I have new jeans!! To be fair, I’ve had them for a few weeks now, and they’ve been worn quite a few times. I suppose that’s a good sign in the scheme of things, I’ve worn them and not managed to get photos because I’ve been too busy wearing them! I used the pattern for the Utility Trousers from the Ottobre magazine again, figuring that I liked the first pair of trousers made with that pattern, so why not make another? There are a few changes this time around, all beacause the denim has stretch and the cotton/linen blend used last time did not.
I can’t remember where I got the denim from, it’s been languishing in the stash for a while, and has had a little tab pinned to it saying ” Jeans – Me!” for at least two years. So I’m glad it’s out of the stash and has made itself useful – finally. The colour is delicious, a nice dark indigo that made my fingers and sewing machine nice and blue while working with it, not to mention making my legs even more pale blue while wearing than needed! It has approximately 2% stretch and is very comfy to wear.
Obviously I needed to make a few adjustments to the pattern from the last time, the first being to take in all that extra that I’d added to the leg because it was too tight around the calf. I also took in the inseam, outseam and waistband. Even though I’d interfaced the waistband on the opposite grain, it still stretched out while wearing, so I needed to go back in and make it smaller.
One thing I’d forgotten to do though, was to either reduce the depth of the waistband – or put two buttons on it. Only after I’d cut the buttonhole did I have a vague memory of thinking that it was a bit wide and that two would be better than one! So you get the rather unflattering curl of the top part of the band, thankfully it’s mostly hidden by my tops, but that’s not the point…
What I love about this pattern – the belt loops are cool! You get three shaped loops with a button that you can choose to make operable or not, and two ordinary shaped ones, but they’re wider than the usual loop. I like that look on the wider waistband. Second thing I love are the pockets! Plenty of decent sized pockets in this pattern, and the welt pockets in the back are a breeze to sew. I used some scraps of Shweshwe cotton for my pocket bags to cut down on bulk and I love seeing that bit of pattern.
All the buttons were found in the stash, and I think that if I had found two of the bigger ones I might have remembered that I wanted two for the waistband. The colour works beautifully with the denim and the colour chosen for the topstitching. I used one of the Gutermann Denim threads again, rather than “proper” topstitching thread as my machine is far happier to use it. The colour is more copper than gold and I love it. All the double lines of topstitching were done with a denim twin needle, an essential piece of kit, in my humble opinion! It takes all the guesswork out of making sure your lines are completely parallel and even going around curves is easy.
I have more sewing from September to catch up on here, a beautiful pair of wool trousers using a Burda pattern from the early 90s (I think, or late 80s…) and some new tops that have already come in handy with the change in temperature! Yikes, October means Autumn and that means cold and wet on the way! I have/had grand Autumn sewing plans, I’m slowly making my way through them, and promise to try to keep up!
Just to keep you on tenterhooks a little longer with the big coat reveal, here are the jeans I made a few weeks ago, and have worn almost constantly without getting any photos. Oops! I guess that at least by wearing them contstantly, you can infer that I rather like them and am pretty happy with how they turned out.
So, after the debacle of the last pair and its toile, I made the same alterations to the pattern for the slim leg jeans and got cracking. The fabric this time is black denim from Croft Mill, I can’t link to it because I got the last piece, mwahaha! It has much more stretch than both the toile and the fabric used for the wide leg version of the Ash jeans. Which means that I could, in hindsight, have made them tighter from the hip up. Is it a problem? No, not really. Certainly not enough of a problem to have me unpick the topstitching and re-do anything!!
I used a deliciously contrasting thread for topstitching this time, not denim thread (because I didn’t have enough left and was too cheap to buy more), but a similar colour to the denim thread I had. It looks pretty good against the black of the denim, and so I needed a button that would go with it too! Luckily for me, I’d had a good raid of the local charity shops a couple of years ago and had built up a collection of military buttons. The old gold/bronze colour of a particular set matched perfectly.
Pocket fabric this time comes from another one of the other half’s shirts that have got all holey in the wash. How do you guys keep your man’s shirts from getting holey along the collar and cuff edges? I swear these shirts aren’t all that old, but they’re all going tatty and definitely unwearable in polite company. Under the car or in the garden is a different matter all together…
There’s only one thing I definitely need to change about this pattern – the leg length. Remember how I said with the wide leg pair that they could do with being 2-3cm longer, but that it would be ok with the narrower versions because you can get away with shorter on tighter?? Well – you can’t! Or at least, I can’t! I’m constantly using my feet to slide the fabric down to where it should be, so a definite alteration for all versions needs to be the addition of 3cm in the leg length. Not something I thought I’d need to do, but there you go.
