Metallic Linen Joggers

Sewing is my relaxation at the moment, so I have been sticking to relatively quick and easy projects.

I bought this interesting fabric from Oddz and Endz in Noosa, before they closed.  I was told that it was linen, though it must be a linen blend because one side of the fabric is shiny.  It certainly creases like linen though!  Initially I had Vogue 1323 earmarked for this fabric, but when I had a recent binge on Burda sale patterns, I picked up Burda 6938.  Burda pants are generally a better draft for me, and this one had a lower waistline, which I prefer, so I went with the Burda.  I did like some of the features of the Vogue pattern, so I cherrypicked the features I wanted and added them to the Burda pattern.

I made the following changes to the Burda pattern;

I changed the pocket opening.  The pattern originally called for in-seam pockets, but I wanted to make a bit more of a feature of them.

I added a single back jetted pocket.  These are only elastic-waisted pants, but the fit at the back looks pretty good.  The only fitting change I made was to reduce both the front and back crotch extensions, which is a pretty typical alteration for me.  I didn't make a muslin first.  I just sort of guessed how much to shorted the extensions.

I added elasticated cuffs.  My cuffs are 4 cm wide, to suit the elastic I used.  Initially I removed 4 cm in length from the pattern, before adding the cuff, but this wasn't enough.  In the end, I removed 9 cm in length before adding the cuff.  I am about the height that Burda patterns are drafted for (168 cm), but I have a long body / short legs, so maybe this is why I had to remove extra.

I put elastic in all 3 rows of the waistband casing, not just the outer two.

Being pear-shaped, it may not be the best idea to put something light and shiny on my bottom half. This seemed  more obvious when I looked back at the photos than it did in the planning phase, but I have already worn these out several times and plan to keep on doing so!


Adding hardware details

This outfit emerged from a need for quick gratification sewing, whilst I am struggling with sleeve fitting in my craftsy class.  Sewing is my number one hobby, but it is not all joy and bubbles.  Fitting slopers (or anything really) drags me down.

First up, burdastyle 6633, a tunic.  I know that I said I was not going to buy any new patterns, but I picked up a few at a sale price of $4.50 last week. Tracing paper costs almost as much.

I made view B.  My sleeves are longer, but that is only because I cut on the the line for View A and then found that I did not have enough of my contrast fabric for cuffs.  The sleeves are actually surprisingly narrow for this style of tunic, and sometimes I can feel the fabric straining through the upper arm as I go about my daily business.  I thought that burda patterns fit me alright in the shoulder, but you can see in the photo below that my forward, square shoulder is busting to get out of there.  The slightly dropped shoulder line probably doesn't help.

The only change I made to the pattern was to add grommets and lacing.  Now that I have bought the extra dies for my snap press, I need to use them whenever I can!  A reviewer over at Patternreview found that the neck opening on this tunic was a bit low (any surprise, burda??), and I would have found it too low as well, if I did not add the lacing.  You can see that the neck opening is lower than the bust darts, which I think would lead to gaping on most people.

The tunic has a curved hem.  Does anyone else struggle with curved hems?  I know that curved hems are flattering, but I do find them tricky to sew neatly.  For this tunic, I used the same method that you would use for a narrow hem if you did not have a narrow hemming foot....one row of stitching, fold up and press, second row of stitching, fold up and press, third row of stitching.

The shorts are mostly my own pattern.  I started with my favourite Patrones elastic waisted pants pattern and made the following changes;
- shortened length
- removed height from the front and back rise and added a separate waistband
- added front slant pockets
- added back jetted pockets
- added a cuff
- added side tabs
- took the side seams in 15 mm after making this up, because of the heavier fabric.

In the past, I have thought of elastic waisted shorts mostly as pyjamams.  Then two years ago I bought a few pairs of elastic waisted shorts online, which I loved.  They had lots of extra details, including cuffs, pockets, ties etc.  Last year, I ordered more from the same shop, and for some reason, none of them fit.  They were too big in all sorts of weird ways.  This year, I thought it was time to just make up my pattern for what I wanted.

I copied the cuff detail from a pair of puma shorts I was given as a hand-me-down.  It gives a much crisper cuff than the method I have previously used (and learnt from pattern sheet instructions).  You can see in the photos below that I turned up a double hem, and then flipped the hem to the outside to form the cuff.  I top-stitched the cuff, but the original pair I copied did not have top-stitching.  If I had known that I was going to add the tab, I would have sewn it into the hem before I top-stitched it, but the tab was a last minute add-on and I didn't want to unpick the top-stitching.  You might expect that this method of making the cuff would lead to wear on the bottom edge, but the shorts I copied are hand-me-down and I have been wearing them myself for several years now and they have not worn out on this line.

