I think it looks a little more luxe than just a normal pair of pants – but as you can see, it highlights EVERY SINGLE wrinkle that shows up. It makes these pants look a lot more ill-fitting than they actually are… not that anyone would notice, except someone else who sews/fits, but it is what it is. I ain’t worried about it. Coupled with the fact that I like to wear my pants as skintight as if they are basically painted on, it’s pretty much wrinkle-city up in here. That’s ok, though. I will live.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - side

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

I wanted to improve on the fit of my last pair – the full calf adjustment has been good in terms of allowing room for my calves and reducing the amount of knee wrinkles, however, I wasn’t happy with how wide the ankle ended up as a result. This is part of the reason why I’ve been reluctant to make this pattern again until now – that, and it’s been way too hot to wear pants for the past few months 🙂 Anyway, I have that Ginger Jeans Intensive at Workroom Social this week, so I wanted to make the pattern before I left just to brush on the construction. Which meant that I also had to figure out the leg situation. Boo.

Ultimately, I figured that since the full calf adjustment was kind of the same concept as a full bust adjustment – i.e., you slash and spread to add width to a certain part of your pattern – then reducing the circumference of the ankle would basically be the opposite of that, like a small bust adjustment.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Here is my pattern piece after adding that extra room for my calves. As you can see, quite a bit of width was added at the ankle – 1 1/8″, to be exact. I wanted to reduce that amount without actually reducing the calf width, and also maintain the grainline of the pattern so the fabric wouldn’t twist and go all haywire (this is why you can’t just… shave down the side seams to remove the width. I tried that on the jeans with a basting stitch and it was just AWFUL. Did not work at all).

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

My Y-shaped slash and spread worked to add that width, so I did another Y-shaped slash right around where my calf starts to taper back into “normal width” category, using the super scientific method of holding the pattern piece up to my body and drawing wild lines on the paper with a pencil. (btw, that second slash line was my first try – and I realized it was way too low, so I taped it back together haha)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Instead of spreading, I overlapped the pieces together so that the original pattern paper (without my brown craft paper addition) butted up as normal right at the ankle. As you can see, it makes a very gradual curve to the side seams – they bellow out a little where the extra width is needed, and then gently curve back to their normal width tapering to nothing at the ankle. I also straightened the grainline, after I took the photo. Sorry bout that.

I had no idea if this was going to work – this is how I do my pattern adjustments (if I can’t find the answer in a book, anyway): mulling over the issue for a few months, doing some wild slashing that seems legit, and then cutting them off into shorts if it doesn’t work 🙂 Fortunately, it worked! I still have the room I need for my calves, but the ankle is fitted as it should be. And I ended up with pants instead of having to cut them into shorts, so woohoo me:)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

The only other change I made to these pants, in terms of construction, was how I applied the topstitching. I usually use topstitching thread – whether matching or in a contrast color – but I didn’t have any of that on hand when I made these pants (to be frank, I barely had ANY navy thread at all during this phase. I did have a bunch of bobbins filled with navy thread, which is what I used as my main thread hahaha AND MIRACULOUSLY HAD ENOUGH YAY). Instead, I used normal polyester thread – just whatever you’d use to, I dunno, assemble a garment – and set my machine to sew on the Triple Stitch. The Triple Stitch automatically lengthens your stitch just a few mm, and then sews over the same stitch a couple of times – which results in a nice, thick, dense stitch. It looks great for topstiching and solves the problem of not having the proper thread. I actually like it better than using topstitching thread, as you are less likely to get thread nests on the underside of your fabric! The only downside is that it is a giant ass bitch to unpick, so definitely be really really sure of what you’re sewing 🙂

Anyway, I used the Triple Stitch to topstitch all my seams – including the flat-felled seams. To keep my lines even and consistent, I used my edgestitching foot to get that 1/8″ from the seamline, and then my 1/4″ foot for the second pass. The bartacks are just teensy little zigzag/satin stitch blobs, using the same navy as the topstitching. I didn’t add any rivets or contrasty anything to these pants – I wanted them to be plain and a little sleek. The pocketing is the same striped cotton I use for pretty much all my pocketing – I bought a shitload of that yardage ages ago at Mood Fabrics, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving forever haha 🙂 I kept the longer length, just so these don’t end up being super high-waters after a couple of washes, but they look good cuffed, too 🙂

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

I have only had a chance to wear these once since finishing them, so I can’t 100% comment on the recovery of the stretch fabric – but at the end of the day on their inaugural wear, they stayed pretty tight and did not bag out. I’m interested to see how long they keep their shape before bagging happens, but so far so good, I think!

