Monday, November 5, 2018

Army green Gingers #5

I made another pair of Ginger jeans.  I've had army green jeans in my head since last winter, but I only found the fabric (cotton/lycra bottom weight from FabricMart) back in July.  It went on sale after I'd packed up my sewing room, so I ordered it and then threw it into the shipment.

These are a size 16 View A, like all my Gingers.  After messing a bit with the pattern over my last few pairs, I went back to the modifications that I used on my very first pair (which is still my favorite and most worn) to reduce the back wrinkles. I sewed the inseam at 1/4" and the outseam at 1" - this greatly reduces the back leg wrinkles that I have if I sew both inseam and outseam at 5/8".  While this modification produces the best results for me, it's still not perfect.  On this pair in particular, I find that my outseam is a little bit too far back, and the inseam skews a little to the front.  This is also true (though to a lesser extent) on my first pair of Gingers, and I'm not really sure what to do about it at this point.

View A is the stovepipe version, not the skinny-leg version.  I've always used it because I have larger calves and I guess I didn't trust the skinny pattern to not be too tight.  This means that every time I sew the jeans, I have to slim down the legs from scratch.  I did make skinny leg modifications to my pattern pieces this time, but I really should have done it the first time, as the first jeans are still my favorite leg shape.  These didn't turn out exactly the same.

In addition to this modification, like on my all my Gingers, the front rise is shortened, the yoke is raised in the back, the back rise is scooped out and the center back seam is taken in at the top. And, like three of my other pairs of Gingers, I modified these to be pull-on jeans without a zipper fly.  As I've noted in all of my other pull-on jean blog posts, I really love this modification.  It raises the rise a bit, sucks me in, and is just so much more comfortable than a button and zippered fly.  Plus it's faster to sew, and I never wear my shirts tucked in, so there's really no downside.

I wanted to be able to dress these pants up with heels and a blazer for work, so I decided to do all my topstitching with matching thread. I briefly thought about doing welt pockets, and then decided against it, to save time. But now that I've actually worn these to work, I do wish I had done the welts.

I wore the pants for three days with pinned-up hems, taking in seams as the fabric relaxed and going back and forth on the length. Finally I despaired of getting them to fit perfectly and topstitched and hems.  Skinny jeans were probably not the best use of this fabric, which seems particularly prone to bagging out in the knees.  I'm still not certain about the hems. When I first wore them after hemming, I thought maybe they were a bit too short.  But then when I wore them to work with heels (as in these photos), I ended up turning the hems up inside the pants about 3/4".  Maybe I need to hem them shorter? I think they work ok with flats the way they are (as in the photos here with flats, where the hems are not turned in).  To be honest, I find skinny jean hemlines baffling, so I'll probably just leave them as is, and turn them in when I wear them with heels as shown.

And that is all I have to say about these pants. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Monday, October 15, 2018

I'm still here, with a pinafore dress

If anyone is still reading, hi, it's been a minute! Since I last blogged, we had a great summer with family before moving south to Bogota, Colombia two months ago.  This fall we've been acclimating to our new home and waiting for our stuff to arrive.

The adjustment is going well.  We have a lovely apartment up in the hills on the eastern side of the city (which is where these photos were taken).  Our favorite part is the large terrace with a beautiful view of the city.  It is not always this sunny in Bogota, but when it is, the terrace is where I hang out!

We are finding ourselves incredibly busy.  Bogota is a huge city with a lot to do, but also a lot of traffic, so getting anywhere takes time.  For a little while, I was wondering when I would find time to sew, let alone to blog, but I'm happily back at it and working on a new pair of Ginger jeans.  In the meantime though, I wanted to get a few things that I sewed back in the States up on the blog for the sake of record-keeping.

(Happily, I jotted down some notes on this pinafore immediately after I made it back in June - otherwise I'd have no idea what my mods were.)

I got the free pattern for the dress here.  It was drafted by Bobbins and Buttons for Sew Now Mag. There are no instructions, as the pattern is a template that goes with an issue of the magazine that I do not have, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out (nor too long to sew - I finished the whole thing in just a few hours).  I cut a size 20 (which is usually my size in Big 4 patterns) and took a 1/2" seam allowance, but I think I could have gone down a size.  I'm still considering taking it in at the side seams as it feels a bit voluminous.

