Friday, 27 February 2015

mini jeans (jeans techniques class 5) and jeans pattern progress

Tools required today
I didn't manage to put the waistband on before jeans techniques class 5 to get ahead a bit. I actually couldn't find the pieces!  So I had to wait until the class to cut new pieces. The college seemed a little disorganised (OK - like me!) and our tutor , D, was locked out of the rooms we use. Our class was over 20 minutes late in starting by the time a key was eventually procured - and D had been trying to get one for some time before we got there. So it was really only feasible to get the band on, not also start my trousers. Also, a couple of the ladies were behind because they had been on holiday and missed classes. One of those is Linda, whom I like to work with. We can offer each other advice.

I cut out the waistband pieces. We 'pretended' to interface one of the sides, the part of the waistband on the outside. I hadn't taken interfacing with me and there was none in class. We'd done this before, though, so it was less important for teaching purposes.

I successfully stitched my waistband pieces together down the long edges that would form the waistband upper edge. I carefully folded and pressed wrong sides together, making sure the stitching line was right on the edge, rolling the seam in my fingers where necessary. I then carefully topstitched. In fact, in future I would not topstitch until later. The topstitching made the next step difficult.  I advised Linda to wait and D agreed.

I then had to sew the raw edge of the outside waistband piece to the jeans, matching notches - only there weren't any, which became a problem later and emphasised for me the need to carefully transfer any notches or other pattern info from the pattern to the fabric.

Following this, I had to match the right sides of each half of the waistband together at each end of the waistband and finish off exactly level with the part of the jean it was attached to, by sewing across the end. Then the waistband got turned the right way around. This was where my topstitching caused problems - I was unable to get neat corners and had to unpick some of the stitches. Looking at the finished jean, too, I feel that the top is wider than the bottom, so my stitching is not completely vertical, though I did follow the lower part of the jean, I'll have to watch this. We didn't have a fabric edge to follow as there was quite a bit of excess fabric to cut off.
Edge of waistband not perfectly vertical
See where topstitching had to be unpicked and redone


Finished sample with jeans button and rivet. Note wrinkled and distorted waistband.
The underside of the waistband then had to get attached to the jean. This was done by turning under a 1cm seam allowance and matching the folded edge to the stitching. There was then a choice of topstitching to join the under waistband to the jean, or stitching-in-the-ditch.  I chose to topstitch. Had I pinned it thinking of the sewing direction, which I hadn't, I could have joined the waistband to the jean, topstitched the waistband ends and to stitched the top of the waistband (in my case, the bits missing from the ends) ALL IN ONE GO. I couldn't do that. My band is slightly twisted - it seems that I didn't accurately fold so that the back of the band is slightly offset from the front, despite the topstitching. This is where the notches would have been particularly helpful. I decided not to unpick and redo as I understood the idea.

The class was over so quickly I couldn't believe it!  I quickly asked D about the last steps, buttonhole and button so that I could finish these at home.

At home on Thursday, I experimented with some buttonholes and finally chose one I liked. I stitched it onto the end of the waistband. I'd appreciate any tips on making my buttonhole neater!
You can see roughness and fraying inside the buttonhole and point where I had to resew on top edge of waistband. Being able to pivot from top to side then to bottom edges would have been easier and nicer.

The little test sample was very grubby and I couldn't get my old chalk line, marking where I initially sewed, off. There were dirty marks from class, too, as well as the general grubbiness from working with a pale fabric. I decided to wash them. They had not been prewashed as this was a test garment just to practice the techniques. The fabric was a fairly heavy calico compared to the ones I regularly use. I took a limp crushed rag out of the washer and put it in the tumble dryer for a little while, thinking that then it wouldn't look so creased. It came out looking like a floppy piece of seersucker. Not much better after ironing, even though I also used my steam generating iron. I don't know how much shrinkage there was.