** Note: The fabrics used to make these pants were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. In case you were curious, the gingham for that shirt is also from Mood Fabrics 🙂 it’s Butterick 5526 !

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Completed: The Watson Bra & Bikini Set

19 Jan

Hey look! I made another bra! And matching undies!!

Watson Bra

I’m loving my Marlborough bras so so much (yes, plural. I actually have two now, but I’ll save #2 for another post – this post is all about Watson), but I was really intrigued by the new Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit. Instead of a low movement fabric, this baby is sewn up in a fabric with lots of stretch. The cups are higher and more modest and there is no underwire. What really got my attention was the longline option, as well as the included bikini bottom pattern. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Watson Bra

Since I’m still pretty new to this whole new world of lingerie, I let the pattern hold my hand when choosing a size and following the instructions. I measured to a 30D (to recap, in case there is anyone new here, I usually wear a 28DD), which fits pretty spot-on. Which is good, because other than hold the little cups up to my boobs while I was sewing them – I wasn’t able to actually try the thing on until I was completely finished with it. Talk about a bummer if that hadn’t worked out! Thankfully, the fit is pretty good. One cup has a tiny bit of sideboob action going on – but that breast is also slightly bigger, so I’m at the point now where I’m trying to decide if it’s worth tweaking the fit for a really custom bra. I’m pretty happy with the fit of the band – it’s nice and tight, like I like it, but it’s also very comfortable.

Watson Bra

The pattern has you cut the cups and cradle in a stretch fabric, the band in power mesh, and then the cradle is lined with a non-stretch to stabilize. Lining that section was obviously a little difficult for me – and I ended up getting quite a few folds as a result. Wah. For my next make, I am going to try fusing my stabilizer to see if that helps. It’s not the end of the world with these folds – but of course I’m always looking to improve.

Watson Bra

The bra includes standard bra hardware – hooks and eyes, adjustable straps, and decorative elastic. I do like that about the pattern, because it makes it look a lot less like some kind of soft training bra that a pre-teen would wear, and more like… a cute bra without underwires, I guess.

Watson Bra

Because of the needed stretch fabric, this bra doesn’t require the same sort of fitting that a structured bra would command (such as the Marlborough). It’s very soft and forgiving. The pattern is rated as being pretty easy and a great way to introduce beginners to bra-making. That being said – while I didn’t find the bra necessarily difficult to make, I do think that the Marlborough was easier to sew! Mostly because that lycra was stretching and sliding all over the place, and getting the cups in just so required quite a bit of precision. Still, it only took me a couple of hours to make, so that should count for something.

The instructions are pretty good! I might be biased – because I’ve already made two bras, I have my copy of Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction on stand-by, and I’ve had enough bra-making conversations to know at least a little of what I’m talking about – but I found them very easy to follow along with. One part that was missing was determining strap length, but it’s my understanding that the pattern was updated with directions on how to do this (I personally just cut two 18″ straps. Worked perfectly! They are adjustable, after all). There were a few minor parts of the pattern that I changed based on preference – such as trimming the excess fabric before topstitching the elastic to the wrong side – but what’s included with the pattern is great as-is. There’s a lot of helpful info for choosing fabrics and trims, and tips for stitch settings when choosing your zigzag stitch. Also, there is currently an entire Watson Bra sewalong happening at Cloth Habit right now, so there’s that if you need even MORE hand-holding!

