Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beads and Bezels


I have had more fun the past couple of weeks playing with beads. I am trying to teach myself some beading stitches and techniques and at the moment beading a bezel has my attention.

Not much personal  sewing has been happening here since the jeans completion. And if you are a creative type, you know lots of things are asking you to create with them. They sit in the back of your mind fermenting, while you sew, into some overflowing brew that just has to be dealt with. For the past 6 months, for myself, that has been beading and dyeing. Off and on over the years I have dabbled in jewelry making and always enjoyed it. True, I always go back to my first love, sewing, but I think it is good to wake up the creative senses with a bit of variety.
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What you see here are cabochons, aka, "cabs", that I made this weekend and it was such fun. This is what happens when you mix a bag of dollar store glass blobs, some large flaky glitter and all sorts of nail polish. Each one was done individually and I  just didn't know how these would turn out at all. Some of them I am really pleased with.

I definitely have my favorites and will show a few. Love the opal effect of the one above.  And the black and orange of the one below really calls out to me.

And I love the multi colored black opal effect of the this one below. What to do with them all? My goal is to bead them all around, what is called a bezel,  and then attach them to some sort of jewelry. This is a project left totally up to creative flow, and that is just so much fun. I think every now and then we need to just play with color, texture and form in a highly unstructured way. I more than likely won't bead every cab you see but the project will have served it purpose to renew my creativity and that is so important. 



I have had a sewing project going on. I gladly agreed to make a long dress for a bridesmaid. Huh? She is a good friend, one who definitely understands and appreciates my work and was really in a bind. She is 52 and was asked to be a bridesmaid in a second wedding. The bride has instructed all four bridesmaids to wear long "baby blue" dresses of their choice. Do you have any idea what it is like to find a long, baby blue bridesmaid's dress for a 52 year old? She has spent so much time looking and nothing seemed appropriate or attractive. My feeling sorry for her teamed up with her desperation and here I gladly am. At this point we have fitted the muslin and now I will adjust the pattern and cut out. I found a sky blue knit that will be made up into a simple column with a cowl neck and not sure what sort of sleeves yet. I am going to see how it looks before deciding on sleeves. The dress will be lined. I should have this done before the deadline at the end of August no  problem. We are trying to think of ways to embellish the dress so it won't be so plain. Her attitude is "just get me through this" and I hope to, at least with a bit of style. So that is sewing that's happening here. In the meantime beads  keep entertaining me and contributing a lot to my sanity level and creative lust.....Bunny

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Experiment...are you game?


I thought I would give something a shot. It may or may not work but I am game. It's here for you if you are game. In the sewing blogosphere certain themes appear to repeat themselves. Certain topics have been an issue since the beginning of sewing blogs and still are. One of the quandaries I see over and over is the question of do you tell someone if you know an easier, "better", faster technique to accomplish something in the sewing world. Can you tell them with kindness and best intentions and does that make it OK? Inevitably when this discussion comes up the majority say they have no problem with being told how to do something differently. But in reality, when I have seen it done, panties can get in a bunch and do. There are those who do not like to be told in public on their blog if something can be done differently, better, or more easily. And you know what? THAT'S OK! I respect that all the way. It's your blog and you can control it how you would like. It is totally OK with me and probably OK with most folks if you feel that way.

This has been bugging the heck out of me. How can we know who is open to friendly critique or instruction and who isn't. I don't think anyone wants to hurt anyone's feelings. I sure don't. Then the light came on, A BADGE. So I messed with some photos and font and built myself a badge and will post it in the sidebar.

It means that if I am doing something one way and you know how to do it a "better" way for my situation, you can feel free to offer kind, positive critique of technique. And I do stress the kind, positive here. I will not tolerate any who think this is an opening to be negative and nasty. I would love to know easier, or more professional, or quicker, or cheaper, or whatever ways to do things in my sewing. I am always open to learning. If you are a kindred spirit, I have the grab code under the widget in the sidebar. You are welcome to grab it, use the badge and give this a try along with me.