After washing

Waistband particularly affected

A couple of thoughts from this
·         DH does not want this calico as a pocket lining. He does want a firm pocket as he carries keys, change, tools etc. He doesn't like his jeans ironed, so pointless to use a fabric that would have to be ironed. I need to investigate possibilities further. Do you have any suggestions for me?
View of inside with pocket stay; fine cotton used for pocket - perhaps remains best option
·         The waistband is particularly affected - lack of interfacing becomes very apparent - and of course the initial twisting didn't help; that looks much worse now.
·         DH also pointed out that the shrinkage had been unequal and the back of the jeans is now lying differently, at a different angle. I'm not going to worry about that as I have washed DH's denim 3 times.
·         I also noticed that the pocket lining is trying to peek out of the left pocket, where I understitched but did not top stitch. The right pocket, where I understitched then also top stitched (same colour so can't see it) lies better. In the jeans for DH, I will be top stitching the pockets. I will need to get quite a bit of practice sewing around a curve and getting two parallel lines that look nice.
The rivets and jeans buttons arrived through the post along with some other things I need for DH's jeans so I decided to use them to get some practice, with DH's help.
Jeans button and pin on left and rivet (7mm) and pin on right
DH inserted the jeans button for me as I couldn't find the hammer. He used a spanner against a decorative anvil!  My buttons came loose in a brown envelope with no instructions so I'm glad it wasn't difficult to work out what to do. I used my awl to create a gap for the rear pin to go through. I marked the position from the right side by pressing the button through the buttonhole against the underlying cloth. A few hefty bangs and hey presto! the button looks nice.

I had much greater difficulty with the rivets or should I say rivet. I used the awl and kept trying to enlarge the gap as I couldn't get the pin through from the wrong side. I did eventually manage, by using the awl to ease the fibres of the front over the pin. By this time, I had found the hammer and a few good clouts and the rivet was fully fixed. I only used one as there aren't that many in the pack and I'd hate to run short in the real thing. While this was difficult with the test garment, I'm rather dreading the prospect of repeating the exercise with several layers of denim.

·         There's no way that these buttons or rivets will pull apart again so everything needs to be put in place accurately first time.
·         The process requires a lot more force and less finesse than I thought it would.
·         The position of my rivet is slightly too high - it encroaches onto the waistband. My RTW jeans don't do that. So I need to measure carefully.
My test mini jeans are finished and I feel I have learned quite a lot from this. I feel ready to tackle the real thing. (For class, though, I need to get a toile of the trousers I will be doing ready for next week)

My next step in jeans making is to alter the self drafted pattern I made for DH's jeans. By making a wedge, I altered the inseam length, so I need to adjust and make a further toile to see if it's working. I'm using the Sure Fit Designs system and have received advice from Glenda Sparling (incredibly quickly) and my pattern cutting tutor.
·         Alter pattern
·         Test fit;  alter as necessary
·         Find suitable fabric for pockets
·         Start making jeans.
I'll blog about this later in the process.
Comments greatly welcomed!
I'm still having problems with pages on my blog - I wanted to group like posts together. I've tried quite a few suggestions but haven't got it right yet. I'm also now having problems getting photos from my phone, which I could do previously. Technology!!


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Solved!!!!! Help! Can anyone tell me why I can no longer see previously posted photos?

Everything seemed okay until the last post but one. Then I noticed I was getting 'no entry' type signs instead of a photo. Now I can only see photos on the current post. It's this the same when you look at my blog?
Any ideas how I can fix it?

Edited to add - I think the photos that don't show have been deleted during a technology meltdown earlier in the week! I can't redo most of them, but can redo some. I think I'll also create some separate tabs if I can work out how to do that.

Further edited to add
When I had the technology meltdown, following an Android upgrade to my tablet, everything was running so incredibly slowly..  I decided to reduce the burden by taking some photos off. Then I had to reset the tablet to factory conditions in any case and rebuild from there. What I didn't realise was that removing the photos from my tablet or phone was deleting them from my PC, albums and blog. I didn't realise it worked that way, even though I knew I could access from any one of them (it's at times like this that I realise I'm getting older and less able to keep up with technology!). When I twigged to this, I was able to restore all my deleted photos via Google+ because they had been deleted within the last 60 days. It's just as well that sometimes programmes question what you do and give you a second chance!

As far as I can see, all my photos are back on my blog.

Problem solved.  I still don't know how to create tabs across the top of my blog, though.

Further update -  I've now managed to create my pages as tabs across the top of my blog but haven't worked out how to link my pre-existing posts. I've put in the labels but am stuck for the night.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Self drafted jeans pattern fail and some bits and pieces

The target - but first some small stuff ...
I've been getting on with clearing some of my UFOs and doing some outstanding tasks. By which I unfortunately mean they needed doing rather than that I did them in an outstanding manner!

