It’s my birthday today! And I’m in New York City!!
We usually take a Spring holiday, but not til later in April or May, however this year James suggested we go away to New York over my birthday, since we haven’t been for four years and there were some shows we really wanted to see (we’ve developed an expensive immersive theater habit!). I’ve been needing a new pair of jeans for a while now, so I promised myself that I’d sew some up once the Steeplechase Leggings pattern was released and I’d have a little bit of a breather. And here they are, coinciding nicely as my birthday make this year!
This denim was bought from Ditto Fabrics, labelled as an Italian denim with very slight stretch, so I treated these as a non-stretch denim. It’s super high quality and I love the colour and wash, though like most denims, it’s still bleeding a bit of colour after two prewashes, so I’ll wash it separately for a while before sitting on any white couches.
I used the same base pattern as my classic pair of jeans made in 2013 (which is #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine), but my older pair is a bit too big, and also very straight in the leg and I wanted something more fitted and with a slimmer leg this time around.
I essentially made the same pattern (plus the same wedge cut out of the CB as before), but then basted the inseam and side seams to check the fit. I then decided I wanted to take out a cm at the hips and thighs to make the fit closer to “just washed jeans” to allow for some relaxing, then took out a cm from each of the side seams and inseam through the legs for a more skinny-jean silhouette.read more >>
Like little green shoots poking through the earth as the warmth of Spring approaches, I feel like my sewing productivity and creativity is just pushing through from all angles at the moment. I’m so proud that so many of you love my Steeplechase Leggings pattern as much as I do (and I’ve got loads more to share!) but I wanted to share a bunch of smaller things I’ve been getting on with…
Have you ever heard of Sock Stop? It’s a bit like puffy paint we used in the 90s, but it’s intended to paint onto the bottoms of socks and slippers to prevent slips and falls. I bought
some from Guthrie & Ghani recently to see if it helps keep activewear hems in place without requiring silicone elastic (which can be a bit fiddly to sew on). I’ve tried it out on the hems of my Steeplechase capris (which you’ll see soon) and I want to test them out on my next cycle ride…
I can’t believe my birthday’s nearly here again – it seems like I only just made my galaxy-print sheath dress! I celebrated early with my BFF Pip, and she very kindly bought me this Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book and a metre of gorgeous silk chiffon from Dalston Mills! I’m super impressed by the variety and styles of panties, bras, camisoles, garter belts, and accessories in the book, but I want to try out a few patterns before I post a review.read more >>
I ended up having a fun and full weekend of sewing this weekend, partially because I lost a few days work last week to a spa day (omg!) and a full day of filming (for Extra Mile – if you haven’t already seen my blue wigged self all over your internets, watch here!). Part of the work sewing was to get a bunch of stuff done on my next pattern, which is digitised, graded, and now ready for my second test version before I test it out on some unsuspecting local athletes, mwahahah! I also had a few projects for private clients to get done, as well, so I had to change mental “gears” a few times, too.
Another bit of work sewing was actually a bit too fun to be strictly considered “work”, and that’s because I needed to sew up a fresh sample pair of my free Lacey Thong pattern to bring along to the Panty Party class this Thursday, 13 February. There are still a few spots left if you want to snag them and join the fun, btw – I mean, seriously, look at this pile of lace and fabrics that arrived last week which is all for the class! Don’t you want to dive right in?!
To clarify: The Panty party class is at the ThriftyStitcher studio in Stoke Newington, North London, and it’s this Thursday!
I’ve probably made at least ten versions of my Lacey Thong for myself, but, umm, I wear those, and it’s pretty creepy and gross to be showing other people your worn underwear, even if it’s clean, eww. So that’s why I needed to sew up a fresh sample pair to show off in the class, so I selected this thin, blue burnout jersey and some white lace and paired it with navy blue satin-edged elastic.
