sewing

Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

Closet Case Files has just launched the Morgan Boyfriend Jean pattern so now I can finally talk about them! I was a pattern tester and since this pattern went through three rounds of testing I have a lot to say! These photos are of the first pair that I made, which was the second round of testing. I was on a deadline to finish them, so instead of using a contrasting thread for the topstitching I just used the same thread as I was using for the seaming. The result is a rather fancy looking boyfriend jean, which I really like! It’s fun to have something other than skinnies to wear going out and the rolled up legs work well with heels.

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As in almost every pair of pants I make, the legs are huge because they are graded up with the rest of the pattern and I have skinny legs. So I slimmed down the legs quite a bit from the hip down. I think as you get into the larger sizes you need a narrower leg otherwise they look baggy.  I also added an inch to the rise which I almost always do for pants to accommodate my curvy bum.

morganjean-3I did make a quickie pair of the final version that was basted together and some day I will take them apart and sew up them up properly with top stitching! I used a plain blue denim from Joann that will require a bit of distressing so they don’t look like dad jeans instead of boyfriend jeans.

morganjean-2If you’ve made the Ginger jeans then assembly will be quite familiar to you! The only big change here is the button fly and to be honest I will probably just do a zipper in any future pairs I like. I find button flys rather annoying and I’d rather insert a zipper than have to do 3 extra button holes. ūüôā

I bought this fabric on Amazon – it’s¬†12-Ounce Indigo Pure Denim Fabric, 2 Yards by 68-Inch Wide, by Kaltex America. ¬†It’s made by a Mexican denim mill and it’s a nice heavy weight. It’s pretty dark. I got it when it was under $22 but now it’s nearly $30.

Happy Halloween from Roxy

Many years ago, my friends and I dressed up as the Misfits for an 80’s Party. Not the punk band, but the amazing cartoon band from Jem and the Holograms. I was Roxy and making her costume was really hard! Unlike Pizzazz and Stormer, Roxy’s outfit is very specific fabrics. She has a fuzzy/eyelash purple top and metallic spray painted pants. This was impossible to find at the time.

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A few years later I was in Joann’s around Halloween and found the perfect fabric for Roxy’s pants. So I bought a few yards. That fabric has sat in my stash for years and I figured with the new terrible Jem movie that just came out, this costume is as relevant as its every going to be! So I started off using the Cigarette Pants pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, then I used some other pants patterns that fit to adjust the crotch curve.
IMG_3290The resulting pants were ok, but the legs were to wide and I couldn’t really bend my knees. Also, the fabric I had is flannel backed and the metallic printing on the front was flaking off everywhere but especially in the crotch area. Eek!

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So I put them to the side and started focusing on my top. ¬†I found this purple eyelash fabric on fabric.com. It’s metallic which isn’t really accurate but it was the best and cheapest thing I could find.

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I used the shirt pattern 403 from Burda Plus A/W 2012.  Leaving off one sleeve of course! This actually fits pretty well so I may make it out of a normal fabric too!

Next up was the belt, so I was off to Joann’s. It was during lunchtime a few days before Halloween, so of course it was insanely busy. Let me give you a tip – whenever you are buying fabric go to the cutting counter and check what number is in the dispenser and what number they care cutting. If it’s over 10, definitely take a number. That gives you about 15-20 minutes to shop.

IMG_3284Anyway, while wandering around looking for the faux leather I came across the performance fabrics section. There I spotted a pretty good looking fabric for my pants! I wasn’t intending to buy more fabric, but when I spotted this spandex I knew it would take me less time to whip up a pair of leggings than to try to fix my flaking pants. So I grabbed it. It was thankfully not on sale so I was able to use a coupon to get it down to $8.50/yd. I used the Cake Patterns Espresso leggings to make the final pants. This is a TNT legging pattern for me so I knew I could make them really quickly.

Finally I got over by the home decor and spotted the vinyl and they had a yellowy green that would work perfectly for my belt. It was $20/yd but also not on sale and I only needed 1/4 yard so it was $2.50!  While looking for something to fasten my belt, I came across an unknown brand that had magnetic snaps and studs that were around $3. Since they only required cutting a slit into the vinyl, I picked up a set of magnetic snaps and some rounded studs to finish my belt.