I put false hems, using grosgrain ribbon, on several pairs of trousers as I needed to lengthen but there was no hem. I've bought more ribbon to do further pairs.  Why did all these trousers 'suddenly' need doing? Perhaps they have continued to shrink a little. More likely because I have gained weight, they don't lie so freely. It would be lovely to think these same trousers might be too long in a few weeks, but I'll have to do better than I'm doing at present.

I repaired the fastener on a pair of jeans-style trousers. However, they're too tight to wear just now. Sad. They are in one of my key colours -grey.

  I repaired my moccasin slippers. They felt great - then my knot unravelled almost immediately and I had to do again. It's stayed in this time.

A while back I made a grey wool wrap skirt for myself. I finished it but it was too big. That was then! Anyway, I started to alter it. I took in the side seams in both skirt and lining and waistband yoke and lining. I handstitched the lining to the inside instead of, as previously, stitching-in-the-ditch from the right side. It looked pretty good but my Thursday tutor pointed out that the wrap was arching out which meant,  she said,  that the lining was slightly too long. This lining, of course,  was bagged. No way around it. I created a gap in the lining side seam and removed the understitching and seaming from the relevant portion. I smoothed the lining and trimmed about ⅛" excess. I then restitched, understitched and resewed up the gap in the lining by hand. Looks much better. I'm too cowardly to try it on in case it doesn't fit!

Quite a few weeks/months ago, I was golfing in the rain, wearing my golf waterproof trousers. Suddenly, these were around my ankles!! Not funny. (Okay, it was!)  The elastic in the waistband, anchored from side seam to side seam across the back only, had come away from one side. I unpicked the stitching at one seam, worked the elastic though from the other end and re-attached the elastic behind the side seam, securing it with zigzag on the underside and topstitching. Looked good for a few seconds until I realised I'd somehow got a twist in the elastic. So I repeated the same set of steps at the other end, untwisting the elastic. I'm glad I did this, as the elastic wasn't securely held - I don't want another waterproof pants disaster!  I'm also afraid to try these on, having shortened the elastic, in case they're too tight! I put them on as required on the course, so usually over trousers, so a bit of extra space required. Not worth posting a photo.

Jeans Techniques Class

I've blogged about doing a jeans technique class. I'm doing okay, and just have the waistband and button to add to my sample short length. I don't think we're doing rivets in the class. In class, though, I'm intending to make trousers for myself, taking advantage of the tutor's expertise to help me fit the trousers properly. I think I'm going to use Simplicity 2860

as having tried to modify the muslin for McCall's 6901


that I began last year, it's really not working and isn't further modifiable. So, it's a true wadder. Begone!! It's bad that I modified the pattern tissue directly but here's the good point - the pieces  come in two separate size ranges within the envelope and one of the girls at class chucked out (and crumpled in a ball!!) the larger size range which she didn't need. I rescued the tissue as that is my size range. So I actually have an uncut pattern still too. I think it was the modifications made to the pattern rather than the pattern itself that's at fault but I'm going to go for the different one this time. I won't trace it as, for some reason, I have two! This wasn't intended. Now that I have my stash listed it wouldn't happen again unless I get pattern free with a magazine subscription - this has happened on a couple of occasions so far.

Anyway, to get back to jeans making. I want to make a pair of jeans to practice my skills but not for myself. That will have to wait, maybe until next term when in pattern making we'll be doing a trouser block, but certainly for a few weeks minimum until I get the trousers done. So I decided to make a pair for DH. He doesn't have much problem getting trousers to fit - 34/33. His jeans, which are working, crawling around the floor type jeans, are a much less good fit. In addition, he quite often wears chinos.

DH was up for this, even though I told him he'd have to be pictured in the final garment - I let him off for the muslin, though!

The first problem was that I couldn't find a pattern, though eventually MPB's blog led me to Kwik Sew 3504.
I also looked at Thread Theory Jedediah pants but they didn't quite meet my needs - chinos really - and the pattern was expensive, though cheaper as PDF if I ever decide to go that route.

I bought some lovely dark green denim with a 2% Lycra content. I haven't prepared it yet, so don't know how much it will shrink. The Lycra content is not obvious, I don't notice any stretch in the fabric. I've bought the thread and the top stitching thread - in dark green as DH doesn't want contrasting top stitching but still need to get dark green overlocker thread. I've ordered jeans zips but they haven't arrived as yet. DH plans these as dressier jeans ie not crawling around the garage in them. I just can't photograph this denim. The colour just doesn't come up. I got DH to try too.


