Thursday, 29 January 2015

Jeans class 2 - pockets; DD's dress repair update

I posted my first jeans' class a bit too early; I meant to save and put in some more photos before publishing. Never mind.

Here are photos to end of stage 4. Plus how I think stage 5 is going to go.  I didn't' even know my phone could do that trick with the small insert and I couldn't work out how to switch it off. I eventually managed by switching off whole phone - there must be an easier way, though.

 I've seen a few posts on jeans sew-a-longs e.g. for the Ginger jeans. It strikes me that I might find it useful to read those. I don't have a jeans' pattern and I'm not sure what I would go for. I have seen reviews of Jalie jeans, Jamie jeans, Ginger jeans and possibly some others.  Any recommendations?  I do not want skinny jeans and would prefer a high rise. Another option is self drafting using the Sure Fit Designs system and modifying for jeans. I'm slightly concerned that they would look too grannyish as I don't have the necessary style knowledge - I am a grandmother and I'm not a fan of high fashion (on me that is) but I do like to give a nod to the current century! They would certainly fit better. Maybe skinny jeans that actually fitted my not-skinny legs would look okay; when I've tried on RTW, they look awful.

It might still be better to get trousers to fit well then go on to jeans later. I do have fabric for trousers but not jeans; I'm not sure if the best fabric to go for - should there be some stretch in it?

The weather held up and I got to the class last night. Since then, it has deteriorated. Unfortunately, as have I! Normally, I go to my weekly sewing class today but the combination of the roads, a nasty cough and the lack of a specific project made me decide to stay at home. I'll do this post and finish the waistband lining on the grey wool skirt I needed to modify - that's what I would have been doing in class. I had already deconstructed the skirt to take in the yoke, yoke lining, skirt and lining and last week I stitched them all up again but L, my tutor, suggested that handstitching the lining down would give a better finish than the stitch-in-the-ditch I did the first time around. I also have a couple of pairs of trousers to add faux hems to in order to lengthen. Hopefully, next week I'll start a specific project - though it's been very useful in January to catch up with some repairs.

I didn't take finished pictures of the green dress I was mending for my daughter. It was quite a puzzle.

In this picture, you can't quite see that the rear of the other strap is wide

This loop allowed the thin strap to be lengthened; the torn area was repaired with a patch from the flap. It really disintegrated when the stitching was unpicked.

This rear flap was completely removed

There's no change from the front.
 However, I deconstructed the dress and removed the extraneous and unwanted flap. There was quite a bit of unpicking as the whole area had been understitched too. Where the strap had previously been attached had disintegrated so I had to patch in a piece of fabric on the inside of the yoke, pulling in the remaining fabric to the correct size. - the flap supplied the fabric. Inside the layers, there was clear elastic but I decided not to replace this; I sewed it by machine to the inside layer.  I added to the length of the thin strap using the redundant loop. I decided to leave the strap external rather than sewing it into the yoke in case it needed adjusted. Most of the dress then had to be put together using hand sewing as I couldn't have stitches showing on the correct side only in my repaired part. Where I had stitched the elastic mimicked the understitching in the original. I then skip stitched the tattoo layers together. It was slightly tricky and when I was finished I was glad to post it off to my daughter post haste, which is why I don't have photos. She has told me she's very pleased with the dress; she likes it much better without the flap and says the strap fits perfectly. Job well done!

Anyway, last night's jeans class. A fellow student, Linda, and I were the only two to have completed to stage 4. We had both looked at the next stage and interpreted it differently. We were able to work out that I was correct in pinning wrong side of the pocket to wrong side - she had done right sides - but she was correct in the amount of fabric to be pinned. I had thought it was the whole pocket. She realised the front was taken up in the fly and the side in the side seam. The tutor, D, was busy with other students but was able to confirm our conclusions. It's quite satisfactory when you work something out yourself.

After that, it was fairly straightforward. Seamed wrong sides together, turned, pressed and seamed right sides together to make a French seam. Then the layers were stay stitched together.
1st stitch line

Preparing to stich 2nd stitch line

Layers pinned together ready for stay stitching

View of front before basting together

Then onto the back pockets. D showed us how to make a cardboard template of a pocket so that our two pockets would be identical. I chose a straightforward shape and used the tutor's sizes. We then drew onto calico, adding a 1cm seam allowance all around except at the top of the pocket where it was 2 cms. After cutting the pocket out, we pressed using the template for accuracy. We had a choice for the top of the pocket. The top would be turned over twice and stitched down. However, the choice was in what to do with the side seam. Linda and I both chose to turn in the side seams first so that our top hems would look smooth from the top.

Edges were folded and pressed over template
We were going to have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. This gave Linda and me a chance to try some decorative stitching on the pocket. I don't like what I did. Fortunately it's just a practice piece. I couldn't see the mark of my white dressmaker pencil and hadn't wanted to risk a darker colour so kept it ultra simple. Linda found a pencil worked well and she could rub out the marks. We were both using regular thread. I know that the pocket stitching and topstitching will be done in thicker thread. I need to give some thought to the eventual design - I like the look of two parallel curvy scrolls. I don't have smartphone photos from class of my pocket stitching - will take photos next week when it's time to sew on to the jeans.

That's where the class ended. Our sample jeans had not been marked with pocket position. So next week, we will start with D showing us how to position the pockets.

It's already evening and I didn't get the skirt yoke started. That's the danger of staying at home - other things always seem to take priority, even when you're not feeling well!


  1. You have been busy - I think these will look good. As for advice on jeans, I am afraid I can offer little - being 59 years, I have many of the same problems as you, except of course, our figures are quite different.

    I do wish we had some good classes here - I've had to teach myself everything I'm afraid.

  2. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I'm happy to make up this sample to learn the techniques. I'm glad I have the classes as some things I did on my own before I found them weren't quite right! I was ill for a few important weeks while at university and was trying hard to read about the larynx in my sick bed - no joy, I couldn't make any sense of it - then within seconds of being shown a working model it all fell into place. The downside of all these classes is that some days I am so busy I don't know whether I'm coming or going - but they're only for me so if I decide to cut back, no one suffers.


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