Tag Archives: handmade wardrobe

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.

img_5616

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.

img_4559

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.

img_7420

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

img_7281

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.)

img_7796

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.

img_7352

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!

img_7497

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.

img_7478

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).

img_7490

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.

img_7529

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!

img_7530

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.

img_7783

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.

IMG_3703

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.

IMG_3742

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.

IMG_3749

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.

IMG_3806

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.

IMG_3770

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

Petal hem shorts.

I actually made these Chataigne shorts from Deer&Doe a couple years ago.  I wasn’t crazy about the fit back then, and I’m still not now.  But they’re not hopeless!

IMG_3556

I  really like the front yoke that comes to a point and the scalloped hemline.

IMG_3540

I found the hem facing had a tendency to flip down, so I made my first attempt at a blind hem. I did… okay.  It probably would have been better with a different color thread.

IMG_3481

I pulled out the pattern the other night and noticed that based on my measurements, I’d graded the pattern and cut the waist at a size 44 and the hips and hem at 42.  I think I should have just gone 42 all the way, especially using a stretch chambray like I did.  Hence, the safety pinned gather on the back.

IMG_3569

And while I like high-waisted bottoms, these seem a little bit too high.  The pattern includes a mid-waist option, so maybe somewhere in between would be better.  I also wish the front pockets were deeper, which I’m finding is a trend.

IMG_3892

I used a voile for the lining and serged all inside seams.  I might try to undo part of the lining and take in the waist to achieve a better fit.

On another note, I’m so happy that it’s bike riding weather.  I love this gal!

IMG_3531

A handmade wardrobe.

I’ve always dreamed of having a handmade wardrobe.

This is the year it’s gonna happen.

IMG_3246

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!

IMG_3456

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.

IMG_3481

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 :)

IMG_3450

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!

IMG_3485

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.

Victory Ava Blouse.

I heard about Victory Patterns through the Workroom. I loved the modern styling and knew I wanted to try out some of their pieces.

2015-03-04 15.36.13

This is actually my second go at this pattern.  This first one is cute, but this one I love. I used this beautiful Anna Maria Horner print and a soft black lace I got from JoAnn’s.

2015-03-04 15.36.54

It’s too big under the arms, so much so that the zipper is unnecessary, I’m able to just pull it over my head.  That’s one of those things I have the best of intentions to fix but we’ll see if I ever actually do :)

image

I serged all of the pieces prior to any other sewing…

image

…including the bottom hem and the lace pieces, not using bias binding. I had some trouble with the point of the yoke in the front so it’s not super clean.

image

Otherwise, though, I love how autumnal the fabric is and how flattering the waistline and peplum are.  This will not be my last Ava!

2015-03-04 15.36.26

My most favorite dress.

I made this dress a few months back and as soon as I finished it, it became my most favorite dress I’ve ever made.  I’m even proud of the inside so I’m gonna show you that, too!

2015-03-04 15.44.52

When I bought this Anna Maria Horner print, I was worried it would be too busy for a dress but the geometric lines are subtle enough to not be overwhelming while adding interest beyond just bunches of flowers.  Thankfully, it’s also just busy enough that you can’t tell I had to cut the bodice front upside down :)

2015-03-04 15.44.36

I used Butterick 6582 view C, which is one of their retro reissues, and a dress I’ve made 2 other times.  I shortened the pattern by at least 8 inches and used a vintage yellow zipper that perfectly matches the lining fabric I chose.

image

image

I love how the bouquets “match up” at the bodice crossover and the little gathers at the shoulders;

image

but shhh… I didn’t hand sew the shoulders closed.

image

I serged all the inside edges and hemmed the bottom with a double fold and double stitch line.

image

Part of what makes this dress so flattering is that the gathers in the skirt aren’t in the front, so it doesn’t poof out and make you look pregnant.  They start at the bodice darts ago around from/to there.

image

I would highly recommend this pattern and I see more in my future!

Trying to find the perfect button up: Meissa.

I was so excited about this pattern and impressed by the details of this top, the  Meissa blouse by Papercut Patterns, which I first saw on Lladybird.  Since she made hers out of cotton, I decided to try that too, though it’s a decision I’m not quite happy with.

2015-03-04 15.20.25

This pattern is billed as “loosely fitted” which is true, especially when made in a fabric with the body of quilting cotton (cue awkward outtake photo).  I think it would work much better in voile or rayon, a chiffon or silk, which is something I intend to try.

2015-03-04 15.20.11

I used this Leah Duncan print and an Amy Butler voile for the collar stand, under collar, and all the facings, which looks really nice, if I say so myself.  I had never done a collar stand before but I like it.

image

Don’t look at the button holes!  They are a mess. But those serged edges and the bias hem facings sure look nice…

image

image

I think I might go back and either take in the sides, add darts, or shirr the back waist and see if I can’t give it a more flattering fit.  It’s not the perfect button up but it gave me some good skills and has potential to be a good one.