#mendsomejeans

Take one tired projectstarter, feeling two urgh to start a new project right now and reduced to surfing the web instead.

Add the inspirational Kelly Hogaboom to invite me to a Kickin Jeans sew a long.

Hide the jeans I have that I’m half way through fixing.

Find some outgrown purple jeans on the mending pile instead with a hole in the knee.

Unpick side seam (the side that isn’t flat felled so no stitching is visible from the outside).

Add some Twill tape to cover up the hole in a decorative manner.

Sew up side seam and finish raw edges.

And what do you have

#mendsomejeans

#menditmoday (ok, techincally it was Sunday, but you’ll give me some lee way on that right)

 

Black and Fourth

For my next pair of  jeans I didn’t want any denim that fell apart too quickly or was annoying to work with, so I took some advice from someone else in the Thanksgiving Jeans sew a long that you could get away with a little less than 20% stretch on the Liana and got a load of fabric samples sent to me from a very helpful woman at Ditto Fabric after reading Melissa sing praise to their denim on their Fehrtrade blog and eventually I ended up buying 2 stretch denims and a non stretch one, including some black stretch denim which I thought I’d whip myself up another pair of quick Liana’s in, but this time using the straight leg variation.

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Quick, ha, I forgot I’d have to tape the straight leg variation together, trace new fronts and backs and it turned out a couple of missing pieces too. Oh well, at least this denim was a lot nicer to work with than the metallic stuff and whilst only time will tell how it wears, it certainly feels a lot better quality than the stuff I bought locally.

So, interesting things about these jeans. Number one, cool fabric gifted to me by visiting sewing friend that I aused for the pocket linings, inside waistband and fly shield and also used as inspiration for my back pocket design. I loved how this bluey grey colour went with my denim and this is a real secret personal touch (as it won’t be seen when worn) that makes making my own so special. Amusing story about this gift?  She brought more of the fabric with her, but decided at the last minute that she couldn’t bear to part with it all and took the larger bit back home with her. Gotta love a fabricaholic. And it was all for the best as I had just the amount I needed.

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spot the topstitching

Fact Number 2, using upholstery thread instead of topstitching thread for the first time, another tip gleaned from reading the Fehrtrade blog. This made a big difference in how easy it was to thread my needle and worked well, apart from the epic fail of failing to notice that the charcoal grey thread I bought so exactly matched my not quite black (sold as grey) denim ,that my carefully chosen pocket design to pick out one of the seed heads (or whatever they are)  from the lining fabric doesn’t show up at all. Boo. Oh well, I know it’s there. Serves me right for not doing a test sample before sewing (in case you’re wondering why I didn’t spot this sooner, I made the pockets first, tracing the design onto paper and sewing through that and the denim before tearing the paper away).

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No 3 – don’t skim read that bit about clipping the centre front seam to a point below the circle on the pattern, or you will end up with a zip fly with a hole at the bottom that you have to end up zig zagging shut.

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No 4 – do not attempt flat felled seams with a half inch seam, not even if you find a tutorial saying it’s possible, not even if you try it on scrap fabric and it seems to work, or you will end up with unravelling inside leg seams that you need to mend with good old zig zags before you have even finished your jeans. (No, there is no pic of this, but trust me it’s ugly. Instead you have a pic of my waisband, after I had to rip it out and redo it as one side was significantly taller than the other. Now it is only slightly wonky. Note also, the prym popper thingy that I used so I didn’t have to mess with button holes.)

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However, that all said, they are jeans, they are finished, they didn’t sit in the naughty corner for months, the fit is good (although if making the straight version again I might slim down the lower leg a little, they’re wide enough to flap as I walk which I wasn’t expecting), they don’t look “home made” (not unless you examine my inner leg seam anyway) and they go with so many things.

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The moral of this story, if you’d like to make jeans, but it seems daunting, then know that it gets easier the more pairs you make and the hard work up front pays off as you start to be able to knock them out relatively painlessly.

 

 

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.

Is it Sunday yet?

Yesterday was Finish Something Saturday over at the Stashbusting sewalong. I had plans. I had great plans. I did finish something, but something I started on Friday night and none of the planned sad projects that have been languishing a while.

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  I’m dancing around manically because        IT WAS COLD and LSH was taking too long with the camera!

Today, however, I finally finished my purple jeans.  And the happy dance is partly due to the jeans, and partly due to the camper van in the background, which we just bought.

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The reason that these jeans were languishing is because when they were nearly done, I discovered that there was a frankly obscene fold of fabric at the front. Which is odd because this is the same pattern I used for my foxy jeans, which have no such problem. Anyway, eventually, after sulking at them for a while, I unstitched the crotch seams and got my husband to pin them to try and get a better fit. Then I tacked and expectantly tried them on again. It was worse. Argghh. I ripped out the tacking and redid it a random way. Bit better. Then I got invited round to my friends to do some sewing with her. Aha. Along came the jeans. She thought I was going to help her, little did she know, instead she ended up repinning my crotch for me. Lucky me because the third time, if not exactly the charm, was at least wearable.