Practicing my snarl with my friend Mary

Practicing my snarl with my friend Mary

The finishing touches on my costume were the wig and makeup. ¬†I got this white wig from Amazon for $15 and it’s quite nice. I had to cut it a bit to get the style right, then I teased and sprayed it into submission. ¬†For makeup, I picked up a $3 Revolution Orange lipstick at Ulta. Everything else I had. My lipstick is MAC Vegas Volt.

Diamond Anniversary Shirts

My sister, Vanessa, and her husband, Jeremy, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last month. A couple of weeks before that I was in Joann’s looking for some linen when I spotted this diamond print linen blend fabric. Do you know what the symbol of the 10th anniversary is… diamonds! So I picked up a few yards. The bolt was slightly short of what the pattern needed for 2 shirts, but I knew I could make it work!diamondshirts-3

I used McCall’s 6932¬†which is a Palmer/Pletsch unisex camp shirt pattern. I actually bought it for myself to make a 49er jacket, but I’ve made 3 shirts out of it and none were 49ers and none were for me! I got my mom to ask them for their chest measurements so I could figure out what sizes to make. Thanks Mom!

My sister is petite so I made the smallest size and took 3 inches out of the body and 2 inches out of the sleeve length and used the side vents. I made Jeremy’s shirt with no alterations.

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These shirts went together very quick and easy. I was very particular about keeping the pieces separate for each shirt. That is until I swapped out the yoke linings. Eek! I didn’t notice this until after I sewed one in completely and trimmed the collar seam. ¬†I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new pieces, so I just had to make them work.

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Making a camp shirt is definitely a bit different construction than a more classic shirt like Grainline Archer. There is no collar stand and it overall has a very relaxed look that definitely works with the linen fabric I used.  However it still has a back pleat and lined yoke so that everything inside looks nice.
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One of the interesting things about making this shirt was that I didn’t do any basting to gather in the sleeves. I used a ton of pins and eased it in. There were a couple of spots that I had to rip out and resew but overall it was neat not having to do gathers!

I didn’t get these shirts done until the day of their anniversary but I stuck them in the mail and they got them a couple of days later. I didn’t mention I was making anything so they were totally surprised! They are off to a cruise to the Bahamas with my parents next week so I know they will get to be dorky and dress alike on the ship! Good news that they fit perfectly.:)

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Style Arc Barb Gets Pocketed

I’ve been trying to update¬†my work wardrobe. I work in a casual environment but because of my level I try to dress a little nicer than just jeans…sometimes. ¬†What I’ve realized though is that I need comfy. Jeans are not always comfy so if I can find some slacks that look good and feel good to wear then I’ll be golden.

Last year Style Arc and Threads did a “limited time” promo for a free Style Arc Pants pattern – the Barb. ¬†They describe it as: Barb’s Stretch Pant is a new version of our famous Linda pant. Features a slimmer leg but not too slim, perfect for the office.¬† Which actually sounded perfect!

So about that limited time business? Well you can still go get the pattern for free here:  http://www.stylearc.com/threads-promo/

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SIZING

I cut a size 20 which was closest to my waist measurement. ¬†Because these pants are made of a stretch fabric and have an elastic waist they are very forgiving. However, Style Arc does use 3/8″ seam allowances so you don’t have quite as much room for seam allowance adjustments if needed.

ADJUSTMENTS

I did a few flat pattern adjustments on these. The first was to add 3″ to the rise. With the wider elastic I wanted them to be up on my natural waist. I used 1.5″ elastic instead of 2″ elastic so I essentially only changed the rise 2.5″. I changed the crotch curve to match the pants I made in my Palmer/Pletsch pants fitting class.

The biggest adjustment was adding pockets. Especially for work, pants must have pockets! I need a place to keep my phone and clip my ID badge.  I liked the pockets on the previous mentioned Palmer/Pletsch Class pants so I used those pattern pieces for these pants. I had to redraw the pants from to create the slash pocket. Then I reused the pocket bag, but I had drafted a pocket stay mean for a zip fly. Since these pants are pull ons, I had to redraw the pocket stay to be cut on the fold and match up with the pants front pieces.

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Drafting pocket stays is one of the best things I learned in my pants fitting class. If you’ve ever tried NYDJ jeans or pants, they do this to provide their “slimming technology”. Basically it’s built in Spanx! For these pants I had to figure out what kind of fabric to use. The main fabric is a stretch woven, but it would be too bulk to use for the stay. I needed something that would stretch and be thin. I ended up digging through my scraps and finding a piece of black cotton jersey that worked perfectly. It’s a bonus that I don’t have to finish the edges! That makes it be even less visible.

