Friday, December 5, 2014

Ginger Jeans - Finished!

On Sunday I finished the last steps of my Ginger Jeans... belt loops, button, and hemming. And today is casual Friday, so I'm wearing them to work!


Ta-da! I made jeans and I'm wearing them to work!

They are super comfy. This denim is really soft, but still a decent medium weight like normal jeans. It has 3% lycra, which makes fitting more forgiving. Hopefully they won't stretch out too much by the end of the day. But I never wear my jeans more than twice without washing, because my regular jeans tend to stretch out a little. I usually buy jeans from banana republic or gap and my favorites are the trouser-style jeans. I only own one pair of skinny jeans because they usually don't fit me well. My calves are on the larger side, and when jeans fit in the calves they are always much too large in the waist. So making my own jeans is an awesome solution! 

I never thought I would make jeans and I'm so excited about how well these turned out. This is an excellent pattern and the photos in the sewalong really helped me visualize how to do the trickier parts like the front fly zip and attaching the waistband. And after I worked those out, they really weren't as difficult as I thought! If you've sewn a dress, you can sew jeans. These are actually also the first pants I've sewn. Never made pants before, just skirts, dresses, and tops.


Tucked in part of my shirt so you could see the waistband, I do not wear my shirts like that! haha

I picked the size based on my hip measurement at the widest part, and my natural waistline (narrowest part of the waist, not where the waist of the jeans will actually sit). Both of those numbers fell exactly on one pattern size so I didn't need to grade between sizes. A few people have mentioned sizing down, so i might do that if your denim is super stretchy and/or if you like a very tight fit. I don't generally wear very tight jeans, so these were just the right amount of tightness for me. Now if these stretch out too much, I might consider going down a size, but that's yet to be seen. Also these are View A, the lower rise stovepipe version. Since my calves are fairly large, these feel like skinny jeans to me. I could taper the ankles in more, but I like the way these fit the way they are. I am considering raising the waist a little bit next time. These aren't super low rise, but I think my other jeans are slightly higher. 


pulling my shirt up so you can see the back

I love how you can move the pockets to flatter you best. I left them the same size and nearly the same position as in the patten. I did move one of the pockets over slightly so that they would appear more centered. I basted the jeans before doing any major sewing or topstitching, and the only change I decided to make was to take a small wedge out of the back of the waistband piece, which is on the fold, so it results in two small wedges taken out, and this creates more of a curve to the waistband, and solves any back waistband gaping that you might have if you have a swayback or  a little extra in the booty department. I used my denim for both sides of the waistband. Next time I will do the pocket stays option that Heather mentioned in the sewalong. And I may interline my back yoke pieces with the same cotton that i use for the pockets, just to give the back yoke more stability. I used some really cute red with white polka dots for the pockets of these.


I ended up using red thread for the button hole because my machine wasn't liking the topstitching thread when making a button hole. I didn't have any matching gold regular thread, so I opted for red to match the pockets and it's not really noticeable since I usually wear shirts that are longer than the waistband. Oh I did have a little mishap with the coin pocket. I lined it up based on the dot on the pattern and the curve of the pieces, but I think it got a little stretched out the first time and I think I also tried to align the side edge of the coin pocket parallel to the hip side of the pocket piece, but actually it's more important to make the t0p of the coin pocket parallel to the top of the pocket piece, so that your coin pocket will lay parallel to the waistband. This is because your hip side seam angles outward, so if you make your coin pocket parallel to that then it will be at a slight angle as well. If that makes sense? Probably more info than you needed...

 
I did some testing to figure out what would work best with my machine and the feet that I have for topstitching. I posted a reference guide on my instagram with the settings I worked out (find me at "soisewedthis") so that i can remember and maybe it will help someone else. I used a 3.5 length stitch, but for the tight curve of topstitching around the fly, I switched to 2.5 for the curved part and then back to 3.5 for the straight part. I just went really really slow. Patience is a virtue when topstitching. And make sure you have a full bobbin! (Regular thread in the bobbin, not topstitching) The first belt loop gave me problems, and I thought I'd have to hand sew them on, which would've taken forever. Just do a test one first with scraps, and then start with the back ones, by the time I got to the front belt loops, I had the bartacking down to a science with my machine. And my humpjumper was a huge help, but you can use a piece or cardboard or something similar to lift up the back of your foot. i also used the hand crank on the side when stopping and starting topstitching or bartacks or over any large seams - this helped with accuracy. If you have any questions about all this, please comment or message me and I can explain further! And the sewalong also goes into more depth.

