Tag Archives: clothing

Jeans!

One of my reasons for visiting Toronto was to take a Ginger Jeans class with Heather, the pattern designer, at the Workroom.  I had actually already made the pattern once before, but I couldn’t pass up meeting and learning from her.  As it happens, my first pair turned out better than the class pair, but that’s totally on me and doesn’t mean I didn’t learn.

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This was the minute after I finished my first pair and I was very excited.

So, I made the first pair with the high waist and skinny legs, using a kit from IndieSew.  I believe I cut a size 12 waist graded to a 14 at the hip, but did so many adjustments, I have no idea what it would be now.  Though I usually never take the time, I did make a muslin, with some cheap denim-like fabric I had.  I knew it wouldn’t be wearable so I just basted everything together and realized I definitely needed to do a sway back adjustment, take out 5” in length, and take in the side seams.

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Then I went in for the real stuff.  I followed the instructions in the Sewing Your Own Jeans e-Book (which are a little different than the pattern instructions, and uses photographs instead of drawings, which is helpful for me) and was really happy with the results.  I ended up doing the sway back to both the yoke and the waistband, taking out 1/2” and 1 1/2” respectively.

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I used a favorite feather print for the pockets and bright pink thread win my serger.

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I had a hard time with the last few finishing things.  I primarily sew on my Singer Featherweight, which doesn’t have bar tack or buttonhole options (I know there is a buttonhole attachment but I don’t have one yet).  I tried using a studio-mate’s machine but it wasn’t quite powerful enough for all that denim.  Part of my problem was also that I stupidly didn’t trim the zipper down!  So, I ended up having to unpick the topstitching of the waistband and get back in there to trim it. Then I did a buttonhole with straight stitches (which I realize might not last long). And then the rivets… the rivets!  Those were such a pain!  The ones in the kit were hollow post and none of them turned out.  (I’m waiting to get some in the mail from Taylor Tailor and then I’ll replace them.)

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Things I would do differently: I sewed the pockets so that the seams wouldn’t show from the inside of the jeans, but I don’t like feeling the seam allowance when I put my hands in the pockets.  I wish the legs were even skinnier.  I should have taken out more crotch curve length.

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Overall, I love these jeans.  I have a good sized booty and it’s hard to find jeans that fit.  I just washed them this week, for the first time since finishing them (back in May, ahem) and didn’t dry them (as per Heather’s guidance), and they still fit great.

For the class, I went completely unprepared.  The trip came at a time when I wasn’t sewing at all, and I didn’t take the time to gather up my pattern or buy supplies.  So I had a lot of catching up to do and thanks to Heather, I did!

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I bought denim, lining fabric, and hardware from the Workroom.  It was the last of the denim they had left, which turned out being almost enough (I had to redo my waistband and use some of a classmate’s denim).  Since I didn’t get to prewash it, Heather told me I will never be able to dry them, which is okay.

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This time, I went with the low rise version and cropped them (since I typically roll up my jeans to this length anyway). I cut out a size 16 this time, which ended up being too big all around, and I forgot that the low rise version came with stovepipe legs, so I had to take those in a lot (and ended up with too tight calves).

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Heather’s fitting help showed me to take out 1/2″ from the front crotch curve length and 3/4″ from the back, which helped a lot.

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But, the waist is still too big.  I can’t even buckle my belt to the first hole without creating a paper bag waist appearance (which I do not like).  Heather’s sway back adjustment took in the waistband, but I think I need to take in the yoke, too (like I did on my first pair).  I think I have just enough denim left to redo those things, although for the sake of consistent topstitching, I have to take them almost completely apart.  But it’ll be worth it for a pair of well fitting jeans!

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Unfortunately, the rivets I got at the Workroom were also the hollow post, but Heather had a stash with her that I was able to use.

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Here’s a poorly lit little peek at the insides.  You can see how the low and high rise have different pocket constructions.  All seams were serged and topstitched.

I have another pair in the works, midrise in black, which I’m really excited about, and will combine everything I learned from the first two pairs.

Sorry for all the words! But thanks for making it this far :)  Stay tuned for a post about the tops I wore in these photos!

Trying to find the perfect button up: Archer.

I’m still on my quest to find the perfect button up shirt that I can fill my closet with and this is almost there.  The Archer by Grainline Studio is a classic button up shirt that has a lot of potential.

