Showtime = Sew Time!

Hello again!

I promised/warned you I’d be right back! Our band recently had another show; I was not planning on having enough time to make a new outfit (or even a single garment), but I was able to put something together after all. One piece is a pattern I’ve made before, and the other is just simple.

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Trying to look cool

SSJ (2 of 25)

Failing

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Mopey side view

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The boring back

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Hip tie action!

Skirt Notes

The skirt is the Moss Mini by Grainline, sewn in the same black stretch denim as my jeans. Once again, I used leftover shirting from my Blair for the pocket bags, so those are a fun (if secret!) addition to an otherwise basic skirt. The only thing I had to buy for this project was the zipper, and that’s just because I didn’t want to waste a jeans zipper on a skirt.

Despite having stated that I would make changes to the pattern after my first rendition, I definitely didn’t do that! O_o I ended up remembering after I had the skirt put together except for the waistband–d’oh! I had to remove 1-2″ from the center back and another 1/2″ at each side seam to get the fit I wanted. I really ought to get the pattern back out and make those permanent! The one thing I did manage to remember from the first Moss was how much I regretted not using a jeans button, so I used one here.

SSJ (7 of 25)

Slash pocket, with basically-invisible topstitching

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Jeans button FTW!

To keep it simple and highly mixable, I used black topstitching throughout. There isn’t really any topstitching in the instructions, which makes sense with Grainline’s minimalist aesthetic, but I prefer this type of skirt with a little extra “oomph.” My choice of black thread, however, reduces the “oomph” factor significantly! 😉

Top Notes

The top is the Selja Knot Tee from Named. I made it in an ITY knit I bought from Fabric Mart ages ago–it’s a good type of fabric for this top, if you’re wondering! It was a devil to hem though, LOL. I used my twin needle for all the hems, since they need to stretch. The hem flares a little when the top is untied, but that’s not how I’ll wear it so #no1curr.

I have to be honest, I am disappointed with this top. For one thing, I didn’t do a good job matching my stripes on the front seam. I was thisclose to turning that piece and putting it on a different grainline for visual effect with the stripes, but was worried about distortion and weird pulling so I didn’t. I really should have!! I will probably go back and sew the seam closed another 1/8″ to match the stripe a little better. I also don’t love that I chose a fabric with an obvious wrong side–those ties have to be carefully choreographed to hide it!

SSJ (8 of 25)

Untied…not such a great look on me. (And UGHHHHH that pathetic stripe-matching. O_o)

SSJ (9 of 25)

Flappy flaps

The real issue though is the fit–it’s certainly not very good. I am pretty sure I didn’t add my 1″ at the bust (I traced this one well over a year ago!!), which may have helped somewhat had I done it, but the area that really bothers me is the shoulder and armscye area. To my eye, it looks like I need more width for my lats and shoulders. There is a good deal of pulling there, and it’s not the most comfortable tee where mobility is concerned. I know I am pushing the limits of Named’s EUR32 size in my shoulders/lats but I’ve not had this kind of glaring issue on other tops or bodices previously. It’s also quite baggy from the armpits on down, which makes the whole top look particularly ill-fitting. I wonder if it’s because it’s one of the earlier patterns and they’ve improved or changed things since then, or if I’m just a dolt? I can’t say for sure, but I really do wish this fit better. 😦

The neckband is also not my best in terms of how it sits. I mistakenly cut it out going the wrong way against the greatest direction of stretch! So while I did stretch it to fit the neckline, it really should have been cut with the stripes going the other direction to help it stretch and flatten out. Additionally, I’m not sure how much of the issue(s) with how it sits would be helped if the fit was better in the shoulders and armscyes–I think it would make a difference. Oh well!

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Neckband derps

Conclusions

So there you go, one rock ‘n roll outfit on short notice! Definitely not as exciting as my electric skirt, but I really love being able to come up with something in time for a show. It’s a big confidence booster for me when I get up onstage! Sorry that I don’t have any action shots for you this time around: Tom’s band was on the bill with us that night, so he didn’t bring his camera.

In case you wondered, I do wear my show outfits in real life too, not just for shows. The skirt has been worn TONS since I finished it, but I’ve only worn the top one other time. That’s more to do with the weather (which is now chilly, boo) and my hatred of that front stripe snafu than anything–once I fix that stripe, it will get more wear.

That’s all for me right now, but I have a couple of projects planned that I will–hopefully!–be back to share soon. It’s definitely feeling like Fall here in Ohio, which is influencing my sewing plans big time.

Do you wear your “meh” sewing projects, or do you banish them from your sight immediately? What project(s) are you working on right now? 