I have denim for 2 more pairs already, a black and a grey. But I would definitely spend more on top quality denim now that I know how well these worked out. I really wasn't very confident at first and thought they might be a big ol' fail. I thought sewing jeans was way beyond my sewing skill set. I was wrong! And I'm so happy I was wrong! I may never buy jeans from a store again! Yay for sewing jeans! Thank you to Heather for the great pattern and thank you to all the other bloggers who sewed them up before me and gave me the push and inspiration to try it myself. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment from this project and it really amped up my sewing mo-jo.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cranberry Knit Dress

First off, I finished my ginger jeans! I'm very excited to have tackled that project. I posted quite a few pics on instagram (find me at "soisewedthis" and you can view lots of other great ginger jeans by looking under #gingerjeans) but I'm hoping to get a few slightly better pictures taken before writing up a blog post.


The sewing project I finished prior to my gingers is this cranberry lady skater-ish dress. I decided it's "cranberry" because I wore it to Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe the color is a little more cran-grape... Either way it was stretchy and not restrictive as far as eating large amounts of food, which is why I picked to wear it.

This is the softest bamboo knit fabric and it washes amazingly well. Yay for a fabric splurge that pays off. On the other side, it was so drapey that I decided it wanted to be a gathered skirt rather than the original A-line of the lady skater pattern. This time rather than just doing a big gathered rectangle, I slashed and spread the A-line skirt pattern piece out to make it wider so that I could gather it. I think the gathered A-line makes a prettier shape than a gathered rectangle, so I will stick with this method for the future.

I had been having issues with the sleeves and armscye of the lady skater pattern. On my first (blue) lady skater I had to hack them down after I had the dress nearly finished. On my second (leopard) I went down several sizes in the sleeves, but also ended up making it too tight in the bust. So this time I hit the books and the internet and tried to learn more about fitting sleeves and sleeve drafting. I decided to redraft the bodice and sleeve pieces, making changes based on what I had read and also drawing from the shapes of a store bought knit top that fits well. Ok in the end I basically just ended up tracing it, he he. And it worked wonderfully. Tracing garments that already fit for the win!

I also made the waistline go straight across this time, as I had seen someone else do to theirs. (Thanks!) And the neckline on this one was a happy accident. I was going to do the binding method that Megan Nielsen wrote a nice tutorial for awhile back, but my band was too wide and then I wasn't getting an even line of stitching. So I started hand stitching it down invisibly, but that was driving me nuts. My hand stitching is never even and it wasn't at all invisible! so I cut the band off. but I left the serged part around the neckline and noticed that that created enough stability that I could turn it under and topstitch it down. it looks really nice and clean, but it's not at all what I had planned on doing. This time improvising worked out.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'm sewing jeans! Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

Ask me a month ago if i was going to sew jeans this year and i've told you "No, why on earth would I sew jeans?" I have multiple pairs of store-bought jeans and two pairs that are my favorites that I basically rotate out. I can only wear jeans to work on Fridays, but jeans are usually my go-to for weekends. But still, sewing jeans wasn't even on my radar.

Enter Ginger jeans by closet case patterns. I kept seeing them pop up and heard reviews about how good the instructions were for the fly front zip. And that got me thinking... I've never sewn a fly front zip. I love learning new techniques. This would be a great way to learn. And how cool would it be to say that i've sewn jeans. It's very impressive sounding.

http://closetcasefiles.com/closet-case-file-sewalongs/ginger-jeans-sewalong/

I couldn't stop thinking about it. I started looking at places to order denim (couldn't splurge on the kit). Ordered a swatch from girlcharlee. Kept re-reading the posts about the jeans... I do realize there have been other jeans patterns out there. But these came with a sewalong. And I'm very much a visual learner, so if i can see photos of how to do the zip fly, that's better than any amount of words. In fact, i usually don't read sewing pattern instructions, just look at the images. So I finally clicked "purchase" and bought the pattern. No turning back now.