Hmm, this me removing a wedge that I’m pretty sure is almost exactly the same as the one I ended up putting in for the foxy pair to help with the fitting issues on my first pair. This fitting malarky makes no sense I tell you. We did end up taking more off the front than the back to help pull the creases out, that’s why my seam allowances don’t match up.

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Anyway, all done now, phew and I’ve been wearing them today.

Out on a walk, admiring the details (like lining the pockets with the remains of LSH’s old pj’s).

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Actually I’ve told a bit of a lie. Whilst they’ve been languishing I, err, misplaced the proper jeans button that I bought. So, as it’s Sunday I just wore them out with a belt, especially as my machine was eating buttonholes yesterday. But I will find the button or buy a new one and attach it and make a buttonhole soon. Promise. In the meantime, here’s more van!

Have you finished anything this weekend?

On the 7th day of Chrismtas…

…I gave in to my cold and gave up on finishing my new jeans in time to wear them out tonight. I got them all done bar the waistband this morning and thought just now that I had a quiet half an hour to blast through and get them finished. However I realised that the waistband pattern piece (as yet not cut out) is completely the wrong size for my jeans (too short). Not sure how that happened, but then my head is full of cold and I’m not thinking straight. So, I’m calling it a day, sewing wise. I would rather end up with a properly wearable pair of jeans next year than a bodged pair today.

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Progress shot (with unpressed darts in yoke to stop the draughty gappage I had in my mid back). And yes, that is my nighty in the shot, don’t tell me I’m the only one to just do the next step on from last nights sewing before getting dressed of a morning!

Happy New Year Everyone.

On the 5th Day of Christmas

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…we went for a day trip to a costal zoo and The Man decided that my foxido bag was a perfect colour match for the Arctic Terns.

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Tonight I have done a bit more work on pockets.  I’m at the Doubt stage of my project, current doubts are the colour and my back pocket design. Although I’m pretty pleased with the top stitching on my yoke (going to need more of that thread though)

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and my choice of pocket lining fabric (cut from the leg of a defunct pair of the Man’s pyjamas).

So I’m creeping slowly forward, but considering I’m about to call it a night, I’m not convinced these will be ready by the end of December.

 

On the4th Day of Christmas

I topstitched some jean pockets.

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Before trimming

Hmm, not sure, but my daughter likes them. I tried doing a backstitch to start/finish and I shouldn’t have because it looks lumpy and I had to take the threads through to the back and finish them anyway.

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They’re trefoil knots because I couldn’t think of a purple animal to emulate the success of my foxy jeans.

Are you managing to squeeze any sewing in at the moment?

 

Vivian jeans

There she was just a walking down the street...

There she was just a walking down the street…

In a bright red version of

In a bright red version of Ottobre 5:2012 curvy fit jeans

She got the raspberry stretch denim from Minerva craft after a tip off on

She got the raspberry stretch denim (with a lovely soft fuzzy feel) from Minerva craft after a tip off on Karen’s blog

secret rainbows

and the pockets are lined with secret rainbows

action shot

despite making them the same size as before they are a little tight, even after letting out some seam allowance, but they’re still wearable and comfy

The zipper insertion instructions caused some headscratching until she realised that

The zipper insertion instructions caused some headscratching until she realised that
last time she’d written a tutorial

hmm

and her first ever proper jeans button went well, but the button hole needs to be further over as the fly gapes a little – a hook and eye bodge is planned

Perfectly turned corner pocket

The coin pocket has perfectly turned corners though

X marks the spot

she had fun with the centre back belt loops though

fox detail

but best of all is the back pocket topstitching

work in progress

taken from Ottobre 4 2014 and sewn on through greaseproof high quality tracing paper

Cushion love

Bad ProlificProjectStarter. The amount of stuff in my dining room has been growing again. I try and limit the stuff in my dining room to what I’m currently working on so in an ideal world this would be just one project (ha ha) and maybe some mending.

Currently it is an unknown and frankly alarming number of current projects, ranging from the in conception pile of fabric stage, through the tracing pattern stage, the adjusting pattern stage, the cut out but not sewn stage, the part sewn, the need finishing, need altering, need taking apart and redoing and the leftovers from old projects that need taking upstairs and putting neatly away (ha ha ha). Oh and some mending, a part way through project of the Boy’s and at least one part way through project of the Man’s (still, at least they can’t critisise me too much then).

However I have completed one thing this week. The person in question wanted a bucket hat. I have made a giant cushion cover (sans giant cushion). I think I may have got distracted, but I have plans for a bucket hat too. Some time soon. Honest.