Isn’t she pretty? I also received a comment today from a Frenchman who made this utterly gorgeous satin & lace pair for his woman. So it doesn’t have to be a one-way lingerie sewing street – you could book your man on the course as a “surprise” and let him sew a pair for you! Ha!
I got to a point early on Sunday where I’d finished all the work sewing I wanted to accomplish, so I pulled out the Named “Jamie Jeans” pattern (now with US Letter-compatible printing and multi-sized, btw). I’ve been eyeing up this pattern since it was released, but it took it disappearing when the new collection was released to make me realise how much I wanted to sew it! Since a-l-l of my clothes are falling off me right now (thanks, running!) I am in serious need of trousers and even my leggings are baggy, so these were the top of my Fun Sewing list.read more >>
After umming and ahhing for months over which pattern I should use, then muslining two different patterns which were both too small, I ended up making this pair in two days’ flat! As you’ll recall, it’s #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine (sadly not on Burdastyle.com!), an issue which also had a great pair of men’s trousers I’ve been eyeing up for James, too.
Worn here with my plum bamboo Jalie top…
I’m a bit scared that I can sew an entire pair of jeans now (including the front fly) without looking at instructions a single time… I did, however, inspect a pair of James’s RTW jeans once or twice to see which side of the seam they topstitched!
Oh, and remember when I tried on the muslin for this pattern and it was way too small in the waist and hips? Well, I put the muslin to the side in my sewing cave and tried them on a few weeks later and they fit perfectly now! Yes, only I would go and change my body instead of just doing a pattern alteration…read more >>
Even though I finally finished my pink trousers and lace teeshirt I mentioned last week, it’s been so hot and sweaty that I haven’t quite managed to do a photoshoot for them yet. Everything’s written so as soon as I do, you’ll get to see how great they are, honest!
I also managed to cut out a Kwik Sew exercise top, but not start sewing it yet, but what I really wanted to talk about today is the ongoing process in deciding which jeans pattern to use as a match for some heavyweight, non-stretch denim in my stash. So when I say that I’m “always thinking two projects ahead”, you now know it’s the truth!
If you remember back to my Spring Sewing Ideas, I had two different KnipMode jeans patterns that I thought I might use:
However, I found out soon after that the 2012 KnipMode one was for stretch wovens, which dis-counted it for this particular bout of jeans sewing.
The 2005 one looked very promising, but when I made a muslin of it the look was not good – ill-fitting in the waist and hips and way too wide in the legs. I’m sure I could fix it with plenty of time and patience, but with such an enormous pattern stash it just wasn’t worth pursuing further!
So I went back to the drawing board, otherwise known as my online pattern catalogue, and had a look through all the magazine issues I’d tagged “jeans”. This was a lot! So as I flipped through, I took screenshot segments of the ones I liked the look of, and renamed these files with the brand and pattern number, and shoved them in a special folder.read more >>
As some of you may have guessed from my FW2012 shortlist I posted yesterday, I’ve made the Wiksten tank, using the pattern and geometric Mood jersey Kollabora gifted me and also another pair of Jalie jeans! I wasn’t actually planning that they’d go together, but they were a perfect pairing for a relaxed Sunday roast at a cosy pub near the moorings.
Let’s start with the jeans – as I said earlier, my NY-Lon jeans are easily my most-worn item of clothing ever since I made them last year, but they’re starting to fade and I want to have a replacement pair ready before they totally die. The denim I used there was from Mood in NYC, but I’d found some great stretch denim at the Tissues Dreyfus coupon shop in Paris in March, and only €10 for a 3m length, too. I wouldn’t normally buy that much of the same fabric if given a choice, but it means that I’ve got enough left over to easily make another pair. I find it really difficult to find good stretch denim in shops, but this has good stretch and recovery without being too flimsy, so I snapped it up when I saw it.
