Ash Jeans, slim leg or skinnies??

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.

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Ash Jeans, slim leg version

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!!

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I like the fit, but they do get a little loose as the day goes on!
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Pocket detail and topstitching

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.

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Old buttons are the best!

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…

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Shirty pocket bags

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.

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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??

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Excuse the wrinkly bits, it was mid afternoon before I managed to get the other half to take these photos, and they just emphasise that I really should take these jeans in!

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!

Ash Jeans for the Win!

For those of you waiting for the results of the jeans! They’re done, worn and I’m rather happy with them!  I have had my fun and games trying to chose the right size to make, initially going purely with my measurements and toiling the 31 in the slim leg version in some left over pieces of denim in the stash.  The toile fabric wasn’t quite stretchy enough, but I figured with the proper stretch, that the 31 was  just fine.  But I was wrong – so wrong!!  They were like leggings, but without the amount of stretch that leggings have – I felt like I was back in the late 80s again, having to wiggle and jump into my jeans!  So if anyone out there would like a pair of slim leg Ash jeans in size 31 – I have a pair looking for a home!

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Wide leg Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns

It was tricky to figure out which size to actually make.  In the end, I retraced all the sizes from 31 to 35, and graded between the sizes.  I toiled the wide leg this time, using the left overs of that fabric I used for the slim leg version, so be sure of the stretch percentage.  This time I had the 35 at the waist, going to the 33 at the hip, eventually ending at the 32 for the legs.  The fit was much better, but slightly loose higher up, so I went down to the 34 at the waist.

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Fabric for this pair of jeans came from the stash.  I had initially bought two pieces of stretch denim from Croft Mill for these jeans, and the first pair was made with the Brexit – Devine fabric.  It’s a lovely fabric, good dark blue colour and good weight for slim leg jeans.  After the poor fit, I immediately put another 2m of the fabric into my basket to replace it!  I didn’t want to use the next piece if it was going to go bad again, and I remembered that I had a piece of denim in the sewing cupboard.  I cannot remember where or when I got it, but it was probably from Croft Mill too!  They do tend to have good denims.  Thank goodness for a stash!

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As most of the construction details have already been covered in my Work in Progress post, I’ll leave that out here.  Here I’ll tell you that I’m pleasantly surprised with this pair of jeans, they fit well, after all that faffing with different sizes, and I will definitely be making another pair, this time I’ll be brave and make the slim leg version.  The sizing I chose seems to have done the trick, so I’ve transferred all that information to the slim leg pattern.

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So, for me, it wasn’t a case of “fits straight out of the envelope”, but then that really doesn’t happen to many of us, does it!?  The instructions are good and easy to follow, I just did my own zip thing.  (See previous post about pattern designers making fly front zips overly complicated!)  Initially, I thought the length of the “regular” height, full length was perfect, I cannot remember when last I didn’t need to cut a large chunk off the bottom of a pair of trousers.  But, after wearing these a couple of times now, I feel they could be a smidgeon longer, max 2cm.  Of course, that’s just about the hem allowance, so I’ll have to make a hem facing if I actually want to lengthen this pair.  Perhaps with the slim leg, this length will be ok – but with the width of this pair of jeans, I feel they could be just that little bit longer.

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So, it seems I can put my Birkin Flares (now 3 sizes too big) to bed, because Mama’s got a fabulous new jeans pattern – yeah!  And with 4 leg styles to choose from, I’ll be busy for a while here…  ps, I also have a length of another denim from Croft Mill Fabric to use on another pair, I can’t link to the fabric because it seems I bought the last 2m!  Check out their denim fabrics though, I’ve honestly yet to be disappointed with their denim fabrics.  Always get a sample first though, before you part with your hard earned money.

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Morgan Jeans

In between playing with ricocheting sequins and vintage patterns, I decided to make (finally) a pair of Morgan Boyfriend Jeans.  I bought the pattern earlier this year and got the non-stretch denim from Croft Mill Fabrics at the same time.  It’s one of the few pieces of fabric I have bought this year, and I’m chuffed that it’s been used!  No stash building here.

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Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

I started the project back in April with very careful measuring!  The instructions are pretty clear that as the fabric will be stiff and has no give, that you might have to go up a size.  Added to that, it’s supposed to be snug on the hip and if you happen to be between sizes, the advice is to pick the bigger size.  So I really wanted it to be right!  Being so used to my Birkin Flares with their fabulous stretch and fit, I was wary of jeans that wouldn’t have that give!

On the measurement chart, I was between the 18 & 20 on the waist, and between the 14 & 16 on the hip!  So, deciding that I didn’t mind a slightly slouchier fit on the hip, and thinking that I might just need that with the heavier fabric, I picked the 18 to trace.  I toiled, following all the instructions to the “T” as it’s the first time I was using this pattern.

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I had a rather fetching heavyweight brocade ex-curtain from the charity shop for my toiles.  The instructions are pretty good, illustrations to accompany the instructions and I had no problems there at all.  The first toile was excitedly put on, just in time for me to be disappointed.  It was far too big!  It literally fell down around my knees once I’d let go of the pinned waistband.  The fit across the hip was too loose, length far too long (although I expected that) and everything just too roomy.  I started by taking it in and then realised I really just needed a different size all over.

