Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Jeans, as worn today (and probably every day from here on out)

Well, my intention to get a good photo shoot turned into “run up to the street and grab a few shots while the babe is napping.” But here they are, as worn.


A few things I love:

-the cost. I spent less than an hour cutting and around five hours sewing. The fabric was about $5/yd for a total of $10, the zipper was $0.35, thread was a few bucks each for yellow & blue but I will use them again, the pocket lining, well if I link to this post you’ll know it was basically free, and the jeans-style button was part of a pack of 6 for $1.50. Oh, and the pattern was I think $12, but this is the fourth time I’ve made it, so we’re down to $3 a pair.In other words, for around 15 bucks I have jeans that I love to wear.

And really, these took not a great deal more time than it would take for me to go to Target (let’s be honest here), find a pair of jeans on the rack that looks like it should be worn by Someone My Age, try them on, *turn 50 times in the mirror while squinting to try to convince myself that they look ok,* go get the next size up, repeat from * to *, go back to get the original size and decide what the heck, throw them in the cart, get groceries and wander the whole blasted store looking for whatever item is not where I think it should be (because that always happens to me at Target), find something else I didn’t know I needed, check out, get home, try them on for Tom, and finally repeat from * to * again. I’m not that vain, but maybe I am.

-these are the low rise version, and yet they still cover everything when I sit down. Amazing!

-I cut my waistband straight instead of on the bias. I’m going to do this from now on, because it fits really well whereas the other two pair stretched out during the day.

-Bonus of making jeans: now I am excited to see how they will wear in a month or two.


-this backside shot is not the greatest. (It can’t be my backside that’s the problem, though, can it?) I think they are better than they look here.

Thanks for all of your comments & support! I will be happy to cheer for you, should you decide to join me on the dark side of making jeans. If there’s anything I can tell you to help you decide to take the plunge, just let me know!



Jeans day 3: DONE!

I’ll wear ’em for you and get modeled pics tomorrow.

Final count–
day 1: 2 hours
day 2: a little over 1 hour
day 3: 2 hours


Jeans day 2

On track! Only tomorrow will tell if they are a hit or a miss…

PS Those are baby feet in the background!

Jeans pockets–getting your rear in gear (a brief tutorial)

The baby and the cat both wanted to get up at 3 am today. I was happy to oblige, as you can imagine.

The good news is that once they were both settled, I was decidedly not. So I put my hand to my latest pair of Jalie jeans and have declared a 3 day jeans challenge for myself. (Yes, I am obsessed, but if you were still wearing maternity pants when your waistline had long since returned to normal(ish) you might find yourself obsessed too.)

Today was pockets day, tomorrow shall be fly and long seam day, and Friday will bring the waistband, hem, buttonhole, and rivet (Secret message to Julie–JoAnn’s has jeans rivets for half off right now! I don’t know if that is better than buttons for what you’re doing, though).

Topstitching used to be no fun because I was certain to be unhappy with the results. But with my super special tracing paper method, I tend to be much less unhappy–nay, almost satisfied with my results!

STEP ONE & then some:

Make two blank templates from the pattern piece on tracing paper.  Then fold the edges according to how they will be sewn (top 5/8″, sides and bottom 3/8″). Fold in half from top center to the point. Doodle your doodle on one half (you may want to spend some time doodling your doodle elsewhere first until you’re happy with your design). I have found that it is easier to be consistent with straight lines.



Unfold your edges and refold at the center line. Fold other blank template at the center line. Pin these two together, lining up the edges (in the following picture they are not lined up just to show you there are two).



Take the pair of templates to your un-threaded machine and prepare to stitch along your drawn lines. Carefully stitch along lines. I used a long stitch here, but next time I’m going to try using the same size I use for topstitching.



Unfold your two templates. Voila! You now have perfectly matching pockets! Pin to the fabric.


Thread your machine. I use two spools of thread on the top, and a normal bobbin. My machine does fine with this, but you may want to experiment first. Carefully stitch through tissue paper and fabric along your dotted lines.

I do a lot of “ooching”–lifting the presser foot and using the hand crank to shorten the last stitch before I want to turn to make sure I am exactly on my lines. Another tip: be sure that all of your threads are under the presser foot and trailing behind it as you start to avoid an ugly thread snarl.



Using tweezers, tear off the tissue paper. Attach pockets to backs at marks, make the rest of your jeans (it’s all downhill from here, baby).



Try to avoid stopping strangers on the street to ask them to admire your perfectly topstitched tush. *Highly recommended.

So here’s my progress so far! Pockets are done, man. Tomorrow it’s the fly, and were it any other fly front I’d be scared but the Jalie instructions are so good I might just forget to feed the cats again so I can be up & at ’em at 3 am again. Or not.


Is it Monday already?

What’s my excuse for missing Monday this week? A little thing called Patriots’ Day. Now there’s something I like about living in Massachusetts! Random holidays are always a check in the “pro” column.

Last week:

I did manage to make a little dress for Gracie. It’s a test run for a dress that will match her cousin at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I need to add buttons and buttonholes today.

