Impulse Trousers (aka Unexpected Liana’s)

 

Ages ago I bought 2m of this lovely “gordian knot of tangled yarn in black on a grey melange background” jersey for myself with no particular plan in mind. It would make a great lady skater or a monata, but I’m not really a dress person.  I contemplated a maxi skirt or a full (circle?) skirt, but I’m not really a skirt person either. I kept thinking about making it into trousers, but I couldn’t find the right knit pattern. They were all to tight and jegging-y, or too loose and haremey, or too wide and palazo-ey, or too frumpy, or just plain wierd.

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And then I read about some most excellent looking Ponte Pants (not to be confused with Pont Y Pants, North Wales, nor indeed with Pontipines), or more preciesly, Pleather and Ponte pants. I remember that they looked fab and someone called Andrea had made them  with the Ginger jeans pattern (for stretch demin) that she already had in a beefy ponte and some plether but I cannot find the post now at all, so frustrating, I thought I had the link saved, sorry. Anyway they gave me enough confidence to  bite the bullet and try using my Liana stretch jeans pattern with my precious fabric. After all, I reasoned, I could always cut them down into leggings if it didn’t work, or wear them as pyjama bottoms. (A sensible person would make a toile before cutting into their precious fabric obviously, but you need a fabric with a similar hand, especially for a knit as they can handle so differently. However, my local fabric shops don’t have knit anywhere near as nice as this, so I’d have to buy more expensive knit fabric online to practise with, which seems a bit pointless).

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Using the Liana pattern was a bit of a (semi) educated guess, as it calls for 25% stretch denim, so I thought I might get away with jersey without sizing down.  This is what I did, in case you’re interested.  I hesitate to call it a “tutorial” as that might imply I knew what I was doing (I didn’t, I was winging it).

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In order to convert my pattern to jersey I taped the pocket facing piece behind the pocket cut out to create a pocketless pattern piece and I also folded over the fly, then I cut them out. I considered converting the back to one piece, rather than a yoke and a back piece, but I wasn’t sure how didn’t think it would be worth the effort, so I cut them out as they were.

I still wanted pockets in my trousers, because pockets, I just hadn’t thought that “proper” jeans style pockets would work in the jersey. So I took inspiration from the opening of the Domi short pattern, but tried to make them a bit more practical (as the round pocket option on the Domi’s is very shallow, as described in the pattern notes). To do this, I first traced the edge of my pattern piece and drew in the seam lines. Then I worked out where I wanted my pocket opening to start and drew round a handily sized lid to make a semi circle. I also marked another semicircle, half an inch wider, to show where the ribbing would end. I decided to have my pocket extend to the waistband and side seam, for added support and stability, and drew in the pocket line by eye. Then I cut this out and used it as a pattern piece to cut out two pockets. Next I marked a third (pink) semicircle on my pattern piece, 1cm smaller than the outer one, so that I knew where the seam line would be (yes, I want 1/2″ ribbing and I’m using 1cm seam allowance, that’s how messed up versatile I am). I cut along this pink line and then used the pattern piece as a guide for cutting out the indents on my fronts (lining the piece up with the top and sides, natch).

The “ribbing” was some black jersey. I cut a width approx 75% the circumferential of my semi circle, and the height was twice the finished ribbing width plus the seam allowance (so 1″ plus 2cm then!). This was pressed in half, then I matched the midpoint of the long raw edges to the centre of the semicircle (right side), matched the end points to the edges of the semi circle, stretched it o fit, pinned, sewed, pressed, turned it, pressed again, “coverstitched” my seam allowance down (because I thought that on the pocket the raw edges might show and also I was worried that the ribbing might fray). Next I lined up my pocket piece with my front and basted along the top and side in the seam allowance. Finally I “coverstitched” (a zig zag would do as well) the curve edge in place, from the back, so I could see what I was doing. And voila, a pocket. (And a pretty fine looking one if I do say so myself).

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After that it was pretty plain sailing, sew the pieces together, starting with attaching the yokes. (I did the centre front and back seams next and then the inside leg, so I could “coverstitch” them all for extra durability and left the side seams for last, but any order you like works, even the one that always seems needlessley complicated to me where you do the centre seams last and have to put one leg inside the other).

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I added a yoga style waistband as described in this tutorial (except I didn’t subtract only 1 1/2″ from my waistline for the length, as it was clear that my super stretchy rib would’ve been too big then. It was a tubular peice of ribbing  which I thought was the perfect size for my waist, so I used it as it was, ha. Then it turned out it was too big, so I went back later and inserted some elastic at the back).

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Then it just remained to hem them. [and get some decent photo’s, but as mentioned previously my photographer seems to be on a work to rule so dodgy selfies it is).

So, in conclusion, sometimes it’s good to do something on impulse….

(but maybe not stealing flowers and propositioning strangers with them eh)

(I feel I have to add this to balance out the creepyness of the ad, just incase anyone decides to give someone tea on impulse, plus its a great video in its own right).

