Tag Archives: sewing

Nine things to try for 2019

Top Row:

  • Fashionista Jacket* by WinterWear Designs
    I’ve always wanted to try sewing my own denim jacket, and I will admit I’ve already got the denim and some variegated topstitching thread ready to start this one!
  • Bryce Cargo Trousers* by Hey June Handmade*  
    I bought this pattern last year, realised that it was more fitted than any I’ve made before, and instantly shelved the idea. But this year will be the one when I make some Bryce Cargo trousers…. or at least start them!
  • Brunswick Sweater* by Hey June Handmade*
    Ok, so I have a lot of hoodie patterns, but the design of this one stood out as one to try, I’m quite taken with the button detail at the base of the bodice, which would make a good excuse to buy some fancy buttons to use!

Middle Row:

  • Provence Pea Coat* by WinterWear Designs*
    I’ve never tried sewing a coat before, so what better time than if I can get it started in the Winter? I do have some faux wool fabric sitting in a box, just waiting for this particular pattern
  • Around the Block hoodie by Ellie and Mac
    I’ve sewn several hoodies, but so far nothing from an Ellie and Mac pattern (although my latest hoodie is a mash of Hey June bodice and sleeves, with Ellie and Mac neckline and hood). This year I’m determined to change that, and make myself an Around the Block hoodie.
  • Scrundlewear by Stitch Upon a Time
    Ok, this one is a bit more unusual, but seeing as I tried sewing socks in 2018, why not try sewing pants in 2019?

Bottom Row:

  • Neck Tie Top* by WinterWear Designs*
    Not the style of top I would normally pick, but there’s something about this Neck Tie Top which makes me want to give it a go!
  • Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns
    Not content with adding in a Pea Coat, I really want to try sewing a showerproof coat this year – the Kelly Anorak was a pattern I kept coming back to browse during 2018, so maybe 2019 is the year I will attempt making it! I’ve already bought the fabric I want to use, so there’s no excuse now…. right?
  • Belladonna Bear by Emma’s Bears
    It wouldn’t be a 9 to Try if I didn’t include at least one plushie, would it? Belladonna is quite a large bear, but if I can find the ‘right’ faux fur, I think she could look amazing!

2018 was quite successful for achieving my 9 to Try, so let’s see what comes of my nine for 2019!


*affiliate link
WinterWear Designs*
Hey June Handmade*

Nine things to try in 2018 – recap

Remember my 9 to Try for last year? I didn’t really think I’d achieve making any of them, so let’s see how successful I was….

Finished Projects

Zen trousers – 12 – 3 –  plus a pair of shorts I haven’t yet blogged, and a guest post coming to the Minerva Crafts blog next week!
Giverney Jacket – 1 plus one I haven’t blogged yet
Novelista Button-Up – 12 – 3
Plush Bat – 1
Willa / Atilla – 1 plus a couple of Atilla the Bun plushies which I haven’t blogged yet
Real Deal Jeans – 12 – 3 (penguins) – plus my Anchor RDJs which are currently needing a bit of tweaking before they’re hemmed (oops)


Unfinished Projects (UFOs)

Just the Anchor Real Deal Jeans, seeing as there were too many mistakes which need amending before I can hem them (oops)


Projects Not Started

Cheyenne
Marigold
Refined Raglan

I thought my most likely projects to not complete from that list would be the Real Deal Jeans, and Zen trousers! Oddly enough, it’s the projects which require simple woven cotton which I haven’t attempted…. maybe that’s something to work on for this year?

Another pair of jeans, another mistake

I really don’t know how I’m making so many mistakes with jeans at the moment – my first ever pair of denim jeans came out as I expected, but since then my jeans have been going wrong!

First let’s start with the positives on these Real Deal Jeans*. I decided to do some decorative top stitching on the back yoke, and also for the back pockets. The yoke stitching isn’t overly visible unless you look closely, but that doesn’t matter as the anchor pattern is quite bold anyway.

So the back was a definite success, which means the front must have the disaster, right? I don’t know if it’s just the way I put the zip in, or if I’m missing something in the instructions, but the left side is a different height at the waistband to the right-hand side.