The pinafore straps and top half are faced with some heavy cotton shirting from my stash.  I found the front bib a bit wide, so I took 5/8" off the sides, tapering to nothing at the hip curve.  I also cut 1.5" off the top of the bib and lengthened the straps by 3.5" to make it sit lower.  I only really needed about 2" of length.

As drafted the pinafore is very a-line.  I wanted a straighter silhouette, so I took in the side seams 1 3/8" at the hem, tapering to nothing at the top sides.  I like the slight tulip shape this gave the front, however, it didn't quite work in the back and the skirt flares out a bit in an odd way.  I'd need to mess with the back pattern piece to fix that.

I cut the pinafore from an oddly shaped piece of leftover corduroy, so I needed to do some piecing to the front.  I ended up making a hem band that was pieced in the middle.  I topstitched it, but didn't use contrasting thread so it's not very noticeable.

To get to this length, in addition to lengthening the straps, I took a 2" hem allowance.

After I made this pinafore, I made a second one.  I don't have any photos yet, but it was made basically the same as the first, so I'll probably blog it later with another garment.

That's all I have for now.  Hope to be back soon with a made-in-Bogota garment.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

June 2018

I'm late with June's update, primarily because I'm in a packing frenzy.  The movers come in a week and a half and I'm just a wee bit stressed out.  I'm closing up the sewing shop today so there won't be any more sewing for at least a couple months - that hasn't stopped me from buying a bit of fabric in July though.  

Without further ado, here's what I got up to last month:


Two pairs of pjs for the girls, size 7 with an inch or so beyond the length of an 8 - used three yards of cotton interlock I purchased last year. Completed 6/7.

One pair of pjs and an unpictured replacement pj top (the previous one somehow became absolutely covered in chewing gum) for G - size 5 tops with 8 length and size 7 bottoms with 8 length.  Used up two yards of French terry from the stash.  Completed 6/7.

Tote bag for my brother-in-law, he bought the fabric.  Completed 6/9.

Mustard yellow rayon Plantain tee, two yards of fabric I bought in May.  This fabric is actually kind of icky - I bought it from a store that claims to sell only natural fabrics, but based on the complete lack of tolerance of the fabric to even super low-heat ironing, I think there's a good amount of poly in there. Completed 6/11.

Black Plaintain tee, fabric bought in January and previously used for my M6996 cardigan. 1.5 yards used.  Completed 6/12.

Pinafore dress using a free pinafore pattern from Sew Now Mag - I used up my last 1 2/3 yards of some purple stretch corduroy that I originally bought years ago.  The yardage was a stretch as the fabric was directional - I had to piece some of the pattern pieces.  I also used 2/3 yards of that heavy plaid shirting that I got for free from FabricMart earlier this year. Completed 6/18.  I hope to blog this one eventually.

Another pinafore dress using black denim I bought this month from Cali Fabrics for this purpose. I used all 2 yards used due to several cutting errors. I just a big scrap left. Completed 6/18.

Blackwood cardigan using the double-knit I bought this month from Cali Fabrics.  Ugh, it didn't turn out well.  I need to cut a new front band to save it but as I don't have any more fabric I'll need to obtain a coordinating navy fabric.  No pics yet.  2 yards used. Completed 6/18 - well, not really, as I didn't bother hemming the sleeves since I knew it would need some work.

Two quick pairs of lengthened Euro Swim Trunks for Niko.  Size 2T plus 5" length for a jammer suit.  I didn't have any coordinating fabrics so these are solid.  1/2 yard used. Completed 6/28.


6/7: 2 yards of sweatshirt fleece from the thrift shop - $4.50.
6/10: 2 yards cotton poly striped rib knit for a Blackwood cardigan; 2 yards black non-stretch Kaufman denim for a pinafore dress and 2 yards windowpane checked double-knit for a Blackwood cardigan.  Had a gift card so it was a total of $14. Cali Fabrics.


June fabric in: 8 yards.
June fabric out: 15 1/3 yards.

YTD in: 84.23
YTD out: 78.39

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cropped Blackwood Jacket

This is one of those instances where the garment told me what it wanted to be as I was going along.

I had set out to make a Blackwood Cardigan (the shorter length) out of this wool/cotton/lycra jersey that has been in my stash for a couple of years.  Like on my last few Blackwoods, I cut a Medium shoulder, grading out to the XL under the armscye.  I also added about 3/8" to the sides of the sleeves at the armscye, tapering to nothing at the elbow.  As it turns out, this was not enough room in the sleeves for this fabric.  The perils of working with knits that have varying stretch percentages ...

