Finally, Ginger Jeans!

Making myself a pair of Ginger Jeans has been on my to-do list since the pattern was released (seriously, it’s been on my 2014, ’15 and ’16 Top 5 goals list…), and I’ve finally knuckled down and made them. Just like with my Safran Jeans, they really weren’t any more difficult to make than any other garment with a moderate number of pieces, definitely easier than a winter coat (and 100% easier than the raincoat I’ve recently finished for my sister!)

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Check them out! These are view B, the high waisted/skinny leg version of this pattern, I like my jeans to sit at my natural waist and these are pretty much spot on. I didn’t make any major pattern changes to this version, I thought I should make them up as is for my first shot and then tinker with my next pair! To be honest, I was amazed at how well they fit straight out of the packet. I took 2” off the hem (next time I’ll take it out higher on the leg to keep the hem skinnier), and moved the pockets up 5/8”, and took out a bit of extra fabric at the outer side of each knee. For my next pair I’m going to play with a knock-knee adjustment, I think that should help fix the diagonal wrinkles at the knee that I have with this pair and my Safran jeans. I might also take a wedge out of each side of the yoke, there’s a wee bit of gaping at the back waistband. Other than that though, I think they’re really good!

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I put in the pocket stay option too, it does help to make the front feel nice and snug! I used more of that Liberty Poplin remnant that I’ve used for every pocket bag/under collar/yoke lining/bag lining since I bought it. There’s still plenty left, so expect to see it again! The denim I used is from The Fabric Store, of course. I bought it years ago, with the intention to make these jeans with it! When I pulled it out of my stash last weekend, I was surprised by how lightweight it was, I had remembered it being much heftier. It meant it was really easy to cut and sew, but these aren’t really winter weight jeans! It also felt quite rigid, and I was worried that I hadn’t bought denim with the right stretch percentage, but it turns out that next to the 30% stretch that my Safran Jeans have, this 2% lycra/cotton blend just feels stiff!

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I used a hardware kit from Closet Case Files (the gold colour way), and I really love the result. The zip is especially nice, the pull is really low profile compared to other zips I’ve used, and it helps the whole fly sit so nice and flat. I also love that the button and the rivets match, it looks all so nice and professional! I was really scared of putting the rivets in, I was sure I was going to ruin everything at the final step! I watched the video tutorial on the Closet Case Files Blog, and everything was really simple in the end. I just had to whack everything harder than I expected, and avoid stabbing myself with the awl (and the rivet posts, they were pointy!). For thread, I just used all-purpose Gutermann thread for construction, but I used Sulky thread for the topstitching. I’ve had so many issues with topstitching thread in my machine, and I thought that the slippery, shiny Sulky thread would show up nicely and my machine wouldn’t have a tantrum every time I tried to sew with it.

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I’m amazed at the difference moving the pockets made! They looked okay at the marked position on the pattern, but shifting them up 5/8” has made my bum look much better. I think the size and shape of the pockets is excellent, Heather Lou knows what she’s doing!

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I was a little bit worried about how firm and tight these felt when I first put them on, but after a few hours they loosened up nicely, especially around the knees (just as well, I thought I might have over-fitted them around there). I’m not sure how well this denim will hold up, to be honest. They’re comfortable now, but I have a feeling that they might keep bagging out and will need lots of washing to keep them in shape! I interfaced the waistband with the same hefty knit interfacing I used in my Safran Jeans, so hopefully they’ll stay up…

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Unfortunately, it turns out that Sulky thread really isn’t cut out for top stitching, especially not on a stretch fabric under stress! After a day of wear, I had popped several lines of topstitching on the pockets and around my bum. This morning I went back and re-did all that topstitching on the back crotch seam and pockets with normal thread in the same colour, and hopefully it’ll hold up better. I thought that since I had seen Sulky thread being used for topstitching on bags that it would be okay, but of course bags aren’t usually stretch fabric or being stressed like those seams, so I shouldn’t be surprised really! I have some heavier stretch denim in grey waiting to be made into another pair of Gingers, so for those I’ll use upholstery thread for the topstitching. I know my machine will sew with that, because I use it to sew leather!