Watson Bra

Here’s an inside shot. As you can see, I did not finish my seams – just left ’em raw. It seems to work fine for my other bras, anyway. In the future, I’d love to learn how to properly finish my seams – or even line the whole thing – but I really want to nail down fit and technique before I start going too far down the deep end.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Rather than try to source all the materials and notions myself, I decided to splurge on a Watson kit from Blackbird Fabrics. The kit includes everything you need – 4 way stretch lycra, matching powermesh, elastics and trims, metal strap rings and sliders (stupidly, that was my favorite part haha. THEY LOOK SO GOOD), even the aforementioned cradle stabilizer and cotton knit for the crotch lining (for the undies, obviously). There’s enough in the kit to make both the bra and the matching bikini, and you can choose if you want a kit for the standard band or the longline. Since my boobs run on the small side, I’d reckon I could probably make 2 or even 3 bras with how much fabric I have left over (and maybe even a little bit of trim!). This color set is sapphire blue with black trims – and it’s soo beautiful! I can’t wait to see what other color combos Caroline comes up with.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Here’s the matching underwear – sorry it looks so unimpressive haha. I cut the XS based on my hip measurement (I was very apprehensive about this, as I normally wear a small), and the fit is pretty good. I think the butt area needs… something. Maybe I didn’t stretch the elastic enough. I feel like it makes my butt look flat, but Landon tells me I’m being ridiculous. Either way, they’re pretty comfy. I wore them all day yesterday and didn’t get a wedgie, which is awesome haha.

Since these posts are somewhat useless to me without a live model wearing the goods (if you want THAT, go holler at Heather Lou), here’s another floating bra photo for your consideration:

Watson Bra

For a non-underwired bra, it’s surprisingly supportive! I also wore this all day yesterday (with the matching bikini, bc, duh), and it’s really really comfortable. Way more comfortable than those Bambi bras I made. And it’s REALLY cute on – I am thinking that with a couple minor tweaks to the strapping and back hook, this would make a fabulous bathing suit pattern. I just need to figure out how to stabilize that cradle – it has to stay rigid, and I think the stuff I’m using isn’t really water-friendly (and definitely wouldn’t hold up in chlorine or salt water). Any suggestions or ideas?

Also, it’s not lost on me that I would consider making a bathing suit from this pattern, but can’t bear to show my skin with the bra in this blog post. Oh well.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Bra making is SO MUCH FUN, you guys! Good thing that happens to be a hole in my wardrobe, because I really love making them and I definitely want to do more! I’m really looking forward to the Bra Making Workshop in Philly next weekend – I have sooo much to learn, and I know Maddie is going to be an amazing teacher!

Completed: Leopard Skinnies

21 Jan

I never thought I would actually be saying this – but I made myself a pair of leopard skinnies. Wheee!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Grey leopard is a neutral… right?!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I’m trying to get more into wearing pants that aren’t, well, denim. As much as I love my I+W jeans (so much, in fact, that I went out and bought myself a second pair a couple of weeks ago. I’m bordering on “collector” at this point, eep), sometimes I find myself gazing jealously at the girls in their wacky print leggings and purple skinny jeans. NO FAIR, I WANT TO JOIN THAT PARTY. So when I saw this leopard print stretch twill at the Mood Fabrics site, I knew I’d found the perfect piece for a lil’ toe-dipping.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

