Friday, 18 February 2011

Jeans - I made jeans!

Hi everyone!

I am so proud of myself - I made jeans!

These are the Hot Patterns Weekender Jean Jeanius Trouser Jeans and I think they turned out pretty good for a first try.

I was inspired by Allison's razor sharp jeans. When she mentioned the right angled seat curve I remembered I had bought this pattern a few years ago and it had been languishing ever since. A quick scan of Pattern Review confirmed the pattern had worked for a number of people so I was sufficiently confident to give it a go.

I can manage most things but have never had any real success with trousers. I have tried every alteration I come across. Some have not worked at all for me, some have worked a bit and some have worked quite well but all have taken major tweaking and the results have never been what I really hoped for. I always end up with extra fabric down the back of my legs and have never figured out how to get rid of it (see Exhibit A and B).

So, long story short, one of the reviews on PR mentioned a one-step pants back alteration that sounded like it might do the trick and whaddya know - it did!

I ended up dropping the seat by 1 1/2" (no wonder I can't buy pants to fit). This results in having to stretch the remaining back leg seam quite a lot to fit to the front but the denim was quite light and cooperated well. I'm not sure if it would be as successful in a less cooperative fabric.

I cut a straight size 16 from the pattern and the only other alterations I had to do were to cut 4cm off the front crotch point and to scoop out the seat a smidge more.

The instructions were pretty bad.  Some pattern pieces were incorrectly labelled so you want to keep your wits about you there.  The fly instructions IMHO were really clunky and ended up with me sewing the whole thing shut (I've never done that before).  Also, correct me if I'm wrong but they don't seem to mention sewing the inside leg seams(!).  Bear in mind I did buy this pattern a while ago and these problems may have been rectified now.

The fabric is a 6oz rigid denim, a bit lighter than recommended but it's summer here.

Okay, i know i am never going to look great in jeans (at least until I get back into reasonable shape) but this is probably as good as I am going to get for now.

I used normal thread in an ecru colour for the topstitching. My primary machine will not get along with topstitching thread, even with the special needle so I have given up trying to use it. In the end i set up a back up machine for the topstitching so I wasn't always changing my thread/settings. that machine works fine with topstitch thread but I had made up my mind by then.

I modelled the topstitching on a pair of Levis but left the back pockets plain as everything I tried looked lame.

I am wearing them with heels here and since taking these photos I have washed them in hot water to get out any remaining shrinkage (the fabric was pre-washed but I don't have access to a dryer) and hemmed to wear with flats as they turned out a little more casual than I wanted.

What's the down side? Well my painstakingly inserted zip is dodgy and keeps coming down. It's too much effort to fix it for now - any tips on getting a metal zip to stay done up?

I am definitely going to use this pattern (and this alteration) again.

Friday, 11 February 2011

V8634 - Knit top with cowl collar

I am very pleased to show you another success story. There is not much to say about this so I'll let the pattern review do the talking...

Pattern Description:
Raglan sleeve top with 'cowl' collar.  It's not strictly a cowl but rather an extended turtle neck or something - I don't really know how to describe it.

Pattern Sizing:
x-small, small, medium, large etc. I cut a straight medium.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes they were fine although I stabilised the shoulder seams with iron-on bias tape which is not covered in the instructions. Most of the construction I did with my overlocker (serger). I tried to do the hems with a twin needle but my machine was having none of that so I ended up just doing a long and narrow zig zag.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Love the shape of the collar. I was concerned it might be boxy but somehow the seam on the front gives it a good shape.

The neck seam does tend to roll out a bit with the weight of the collar but it is not noticeable in this print. In a heavier fabric I might attach bias binding to the seamline and topstitch it down to disguise the seam and flatten it out - just a thought.

Fabric Used:
A drapey knit. I don't enjoy sewing with knits so I only buy then when they are super-cheap!

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
None, for once I made it straight out of the envelope and there were no fit problems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I can see myself making a long sleeved version in winter, and perhaps one in a sweater knit.

This is a nice fitting t-shirt with added flair. Here's the back.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Burda 09-2009-131 Denim A-line skirt

Hello, I am cheating again by doubling up my pattern review here and on PR, but you get the bonus of extra photos here.  This is one of the Take 1 Make 4 skirts from the September 2009 Burda.

Pattern Description:
A-line skirt with shaped waistband.

Pattern Sizing:
Burda 36-46

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I left off the pockets but generally yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I really didn't look at them, it's a straightforward pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I can't get enough of a-line skirts! I liked the yoke/waistband on this one

Fabric Used:
6oz rigid denim.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I left off the pockets and added jeans-style topstitching to complement the denim.  I cut the length of version 132, added a 5cm hem allowance but ended up taking a 1.5cm hem as it was still a bit short.
I am pretty proud of my matching job here - this is not something that comes easily to me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, in fact I have a workday version already cut out!

This is a versatile and flattering pattern. Definitely a keeper!