Also, what should be the difference between a slim leg pair of jeans and skinnies?? Because these feel like skinnies to me! Is it just that I have chunkier calf muscles? Should they fit looser? I cannot tell, having gone down a rabbit hole on google images with this pattern and got nowhere. Can anyone tell me if this is how they’re supposed to fit, or do I need a full calf adjustment??
And so I’ve completed the first instalment of the #SewYourWardrobeBasics from Stef at Sea of Teal. February’s theme is stripes – challenge accepted!! You just cannot beat a good (or bad) stripe! Is anyone else doing this “challenge”? I’m going to make a Basic Instinct Tee with my stripe fabric, I need more tees for the allotment, and I can’t wait until it’s already warm to get making!
Oh, I do love these! After being a teeny tiny bit ranty the last time I blogged about these Lander Pants, I think I need to show the other side of the coin. Yes, the zip instructions were unduly complicated, but the rest of the making of the garment was just fine. And the finished result is a little more than “just fine”!
I overlocked the pieces either before sewing or as I went along, depending on what was required. The fabric I have used is a heavy-ish weight denim that I bought from Truro Fabrics back in September while on holiday. I had gone in to find something to buy, and I wasn’t disappointed! I left with two pieces of denim, zips for jeans and, new to me, a reel of Gutermann Denim Thread. The demin is gorgeous! It is woven with blue and chestnut coloured thread, instead of blue and white. The blue gives the chestnut a deep, rich colour, which I just love. So, as there’s more blue on the underside of the fabric, I used navy thread in the overlocker. I also used a 100 denim needle, it’s a chunky fabric.
I lined the front patch pockets with a scrap of navy blue linen left over from my first Zadie Jumpsuit. Topstitching was done, anywhere I had two lines, with a denim twin needle! Get yourself one, it’s great for even, parallel lines of stitching, and makes your work look extra fabulous! The thread used, that Denim Thread, is thinner than regular topstitching thread and was recommended by the ladies at Truro Fabrics after I said that my Bernina has the biggest hissey fit when I try to use topstitching thread. I used it in the top (needle thread) only, and regular thread in the bobbin. That’s because I didn’t want to waste it! As it turns out, when I did use it in the bobbin, for the waistband topstitching, it went as wrong as regular topstitching thread. But not quite as bad. The thread comes in a variety of decent denim-y colours, and wasn’t a pricey alternative. I’ll definitely be using it again!
The length of these pants is perfect for me, I had thought I’d need to cut a chunk off when I first put them on to check length, and turned up a nice healthy 8cm, but when I checked the hem requirements in the instructions, it says to turn up 6mm and then approx 7.5cm. Well, there’s your 8cm! Perfect! I can’t believe these and the Ash Jeans have been the perfect length, straight out of the envelope. These are the size 12, with an extra 1cm taken out of the outside seam to compensate for the small percentage of stretch that this denim has. I wore these pants all day and have to apologise for some creasing, although some is in the fabric after washing and storing. I hope they’ll soon wash/iron out! They’re a very comfortable par of trousers, and I’ll most definitely be making another pair.
Phew, another week has flown by and I actually have another work in progress for you! To be fair, I’ve managed to complete that work in pogress by now, but I thought I’d share some of the making process, just for interest sake. The work in question is a pair of True Bias Lander Pants. Or Lander Pant, as they’re described. Now I don’t know about you, but this term gets me, it’s like referring to scissors in the singular. It’s a pair of scissors, and a pair of pants/trousers/shorts! If you only had a pant, you’d be arrested for indecent exposure! And you’d be cold…
Anyway, that’s just me – I think. So, I had bought this pattern about this time last year, intending to make a pair for myself, and for Daughter No1, who wanted a pair of pants that really fitted closely to the hip, then almost flared out, culotte-like, to a cropped 7/8ths length. Finally tracing the pattern on holiday in September, I thought I’d start the experiment with a pair for myself, as you do! I traced the 0 for Daughter No1, and the 12 and 14 for me, not being 100% certain which would be better. Upon toiling and double checking measurements, I decided to go with the 12, because there’s a massive 2.5cm seam on the outside leg for adjustments. The hip measurement of the 12 is 2cm wider than my actual measurement, but the waist is a fair bit narrower, so I wanted wiggle room!
