Friday, 26 April 2013

Materials for jeans sewalong

I am planning to make the toile from this white cotton drill and then dye them turquoise. I was hoping to dye the fabric first but the dye seems to be taking an age to arrive - we'll see maybe I can still do that if it arrives in the next few days - but I don't want to get behind so I may just have to go with it as it is and try dyeing afterwards.

There is an option on the pattern to have zips on the pockets.  I haven't really decided about pockets yet and will have to make several practice ones, so I have bought some extra zips just in case I do choose that option.  I am going to use Vogue 1034 but without all the button bling :) I am hoping to learn to do some good topstitching and have bought lots of colours of topstitching thread for future projects so I had better start practising.

This is some non stretch denim from fabricland.  It was really creased when it came out of the tumble dryer but it looks a lot better now it has been pressed.  I am hoping I have enough of this african wax fabric remnant for the pockets etc. but if not I will buy some quilting cotton.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Here's the latest post from Anne Martine - great progress.
I’ve now cut out my toile fabric, photo here - it has a slight stretch and feels like a brushed denim.
As I mentioned in the Remnant Box thread, I invariably have problems when taking my measurements and comparing them to the pattern, I think my brain somehow becomes scrambled and this was no exception! I took my measurement from front waist to back waist under the crutch, but this was way bigger that the same measurement on the pattern even with the waistband added on. It was only after I had cut the pattern pieces to put in an insert that it dawned on me that I had forgotten to add in the yoke!  What a numpty!
I cut the waistband at size 16 and tapered down to a 14 at the top of the legs.
Anyway, all done now so I’m looking forward to putting this together to see if I have that right and what other adjustments will be needed.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Materials gathered

I'm very pleased to be part of this Great Jeans Party Sewalong.
Meet my fabric - lightweight brown canvas from a remnant bin at Abakhan, all nice and wrinkly after having been through the washer a few times.

I'll be using the green quilting cotton for the inside of the waistband and the pocket bags.

I'm hoping the fly insertion goes well enough so that the red zip isn't on show, but just in case, I'll be pretending it is a design feature and using the red thread for topstitching.

There is a choice of jeans buttons from the local market - a sort of coppery one and a sort of brassy one.
(Rivets to follow).

I've not really worn jeans since having children because I'm just not happy with the way they fit.
Back in the day (oh how my children love it when I use this phrase!), so when I was the same age as my eldest is now (19), my idea of "good fit" in a pair of jeans was if I had to lie down flat on the floor to do them up.
Those days are well and truly gone (along with the matching body sadly), these days I've got different ideas about what "good fit" means for me.

I guess if you had to put a label on my body shape it would be pear shaped. If I try on ready to wear (RTW) jeans that fit around the derriere then the waistband is too big and they dip down at the back in a way that could so easily become the dreaded "builder's bum" if they're low rise. So they stay in the shop.

I'm aiming to eliminate any risk of builder's bum, and will be making my jeans a medium rise just an inch or so below my waist for added security.

The other main fitting challenge I have is that the side seams curve towards the front on the upper thighs. I would so like a lovely vertical seam that lies straight from waist to floor.

I don't expect the first pair to be a masterpiece - so meet my next pair of jeans-to-be: 7oz indigo denim from Fabricland (also nice and creased from washing and drying), with some more quilting cotton and another red zip. Traditional orange topstitching for this pair I think.

By this stage you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'm working on having red zips as my "signature style" - I'd love to say this is the case but it would be a big fat fib. They're just what I happen to have in my stash that is the right size (job lot of mixed zips from an ebay seller a while ago). 'Bout time they were put to good use.

Time to meet my tools.
  • A large flexible rule (90cm) so I can have a bash at the "fishbowl" method for adjusting the crotch curve on the pattern.
  • Cutting mat and rotary cutter
  • Nice heavy shears
  • tracing wheel
  • hammer
  • basting tape (double sided sticky tape stuff to help with the zip insertion - as taught by Celia Banks)
  • my pattern of choice - Butterick B5682 (already bought this last year before the sew along was announced)

not pictured is the remnant roll of curtain fabric (of similar weight to the canvas) that I plan to use for toiles

Choices Choices....
 I'm NOT great with deciding between different options. Given the chance I will dither. A LOT! So I'm glad we have some deadlines to help push me along.
(Please feel free to remind me I said this later on when the deadlines whoosh past and I'm still trouserless...)

The pattern gives several choices for leg styles. I'll probably do a slight bootleg or a straight leg but I'm open to suggestions.

Am in denial about pockets - won't be even thinking about them until much later on.

I've tried to be good and source most of the things from my stash...for example I didn't buy another pattern despite being very tempted by some of the ones on the list.....but I admit I got a bit distracted by topstitching thread - meet the pretty culprits on the right.

I reckon I must have enough topstitching thread for 10 pairs of jeans!

The in-your-face-orange is almost neon and was in a £1 basket at Abakhan. It was a punt and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.

Couldn't resist the varigated blue thread after seeing it demonstrated on a trouser fitting course - yes, that's right, I'm blaming YOU Moley ;-)

I guess I better get a wriggle on now and catch up with the schedule and do some sorting out of that pattern and my fishbowl.......

Friday, 19 April 2013

Snip, snip, snippety-snip!  The toile stage approaches this weekend, so hopefully everyone has the basics of their pattern sorted and their test fabric washed and ready to go.