 

 

 

 

OMG, Finally! (Jeans!!!!!!!!!)

Hey everyone!

I meant to share another post entirely, but we took photos for everything at the same time and I am so excited about this project that it jumped the blog queue. (The other post is coming soon, promise!)

What’s got me so damn excited? JEANSSSSSS!!!!

SSJ (19 of 25)

JEANSSSSSSSSSSS

SSJ (18 of 25)

Side view: no twisting!

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Admiring myself

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Showing off the crotch?

SSJ (1 of 1)

Overexposed to try to show the black fly topstitching…not super successful!

Closer Seam

Close-up of the flat-felling on the inseam

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Closer look at the side; sorry for the awkward hand intrusion!

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Exciting pocket/butt shot, sorry y’all. O_o 

SSJ (20 of 25)

Trying to hike them up!

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Matching shirt + pockets!

SSJ (24 of 25)

Hem

I have been planning this project for AGES now, but could somehow never make jeans for myself a priority item. My first sincere attempt was undone by fabric that was too stretchy (which is apparently a thing? Who knew! 😉 ) but I came back to these in August, determined to make them happen. Apart from a few little things, I am THRILLED with these!

I wanted to keep them versatile, so I stuck with black topstitching and gray bartacks and nickel hardware. I got stuck with a tacky bright gold zipper though, LOL! Unfortunately, the topstitching gets lost in the denim, but that’s okay. And my back pockets look more like cousins than twins (I don’t know where I first read that phrase, but it perfectly sums up my experience with sewing exterior pockets). The denim I used is from Fashion Fabrics Club, and I’m pretty sure I got it for like $4 a yard. It is stretchy but firm and substantial, and really perfect for skinny jeans. Plus the “smoke black” color is so 90’s!

Pattern Notes

The pattern I used is the one I cloned from an old pair of Aeropostale jeans. While the original cloned pattern was very low-rise–requiring a 2.5″ zipper!–I altered it to be high-rise. I have come around to that look and feel in jeans…mostly because I am super into cropped tops right now! 😉 I was naughty and went to Madewell and J. Crew last year to try on–but not buy–their jeans, since I was curious about the higher rise by then. I took some measurements from a few pairs of 9″ skinnies, which I liked best, for science. I compared those measurements to my original pattern, and made my alterations from there.

I know I could have just started with a high-rise pattern, like View B of the Ginger Jeans pattern, which I bought right when it was released. But in my opinion, the proportions of that particular pattern are “off”: they’re just too tall overall IMO, plus the zipper is weirdly long and the yoke always looks too tall. (And that’s to say nothing of some other bug-bears I have with that pattern draft-wise, but this isn’t the time or place to get into that!) In order to get the proportions right, you have to distribute any extra rise height correctly in the front AND back. What I learned from the RTW jeans was how best to do that and achieve the look I was after. I think my pair look proportional with my body; they don’t look “high-rise,” they just look like jeans.

I mean, look at them:

That’s a Madewell pair of 9″ rise skinnies on the left (original photo is property of Madewell). The proportions are pleasing to the eye and not exaggerated in height (i.e., no mile-long zipper). Success!

Now as I said, I would change a few things about these jeans. For instance:

  1. The waist is too big, despite my taking out almost 3″ already. This included unpicking the top of my flat-felled back crotch seam to take a big-ass wedge out there, plus another 1/2″ at each side seam. Boo.
  2. The front pocket openings need to be larger/deeper, both for visual and practical purposes.
  3. I could stand to take about 1/4″ off the length of the front crotch. I am not terribly worried about the lines you can see above–those are caused by my stomach-slash-pubis area being too flat versus my pointy comparatively prominent hip bones and front thighs. I might fix it, but I might not. Whatever.
  4. Maybe narrow the lower legs a bit for a closer fit, a la J. Crew’s “toothpick” cut.

Construction Notes

Putting these together was pretty straightforward, since I’ve made jeans before. I followed my own notes on the fly front, and flat-felled the inseam, back crotch, and yoke seams. I forgot to put my belt loops on before sewing the waistband to the jeans and its facing, so those could be cleaner next time. Once again, I used Angela Kane’s buttonhole method; seriously, I don’t think I’d ever do that any other way on jeans! I did all my sewing with a 90/14 Jeans needle; over any big bumps, I folded up some scraps of denim and put them under the back of my presser foot and that was a big help. Finally, I used true Topstitching thread for all of the topstitching EXCEPT for the gray stuff. My machine will work with that heavy-ass thread, provided I tweak my settings properly and don’t try any bartacks!