I decided to draft DH a jeans pattern!  Not as daft as it sounds as I have the Sure Fit Design package, including instructions for modifying for a man. So, I went ahead. I drafted the basic trousers as recommended in the SFD kit, using DH's front crotch length, back crotch length, waist and hip circumference and OUTSIDE leg measurement. I followed instructions to modify steps for men. I made up a short length in a reasonably heavy calico. I don't have a photo of the muslin on DH. It wasn't a bad fit. I needed to lengthen the front by ½". The back was fine. However, a big chunk, about 2", needed to get cut off the top of the sides - just to even th3e slope of the waist from back to front. SFD gives the option of adjusting the pattern at the drafting stage or adapting after muslin fit; I chose to do the latter. I should add that this would make the pants too short as the measurement used is the outside leg. In addition, one side seam was slightly off centre and tight and I needed to increase one seam allowance and reduce the other by less. DH doesn't want a close fitting jean.

I simply modified the muslin, DH tried on and it seemed okay at that stage. As a result, I went ahead to modify my basic pant pattern into a jeans pattern. I marked grainline (and fold line though jeans won't get folded). I had to fold each side of one jeans part to meet outseam and inseam at hem and at crotch point. Front wasn't too bad but back required quite a bit of modification to try to even the garment around the 'centre seam'.  The fold line created was nearly at the side on the body part of the jeans and therefore the grain would be way off.

I used the lines on the wood floor to keep fold lines correct. The scissors are pointing to where the side seam goes off.
I was going to make a full length test garment. At this stage, I noticed that the back effectively bent backwards at around the hip level - this was no straight side seam!  To join to the side front was going to require quite a bit of heaving and hauling. This didn't seem like a 'good idea'. The sizes of the two garments were in the same ballpark.

 This was on Wednesday. My KS pattern arrived that day and I had a look at it - the grain was straight up the jeans. Although the college was on midterm break, my tutor D in the jeans class was running an extra sewing bee in her studio,  which she shares with R, who is my pattern cutting tutor. R was still there when I arrived and looked at my pattern - and D tried on my pants (not jeans) muslin. R said that there were a few things - the crotch was at an angle more suitable for women than men and the bend in the side seam meant that the jeans body would have fabric effectively on the bias. She asked me if I had noticed the grain when I tried on the pants muslin - no I hadn't.  Being on the bias would mean that it would stretch too much. She showed me that I might have to straighten that seam. I hope I haven't misquoted her - that's what I picked up, anyway. I was going to show her the comparison with the KS jeans pattern but she declined, saying patterns 'fit nobody'.

You can see from the photos where the seam starts to bend. I began to modify and then realised that a lot more was required as the front wasn't right, either. I got totally fed up, I'm afraid.

In this photo, I have aligned the side seams as for sewing. I haven't yet modified back inseam at this stage (I did do that)

Oh, and DH admitted that test garment hadn't felt comfortable as the back appeared to be pressing against his leg. That made me reject my drafted pattern.

Eventually, I decided I would modify the KS pattern to DH's measurements. (I traced the pattern this time). This involved increasing crotch depth by 1" front and back. I think a little more crotch length is required as the crotch looks slightly tight at the front and there is a slight 'frown line'. I made a full length muslin. It's long enough in the legs - the pattern gives a 32" finished length and DH takes 33". However, I might have to allow for further shrinkage.

Another thing I noticed is that while the main jeans are cut on the straight of grain, the yoke piece given is cut on the cross grain.

By this time, I decided to use the KS pattern in its entirety - pockets, yoke and all, even though I'd already drawn all these out to my own specifications, including an extension to anchor the pocket into the front seam - I'm not sure what this is called.

I'll let you know how I get on. Do you think I have done the right thing?  How would you approach this? I have probably learned a few things! Has anyone else used the SFD men's pants instructions? Was it me or was it them?
One last question - with the 2% spandex content, even though I don't notice stretch, should I actually be making the jeans slightly smaller?
Thank you for reading.

Until later ...


Friday, 13 February 2015

More on jeans class (class 4); last before midterm break

After the last class, I moved onto the next steps at home in the hope of finishing my sample a week early. The reason for this is that our midterm break comes after week 4 not week 5 on this occasion and it would be great to come back after the break into making up our pants pattern rather than finishing our sample.