Sorry for the crap photo! I had to play the contrast levels so you could see the black on black.

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FABRIC & FINISHES

The fabric is a Sew Classic Bengaline suiting from Joann. It’s normally $10/yd but I’m sure I used a 40 or 50% off coupon. ¬†The content is¬†81% polyester, 15% rayon and 4% spandex. It’s not the fancy bengaline Style Arc recommends (and sells), but I am very happy with it for the price I paid. It’s a perfect weight for these pants.

I used 1.5″ Knit Elastic for my waistband and finished all my seams on the serger.

STYLE

These are so versatile! I  can go casual with a t-shirt or tank and my chucks. For work I wear them with a blouse or sweater and my ballet flats. I have yet to wear these out but they would look great with a slinky top and some wedges.

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WHAT I LOVE

  • The price (FREE!)
  • Quick & easy to sew
  • Slim legs

WHAT I DON’T LOVE

  • Style Arc patterns are single sized, so if you print the wrong size you have to start all over again

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

I totally love these pants! The high waist and pocket stay are very slimming and the leg width really is perfect. I like my pants to be slim fitting without being skin tight. These whip up so quickly that I need to make some more!

Seamwork Nantucket Shorts

It’s been crazy hot in Portland lately, so I a pair of comfy shorts is right up my alIley. My friends over at Colette Patterns, also in Portland, must have been feeling the same thing because they released the Nantucket Shorts pattern in the July Issue of Seamwork Mag. This has just 3 pattern pieces and sews up quick.

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These are very loose and comfy. Perfect for a summer day, but they are also super baggy on me. Not sure I will ever wear them out of the house, but I do love changing into them when I get home from work!

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I didn’t do any intentional pattern matching, but it worked out pretty well!

SIZING

Like most Colette/Seamwork patterns this is available in sizes 0-26. ¬†My waist measurement was between sizes so I went with my hip measurement, which led me to cut a size 20 instead of an 18. I wish I had cut the 18 because maybe these wouldn’t be so tent-like. However my reason for choosing the 20 over the 18 was the finished width of the 18 was my actual hip size and I thought these needed more ease.

In general, though, you should go with your hip measurement since the waist is cinched in by the drawstring making it very forgiving.

ADJUSTMENTS

I made 2 adjustments to these shorts. The first was to add 1″ to the rise. ¬†I am high waisted and pretty much every pair of shorts/pants I make needs to have a higher rise so this is standard for me. ¬†The second adjustment was the add 3/4″ to the length of the shorts. I like shorts that hit more at mid-thigh than upper thigh. I compared the inseam to another pair of shorts I recently made, and realized I would prefer these to be a bit longer.

FABRIC & FINISHES

Then pattern calls for lightweight wovens like chambray and I love me some chambray. Especially the Kaufman Chambray line! It’s lovely! ¬†Since I already have a Hollyburn skirt made of the Chambray dots fabric, I decided on the¬†Kaufman Chambray Dobbies Grid in Denim. This pattern only needs 1 yard of fabric so the cost was just $9!

The pattern calls for 1/4″ cotton cord for the drawstring but I just used the fabric selvedge. These chambray prints always have really neat striped selvedges! Luckily it’s the same on both sides so I carefully cut each one off. I stitched them together – giving me a 2yd drawstring. Then I folded the fabric under twice and stitched for a neat looking drawstring. I even love the fuzzy edge on it!

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After I competed the shorts I realized I didn’t really like the way the drawstring ruffled the waistband. It added bulk in an area that I really didn’t need it! So I opened up my waistband seam and threaded a piece of elastic through just the back of the waistband. This allows the fabric to gather into softer folds, which I think looks better. If made these again I might just omit the drawstring and put all elastic or do a true elastic/drawstring combo and just have the drawstrings come out at the front.

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STYLE

These are definitely casual/cool shorts. I wear them with a ribbed tank of a fitted t-shirt to balance out the bagginess.  Mostly I wear them around the house, but these would be great for the beach and with flip flops.

WHAT I LOVE:

  • Comfy shorts
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Only uses 1 yard of fabric

WHAT I DON’T LOVE:

  • Too baggy
  • Tightening drawstring creates bulky folds

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

I could see making a few pairs of lounging around or as sleep shorts. I will probably size down next time i make them or see if I can figure out how to make the legs a little slimmer.