24 February 2014

BWOF 11-2009-125 (funky bellbottoms): Complete

This seemed like the project that would never end.  Fortunately, it has.  Unfortunately, it's not my best work.  I'll definitely rock (ring?) these bells, but there is definitely room for improvement!

(top:  McCall's 6078, jacket Jalie 2559) 

  • 2 yards of medium to heavyweight denim
  • 7" metal zipper
  • topstitching thread
  • fusible interfacing
  • 7 metal jeans tacks
  • 80/12 universal needle for seams
  • 100/16 universal needle for topstitching
  • fabric scraps for pocket and belt loop lining
Pattern Instructions:  Typical BWOF word maze.  I didn't really follow them since I've sewn jeans before. In this order, I:  sewed the front and back vertical seams, inserted the zipper using the instructions from Jalie 2908, sewed the back crotch seam, and topstitched the inseams (described below).  I sewed the side seams, waistband, belt loops, and hem as usual.

Alterations and Fit:  Originally, I started with size 44, but took off so much (about 3 inches total) from the  seams, I probably ended up sewing size 40.  That's good news considering I picked up about six pounds (!!!) from my most recent ailment.  Ugh.  Comfort food played a big role in the weight gain...but still...six pounds? 

I removed a total of five inches of length:  three in the leg area (1.5 above and below the knee), one from the hem, and one from the waist.  Although removing the extra inch from the waist helped in positioning the jeans on my waist where I like it, I could stand to remove about another inch because the front crotch is still too long.  Is this a thing with Burda pants? 

Topstitching (A Lesson in Faking It):  With four godets on each leg, I didn't think the jeans would look right with topstitching only on the outer seams.  This meant I would have to topstitch one of those seams in a tube.  I tried it with basting stitches and gave up around mid-thigh.  There was just too much fabric bunched up around the needle.  There just had to be a better way to get the same effect without the hassle.  

My solution?  I faked it.  Before sewing the inseams, I topstitched them while they were flat.  I sewed a guideline on the seam line and topstitched 1/8" to the outside of this line.  Then I sewed and topstitched the side seams as normal.  Lastly I sewed the inseams, taking care to keep an even seam allowance so that the line of topstitching would be visible and even.  You know what?  The faked topstitching lines look MUCH better than the real ones.  Figures.

I ended up pressing all of the vertical seams open because I didn't like how much bulk was created around the godets.  There are areas where there is a little bit of bulk, but it's not too bad.

Construction:  I relied heavily on Katie's (Kadiddlehopper) blog post to sew this pair.  I took cues from her on topstitching the seams and lining the pocket flaps/belt loops. 

The only thing that gave me problems was sewing the buttonhole.  My machine did not like doing this at all.  I sewed a few practice buttonholes only to have to pick out the 'real ones' twice.  The final attempt resulted in a buttonhole that's about 1/4" too small.  The jeans tack still fits, but it's a struggle and I don't know how secure this will be in the long run.  

In pottery, if there is an area of the piece that is imperfect, potters often use something (a design, chattering, or more clay) to cover it up.  Picking stitches 0.4mm long is a PITA.  I couldn't pick them all, so I covered them up with a little decorative stitch.  Meh.  Like I said, not my best work.

Conclusion:  I'll wear these jeans, but I doubt they'll be in the regular rotation as much as my other jeans.  Despite trying them on during construction, they're still too big in many places.  Even though this is a very distinctive style, I will probably sew them again just to get the fit and sewing right.  I am by no means a perfectionist, but I know I can do better.

Peaking out from the jeans are leopard print patent leather flats.  I *love* this look, but hate that the flats are uncomfortable.  O_o  They have soft soles too!  Ugh!

More pics:

Up next:  I have no idea.  I need tops, so maybe that's what I'll work on next. Until next time, peace!

09 February 2014

Feedback & Funky Bells Update

First some feedback...

Thank you for the comments on my jacket.  I like it and can definitely see more versions in my regular rotation.  I hope to snap a picture of me wearing it once I finish the funky bells.

Faye asked:  "What type of fusible interfacing did you use?"

I used a medium-weight fusible that I found at Haberman Fabrics years ago.  I bought all they had since they said they would no longer be able to order it.  I use it for special projects like this because of its weight and stability. 

Sarah Liz asked:  "What sort of lining do you use?"

I use Bemberg Ambiance 100% rayon lining for almost all of my lined garments.  The lining washes, dries, and presses well.  It's shifty and, at times, can be a pain to handle.  Aside from silk or Kasha flannel-backed cotton/acetate lining, I wouldn't line with anything else.

Up next, the funky bells update...

Sooooooo...I basted the seams together and tried on the jeans.  What did I learn?  I could fit two people in these bad boys.

Holy big jeans.  These things are ginormous.  I started with the same size (44) as the last pair because I thought I needed the extra room since my denim has no stretch.  When I compared the pattern pieces to Jalie 2908, I thought they looked rather big.  But I forged on anyway because the Jalie jeans are made for stretch denim.

I was wrong.  I'm so glad I didn't do any topstitching.  I would have been in a sour mood if I had to undo all of that.  I picked everything apart and started over.  I sewed at 3/4" along the front and back vertical seams.  For the side and inseams, I trimmed off 1/4" and then sewed at 5/8".  This amounts to a total reduction of 3 inches!  The fit is much better now, though I could have taken off a bit more across the front.
I'll also need to do something about that mile-long front crotch.  
Do you see that??  This can't be normal.  I don't remember the front crotch being this long on the skinny jeans or else I would have altered the pattern before cutting my fabric.  Maybe I've been wearing low-rise jeans for so long that I've forgotten what regular-rise looks like.  I don't know.  What I do know is that I am definitely lopping that shit off.  