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As soon as I received the pattern, I knew I wanted to use this plaid from my stash (another gift from Laura; I’m noticing a trend!), which meant my first foray into pattern matching.  I read Lauren’s post on it and tried to match the horizontal striping around the bodice.  I could have done better with the vertical striping, too, but it’s a small/busy enough plaid that it works.  I decided to cut the button placket, sleeve cuffs, back yoke, and pockets on the bias, which breaks up the pattern a bit, for better or worse.

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Overall, the shirt just feels too big.  I made a size 12 based on my measurements but the sleeves are way too long, the pockets are too large and too low, and for someone that likes more fitted clothing, it just feels too baggy.

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I do, however, really like collar stands.  And I like the way Jen has you attach it.  Since this fabric didn’t have a wrong and right side, I accidentally attached quite a few pieces of the shirt backwards, you can’t really tell.

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I was happy to try a different kind of sleeve placket, though I think I’ll do the Hawthorn style next time.  I chose to use snaps because my machine is not too keen on buttonholes (though I occasionally borrow my studio mate’s machine).  I would have loved to use red ones but alas, my snap stash is dwindling.

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With a few adjustments, this just might make a perfect button up.

A handmade wardrobe.

I’ve always dreamed of having a handmade wardrobe.

This is the year it’s gonna happen.

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I’ve been on a roll these last few weeks, making four dresses, five shirts, two pairs of shorts, a sweater, and a bra (not to mention 3 quilts)!  I have a bunch of posts ready and waiting for photographs so you’ll be seeing them all soon!

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I’ve been working through my pattern and fabric stash which, while not huge, is full of things I’ve never made.  I’m trying to make really wearable things, which often means “boring”.  While I love a statement dress, I often go for jeans and a t-shirt (a favorite grey v-neck in particular), so I’m aiming for more neutral, comfortable pieces, that I can make multiples of.  I think I’ve found a couple of those already.

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I’ve also always wanted to participate in Me Made May (a challenge for people to wear at least one handmade item every day in the month of May and generally be more thoughtful about their wardrobe), but short of wearing a dress every single day, I’ve never felt like my handmade wardrobe was robust enough.  But now it is and I’m very excited :)

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Part of that will include wearing things I’ve made that I’m not so crazy about, and I might sell those things to people that will love them.  So stay tuned for that!

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I have to give many thanks to Seamwork Magazine for helping me feel as though my handmade wardrobe dream is achievable.  Thank you!

Coming up: jeans, a coat, a cape, and a bathing suit.

Sewing clothes and having doubts.

I have been a bit obsessed with the idea of sewing clothes lately.  While I’ve never felt up to taking The Sew Weekly challenge or anything, I love the idea of making everything I can.

I learned to sew clothing about 6 years before I learned to quilt.  I still have my first dress and although I never fully sewed on the lining and the zipper was inserted incorrectly, it’s not so bad.  Currently, half of my dresses are made by me and while I’ve dabbled in tops and pants, I’d really like to expand my skills.

I completed this Cynthia Rowley dress a little while ago, made from a Khristian Howell fabric I fell in love with last year.  I didn’t love the dress while I was working on it but by the time it was finished and I tried it on, I loved it.

IMG_0305 IMG_0306My favorite part is the orange plaid pockets.  If I make this again I will definitely shorten the bodice and maybe add an A-line skirt instead.

IMG_0307 IMG_0308I am currently working on the Banksia top from Megan Nielsen and it’s needing a little altering.  Hopefully though, it will be a staple piece.  Then after that, I have this whole stack of fabric all washed and ready to become more dresses and tops, including my first ever voile purchase!

Stack includes, from top to bottom, Cameo voile by Amy Butler, Grey posies by Denyse Schmidt, Downtown Los Angeles by Jay McCarroll, Habitat by Michelle D’Amore, Nettie dot by Timeless Treasures, and Washi by Rashida Coleman Hale.

I have focused on clothing lately because I’m beginning to doubt my ability to do quilt commissions.  I usually work well under pressure but the couple of times I’ve gone past a deadline, I’ve completely torn myself up about it.  I don’t like disappointing people.  I don’t like having to tell them that I’ve let them down.  But is avoiding situations where that might happen the best way to deal with it?

Do you make quilts by commission?  Do you have a contract of some sort you give the person?  What does that entail?  Is trial by error a good way to develop a business?

New dress!

I showed a little sneak peek of this dress on Instagram (@kaitcetera, follow me!) a few days ago with the promise of showing it off and here it is!