This week:

I’m going to make a few of these fabric high chairs for gifts, some shoes to match the dress I finished last week (of course, you saw that one coming six miles away), and I’d like to start my next pair of jeans. We’ll see!

Now for real content: I had thought that Tom’s trench was the sewing highlight of the year. I was wrong. I’ve started making sleepers for Gracie out of old T-shirts, and have been delighted to find it to be easy and have great results. She’s getting so big, I need to make up another batch. No serger needed!

DSC03929.JPGnow you know where I went to high school

DSC03976.JPG copy

need to fine tune my snap placement

Because I’m certainly not going to shut up

All this talk about the Jalie jeans and I still haven’t shown you mine! And I finished a new shirt!

I’m short on words today, but the short of it is that I love these jeans. These were supposed to be a test pair (thus my nickname on the rear. I mean seriously, who DOES that??), but they fit right out of the envelope. I’ve since made a pair of cords with this pattern and have two more denim pairs cut out and waiting to be sewn.

My thoughts:

-finish every seam. Serge (I wish), zigzag, pinking, whatever. You’ll wear these enough to merit it.

-take your time on the pocket topstitching. I’ll show you my method for symmetrical topstitching when I get around to making my next pair.

-look through the pattern first and plan to minimize rethreading your machine for the topstitching, especially at the beginning.

-if you were worried about how they’d wear, these have been in heavy rotation since January and quickly acquired that worn look (let’s call it patina, shall we?) that non-sewists pay the big bucks to find.

Ok, the shirt is view B from New Look 6407. This pattern was one of my first sewing projects back in the summer of 2008, and in my new sewer bliss I made 3.5 muslins to get the fit right. (I must not have blogged about it! I’ll have to go find it and take a picture.) Anyway, I was so pleased with myself that I immediately cut out another one. And proceeded to not make it for almost two years. Go me! But in the interest of clearing out the backlog, I pulled it out a few weeks ago and was delighted to find not only had I not cut out all the pieces, but I’d unintentionally added a seam to the center back. Go me, again! And the fit wasn’t as spot-on as I’d thought (either that or having a baby changes your figure or something. They used to be up there!). But it’s done and I’m happy. The white sleeves were the pieces I had to scrounge for and I like the effect. Wish I’d messed up cutting the collar too!


I’d like to make a khaki skirt as well as a pair of dark brown linen loose capris to wear with this shirt this spring & summer.


yikes! Center back seam because I didn’t cut on the fold.


*The title of the post is because I’m still laughing about this post on Ann’s Gorgeous Fabrics’ blog. No, I’ve never seen that movie, but I look kind of like a zombie in that last picture, so I’m breaking my no face rule. You didn’t recognize me anyway, did you?

PS Not so short on words after all, hmm?

Isn’t it odd how Monday gets later every week?

Well, let’s not argue over semantics. I’ll get straight to the punch. I may not have made much progress on my projects last week, but my position as enabler extraordinaire has been sealed. Not only did I aid in the purchase of a dress form, I also talked not one but both of my visiting friends into trying the Jalie jeans pattern! I’ll have to wait patiently to see finished shots for you. Oh, and one of them used to be a non-sewer. Now she’s plotting to steal her mother’s sewing machine.

Apparently I am wicked powerful. Consider yourself warned!

Pretend Monday

First, a question for you. I was in my favorite fabric store last week and saw a brown linen with a kind of coppery shimmer to it. Ooo, I thought, that would make a cool jacket for spring. Like this one. Now given that I am a teensy bit fashion challenged (I exaggerate. I’m actually quite fashion challenged) and generally averse to wearing fabrics that sparkle, I thought it might be best to ask you guys before I bought shimmery, nay, sheen-y fabric. So what do you think?

Well, now down to the bad news: my first chance to keep a schedule on the blog, and I blew it. The good news is that I only blew it according to the calendar that the rest of the world follows. In my head, since I got so little accomplished yesterday I am declaring today Pretend Monday, and thus am right on schedule.

Lest you think I am being flippant with dates, my inspiration came from the dear old Ohio State University–excuse me, the dear old THE Ohio State University. (Speaking of which, you are entirely responsible for breaking my bracket early on, OSU. But I suppose since I filled it out alphabetically I’m not that surprised.) Back to the story…one winter quarter was only nine weeks long because of an early Easter. So the first Friday of the quarter was declared “Productive Monday” or something like that in order that we had an extra Monday of class, presumably because there are more classes on Mondays than on Fridays. I’ve always felt that with that declaration the university higher-ups finally acknowledged that most Mondays are, in fact, not productive.

If you’re still reading, then perhaps I have managed to distract you from the fact that I missed my Monday post. The irony of the missed post is that I have exactly zero sewing goals for this week. I’ve got some friends coming in to town (Hi Carla & Julie!), and coupled with that I’m basically rearranging my entire yucky apartment to try to make it a little bit accommodating to guests. So goodbye, Singer, hello scrub brush!

I’ll make it up to you with some pictures of Grace’s Easter outfit in a few days, how ’bout that?