Also, I think I really just need to redraft my sleeve pattern piece with a 1" - maybe 1.25" full bicep adjustment.

When I went to put the bottom band on, it was somehow slightly shorter than the hem of the bodice, and it puckered strangely.  I cut it off and was getting ready to cut a second band and reattach, when it occurred to me to leave the cardigan short.  I ended up hemming it up 1/2", and then cutting my neckband to size.

The lack of drape of the fabric means that the garment has more structure and functions more like a little jacket than a cardigan.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, though I'd like a bit more room in the sleeve.  I have enough fabric left to recut three-quarter length sleeves, and I might do that later.

I'd call this a quasi-successful garment. I love it in theory and can think of a great many garments in my closet that I'd like to pair it with - but I just don't think it looks great on me. I probably need to do some more wardrobe experimentation.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ginger Jeans 4.0

Immediately after I sewed Ginger Jeans 3.0, I got to work on re-adjusting the pattern from scratch in preparation for Ginger Jeans 4.0.  To refresh, I had royally screwed up my pattern with some half-arsed pattern adjustments last time, resulting in some seriously twisted inseams.

This time, I went back to the drawing board.  I didn't fuss with any knock knee or thick thigh adjustments. I started with the mid-rise, stovepipe leg version in a size 16, and raised the back rise by 1", shortened the front rise by 1", and curved the yoke slightly.

Like my last pair, these are also pull-on jeans.  They are SO comfortable.  I don't know that I"m ever going to go back to zippers and buttons.  And really, I don't think anyone can tell since I always wear my shirts to cover my waistband.

I sewed the inseams at 3/8" from crotch to knee to give myself a little more thigh room.  I didn't finish the seams or topstitch until after I'd worn the jeans for a day (with classy, pinned up hems, and yes I did go run errands like that).  In the process, the fabric relaxed quite a bit and I ended up taking in the legs from the knees down as well.

My pocket placement isn't ideal - I am not sure how it happened that they are so straight-on, but in all likelihood I won't redo them.  I do really like the simple bars across the pockets and will probably do that again on future jeans.

The fabric is a Ralph Lauren stretch twill from Fabric Mart.  It was listed as cotton/lycra but it feels like there's some synthetic in there as well.  The knees bag out a bit after a day's wear, and I'm not sure how well it will hold up.  But I do really like these pants.

I don't have anything more to say about these.  Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ginger Jeans 3.0

I was hoping that this post would be a triumphant show-off of my new Ginger jeans, complete with diagrams showing my clever fitting modifications and their consequent improvements.

Alas, it was not to be.  I did end up with a pair of comfortable and, I think, wearable jeans.  But they are doomed to be a laundry-day kind of a garment because of the massive leg twist problem, due to the stupid mistake I made while adjusting my pattern.

The method I used to reduce back knee wrinkles in my second pair of Gingers, while effective, also had the unintended side-effect of crazy inseam twisting (for more info on what I did there, click the link).  This time I decided to try a knock-knee adjustment.  Most methods I've seen call for lengthening the inseam at the thigh, but an internet search led me to this post which suggests lengthening at the knee. This made complete sense to me, because the resulting shape actually looks a fair bit like the shape of the other two Gingers I've made, after I took in excess fabric on the outseam around the knee.  The result is an outseam that curves in at the knee, and back out again to accommodate my outer calf.  Here are photos of my other two pairs, lying flat, where you can see what I mean:

So when I saw the illustration in that post, I thought, that looks just like my jeans! Maybe I should try that.

I started with View A, the midrise stovepipe leg version, and redrafted the leg pieces of my pattern, lengthening the inseam.  But I neglected to notice that the adjustment in the post also shortened the outseam.  I didn't do that.  I wonder if that's the reason that my inseam is twisting like crazy.  I cut the pieces on-grain and I followed these cutting instructions, which are meant to prevent twisting seams. Nevertheless, I got some gnarly twisting, and I ended up topstitching the inseam with navy thread to camouflage it.  I actually didn't think they looked too bad until I saw these photos.

These are the other adjustments I made:
  • Shortened the front rise 1/2".
  • Scooped out the back crotch 1".  
  • Lengthened the inseam by 5/8".  
  • Sewed the inseam at 1/4".
  • Lengthened the leg by 1".
  • Hemmed them by turning up 1/4" and then 3/4".
  • Enlarged the pockets about 3/8" all the way around.
  • I also turned them into pull-on jeans, like my first pair, by sewing a faux fly and a stretchy self-fabric waistband.  I love this pull-on waistband; it is so comfortable and it holds me in and smooths out the lumps.  I neglected to get a photo of it, but you can kind of see it through my t-shirt in the below photo through my shirt - it's quite high.

