corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


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Jinxed Jamie Jeans

I think I’m going to have to find a new hobby and knock this sewing thing on the head. Ultimately I did mange to sew a couple of pairs of jeans but the journey was hard and the road difficult and I made many mistakes…..

While still believing I could follow through on my Sewing With A Plan without a plan, 69_poso_h15_311I had purchased this wine/burgundy/mulberry/pink coloured stretch cotton twill (although, I’m calling it denim) from MyFabrics with the intention of making jeans as one of my wildcards in the Heather colour scheme. One side of the fabric is deep burgundy and the reverse is pink (not sweet or sickly, just pink). First decision to be made was which side of the fabric to use and secondly, which pattern. I trolled sewing blogs and Goggle images, pattern companies and RTW. 011-Jamie-tasoHow about skinny legs so that I can wear my boots on the outside? I settled on Jamie jeans.

Except, every pattern reviewer of Named Jamie jeans is at least a few sizes and, in some cases a few decades, well below mine – would this style look OK on me?

One way to find out, huh? Read on and freely express your views and opinions.

PDF purchased and tiled, cut out, marked and sewn. There is a sew-a-long site that is a great help in construction and techniques, although I didn’t follow it faithfully.

 

Jeans 1

Using the dark side first (ha ha ha), I cut out a 12, one size smaller than usual, as I wanted a tight fit and hoped the Lycra would compensate. These ones are tight, chiefly because I forgot about the 1cm seam allowance and used the usual 1.5cm (5/8″). Very tight around my calves and there’s a bit of bunching at the ankles – design feature, don’t you know?

If you have seen pictures of these jeans or read any reviews or have a pair yourself, you might be able to spot a large difference between any Jamies that have gone before and the ones I present here – the front pockets!

The front legs are made of two pieces with a centre seam (nice little detail). One piece has the pocket and the other has the fly. What did this overly confident and rash sewer do? Only sewed the left side to the right fly and vice versa, so my pockets are slanting the wrong way. Still quite wearable but honestly! I did wonder why the notches didn’t line up when sewing the seams – now I know.

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However, the original purpose of making skinny jeans has worked – I can pull on my knee boots and I don’t get the bagginess and bunching around my knees.

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The pattern calls for 1.4m. I had a total of 2m but squeezed Jeans 1 onto about 1.1m by facing the curved waistband with cotton, not self fabric. A curved waistband is a thing of beauty but it does take up an awful lot of fabric. This left me with close on another metre, so I flipped it and made a second pair using the pink side of denim.

Jeans 2

This second pair are cropped due to fabric limitations. I managed to get the fronts right way round on this pair and I remembered to sew 1cm seams but I sewed the wrong pocket linings to the wrong pieces and instead of having useable pockets that are hand-sized I have these tiny wee things about the size of a credit card. Well, I suppose that’s all you need isn’t it girls? A credit card and lipstick and you can go anywhere!

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I would have ripped them out and done it again properly, but between seams, understitching, overlocking and topstitching – that’s a lot of ripping out and life really is too short for that malarky.

Apart from the pocket linings, the right pieces were sewn in the right order and to the right pieces on this pair. DSCN6072.jpgFly zip went like a dream with a perfectly matching zip. I tried them on to mark a hem. I rarely wash my fabrics before I sew – especially denim – as I know the ‘fit’ will be fitter after I sew then wash – allowing for 10-20% shrinkage. Now, don’t be telling me off and criticising my methods – I like fitted jeans – that tight fit that you have to lie on the bed and use a shoelace through the zip-pull for extra leverage to get it up and then the thrilling but slightly scary moment to test if the seams will hold. Well, my seams held – the zip did not!

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Unwashed denim with broken zip

Of course, I had used a double row of stitches on each side of the zip for extra security, so double the ripping out! There comes a time when it is best to walk away. However, I knew that if I didn’t fix it right now then it would never be fixed.

Jilly showed me how to replace a jeans zip. The only zip I had at hand was white – so I used it! Yes, my friends you heard right – a bright white zip in deep pink jeans!