Well, to my surprise, I had done more or less the right thing! When I arrived at class, the tutor R who had made up our pattern was showing our tutor D how to move to the next step. D has made many pairs of jeans but the sequence of steps was a bit different, hence the need for this. I had the opportunity to watch and realised I had followed the steps.
Last week ; unhappy about non vertical stitching line
You can see that the fly facing scarcely shows because it is caught in. I couldn't show the fold that I had accidentally made.
D checked my work. I was unhappy that the curved stitching at the fly was not vertical. I had accidentally caught in an extra fold of fabric, somehow. You can see the irregularity in the reverse view but not the actual fold. (Again, I was taking photos on my smartphone and it seems that I haven't worked out how to load them all - I took rather more than I had access to). D also reminded me that it is very important to let the zip top curve where it wants to go rather than try to straighten it, as is our natural desire. This I had managed. I unpicked the stitching outlining the fly facing. I unpicked the top of the zip. This wasn't difficult as I had just basted. The front ended up in the same place - I had that correct - but the fly facing was able to spread out further. I really hadn't noticed the extra fold of fabric until D pointed it out and was amazed at the difference it made!
I can't find photo before zip guard was attached but it's still possible to see that fly facing is spread out more. the white basting stitch is still in place. The zip is finally sewed in in the green.

I re-sewed the top of the zip and sewed in the whole zip to the fly facing.  I then top stitched around the edge of the fly facing. You can still see the blue chaco liner from my first attempt. My top stitching isn't as good as it should be as I went off line and in trying to correct, some unravelled. So I went over the whole again. So there are two rows of topstitching, supposed to be on top of each other. I didn't correct as I know what is required and this is a sample.

Showing old and new fly topstitching lines and side seam top stitching, 1 row only (mock fell seam)
Then we had to attach the zipper guard. R had made it slightly too short as the pattern had changed. So we ended up folding and 'overlocking' by machine using a zig zag stitch. We then attached the zipper guard behind the zip. This was slightly tricky as the seam allowance was rather narrow (we used 1cm throughout and of course this is about half that). D normally attaches hers at an earlier stage (and often misses it out). The top part of the zipper guard is left raw as that is caught onto the waistband.

zipper guard; you can also see the curved securing stitch at the bottom
R hadn't designed the pattern for proper fell seaming. She said extra fabric would be required for this. I was disappointed not to do some proper fell stitching but decided to do mock fell stitching as suggested. We still had no overlocker in class so I stitched side seams with my sewing machine, used the sewing machine to zigzag the seam allowances together and then pressed to the back. I just did 1 row of top stitching as I was running out of thread. (Note to self - buy lots of thread when doing jeans for DH. He doesn't want markedly contrast topstitching but it will need to be proper topstitching thread - a very dark green, hopefully)
At this stage, the two fronts are joined with the zipper in between and a back is joined to each front. The back seam has not been sewn. I now wish I had topstitched the pockets using the green thread. You can't even see them here.

We then sewed the inseam. We then put one side inside the other to sew the crotch seam. As I see that most jeans have a felled or mock felled seam here, I did that. Not easy but possible.
Showing crotch seam stitched together (I had previously overlocked)
I see that on some jeans, the outer seam is normal and the inner seam felled - on others it is the opposite way around. D also said some jeans have on both - I couldn't see how that would be done. The answer is with great difficulty! Easier in a commercial environment.
Before topstitching
See the topstitching in back crotch seam.
I did some further mock felling.

Then I pinned up the double hem but didn't have time to stitch this. I'll finish this at home. This will have a double row of topstitching. I either have to buy more of the colour I was using previously, or change altogether.

We have two weeks before the next class. I asked D what the next steps were as we didn't have a sheet for what we had done earlier in the evening or the next steps. It's really only the waistband after that. This pattern has a curved waistband. I have to interface what will be the outside of the waistband. I then sew the interfaced and non interfaced sides right sides together and turn and press. I could then sew to the jeans body but I think if I get that far I will leave it until class to make sure I go about the waistband and button in the correct way.

I would certainly improve the finishing if doing the real thing.