Liana no 2 – the metallic ones

Right after I finished my first Liana’s I started a second pair. I was full of enthusiasm for the pattern, the fit, the instructions and the knowledge that it’s always quicker the second time around. WRONG. I hadn’t bargained on my fabric, which was a little too stretchy and WAY too Fraytastic and generally drove me a bit nuts. Oh and I also mysteriously lost all ability to topstitch during this project.

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After languishing in the corner for a few months,  I finally finished them during the jeans sew a  long. And since then I have been trying to get decent photo’s. And failing. So here they are anyway.

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The fabric, bought online, was described as silver. When it came I felt sure the silver was supposed to be the reverse and that it was made as a shiny metallic blue. I vacillated for ages on which way to go, could I be as sophisticated as Peter from Male Pattern Boldness, or should I play it safe?  In the end I faced up to the fact that my wardrobe was not going to reliable enable me to chicly style silver jeans with plain black or white items so I went blue, mainly, but with silver highlights.

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Part I’m most pleased with? The Penrose Triangle illusion on my back pocket.

Thing I hated the most?  THE FRAYING (cut waistband, sew waistband on immediately, press, look at top of waistband, it now looks like this, seriously?!)

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Do I wear them?  Yes, absolutely.(I seriously need a new photographer, he took these two shots then declared his job done)

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Did they live up to my expectations? Nope. (what’s going on with all those wrinkles at the back?)

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Will I ever buy metallic denim online again?  Unlikely.

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Overriding emotion upon completion?  Relief.

Give thanks for jeans!

I am in need of new jeans. Desperate need. The last pair I made are starting to wear through all across the top of the thigh at the back. Sniff. Unfortunately the pair I started after that have achieved the dreaded WIP status, mainly due to the metallic denim I chose being a pig to work with, and I’m struggling to find the sewjo to get back to them.

But never fear, I have hatched a plan with my online sewing buddy Amy to sew jeans together, group motivation and all that. We’re planning to share lots of moral support, fitting trials and tribulations, tips and all that over on the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests facebook group with an informal sew a long from Oct 14th – Nov 24th (which is when they celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA, seemed like as good a time as any to try and finish jeans for).  This is quite an ad hoc, informal sew along, so unlike some of the sew alongs there, the only prize on offer is a finished pair of jeans, but if that sounds like motivation enough you’re welcome to join us!

We’ve given ourselves nearly 3 weeks to work up to the idea, so if you musing about joining in, here are some ideas for patterns that have been suggested by group members already…

Liana Stretch Jeans Save the DayFirst up, the Liana jeans from Itch to Stitch, which have a previously featured as a sew  along on the face book page you can still see all the blog posts that Kennis wrote.  I didn’t join in first time around, but I was so impressed by the great jeans I saw made then that I have since made my own pair.  This pattern recommends 25% stretch denim, which I’ve been struggling to buy. I did find some, but clearly the quality wasn’t that great as it’s wearing through, so I’m contemplating using a different pattern this time. But rest assured, as soon as I get a decent source of stretchy enough denim I’m making this pattern again.

Morgan Boyfriend Jeans pattern // by Closet Case Files

One pattern I’m considering is the Morgan jeans, from closet case files as they’re designed for non stretchy denim (and I have some really nice denim I bought online which turned out to not be as stretchy as I thought from the description).

Ginger Jeans pattern // Skinny jeans sewing pattern

Of course, we also need to mention Morgan’s older, skinnier, stretchier sister  Ginger for which there is also a series of handy  sew a long posts written up.

Simplicity 8222 Sewing Pattern

Then again, I’ve been recommended the Mimi G Simpicity jeans pattern which  has slim/average/curvy fit options provided in the pattern and a you tube sew a long, as long as I can find that elusive 25% stretch denim.

Jamie Jeans

Fancy something a little different, how about the Named Jamie Jeans with their vertical seam up the trouser front and the cute pockets.  Indiesew have sew a long posts on their blog to help you out too.

Or how about the Cake Endevour Trousers made up in denim, like here?

Thurlow Trousers and Shorts sewing pattern by Sewaholic Patterns ...

After all, jeans are just trousers made from denim. So I maybe I could finally use the Sewaholic Thurlow trouser pattern I bought a while ago.

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After all, I made these Juniper’s from Colette in a mad stripey denim from ikea (still going srong but looking a little shabby from where the cat stropped them).

Or maybe I could make another iteration of Ottobre pattern, shown here in their foxy iteration.

Bootstrapfashion.com - Designer Sewing Patterns, Free Trend Reports ...

Then again, I could get a copy of the Vado jeans patern custom made to my measurements at Boot strap fashion and follow Kelly’s sew a long posts.

Decisions decisions. It’s going to be hard to pick a pattern. Which is a shame as the sooner I start the process the more organised I’m likely to be and if I get really organised I might try and hack a pair to be more suitable for cycling like Melissa at fehrtrade has done here.

