Tag Archives: denim

Completed: Dotty Jamie Jeans

12 Jan

In case you couldn’t tell, I spent the first weekend of 2015 making pants. You already saw my Ginger Jeans – now let’s revisit an old favorite! My beloved Jamie Jeans, I knew we’d meet again! ♥

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Ever since I made my first pair of Jamies in black stretch twill, I knew I wanted to make this pattern up again. I had a couple fitting changes that needed to be addressed – mostly reshaping the crotch (which I did on my original pair after they were sewn up, so it wasn’t reflected on the flat pattern) and pinching out some excess from the inseam. Knowing that the fabric I was using had considerably less stretch than the twill I used for the first pair, I decided not to remove any additional sizing/width, as that can be fairly easy to tweak during final fitting.

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I love this dotty fabric! You can’t see it too well (wait for the close-ups), but it’s a dark navy denim with tiny white pindots all over. LOVE IT. Been looking for something similar to this for yeeears. I actually found this magical piece of beauty all the way in Paris – it’s one of the fabrics from my coupon haul. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I think it was around 10€ for 3 meters, give or take. A few other fellow meet-up-ers were also lurking on this shit, but thankfully there were quite a few pieces to go around, so everyone who wanted some went home with one :) Yay!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

It’s kind of a peculiar fabric – a medium weight denim twill, and the dots are painted on (not printed). I can’t be 100% certain, but this may be the piece of fabric I accidentally dyed all of Landon’s undershirts with (sorry, Landon!). The back side does look like it bled a lot, but I also threw some black silk into that load – so who knows? Anyway. The fabric does have stretch, but not nearly as much as the twill – so I’m really glad I left off my additional sizing changes from the original pair (I believe I took out 1/2″ at the side seams, and even more at the center back and down the legs), because these are pretty snug as is! The denim is very stiff, but I’m hoping it relaxes a little more as I wear them. As of this posting, the only time I’ve worn them was during a really cold day, and I had on tights underneath to stay warm. Tights don’t make these pants super comfortable, but, then again – no pants are comfortable with tights underneath. So there’s that.

(Don’t look too closely, but I accidentally gave myself a weenie in one of those pictures lololol. Y’all are just lucky that I have no idea how to photoshpo that shit out haha)

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I think they fit quite a bit better than the black pair I made, but there’s still definitely room for some improvement. Need to shorten the crotch length just a little more, and also remove some more width from the upper inseam. I also need to add some width to the calves – they are REALLY tight, like painted-on tight. It’s not uncomfortable, and I don’t think it looks bad – but I also can’t wear tall socks with these pants haha. Which I guess doesn’t matter for this particular pair, bc I think they look best with ballet flats, but, you know. Future Jamies. Fuck. I’ll get it eventually!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Having made these before and writing such a long post about the construction and fitting process, I don’t think there’s much else to add. I guess it bears noting that I didn’t bother with flat-felling the seams like I did on my jeans – I just serged and topstitched and called it a day.

Oh! I can talk a little about the waistband. Since the denim wasn’t as beefy as the denim for my Ginger Jeans, I did interface the waistband. I used lightweight knit fusible for the facing side. I love this interfacing because it gives a minor amount of support (enough to keep the waistband from collapsing on itself), but it doesn’t affect the stretch factor. Which means they’re still comfy, woohoo! Also, one fitting change I made for this pant – and possibly future pants, maybe – was to cut the one piece waistband into two pieces, so they can angle right at the center of my lower back (pretty much the same waistband as is on the Thurlows). This produces a much better fit than the single piece waistband does for me. There is a seam there now, but it’s covered by the back belt loop.

Dotty Jamie Jeans

NOW you can see the dots! And isn’t the topstitching pretty? I used light blue denim topstitching thread (it ain’t anything fancy – just a spool of Gutterman that I picked up from Joann’s), which gives an interesting contrast to the dark blue fabric. The silver jeans button is also from some class of big box fabric/craft store (either Joann’s or Hobby Lobby, I don’t recall) – I bought a pack after the button on Landon’s Gap jeans wore a hole through the waistband and fell out. You know what, after typing that, I don’t feel bad about dyeing his tshirts now. Who do you think sewed a patch on those jeans and hammered in a new button? ME, that’s who. Just don’t tell him how much I secretly enjoyed it hahahahaha

More gut pictures for your perusal~

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

Dotty Jamie Jeans

This is me trying to show you the cool pocket fabric haha. Leftover from one of these dress, by the way!

Dotty Jamie Jeans

I think I’m about pants’d-out for the next couple of weeks (until I get my hands on some red twill, anyway, heh heh heh), but I feel pretty good about the two I’ve accomplished! Big ol’ snaps for ringing in 2015 with two successful projects! Hopefully that’ll be a recurring theme for the rest of this year :)

As a side note – WOOF, my hair color is faded. Can you believe the photos were taken maybe 2 days after I shot the Ginger photos? I didn’t do anything to my hair during that time (I only wash it once a week), other than style it – the only thing different is the lighting. Kind of crazy how much of a difference it makes!

Completed: Ginger Jeans!

8 Jan

Ok, now for the forreal first finished project of 2015 – jeans!!

