27 May 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 9 - Buttonhole/Hem)

Jeans #9 are finally finished!

Buttonhole (11 minutes)
My machine makes buttonholes automatically, so this part is not complicated.  I have a button about the size of the jeans tack that I use to size the buttonhole.  I use regular thread in both the needle and bobbin.  After the hole is cut open, I seal the edges with Fray Check and zigzag the opening closed a tiny bit to prevent stretching.

Belt loops & Hem (60 minutes)
Adding the belt loops takes but a few minutes.  Once the top edge of the belt loop is turned under, topstitch in place close to the edge and then again 1/4" away  .

This part is not difficult.  The bottom edge of the jeans are serged and pressed up 1/2" and then another 1/2".  I included two lines of topstitching to finish it off.

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes

5.  fly - 87 minutes 
6.  in/outseams - 80 minutes
7.   belt loops - 29 minutes
8.  waistband - 125 minutes
9.  buttonhole/belt loops/hem - 71 minutes

Total time:  10 hours, 7 minutes

Under normal (whatever that means) sewing circumstances, I would have completed these weeks ago.  But life and raccoons happen.  Whatareyagonnado?

In timing my sewing of this garment, I learned that even the simplest task can take more time than I imagined.  I don't think I'll make accurately monitoring my sewing time a regular thing, but it is nice to know how much time sewing something actually takes.

Thanks to all who followed along!  I hope this was helpful.

Until next time, peace!


21 May 2013

Simplicity 2365, View B (tunic)

This is my second attempt at this pattern since first trying it in 2011.  Despite it being too big in many places, it was reasonably wearable with a belt.  However, I sent this off to Wadderville because I could not get the collar stand to work.  The left side (facing) looks good, but the right side is all kinds of wrong.

I decided to give it another try, but opted for a bias-bound neckline instead.  More details below.

Fabric & Notions:
  • 2 yards of cotton voile
  • polyester thread
  • self-fabric bias tape
  • 70/10 Microtex sharp needle 
  • size 4.0 stretch twin needle (it's what I had on hand)
  • pintuck foot
  • serrated tracing wheel and wax tracing paper 
Machine Settings:
  • pintucks: 2.5 length, 2.5 width
  • seams:  2.5 length, 2.5 width
  • topstitching:  3.0 length, 2.5 width
  • tension:  4.0

Fitting & Alterations:

Originally I started with an 18 but that proved to be way too big.  So, I sized down to a 16 on the front and about a 14 across the back. 

To compensate for the decrease in width across the back created by using a smaller size, I made a 5/8" broad back adjustment.     

I lowered the bust fullness 1.25" (on both the side front and center front pieces).  I also made a similar width adjustment (as in the broad back) on the side front pattern piece. This adjustment adds extra width at bust level and slightly raises the armhole. I did not do a traditional FBA.

I can't remember the size I used for the sleeves, but I do remember shaving off a bit from the sleeve seam (not cap) to match the adjustments made at the side seams.

One thing to note is that the sleeve cap in view B has gathers and a pouf.  The print hides this detail on the front of the pattern envelope, but the line drawing shows it very clearly.  If you're not a fan of the pouf, I would suggest removing some height from the sleeve cap before cutting the fabric.

I took off 1/2" from the neckline so that the bias binding didn't creep around my neck.


I don't even remember why I bought a pintuck foot, though it definitely came in handy for this project.  The instructions have you mark the lines for the pintucks, "pick up the fabric" and press to one side, then stitch the tuck in place. You have to do this for each pintuck and these tucks aren't that wide.  Ummmmmmm...no!

Why do all of that work when a pintuck foot does it for you? =)  Coupling the foot with a twin needle tucks the fabric while simultaneously securing it with the zigzag stitch underneath.  The video on this site shows the creation of a pintuck in action.  Like the video shows, I also pressed my pintucks in one direction - in this case, away from the center front.