This twill is pretty awesome, honestly. It’s got a nice stretch, but it’s hefty enough so you don’t see panty lines (a must with pants this tight… and I don’t wear thongs. TMI? Oh well. Maybe you need magical undie-covering fabric too!). The lycra content keeps the seam allowances from shedding too much – which is good, cos this pattern had me going crazy over the fitting, 1″ seam allowances and everything. Not a good time to start unraveling!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Since the twill is a brushed cotton, it’s even a little bit fuzzy. Love it!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used McCall 6440. This pattern is… ok. The fitting was a pain in the ASS, pardon the pun, mostly because the pattern has way too much ease. I’ve actually made these up one time before (but it’s ~top secret~ so you can’t see those quite yet… oops I’ve said too much already ;)), so I knew kinda sorta what I was getting into. The main issue with sewing something out of stretch fabric is that every fabric has a different stretch factor (well, maybe not *every* fabric, but there are certainly enough differences to keep one guessing!), so you generally end up doing some tweaking to get the pieces to look right, in addition to going down a size or two to make up for the negative ease.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These are a size 6, with some additional tapering taken out at the legs and the waistband. FWIW, the body size for a 6 is supposed to have a 23″ waist. While I can assure you that I do not have a waist that small, I did have to take an extra inch out of the waistband to get it to fit. See what I mean about excessive ease? Measure those pattern pieces, folks! Don’t trust the lies of McCall.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I know, this pattern is super duper similar to the Clover pants from Colette, which is another pattern I have. I ended up with this one because I’ve never really gotten those Clovers to fit right, despite all my tweaking a couple of years ago. I wanted to try a new pattern, and I liked that this is a Palmer/Pletsch – I love their fitting books Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People, so I was banking that I’d love the pattern, too! And I guess I kind of did, minus that ease thing. For one, the crotch curve is pretty much perfect for me – something of a Holy Grail among pants sewists. That Clover pattern, not so much 🙂 (but maybe it’ll be perfect for you!). I also liked how high the waist is, the seam down the back of the legs (that you can’t see because it’s ~camouflaged~ by the leopard, ooh, see what I did there?), and the leg options included with the pattern. Spoiler alert – I went for the straight leg, but maybe I’ll experiment more in the future! Baby steps for now, starting with this outta control print. Oh yeah, and just an advance warning – these were exactly the right length for me, and I’m 5’2″! Tall ladies, beware!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Speaking of how high the waist is – see what I mean!? I don’t think this is supposed to reach *quite* as high as it does on my petite frame, but the waistband just covers my belly button. Which means, obviously, I’m gonna be Bettie Pagin’ the shit out of these with heels and a crop top come spring, yaaay!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Whenever I post a photo of myself wearing something with a ridiculously high waist, someone always inevitably comes out of the woodwork to tell me that my outfit isn’t flattering. So, here I am, brushing the dirt off my shoulder in advance because la la la I don’t care!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Like I said, I had to adjust the leg seams to get everything as fitted as it is. Not to say the leg width of this pattern is bad – it’s just more straight than what I wanted for these pants. I wanted to be able to tuck them into boots! Since the pattern is drafted with 1″ seam allowances on all side/leg seams, this made things a tiny bit difficult once it came time to start poking myself with pins – those seam allowances get bulky when you’re sewing something like twill!

What I ended up doing was just focusing on one leg – pinning, basting, fitting, and then stitching the final line once I got to the desired tightness. To mirror the second leg, rather than taking measurements or repinning, this is what I did- I learned this trick at my stint with Muna!:

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

First, I stacked my legs on top of one another and pinned along the seam lines, making sure they matched on the opposite side.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Then, with the adjusted leg on top, I pinned along the new stitching line I had created.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

When you flip the fabric over, you can see the pinned original seam line and the new seam line marked by a second row of pins. Make sense?

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

From there, I just connected the pin lines with a my handy marking tool, which gave me a new stitching line. Super easy, and now both legs exactly mirror each other!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These pants are finished with serged seam allowances and an invisible zipper. Speaking of which – I learned a slightly different way to insert an invisible zip, also courtesy of Muna. Anyone interested in a tutorial? It’s not OMGSODIFFERENT, but there are a couple of tweaks that make insertion practically flawless.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

One thing that made me irrationally happy was that the fabric is lightweight enough so I could face my waistband with self-fabric, instead of trying to find a matching cotton. As much as I like contrasty facings, I also like matchy-matchy!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Not sure what I was thinking when this photo snapped, but it looks like a roar so we’ll leave it at that.

Finally, we have a winner Andi Satterlund knitting patterns giveaway! Before I drop that bomb, I just gotta say… that was by far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a giveaway. Who woulda thunk I’d have so many knitters who follow this blog and love Andi as much as I do? 🙂 Thanks y’all – I appreciate every single one of you! Wish I could give you all patterns, too, but unfortunately I’m not that rich… yet 🙂

Anyway, without further ado – who’s the lucky number today?

winner47yay

winnerAlexandra

Yay, congratulations, Alexandra! Expect an email from me with how to collect your prize – I can’t wait to see how your sweaters turn out 🙂

Thanks to everyone who participated, and big huge thanks to Andi for providing the big prize 🙂 For everyone who didn’t win – Perhaps I can entice you with one of Andi’s many freebies?