Ginger Jeans

Damn straight I made jeans! And pretty good-looking jeans, if I do say so myself :)

These are the Ginger Jeans, by Closet Case Files. Full disclosure right here – Heather sent me this pattern, gratis, as a friend-gift with no strings/review requests attached. While I did not pattern test for this particular pattern, I was involved with fitting tweak email chains waaay back before this shit went into testing (because you know me, and I love talking about crotches).

Anyway, I was excited to try this pattern because – one, JEANS!; and two, JEANSSSS!!!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Y’all, this is a really really good pattern. I know I sound biased – and maybe I am, because I lurve me some Heather, and ESPECIALLY because I had a really good almost-out-of-the-envelope experience with making these. It can be hard – if not impossible – to design a pants pattern that is going to fit and flatter every single body it comes in contact with, considering how wildly different everyone’s bodies are. I think the fit of these seems pretty good across the board – I’ve been watching everyone’s finished Gingers popping up all over the place, and most are great right out of the envelope (or with very minor changes). Personally, I had to make a few small tweaks, but they’re not any different than what I do to *all* the pants I make.

Ginger Jeans

I started with the size 2, which corresponds closely with my measurements, and made view B with the high waist. Having participated in this rodeo before, I went ahead and adding my personal ~Lauren~ fitting changes directly to the pattern pieces – which means, I scooped out some of the crotch to give it more of a J shape (more info on that in this post) and added a 1/2″ wedge to the back crotch for some extra bum room. I compared the pattern pieces to some well-fitting patterns and RTW jeans to make sure the crotch lengths and depths were good, then I cut straight into my denim. No muslin this time – which was risky, but I feel pretty confident in my fitting at this point, so I was willing to take one for the team if necessary.

Ginger Jeans

SPOILER: It worked out just fine! Yeehaw!

Ginger Jeans

There are a couple more things I’d like to improve on for my next pair – all up in dat crotch (sorry that you have to look at it). I think this photo illustrates that pretty well – see how the front is just a little too long when I stand a certain way? You can also see it in the photo below – what looks like a really really poorly photoshopped thigh gap is actually just excess fabric bending all weird. I need to pull some excess out of the inseam, maybe about 1/2″ (like, maybe what I added to the back crotch haha!). Honestly, that’s something I could do to this existing pair of jeans as it is – but I also flat-felled that damn inseam, and realistically, I know I probably won’t unpick and fix unless it starts annoying me way more than it does right now. I also need to take a small wedge out of the center back of the waistband – it’s a one-piece curved waistband, but I’m starting to notice that two-piece darted waistbands fit my backside much better. This one isn’t bad, it’s just a little loose. Something to fix for the next pair! The calves are also prettttttyyyy tight – like, these are not the pants that I will be wearing knee socks underneath! I guess I have big calves, though, because that’s an issue I have with all pants (sewing patterns and RTW). Overall, though, I’m really happy with the fit of these. I didn’t have to do ANY changes to the legs, and I think they look pretty good!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Construction on these was pretty straightforward and not at all difficult, although it was time-consuming to do all that topstitching. I followed the instructions on the pattern, as well as the sewalong for places where I needed a little extra clarification. I decided to go balls to the wall with this make and treat them like a real pair of jeans – contrast gold topstitching, flat-felled seams (everywhere except the side seams), proper rivets, the works. Doing all these extras definitely added time to how long it look to make them, but I still finished over the weekend :P Go me!

For fabric, I used a denim/lycra blend that was purchased a Paron’s Fabrics in NYC last year. Heather actually helped me pick this one out, and I am surprised at how much I like it. The recovery is okkkk – it’s not the very best, like my RTW jeans (which are from Imogene + Willie, and WHEW that denim is – as my dad would say – THE BOMB DOT COM) – but it’s better than some stuff I’ve used in the past! The photos you see here were taken before I’d worn them for a day, so they’re at their tightest. As of this posting, I’ve worn the jeans twice and they haven’t bagged out much at all, which is a pleasant surprise. That being said, I really really really want to get my hands on one of Heather’s denim kits, because the Cone Mill denim included in those is basically the same shit as my $200+ I+W jeans. I missed the last sale due to financial restraints, but I’m saving my dollars and waited with bated breath for the next shipment, because you best believe imma be all over that shit like white on rice. NEEDS MORE JEANS.

At Heather’s advice, I did not interface the waistband of my pants. I think I might actually be a convert to this method – the waistband is still stretchy (so it’s super comfy), but the denim is thick enough to give it some structure. I did interface my button and button hole area, as well as the parts noted in the instructions (the fly, the tops of the pockets… I think that’s it?).

Ginger Jeans

For the topstitching, I used Gutterman jeans thread (the gold color, obviously) in my needle and regular ol’ navy polyester thread in the bobbin. At the suggestion of my sewing machine mechanic, I revved up the needle tension to a 7 and lengthened the stitch length to a little over a 3 to get a nice stitch. I used my #10 edgestitching foot (favorite foot ever, holla) to create even lines, and a 90/14 denim needle to pierce through all the layers. Since the guts of the jeans are assembled with the standard navy thread, this meant that I did a LOT of thread-changing to make this pair of pants. For future pants, I’ve lugged out my old Pfaff so I can keep both machines threaded and just switch back and forth, but the changing was ok for this first go-round.