I was too eager to get started that i didn't want to wait for ordering fabric online, so I decided to just hit the local chain stores over the weekend. If only I had known i was going to want to sew jeans - i was in NYC last month and walked right past rows of denim!!! Oh well, this was going to be a test version anyway, so i didn't want to spend a lot of fabric. Looked at joann's first but left empty handed... too stiff, too heavy, not stretchy, too light... (and i had a 60% off fabric coupon! but who else gets annoyed that those coupons are only good on Regular priced fabric. well practically everything is already slightly on sale, so what can i use my 60% off on??? the denim was on sale 30% off, so i wouldn't be able to use the 60% off coupon. booo. and the denim they had wasn't super cheap. it was around $13/yard)

Anyway so i headed to hancocks. thought i wasn't going to find anything there either... but all notions were half off so i decided to stock up on needles and pick up denim needles while i was at it. but off to the side they had one small row of denim, and i managed to pick out some that might be okay for a muslin. (plus they actually let me use my 50% off coupon so it was only $6.50/yard!) so i rounded up a zipper, buttons, and thread (also all half off!), and impressed both the lady who cuts and the cashier when they asked what i was making and i replied, "oh just some jeans". super casual. haha. so i washed and dried my denim immediately, and on sunday cut everything out. 


Next, I'll baste it up to see how it fits. hoping it fits ok without too many changes, but we'll see! also hoping my topstitching turns out okay, since i picked bright gold which will really stand out. but, this is a test, this is only a test...

I'm really looking forward to this sewalong and seeing the jeans that other people are sewing up. Let me know if you're making the ginger jeans or if you've made jeans before! Did they make you feel like a sewing ninja? I'll try to post more progress shots on my instagram "soisewedthis" and also using the hashtag "#gingerjeans".

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Answer me these questions three... (or four)

The lovely Maggie of Stitch-n-Thyme nominated me to participate in the Blog Hop that has been circulating. She has great style and everything she makes looks so classy and perfectly-constructed. I was flattered to be included since I'm not a very consistent blogger....

Here's the definition she gave and i'm going to borrow it: "Blog Hop: One fun blogger nominates two other fun bloggers to participate by answering a bunch of questions and then forwarding it on to two new bloggers. A way cooler version of a chain letter."

I remember doing a chain letter when i was in like... middle school maybe? It was a chain letter to join the "Pencil Club". You send a pencil to person A. You send the letter on to 5 (slacker) friends. You get zero pencils in the mail. It was a failed ponzi scheme. You may be asking, "Why would you want to get pencils in the mail?" Well this was in the era of Lisa Frank, and having fancy pencils to match your trapper keeper was hot stuff. (Does anyone relate to this or even know at all what i'm rambling about? haha)

Ok, let's see, here are the questions:

Why do you write?

I started this blog back in July of 2012 (had to look back to check) and I was just starting to learn to sew. I had a machine and didn't know at all what I was doing. I did a ton of research on how to sew and various techniques and the best answers came from sewing blogs. And there were a ton of sewing blogs. i had no idea this was even a thing. I entered a facebook contest from Mood Fabrics and surprisingly won (hey it was a random drawing, i didn't do anything special). they sent me some gorgeous fabric and i thought to myself, "hey i should start a blog and then when i sew something awesome with this gorgeous fabric i can post pictures on my blog!" but i was intimidated by the fabric because i didn't know what i was doing, so it's still sitting in the bag... 2 years later. i know, i feel so bad. i'm sure you have fabric that you're hesitant to cut... now i should really make something with it since i finally think my skills are up to the challenge. also Karen of the blog Did You Make That was hosting a pattern pyramid (also similar to a chain letter) and I wanted in on that, so there's another reason this blog was born. and then not too far into blogging, i remember seeing that i had 8 followers, and i was like "I have 8 followers!!!! People read this!!!" and that interaction with fellow sewists is what has kept me going.


How is your blog different from others of the same genre?

Well, my photos are sub-par, which i would love to fix, but don't feel like investing in a nicer camera at this point. I actually took 2 courses of senior level photography in college and can even process photos in a dark room old school style, so i'm extra ashamed that my blog photos are blah. (i had a fancy camera and it was stolen...) anyway, pity party over. i do wish i had a special niche, something that made my blog super unique. but i also don't commit a lot of time to it, i feel like i should do more, but i'm not trying to make this a job or anything. that would be sooo much work and i already have a full time job. i just really love connecting to other sewing bloggers, people who share the same interest. every time i get a new comment i get excited. and so i keep going.


What are you working on now? 