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Washed denim with replacement (and rather scrappy) zip but it holds!

This coloured denim was over-dyed; my hands, nails, ironing board, even my sewing machine turned pink! Perhaps another reason to wash the fabric first…..I know I couldn’t wear either pair and sit on a white leather sofa before washing them both. Into the machine they went and quite uneventful it was. Out they came and dried.

Both pairs have faded to well-worn denim and I like it. The seams have that rippled colouring that only comes from years of wear and washing, similarly on the pockets and fly. Achieving this look would have been impossible if I had washed the denim before sewing, so the pink hands were worth it.

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Needless to say, the white zip tape is polyester and stubbornly remains white even after the wash but the fly is a pretty good construction and covers it completely. Anyway I’m unlikely to be wearing my cropped bra tops with these jeans – LOL!

I did shorten a dress/tunicdsc01127.jpg I’d made a few years ago into a T-shirt/tunic because the colours match perfectly.

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Construction details for those of you who are interested: I focused on the fronts first as this is where all the hard work is – pockets and fly. Made back pockets with a strip of reverse fabric for added detail and top stitched in place. Jeans 1 – sewed inside leg seams and top-stitched, then outside leg seams, crotch, finally waistband and hems. Jeans 2 – sewed outside leg seams and top-stitched, inside seams, crotch, waistband and hems. I attached the waistbands as per Strides method: overlock one edge, sew as usual and stitch in the ditch on the outside to catch the overlocked edge on the inside. I didn’t add belt loops. All internal seams are overlocked which does create a neat and extra strength inside.

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The verdict: Love ’em! They’re like leggings with muscle. A little bit of stretch so I can at least sit down and walk up stairs but they hold an awful more in place than a four-way stretch and, of course, I’m wearing ‘proper’ trousers, not thick tights.

Back pocket placement – perfect

Fly zip – perfect (and relatively easy!)

Tightness and fit – perfect (when you sew 1cm seams)

Little details – perfect – two-piece back pockets that you can trim, top-stitch or do anything else your heart and artistic inspiration takes you.

Apart from the wrong-way round pockets and the too small pockets and the white zip….

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I don’t usually wear crimson lipstick – blame the auto-correct in iphoto.

I know I’m middle-aged, not a size 10 and have curves and dips and valleys -if you have these things also, then hopefully you can see that you too can wear skinny jeans. Just leave the cropped bra top at home and chose something more becoming or at least, covering……

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A final word on advice for dressing and undressing: put your socks on before the jeans as you’ll never roll the sock legs up under these tight legs to straighten them; the only method I’ve discovered to get out of these jeans is to turn them inside out on the way down, stand on the waistband and pull! Then you’re left with this –

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Hey – if you feel young enough to make and wear skinny jeans then you’re young enough to leave them in an unkempt, inside-out pile on the floor for your mother to pick up tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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SWAP A2, A3 & A2 Again

I’ve been away from blogging for a week or two so just to remind you that this is SWAP combination A.

Thank you all so much for such generous comments on Jungle January coat – it’s a welcome relief from forced coordination wardrobe planning.

In the silent weeks I made this.

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It was part of SWAP and the cornerstone of combination A – 3 garments that make an outfit and based upon my colour scheme of heather.

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Simplicity K1465 made in a ‘found’ mixed wool fibre tweed in pink and olive green houndstooth. The fabric came from an antique shop in Greyabbey and what you got was what you got. The pattern is a straight mock wrap skirt with a 360 peplum and a frill along the edge of the wrap. Fully lined, completely and utterly understitched, frill hand stitched down at crucial points; there isn’t a seam or join that isn’t sewn at least twice. The peplum and frill were laboriously hand frayed. The finished skirt length was totally determined by the amount of fabric.