Also, speaking of topstitching – I loved all the bartacks involved with making jeans. So much fun and SO satisfying! My machine actually doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, but I just reduced the zigzag stitch length and width until it looked good.

Ginger Jeans

If you have super eagle eyes, you may notice that the double topstitching is slightly different at the pockets vs the yoke/crotch seam. I had to widen the lines to properly catch where I folded the pockets under, but I really don’t think the wide-set stitching looks as good as the narrower set on the back. Oh well, just something to change for the next pair :)

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

I looove the star rivets, though! And check out my cool jeans button! All the hardware (including the zipper) was purchased at Pacific Trimming in NYC, same time as when I got my denim. All that stuff was sooo cheap (I want to say the rivets were, like, $0.10 a piece of something crazy like that. I bought a whole bagful HAHAHA), wish I had better access to it on the regular! To set my rivets and my button, I used the good ol’ hammer-and-cast-iron-skillet combination. Worked like a charm!

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Fun pocket lining! Also, I think I cut the fly interfacing too wide – bummer that it peeks out. Oh well, again – something to change for the next pair :P

Ginger Jeans

Proof of flat-felled seams, and also machine thread snarls. Whoops.

Ginger Jeans

I’m pretty happy to have officially made LEGIT jeans (I have made “denim trousers” in the past, but nothing with topstitching and rivets and all that fun stuff!), and even more happy that they are super wearable! Now I just need to bang them out in all the colors my wardrobe requires and I’ll be set for life, at least as far as my denim is concerned :) I really want to try some different topstitching colors and details – looking at my I+W jeans, I really love the multiple colors of thread they used, and the little plus shaped bartacks. I also want some wacky insides – printed pocket fabric and colorful serger thread, anyone?

Would you ever make jeans for yourself, or does this fall in the camp of things you’d rather buy? Have you made this pattern before (if so, lemme see dem jeans, ladies)? As someone who’s literally worn the same pair of jeans for a solid year, how many pairs is too many?

Completed: Bikey Maritime Shorts

31 Jul

I love it when a single piece of clothing incorporates a bunch of my favorite things at once.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

Bicycles? Check.
Maritime shorts? Check.
Roisin? FUCK YEA.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I know they look like polka dots from a distance, but seriously there are teeny-tiny little bicycles all over these shorts and OMG SO CUTE.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’m a sucker for bicycle printed fabric – this is a true fact, and I don’t think I even need to say it, because most of y’all are probably nodding your heads (and/or rolling your eyes) from how often I mention it. That’s ok, I’ll say it again – bicycle fabric rules! This stuff is extra special, though, because it came as a gift from my homegirl, Roisin. Recently on her honeymoon in Paris, Roisin posted this shit on Instagram after a fabric shopping bender (seriously… she went home with some really beautiful stuff) and I nearly had a heart attack over the BICYCLE PRINTED DENIM. Because she’s an amazing sport, Roisin offered to go back to the fabric store and pick me up my own 3m length. On her freaking honeymoon! Do you see why this lady is amazing? Because she’s amazing.

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

And because of her, I now am the proud owner of these cute little bike shorts! Yay!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’ve made this pattern – the Maritime shorts – a million times, so there’s not a lot left to say about them. I cut my usual size, and sewed these up as normal. I knew I wanted to stick with a good tried-n-true to be absolutely positive that we would have no fitting issues here, especially after all that trauma I had trying to make jorts. Speaking of which, I think I figured out the issue with the zipper – after inspecting the zipper of my jeans (the ones I bought, not me-mades), I noticed that the fly extension is tacked down right at the base of the zipper, which takes a lot of the strain when you’re pulling them off and on. It’s amazing that something as simple as reinforcing the extension with a bartack really makes such difference but it does. After realizing this, I checked the pattern and it does instruct you to tack the extension down. I guess I skipped over it in my jeans haste? I dunno. But hey, now you can learn from my mistake! :D

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Sorry ’bout all the wrinkles. I took these photos after wearing the shorts all day, so most of them are from sitting and moving around. While this fabric is a denim, it’s pretty lightweight for shorts, so it tends to wrinkle. The fabric softened up quite a bit after prewashing, and also set a few wrinkles in permanently (such as the one you see by the side seam).

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Some additional notes:
– I debated on topstitching with a contrasting thread – either white or gold – but ultimately decided to let the bikes take center stage and kept the topstitching navy. I love how it’s subdued and classy – well, as classy as a pair of short shorts covered in bicycles can be :P
– My pocket lining is Liberty fabric, left over from my recently Liberty make! I know it doesn’t exactly match the denim, but I couldn’t resist pairing these two special fabrics together – after all, they’re both from some of my favorite bloggers, so it seemed only natural :)
– You may have noticed that I didn’t finish the edge of that fly extension. Actually, I did. It’s just up under the waistband because I’m fucking stupid haha. Oh well!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I tucked my chambray button-down in so you could really see the way the shorts look, and I surprised myself because I actually kind of dig the way it looks (even if it does scream ~Fashion Blogger on Pinterest~, which we all know I most certainly am NOT haha!). For the most part, though, I wear the shirt untucked, as in the above photo.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

The best part – those lil’ shorts use barely any fabric at all, which means I still have about 2m left to play with! I’m debating what to do with the remaining yardage. It’s too heavy to be any sort of top (well, any sort of top that I would wear) and I’m not keen on making a matching pair of pants… but a dress, perhaps? What pattern would you suggest?