I cut out my Ottobre jeans pattern earlier this week and made some style adjustments as I went.  I was following some of the very helpful advice that Morgan provided for the style pages, re. rise, yoke and pockets.  The front pockets on the pattern are quite horizontal - not a good look for me as it points directly outwards to my distant outer perimeter, as it were.  I've changed them to be more diagonal instead, deepening them on the side seam.  I've recut the pocket facing and pocket bag pieces to reflect the new shape.  Also, note on the side seam of the front leg the slightly different lines for left and right legs - my right leg is 1" larger than my left at the very top of my thigh, enough that I need to make an allowance for this in the garment.  If, like me, you have large or prominent thighs, it's worth measuring just in case you aren't symmetrical either.

Here's a shot of the alteration I made to the back yoke - it doesn't look like much on the toile, but it should be sufficient to give a more flattering line for me at the back.

I haven't cut my back pockets yet as I want to concentrate on the fit of my jeans first.  Once I'm happy with that, then I'll think about where to slap the pockets.  I'll be adding a page to the blog shortly with some more super advice from Morgan on pocket styles and positioning.

A couple of final things.  When you're transferring markings to your toile from the paper pattern, don't forget to transfer your grainlines and make them longer, if possible.  Seems obvious, but it's a mistake that I've made a few times in the past and although you can guess where the straight grain is, it's just easier to get it done at the start.  The other one is about metal jeans zips.  If you haven't used these before, I'll be adding some handy hints on them as they are disastrous to sew over and will break your needle, unlike a forgiving nylon zip.  You won't need pliers or any special implements for dealing with them, just a slightly different method for shortening them if you need to do so.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Morgan's Fabric

A fabric shopping afternoon yielded  this lightweight printed streaked denim for my sew along jeans.   It's already on it's first wash. Of course I scored some other fabrics whilst there, well it would have been rude not to ...

The smooth heavy cotton or a twill in sage green I hoped to find will have to be the next pair.
This fabric was ridiculously cheap, only £1.00 per metre, from a place in Burnley, recommended here
There were some other denims there (at £2.00 per metre), mostly stretch and I was very partial to one but I don't want stretch   for my sew along jeans..  I suspect my chosen fabric is rather lightweight  but we shall see how it goes.

And later ... remember the saying about not counting your chickens (or was it eggs) ... well, I think I know why this fabric is so inexpensive.  There's usually a reason why cheap is cheap and this one is - the printed pattern has faded rather a lot.
Now I know I wanted these jeans to be be the most magical, best jeans ever, but this is going a bit far.  Disappearing pattern - what next I wonder. So how pleased am I that I washed it and discovered this now rather than once I'd made something with it.  So fellow jeans makers, if you haven't already - get your fabric washed to check how it behaves and I hope there are no more hiccoughs..

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Slow preparation

Well, I trust I will get there but the mishap with the hoover yesterday and the return to the fracture clinic tomorrow means that my prep is currently mental (that could be taken two ways!) I have made M5142 several times, in standard denim, stretch denim and on the bias. Easy enough pattern and, Morgan, we have means of getting rid of the "baggies" if they appear in the fitting! As for crotch alterations, my seam ends up like a low letter U with a wide base.
As I mentioned on the forum I have some spare rivets and will try to upload some photos as there are a couple of styles.
I was thinking of the Betzina jeans but am doubtful about the extra pockets - will they add too much to the original, enormous hips or should I even bother because I don't wear things tucked in? I also have the Jalie pattern traced and ready to fit and that has some excellent reviews. Oh, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Dream Jeans - fingers crossed

First, a very public thank you to Dolcevita for taking up the challenge to run this jeans sew-along.  Mwaaah, you are a star.

Why sew my own jeans?
That's easy, I dream of wearing some jeans that Fit me properly.
With short legs, prominent thighs and a lo-slung, triangle bum, even in more slender days, finding a pair of jeans to fit properly was always a mission impossible (cue theme tune).  With an older, somewhat chunkier form and the addition of a matronly tum, finding some RTW jeans that I'm willing to be seen wearing in daylight out of the house is as elusive as rainbow gold.

The body I have is the one I must dress, I have all sorts of whizzy-gizmo toys, and I can sew, so sew Morgan Jeans it is.
In anticipation or celebration (not sure which really) I've bought a belt loop folder for the Babylock.  Of course with a new piece of kit (okay it's more toys) playtime beckons and who knows, these jeans may have straps here, there and everywhere by the time we're finished.

For machines, I'll use one of the Janomes for SM construction jobs, the babylock overlocker for finishing where needed and coverstitch for the belt loops.  Also as it's due an outing I plan to use the Singer 201K handcrank for top stitching.

Pattern ChoiceMcCalls 5142 The Perfect Jean 

Style details
From View D  as a starting point I shall make my mid-rise, bootleg jeans with a straight V-yoke and a contoured waistband because of my waist to hip ratio - curvy gal, nuff said.

Fabric:  A smooth cotton twill in a stone or sage green shade is my first choice, but this may change so decisions about embellishment, pocket shapes, top stitching, rivets and the like are in the pending tray.

Concerns:  Only one - getting a good crotch / top of inseam fit.
Fitting trousers on myself is the one area I struggle with.  Even with the benefit of attending a trouser fitting course, it's a bit of a battle to get a decent fit.  As jeans are probably the closest fit trousers style, this may be a bit of a challenge.  As the received wisdom is that the fit gets better with each pair of jeans made, these will be a step along that road to my dream jeans.

Another minor point is, having read some reviews of the pattern and looking at photos of finished jeans from the pattern, it may be better to start with View A rather than D because I don't want baggies.  That's back to the fitting adjustments I suppose.