Even though I didn't follow the pattern instructions, I didn't lose much width across the front by making the pintucks this way.

Note:  Since I hadn't used a twin needle in a while, I had to consult my machine's manual to remind myself how to set it up.  The manual said to orient the second spool of thread so that the thread fell over the top.  This created all kinds of problems!  I had thread nests, skipped stitches, and broken threads.  When I flipped the spool so that the thread was underneath, everything sewed like normal.  I don't know if my manual has an error or not.  If you encounter problems with the twin needle, try not following your machine's instructions!

Self-bias Neckline
Collar stands are still a work in progress for me (see above hot mess).  When I saw Belinda's version of this top, I knew I wanted to copy her idea.  Thanks Belinda!  It was the perfect solution to a problem that still needs fixing.

I made continuous bias binding using this tutorial.  I've seen many different methods on making continuous bias strips, but this one has NEVER failed me.  I can get between 6 and 8 yards of bias binding out of a single fat quarter using this method.  And as a bonus, mastering the technique doesn't even take that much practice!  I was able to successfully make the binding on my very first try. 

French Seams
I sewed all seams (except the sleeves) with a french seam.  My fabric is very thin and would have probably puckered if I tried to serge-finish the edges.  I found that using a small Microtex needle helped to keep the stitches nice and smooth.  In finishing the armhole seams, I sewed the seam first and serged them together.  I don't notice any puckering in this area.

Narrow Hem on Sleeves
Because I was so focused on binding the neckline, I used the remaining fabric to create the bias strips and neglected to cut out the sleeve band.  So my sleeves are much shorter than intended.  To finish the hem, I sewed a very narrow 1/2" hem by folding under 1/4" twice and topstitching.


This is a good pattern with generous ease and a few different design possibilities.  It's great for warmer weather and is quick to sew.  I don't know that I'll sew it again any time soon, but it's definitely in the sewing rolodex if I want to revisit it again.

Here the top is accompanied by OOP Vogue 7880 (pattern photo credit:  Judith of Made by J).

Here the top is tucked in and paired with Vogue 8426.

Up next:  I'm working on styling my stash as inspired by the sensational SarahLiz.  This sew along couldn't be more perfectly timed.  I am focused on sewing small spring/summer capsules, busting the stash, and knocking off snoop-shopped looks.

Back in January, I made the following pledge:

"I, Lynn of You sew girl!, commit to using at least 12 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. I also commit to using at least 10 patterns from the stash. Stash includes any fabric or patterns on hand prior to the date of this pledge, 15 Jan 2013."

The Jalie jeans and Simplicity tunic count as two pieces of stash fabric sewn.  I won't count the patterns used because I've attempted them before.

I may be a little slow to blog over the next few days as my rusty desktop is finally showing its age.  Upgrades aren't even affecting it anymore, so after 10 years of faithful computing, I think it's time to put it down.  =)

Until next time, peace!


20 May 2013

Quick Home Dec Project

One of my former students recently crossed Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.  As a gift, I made him some appliqued pillowcases.  Now I've made pillowcases before, but I've never appliqued anything.  Sure I could have scoured the interwebs for Greek letter patches, but then that would have required me to...um...scour the interwebs.  It's funny how laziness works.  I didn't feel like searching the net, so I made my own letters - which took far more work and a subsequent scouring of said webs for information on how to applique.  Hah.  I amuse me.  

I actually found this whole process kinda fun.  I learned how to use fusible web and freezer paper to create the letters as well as attach them to the hem band using a satin stitch. 

First I fused the web to the back of the fabric out of which the letters were to be cut.

After printing and  then tracing the letters onto freezer paper, I pressed the freezer paper onto the fabric.  Sidebar:  why has no one ever told me about freezer paper??  This stuff is amazing!  It is so easy to work with and does not damage the fabric.  I am in applique heaven.  Well, not really.  But you get the point.

The photo below shows a couple of letters already cut out and re-fused to the fabric.  Yes.  You can reuse the freezer paper!  Genius!