Thanks again, Roisin, for being such a star and making these cute shorts a reality! When I finally get my butt to London, I owe ya a drink :) Or two :)

Completed: Jorts Fail

28 May

Jean shorts (or jorts, as I like to call them – because it’s ridiculous and hipster and sounds completely stupid) are something that have been on my to-sew list for a looong time. Super long. In fact, my jort supply has long run dry – I used to get those the old-fashioned way, by waiting until summer to hack the legs off my jeans so they’d be warm weather appropriate (and later realizing my huge mistake come fall – argh! Whyyyy!!). Jean shorts are an American thing – and I haven’t worn a proper pair in years. No wonder I always see pictures of bald eagles crying:

zWCcW

Anyway. Back to jorts. I knew I wasn’t going to get them by way of cut-offs (I love my jeans too much to do that to them!), so I figured I’d make a pair from scratch and call it a day.

Jorts

My denim is a bit special – I actually bought it during Imogene + Willie‘s big yard sale. I went because I knew they’d have markdowns on jeans (although, when I finally got there, they’d put all the pants away due to threat of rain, wah), but I didn’t realize they’d also have leftover yardage of fabric! For cheap! I got 4 yards of this ridiculously amazing denim for $5 – yes, it’s super narrow (it is selvedge denim, after all), but still. That’s cheap as shit.

Jorts

The denim was really nice to work with. I always complain that good-quality denim is really difficult to find for the home sewer – either it’s too lightweight, it has too much stretch, it has awful stretch recovery, it feels cheap, the color is awful, etc etc. And while I have found some really great denims that make fabulous skirts and dresses, I’m not so convinced when it comes to pants. This fabric, though, is really good. It’s very sturdy and luxurious, with absolutely no stretch.

Jorts

Jorts

Honestly, I think the lack of stretch is what did me in. These jorts are, unfortunately, a fail for me. Wah!

Jorts

They look WAY better in these pictures than they look in real life – so much, I’m almost second-guessing my fail label. But, no, they’re pretty bad.

Jorts

Jorts

I had a somewhat traumatizing experience while making these. Things were going along great – I’d unearthed my Featherweight to do the topstitching (which is BEAUTIFUL, btw! Well. Beautiful where it’s not crooked lolz), I was having a lovely time stitching that denim, I was confident in my TNT shorts pattern, Grainline Maritime shorts. I love my Thurlows, but these are a fab casual shorts pattern if you don’t want all the fuss of the lining and welt pockets! I’ve made them a couple of times before, and while I’m not going to discuss the sizing and construction in detail on this post, you can read all my thoughts on the pattern here and here.

Anyway, I decided to try them on before attaching the waistband, and the zipper immediately popped in half.

“Well, that was probably a shitty zipper. It looked kind of old, probably just gave up on life right as I was pulling them on. I’ll put in another zipper, should be fine.”

So I unpicked the zipper, inserted a new one (have you tried to insert a zipper into a front fly that’s already been assembled? It’s… weird. Not a fan.), attached the waistband, and was getting ready to stitch down the waistband facing when I decided to try the shorts on again.

Oh, right. I popped that fucking zipper too. DAMMIT!

This is when I took an emergency trip to the fabric store (guys, I never do this – but desperate times call for desperate measures and I am DESPERATE for some jorts ok) and bought the strongest denim zipper I could find. I figured the shorts were probably straining against the bottom of the zipper because there was no give in the fabric, so I decided to let out as many seams as I could. I gave myself as much extra room as I could squeeze out, and then reinserted the (third!!!) zipper and finished the waistband.

Then I tried them on. Meh.

Jorts

Jorts

The fit is just… weird. I’m guessing my emergency unpick didn’t work as well as I had anticipated, so now I’ve got some weird lumps in seams that shouldn’t have weird lumps. They also just feel vaguely uncomfortable – I get that selvedge denim is pretty tough, and needs to be worn in a bit before it’s actually comfortable, but I don’t like it. Not in shorts, anyway. I know it looks like they are painted on, but they are honestly not that tight (except I guess somewhere around the base of the zipper, where it strains when I pull them on). Then there’s that whole issue with me being terrified that I’m going to snap this zipper every time I pull them off.

Jorts

Jorts

Jorts

Here’s a closer photo of the shorts and the way they fit. You can see they’re kind of off – it’s not horrible, but it’s enough to bother me. Actually, I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that the damn waistband isn’t lined up. I have NO idea how that happened – it matched up perfectly the first time I attached it (right before I popped the second zipper), but it looks terrible. Oh well.