I constructed these exactly the same as my NY-Lon jeans – again, my main deviations from the Jalie pattern were to use a Burda curved waistband (instead of their rectangular, bias-cut waistband that was just awful in my muslin pair), and extended the pocket linings to the centre front for a non-stretch “gut slimming” panel, as before.read more >>
A lot of sewers like to “Sew with a Plan” (SWAP), but I prefer to call this a “Shortlist” rather than a “Plan”, so I’m free to still change my mind and add/remove items as I go along! My main goal here isn’t so much to create a capsule wardrobe that can be worn together, but more to use up fabrics and/or that have been in my stash for a while that I’d really like to just wear.
From the top down, in no particular order:
- KnipMode 12-2005 #10 – I’ve got some non-stretch denim aging in my stash from a few years ago, and I love KnipMode’s style lines for these. My wardrobe is in desperate need of more jeans, hence why there are two pairs in this Shortlist!
- Altered Burda 06-2012 #129 – Now that my stretch satin from Gorgeous Fabrics is in hand, I can finally make the final version of this dress after completing the drafting and muslins back in July. read more >>
If you had to choose three (and only three!) things you’ve ever sewn to best represent what you can do, what would you choose?
I’ve recently been tasked with exactly this, and I found it incredibly difficult to decide. I mean, it’d be difficult enough if I was confined to just one type of garment, like “Pick three dresses” or “Pick three casual garments”, etc, but just three, from the hundreds of garments I’ve sewn in the past nine years?! This required thought.
Having said that, strangely, the first of my picks was pretty easy – my Winter Coat.
I made this coat two winters ago and I’m really, really proud of the finish on it. The wool is extremely thick, with bound buttonholes, metal buttons, single welt pockets, a thick silk lining, and (most proudly for me) I didn’t use a single bit of fusible anything in its construction. I wear it to death in winter and I love everything about it.
Should I play my trump card and pick my vintage refashioned wedding gown? Well, alright then! read more >>
A few months ago, I went and sewed up the Clover trouser pattern for the first time, in dark green sateen. Having fixed the zipper (my own mistake), I realised that I love the great fit of these trousers, but they’d be even better with traditional pockets and a front fly more like jeans… in fact, I’d actually just like some Clover jeans.
So that’s exactly what I did!
I first altered the pattern to create the front pockets (and I extended the pocket lining piece to the centre front to make a “gut slimming” panel), add a fly-front, and extend front waistband to match the fly underlap. I also added back pockets and belt loops off another jeans pattern. I didn’t bother to draft a back yoke as I actually prefer the look of jeans without them, and the back darts just disappear into the pockets anyway.
This stretch denim is ex-designer from Ditto Fabrics and it’s the exact same stuff I used in these designer jeans (I loved it so much I bought more). The pocket linings and waistband facings are fun Spoonflower cotton prints – Rainy Day Doodles for the pocket linings and fly underlap, and foxes for the inner waistband (the latter by my mate Galia!).read more >>
Back on the 17th I set some bold goals to finish by New Year’s:
I thought it was time for a little progress report, seeing as how I only have a few days to go…
Paco’s Drape Collar Tunic– I sewed this up in an evening before Christmas. Though I had to get very creative in order to get long sleeves out of the 2m of sweater knit I bought… Note to self: Buy more yardage, or shorten the body length next time! Clover jeans– I just finished these! I’m totally loving the fit and the (IMHO) improved pockets, too.
- Holly’s maternity maxi-dress, Burda 08/2008 #125 – Having no place to cut the fabric of the enormous skirt pieces, I actually took it along to work yesterday and cut it out on the big (and empty) lunch table at lunchtime! The few guys left in the office already think I’m weird anyway. Shrug. In any case, this is now ready to sew!