The toile showed me the straight 12 would be fine, even the length was good! That’s a small miracle in itself – I was fully prepared to remove up to 4cm. In hindsight, and this would have showed up if I’d used a stiffer fabric for the toile, I should have shortened the crotch depth by 1cm and possibly gone down a size at the inner leg seam. I’ve made those adjustments on the pattern for the next time.
Now, the instructions… Hmm. I bought the zip version (you need the original version before this will work…) because I knew I wouldn’t do the button fly, and it’s not Daughter No1’s bag either. So there are duplicate instructions for most of the making, and you have to slot the zip instructions into the order of work, which is fine. But I have never seen front fly instructions like it. They’re almost as weird as the ones for the Peppermint wide Leg pants! I have no idea why some pattern makers make inserting a fly zip so complicated when it’s really not necessary.
The other thing I have a real problem with are the Imperial measurements used throughout. There are people in this world who have no idea what 1/4 of an inch is, how big it is and what it looks like, nevermind having something on a machine to measure that. So the first thing I did was to convert all the bits of inches throughout the instructions to metric. Seam allowances are 1/2 inch, which in metric is 12.7mm. I do not have that marking on my machine, or my rulers. So I had to borrow a quilter’s gadget from a friend with all those little bit of inch markings on it to use for turning up edges and marking topstitching distances. This all takes time and delayed the completion of the project. Please, pattern makers, please just be more inclusive and include more universally recognised measurements!
I also reversed all the zip instructions, because, just like the Ash Jeans I made last week, the zip opens the wrong way. Luckily, while doing that, I was able to alter the other zip instructions so they were less complicated and wouldn’t have the “you won’t be able to get all the way so there’ll be a hole, but that’s ok” moment. So, the work in progress post will go over the revised zip instructions! Phew, let’s get started.
Number one, don’t sew the front and back legs together at the inside leg seam, nor do you want to sew the entire front crotch seam from the zip stop to the upper centre back before you’ve put the zipper in, trust me. It’s a fiddly job at the best of times, especially if you have a stiff fabric, so there’s no way you want to be wrestling with all that excess fabric when it’s completely unnecessary. My instructions will be for the fly as I have sewn it, on the opposite side to that in the pattern. If you like your zips opening the other way, simply reverse the lefts and rights.
Make up the pockets and do all the topstitching and then you’ll do the zip. You’ll need both front pants pieces, the fly facing, zip and fly guard. You want the front pieces to have the fly extension marked, as well as the centre front and the zip stop. Use chalk or tailor’s tacks, whatever works better for you – or both like me. I cut off the right fly extension along the marked line and then overlocked both front seams. At this point you can also overlock the fly facing and make up and overlock the fly guard.
Sew the two front pieces together from the zip stop marker to about 2cm before the end of the crotch seam, along the front seamline. Now pin and sew the fly facing, right sides together, to the right front, go right up to the zip stop. Press that seam onto the facing and understitch, stitch all the way past the zipstop to the end of the facing. Turn to the inside and press well. Pin in place. (I use a lot of pins!)
Fold the left pants piece in along the fly extension line and press well. Pin the zip with the head of the zip 19mm (3/4 inch in the instructions) from the top of the opening to the fold, keep that fold tight up against the zip teeth. Pin and BASTE. I rarely baste, but for inserting zips, this step cannot be ignored. With the zip foot, stitch up from the bottom, close to the edge of the fabric. You’ll find you cannot get past the zip head smoothly, so stop about 3cm before the top of the zip, with the needle fully down, lift the presser foot up and push the zip tab down to past your presser foot. Now put the foot down and continue to the top.
Line up the right centre front with the marked centre front on the left, I pin along this fold, through all the layers. You’re now going to sew the other side of the zip tape to the fly facing on the other side.
Fold the right front on top of the left so that the zip and facing are together. Pin the tape to the facing, baste and stitch, with a zip foot.
From the right side now, measure approzimately 3.5cm from the centre front on the right. This will be the line you’ll use for your fly topstitching. Now, normally I’d wait until I had the fly guard on to do this step, but it does work this way with a thick fabric. If you attach the fly guard now, and then topstitch, you’d have to pin the guard out of the way of the stitching, which means making a lumpy bulge at the base of the zip. This would interfere with the topstitching. If you were using a linen, I’d wait and do this step after the fly guard is on because it’s a less bulky fabric..