I don't know if it will work or not. Time will tell. But the badge is yours for the grabbing. Just please let me know how it works out for you . I would really appreciate it. Fingers crossed here...it's a brave new sewing world out there.........Bunny

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Everything Old is New Again


Would you just look at this book cover? Isn't it a hoot?

If you have ever searched a sewing book on Amazon you know that at the bottom of the page are thumbnails suggesting other books you may like. Often these are way off the mark but other times these thumbnails make me aware of sewing books I  have never heard of. I then use those suggestions to order these books through my library. This one, The Illustrated Hassle Free Make Your Own Clothes Book by Joan Wiener and Sharon Rosenberg just came in through my inter library loan service.

Why would I review a sewing book from 1970? Mostly because it is positively hilarious. But I also have a point to make here. The book review:

I lived through this era. It was my teens and early twenties. It was the age of Aquarius, Woodstock, Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Gotta love the music! During this time I was sewing my brains out, prom gowns, winter coats, jackets and even my wedding gown. But while I was occasionally  attempting to sew a Vogue Couturier pattern ( loved Jean Patou), and I do mean attempt, others had a free-er, less inhibited approach to sewing and pattern making. Sound familiar and contemporary? Oh, yeah, I embroidered my jeans, wore Jessica McClintock hippie dresses and even sported those embarrassing bell bottoms. I see the slightest bell shapes to jeans today and I run like the world behind me is on fire. They didn't look good then and they don't look good now. But when you are young and impressionable you go with the flow. Peer pressure maybe? AC-DC? There is actually an entire chapter on "AC-DC" clothing. Huh?

                                                     Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress that was just like the one I had. So virginal! Mine was pink.

I can't tell you how funny and enjoyable I found this book. Let me pass along a few quotes for you. From the jacket blurb: "Men, Women, Brothers and Sisters, AC-DC, boys and girls, little kids, grannies and Aunt Lil too (you've been doing it wrong for years)-listen. There's no need to lock yourselves into fickle friends of transient and exploitive plastic fashions. WEAR WHAT YOU WANT! ...MAKE YOUR OWN CLOTHES! No kidding: inexpensive, comfortable, groovy to wear, simple to do for humans of all age, size sex and affiliation."  These sentences just reek Sixties and the lack of political correctness is refreshing. In the sixties it was "hassle free" and in the '010s it's "improvisational sewing".

More: "We don't use darts on tops because we don't use bras - they give your clothes a funny shape." Not sure if they mean the bra, the darts or both!

"What  this book won't help you do is make clothing that has stuff like darts." Today's version, " this book won't help you make clothes that fit".

What the book does is dis machine sewing but eventually acknowledges it goes faster so why not? I saw this exact same introduction to a contemporary book that came out some months back. It also dissed the machine, called it intimidating and unnecessary. And patterns? Both the old and new books  thought they were overwhelming and totally unnecessary. Seems the rejection of traditional sewing is far from a new creative vision when it comes to selling sewing books.

Here is a page from the book showing how to tie a tee shirt into something a bit more provocative:

And before Pinterest, no less! And here is a page from the book, "99 ways to cut, sew, trim & tie your t-shirt" by the Compai lifestyle bloggers:

Not much different!

So I am not actually reviewing these books. I wouldn't have either in my sewing library. I will say that the "hippie" book does offer some good information on hand stitching and using RTW garments to copy for patterns. While the technique may not be Kenneth King's it will get you there in a rougher sort of way. If you lived through the sixties, you will get a big kick out of reading it. It does document an interesting era of American history and the fashion worn at that time. And the tee shirt book, well you can only cut so much out of a tee shirt before it starts getting a bit slutty and by the time you get to #99 there some pretty slutty fashion happening. If you are into "festival" clothing, aka "hippie rehash", you  might get a kick out of that one. Just know these books are in your libraries and you don't have to actually spend money to get them. Read them for the fun of it, not out of any expectation of inspiration or excellence....Bunny

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jeans (?) done!