In the middle of a purpley/cranberry colored bamboo knit dress. trying to perfect the lady skater pattern to fit my shape better. it's a really nice, comfy go-to dress pattern. i had issues with the sleeve width and then my adjustment made the bust too small/tight. so i've been doing a lot of research on sleeve caps and pattern drafting and looking at shirts i already own that fit well and inspecting the sleeve piece shapes. basically nerding out. and re-drafting the bodice and sleeve. i also slashed and spread the skirt to make it gathered but still have a nice a-line shape rather than being a rectangle (as with some gathered skirts). i like the regular lady skater skirt pattern piece, but this bamboo knit is just so drapey that it would hang flat against the body anyway and risk VPL, and i don't want any of that.


in progress, i'm not cool enough to wear this as a crop top and skirt combo, so i'll have to attach them...


What is your writing process? 

stream-of-consciousness. i just type. i don't think about it too much. i don't go back and edit (my apologies!). if i catch a typo or bad grammar i'll fix that, but that's about it. there are lots of fragments (and run-ons), but i think it's ok, because at least i realize they are fragments (i actually did really well in english classes, promise!), and i want to think it makes this more informal and relatable... i don't plan either. so i'll type up a post in a half-hour or less (guess I'm the opposite of you Maggie!), whenever i feel like i have something interesting or funny to say... or if i have a finished project and i'm hoping for some compliments... (just being honest!) or if i have a halfway completed project and i need serious help (and boy have i gotten a lot of helpful feedback, thank you guys!) i want my blog to be exactly as if i were just talking to you. and i do try to inject some humor. and often some sarcasm seeps in, but it's all meant in good fun. but i think that's just how i am in everyday life as well.


Thank you again Maggie for the nomination =) Being included makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And now to continue this chain letter along, I'm supposed to pass it on to two more bloggers. 

So my nominations are: 

puu's door of time - she has such a fun style and i'm really admiring the chanel-esque jackets she's been sewing (and now i really want to make a cute jacket...)

simply E.GO.tistical - the dresses she makes are so cute (and hot!) and all those awesome workout leggings... so impressive

Hopefully you guys haven't already done this blog hop and if so, how did i miss it, please send me the link! and if you are anti-chain letter it won't hurt my feelings (well i'll pretend it didn't hurt my feelings, but hey, you won't know! hahaha)



Sitenote: I'm really loving this #bpsewvember that's going on on instagram. love seeing all of the sewing related photos and the comments back and forth have been really fun. Follow me at "soisewedthis" and let me know where i can find you. And if you're not on Instagram, try it - it's fun and it's not that hard. promise. (i actually prefer it over the other social networking sites like facebook or twitter) Happy sewing and happy photo-taking!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Do you Instagram & #bpsewvember

Ok just a quick post, but are you on Instagram? Let me know below in the comments what your Instagram name is, so I can follow you and admire your beautiful photos!

I'm "soisewedthis" on Instagram, so come find me =)

I've had a personal Instagram account for awhile, and I do sometimes post sewing photos, but it's mostly photos of my dog, because she's just so adorable. So I finally started an account just for my blog, and it will be all sewing-related photos (although i can't promise a cute dog photo won't slip in occasionally, haha)

I'm starting this because...



This photo-a-day Instagram challenge is hosted by the lovely and hilarious Amanda of bimbleandpimple.com. I'm a little late to the party, and I was originally just lurking everyone's photos, but decided I wanted to play along. Hoping I can keep up! 



Are you participating? And please do let me know your instagram name, whether you're playing or not =)  Happy Monday!

Friday, October 31, 2014

#sewingproblems

The other night I was about to start a new project and I wanted to make sure I had matching thread first, in order to avoid taking a trip out to the fabric store... If I didn't have some matching thread on hand I was going to just pick a different fabric to use. That's how much I didn't feel like driving to the store.

So I was looking at my fabric and had two really close thread contenders. Urgh, but I couldn't decide which was a closer match! One had been used before and one was a new spool... Do I just use the thread that had already been partially used for some other project? Or does the other thread that hadn't been used yet match better??

I wrestled with this for several minutes going back and forth... I'm very indecisive... Until I noticed...


The labels on the ends. #939. on both. They are the exact same color! Argh! Has this happened to you before? Or any other hilarious sewing problems that only someone else who sews can sympathize with? Please share!

(Also note that even after I knew they were the Exact Same Color, I still wasn't convinced... Had the older spool faded... What if there was labeling fiasco in the Gutermann factory and something went awry... Am I too OCD... that's probably it.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

New York City Fabric Shopping Guide, A Tourist's Point of View

The first weekend of October I got to take an awesome trip to NYC and shopping the garment district was our main goal. It really is a sewist's dream. Within two blocks there were more fabric stores than I have visited in my lifetime. I did a bit of researching before we went, and learned a lot while we were there, so I thought I'd share.