This is the same pair of jeans – I didn’t use the flash for this photo, so it came out a bit darker than the real shade of blue

What seems to happen, is that the zip moves (despite being pinned), and ends up slightly higher on the second side. I had this before with my Penguin RDJs but while my Dawn jeans didn’t have this mistake, these anchor jeans have a more noticeable difference between the left and right at the waistband.

Not only that, but I had a disaster with the button – when I hammered it in, it ended up skewed. 

So before I get on and sort the hem to finish these off, does anybody have any recommendations for how to remove the hammered-in button, and also to resolve the waistband problem, or will I be stuck with that lopsidedness forever?


* affiliate link
Pattern:  Real Deal Jeans* by WinterWear Designs*
Fabric: Anchor denim from Sewing Studio

Baby Tee

I hardly ever make baby clothing, but when a neighbour was expecting I decided it was a good excuse to try out a Patterns for Pirates free pattern to make a tee.

I will admit I made several mistakes in the sewing, most of which came about because it’s a much smaller size than I’ve ever sewn before! The lap part of the tee (where the back panel laps over the front) isn’t quite sewn into the seams fully… but it’ll be perfectly wearable until the little’un grows out of it!

And of course, I had to make a card to go with it. I just hope the tee fits little J!


Pattern: Wee Lap Tee by Patterns for Pirates
Fabric: Jersey from Sewing Studio
Card: graphics from FreePik.com

Why do jeans always go wrong?

The front of my latest Dawn Jeans came out near enough perfect – the front left lines up with the front right, and the button hammered in exactly straight.

However, when it comes to the back, it all goes wrong! In top stitching the waistband down, I seem to have a bunch of denim, but no corresponding bulk for the waistband lining.

Of course I thought it was a good idea to top stitch using a triple straight stretch stitch, which is one of the most challenging stitches to unpick.

So before I reach for the seam ripper, does anyone have any hints or tips for the best way to unpick my mistakes?


Pattern: Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen 
Fabric: stretch denim from Mibs Fabrics
Inner waistband & pocket bags – polycotton from Fashion Fabrics

Showerproof “Quilted” Bag

I’ve had enough of soggy bags when I’ve been out for a walk in the rain, so I thought it was time I tried sewing one in a showerproof fabric. I spotted this laminated cotton with a nifty quilted picture printed on it at Mibs Fabrics, and thought it’d be ideal. I picked out an airtex mesh for the lining, and because that obviously has holes in it, added in a sew-in interfacing just to strengthen the lining a little.

The mesh was an experience to sew, having never used anything like that before! I found that backing it with interfacing also helped my eyes, as being able to see the dark table through the holes in the fabric was starting to get challenging.

Originally I was going to add a zipped pocket to the front flap, but I made a mess of the sewing on that, and had to improvise. Thankfully I had just enough fabric left to cut a (slightly short) replacement panel, and salvaged some of my mistake piece to make a basic patch pocket with a flap closure instead.

I think the flap works better for a bag that’s likely to get caught out in the rain though, as in theory the rain should just run off the flap, and not end up in the pocket itself!

I didn’t bind my seams with any waterproof tape, so I know the bag won’t be 100% waterproof, but I’m hoping it’ll be a great deal better than my usual bags bade from canvas!


Pattern:  Crazy Little Projects
Fabric: Laminated Cotton and Airtex Mesh  from Mibs Fabrics

Fabric: Laminated Cotton and Airtex Mesh  from Mibs Fabrics

Going Rogue

If you were to tell me a couple of months ago that I would have made a pair of socks, I’d have jut laughed and pointed out that I never got the hang of knitting in the round… it wouldn’t have dawned on me that sewn socks were even a thing!

But they are, and I’ve tried making a pair!

The front looks quite accurate, but I think I need to work on the heel insert a little more – the base of the heel looks quite rectangular to me, although that could just be down to the recipient’s feet not quite being the same size as the socks!

My next pair will be without the heel insert, to see how comfortable that is – I don’t usually wear heel-less socks, but if they’re comfy then it’ll be a much faster sew!


Pattern: Going Rogue Socks by The Wolf and the Tree
Fabric: Jersey remnants from Fashion Fabrics

Dawn Jeans

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester for the amazing Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans and couldn’t get my fabric prepared fast enough!

The Dawn Jeans come with four options – tapered, straight, wide, and shorts. Originally I was going to make the shorts, but decided in the end to try the wide leg jeans.