The jeans (?) are done! First, a big thank you to my husband who took all sorts of hair done, made up face, look at me photos. Unfortunately the pants outside just seemed to disappear into the dark foliage, grey sky, I don't know. So I took more photos, bad hair, no makeup, down in the family room but you can see the pants a lot better. The reason there is a question mark is that these have all the jeans details but not quite the fit. More in a minute on that. 

Some deets:

Pattern:
I used  my Sure Fit Designs sloper along with their Jeans DVD that I purchased in addition to the pants  kit. Glenda's instructions were to take it down a size, which I did, and to cut back the leg width. I have some deep dark emotional issue when it comes to cutting into patterns the way my gut tells me too. I thought the legs looked to wide so I took an additional inch out of each one but I feel there is still too much volume for a pair of jeans. Nice pants, but not a jeans fit. That's OK I still really like these. I have since tried on numerous jeans of mine and have picked out the pair to copy on the next go round. I don't fault Sure Fit as Glenda says she likes her jeans more like trousers and did recommend cutting them back more in the leg if desired. I just was not quite sure what would work for me and I feel it shows. 

I did use Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing to aid in the fly zipper and construction sequence and that was a big help. I also used her method for a pants stay across the tummy and that was described in previous posts. 

Fabric:
This is 97% cotton, 3% lycra from Joanns. I really liked the print. I will not make the next pair with any lycra at all. I am all ready with my 100% cotton denim. I swear these pants stretched out just working on them. They do feel very comfortable. I do not like lycra! I'd rather be uncomfortable than baggy, vain woman that I am!

The stay and pocket lining are a "railroad engineer" looking cotton. Remember those striped Oshkosh Begosh coveralls on your kids? That fabric! 

I used rivets from Taylortailor and they worked great. I like that you can buy small amounts from them. None of them broke or gave me grief. There are several youtube videos for attaching the rivets that were very informative. I learned a lot from them and recommend checking them out. Just search "jeans rivets".  I did not do rivets on the back pockets as they are known to rip and scratch leather upholstery. 

Construction:


Construction was pretty straightforward with the addition of lots of topstitching and the rivet installations. Here you can see the fly. It is so easy to do using Betzina's method. I did not do a fly shield this time. I just wasnt' sure about the bulk but I think in my "real" jeans to come, I will have that shield. 

For the topstitching I used regular Gutermann thread and the "triple stitch" on my machine. This is the stitch that goes back and forth three times making the stitch and before it moves to the next stitch. I think it is more difficult to control than a regular straight stitch but I do like the heaviness of it all. I think I may use jean topstitching thread and a single stitch  for the upcoming denim pair. 


I did a lot of snoop shopping on jeans before I made these. There are many, many variations in the way the topstitching and riveting is done. Consistent in most jeans I checked out was to double topstitch the full inseam from ankle to ankle. On the side seam, the topstitching was done only to the end of the stay/pocket bag and then finished with a bar tack like you see above. Works for me! I wasn't about to try to topstitch a side seam on a closed up pant leg. 

The topstitching thread I used was a perfect match to the deep pink but  the flash makes it look a lot lighter. Not so!

I did my best to work with the pattern of the fabric and think it looks pretty good. It was unmatchable so I just tried to keep the positive and negative areas next to each other and I think it looks fine. 

Also in my snoop shopping was a lot of looking at pocket placement and shape. The Sure Fit sloper gives a patch pocket for jeans but I did not use it. I found the most flattering pocket on my ample hips was one that was a half inch less wide at the bottom than the top. It also needed to slant out slightly at the top. You can see that the top corner of the pocket is higher at CB than at the side toward the side seam. I found a lot of jeans like that and found they were the most flattering for me. Different hips will certainly work differently with their pocket alignment. . 

In the end, I think volume needs to come out of the area from the thigh to the ankle on my next pair. The rivets and topstitching details that were intimidating me now are old friends and I am ready to skate right through that on the next pair. I am ready for my first official pair of denims! Whoo hoo!........Bunny



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jeans, nearly done!