- Ruby Slip – I wanted to cut the skirt pieces at the same time I cut out the maxi dress, but the low table height was killing my back by the time I finished with the maxi dress. I don’t think this will take long to sew together if I can ever find somewhere to cut the single-layer, bias layout… A good cutting area is my new productivity choke point.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was first laying out my initial plans for this mini wardrobe, but now I’ve had some time to step back and have a look over what I managed to accomplish last month. I made this wardrobe mostly for myself, to use some luscious fabrics from my stash in combination with patterns that really appealed to me, but I also kept one eye on the contest requirements running over at PaternReview.com to make sure I remained within their rules, too. Here’s my entry into their contest, or you can just read on below…
I started with a blue viscose, draped knit top that I’d bought from ASOS and really liked, but I wanted to wear with both casual and dressy bottoms.
To coordinate, I sewed:
1. Jalie jeans – I’d made a muslin but the waistband was horrible so I had my work cut out for me on this pair using great quality stretch denim from Mood in NYC, plus some London streetsign fabric for the waistband facings and pockets. I used my vintage hand crank Singer machine for all the topstitching, plus I got to use my vintage buttonholer attachment and high quality rivets for the first time! I fixed all the waistband issues in this pair and these are now my favourite jeans. Read more…read more >>
Why “NY-Lon” jeans? Well, it’s certainly not because they’re made of nylon fabric!! (ewww) I’m calling these that because I bought this denim at Mood in NYC on our honeymoon, and the lining pieces are London streetsigns fabric, bought as an eco reusable wrapping paper! So they’re New York and London together!
So I made two small but significant improvements to these, and I am SUPER happy with the result!
- I ditched Jalie’s awful straight, bias, uninterfaced waistband and used the curved waistband from my favourite Burda August 2006 trousers/jeans, which I also interfaced. I used the London street sign cotton as the inner waistband (as well as the fly underlap and the pocket linings).
- I extended my pocket linings to the centre front so they got caught in the fly front stitching and reinforced the front over my gut (you do NOT want stretch denim stretching out there when you sit – it’s not pretty!)
I’ve sewed a bunch of jeans over the past few years, and with every single one, I’ve been disappointed by the quality of the rivets available to buy as a home sewers. I’ve tried the ones available in stores, like Prym, Hemline, etc and every single time they let me down. Even when they’re properly hammered into place, they move around and “jangle” a bit, they’ve been snagging my coat linings, and I’ve had several fall out under normal wear of the jeans. For my last few pairs, I haven’t even bothered using rivets at all. I’d rather not use any than ones that look and behave badly!
I’ve been keeping an eye out for quality rivets for a while now, and I’ve heard word that a man named Junior in Louisiana does excellent ones and will sell them in small quantities. So I took the plunge and bought a few of his high quality rivets (and a handful of all-metal buttons while I was at it), even though it meant importing them from the States.
Seriously, these rivets are fantastic – they look just like RTW, are easier to install than the crappy ones, and once they’re in, they’re in!
I can never go back to crappy rivets again – for real, I’m tossing the others in the bin. So as part of my grand education scheme, I’m going to show you all how easy these are to install. Just say NO to crappy rivets!
How to install jeans rivets
You’ll need an awl (an ice pick may work in a pinch though), some pliers with a wire cutter, and a big ol’ hammer.
Here are the Rivets pieces. On the left is the nail, which goes on the underside of your jeans. On the right is the cap, with the right side shown at the top, and the wrong side (which connects to the nail) underneath:
You wouldn’t know it from the lack of sewing photos, but I’ve actually been fairly productive over the past two weeks.
I was a terrible auntie this year and failed to make anything nice for my niece and nephew this Christmas, and my sister-in-law said I should just send them something when I get around to it, seeing as how they’re both so overwhelmed at Christmas anyhow. So before I got started on my March Mini Wardrobe stuff, I took an afternoon to make these, which are currently in transit:
I made a fluffy pink zebra minkee bolero for my 7 year old niece, and an adapted (ie: no hood) monsters and red jersey tee for my 8 year old nephew. You’ll see more about these when they try them on, with any luck…
And while I was clearing the sewing guilt decks, I finally also made the silver silk jersey dress I’d promised (and muslined) for James’s sister over a year ago!read more >>
The ladies at the Walthamstow meetup got a sneak peek of my new jeans on Saturday, but now everyone can have a look at my (mentally counts…) sixth pair of jeans!