These jeans are meant to have a vintage feel – kind of classic Levis, so I chose some reasonably heavy denim which had a slight give rather than any real stretch.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I don’t use topstitching thread – I know, dreadful isn’t it! When I bought my sewing machine, the shop manager enlightened me that if you use particular stitches, you can get the effect of topstitching without needing to invest in specific thread.

I prefer the look of the triple straight stretch stitch out of the options I have, and it means I can liven up my jeans without needing to buy in lots of specific thread too!

Dawn is drafted with a high waist, which I didn’t alter at all. It actually hits at a comfortable level for me, despite being only 5′ 1″, which meant I didn’t have to try and work out any alterations – yay!

Unlike other trouser patterns I’ve used before, Dawn’s pocket bags are actually sewn inside out, so the right side of the fabric shows on the inside of the jeans. Using the same fabric as the inner waistband means they blend nicely – and the inner waistband also gave me a chance to add some fancy stitching too:

Strictly speaking, the inner waistband is meant to be denim, but I was trying to squeeze these jeans out of a metre of fabric, so I only had enough for the outer waistband! I also didn’t have quite enough for a proper hem, so I added some bias binding around the raw edge to prevent it from fraying, before sewing the hem.

I also stitched lower down on the hem in a matching thread, just to make it a bit stronger.

I took in the width by a few inches on the legs, as they were a bit too wide for me! But overall, these jeans are a great fit, didn’t require much alteration other than the width (and that’s down to personal choice anyway), and I’m just waiting for the weather to get a little cooler now, so I can wear them!

One pair made, but why stop at just one?

Buoyed on by my success with those, I decided to try a straight leg pair. These are made from a lighter weight stretch denim, but I’ve stuck with the same size as my previous ones. I did have a bit of a disagreement with the button when it came to hammering it in place, but other than that, these are also really comfortable!

I wanted to do something different with the pockets on these, so this is actually glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread! I had a semi-disaster with the interfacing I’d put on the back of the pocket – I managed to melt it over the iron – so I added a lining to the pocket, to hide the gummy interfacing and also to prevent the stitches getting caught on the inside.

Again, I used the same fabric for the pocket bags and inner waistband, but this time I doubled up on the inner waistband fabric to make it stronger. 

No modelled photos of these yet, as they’re still in the UFO stage until I can get the hem measured and stitched!

I doubt I’ll be making a tapered-leg pair, as that isn’t a style I wear, but I’m planning on making some shorts for next summer if I can find some lighter weight denim, or maybe a linen blend fabric!

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Megan Nielsen, and check out the Dawn Jeans!


Pattern: Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen 
Fabric:
Wide-leg jeans – non-stretch denim from Sewing Studio
Straight-leg jeans – stretch denim from Mibs Fabrics
Inner waistband & pocket bags – polycotton from Fashion Fabrics

Topstitching Jeans

In preparation for an amazing pattern release later this week, I thought I’d share a quick video I made for how I tackled the topstitching over a bulky seam. 

I use regular thread, and a straight stretch stitch for strength… well, it also looks pretty good too! But going over a bulky seam is a bit of a nightmare if those stitches don’t come out straight, so how do you do it?

You could just a piece of folded fabric, or maybe some thick folded card – they’d both give the same result. But I’m using the button shank plate (which I’ve also seen called a Jean-a-ma-jig) that I got as a special deal from the shop when I bought my machine.. Normally the button shank plate is £8, but I’ve seen Jean-a-ma-jigs for about half that, so it’s worth looking round for a good price!

Ok, so how do you use it?

Sew as normal just to the point where the foot starts to lift at the front, as it tries to climb over the bulky seam.

For my button shank plate, there’s a thick side and a slightly tapered side (on the right in this photo). With the needle down, lift the foot, and gently push the tapered side under the foot at the back. Lower the foot again….

….it should now look like this! Slowly sew – you may need to use the hand wheel, depending on your machine and the thickness of your fabric!
Once the machine has stitched past the bulk, you can remove the button shank plate from the back.

Because that probably sounds way more complicated than it actually is, here’s a quick video of the button shank plate in action. I hold it in place to start with simply because I’m using a triple straight stretch stitch – that goes backwards on every third stitch, and I wanted to make sure my needle didn’t hit the plastic plate!

And there you have it – a little tip to help get topstitching to work over those bulky jeans seams!