Here are the letters ready for fusing to the hem band.

Next, I peeled away the paper backing and pressed the letters onto the hem band.


I included both the letters and his line number.  Aww...  I'm so proud of the little runt.

So that was the "easy" part.  Next up was to apply the satin stitch around the edges.  This was brand new to me so I just winged it.  The best piece of advice I read online involved where to stop the needle when pivoting at an inside or outside edge.  If it's an outside edge, stop the needle on the right.  If it's an inside edge, stop the needle on the left.  By the time I got to the second pillow case, I had this down to a science.

Each pillow case has the letters and line numbers on both sides.  This way, the pillowcase body can experience even wear.  Also, the fabric is 100% cotton and should wash well.

I gave him the gift on Friday and he was quite hyped!  He is confident that he is the only Que with Omega pillowcases.  I told him it better stay that way, too!

Does this mean I'm getting into the Greek letter pillowcase business?  Probably not.  I rarely  sew for anyone else.  But he was a good student and always comes back to say hi, so I thought it would be a nice gesture to do this for him. 

Admittedly, this is why it took me longer to finish the jeans.  I stopped working on them after the semester ended to whip up this project.  Now that both the jeans and pillowcases are finished, I can move (and have moved) onto something else.

I have one more post to complete the jeans #9 series.  The post is written, I just need to snap some photos.  Until next time, peace!

19 May 2013

Contouring a Waistband

A straight rectangular waistband is no good for a person with trunk junk.  The waistband will gap at the center back and cause unnecessary exposure.  To contour the waistband, I used the instructions provided by Jennifer Stern in her "Blueprints to Better Jeans" class on PR.  

1.  The first thing I did was draw the straight grainline since I don't cut my waistband on the bias.

2.  Align the waistband and bake yoke pieces at the center back.  2" from the center back, draw a vertical line from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the yoke.  Draw two or three more vertical lines 2 inches apart from the first one.  The number of lines you draw depends on the amount of width you plan to remove from the waistband. 

I just had a revelation about this method for this particular waistband!  I'll share it at the end of the post.


3.  I removed 4 inches of width altogether.  I drew four vertical lines and will dart out 1/2" at each line.  To do this, mark 1/4" on either side of each vertical line.  Since I worked with one-half of the waistband, the amount removed on this piece is 2 inches.

The marks are in blue. 
 4.  Draw a single line connecting the left mark with the bottom of the line on the back yoke.  Repeat for the right mark.  Do this for each of the vertical lines drawn.


5.  Finally, fold on the vertical line, overlap the dart edges, and tape in place.  Alternatively, you can cut on one dart leg, match it with the other, and tape in place.  Do the same for the yoke piece.  The changes to the yoke piece are so small, I didn't bother taking out the excess.  I haven't had a problem with fitting the waistband to the yoke.
curved waistband

As I was writing this post, I thought more about how this method affects this particular waistband.  The Jalie waistband is designed to be cut into two pieces, sewn at the center back, and then joined to the pants front/back.  Then, it's folded lengthwise and topstitched.  So the waist seam is in the center of the piece.

So the amount removed is actually less than planned since the dart isn't as wide in this area.  I never realized this until now.  This may explain why my waistband still gapes a bit.  I will have to address this in future pairs of jeans.

I hope this was helpful!


14 May 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 8 - Waistband)

Despite having made several pairs of jeans and pants, I still have to improve my waistband-finishing technique.  It's not as neat as I'd like it to be and I know I can do better.  The thing is, I don't quite know where I go wrong in the process to not produce a nice clean edge.  I don't know if I stitch too far or not far enough.  In any event, this part always takes me longer due to the amount of unpicking I have to do.