I'd really like to have a toile cut and sewn for the trousers I'm planning, so D can fit me next time but I'll need to wait see how busy I'll be. I did buy a jeans pattern but still plan on making trousers. I'll miss the PR jeans comp but so be it. I decided to look again at the 'toile' I made from the McCall's pattern. I thought that part of the problem might have been that I didn't sew together properly and secondly that I had forgotten it was a 1" seam. So, having taken them to pieces, I basted them together careful leaving a 1" seam allowance. Unfortunately, I've mislaid the pattern for the moment so couldn't be more specific than that. However, I know that  palmer Pletsch fir from the waist. I tried this toile on in my Thursday dressmaking class. However, It really IS so bad that I need to start again, completely. I think I may abandon this pattern (as I say I can't lay my hands on it anyway). I have a number of choices - Burda or Vogue. I'd still like to use the beautiful grey fabric I have - I just hope I haven't ruined it with all the stitching and unpicking; fortunately there is no visible sign of this.

I've bought some denim with some stretch in a dark green colour (on 50% off sale) - DH wears a lot of green and I've offered to make him a pair of jeans. Not for the PR competition, though. I still have to find a men's jeans pattern. I see a Kwik Sew one and a Thread Theory chino pattern which DH quite likes but which is $20! I don't know of any others. DH doesn't want skin tight jeans. The fabric hasn't arrived yet - I didn't realise when I ordered it from a UK website that it would be coming from Germany.  Update - it came (pretty speedy; and tracked) and looks really nice even if a slightly brighter green than I had anticipated. DH likes it. However, I had problems with the Internet today and haven't bought a pattern yet - maybe it will have to be a self draft. I have the Sure Fit design system and have the module for men so perhaps that will get its first airing.

I'm assuming the brighter green is the right side and the very dark the wrong side! I need to take a picture during the day rather than at night as here.

Yes, I bought 6 metres - plenty of fabric for experimentation! 98% cotton 2% spandex but no obvious stretch at all
I also bought myself some blue as the black denim I really wanted was out of stock. Trousers first, though.
Just 3 metres - it was a lot more expensive as it wasn't reduced. Cotton 48%/polyester 48%/spandex 4%

The fabric is pretty stretchy.
I need to prepare the fabrics. Tumble drying is not recommended so I need to work out how to dry 6 m of green denim fabric if I don't cut it up!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Some thoughts while lying on a hotel bed; and some planning

I've stopped gaining weight thank goodness.  Just over 3 weeks ago I attended a funeral and my suit jacket was too tight. I'm glad to say that I've lost a couple of pounds and it fits much better. Easily acceptable. I do still plan to make a new version, though, as I'd like the jacket a couple of inches longer to cover tops better.  We're here because we're attending DH's uncle's funeral tomorrow. There wasn't enough time to travel up tomorrow especially in potentially difficult road conditions. We didn't leave home until the afternoon and by that time the roads were okay. We've managed to travel after one weather warning expired and before the next comes into effect. DH hadn't seen his uncle in a few years, probably since his mother's funeral - she kept connections going. There will be quite a few reconnections tomorrow.

I do get emails and internet on my phone but the screen is too small to read comfortably. Fine in an emergency of course.  Talking about which - has everyone got an ICE contact on their phone?  ICE = In Case of Emergency and lets those who need to know which of your contacts should be notified first in an emergency. I also have ICE 2.

This is my second attempt to write this post.  I completely lost my first when my tablet fell out my hand. I didn't know that could happen - losing the post that is. (Strangely, I found it on my PC when I decided to post this - so I hadn't lost it after all, but I might as well have done when I couldn't find it!). I'm lying in bed in a hotel in my DH's teenage stomping ground; it's still famous due to its Burns' connections, though that wasn't what he was reminiscing about - that was more about folk heroes. There was a great Folk Club,  with visits from the likes of Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Archie Fisher and Billy Connelly when he was with the original Humblebums and would play for his supper and stay with one of DH's pals. I can't get the hotel internet on my tablet for some reason, which is irritating as I was going to read a book on it. I decided to start this blog post instead. 

Earlier I got an email from the Curvy Sewing Collective publicising their focus on separates over the next 3 months, combined with tutorials etc - pants in February, tops in March and skirts in April. I love separates as they are so versatile. I think I'll try to push my current pants make ahead a little to try to fit in with the February time scale. That'll be pants, not jeans and probably not the US definition of trousers, though of course they're all trousers to me! I actually fancy making a pair of pants with an elasticised waist as I was reading a tutorial about this earlier. They'll be useful for working around the house and for sitting sewing. I think I'll need to make them in stretch fabric and know I have a choice of grey or fuchsia - I'll choose grey! Grey is also a versatile colour, goes with so much.