We stayed on the 37th floor of the ONE UN hotel (which is 38 stories tall) so we had a great view. The hotel felt like it was in a "safe" location, since we didn't really know our way around NYC. But it wasn't super close to a subway stop. So my advice would be to also factor that into your hotel choice. We bought a groupon for the hotel room and saved a lot of $$, but it was kinda a pain since the hotel "didn't receive the reservation from groupon" blah blah blah, eventually we got it straightened out. But the view made us forget about that....



So since we weren't super close to a subway stop, we used Uber quite a bit. if you haven't heard of it, it's a pretty smart idea and the process is super smooth with their App. Plus we each got a free ride when we signed up and another free ride for referring each other, so lots of free rides! And then we walked A LOT (wear comfy shoes).



On to the best part: Fabric stores. If you can, plan your trip to include a weekday, like a Friday or Monday because a few stores (including one of my favorites) are only open weekdays. Also take into consideration if your trip will be around a holiday. Think about other religious holidays as well, as some small family-owned shops may be closed. Here is my list of my favorite shops in order with all the pertinent details...


Mood
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Closed Sundays
Address: 225 W 37th St, you will see the Mood Home Decor store from the street, for apparel fabrics go into the lobby to the right of the Mood Home Decor store, and take the elevator to the 3rd floor for Mood. 
Tips: Give yourself plenty of time! This store is HUGE. 3 stories, you'll want to look at and touch everything, excellent selection of knits on the bottom floor. Zippers for $1! Less crowded early in the day. Prices range, but everything was pretty well labeled. I can't imagine only having a very short amount of time to shop at Mood  (like the Project Runway contestants). I needed several hours, if not an entire day.

Metro Textiles
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Closed Saturdays & Sundays
Address: 265 West 37th. (between 7th & 8th Avenues) Suite 908. This one is a HIDDEN GEM! Go into the lobby area of 265 West 37th and take the elevator to the 9th floor. Then walk down the hallway toward the back til you get to Suite 908. It's basically just a long room full of bolts and bolts of fabric.
Tips: The owner Mr. Kashi is one of the Nicest people we met in NYC. Seriously. Awesome. Make friends with him because he's the best. It's a tight space and prices are not marked, so I was a little skeptical at first. But Mr. Kashi will happily tell you any prices, just ask him. And he gave us Excellent prices. Great quality and diverse selection. He also knows his stuff, so he was able to find fabrics when we told him what we were looking for and also pulled out some great silks that I might not have seen. This came close to being my favorite shop, but Mood edged it out simply because Mood is 3 stories. But seriously, make sure to plan for a weekday so you can visit Metro, although Mr. Kashi mentioned to call him to see if he'll be in on a weekend if you want to shop.

Paron
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-7pm, Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Address: 257 W 39th St
Tips: Paron had some of the best prices. I think it was the only place that had a sale section. I scored several fabrics that were marked 50% off, so I was pretty excited about that since I shop on a budget.

B&J
Hours: M-Fri 8am-5:45pm, Sat 9am-4:45pm, Closed Sun
Address: 525 7th Avenue (near corner of 38th street, by the Starbucks) Go into the lobby and up the stairs and then there's an elevator to B&J 
Tips: B&J has some fancy fabric, so if nothing else, go there to look. If you have something very specific in mind, you'll probably be able to find it there. They have superb quality stuff and so it's priced accordingly. They also have a large selection of Liberty fabrics for all you Liberty fans. I just drooled at all the lovely fabrics (but not literally because I would've gotten in trouble.) There was a gorgeous floral fabric that I picked out for... $210 a yard. It cost as much as my plane ticket. Very fancy. No, I didn't buy it... I wish!

If you wander around the blocks where those fabric stores are, you will come across a million more: Chic Fabrics, Fabrics Garden, AK Fabric, M&J Trimmings... I can't even remember all the names! There were also quite a few shops that would be perfect if you were looking for sparkly sequins and fluffy feathers, perfect for your super sweet sixteen birthday dress or your next ice dancing costume...

But seriously, the selection at most of these fabric stores was amazing and I came home with a great haul:


The top three are silks and the rest are various knits. Super excited about these! I'm having a hard time deciding where to start. Idea overload.



Oh and one last highlight of the trip: meeting the adorable and famous Swatch