Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carry on!

Wow, it's been two weeks since I last posted here and nearly the same amount of time since I last posted on my blog. My absence was due to quite a full schedule with the end of school, doctor's appointments, ongoing family drama, and other things.  I've also been moderately ill - not so much that I can't function.  I get tired very quickly.  As for sewing, except for the buttonhole, I am finished with my sixth pair of jeans.  Hopefully I can get some pictures this weekend. 

I want to thank all that participated in the sew along and welcome you to continue posting about making those fabulous jeans.  Feel free to use the site and update regularly.  While I will not be sewing jeans for a few weeks, I will certainly follow along.

Again, many thanks to you all.  Happy sewing!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

I *Am* Sewing. Really, I am.

How lame is it to host a sew along and not post to blog of said sew along?  I encountered some non-sewing-related speed bumps and am in the process of recovering.  Although I have been working on my jeans and nothing else, that work did not come without dedicated use of my seam ripper.  I had problems with the zipper area on both pairs of jeans and had to unpick countless miles (okay...feet...maybe inches) of topstitching.  Plus, on one pair, the fabric is just way too stretchy for my taste.  The zipper area pulls open so much so that I hand sewed snaps to keep it close.  Not.  Cute.  I will finish these and just wear a long shirt to cover it up.  Hopefully, I'll finish this weekend.  We shall see.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vogue 8330 skinnies

The heavy duty snap was hammered and these babies are done!
I love them!! When I first started seeing skinny jeans, I was horrified. Could anything be more unflattering?? what would Stacy and Clinton say??? But the more I saw them, the more I liked them.  Still, I couldn't convince myself to put in the effort to sew a pair when I wasn't sure that I liked the style. So, I did the unthinkable and actually bought a pair of jeans. I know. After some judicious back waist darts, the RTW pair fit OK, and I found myself wearing them all the time, even though the fit was only OK. It was obviously time to sew myself a pair that actually fit.
The pattern I used was Vogue 8330, which I found at the thrift store. I was thrilled to see very favorable reviews on PR. Erica B even made these! The only thing I didn't like about the pattern was the low rise, so I raised it to just below my natural waist. That took 3 inches in front, tapering down to 2 inches at center back.
I added 2 of the three inches above where the pocket sits, to enlarge the pocket opening, but I should have lowered the coin pocket. It looks a little strangely tall. The topstitching was done with C&C "jeans" thread on my Janome. The jeans were constructed on the serger as well as my vintage Singer. She purrs through denim like butter.
I used Dritz rivets, although I have some nicer ones coming soon from Hot Patterns. I couldn't wait, so they'll go on my next pair of jeans. For the closure, I used a heavy duty snap, also from Dritz. It was much easier than fighting Janome to make a buttonhole with jeans thread. I will have to explore other color options though. Hancock's only has black and old gold, which doesn't match the silver rivets they carry. Hello.
Inside, I used a striped cotton for the waistband facing and pockets. I extended the pocket bag across the front all the way to center front. I first saw this done on Beangirl's blog, but have since seen that some of my Burda pants pattern have that feature as well. It is really great for keeping those pocket bags tucked in, but also provides a little tummy control for those of us who perhaps don't have the tummy tone of yesteryear.
Changes I made for fit are mostly detailed here and here. I think these are my best fitting pants to date, so I am pleased. Despite the fact that I get front wrinkles if I move, I am still pleased to have figured out the front crotch curve as having a good fit there makes these pants quite comfortable. Nothing pulls, binds or rides up. I'm not sure I am thrilled with the fit of the waistband, since it tends to roll down on the sides. It is a contoured waistband, and I wonder if it doesn't curve too sharply for how high the waistline is on these pants.
Here are the pockets, now actually stitched on. I waited to sew them on until I had sewn and topstitched the center back seam, so that I could balance the pockets an equal distance from the topstitching. In looking at the pictures, I think they might have been a bit more flattering if I had placed them slightly closer in. I'll remember than for next time!