Keep in mind this is the very first time I have ever attempted jeans with all the bells and whistles so all is new to me. As I usually do, a lot of time has been spent in research. My "muslin" jeans are looking pretty good but we will see what the final finish brings. I'll share a few things I've learned.


I used some Frog Tape to make a template for topstitching the zip. I just stuck it to my cutting mat and cut it to the right size with the rotary cutter. Then I just pulled it up and stuck it on the pants. It made the topstitching more precise and also made sure that I cleared the plastic on the zipper end. You could use any painter's tape. As I always do, the zip is longer than needed. Why go around that lumpy bumpy zipper pull when you can just have it out of the way with a longer zipper?


Then came the rivets! There are a bunch of Youtube videos on how to put the rivets in your jeans and I learned a lot from these. What would we do without youtube videos?  Just search jeans rivets and they will come up. I did learn why the rivets fell out of a project I did a few years ago! I needed fabric "washers" !
Jeans rivets consist of a disc with a post and a decorative disc with a nipple. You will put the post part through the fabric on the wrong side and then hammer it into the nipple rivet on the right side. These pics should make it a little more clear.


For supplies you need a hammer with a very smooth head otherwise it will mar the surface of your post disc. A smooth metal plate of some sort helps. I tried using a 3/4 inch thick piece of maple but it was not hard enough, so find some sort of hard metal surface for your banging. Also needed is some sort of pointed poking type of object. On my old failed project I used an eyelet cutter to make a hole for the post. Bad! You don't want to use anything to make your post hole that will cut the fibers. You want to poke something through that will push the fibers to the side and not cut them. I started with a seam ripper and then switched to my trust dental tool, perfect! A hole will need to be punched in the actual jeans spot where the rivet will go as well as in the fabric "washers".  Say "Ahhhh".


If the fabric is not thick enough as in maybe four layers of denim (per one video) you need to build it up with layers of fabric and make a fabric "washer"  to go between the lining and the post. Failure to do this is what makes the post too long and causes it to break. So I cut these little squares of layers of fabric and used them between the lining and the rivet post. The rivet post goes through everything and on the right side of the jeans you place the nipple disc in the point of the rivet post, you know, that male/female thing. While holding on to the whole thing turn it over so the nipple is face down on that metal plate. Give a few not too crazy hard bangs with the hammer. Trim the edges back to the circle shape and it should be done. Again, this is my first attempt at jeans rivets and just what I learned from you tube. Hopefully it will help others out there. I could not find  non youtube resources on this technique and appreciate any input my dear readers have to offer. This is a new journey I am on.


I got my rivets from a place called Taylortailor.com . They have great instructions on installation and sell in small amounts. 

Then it was on to the pockets, again, this is all a first time for me. I do hope the next pair, real denim, will be a smoother, quicker make. Back to the pockets: It took three sets before I got it right or at least as right as anything can be the first time you do it. My first pair of back pockets, well, I forgot the seam allowances. My second pair I used a satin stitch for the design and because I did not use a stabilizer and the fact that the fabric had lycra, the design was a wavy nasty thing that just ruined the pockets. I mean, we sew real here but three times the charm! I copied the size and shape and placement of pockets on an existing pair of jeans that I own. Since the satin stitch did not work the design would be made using the same triple topstitch that I have used all along with some tear away paper stabilizer,  no regrets. 



Here you see the pocket on top of a piece of typing paper for stabilization. That helped immensely. It all ripped off pretty easily.  After the design was stitched the angles were mitered and SAs pressed to the back. Finally, after three attempts I was able to install the pockets on the jeans. I used the same triple stitch for topstitching them and did a bar tack at the corner. I had planned on a rivet at each corner but one video I saw made the point that rivets on back pockets are really good at ruining leather uppholstery, whether in your car or at home. Since we have both, that was the end of that idea! 