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I really enjoyed making these, even though there were a few setbacks at the last moment! I like the precision of doing that  top stitching, and all of the other components like the bar tacks and rivets and fly make these a really fun project to work on, especially as I sewed them up in short bursts between writing an assignment. Best of all, I’m really happy with the final product! Stupid that it took me so long to make them really…

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Finally, I thought I should get a picture of this tee shirt, as it hasn’t made the blog yet! It’s a Molly Tee, from the Sew Over It City Break Capsule Wardrobe e-book. I really like the shape of it, especially the curved hem and the wide scoop neckline. I turned the sleeve hems up and hand stitched the cuffs rather than just hemming them, just for something a bit different. I keep meaning to make the dress version, but it keeps getting bumped down the list. Maybe for summer!

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All Yellow

In early January I was invited to the wedding of two of our friends. It was in north Canterbury, so I assumed it would be incredibly hot, and I really wanted to make a strappy sun dress to wear. When Sew Over It released the Rosie Dress pattern I knew that I had my dress!


It had the full skirt and spagetti straps that I was looking for, and I liked the sweetheart neckline. The fabric is a Liberty Saville Poplin that I got on sale from The Fabric Store (pretty much the only way I’ll ever buy Liberty is when it’s on sale!). The Poplin was a good choice, even though I was looking for Tana lawn, as I didn’t have to line the skirt.


It’s a big skirt! I like how it has the flat portion at the centre front, it’s a bit more flattering than if it was gathered all the way around. 


Here is the obligatory (super awkward) twirling shot! 


I wish I could say that everything went really smoothly and that I loved this dress, but it just gave me so many issues. I had problems with the fit, and I probably should have either done an FBA or just gone up a size entirely. I’m not happy with the widening and flattening effect it has on my boobs (though my strapless bra doesn’t help with that, to be fair).


I had a bit of a nightmare with the bodice lining too. Everything was sitting nicely until I put in the boned lining, and then the boning stretched out the small amount of ease in the upper bodice, meaning that the neckline stood out from my body from the front princess seams around under my arms. I could have used it as a collecting bucket for small fruit or something, I was so annoyed! I had a whinge on Instagram, and tossed it aside in a huff. Thankfully Nikki had the excellent suggestion of easing it into some stay tape, which I dutifully did. It’s now a little bit wrinkled where it’s been eased in, but it sits much better. 

I did get it done in time to take down south, but I didn’t wear it to the wedding in the end. It’s funny, I thought my Anna dress wasn’t very me, but this dress is much much less me (I wore Anna to the wedding, and felt really good). I just feel uncomfortable in Rosie, and it’s not just that the fit is off. In fact, I’m so sure that I’m not going to wear it that I’m considering taking the bodice off and putting the waistband from the skirt variation on. I think that the skirt paired with a white silk Cami or a cropped Willow tank would be more wearable, and would make me feel less like I’m in a costume. 


So I am a bit disappointed in this one, I don’t like feeling like I’ve wasted both time and fabric on a dud! I’m glad that I have a plan to rescue some of this fabric though, because I love the colour. I guess you can’t win them all…

A good week for secret pyjamas

Well, this has been a bit of a rubbish week. You’re probably mostly aware of what’s been going on in New Zealand, but if you aren’t, just after midnight last Sunday (literally 5 minutes after we got off our flight home from Melbourne!) a pretty massive earthquake hit the northern half of the South Island. It was a magnitude 7.8, which makes it the same size as the Napier earthquake in 1931, which killed hundreds of people and remains NZ’s worst natural disaster (in modern times, anyway). It seems to have nearly flattened the small town of Waiau which was closest to the epicentre of the quake, and has caused major damage to the surrounding area, including closing state highway 1 which is the main route down the country. It also rolled across Cook Strait and hit Wellington pretty hard, we’ve got lots of cordoned off and evacuated sections of town where engineers are trying to decide if damaged buildings are stable enough to survive if another serious shake happens, or if they need to be demolished. We’re still getting hundreds of aftershocks a day (there have been over 2000 since the initial quake), though thankfully they seem to be spreading out and becoming less strong as the week goes on.