I'm pretty darn thrilled with my jeans. They are comfortable and despite the dogma about pant legs faling straight from the hips, I find these pretty flattering. It was fun to sew along with the ladies here as well. Thanks for letting me play!! I may try to squeeze another pair in before the 15th of December!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Slowly but surely...

After having company for the last three days, I have finally gotten around to tracing and cutting out Jalie 2908, my first Jalie pattern ever..  I'm starting out with a pair for my daughter, who has a 22 1/2 inch hip measurement (Size 3/G) and a 21 1/2 inseam (Size 6/J).  I was initially thrown by the look of the front and back pattern pieces after I had traced them - they looked too long (if that is possible for my skinny little stringbean daughter).  But then I read the directions and saw that it included the seam and hem allowances.  Because of the nested pattern pieces, I had assumed that Jalie, like the Burda WOF ones I have used before, required you to add the SA's and hem allowances to the pattern pieces. Fortunately, that was not the case.

I have some beige stretch denim left over from a previous wadder project that I'm using to test the waters.  I think I'm going to put a very basic topstitching design on the back pockets of this first pair, but I'm going to find a small-ish .PES-format embroidery design online for the pockets of the blue denim ones.  She likes the idea of embroidering the front of the pant leg(s) shown on the envelope photo, too, but she's awfully picky (for a six year old!), so this could take awhile.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back Pockets

Whenever I make a new pair of jeans, the first thing I stitch is the back pockets. Having the pockets done gives me a little mojo burst, which I need at the beginning of an involved project.
I don't have an embroidery machine, so I have to work a little harder to get my pockets symmetrical. Over the course of my last several pair of jeans, I've worked out a system that works for me. I thought I'd share it.
The first thing I do is trace the pocket pattern piece I'm using, then draw in the hem and seam allowances (if it has them). I copy this several times (on a regular copy machine/printer) to give me something to sketch on so that I can try out different design ideas in the space I'll actually have on the pocket.  Once I've settled on a design, I flip it over and trace it backwards so that the two pockets are symmetrical. I used regular computer paper today, but the next step is easier if you trace it onto tissue paper.
Cut out your tracing on the cutting line and glue it onto your fabric with a glue stick. Just dab a little glue in the upper and lower allowances. You don't want it glued permanently, but you don't want it to shift around when you stitch. Wonder Tape would work too, but glue sticks are cheaper. Pins are acceptable, but may distort your design as you stitch.
Now stitch your design through the paper. Go slowly and sew accurately along the lines you drew.
That big fat jeans needle you should be using does a nice job of perforating the paper, so it is easy to remove from your design! Just pull gently, starting with the big pieces of paper. When you get to the little ones, tug on your pocket a little. Even non stretch denim will stretch a little on the bias, and this will help detach the paper from your stitching.
Now all that is left is to press down your hem allowance on top and topstitch it in place, then press under the allowances on the other sides and bottom of the pocket. Since you already traced out the pocket shape, you have a template you can use for pressing. Handy!

Any other tips? Please share!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Picture is Worth 1000 (4-letter) Words

Of course, I only notice this while trying the jeans on *after* sewing the side seams.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whisker Relief

A big thank you to Tanit-Isis and Anonymous who commented on my blog! I think I fixed that pesky front crotch curve.
Better, yes? Here is how it looked before.
So, Tanit-Isis got me thinking about the shape of the curve, but I wasn't sure what to do about it. Anonymous (who are you? You are a genius!) pointed me it the direction of the Savvy Sewer Salon over at Sawyer Brook Fabrics. Jennifer Stern had hosted a couple of sew alongs and addressed several fit issues, including this one. When the wee one went down for a nap, I decided to give it a try. It worked! And it only took about a 1/8 inch change to totally change the fit of these pants.
The original stitching line is in red, with the new stitching line in tan. You wouldn't think that teeny change would make any difference at all, but it did and I am thrilled!!

Thank you both for commenting and getting my mind working!!