This is my first time sewing jetted pockets.  Not so neat in the denim, but okay.

  The insides are neat, but you can see I was not using pattern pieces for the pockets as they have ended up different lengths.

I'm pleased I have this shorts pattern now.  The next shorts pattern I want to try is one I rubbed off some RTW Roxy shorts maybe six years ago, but never sewed up.  I found my rub-off when I was looking for something else just recently.  So many things to sew...


Flared Pants

I didn't know just how much I've been wanting a pair of wide legged drapey pants until I made these!

The pattern is Vogue 1059 - an alice + olivia designer pattern from 2008.  I think I bought all of the alice + olivia pants patterns when they came out.

The fabric is a rayon crepe from The Fabric Store.  Initially I thought that I bought enough for a top / bottom combo (a la lizajane) but I'm not sure if I do have enough left for a top.  Never mind, these pants seem to go with so many tops that I already own.  My favourite combo is with this reversible swing top (featured here).  The top is mauvy pink / indigo and the pants navy / cream / burgundy, but they seem a pretty good colour match in real life (better than the photos!).  The bodgy hem on the top still annoys me though.  I'll have to redo it one day.

The pants have a wide waistband.  I wasn't sure how it would look in the chevron fabric, but the mismatched chevrons don't bother me.  In the past, I have cut size 12 / 14 for the alice + olivia patterns.  I had just started cutting these when I read the hip measurements on the pattern - the bonus of using commercial patterns - and decided to cut a 16 instead.  I didn't want to put any stress on the fabric.  Then I decided that maybe I should go for the 18 instead.  My hip measurement puts me between the 16 and the 18.  In the end, I cut a 16 front and an 18 back.  The pants had a tendency to fall down, more because rayon crepe has a heavy drape than because of a fit issue, so I sewed a narrow elastic to the seam allowance of the top edge of the waistband, which seems to have done the trick.

The pants have an invisible zipper at the back.  I don't think that I have sewn pants with a back zipper for over 20 years.  Makes for a quick sew.  You can see that I haven't under-stitched the waistband facing and  so the facing is peeking out a little - I wanted to see how the elastic worked out first.

I did go to the effort of pattern matching my picket openings, but I didn't pattern match the side seams so it is all a bit of a mess of strips there anyway.

So, it only took me 8 years to sew this pattern up....why did it take so long???  I'm sure the next pair will come around sooner.


More jeans plus Named Geneva Raglan Tee

These are the jeans I made after altering my pattern to eliminate the back wrinkle that was annoying me so much.  I'm pretty happy with the fit of them.  You can't see in the photos, but the front is low cut and the back rise is higher.  They still loosen over the course of the day and drop down if I am not wearing a belt, but now they do that evenly, rather than have the back sag much lower than the front.

There is some evidence of "internal rotation of knees", according to my fitting book, but not so much that I feel I need to correct it.

An acceptable amount of wrinkling in the back...at least comfort wise!  I am wondering if I could remove a little bit of length from the back yoke, but I will wear these for a few weeks before attempting any more jeans.

The front pattern stayed pretty much the same.  I have laid the old and new back patterns on top of each other.  The new one is underneath.   If you look, you can see that the upper half of the back is tilted over, resulting in a smaller body space for my rump whilst keeping the same width from crotch seam to side seam.  The crotch curve is also steeper.

Close ups of my top-stitching.  My button holes have not turned out so well.  The waistband is not interfaced, which may contribute to this, but also I think it would be better if I did them in normal thread rather than the top-stitching thread.  I used a fancy stitch on my belt loops.

Back pocket embroidery.  The front pocket bags are made from a silk faille remnant, that I dyed a bright purple / fuschia for another project.  The dyeing did not go well, so I did not use the fabric for that project, but it sure does feel nice as pockets.

I am heading south this weekend, so wanted a couple of long sleeved shirts to take with me for the trip.  Last year I made 3 long-sleeved shirts for winter (unblogged), but I only like and wear one of them.  This year I tried my first Named pattern, the Geneva raglan sleeved tee.  I have pretty square shoulders, which can be a hassle when fitting raglan styles.  This pattern has a darted sleeve, and the Named models seem to have pretty square shoulders, so I thought I would give it a go.