I wanted to try out the Jalie 2908 jeans pattern in cheap fabric before I broke out my good stuff, so I made these using some cheap stretch denim from Goldhawk Road, bought for £3/m. It’s papery and stiff and smells kinda like petrochemicals when you iron it, but it was taking up room in my stash and was good enough to try out the pattern (and good enough for wearing round the boat, too!).
I made the regular rise version (as opposed to the low-rise) and I knew these were bootcut, but wow, this has a VERY flared leg! But the fashion mags can’t stop going on about how flares are big for SS11, so I suppose I’m ahead of the pack with these. I think the rise here is good and comfortable, and the crotch curve, bottom, and thigh fit my “white girl pancake butt” really well. The leg length on these was almost perfect for me, too – I only needed to add 1-2 cm past their hem line (I usually have to add more for Burda trousers, and nothing at all for Knip’s).read more >>
Now that I’ve got my big winter coat sewing out of the way, I can turn my attentions to filling in a few gaps in my winter wardrobe. Sewing these things now means I can get another good 3-4 months of wear out of them before moving on to short sleeves and lighter jackets (no really, for the past few years we’ve had flurries and hard frosts in April or May).
So I’ve gathered together the patterns I’d most like to sew along with fabrics I’ve got in my stash that would help fill my wardrobe voids…
Starting at the top of this collage, we’ve got:read more >>
When I first saw the tech drawing for this skirt (#13) in Patrones 292, I assumed the curved upper back section wrapped around seamlessly into the angled front pockets, and it’s what initially drew me to this design.
But on closer inspection of the pattern pieces, I realised this wasn’t the case and that there were side seams on the upper portion as you’d expect in most skirts. So after tracing the pattern, I went about transferring the curved side seam “dart” into an area that would be hidden by the pocket, went so far as cutting out the piece…. and then realised it seemed like a kinda stupid amount of faff just to remove a seam line on a colour-blocked skirt where the seam would be so overshadowed by the overall colour-blocking anyway. So I reverted everything back to the pattern as drafted, recut the nude fabric pieces, and made the skirt as intended.read more >>
I’ve had this flowered black and red denim I’ve since I was 13 or 14 year old. I remember being so inspired by the “sewing machine driver’s test” we took in Home Ec class that I got my mom to buy me this at JoAnn’s Fabrics and I made a really simple tote bag out of this using her old pea-green Kenmore sewing machine. The bag fell apart soon after (let’s just say I wasn’t big on following any “rules”), but I just attached the straps back on with some safety pins and continued to use it as my school bag for the rest of the year.
I honestly had no idea this fabric even still existed, but my mom found it lurking somewhere in my old room at their house and brought it with her this summer. I looked through my pattern magazine archive (made so much simpler by scanning each of the index pages into an online album) and #113 from the July 2008 Burda WOF magazine jumped out as the prime contender.
There wasn’t much fabric left, but it was plenty enough to make this skirt. I’d definitely keep this one in mind if you’ve got a metre or so of heavyweight fabric you want to make use of!read more >>
Step One: Find yourself a pattern with tons of interesting details. In my case, I’ve used pattern #7a from the December 2008 issue of KnipMode magazine.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Burda, but when’s the last time you saw one of their trouser patterns with anywhere near this much detail?? KnipMode are by far my best source for interesting trouser patterns in the last year or so!
Step Two: Find some ex-designer denim like this black stretch denim from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton (50% Cotton 45% Polyester 5% Elastane) from “one of the Italian designers”. It’s listed as black, but when it’s held up to black, it looks blue, and when held up to navy it looks black. Whatever the colour, it’s seriously the nicest stretch denim I’ve ever come across, and it’s really similar to the weave you find in RTW jeans.