Pin perpendicular to the marked line so you’re catching the fly facing to the front of the trousers, you don’t want them shifting as you stitch. Now load your topstitching thread and stitch along that line, or either side of it, if you’re using two lines of stitching.
I used a denim twin needle – a little cheat, but so worth it for even, parallel lines of stitching. This is the reason why I topstitched now rather than later, because I didn’t want to mess up the curve or have extra stitching showing.
Now, remove all the pins on the outside and turn to the left fly extension and zip tape. You’ll need to sew the fly guard to this section. Fold the trousers over eachother so the extension and zip tape stick out and pin the fly guard overlocked edge to the seam allowance, sandwiching the tape between the guard and the fly extension. Pin and stitch, using a zip foot. Pull the fabric of the trouser piece well over to the left so you can stitch as close to the fold as possible.
Now, because we have topstitched the fly facing already, you won’t be able to get all the way down, but it really is ok this time, because we will be catching the guard in in other places, so this won’t be flapping about. Just go as far as you can.
Now, on the right side, and with a single needle and topstitching thread, stitch for about 1-2cm along one of the lines of existing stitching to catch that guard to the right front. Then you can sew the front and back pants pieces together along the inside leg seam and then sew the remains of the crotch seam. Press that seam to the right side in this case, and topstitch it down. The topstitching past the fly stitching will secure that end of the fly guard, so there you have it, no flappy guard, and a zip in without all the excess fabric and trouser legs! You can now sew the outside leg seams and finish the trousers as per the original instructions.
I hope that was all as clear as mud! Really, once the fly zip is in, the trousers are quick to make up, depending on how much topstitching you’d like to do! I wanted to have double topstitching along the waistband but didn’t want to use the twin needle because of how it would look on the inside. However, despite my Bernina being quite happy to use this new Denim thread from Gutermann in the needle, it didn’t like it very much in the bobbin. I spent ages messing aroud with the tension, thought I’d cracked it, but when the stitching was done on the waistband, it wasn’t good enough. As I really didn’t want to unpick it, I tried to make myself think it’s ok, no-one else will see it, but it didn’t work!
So I ripped it all out (sob) and replaced the denim thread in the bobbin with normal thread and just settled for one line of topstitching. It doesn’t look wrong. The button is a leather one from the stash, I think it’s from a charity shop originally, as I only have the one.
So that’s that! I now need to get some proper photos of the Ash Jeans and these, and Daughter No 1 has promised me photos of a pair of trousers I made for her last month. They’re gorgeous, by the way! Can’t wait to show those off! Now, I’d best go and make dinner, someone’s getting hungry…
Hellooo, lovely patient people! I have a load of gorgeous clothes to show off, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have an idea of what I have to catch up on! The first will be a dress I made at the end of April for Daughter no 2, the last project for April’s Burda Challenge 2018.
The pattern is #132 from April 2011, the dress in the magazine is made from leather, but we have a lovely piece of warm blue denim. I’d bought the fabric from Rosenberg and Sons at the NEC about 3-4 years ago to make a little pair of dungarees for a child, but never got round to it… Time to make something different! There was only 1m, but it was just enough for the main dress pieces. As the original dress was made in leather, there weren’t any facing pieces for the neckline and armholes, and no hem. Cue lots of bias binding!
I traced the 38, which is the smallest size this pattern comes in. I only toiled the bodice, and this showed we needed a paper dart in the back armhole, and to take in the side seams under the arm by 1.5-2cm. In order to fit all the pattern pieces on the fabric, I omitted the hem allowance and used a piece of wide bias binding to make a false hem.
The pockets in the front seams are cool, topstitched on, but could probably do with being a slightly different shape, deeper would be more practical. The denim is perfect for the dress, the shape is held really well but the denim is soft, so it feels really nice. The length is also just right, daughter no 2 doesn’t like skirts too short. It was quick and easy to make, and I recon it would work really well in a heavier fabric for the winter – to wear with a long sleeved tee or thin jumper underneath.
We had fun taking pictures of the dress, I needed to water the new plants on the allotment so planned to take photos there, but we found a fluffy friend! She was very happy to be the photobomber.
That was the last project for April, May started off badly – productivity wise – but ended on a high! Of course, there was Me-Made-May going on in the background, which has been great this year. I’ve been inspired!