Waistband (125 minutes)
The Jalie waistband is a rectangle cut on the bias.  In all of the jeans I made, I never cut my waistband on the bias because that would give way more stretch than I wanted.  So I cut mine on the crossgrain.  Once the waistband is attached to the jeans, it is folded lengthwise over the waist seam and topstitched.  Most pants patterns have you cut two waistbands and stitch a seam along the top edge, but this pattern's waistband has a built-in facing. 

The advantage is that there isn't additional bulk along the top edge of the waistband.  You can get a good press and have no problem topstitching along this edge.  I see two disadvantages:  (1) I don't think the gaposis fix (briefly described below) is as good as it can be and (2) one can't have a cool contrasting fabric on the inside.  Having made these jeans multiple times, I might try to alter the waistband to address the disadvantages.

As part of Jennifer Stern's "Blueprint to Better Jeans" class on PR, I developed a contoured waistband to help eliminate gaposis at the back.  It is created by removing small vertical darts from the waistband and yoke simultaneously.  I'll detail the process I used to contour the waistband in my next post.

Once interfacing is fused to the wrong side of the waistband, stitch the center back seam.  Next sew a guideline along the seamline of one long edge and press under along this line.  Since my waistband is contoured, I sewed my guideline along the inside (shorter) curve.  Press to the wrong side along this line.

waistband after the CB seam is sewn
(As I write this, I am starting to wonder if I attached my waistband upside down.  It didn't seem like it as I was sewing, but now I have doubts.  When I tried on my jeans to assess the fit, I noticed that I have some  gaping at the back and this never happens.  It's possible that the waistband stretched a bit while sewing.  I'll wear a belt and pay closer attention next time.)

Pin the right side of the waistband to the wrong side of the jeans matching notches and center front.  Stitch.

front view with waistband stitched and ready for folding
At this point, I shorten the zipper and place a safety pin across the zipper teeth to prevent from pulling the tab off. 

Fold waistband right sides together near the center front.  Stitch, trim the seam, and clip the corners.  My waistband is a bit longer because I added some width when I first cut it out.  I like to have a little extra allowance, just in case.

After sewing the waistband's right side to the jeans' wrong side, fold the waistband over top and topstitch.
view from the inside with waistband folded over

finished waistband

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes

5.  fly - 87 minutes 
6.  in/outseams - 80 minutes
7.   belt loops - 29 minutes
8.  waistband - 125 minutes

Total time:  8 hours, 56 minutes

I finished the jeans completely yesterday!  I need to snap some photos of the belt loops, button, hem, and of me wearing them.  I hope to do that and write the final post in this series this week.

Until next time, peace!


03 May 2013

Blogger Awards

I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth!  The end of this semester was particularly busy and I was exhausted every day.  I only recently resumed working on my jeans and finally finished my last UFO.  I'll post updates soon.

For now I'd like to extend much love and appreciation to Dorothy from Sewingfunthings and SarahC from Musings of a Seamstress for nominating me for the Lovely Blogger and Liebster Blog Awards.  I am so thankful to be a part of such a warm community of sewing folk. =)  

Acceptance of both awards involves thanking the individuals for the nomination, sharing nuggets of information about me, displaying the award badge on my blog, and passing the honor along to other bloggers.

Sarah asked ten great questions about sewing that I will answer below. 

1.  Why did you decided to start blogging?   I needed an outlet to release all the crazy that was going on up top.  =)

2.  What are your goals for your blog?  I don't have any defined goals for my blog.  I just like to talk and this one way for me to get my fix.  I hope to continue sharing my sewing adventures while developing friendships with other like-minded folks.

3.  Do you gravitate towards fabrics with texture, pattern or solid colors?  Hmm.  Good question.  I never really thought about it.  I gravitate to what doesn't itch and will look good on me.  I tend to pick natural fibers over synthetics, though.

4.  What is your favorite season to sew for?  I like sewing for spring.  I love linen because it's so easy to sew and handle.  I love making skirts and in the Arctic north that is Michigan, wearing skirts in the winter doesn't work out too well.