Conclusions

So here we are, one pair of self-made jeans down with many more to go! 😉 I am so excited that these turned out to be wearable, and am feeling good about making lots more pairs. Goodness knows I’ve got the denim to do that, LOL. Before I go, here is a hilarious .gif Tom made of the two shots we got of me trying to hike these pants back up where they belong:

melikeybouncey

Maximum Effort

You’re welcome. 😀

I will be back VERY shortly with another post featuring the outfit I made to wear to our most recent band gig. (Spoiler alert: one of the pieces was in some of these photos!) See you soon!

Talk to me: would you ever bother making jeans? What’s one thing you’ve always meant to sew for yourself but can’t seem to prioritize?

 

In Which The Blogger Applies for Sainthood, Pt. 2 (aka A Man and His Jeans)

Okay folks: are you ready for the second portion of my most recent bout of Selfless Sewing? It’s a doozy!

WARNING: much text and many photos ahead.

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JEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fancy side bits, up close

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Obligatory Mulder Cameo

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Jeans on parade!

What do you guys think?!? They were definitely a labor of love. ^_____^ ❤

I started these in February and just now finished them–it’s MAY, for crying out loud. *facepalm* (There’s something very demotivating for me about sewing an involved garment for someone else!) I talk a big game about making things for Tom (and hoard fabric for all my harebrained Dude Sewing ideas), and even though it can be hard to stay motivated, I really do enjoy it. Tom really appreciates the effort and care that I put into my handmade clothing, and we makers know that isn’t always the case! He also never asks me to use my valuable sewing time to make something for him, and lets me do as I will when it comes to buying ALL THE FABRIC investing in my hobby. (Let it be known that I would not tolerate anything less than that: he’s not the boss of me.) So anyway, I am quite proud of these jeans, not least of all because I learned a lot during their construction. Are they perfect? No–definitely not. But they look great and are better-made than most jeans at our price point, and Tom loves them and knows they are one-of-a-kind (for better or worse).

The red denim I used is Japanese and very high quality. The color did fade a bit in the wash because I punished it with 2 hot washes and 2 high heat dryer cycles–my attempt to avoid post-sewing shrinking. According to my records, this red Japanese denim (which is not selvedge, BTW) is 10.5oz, which is not all that heavy as far as non-stretch high-end denim goes. (I have 13.5oz yardage in my stash, and I am now dreading working with it after this project!!) I think this is a great weight for all-season menswear jeans: not so light that the fibers will wear out easily (is it me, or do guys just seem to kick the crap out of their jeans?), but not so heavy as to feel like you’re wearing cardboard pants in the warmer months.

I bought this denim from Pacific Blue Denims, who I honestly cannot fangurl for enough. They’re an amazing vendor with a mind-boggling selection and an incredible staff. (Not affiliated, just very satisfied.) They’re a wholesaler, but they will sell to individual folks as well. It’s a very different process to retail fabric shopping, but it’s so worth it!

As for the pocketing fabric, I bought that from Mood (it’s a cotton voile that’s labelled specifically as pocketing). It was easy to work with and earned rave reviews from Tom for hand-feel. 🙂

Construction Notes and Blatherings

I used a very typical construction order for these jeans, as follows:

  1. Front pockets
  2. Fly
  3. Yokes
  4. Center back seam
  5. Back pockets
  6. Inseam
  7. Outseam
  8. Waistband, buttonhole, and belt carriers
  9. Hardware
  10. Hem

These bad boys got all the bells and whistles: rivets, contrast bar tacks, and plenty of flat-felled seams. There isn’t a single raw edge in sight in these jeans! 😀

During construction, I made two significant errors, but luckily for me most people wouldn’t even notice. MY MISTAKES, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

  1. When I added my seam allowances to the pattern, I used different allowances for different areas. All flat-felled seam areas got 3/4″ seam allowance, and anything else got 1/2″. Well, I added the 3/4″ seam allowance to the bottom edge of the yoke pieces, but only 1/2″ to the top of the back legs! So I had to wrap the felled seams down from the yoke toward the legs, which is backwards. (Go ahead, check your own RTW jeans…I’ll wait.) Again, I am sure no one will notice, but ugh.
  2. I totally spaced out and wrapped the felled center back seam the wrong way by accident. It should wrap left over right, but I went right over left. And of course, the nature of flat-felled seams is that you trim the hell out of one side, so there’s no going back and undoing anything. Grr.

But overall, I think the jeans look really good! The topstitching lines all come together at intersections, and my flat-felled seams are really strong and look great, especially considering it was my first time ever trying them.

