Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Jersey Blues


Item 1 for SWAP ’15 is complete: a pair of cotton jersey trousers with Alabama Chanin style panels.


Not the most obvious choice for a hand sewn garment I’ll grant you, but with the serged crotch seam they are quite robust and durable. I also serged 2″ elastic to the waistband, folded to the inside and held in place with slip stitching to the seams and darts. Other details can be found here. Pattern is Vogue 8837 Katherine Tilton.

I didn’t make these trousers fitted like a pair of leggings or tailored like a proper pair but left them a little loose as the cotton jersey does not have the stretch of lycra, nor the recoverability of a poly-blend. So I’ll admit they are rather less than flattering. I am also a little concerned that over time they will become saggy and baggy at knees and bum – but we’ll just have to wait to see if this is the case. I will report back in a month or two with the results. See Marcy Tilton’s blog for more advice and tips on suitable fabrics for these trousers.


Great length – cutting just shy of the ankle with turn-ups is a good way to show off shoes .


They are really comfy to wear – PJs for daytime. No pockets are included in the pattern but I reckon you could easily add a set in the side panels.


The AC panels are made up of two pieces (as per pattern). V8837A fairly simple leaf stencil that hardly took no time to sew. Once these were AC’d, I just made up the trousers as usual. The back darts are hand sewn, as are the side seams and the turn-ups. I’d say the pattern ran large but that could be down to my choice of not very stretchy fabric and 5/8″ seam allowances that were guessed at rather than meticulously measured.

I SHALL NOT be wearing these IRL without a long jacket/cardigan that comes down to at least mid-thigh. The backside is just too ugly……


It took a lot of courage to include the above image – not a nice sight!

Luckily I have a long cardigan included in my SWAP, so these trousers will have to wait until that is sewn before they see the light of day out in public.


I spent Saturday making new stencils that may or may not be used for this set of AC.


Just let me warn you of the perils of AC sewing – sliced left thumb!


I’m also losing my fingerprint on the middle finger of my right hand due to all the needle pushing and pulling. There’s a little callous developing there. The left thumb knuckle has a multitude of puncture wounds as it always seems to be in the way of the outcoming needle.

In general, my hands are dry. Mrs Mole explained that this is because working with the cotton jersey and all that thread loving sucks the natural oils from the skin.

So always moisturise before and after sewing.

Pay attention when working with a bare blade

Use a thimble

Learn to hand sew without personal injury.

SWAP sewing averages about 10 days per garment. As I have most items already cut out I can spend the time sewing so I might just be able to make another 10 by April but I have other plans afoot too……until next time….






22 thoughts on “Jersey Blues

  1. Your speed & ability to create these Alabama Chanin inspired garments is amazing. I was looking at the prices of Alabama Chanin garments online… and had to pick my jaw off the floor!

  2. You did a great job ! I have had the same thing with A pair of pants—- finally got The cut right for the back . Have away the first ones. Enjoy them with your long Sweater since they are really Beautiful!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Hi Carolyn, my usual fitted trousers are fine but as these are cotton jersey I expected a bit of bagginess and I’m not too bothered really. It was more a of a test of an idea rather than aiming for perfection. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful colour on you Ruth, and learning from you about new techniques such as AC is great.
    Oh dear about the cuts though………I have to admit I am always shouting for someone to quickly bring me a plaster when using my sharp knives in the kitchen. DH gets very nervous when I get my rotary cutter out in the sewing room!!!!!!!

    May I wish you a rather belated Happy New Year, and again, thanks for a terrific blog.

  4. LOve these colors on you Ruth. I am enjoying reading about your AC addiction 🙂

  5. May I say something personal? There is nothing wrong with your back view, whatsoever. You have a great shape – nothing to worry about at all. You really don’t need to wrap it up in a long cardigan or shroud it in a jacket.

    I am getting so excited about this collection, and can’t wait to see it develop. Great work.

  6. I second Kate! I was going to say that it looks like a very nice back view. I think we all see ourselves differently than we actually are.

    Your sewing is very, very impressive, and so inspiring for a newcomer like me.

  7. What a great incorporation of this technique. The pants are very smart!

  8. Those pants look fabulous! And your thumb is exactly why I am so afraid of xacto blades . . . yikes! I hear you on the punctured fingertips; so much hand sewing takes a toll. I have yet to figure out a comfortable way to use a thimble, but I keep hoping one day I will wake up with thimble skills.

    • I’m actually a bit proud of my cuts and nicks – proof of handsewing! I don’t use a thimble either, I find them too clumsy. Mrs Mole suggested a patch of moleskin instead.

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