Jorts

Aside from the fit – and the laughingly terrible waistband assembly, seam pucker and all (fyi, that’s where I gave up) – the construction is something I’m moderately proud of. While I didn’t go as far as doing flat-felled seams (and thank GOD for that, since I ended up unpicking them. Well, it didn’t help in the end. But, you know), I did topstitch them with proper denim thread. It looks so good!

Jorts

Well, I guess it would look better if the topstitching were straight, haha! Oh well! Like I said, I used my Featherweight to do all the topstitching – I figured it would be better than unthreading my Bernina every couple of seams. I’m really glad I did, because being able to switch machines made things go a lot faster. Plus, the Featherweight just produces some of the prettiest topstitching! Now I understand why people flip their shits over these machines. They’re pretty fun!

Jorts

Of course, that machine handles entirely differently than the Bernina I’m so used to, so I definitely went through a bit of a curve with this project. My topstitching isn’t straight, but that’s ok. It was a good practice and I’m over these shorts anyway :)

I’m totally ashamed to admit that I’ve barely used that Featherweight since I bought it, btw. I used it to make a failed Amy Butler bag right after purchase, and after that it just sat on my cabinet as decoration… until I pulled it out to make these failed shorts. And now I’m wondering if this is a jinxed machine ohgod.

Jorts

Anyway, here’s that damn fly that gave me so much trouble. At least I have lots of practice sewing flys now! Haha!!

Jorts

Sorry for all the unclipped threads and general messy inside. I think I just mentally gave up on this project after the first zipper broke.

Jorts

So, overall – these jorts are definitely a fail for me. Not entirely happy with the fit, I think the topstitching looks sloppy, the back pockets are weirdly in the wrong place, they’re uncomfortable, the stupid waistband looks stupid, but most importantly… I will always always be afraid I’m going to break that zip when I’m taking the shorts off. Not worth the stress. Also, as a side note, that’s my Briar I’m wearing and I’m thinking it looks too big and droopy on me now :( Sad.

I’m not entirely bummed with this project, because I had a good time making them (despite the multiple zipper incidents) and I definitely learned a lot during the process. This probably makes me look bad now, considering I just announced my pants making extravaganza, but you know what? Mistakes happen. None of us are immune to the occasional sewing fail, and even if I don’t get a completed outfit out of it, I at least come away with the knowledge to improve on future makes and not repeat those mistakes. I’m also really happy that I reunited with my Featherweight! Maybe I’ll get around to actually fulfilling my sewlution of using that machine to make an entire garment. Sure, it was set for 2013, but… better late than never, right? :)

Project Sewn: Hello, Dolly!

4 Feb

All right, dudes and dudettes – Project Sewn is up and running! This first week, the theme is Style Icon.

I’m just gonna be real with y’all – as soon as I saw that challenge, my personal motto started rolling through my head. The thing is – I don’t have a style icon. I honestly don’t have a person (or designer, or whatever) who I use as inspiration for my outfits. I mean, I like the way lots of celebrities dress and I’m no stranger to the siren song of a good Joan Holloway outfit, but as far as picking a particular person… naw. I don’t even know, y’all. In the end, I decided to go with someone who I admire as a person who just happens to have amazing style….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Dolly Parton!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I mean, who doesn’t love Dolly, amirite? She’s such an incredibly smart, funny, generous – and not to mention talented as HELL – woman… a true icon in my book. Speaking of books, have you ever read her memoir, My Life and Other Unfinished Business? Or heard about her program Imagination Library, which sends free books to kids to get them excited about reading? Or, hell, have you been to Dollywood?? This woman, she is amazing. She’s not just a style icon for me – she’s a real life icon, the kind of person I want to emulate.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Plus, Dolly (specifically circa 60s-70s) was no stranger to an overly decorated/borderline tacky western shirt. And, dammit, I wanted a western shirt! I’ve actually been looking for an excuse to sew one for years.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I made my entire outfit, obviously, but let’s talk about the shirt first. My fabric is a tiny check gingham seersucker from Mood. I used the Archer as my base pattern (lol, poor Jen, probably never thought her pattern would get used to make this sort of monstrosity SORRY JEN I LOVE YOUR PATTERN THO), and made a few modifications, beyond my normal ones of changing the sleeve placket, narrowing the side seams, and a different method for attaching the collar and collar stand. There’s quite a bit of piping, since we all know it’s not a real western shirt without gratuitous amounts of piping.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Adding the piping was really fun, and definitely adds some pizazz to an otherwise plain shirt. The piping at the back yoke and top of the sleeve cuffs was easy – I just sewed it along the seam allowance before attaching the other pieces. For the front yoke, I had to do a little bit of drafting and figuring out – I ended up tracing the front piece and cutting off where I wanted the yoke to hit (right above the pockets) and then drew my scallops with a french curve. To attach the piping, I first sewed it to the bottom of the yoke, clipped and trimmed and pressed and it toward the wrong side, and then laid the yokes on top of the front piece and topstitched along the piping. The raw edges of the piping are enclosed inside the yoke, so the inside of the front of the shirt is perfectly clean except for a line of topstitching. I think it worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Once I had the shirt entirely assembled, less the pearl snaps and hem, I hung it on a hanger and stared at it for over a month. What to do next? I liked the way the effect was going, but it clearly needed some embroidery at the yokes to give it that western flair. I realized at the point that the tiny gingham check was working against me – any embroidery was going to get lost in all that action.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I had my epiphany right before I fell asleep one night – APPLIQUE! That would show up against the check, and it would still allow me to involve some of the embroidery I so desperately wanted. I knew I still had a piece of vintage barkcloth in my stash that would be perfect (I used the majority of it for my birthday dress a few years back, and have been hoarding the remaining yardage ever since!). I painstakingly cut around each rose and leaf, arranging the pieces so they would be mostly mirrored at the front, and attached them with fusible web to the yokes. Then I hand-embroidered around every piece – partially to keep them attached to the start, but mostly because I just loove the texture of hand embroidery!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