So, to recap, you can join in if you’ve always wanted to make jeans but were too scared, have made them 30 times before, or anywhere in between. You can make them from scratch or finish a WIP. You can use a brand new pattern you’ve never tried before or an old favourite.Use a”proper” jeans pattern, or a normal trouser/pants pattern, or even something you’ve drated yourself. You can use stretch denim, or non stretch denim, or even not denim at all. We aim to start on 14 Oct but eager beavers are welcome to get going before then and we will always tolerate stragglers. Fitting advice, design dilema’s and general encouragement on the facebook group (I’m no expert, I have made about 5 pairs of jeans before, but I generally find there’s someone there who will know the answer to your questions), however you don’t need to be a member to take part.  Hopefully we will all have new jeans to wear at Thanksgiving (even if you, like me, don’t live in the states and will be the only person on your street to realise it even is Thanksgiving). Or the day after thanksgiving, if you like to look a little smarter on the day itself.

So, happy jeans planning. And if your favourite pattern isn’t on the list do let me know in the comments.

PS

Most of the photo’s in this post are the official pattern photo’s, which I’m assuming designers will be happy for me to share as it’s basically free advertising for them (if not, and they’re yours, let me know and I’ll take them down). The rest of the photo’s are my own. It should be fairly obvious which is which.

Lovely Liana

Did you spot the anachronism yesterday I posted about my camel jumper? Anyone?  There are probably a myriad of mistakes I overlooked, but the glaring error to my mind is that I said I had nothing to wear it with and yet I was wearing it with a pair of jeans it looked fine with. So, I’ll let you into two secrets. The first is, that post sat waiting for photo’s for over a week whilst I failed to take photo’s (top tip, if you put something on in the morning so you get a photo of it, don’t have an impromptu gardening session first and cover it in mud).

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The second is that whilst I was waiting for the photo’s I made jeans. But I don’t mind if you didn’t notice, I’ll just take it as proof that they look pretty professional 😉

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These are Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch Jeans. There was a sew-a-long back in December, but I decided I didn’t have time to pfaff about getting jeans to fix back then.

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More fool me as these are the size 18 straight out of the packet, no alterations, and they are the best fitting pair of jeans I can remember having (although there are wrinkles so might investigate alterations before the next pair, and there will be a next pair, but then again, I might just be lazy).

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My favourite bit was topstitching the back pockets, such fun! (And yes, I have sorted those loose ends out now).

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Now I’ve made them I understand why a couple of people I know have been raving about them. First off Kennis’s pattern is impeccably well drafted. See that coin pocket, there is a different sized one for each size of the pattern (and for the back pockets too) Seriously. And a pattern piece for the belt loops (rather than just cut a piece of fabric x by y). Oh and those pockets you see have pocket stays too. And there are three different leg options, skinny, straight or bootcut, I went for the latter.

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The instructions (with diagrams, I love a good diagram) are really clear, including when to finish seams, when to topstitch, what to do if your machine doesn’t have a bar tack function and a great way of inserting the fly. It all leads to a very professional finish.

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Can you tell I love them? There will soon be a pile like this again awaiting construction as my red jeans are on the mending pile with fabric failure, as for a while they were the only jeans I had so they’ve seen quite alot of use. I need to make a second pair of these before they go the same way…

 

 

Fun Quick Mending

The boy is still having trouser issues. It’s complicated to explain but basically often he cannot get dressed because NONE OF HIS TROUSERS ARE RIGHT. Apparently the ones Father Christmas got him are ok, but sometimes terrible parents put them in the wash. We don’t have a dryer, it’s December January*, that means at least a whole day without them.

The previous mending attempt

The previous mending attempt, seam unpicked in the background ready for Plan B

I found an old favourite pair of his jeans on the mending pile (put there by him). They were worn through in one knee. I ironed interfacing on the back of the thin area and darned them by hand because you can’t get a sewing machine into jean legs. He wore them, success. They then started falling apart some more as the fabric is just disintegrating. Boo, hiss.

Then I saw this on pinterest. Patch jeans to look like monsters, very cute. But the genius idea. YOU CAN UNPICK THE SEAM AND MEND THEM ON THE MACHINE. Why did I not think of that?

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prepared patch (oh I long for proper daylight so I can take decent photo’s again)

Hooray for my box of ridiculously small scraps which contained a small amount of red denim. I used the reverse side of a disintigrated waterproof cycling jacket which was mainly white for the teeth (chosen as it’s non fray, I don’t suppose it’ll last that well) and sewed it on with a small stitch. I couldn’t be bothered forgot to change the bottom thread so my white stitching shows a lot of red, mini grr. My design is very similar to the link above, but hey, they blogged it, so I’m pretty sure that’s fair game ;).

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Ta Da (It’s not really upside down, just a bad photo angle that I’m too inept to correct)

Anyway, the repaired jeans look great. I’m a bit worried that my restitched seams are no where near as beefy as the stitching I took out (my machine doesn’t take thread that thick) but hey, they were deemed unwearable as they were, so this should get some more life out of them and hopefully make them a bit more interesting (one of the problem with trousers is their plain colours apparently).

Now to wash them (ahem, yes, I took them out of the washing basket to mend, I was so inspired to try this) and see if they’re deemed acceptable.

*Happy New Year and all that