After I've made these casual pants, I'll go onto a pair of dressy trousers and a pair of slimmer fitting jeans. This to fit in with my trouser class at college. Probably not in February, of course, but certainly by the end of term, at Easter. You've heard of fast food, and of slow food, I read of fast sewing, well I'm promoting slow sewing! My object is not merely the finished object but the enjoyment and learning in the journey.

I'm back home. Exhausted!  I'm just making a quick update before going to bed, early. Travel was fine.

The funeral went well. It was lovely to meet up again with some of DH's relatives, despite the occasion. I think he'll keep in touch. His cousins are interested in some of the photos DH took including his uncle when he was younger. DH was the family photographer.

I decided to look through some jeans reviews on PR while having some supper before bed. It looks as though the Ginger jeans from Closet Case Files might best meet my needs as they are drafted for a pear shape and have online tutorials.

I've ordered the Palmer Pletsch jeans, too, as McColl's patterns are half price at present and these get quite good reviews. Some people complain that they are too high at the waist but I'm looking for a high rise so that will suit me fine.

Last week I notified my interest in 2 patterns being sold by a US PR member at $1 each. Although patterns are often cheap in the US, that's not the case here. One is a Vogue,

the other a Butterick.

Postage is pricey ($12.75) but it's still worth it, particularly as I could pay by PayPal. Interestingly, the reviews on the Vogue pattern are rather negative, with some people saying they were just going to junk the pattern after reading all the bad reviews. There were enough positives, however, to make me decide I wasn't going to opt out. Update - I received a $4.90 refund from the seller as postage turned out to be cheaper than she had been quoted. That was nice.I'm looking forward to getting the patterns.

I hear my bed calling! Truthfully, I'm tired mainly because of viral illness rather than travelling. I'll try to add a couple of photos to this blog and post tomorrow. Tomorrow I also plan to modify directly on the skirt toile I made last week (I need to understand what the problem was) and make up a new toile as the next class is on Monday. I still have a cough but am recovering from my virus, so I might also get my colour photo swatches done, if my skin loses its pasty grey-green colour and the weather holds up. We won't be playing golf as I'm not well enough for that yet, sadly.

Update - well, I didn't get the photos added and didn't post the blog the day after my return. So I'm doing it tonight. I added the photos but didn't edit the text. I haven't got my colours done yet. I still haven't completely recovered. I still look off colour and feel 'wabbit'. I'm hoping I start to feel better this coming week - and get some sewing done. I did repairs though - I put faux hems on two pairs of trousers to lengthen them (not enough grosgrain for the third), repaired the waistband closure on a pair of jeans and - more difficult - repaired the lovely sewing zipped pouch I got from my sewing buddy. The strap end had started to fray and come loose. I didn't see how to repair it and asked advice from my sewing tutor who said it had been bagged - just like the jackets I had done. After that, no problem - repaired!!



Saturday, 7 February 2015

Jeans class 3; back pockets, yoke and problems with zip insertion.

I thought this was going to be a fairly straightforward class this week.  We didn't achieve as much as we should have.

Firstly, we finished off and tidied up our patch pockets. I decided against modifying the decorative top stitching on the pockets.

 We then measured out where the pockets were to go (the placement hadn't been marked on the pattern) and checked that each pocket was placed identically. We then sewed on the pockets using an edge stitch and an additional row of stitching inside this, with reinforcement at the top pocket corners.

Then it was time to add the yoke. We weren't using an overlocker, by the way, though I would choose to use one at home.  The yoke was sewn onto the back piece using a 1centimetre seam allowance. The seam allowance area was then stitched using a zigzag stitch and the seam allowance was then pressed in the yoke direction. After this, it was fairly straightforward to edge stitch and add a further row of stitching to catch down the seam allowance just within the 1cm.

Top stitching at top of pocket and bottom of yoke, in detail. . 
Overview of pocket and yoke

It was really impressive to see how much shaping the yoke added.

Back pocket and yoke added.
The next task was to zigzag stitch the curved seam on front and back. Since returning home I have overlocked those parts still accessible and my photos show that. However, at class, it was zigzag stich only, though the tutor may bring an overlocker next time. I'm not taking mine to class as it's hard enough just taking a sewing machine as there is quite a distance from the car park to the class - at least I do have a car. One time, I decided to just use the class machines - but never again. Compared to my other class on a Thursday, where I'm happy to use the machines as they stich nicely, these ones, although new, are very rough indeed.