I am pretty freaking THRILLED with how it turned out, what do you think??

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The last thing my shirt needed was a little bit of pearl snap action! I got mine from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall experience. I actually bought both red and black pearl snaps, but once I got the shirt finished, black was the clear winner. Also, I just really love hammering shit in my sewing room, ok.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Ok, now let’s talk about the pants! I used a Theory stretch denim from Mood and my pattern is McCall’s 6440. This is my first version of this pattern (you’ve already seen my leopard pair, ooh la la), and I went through a BIG fitting curve with these. I initially cut the size 8, based on the finished measurements – and they were huuuuge! Pretty much every thing about them sucked except the crotch curve, basically. I spent an entire evening trying on, pinning, basting, trying on, repinning, basting, trying on… ad nauseam. I’m happy that they worked out in the end – they are SO fun to wear, and look super pin-up, yay! – but getting there was a process, plus the insides are full of thread tails from all that basting. Oh well!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Some gratuitous butt shots for ya. You’re welcome.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Oh, yeah, and in case you were wondering – I can also wear this shirt untied with the sleeves rolled down, like a proper Archer, which makes it much more wearable in day-to-day life :)

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now at this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Ok, fine, but where the hell are you going to wear that thing, anyway??” Guys. Guys. I live in Nashville. I’m not so stuck up my own butt that I’m not above rolling down to the tourist district and getting my Honky Tonk on. Let’s be real – Honky Tonkin’ is the best part about living in Nashville, as far as I’m concerned. OF COURSE you can go dancin’ in normal people clothes, but why the hell not throw on your best western digs and cowboy boots and dress the part? This being made of seersucker is even better – it’ll be much more comfortable come summer, compared to my RTW black cotton western shirt, especially with the looser style.

I’m also going to wear it just for the heck of it because, well, it’s awesome ;)

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Also, in case you were wondering – I DO have cowboy boots! I just thought this outfit needed a little tone down from the ~country~, hence the Keds :)

Ok, hope you’re ready for some detail shots… I took a million :\….

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

The waistband of the pants is faced with more gingham seersucker. I love when my pants match my top, even if it’s only on the inside!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Don’t look too closely, but the embroidery on the front yokes is actually not a perfect mirror. Since the flowers weren’t printed to mirror, I had to get super creative with my cutting and appliqueing on one side, but I think it worked out quite nicely!

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Sleeve placket + pearl snaps + piping = ♥

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Yokes

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Embroidery – the flowers are outlined in a 4 thread split stitch, and the leaves are outlined in a 2 thread chainstitch. I love the effect and textures with the applique and embroidery – it’s just a little bit Alabama Chanin.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon
Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Snaps to anyone who sat through this entire post! I have one gift for you, which I found while I was trolling the nets for Dolly inspiration (click for source):

dolly parton style inspo

NOW do you see why I chose her as my inspiration? God, I love that woman.

Project Sewn, Week 1: Style Icon

Now head on over to Project Sewn and see what everyone else has been up to! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

Completed: Hummingbird Separates

8 Jul

I hope everyone had a good weekend – holiday or not! I celebrated by basically NOT leaving the house, except to get an oil change (for my truck) and donate blood (from my body). It was rainy and cold all weekend, which is really abnormal for July. No complaints here!

I didn’t get too much sewing done, surprisingly (rain makes me want to lay on the couch, which means that I knit!), but I did make myself a new outfit to wear over the weekend – using the new Hummingbird pattern.

Hummingbird Set

Every time I sew up one of this patterns, I am reminded of just how much I loooove Cake (not the food, the pattern company! Although, I’m not one to turn down the food, either…). These patterns are basically my dream patterns – easy to customize the fit, easy to adjust during sewing, easy to sew (but with just enough challenge to keep things interesting), basic & wearable for all occasions. Not to mention, Steph recently changed up the paper patterns to include sizing lines in different colors. It’s like a party in the envelope, guyzzz.

Hummingbird Set

This is the whole set – both the top and the skirt. This is my second top from this pattern (and no, you haven’t seen the first because I never blogged about it. It won’t be in this post either because it was in the wash while I was taking pictures! Soon!), and my first skirt. I wasn’t sure if I would even make the skirt, since a fitted/straight style isn’t really something I wear much of – I like to be able to mooooove… ride my bike, sit on the floor, crawl under tables, you know, the usual – but it’s surprisingly comfortable! These pictures were taken after a full day, so pardon my wrinkles.