Looked like this…

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Along the way I sewed a Paco Peralta Draped Top (A3) in olive green wool crepe to wear with the skirt. il_fullxfull.292016701I’ve made this many, many times before. This time I added a little back neck opening with a button closure. Otherwise, nothing’ s changed and it’s still a very stylish and classic contribution to any wardrobe. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made a SWAP in the last 3 years without a Paco Draped Top being part of it. It’s a foundation and at the same time an embellishment.

I have another me within my head and sometimes (actually, many times) she is 100% right but I have developed the ability to totally ignore her. She had severe reservations while sewing this skirt but I carried on regardless of her little voice that kept saying ” No. This isn’t you. This isn’t your style. You will never wear it.”

And what do you know – she was right again! I hate that.

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So, I unpicked and cut and salvaged and saved what I could and ended up with a straight skirt without peplum or frill or mock-wrap and too short.

Undeterred, or maybe foolishly, I couldn’t leave the blasted thing alone.

Also along the way I sewed a pair of winter Strides in olive green Donegal tweed – both pattern and fabric from Merchant and Mills.DSCN6064

As usual after every make I had a little bit of tweed left over; this was added to my not-peplum-anymore skirt.

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I made some pleats like this:

Sew a big long ring of fabric, overlock the edges and hem. Hemming must be done before pleating. Mark out regular divisions – I used 1″.

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Concertina the fabric to the marks and pin. Then tack securely.

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Press extremely well with a damp pressing cloth and lots of steam on both side of the fabric.

I sewed the pleats to the lining and catchstitched the lining to the skirt.

The skirt’s side seams were rounded to reveal more pleats. And this is the ‘new’ skirt

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Swishy hemline with an apron-effect top skirt….

that goes with my pink fleece jacket

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as does the new Strides

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I have absolutely no idea what part of SWAP is done or has to be done or even what part of SWAP I’m working on – I just seem to be sewing clothes in a couple of colourways and hoping that I’ll end up with 3 + 3 +2 +3 coordinating garments.

My first item, the pink coat, was cut down and altered into a short fitted jacket and now the peplum skirt has been completely refashioned using pleats. I’d save a lot of time if I just managed to sew it right first time!

I actually think I’m doing APWS – a plan with sewing rather than sewing with a plan.

With these four things plus the grey Vogue trousers I now have five garments – almost halfway there.

 

 


38 Comments

Jungle January

Here we are again at that time of the year when all my good taste and style goes out the window and I embrace the gaudy (tacky?) world of animal print fabric. It’s always Prttynpnk’s fault and she knows it! I never use this fabric at any other time of my sewing year.

In recent years I have always joined in Jungle January as it pushes me way outside my comfort zone but my use of prints has generally been well out of sight, like underwear for last year and a dress lining a few years back, or else the fabric itself is a muted and discreet print. This year I have embraced the animal print aesthetic and it’s in your face and out there!

Before we get to the finished garment and I only got this finished so quickly because the weather has been dreadful that I’ve been forced to stay indoors and sew and also because it is very easy and quick to make.

mini-panda-m-(product-photography)The fabric this year comes from Croftmill -bunch of headers them but they do stock some lovely fabrics! They describe it as a panda footprint but I’m more inclined to associate it with a snow leopard ’cause they’re sexier instead of cute. Snow-Leopard-Blue-Eyes-Wallpapers.pngOstensibly a black and white repeating pattern. It is a coarse weave cotton suiting but stable, takes a good pressing and doesn’t wrinkle. Has a slight tendency to fray and pluck though.

V8841Paired with Vogue 8841, now unfortunately OOP. This coat pattern was perfect as it has minimal seams so that I didn’t have to do much pattern matching. I eliminated the centre back seam and instead of inseam side pockets made some welt ones, that are perfectly camouflaged in keeping with the true purpose of animal prints in the wild.

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I was aiming for Parisian chic at Fashion Week and not Cruella de Ville managing to get her hands on the dalmatians, I’ll let you decide ………

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I modified the coat pattern to a round neck instead of a collar, revers and lapels – simpler to do and more Chanel-like.

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The length was purely determined by availability of fabric as I had only bought 2m not knowing what I was going to do with it. The pattern requires 2.4m.