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A map of severe (red) and strong earthquakes in the North Canterbury and lower Wellington region recently. A Geonet forecast shows the chance of a large quake striking the region in the next 30 days has reduced. Image credit: GeoNet.org.nz

We also had a tsunami warning sometime after the initial quake, so everyone living in the tsunami zone in Wellington had to decamp to higher ground at 2am Monday! Thankfully we live up a mountain, so no way we were getting hit. Then, if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Wellington got hit by a pretty severe storm on Monday and Tuesday, which caused flooding and landslides (not helped by sections of hillside that had already been loosened by the shake), accompanied by gale force winds which blew broken glass and bits of broken masonry around the city, and which meant we got to play that traditional Wellington game of ‘earthquake or gust of wind?’ We were effectively cut off from the rest of the North Island on Tuesday, the two major routes out of Wellington were closed by flooding and landslides. It was an eventful, stressful few days, and there were some seriously fraying nerves around the city! There is a really good summary of the events of the last week here, if you’re interested in reading more.

Anyway, onto some sewing! I made this dress up the same weekend which I made my Helmi dress, and it’s proved to be a perfect thing to wear this last week when  I just wanted to be comfortable! It was one of the first things which went into my suitcase for Melbourne (more about that another time, but I had a good week away and had a lovely time meeting some of the Melbourne sewing crew, who took me out for dinner and cocktails. Thanks for a lovely evening Sarah, Helen, Jane and Libby!), and it served me well when I was walking all over Melbourne looking for a brewery which the boys wanted to visit, which turned out to be closed once we finally found it. Sigh!

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This is the latest Sew Over It Pattern, the Heather Dress. I bought it as soon as I saw it pop up on Bloglovin, and I had it printed out and assembled before I realised that I had essentially the same pattern already in my library, the Muse Patterns Philippa. The princess seams end in a different place, and the Heather has sleeves, but other than that they’re very similar. I felt pretty stupid, I really need to start thinking more before I hit buy! I persevered with the Heather pattern as I had it printed out (I only printed out the Philippa skirt variation last time), and I am really happy with the final dress.

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I used a dark green ponte from The Fabric Warehouse, which I really like. It’s lovely and soft, and I think is just the right weight for this type of dress. It isn’t clingy, and it holds the shape of the pockets without them collapsing. I’m particularly in love with this dark green colour at the moment too, even though it’s so hard to photograph! I feel like for ages I’ve been all about navy and mustard, but recently I’ve found myself being drawn to deep greens and blush pink colours, as evidenced by the awesome green Funki clogs which I bought in Melbourne. I’ve been looking for some clogs for ages, they just don’t seem to be in the shops in Wellington!

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Next time I make this dress I’ll take in the princess seams at the back waist to combat that sway back wrinkling, and I’ll make it short sleeved. This version has the 3/4 length sleeves, though I had them rolled up yesterday when we were taking these photos and I forgot to get any with them uncuffed. I’ll also fiddle with the armhole/sleeve head slightly to see if I can get rid of that over-boob wrinkle…

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Thanks to Kat for taking these photos! It was particularly bright and sunny yesterday, and she did an awesome job finding places for me to stand which didn’t get washed out in the glare.

I’m a little in denial that it’s almost the end of November, I’m going to need to hustle if I want to get all of the sewing I have planned done before Christmas! Hopefully the country settles down now and we can just have a smooth run for the rest of the year…

Back in Black

This is not the post I was hoping to write this weekend! I had really hoped that I’d have my Republique du Chiffon Madeleine Dress finished for my friends 30th birthday party last night, but last weekend I was struck down with some god awful bug so I never made it past the muslin stage. I definitely did not trust myself with my gorgeous fabric and scissors when my head was so wooly and I was sneezing with such alarming force. I’m still not 100% better (I’ve still got sinus pain and a cough like a seal with a furball), but I’m functioning well enough that I managed to whip up this simple skirt on Saturday in time to be worn to the party that night. 

I am having a terrible hair day in these pictures, I have no idea what’s going on with it. It looked fine from the front!

This is the Sew Over It Tulip Skirt, made up in a cotton blend from The Fabric Store. It was super quick and simple to make, even in my less than sharp mental state. I’ve made the mini version here, though there is also a knee length version. I’d like to have a go at making one in the longer length for summer in linen or something similar. I think it probably needs to be made in a fabric with some body to hold the pleats, this cotton works really well to hold the pretty shape of the skirt.
  