Hummingbird Set

We can discuss the top first. I cut the size 30 bust/26 waist (Cake patterns are based off your measurements, not standard sizing) with a 17″ length (this ensures that the peplum hits the right place – I think it does! What do you think?). This is exactly how the pattern is written, with NO alterations. Can you believe how good it fits straight out of the envelope?!

Hummingbird Set

Unfortuately, I don’t think I’ll get much wear out of this top. As cute as this stripey fabric is, it’s kind of tragic – loosely woven, and stretches like a mother (it also unravels. A KNIT. I can’t even…). It’s the same fabric I used for my Stripey Tiramisu, and it just sags and bags after a couple hours. I don’t know why I bought sooo many yards of it, but ugh, I did. So I’ll just enjoy the top while I can, I guess.

Hummingbird Set

To make this work with my fabric, I had to drastically shorten the neck and arm bands to keep them from being floppy (this is super easy, since you sew those on while they’re flat, instead of in the round – you can just cut the excess off). Instead of using interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams, I pulled out the big guns and used 1/4″ elastic. I also used the same elastic at the waistline; hopefully this will keep the weight of the peplum from pulling the shirt down too much.

Hummingbird Set

Ok, skirt’s turn! This is a 26 waist/35 hip (the measurements closest to my own, obviously). I actually ended up needing to take in quite a bit during the side seam fitting – about 1″ off each side of the waist. Fortunately, this pattern is made to allow for fitting during that stage of sewing, so it didn’t mess up my pocket placement or anything.

Hummingbird Set

Be warned that this skirt is a bit on the short side – I only hemmed mine 1/2″, and this is the length I got.

Hummingbird Set

I used the same denim leftover from my Peter & the Wolf Pants – I think the stretch is key to making this skirt super comfortable. And bonus, this skirt barely took any fabric – less than 7/8 yard!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Sooo these pictures were taken with my new camera, btw. I think they look pretty good, but it’s obvious that the close-ups need better focus. I also discovered that I do not like the self-timer on this camera; it takes the pictures rapidly with no time between. Good thing I ordered a remote last week!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Ok, I’ve officially run out of things to say about this set. Here’s some flat shots!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

SURPRISE FANCY POCKET LINING, YEEEAHHH!!!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

I took a close-up of the fabric so you could see how awful it is. It is literally a knitted fabric – that’s stockinette right there. Isn’t the macro feature on my camera delicious, though? Expect lots of close-up shots, I can’t get over it.

Hummingbird Set

I can’t wait to try the flouncy version of this sucker. Gonna shake my tailfeathers all over the place :D

Psst! I have a couple announcements, real quick!

– My awesome sponsor, Sweet Little Chickadee, is moving to NY and closing shop for a month or so to handle the move – but in the meantime, she’s having a quick sale to empty out stock. Use the code MOVINGSALE to get 15% off your total purchase (this includes sale items!) through Tuesday, July 11. I know the blog post says Sunday 7/7, but Juli just informed me that she is extending the sale, soooo… shop your hearts out! But hurry! :)
– Speaking of shopping, I’ve started the mind-numbingly awful process of preparing some of my handmade and vintage clothes to be put up for sale on Etsy. I took tons of pictures and measurements over the weekend, and I’ve been slowly adding them to my shop. I thought it would be real awesome to have everything up and running by the time I wrote this blog post, but obviously that hasn’t happened yet. Check back at the LLADYBIRD shop if you are interested in buying a little piece of my history – I plan to have them all in the shop by the end of the week (and I’ll mention on the blog and/or Twitter when that’s said and done).

I hate the idea of selling my beautiful handmade clothing, but none of this stuff fits me anymore and it’s too much of a size change to take in. Rather than hoard it for no reason, I’d love to see this stuff go to a loving home where it will actually get worn. I’m not trying to make a huge profit here, so I’m pricing everything pretty low. Proceeds are going to fund some upcoming medical expenses I have, if you’re curious. Also, I am NOT trying to turn this into a big blog about how everyone should buy my shit, so don’t worry about that. Again, if you’re interested – check out my shop!

Hummingbird Set

Ok, I guess that’s it!

Completed: Peter and the Wolf Pants

21 Jun

So I’ve been sitting on this pattern for a couple of months now – Katie sent these to me as a surprise spring gift. An awesome surprise, I might add. Who doesn’t love getting surprise patterns in the mail, amirite!

Anyway, my immediate first thought was to make these up in a light polka dotted denim. Doesn’t that sound like it would be amazingly cute?! Unfortunately, I couldn’t source the right fabric – this pattern calls for fabric with a little bit of stretch, and I couldn’t find any sort of stretch bottomweight that also included polka dots (I know there are lighter-weight fabrics out there, but in my experience, their thinness requires either 1. Commando or 2. Thongs, neither of which I’m comfortable with rocking. TMI? Whatever.). I remembered this polka dot DIY post from Portia and I figured, hey, I’ll just get light denim and make my own polka dots, yeah?