I wanted the darker spine strip to run along centre back so the fabric was folded off-centDSCN6020re. This created a long extra strip of single width left over which was sewn into a wrap-around tie belt. This can worn to close the coat as there are no buttons or snaps or hooks and eyes, or as a belt for coordinating whatever is underneath.

 

 

 

And underneath is a red dress in a poly crepe with the tiniest amount of stretch made into StyleArc’s Cleo dress, which is supposed to made from jersey.

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A lovely simple design of a dress with two darts front and back and pulls on over your head. Mine’s a bit tight because there’s hardly any stretch and every lump and bump shows up. My fault. I found the fabric in my fabric box and I think it might be leftover from the Scarlett dress. I had about 1.2m.

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I didn’t do a sway back adjustment and this is the result, so in future I’ll just pinch out a horizontal fish-eye dart at the back waistline and add the difference to the length – that should fix it.
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The coat is fully lined, hand sewn edge to edge. I drafted some neck facings and interfaced these for a bit of shape. I didn’t have a set of shoulder pads so I used two padded bra cups instead! Worked a treat.

Thanks, as always to Anne who organises and collects all manner of animal print garments from around the world – a veritable menagerie.

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Right – that’s out of the way now, back to tweeds and solid colours! Phew!

 

 


43 Comments

SWAP A1 (again) & B2

I asked, you answered, I acted….

SWAP Combination A, first garment looked like this

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I listened and contemplated your very appreciated comments (thank you), then I got to work……….

Method: Lob off a wack of fabric from the bottom and remove patch pockets.

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Put on Doris and pin out two shaping darts at the back

and two fitting darts on the front – sew.

Fold over the big collar to narrow it and do some stuff with trims and topstitching along the hem, darts and other edges

Make a buttonhole and sew on an almost coordinating button found in stash. My little Janome’s buttonhole contraption won’t sew a hole for a button this big so I just cut a rectangle and small stitched in place for extra reinforcement. The fleece won’t fray.

So almost back to the original plan. I should have stuck to it the first place and not try to be smart.

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Worn today with the first garment for SWAP combination B (slate greys).

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The most delicious Italian finest fine wool in tiny herringbone bought from Joel & Sons in their end of year remnant sale. Made into Vogue 9162. I am planning on making all three items from this pattern for SWAP B. The pattern includes a loose-fitting, lined jacket with welt pockets, an oversized shirt and these wide-legged pants.

Slide3The wide legged trousers have in-seam side pockets and an elasticated waist (honestly, I really did type that and I made them and I wear them!).

Let’s have a word about elasticated waists – the good things are that you don’t need a matching zip, buttons, hooks and eyes to finish; easy to make; easy to fit; easy to pull on and off. The bad things are that it’s an elasticated waist! Gathering, bunching, I can’t help associating them with women of a certain age……and it feels like I’m not sewing a ‘real’ garment and taking an easy way out.

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Anyway, the trousers are actually quite good. They are supposed to worn with loose shirts on the outside to hide the elastic, so nobody but you and me will ever know. Just in case I ever decide to wear a short top or tuck in a shirt I added belt loops and made a button belt for a more polished look.

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The trousers are unlined so I always wear my trouser-petticoat to prevent bumming and kneeing in the fine wool. These are always excellent for extra warmth in wintery weather.

BTW – just look at the difference in my colouring when I wear just dark grey and how much warmer I am wearing the pink jacket, so I might now have to rethink the solid grey combination for SWAP combo B!

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Only second garment in and once again a possible change of plans.

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SWAP will have to be put on hold for a week or two while I go on safari for Jungle January. Actually, my contribution for 2016 is heralding from the frozen heights of the Himalayas rather than the heat of the savannah ….

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As always I’m in two minds about wearing animal printed fabric. This is the 5th year of me joining in and every year so far my efforts are inside, under or otherwise somewhat discreet. This year I’ll either look devastatingly Parisian or else a very poor imitation of Cruella de Ville.