I went down a size, retoiled and swapped the fly opening to the opposite side and shortened the leg length.  Better this time, but still really roomy across the hip and on the upper thigh.  Given that it’s supposed to be fitted in those areas, I started to wonder if this was the pattern for me.  It was all put aside while I grumped for a bit got on with other projects.

So when I was looking for a break from all the sequins, I thought of the jeans again.  Going back to the toile I took in the outside leg seams up to the hip line, inside legseams, took a wedge out of the centre back, changed the crotch line, shortened the crotch depth and shortened the leg.  Phew!!  The toile was better, but as always, it’s the proper fabric that will tell if you’ve done the right job or not.  So I figured I’d best just get on with it.

 

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The fabric was difficult to work with purely because of the stiffness.  My old Bernina had no problem with the bulk and I used a jeans twin needle for all the double lines of topstitching.  I chose two different colours for the topstitching just for fun.  In the areas where just one line was needed I used the colour that had been closest to the edges.

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Dual tone top-stitching & non-regulation jeans buttons!

Buttons came from the stash, and are definitely not jeans buttons!  But hey, I wasn’t going to use rivets either, so why not use non-jeans buttons…

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The fit is much better than the first and second toile, but I wonder if there’s still too much ease in the thigh area.  I’m not 100% happy with the fit under the butt either and feel I need a belt to keep them in place on my hip.  Length is good, comfortably worn rolled up or not.  And the pockets are perfect!  Easy to get your hands into, and the back pockets are the right size to take a phone and not lose it!  Good sized pockets are important.

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So here’s the dilemma,  are my issues with the “fit” just issues with wearing a stiff fabric in a pattern that has way more ease than what I’m used to?  I have loads of baggy linen trousers, but they’re soft and drapey, not stiff and bulky, so the feel is very different.  I’ve looked for people online who’ve made this size in the Morgans and found nothing clear.  Are there any sewists out there who’ve made the bigger sizes, and by that I mean the last two or three???

I’m happy with what I’ve produced, don’t get me wrong, but there are niggles.  Not that they’re stopping me wearing the jeans!  They came in very hand during our week in Cornwall last week. (Why is our week always the wet and windy one?)  I might pop them in the tumble drier to soften the fabric a bit, apparently that’ll help.

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Now that we’re back from holiday and I’ve got a couple of traced coat patterns, I need to get on.  Daughter No2 goes back to uni next week and I – in my completely sane mind – thought September would be good for a coat making month.  It’s half way through (almost) already and all I have are two toiles and 3 traced patterns.  Best I pull up my socks!

 

Stepping Out

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While neutrals are decidedly within my comfort zone, bold, stand out colours are most certainly not!  However.  After making the gold and black Anza Dress last month, I had a bit of the fabric left over.  The lady I made the dress for didn’t want the remains for herself, so it went into the stash.  But not for long!  Also in the stash was the remains of a decent amount of plain black viscose.

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Deciding to prove my point about using Burda top 124 from 5/2015 for left over pieces of lengths of fabric, I decided those two fabrics would be perfect.  There was enough of the print for the front and sleeves, the plain black was used for the back.  This time I didn’t cut the keyhole opening but instead converted it to a slit, like the sort you’d get on a shirt cuff.  The bias for the bindings was cut from the print viscose, plain grey sections for the slit and the coloured sections for the neckline.

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I really like how it’s turned out!  Although it feels longer than the other versions.  That might just be because of the startling band of colour at the hem.  Otherwise, it’s great!  I’m not sure how much longer we have to wear short sleeved, lightweight tops this year, the weather has turned decidedly autumnal and it’s nowhere near the end of August yet!

An update on the other sewing, the 1920s sequin dress only needs a hem.  After many, many hours of cutting out sequins and then sewing them back on again, I think I’ve had enough!!  I’ve also finally started working on my Morgan Jeans, having done two and a half toiles last month and actually cut it out 2 weeks ago.  Hopefully they’ll be finished this week.  There are other things still on the cutting table, but I’ll get there – eventually!!

 

Changing of the Seasons

Sewing a seasonal wardrobe – and looking forward very much to summer and a three week holiday in the southern hemisphere.  I have a pile of fabulous linens from Ditto Fabrics in my favourite colours, and some piles of fabric in the stash still awaiting their turn to be sewn up too.  In order to get some progress made I decided to join a couple of Facebook groups last month,  One is the Sew-A-Longs and Sewing Contests page.  They’ve got a contest running from the beginning of February to sew up 8 garments that match and belong to a theme.  My theme, apart from sew as much as possible, is to have garments that co-ordinate with each other, and the other stuff in my wardrobe, that will be my summer and holiday wardrobe.

Sewing for the summer in the tail end of winter sounds great,  dreaming of linen trousers and drapey tee shirts in the sunshine.  But when you’re looking out of the window at frozen gardens, rain and now snow falling, it’s tempting to sew a coat instead!