The fabric is an 8.2 oz super-stretchy cotton/poly/lycra Kaufman denim that I got at Cali Fabrics and that seems to be out of production.  I wore the jeans for a whole day before finishing the seams, topstitching and hemming so that I could make adjustments as the fabric relaxed.  But it barely relaxed and I didn't have to take it in at all.  This is good stuff.  Which makes me even more frustrated about the seam twist issue.

I topstitched with thread that looked bright gold in the store, but that seems neon yellow against the dark denim.  Not sure how I feel about that, either, though I like it more in the photos than before the photos.

I also used emerald green for all my bartacks (and used bartacks in place of rivets).

I had decided after my last pair of Gingers that I wanted to enlarge the pockets on my next pair, so I did.  At first they seemed way too big, but looking at the photos, I kind of like them.  I'm not sure how I would feel about them, though, if I had done a design on them.  I think Maybe I should have just widened them, and not made them bigger top-to-bottom?

But that's one more item of clothing from my 2018 sewing plan checked off my list.  As far as leg fit, I went back to the drawing board for my fourth pair of Gingers (which I've already completed).  Stay tuned!  As always, thanks for reading and see you next time!

Friday, June 1, 2018

May 2018

It was a busy month, in which I spent a lot of time testing a pattern, bought a good amount of fabric than I probably should have, and also completed two pairs of jeans and a cardigan that will be very useful in Bogota.


Blank Slate Catalina tester dress. This one has some fit issues and I'm not sure whether it will end up being blogged.  I used 1 3/4 yard tencel twill for the final, and 2 1/3 yards of old sheets for more muslins (on top of the muslins I did in April for the same dress).  Completed 5/10.

3 yards gauze for two baby blankets for a friend.  Completed 5/14.

Another pair of pull-on Ginger Jeans, View A with modified legs, using a super-stretchy Kaufman denim I bought at Cali Fabrics back in January.  I actually didn't realize how stretchy the fabric was.  My intent had been to make a proper zip-fly pair of jeans, but the fabric is so similar to the fabric I used for my first pair of pull-on Gingers, that I decided to just make another. Major leg twist issues with these.  Will be blogged.  Used 2.5 yards.  Completed 5/15.

Orange wool/cotton Blackwood Cardigan, shortened.  1.25 yards used. Completed 5/17

A pair of long-sleeved pjs for G and a pair of leggings for N.  Surprise, I used the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings pattern for both pairs of pants.  Both were a size 7 with 8 length; I hemmed Gs but not Ns.  The pants will fit him for a good long time, but hers were ankle-length which is why i did not hem them.  G's pj top was made using the Field Trip Raglan pattern, size 5 with the length of a 7.  Used 1.5 yards of the red cotton/lycra knit I purchased earlier in the month.  Completed 5/22.

A pair of black pull-on Ginger jeans using the stretch twill I bought from Fabric Mart earlier in th month.  2.5 yards used.  Completed 5/30


May 3: 3 yards of cotton gauze from Walmart to make baby blankets for a pregnant friend.  I used this all up this month.  $16ish.

May 5: I visited Stitch Sew Shop for the first time and bought a bunch of things.  I went in with goals and didn't deviate from them!  I bough: 2.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Laredo stretch denim for another pair of jeans; 1.75 yards of mallard green tencel twill (used for the Catalina dress); 1.75 yards of mustard yellow rayon jersey to make a Blackwood Cardigan (I've had this specific pattern in this specific color on my list for months, but after having bought it I put it up to my face and am not sure that it's actually a good color for me); and 2 yards of red cotton/lycra jersey - it was on sale in the remnants section and I've already used 1.5 yards of it!  Total cost: $91.  TI have already used up nearly half of what I bought, so I guess it's not so bad.

May 7: Totally ordered more fabric! I ordered 2.5 yards of Ralph Lauren stretch black twill to make another pair of Gingers (all done already!), and 2.25 yards of jacquard dot white cotton shirting to make a button-up shirt.  Total cost: $35.


Fabric in: 15.75 yards.
Fabric out: 14.83 yards ... so close!

Fabric in YTD: 76.23 yards
Fabric out YTD: 63.06 yards