For comparison, here is a copy of the zipper area for Jalie 2908:

Yeah, man.  That foolishness has to go.  I think taking off an inch will do; that will leave enough for a seam allowance.  I was concerned that shorting the length at the waist might throw off the waistband.  But I've already done that by taking those bigger seam allowances.  Meh.  I'll make it work somehow.

As for the overall length of the jeans, yeah I'm short.  Whatareyagonnado?  I'll probably have to lop off an inch or two before I sew the hem.

This is a picture of one of the godets topstitched.  The jeans have four godets on each leg:  front, back, and both sides.  I want to topstitch all seams, but doing so will involve topstitching one seam in a tube.  I've tried that before - it's not fun.  I'm going to practice doing it while I have the pants basted.  If I can't get it to work, then I'll have to figure out something else.  Kadiddlehopper was able to topstitch all eight vertical seams successfully.  She suggests topstitching the inseams last so that any wonkiness is  hidden.  We'll see how that goes.

That's all for now.  Until next time, peace everyone!


05 February 2014

Jalie 2559 (jacket): Complete

Welkom aan boord vlucht 2559.   The KLM jacket is finished!  I think the buttons are a little high, though, so I might redo them.

I don't have any pictures of me wearing the jacket, so dress form photos will have to due for now.  Here's the review:

Fabric & Notions
  • 2 yards of medium-weight wool suiting (from the stash)
  • 2 yards of navy Bemberg rayon lining
  • fusible interfacing for the front, front facings, and all hems
  •  11" x 3" strips of bias-cut fleece for sleeve heads
  • 80/12 universal needle for shell
  • 70/10 microtex needle for lining
  • pre-washed muslin for back stay
  • covered buttons kit
  • regular sewing machine, serger, and walking foot 
  • 2 metal snaps

Sizing & Adjustments
Having sewn this before, I worked out the fit already.  I traced a size Z according to my full bust measurement.  I narrowed the shoulders by taking a larger seam allowance in this area, tapering back to 5/8" in the upper chest.  I did a 5/8" sway back adjustment and shortened the sleeves 1.5".  I also took slightly bigger seam allowances across the upper back because I thought the jacket was baggy in this area.  Judging by how it looks on me, I could stand to take a bigger seam allowance or cut a smaller size. 

Even though the undercollar is cut on the fold and with a CB seam, it's the same size as the upper collar.  To encourage turn of cloth, I trimmed 1/8" from the side and long edges.

When I made this jacket for the second time last year, I wrote a list of changes to make for the third iteration:
  • No interfacing in the seams:  Not having interfacing in the seam allowances reduced a lot of bulk in places that didn't need it.  Since I intend to make this jacket a few more times, I made separate interfacing pieces that don't include seam allowances. 
  • Flannel or fleece for sleeve heads:  Fleece is my friend for sleeve heads.  Cotton batting is nice, but even on the bias it has NO stretch. 
  • No polyester lining:  I'm a lining snob.  No shame in my game.
  • Finish edges and press seams open:  Done and done.

Nothing special here.  I sewed everything on my machine after finishing the edges first.  The lining seams were sewn first, then serged together.  

The covered buttons are for decoration only.  I chickened out of doing proper buttonholes and used snaps instead.


jump pleat
undercollar/turn of cloth
This is photo shows the color better than the others.

 left:  zebra print cotton stretch sateen
right:  black and white wool tweed

The type of bottom can take this from nice suit to hubba - not hubba hubba...it is a blazer after all.  

I don't know why the right side is pulling at the bottom.  It doesn't do that on me. 

The only thing I don't care for on this version is the topstitching around the edge of the front.  Since there is no topstitching anywhere else on the jacket, it seems out of place here.  It doesn't stand out too much, but should I sew this again I won't topstitch around the edge.

I'll certainly make this again pattern again - maybe with welt pockets.  The draft is very well done and everything matches precisely. 

Up next:  I'm still working on the Burda bells.  I'm going to sew them to the point where I can try them on; I have some concerns about the fit and length.

I took this picture on 6 Jan.  It's 5 Feb and after the last few snow storms, the deck looks the same.  The snow isn't going anywhere anytime soon since the temperature is forecast to be in the single digits for the next week.

Until next time, peace and warmth!


02 February 2014

January 2014: Good Riddance!


Snow.  Arctic temperatures.  More snow.  Crazy, yet minor, medical issue that has kept me off my feet and out of the gym and rink for TWO weeks.  Family drama.  Weight gain because I haven't worked out in a while and probably won't for at least another week.  No sewjo.

February, be nice, mmmkay?

On the sewing front...

The KLM jacket is still not finished.  I sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in over two weeks and finally fixed the notched collar.  I need to attach the sleeve lining to sleeve hem and finish bagging the lining.  

I also started another pair of jeans - but not from Jalie.  This time, I'm using a BWOF magazine pattern:  11-2009-125.  

It's the same pattern out of which I made my skinny jeans that are now more like jogging pants because of the stretch.  Wild huh?  I'm bringing the 70s back with a vengeance.  I'm almost 40 (!!!) but I think I can still rock funky bell bottoms.  See that's the thing about being my age:  I'm old enough to know better, but young enough to not give a shit. =)  

Happy February everyone!



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