The waist band needs installing and then hopefully a bit of modeling and pics. This always requires a bit of  "let's make a deal" with my personal version of Richard Avedon. Maybe a good meal? ...Bunny




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Part Two - Sewing the Pants Stay

Welcome back to part two, the actual sewing of the stay. I want to say that if you have a pants pattern that has pockets in front with an under pocket lining and an upper pocket lining your pattern may be as simple as just extending it out to the edge of the fly. Hopefully that will save you a bit of time and effort. In my case, I drafted the sloper so had to make it all from scratch, which you certainly could do with a pattern as well.


First, cut the seam allowance edge of the pocket on the Upper Pocket Lining.


With the pants leg facing up. Place your Upper Pocket Lining on the pants, smoothing out and matching edges. pin the edge of the pocket opening down. That is the area with the quarter inch seam allowance. 


Stitch on the 1/4 inch seam allowance and then trim off the excess as shown.


From the right side press the Upper Pocket Lining away from the pant leg.


Turn the Upper Pocket Lining to the wrong side and leave about a sixteenth of an inch of the fashion fabric showing at the edge. Press well. Pin into place.

I put some Stitch and Ditch paper stabilizer underneath and then proceeded to topstitch the pocket edge with a double row of "triple stitch". That's the stitch that goes back and forth three times to give a heavy topstitch with regular thread. Make samples and play with the tension to get it right before doing the actual pocket edge.


Serge or pink the bottom curved edge of the fashion fabric Pocket Facing. Pin the Pocket Facings to the non fly edge of the Under Pocket Facing. Stitched this curved edge down to the Under Pocket Facing. 


With the pants now wrong side up, pin the Under Pocket Lining with it's corner Pocket Facing face down to the Upper Pocket Lining. I think the picture above makes it a little clearer than words. 


It should look like this with all layers in place. Make sure all is smooth and serge together the two bottom edges of the Under and Upper Pocket Linings. Once done, smooth and press it all flat and pin into place. 

Serged bottom edge and pinned as above.


Your pocket and tummy stay are complete and ready now for the fly zipper to be installed! My favorite method is that of Sandra Betzina which you can find on the Threads website here.    My zip is all installed which I did tonight and tomorrow I hope to face the back of the pants. I will do my own thing there which means doing a two part waistband that separates at the center back, the better to fit my backside! First, though, I have to watch that rivet tute on You Tube if I can find it

This is not the most glamorous tutorial out there but it is one that I think can give you a lot of service through your pants making journey. I will put it up on the tutorial page for future reference. Let me know if you have any questions or need help...... ...........Bunny

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jeans or Pants Stay, Part One

Got my camera issues figured out, finally. Thanks to those who shared their helpful ideas. Photos are under control now, able to be edited, and I am smiling again. The really good news is that the camera shop my friend brought my cameras to says one is fixable and won't cost too much. Hooray! I am getting the big guy back! Wahoo!

I am going to show how I did this pants stay in two parts  as it is rather involved. It's not hard, just involved, very doable. The first part will be on making your pattern. Years ago I had a Vogue pants pattern that I got to fit  really nicely and it had this stay in it. I loved how it made the pants fit and feel and used the "stay" trick on any pants I could from then on. Why use a stay? Well, it keeps your pockets from poking out. It holds the shape of the front of the pants really nicely. Many, myself included, feel it has sort of a girdle effect helping the tummy to appear flatter. If you have seen jeans out in the marketplace that claim to make you look slimmer it is because it has a stay in the pants.

Here are my pants fronts. They will get a fly zipper. I am showing these to you as I went round and round on the pattern matching here. THERE IS NONE! I layed the entire piece of fabric out flat on the floor and the only design I saw was one very wide diagonal unit repeating down the straight of grain. The repeat was so large that it took two yards to go from left to right across the fabric. It was an uneven design so there was no mirror matching either. It was hopeless. I decided the best I could do was balance the positive and negative spaces and leave it at that. I am happy. This is how the fronts worked out:

To make your stays for the pants fronts you will first need your pants front pattern. You just need the top of the pants above the inseam. The legs can hang off the table. You will be tracing this  with several layers. You will need tracing paper and a pencil and eraser to deal with the inevitable glitches. 