5.  What is your favorite fabric store to shop?  An easier question to answer is what is my least favorite fabric store to shop!  JoAnn's.  Sorry hon, your store is terrible.  There aren't many brick & mortar sewing shops around here anymore, so I look for fabric other ways.

6.  What do you call yourself (sewcialist, sewer, seamstress, sewist…) and why?  I am a sewer (sounds like sower).  While I understand the push back against 'sewer' as in the place raw sewage, rats, and C.H.U.D. resides, the English language affords us the opportunity to pronounce differently words that are spelled exactly the same and have completely different meanings.  Why not take advantage of that? =) 

7.  Yes or no to sewing for others?  Why?  No!  It's hard enough sewing for myself.  I don't need the added drama.  Then again, a student offered me $50,000 to make him a pair of jeans once he becomes rich.  In that case...

8.  What is your favorite garment sewn thus far? Why?  I have lots of favorites, but if I had to narrow it down to one pattern/garment, it would have to be my Jalie jeans.  At 5-feet tall with trunk-junk, it is hard to find a good-fitting pair of jeans. 

9.  What is one thing you hope to sew this month?  Given that April is almost over, I'll project this answer onto next month.  I've assembled a set of fabrics inspired by pictures of Forsythia.  My neighbor used to have the most beautiful forsythia bushes on which little wrens would sing their hearts out.  I love this color and think it screams of spring.  This month, I hope to sew several of the planned garments in my mini SWAP.

10.  What is one thing in your must sew list for this year? 
I want to make a full-length tailored wool winter coat complete with wool interlining and flannel-backed lining.  I have a down coat that keeps me quite toasty, but I look like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man.  It's a lot of coat for a short person and I want something that's a little more stylish.

Thanks for asking these questions, Sarah.  You gave me lots to think about and I enjoyed sharing my answers. =)

Now that I've shared some of my sewing thoughts, here are a few things about me.

I throw just as much as I sew.  I love making pottery and since taking my first class, have made two sets of dishes, two drums, flower pots, coffee mugs, etc.  I need to update my Pottery Page to show my latest creations.
I've been roller skating off and on for over 30 years.  More recently (2008), I started going back more consistently.   I used to skate three times per week, but osteoarthritis in both of my knees got the best of me.  Now, I get my roll on once a week.  I just learned a new skate move on Friday and my thighs are still ON FIRE.  I need more practice!
I love dogs and always have.  I can't remember a time when there was never a dog in the house.  We had a chihuahua, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Pit Bull, yellow Lab, and a couple of random strays.  Dogs are wonderfully loyal and are the best of friends.  Pictured here is Maya, a Pit Bull, in her usual stance:  out cold and snoring.

I love driving manual transmission.  I bought my first stick not knowing how to drive it.  After two hours of practicing with a friend in a parking lot, I hopped on the freeway and the rest is history.  I've been driving manual for so long, I sometimes forget how to drive an automatic.  Seems counter-intuitive, right?  I forget that there is no clutch and "Park" sort of freaks me out.  Whenever I drive an automatic, I seriously have to think about what I'm doing! 

I have always loved math and majored in it in college (undergraduate and graduate).  Math was always the first homework I did and the subject that interested me the most.  

To receive both the Lovely Blogger and Leibster Awards, I'd like to nominate all of the participants of the Sew Your Own Wardrobe for a Year challenge.  To commit to sewing all of your clothes for one year is a feat nothing short of remarkable.  I commend everyone who's signed on and look forward to seeing the garments they create.  In particular, I would like to nominate Vita (Pattern Therapy) and Natalea (The Fearless Seamstress) for initiating this challenge and welcoming all of us to join.

 I also nominate Velosewer (How good is that?), Kristine (Just Keep Sewing), God'sGirl T (Virginia's Sew Blessed Daughter), Ruthie (RuthieSews), and Reethi (Weekend Crafting).  I enjoy reading their blogs and adore their creations.  Check them out if you haven't done so already.

 Until next time, peace!



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