Peter & The Wolf Pants

But, you know, I was seduced by all the pretty dark denim at Mood Fabrics. OH WELL. This stuff is from Theory and it is amazeballs. Nice and dark, robust without being super heavy, and just the right amount of stretch.

Btw, you’ve probably figured out that I did eventually end up with polka dot bottoms – in the form of shorts. Hey, it works!

Anyway, let’s talk about these pants!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

This is the Peter & the Wolf pants from Papercut Patterns. The way these pants are cut is really unique – in addition to side and inseams, there are seams straight down the middle of the front and back legs, as well as some interesting pocket/yoke action and the cutest little scalloped hems. As you can see here, they definitely do emphasize the hips, but that’s what I like about them!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

I cut a size XS, although in retrospect, I really should have gone down another size to the XXS. I had to do a LOT of alterations to get these to fit the way I like, and I made some easily-avoidable mistakes along the way. Pretty much EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM could have been eliminated if I had made a muslin first. Why didn’t I make a muslin first? I dunno, I guess I was feeling ~cocky with how good those Rite of Spring shorts fit me straight out of the package.

So, LESSON 1: Make a muslin. ALWAYS MAKE A MUSLIN.

Here is why this is so important, why I keep knocking this into your heads and why I should listen to my own damn advice:
– I tried these on right before I put in the zipper, and the sizing was MUCH too big through the waist and the legs. Normally, that’s not toooo bad of an issue because one can just take in the side seams (I do this all the time, u guise), but the way the pockets are placed means there isn’t a lot of side seam to take in before you start cutting into pocket territory. I couldn’t pull from the center seams because I’d already done all that topstitching and I’m ssssooooo laaaazzzzyyyy. I sat and thought about it for an evening, and ultimately decided to remove the majority of the excess from the BACK of the pants, rather than equally distributed between the front and the back. It worked, and my pockets are still there – yay! – and you can’t tell too much that the front is bigger than the back (unless you’re really studying where that side seam hits), except one glaring error…
– The front scallops now ride toward the inside of my ankles, instead of being centered in the middle of my leg :( Believe me, I tried really hard to fix this, but ultimately it’s just a matter of physics… the front is twisting, since it’s wider than the back. It’s not too terrible since they both pull about the same amount, so it looks intentional. But you and I, we know the real truth.
– The crotch curve was wrong for my shape and it looked like I was hiding packets of ketchup down the front of my pants at the crotch. WOOF. Please don’t take this to mean the crotch curve was bad across the board – I just mean it didn’t work for my specific shape (obviously it’s good for some people – look at the model on the envelope!). We all have different crotch curve shapes (how many more times can I say the word “crotch” here?) and mine is apparently a pretty pronounced J – something I learned when I was sewing the Colette Clovers. Fortunately, redrawing a curve is super easy – even on mostly-assembled pants, I mean, you’re basically just creating a new seamline – and that eliminated most of my issues in that one area. If this sounds confusing and slightly terrifying, it’s not! There is TONS of information on Google, as well as in various pants-fitting books.
– I also should have slightly shortened the crotch depth. Not even by much – just a little pinch of fabric (you can see where it’s puffing out a little. STOP STARING.). Unfortunately, I can’t fix this now as it’s something that needs to be adjusted to the flat pattern before cutting. #1 reason why you should make a muslin first. Womp womp.

I know this sounds like a lot of issues, but I just want to stress that all of them could have been EASILY solved if I’d just made a damn muslin first! ARGHGHHGHGH.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Well, at least I remembered to shorten the inseam before cutting my fabric; the original inseam is over 29″ and I needed something much shorter, plus I wanted them to be cropped. I love the length!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

My yoke seams don’t perfectly match up due to all the side seam that I had to cut off, but at least I preserved the pockets!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

I subbed out the invisible zipper for a lapped zipper. I really think an invisible zipper would look best, but I was concerned that I would have trouble with the bulk of the denim+invisible zipper. A lapped zipper doesn’t look terrible, although I wouldn’t necessarily say it looks great, either.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Look how good the butt fits, though! I should also point out here that I widened the waistband so it would cover my navel – this was easy, instead of cutting 1 waistband and folding it in half, I cut two and sewed them together at the top. Next time, I will opt for a curved waistband instead (this one is straight), as I find the straight doesn’t hug my curves as well. Just a personal preference!

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Personal fitting woes aside, these are REALLY cute. I love all the topstitching, it really highlights the cool yoke and pocket detailing.

Peter & The Wolf Pants

Peter & The Wolf Pants

For sitting through this giant long post, here are some pictures of me swatting away the skeeters.

Peter & The Wolf Pants
Peter & The Wolf Pants
HAHAHAHAHA

In all seriousness, though! I know this post sounded like a big Debbie Downer review, but I do really love these pants! Slim-fit, stretch pants like these can require a bit of tweaking to get the fit right (remember the everyone’s personal saga with the Colette Clovers?), but it’s worth it in the end, as you can crank these out over and over once the fitting adjustments are done. Which is what I plan on doing – wool cigarette pants for winter, please! Hey, maybe I’ll even find some dotty fabric ;)

Peter & The Wolf Pants

PS – My top is McCall’s 4488, an old make from last year.

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