101 Dalmations - Live Action Remake.Copyright: Disney.

101 Dalmatians – Live Action Remake. Copyright: Disney.

Just for fun – spot the snow leopard

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SWAP A 1

So the whole Christmas/New Year shebang is over and the first item of 2016 is sewn and complete, and it’s the first garment for SWAP ’16!

 

MASON-JACKETI picked an easy one to start with, StyleArc’s Mason coat – no lining, raw edges, no fastenings, one piece sleeves and not a strip of interfacing in sight. I chose a bright pink fleece which was cheap as chips and it brightens up the most dismal of dull, wintry days. Funnily ecolour,motion,colors,swirl,wallpaper,color-b56ebd20797d4bf238e5f5fe3530d371_hnough this colour goes with so many others. You wouldn’t think so would you? But it does lift any colour – white (as in the following photos), jeans, grey, black, navy and hopefully the mossy green of the other items in this SWAP pack A.

Slide1Pack A is based around the colours of heather on moorlands – pink and mossy green. The other items will be a moss green top and a checked pink and moss green skirt.

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As you can see, I have already changed my plans and only one garment in! I ditched the short jacket for the longer length and more relaxed coat. I do sometimes wonder why I even call my Sewing With a Plan, a plan at all….

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I did make a bit of an effort by adding fold-over flaps on the patch pockets and simulated cuffs on the sleeves. To fasten, I cut narrow strips, made a loop and a couple of ties. The same strips were sewn all along the edges, so while un-hemmed they are ‘finished’.

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Fleece is a wonderfully easy fabric to sew with and I would strongly recommend it if you are new to sewing: it stretches slightly so it’s a breeze to ease into place if your cutting out isn’t perfect; it doesn’t fray so you don’t need to finish seams, you don’t even need to hem anything or turn raw edges under; it’s very forgiving on a lot of fronts – doesn’t wrinkle, is incredibly cuddly and keeps you warm.  The slight downsides are that there is a nap, much fainter than velvet for sure but for cutting out you do need to fold the fabric selvedge to selvedge (long and narrow) and place all pattern pieces in the same direction (ie. all tops facing the same way). It is made from polyester and all the disadvantages that entails: non-renewable raw material (oil), can create static electricity, it does not wick sweat but ironically, this hydrophobic quality can also be an advantage in the rain; additionally, cheaper fabrics are prone to pilling.

Most of my other SWAP garments are planned in natural fabrics like silk and wool, so this one item is the renegade rebel of the bunch.

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As the coat is un-lined, it is kinda nice to have the inside a little refined just in case you meet a fellow sewer in the street and they want to inspect your clothes. For this coat I sewed faux-felled seams. I don’t know if that’s a real seam finishing technique or not but this is what I did….

Sew a normal seam, trim one side away close to stitching (always the seam allowance closest to the back – all seams should fold around the body towards the back, just a little bit of couture info there.

Flatten the untrimmed allowance over the trimmed edge and stitch down with a longer stitch – 3mm or so. On the outside the seams look like they are proper felled and it creates a little bit of interest but because of the wonderful non-fraying and stable quality of the fleece on the inside the seams are relatively tidy too.

Of course there were leftovers that were just begging to be used up instead of taking up space – Rhonda provided the inspiration and I sewed up a scarf/hood thingy.

A scarf when it’s cold and a hood when it’s colder.

However……however….

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….there is something akin to a dressing gown about this coat when made in fleece and hanging on a hanger. I sort of like that I can wear this outdoors (and I have) and yet still keep it on indoors like a cardi. Honestly, what do you think? Only over jammies or also over a tweed skirt?

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Do I need to revise my SWAP again!? ? Even before I’ve hardly even got started.

The coat does cover the butt which is always a good thing but is that a huge iron impression on the back? Another disadvantage of fleece that I forgot to mention before…

Welcome to 2016 – may you sew to your hearts’ content and within your own time-management limits; I sincerely wish you no ripping out, no iron marks or burns on your precious fabrics and wishing you a perfect fit every time.

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