I will post each garment once it’s finished and I have a photographer.  Mr Compulsive is a very, very reluctant photographer and Daughter No2 is away at university, so photo shoot opportunities are extremely rare.  I have actually finished a pair of jeans, 4 pairs of trousers, a jacket and two tee shirts.  No photos though….  Until today that is.  Daughter No2 came home for Mother’s Day weekend so I’ve co-opted her to get as many photos done as possible!  It’s darned cold though for photographing summer stuff…

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Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather

I made these jeans in the first few days of February, they had their first outing for a visit to Birmingham to see Daughter no2 on a day off from lectures.  While there I bought more fabric, of course!  I got denim for another pair of Birkin Flares which I might make without the flare, and sweatshirting for two Sewaholic Fraser sweatshirts.  More Birkins? Of course, my first pair are worn at least twice a week!

My second pair of Baste and Gather Flared jeans is loved almost as much as the first, but due to the fabric not having as much stretch as required, they’re a teeny bit tighter!  I love the colour.  I’d bought this twill from Croft Mill Fabrics last year – or maybe even the year before – but waited until I had what I thought was the perfect pattern.  That’s one of the ways to grow a stash, by the way.  Buy fabric and then dither and procrastinate about which pattern you’re going to use before taking the scissors to it.

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Prepped and ready to sew

I didn’t use topstitching thread for this project at all.  I’d found a perfect colour match of ordinary thread and it’s worked out just fine.  I had to get the zip online though, none of my local stores had a 5″ beige jeans zip.  Jaycotts are pretty quick and before I’d even finished cutting & marking the pattern, the zip had arrived.  Pretty cheap too for a YKK zip!

I made the same alterations on the upper thigh and in the back crotch curve as the first pair, and as I was left with 8cm to chop off the bottom the first time round, I altered the pattern at the mid thigh and mid calf, taking out 2cm in each place, leaving 4cm to be removed from the hemline.  This pair went together just as easily as the first, and I made the same change in the zip, accessing from the left instead of the right.  I remembered to alter the direction of pressing of the back seam this time, so all seams and stitching lines up perfectly.

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Dead chuffed with how these lined up!!

I am really happy with how the topstitching worked out on the yoke this time.  Generally I really love this pair, especially the colour, I just wish there was more stretch!  It means I have to work harder on losing that Xmas and Winter padding before we go away in mid April…

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I found this cool button in my stash, as it was the only one, it was perfect to use on the jeans.

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The lack of stretch means the jeans are a little tighter than I’d like…

Back to getting more photos before the weather turns… 🙂

Cosmic Love

My love for my latest make for me is pretty much this:  Cosmic!  I’ve been after a pair of tapered, slightly cropped jeans or trousers for a while, but never quite got around to making any because of all the pretty stuff I keep doing for the girls.  So I got a deadline – husband was attending the Mercedes Benz Club’s annual SL day at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre at the beginning of August.  I was determined to have something ready for that day, come hell or high water!

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Wedgwood visitors

The pattern is a self-drafted one, one I’ve had for ages & made loads of trousers with.  I tapered the leg from hip to knee & then again from knee to ankle because the original pattern was more of a straight leg style.  But they fit so well at the body I saw no reason in re-drafting from scratch!  I also shortened the original pattern, maybe could have taken it up a little more, but at least now I can turn up my hems & show off the pretty binding!

Josiah & me!
Josiah & me!

It was a pretty wet, overcast, miserable day to be posing, so these photos were taken in a brief dry spell!  I really like wearing these trousers, but when I look at the photos, I realise I probably suit a straight or wide-leg style better than this tapered look.  Ah well, at least I got to finally use up this stretch denim!  I got it from one of those mail-order swatch companies about 4 years ago!  It was fabulous to work with, has the most amazing deep blue colour & feels like £1 000 000!

So, the inside….

DSC04449As you can see, I bound the hem & the lower edge of the inner waistband with a bias strip of dark navy gingham for a bit of fun.  The remainder of the seams were overlocked & I used a chartruse green cotton thread for the topstitching.

DSC04518-1We had a great time, despite the weather.  I highly recommend popping into the Wedgwood Visitor Centre, they have fabulous workshops on where you can throw a pot, paint clay flowers & indulge in creativity while enjoying great food in their onsite restaurant.  There is also a brilliant shop, outlet store & amazing museum filled with superb examples of the factory’s work over the years.

Husband & Daughter No2 with some of the SLs in the background
Husband & Daughter No2 with some of the newer SLs in the background

And here are some pics of some of the beautiful cars on show that day, despite the rain.

Pagodas
Pagodas
These have to be my favourites - ever!
These 300SLs & the gulwings have to be my favourites – ever!
Husband loved this ponton, I was taken with one of the ornaments on the radiator cover..
Husband loved this ponton, I was taken with one of the ornaments on the radiator cover..
It was obviously important to show your patriotism in the 50s!
It was obviously important to show your patriotism in the 50s!

So that’s about it for my new jeans.  I must confess I’ve worn them loads over the last few weeks.  They go straight from the ironing back on, so that’s a great testament to the fit & the fabric.

DSC04560-1I don’t seem to have a single photo of them with the hem turned down!  So it’s back to the sewing machine for me now, no rest for the wicked with a massive stash to use up!