I felt beyond silly taking pictures of myself (my face was too embarrassing to show!) and they don’t do the dress justice.  It’s the coffee date dress (a free pattern!) from BurdaStyle that I started probably two and a half years ago.  The fabric I used was from stash and it was hard to cut out accurately and the instructions seemed incomplete to me (at the time, at least).  I had the bodice almost completed and the skirt pieces sewn together so when I pulled it out a few days ago, I realized how little was left to do and sewed it right up.  And wouldn’t you know, it’s my new favorite dress!

I fudged the neckline facing and didn’t trim the length before I hemmed it, but what I’m really proud of is the zipper.  It really is invisible!  I hardly tried to match up the seams but it’s almost perfect!I’m definitely going to make this pattern again (perhaps without the ruffle, maybe add a waistband and pockets); I love the way it fits.  I might even use the Bryant Park poppies I just got!

Snippets of life.

Where did I go the last couple weeks?   No where, just not here apparently.

I don’t have any big finishes or anything quite yet but I wanted to share a few snippets of life around here lately.

Remember I set a goal to bake a loaf of bread every week this year?  Well week two was pizza crust and may I say, it was amazing.  The recipe I used, from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, made enough for five 10″ pizzas so I used two and froze the rest. Mine, pictured above, had roasted garlic, olive oil, bacon, caramelized onions, and fresh basil, with mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and feta cheese.  Yum!

I spent a gift card at Marshall’s and got, among lots of other kitchen things, a lovely green Le Creuset pan into which, I promptly made blondies.  I added whiskey and instant espresso to the batter and seeing as they spread so thin, it’s possible I ate twice as much :)

This is quilt three of three for Catherine’s nieces.  I finished sewing the binding on the front today and will complete it tonight in front of the tv (Castle and Parks & Rec have returned!) and then it will be in the wash for all three followed by a photo shoot with Cait in a couple weeks!

I got a sweet Groupon deal for a portable iPod speaker system that a friend of mine had recommended.  My computer speakers just don’t get loud enough when cooking or washing dishes and this is a great solution!  It came with a small bag and strap but I think I’ll definitely be needing a much prettier one!

I actually made this a couple months ago but never showed it.  It’s only 8″ square (instead of 24″) but now I’m not sure what to do with it!  I think I might streamline it a little and  use some in a larger quilt.  I like these as minis!

When I started rearranging my studio a few months ago (no, I’m still not done :-/ ), I took down a couple pieces of beloved artwork so I knew they needed to be hung elsewhere.  So now they adorn the hallway and I’m able to see them multiple times a day, and a couple of them when I’m laying in bed.  The three on the left are done by the lovely Laura Lashley, the middle and top right are by Liz Simmons, and the bottom right is by Molly Bolton.

Remember when I mentioned a tattoo I got being part of a larger art project?  Well the show is up this month at the Electric Moustache gallery and Evan did such a fabulous job!  He took photographs of all of us that participated and our tattoos and made a video loop of our horses in motion.  You can see the video here.  It’s based on a series of photographs by Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 who set out to prove whether or not when a horse runs, all it’s feet leave the ground at once.  Through the photographs, he pioneered stop motion animation. I love the tattoo and the show and I’m so happy to be a part of this project!

I’ve been feeling the need to sew clothes lately.  I’m on the search for an easy, versatile top that I could make a lot of.  This is Simplicity 3835, a Built by Wendy pattern that I had a lot of hope for.  I’ve made the shorter dress with the ties before and it fit super awkwardly but I hoped the shirt would be better.  And it’s not really.  This picture actually isn’t bad but I kind of just feel like I’m wearing a bag :(  There are darts in the back but it doesn’t give it enough shape.  I could either shirr the waist or I could easily take it in but then I’d have to put in a zipper… I plan to work with it and see if I can’t make it better.

I ordered myself a couple things!  I love getting books in the mail.  I got a red sketchbook because I’d like to start drawing/sketching again this year (I haven’t done it since 11th grade), Denyse Schmidt Quilts (I didn’t realize until looking through it recently how much I love almost all the quilts in it!), and Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.

Speaking of which, I’m excited to tell you that my friend Cait and I are embarking on a challenge in 2012 to make a project a month from LMP+QG!  We have designated 12 projects and will be blogging about them the last Thursday of each month.  I very rarely buy quilting books because I feel like I have to be drawn to a majority of the projects, so this is a good prodding for me to try some things I might not, otherwise.  After flipping through a few books that Cait owns, we settled on this one because it has a range of projects, and because of the iconic Color Wheel Quilt.  (That’s when I also realized I was drawn to a lot of DS’s projects so I threw that in my shopping cart, too.)  Can’t wait to show some things off!