Somewhere along the way I was thinking about denim for the hat (maybe that was even in the request), and then I was thinking about all the lovely raggedy edged recycled denim blankets I’d been seeing on the Make Do and Mend facebook page recently, hmm, along the lines of this sort of thing and then I realised I had a few different colours of old jeans and then it turned into a cushion idea as that seemed smaller than a blanket so less sewing more appropriate, and then I decided that if you’re leaning on it it probably didn’t want raggedy edges.

So I ended up with this.

Ta Da (stuffed with all my small cushions so you get the idea)

Ta Da (stuffed with all my small cushions so you get the idea)

It’s made of 25 squares on each side, 5 each in 5 different colours. They were cut to the maximum size the skinniest pair of jeans would allow. I made a template from squared paper glued to an old cereal packet. Three each from the front and back of the calf of each trouser leg. I cut the first 6 of each out, discarded the worst of each (a couple had holes in at the knees etc), made one side, then cut 6 of each out of the other trouser leg and made the second side. Once I had 25 squares cut for each side I played around with the pattern arrangement before sewing them together, first into rows, then the rows into a square. Then I panicked that my seam allowance was too small and would fray so I (badly) overstitched just either side of each seam.

one side done

one side done

Finally I found a zip that had outlived the garment it was once in in my zip box that was just the right length, so I attached the sides to it and then topstitched them (don’t look too closely, this part wasn’t great. Actually you can’t look too closely as I accidentally deleted my photo of zip insertion. But trust me, it wasn’t that interesting) before sewing up my cushion and overlocking my edges.

arranging the squares

arranging the squares

So, now all done, waiting for a hat to go with it so I can post it. Then my friend will help her daughter find things to stuff it with.

"overlocking" the side seams (I suppose I could've tried to press them and topstitch them like the others but life's too short)

“overlocking” the side seams (I suppose I could’ve tried to press them and topstitch them like the others but life’s too short)

Assuming I don’t accidentally keep it instead. I rather like it! (Plus the reused denim is very soft)

and the back view (I decided against symmetry in the end, that way she has a choice which way round she puts it).

and the back view (I decided against symmetry in the end, that way she has a choice which way round she puts it).

PS

The keen eyed will spot my grainlines are not all the same way. Indeed, some of the pieces are back to front too. This is because had help from two small girls with the pinning, much to the disdain of my supervisor, who didn’t think they were up to standard and by the time I’d negotiated peace I couldn’t be bothered to rearrange things! (There are doubtless other “schoolboy errors” too, because patchwork/quilts are not really my thing, but hey, reusing stuff is. My respect for those who make stunning intricate quilt tops only grows every time I attempt a little myself!)

Pledges, socks and jeans.

Right, first off, before it’s too late,

I, ProlificProjectStarter, pledge to wear at least one Me Made item every day in May.

Last year was my first MMM, I think I pledged to wear something me made 3 or 4 times a week and I actually managed to wear something every day. I now have more self sewn stuff in my wardrobe and wear a lot of it often, so lets see where the pledge leads me to this year.

Second, I’m going away this weekend, so I decided to find out a sock pattern so that I have something to do while I’m traveling. This is my first attempt at socks, I bought some pretty bamboo needles especially as I didn’t have any small enough. Fingers crossed I don’t get Second Sock Syndrome.

Lastly, I finally have some photo’s of my Ottobre jeans!

As easy as falling of a log brick

As easy as falling of a log brick

So, the fit is definitely not perfect. But it is wearable as proven by the amount I’ve been wearing them.

I was actually directed to "stand on that brick" by my photographer. Serves me right for nobbling him on his way to work I suppose.

I was actually directed to “stand on that brick” by my photographer. Serves me right for nobbling him on his way to work I suppose.

My mum declared them to be very well fitting and I didn’t even ask her. (This is an amazingly positive comment from a woman who is not known for mincing her words).

and the back

and the back

And I may have shown off and told people I’d made them a couple of times. To general amazement.

and the side

and the side

(Is there an ok way to show off your home made clothes to people who don’t sew?)

Ugh, fold of fabric at the front

Ugh, ugly fold of fabric at the front

So, to make sure I don’t focus too much on my failure for perfection, here are my shop bought jeans. My only pair (and these were only bought after many demoralising tries to find something halfway decent).

more wrinkles

and a few wrinkles at the back

I think my homemade ones fit better.

basted first fit

basted first fit, no zip at this point

My muslin started with an inch seam allowance. Which meant after my first basted fit I could extend the crotch length a little, which has improved the fit, but I think I will add more crotch length next time. (Initially I just added length to the front pieces, as I did on my Junipers, but I went back and added it to the backs as well which improved some of the smiles at the back too).

baggy waistband

baggy waistband

The other fitting adjustment I made was to pinch out some of the baginess at the centre back. I just altered the back centre seam so it curved in. I’m not sure that was the “right” thing to do but it has helped.

So, now I’m off to make sure I have some Me Made Clothes packed for my weekend away so I can get my pledge off to a good start. And who knows, maybe I’ll manage to get a second, slightly better fitting pair of jeans before the end of the month. (I can dream, right).