The fabric is very silver on the reverse, it would be fun to use in a garment where both sides could be seen!  I’ve only used one other Sew Over It pattern (the Vintage Shirt Dress), but in both cases they are excelent patterns. The skirt went together so easily, it was lovely to sew. Unfortunately, its turned out a bit small in the waistband (as you can probably tell in these pictures), its cutting in at the top edge. I’m pretty sure this is down to my body shape rather than the pattern or sizing though! Curved waistbands often don’t sit right on my super short waist, I just don’t think there is room between the top of my hips and the bottom of my ribcage for a wide curved waistband. I might try a slightly thinner straight waistband if I make it again.
 

 

I do like this skirt though, even if it is slightly less confortable than it could be! Its cute and looks good with tights and boots or with heels for a slightly more formal look. And it has pockets! Always a big plus.

I also made my top, its another Lark tee in fine black merino ( I’ve been making a few Larks recently, but I’ll try to add them into other posts. There are only so many tee shirt posts you can read!). I chose the scoop neck and 3/4 sleeve combo this time, and added a keyhole and shell button to the back neckline because I can’t help meddling with patterns. 

  
It was a very mathematical and carefully thought out addition (not). After cutting out the back but before unfolding it, I drew around a whiskey tumbler to get a half circle centred on the fold so that the bottom of the circle was roughly level with the bottom of the armscye. Then I drew a straight line from the edge of the circle up to the central point of the neckline, then cut it out. I overlocked the edge, then ironed it under and topstitched it down with a twin needle. Then I assembled the rest of the top as usual. I sewed the neckband on flat rather than in the round, and then overlapped it slightly at the centre back and sewed the button through both layers of neckband. I was inspired by this Anthropologie top, and I think it turned out pretty well! 

 

Camilla Tee, Anthropologie. Found via pinterest.
 
Its getting to the time of year when merino tee shirts make a perfect layering item, so I’m glad to have another one in my wardrobe! 

Wishful thinking!

I’ve had a bit of a sewing hiaus recently, I’ve been buried under a pile of paperwork for University. Not very exciting. But today is the last day of Winter, and I have something to post! I’m so glad that its almost officially dress weather that I jumped right in and made a sleeveless cotton dress. Realistically, it’ll be another few months until I can actually wear it, but at least my wardrobe feels a bit summery for now…
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This is the Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress, made up in some sweet vintage cotton I bought up in Auckland at the end of last year. It was so narrow! I barely managed to squeeze the skirt pieces onto it, and it isn’t exactly a full skirt. I was so busy playing pattern piece tetris that I made a ridiculous mistake, and cut the back on the selvidge instead of the fold! I spend a few minutes hyperventilating about not having enough fabric to re-cut the back, and then decided to patch it with a strip of self fabric. 

imageIn the end, you can hardly see it. I’ll call it a design feature! I really like the fabric, its so pretty and summery. It looks a bit green in these pictures, but its little blue flowers and green leaves on a white background.

imageI really enjoyed sewing this pattern up. It was pretty simple, and the instructions made the trickier bits like the collar clear. I had sewn a notched collar before, on my Carolyn Pyjamas, but I still found it to be a bit head scratching when I came to it! Sewing it with a facing made it much less fiddly than the fold and stitch method used to get a clean finish on the Carolyn top. I also love the slightly gathered yoke, its so pretty! 

imageAs much as I like the outside, i think I like the inside more. I’m really pleased with the finishing methods I used on this dress, it looks so clean and tidy! I ended up putting a full lining in it, as it was slightly sheer, and I used some lovely eggshell blue bias tape (which I found in a pile of vintage notions in my favourite second had shop, hurrah!) to bind the armscye and hem, and to edge the facing. The lining is a super light weight cotton lawn, it doesn’t add any extra weight but it gives it just enough opacity for me to be able to wear the dress without a slip.
imageimageThere was only 5.5m of bias tape in the package, so I thought I wouldn’t have enough to do the hem as well, but it turned out to be the perfect amount. I had less than 2cm left over! Its a bit wrinkly in the pictures above, I think I should give it another iron…

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The buttons came from my stash. I seriously debated using blue buttons, but I couldn’t find any which matched and I started getting a bit obsessive about which blue to use. White was a safer choice!

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I really like it with the white belt as well.

This wasn’t the dress I originally meant to make with this pattern at all! I had some purple and copper wool plaid earmarked for the long sleeved version, but then I pulled this cotton out of my stash when I was looking for something else, and decided it would be very cute and summery as this dress. I think I’ll save the long sleeved wool dress until next Autumn!