Among my more minor beefs with my work are the bar tacks; my machine did not care for the combination of topstitching thread + dense zigzag stitching, so I had to use regular thread. As a result, they look a little puny to my eye. My belt loops are decent, but one of them got a little crooked while getting the bottom edge sewn down without me noticing. The bar tacks really show their slightness on the loops, IMO. In retrospect, I probably should have just topstitched them down with the thicker thread. I kept the topstitching tonal (these jeans are already RED, you know?) and used contrasting gray thread for the bar tacks throughout to coordinate with the nickel hardware that Tom wanted. Speaking of hardware, I had some trouble getting the rivets in perfectly straight. Here’s hoping they hold on for a few washes, at least! O_o

The Fly

The fly construction was the most puzzling aspect of this entire project because I’d never done one. Thanks to a patient sewing friend, I got it…in theory. But after crankily ripping out the fly front and topstitching and lower front crotch seam for a third-ish time, I put the jeans in the naughty corner for several weeks. (Hence the 2-month delay in this post–can’t post about jeans that aren’t done yet!) I don’t know if I’ve ever been explicit about this, but I am not allowed to have UFOs: if my current project isn’t finished yet, I DO NOT pass “GO,” DO NOT collect $200, and DO NOT get to start anything else. Either I pitch the project entirely (only if it’s really not working out), or I buckle down and finish it. It’s for the best, believe me! I knew I was going to have to pick these damn pants back up if I ever wanted to move on with my sewing life, and that meant sorting out the fly.

While I pouted, I studied fly construction on Tom’s existing RTW pairs of jeans without disassembling anything, trying to learn their secrets. What did I learn? (Well, besides the fact that staring at the crotch area of a man’s jeans for a few weeks will teach you anything at all?) That I was way over-complicating it. To explain my method would make this post utterly unreadable (moreso than it already is), so I won’t get into it here. I will hopefully share it in detail eventually, though. But I DID IT. Yay!

Luckily, the rest of the sewing was very straightforward apart from the bulky areas and self-created drama! If you are looking for construction help with jeans, I highly recommend a visit to Angela Kane’s website and Youtube channel. I will note that, although I don’t use her fly method, I wholeheartedly recommend hers if you’re looking for help. (I did use her buttonhole method though, and it’s AWESOME!)

Pattern Notes

No commercial pattern here: these jeans are a rub-off of Tom’s favorite, self-proclaimed Best Fitting Pair of RTW jeans. Said jeans met an untimely end when husband had a tiny incident on his motorcycle and tore one pants leg all to shit. (Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt.) He saved the jeans to wear on weekends and for yard work, but since they fit well and were basically ruined, he surrendered them to the great cause of Patternmaking. All I needed to make the pattern was one good leg anyway, so it worked out for everyone. I disassembled the jeans and traced off the pieces, and there you have it: jeans! That fit! I did have to make a couple of very small adjustments to compensate for the stretching out of his well-worn originals in some areas, but those were very simple.

Conclusion

These jeans were a long time coming, but we got there in the end! I have plenty of denim earmarked for Dude Jeans, so this isn’t the last pair I’ll make for Tom. I am thinking of buying Angela Kane’s men’s jeans pattern, which is designed with selvedge denim in mind. I also patterned two other pairs of jeans belonging to someone else (long story), including one selvedge pair, so we have lots of style possibilities now! But Tom has been warned that after this red pair, my sweatshop* is going back to its regularly scheduled programming: All Me, All The Time. I do have some of this denim left, and have promised to see if a pair of shorts can be squeezed out of it…I am sure I will regret that! 😉

Here are some more pics, just for fun.

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Dat Ass

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Birdies!

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Meandering

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Posing

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Fun with lighting in a tunnel

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Possible photo of Bigfoot.

Thanks for tuning in for my (mis)adventures in Sewing For Other People! 🙂 I have some sharks to make for some kids, so I’ll probably share those with you soon! And then I can get back to what’s important: clothes for MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

What’s the most complicated thing you’ve made for someone else? Have you ever made jeans? How long are your average “sewing time-outs” for items that are giving you trouble?

*Term used ironically/self-deprecatingly/for laffs, of course. We here at The “Mads” House do not condone the dehumanizing and exploitative practices of actual sweatshops, which is partly why we do not buy fast fashion RTW anymore. The Sweatshoppe at Fort Kickass (as it is affectionately known), under the careful management of a no-nonsense Feline Supervisor, allows its lone employee ample break time for soda and pizza consumption; video entertainment is also provided, along with many opportunities for feline/human snuggles and naps.