Then it was zip time. Unfortunately, the tutor was having a major problem with her sewing machine so quite a bit of time was used up trying to sort this.

The first task was to stitch the zip right side to right side on the left front jean piece. Once this was achieved, the zip was turned back and the edge was edge stitched. My stitching is a bit wavery so I may take this out and change it, to make it look better. However, the actual sewing was achieved reasonably easily. I was concerned when the tutor was having so much bother that I would too.

Showing back of zip with reference to pocket bag

Zip on left side of front, turned back and edge stitched. Serging added afterwards.

Then we had to start preparing the other side. Time was running out, however, and the instructions were far from clear and possibly incorrect, according to our tutor. As requested, I attached the fly facing and then understitched.

Wrong side. Not tidied up yet.
Understitching on fly facing showing. I suppose this gets turned back.

Like this? 

I have absolutely no idea what to do next as I can't make head nor tail of the instructions and haven't been able to work it out based on them. I looked at the jeans I'm wearing and it looks as though the zip should be between the layers. That makes much more sense to me.  That's what I had to do when I was putting the zip in my jacket - it lies between the front and the facing; here I think the zip should be sandwiched between the jeans front and the zip facing??

I've decided just to leave it until next time when presumably the tutor will have worked out what to do next (the instructions and diagrams were not drawn up by her and she seems to be struggling a bit), though I do think there will be some backpedalling.  I fully expect to have to take out my stitching on that side next week (that includes seam stitching,  overlocking of seam and understitching, so I won't be a happy bunny if that happens!) I'm almost tempted to take it out now to save time in class but maybe just maybe there is another way?

Okay,  I lied. I can't leave well alone.  Just as I was thinking about taking out some of my stitching,  I decided to try to follow the next few steps (without benefit of diagrams).

I'll list all the steps, including those I have done and have had checked.

Step 11: Starting with left front piece (this has a 0.5 cms extension - actually it didn't because R forgot to put it in but we were told it would work okay without this). Place zip right side down on right side and stitch down.  Check.

Step 12: Turn back zip and edge stitch on right side.  Check.
Up to here I'm fine and have had it checked. Matches diagrams too.

Step 13: apply fly facing, edge stitch and press. There was a diagram showing this step with what was clearly understitching and our tutor D told us to understitch. Check.

I had my work checked to this point.

No diagrams from this point on. I decided to machine baste everything that is with a long stitch length so it would be easy to take out at class next week.

Step 14: Join front rise from 1cm in from fork point to bottom of zipper. I did this but I didn't sew close enough up to zipper - I left 1cm there too.  Easily rectified. Done.

This shows line of green understitching on left which can fold over zip but doesn't seem to want to lie naturally there. 
Step 15: With right sides of both front leg pieces together line up pin down CF rise.  Open out, where zipper tape lies on right front of jean pin to fly facing. Zip tape will curve at waist seam.  Pin it as it wants to lie.  Do not straighten it up. Done.
Zip machine basted to fly facing only

Step 16: Stitch to fly facing only.  Done.

Step 17: with zip closed lie jean flat right side up, chalk in curved fly line. This must be wide enough to catch in fly facing.  Top stitch. Done.

Looks okay. Would be better with edge stitching?  Should blue line be parallel to zip rather than sloping in at top,  even though this means that fly lies better? 

However,  while I can close the zip and it is covered by fabric from right side,  I'm not sure that's how it is supposed to be.  When I topstitched around,  this is not vertical and perhaps it should be; it follows the line of the fly facing, which its also not vertical;  it is caught in at the waist edge which encourages the fold. Although the understitching on the fly facing encourages it to turn under, I'm  wondering if perhaps edgestitching might have been better - or in addition as the fold is quite loose rather than crisp - then it probably needs pressed at this stage.

Reverse side. Fly facing is Now much smaller than earlier photo because of fold. 

I don't understand the next step 18: zip guard, bag out bottom edge,  press and overlock side closed.  Leave top edge raw as this goes into waist seam.

Now I am really giving up until next week! I've taken a few photos on my smartphone to remind me of how I've got here. Next week is the last class before the mid term break although it's only the 4th class,  and so I'm hoping to be finished with the sample to let me get on with my trousers as soon as we return - I've definitely decided to do trousers and not jeans or slacks first. I'll need quite a bit of help with fitting before I start to construct. Fingers crossed that what I did today doesn't need to be undone. 

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