Tape the top of the pants, above the inseam, to your work surface. You are going to make 4 more pattern pieces. 


 Tape another piece of tracing paper on top of the upper pants pattern. You don't want anything to move and there will be all those layers so the taping is important. First you will trace what will be called the Upper Pocket Lining. You will eventually cut two of those out of lining fabric, one for each side. . Trace the upper pants in pencil and then darken with a sharpie when you know it is all correct. Here you see the center front clearly marked, the red line for the grainline, a 5/8 inch seam allowance at the waistline and a one inch seam allowance at the side seam. The one inch side seam, also on the inseam, is my fit insurance. The bottom edge has some slight curving. . You will often see directions for this edge to have a more pronounced curve. I think a nearly straight edge eliminates any bias stretching on the bottom edge which will increase the tummy flattening factor of the stay. So do just a slight curve on the bottom edge of this piece. You can see the stay stops about a half inch below the zip, right where the crotch curve begins. 


Next, I measure 3 different pair of jeans to see how the pockets worked. I found four inches across the waist and three inches down was my preferred "look". I marked that with a red dot. 

Connect those dots with a curved ruler or shape. This will be the edge of your pocket when done.


Add in a 1/4 inch seam allowance to the edge of the pocket nearest the waistline. Your Upper Pocket Lining pattern is complete. Tape another fresh sheet of tracing paper on top of this one. 

Trace the pants again, this time without the pocket markings. this is the Under Pocket Lining and/or Stay. It will be cut from lining fabric. Again, make sure the straight of grain is marked as well as center front. 

Fourth layer:  This will be the Pocket Facing. It will be cut from your fashion fabric/denim.  You only need to tape down a piece of tracing paper the size of the upper right hand corner of the pants as you see here:
You need a piece large enough to trace the upper right corner of the pants and a deep bottom edge. Mark the pocket edge and seam in red. 

Measure down from the red pocket edge an inch and a half. This insures that no lining will be peeking out of your pockets, just more denim. Add your grainline to this pocket piece. Mine's not in yet on this pic. Here's what your completed piece for the Pocket Facing, layer four, should look like, minus the needed grainline. 

If you are going to have a coin pocket, which I think is so cute and authentic, you need to make one more layer. Pin a small piece of tracing paper over the pocket you just traced. Mark the grainline on the little  pocket and play until you get the placement you want. Mine came out a bit high but there is always a next time to make it better. 


So now you have five layers taped to the table. They are all traced and marked. Straight of grain is on each piece. Each piece will tell you what fabric and how many you need to cut. 

Two Under Pocket Linings from lining fabric
Two Upper Pocket Linings from lining fabric. 
Two Pocket facings from fashion fabric
One Coin Pocket from fashion Fabric

Here are the pieces minus the original pants front pattern.
A word about the fabric. The Pocket Facing and Coin Pocket will match your pants fabric unless you are pursuing a more creative look. The Upper and Under Pocket linings need to be of a firm fabric, NO STRETCH! I kept picking fabric from the stash that stretched with lycra on the crossgrain. Not good. Only use a firmly woven fabric, a cotton a bit heavier than quilt cotton would be great. Make sure it is pre shrunk. 

Next post I will get into cutting and sewing. Please let me know if you have any questions. I am glad to help. This really looks more complicated than it really is. In the end, this gives really nice support to the pants and I urge you to try the technique. Questions?.....Bunny

Pants Stayed delayed!


I just couldn't resist this picture of sweet little Alex being frustrated. I'm frustrated too. I spent the day yesterday working on the pant stay, taking pics as I went along, planning the blog post in my head as I sewed the steps. Then reality set in. I really really dislike this new little camera. It's a Fuji whatever. It was inexpensive and was meant to be a holdover until either I could fix my DSLR or get a new one. Since we are going to build a porch shortly this is not the best time to plunk down the big bucks. But you do get what you pay for.