Step Three: Sew!read more >>
I didn’t get much sewing done this weekend, but I did catch up on photoshoots for my finished garments from last week, at least. First up is an A-ine, faux-wrap jeanskirt from KnipMode March 09 issue, #12:
It features the very last of my super heavyweight Levis denim that also bore the Thames jeans and the recent KnipMode boyfriend jeans. And stylistically, it’s also got a similar idea, if not construction, to the KnipMode kilt-styled jeanskirt I made a few years ago.read more >>
It seems like everyone’s caught the jeans sewing bug recently! Maybe it’s the warmer weather or just the slow realisation that I could really do with more casual trews in my wardrobe, but KnipMode Jan 09 #11a really took my fancy and wouldn’t let go.
Annoyingly, it’s hard to get a good look at these jeans in the magazine photos – they’re either covered up by her jacket, or partially shown in the detail shots, or just not photographed at all.
But between these and the technical drawing, I was able to piece together how these should go together, in what order, and with what topstitching (I posted some essential topstitching tips a few years ago, fyi). What really drew me to the pattern was also to be the most difficult sewing aspect – the front pattern piece has “arms” at the top that wrap around completely to meet at the centre back, and the back piece of the trousers has a curved seam around the bum, and wraps round slightly so the “side seam” on the legs is actually on the front:
So this means there’s no traditional side seam to tweak the fit, and there’s no centre back seam in the waistband to tweak there, either. So if you’re unsure of the fit, I’d fully recommend sewing a muslin first, though I actually just threw all caution to the wind here and used my super heavyweight Levis denim from the outset (since I’ve made so much KnipMode in the past and knew I was a consistent size).read more >>
While I’m still waiting for the fabric to arrive from America for my last Christmas present, I decided to add to my trouser collection and make a second pair of the black biker trousers, which are BWOF 05/2006 #112. I realised in my observations of what I’m wearing this month that my trousers in general are way too dark and I need some slightly lighter ones to allow me to wear (my many) black tops with them.read more >>
I’ve just spent nearly all of my four day weekend (double bank holiday, woo!) behind my sewing machine and ironing board, and I couldn’t be happier! For the last few years I’ve made myself something nice and new to wear on my birthday, so today I’m wearing my new clothes! It dulls the pain of turning 29, you see… ;)read more >>
I should have some photos for you very soon of my beautiful silk blouse, but in the meantime, I’ve started thinking about sewing up my next pair of jeans, using some brand name Levis 3% lycra denim from Crybaby’s Boutique (though it appears to be sold out now!). It’s all washed and dried (in my neighbour’s tumble dryer) and pressed and ready to go, but now I have to decide whether I’ll stick with my tried and true jeans pattern, Burda World of Fashion 08/2006 #109, or whether I should a new pattern, BurdaStyle’s Anita skinny jeans pattern.
So my first thought was to compare the two patterns to see exactly how different Anita is from my usual pattern. It fits me like a glove, but has back darts rather than a yoke, which is my only aesthetic issue with it. Now, the BWOF pattern (in brown paper) does not have seam allowances and Anita (in white paper) does, so if the two patterns were exactly the same there should be 5/8 inch of white showing all the way around the edges.read more >>
I started this kilt-inspired jeanskirt from the February 2007 issue of KnipMode magazine not really knowing how long it would take me to power through…read more >>
I decided I needed a challenge. I’ve never made trousers before, let alone jeans, but I had some stretch denim from Walthamstow Market wallowing in my stash for over a year, and I finally had enough time in my schedule to do them justice. I’d attempted to make Vogue 8202 about a year ago, but only got as far as the muslin stage before I realised that a) the front rise was scandalously low, b) there was about 4 inches too much ease, and c) I started to lose weight and the pattern size range I bought was far too big to bother downsizing and redrafting. So this time around I used a pattern for corduroy trousers from the August 2006 Burda World Of Fashion magazine and just added the missing pieces (namely, the back pockets, the fifth pocket, and an interior fly piece) from my old Vogue pattern.read more >>