The only fitting change that I made to the pattern was to add 1 cm to the hips.  I could probably benefit from a narrow chest alteration, but did not bother for these first versions.

I have had a busy week, so it took me 4 days to make this!  I used a different construction order than that outlined in the pattern.

Monday - printed and traced pattern, cut out body
Tuesday - cut out sleeves.  Overlocked side seams together in main body colour.
Wednesday - changed overlocker threads to sleeve colour.  Overlocked sleeve side seams together.  Attached sleeves to body.  If you set everything up, both sleeves can be attached in one pass, which eliminates any hassles with sleeve allowances on the back neck before binding.  I attached down front armhole on one side, up armhole on back, kept overlocking across back neck, then down the back armhole and finally front armhole on the other sleeve.
Thursday - sewed one shoulder dart closed with regular sewing machine (I find it easier to get a nice dart finish on my regular machine.  Set up coverstitch machine.  Attached binding.  Different reviews seem to show different widths of neckline.  I cutoff the neckline seam allowances on the pattern, because I was going to bind, rather than attach a neck band.  My binding is much narrower than a neckband, so I have probably ended up with a wider neck than the designers intended.  I don't like high necks though, so I am happy with this neck size.  I sewed the second shoulder dart closed, joining the binding in this seam.

I then hemmed the sleeves, changed the thread colour on my cover stitch machine and finally hemmed the bottom of the skirt.

After that, I whipped up a second one in an evening.

I really like the casual style of this tee shirt, and happy with the fit.  I wasn't going to buy patterns this year, because I am having fun with drafting, but I am focused on drafting jeans at the moment, and did not want to get distracted with t-shirts.  This shirt fit so well out of the envelope that I just may have to try out some other Named patterns.


Distressed or distressing

Making jeans No. 5 is the first time I have been upset with how my jeans making journey was progressing.  Maybe because all along what I really wanted was a pale blue pair of jeans, and I thought I had learnt enough to make a pair I liked.  I mean, 4 practice pairs should really be enough, shouldn't it?

I usually construct the jeans up to the point of sewing the side seams, and then try them on to do any minor adjusting of leg width and shape.  This time, when I looked in the mirror, I was really disappointed.   My jeans just did not look like jeans.  The denim was all crinkly and it didn't hang the way jeans should.  They looked more like trousers than jeans.  I thought that the fabric looked really flat, but it did not respond well to distressing with sandpaper.  

On the spur of the moment, I thought I would try distressing them with bleach.  I painted on a bit of bleach, had a look, painted on a bit more, then threw them in the wash.  After they dried, I showed them to my daughter, who thought it looked like I just sat in a puddle of something.  I threw them into the wash again, this time with some blue dye to cover up the bleach.  I am not very experienced at dyeing and just chucked in half a teaspoon of a blue dye, which I had previously used by the tablespoon to dye shorts a dark denim colour.  It seemed to work though and they came out a similar colour to the original denim, only lighter in the bleached spots.  I forgot to fix the dye though, and it rinsed out, so I chucked them back in the machine again. Then I thought that perhaps I should chuck in the waistband and fabric for belt carriers as well, seeing as they were not yet attached to the jeans and still the original colour.  Panic dyeing.

I cut off the hems and folded a cuff, added the waistband (with some difficulty, as everything had frayed by now) and considered the jeans.  I thought some additional distressing was required, which seemed to illicit a variety of responses from my household.  The other adult in our house thought that distressing new clothing was ridiculous.  My son pointed out that distressing was supposed to look like you really loved your jeans so much that you didn't want to throw them out. Hmmm, good point, I didn't actually like the jeans.  I continued on.  My daughter found me reading tutorials on distressing methods, and offered to distress the jeans for me...I gratefully took up her offer to take to the jeans with scissors and tweezers whilst I cooked dinner.  Another go in the wash and here they are.

These photos were taken early in the day, but the fabric has poor recovery and they slouch down and look more like a boyfriend style of jean as the day progresses.

I haven't really shown you the pockets and other details of my jeans so far.  Drawing etc is not a strength of mine, but I am surprised at how much I have enjoyed coming up with different pocket embroidery designs.  This one is more whimsical, with a heart motif, and the embroidery in a different colour to the rest of my top-stitching..

Ironically, these jeans will probably end up being worn most of all, because their lighter weight and cropped length is more suited to our climate.