This little puppy, despite having done so previously, would not download. I pulled out the pdf manual and proceeded to install the program that came with the camera. I was then able to download but it took forever to find the file. That was all OK but installing that software somehow destroyed any other editing software on the computer. I could not edit and these pics definitely needed editing before using. Reading along in the manual I discover that I am supposed to edit in the camera and then download. Bull---t.  Editing to show fine detail better in a tiny little camera? You've got to be kidding. I will get this figured out and as soon as I do I will show you how I did the pants stay, a combination of Sandra Betzina and Sure Fit Design methods. It came out pretty nicely and  all pants could benefit from a stay.

ETA:  A new morning and a fresh  outlook have  found a way. I have to move each pic individually to get it edited and that will take a ridiculous bit of time. The good news is my friend called and my DSLR is being worked on so things are looking up. Thanks for your patience. Here is one pic I was able to edit a bit. It's from the beginning of the process. Thanks for your patience and I promise the stay post is coming....Bunny

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An amazing young sewist!

I have been trying to get a hold of "Esther from the sticks" for some time to get her permission for an interview and photo use. Alas, Esther has been working her buns off in her first year of design school and hopefully having a wonderful summer. I will still try to pin her down to an interview and hopefully soon. In the meantime I just couldn't help linking you up to the amazing work she has done. Esther has done all the work you see in this blogpost during three years of high school. The post is shows her portfolio for design school admission and she is a senior in HS while writing it. Enjoy !

Esther from the sticks


Monday, June 23, 2014

Chanel and Jeans!


Just got in my samples from Banksville Fabrics. If you haven't used their swatching service and live far from really good fabric, it is for you! I called and requested samples for a Chanel cardigan. I told them what I had in mind and this is what they sent me. I swear, they  can read my mind! I love them all but want something I will wear a lot so the boucle on the right is the one. I am thinking that would look good with jeans.Hopefully that will get ordered today. Isn't that metallic on the left fabulous? Perfect for a summer wedding!


This black boucle is heavenly with it's patterned silk charmeuse linings. I so would love to make up a jacket in every sample they sent me! I asked for a silk lining and there are charmeuses and silk satins here. 



I will get my fabric ordered but this looks like it will be a winter project. The weather out is so incredibly perfectly summer right now but my sewing thoughts are starting to turn to winter!

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I am back to actually sewing, finally. My back won't take much more gardening. The yard looks good, guests are gone, vacations over and I am ready to go. I've started on what I hope is a pair of good fitting jeans! These have been a long time coming. I have been using the methods described in the Sure Fit Designs Jeans DVD.  Watch a little, try a little, a process that has been going on for a couple of days. At this point I think I have the sloper down with a tweak or two of my own.

I am a huge fan of Sandra Betzina's fly front zipper installation. If you haven't ever tried or seen her method, go to Threads and watch or click this. It's quick, easy and professional.  Using her method means I don't do the zip the way it is shown in the Sure Fit  DVD.

One thing that is shown in the DVD, that I love, is using a fabric stay across the tummy of the jeans. I will share how I do that at my next sit and sew. Why would you want a fabric stay across the tummy of the jeans? First, it will keep your pocket nice and neat. It will help it lay the way it should and prevent any peekaboo or popout of the underpocket. Next, according to Betzina, and I agree, it helps flatten the tummy. Some even do the stay in girdle type power net. I will be using a tightly woven something or other, hopefully a bit heavier than a muslin. Have you seen the jeans out there that "slim" your tummy area? This is the technique they use.

For the fabric, and because this is the first pair of jeans from this sloper, I will be using a dark print, not a denim, the better to hide any possible defects and still be wearable. The weight is the same so I think it will be a good bell weather of future jean efforts. I am putting in one inch side and inseams and will baste everything first to try the fit. But, once I get this down I should be able to whip out real jeans effortlessly (let's hope). On my first pair, I will have the rivets and jeans buttons. I need to think about pocket design, hmmm....How is your summer sewing coming along?.......Bunny