Simple, practical, superfluous.


I’ve had Burda 8855 for a long time—it was one of the earlier thrift-store patterns I picked up. And, frankly, it’s pretty damn near perfect: a long, not too full skirt, one of my favourite styles, and one I wear a fair bit when I’m in a “look at me!” point in my fashion cycle. Amidst all the craziness of Hallowe’en sewing, I was yearning to make something for myself, and traced it off. (A 70s vintage pattern, it doesn’t have seam allowances added. Which means I got to add my own, favourite 1cm seam allowance. YAY :) ) Incidentally, the most fun thing about the pattern itself was discovering that it was printed on tissue paper identical in every way to the big Burda-brand tracing sheets I buy by the package at Fabricland, right down to the one shiny side and the precise folding scheme.) As I was auditioning black fabrics for Batgirl’s jacket/cape at Hallowe’en, I pulled out this mystery suiting, a sturdy twill weave that feels like it might have a hint of wool in. While I went with a leather-look knit for Batgirl, I knew this fabric would make a great, sturdy, plain black skirt.


I traced and cut a straight size 38, adding a wide hem allowance to the bottom both because I like wide hems and just in case the length as drafted wasn’t enough (though 70s long skirts are generally fine, for some reason). Once I finally got it constructed enough to try on (there was some sewing together of incorrect sides and other humorous blunders) I trimmed a wee bit off the top to allow for the fact that my waist definitely not size 38, and a wee bit more off the top back in a teensy-tiny swayback adjustment. I often do this in dresses with a waist-seam, but it was interesting to see it happen in a solo skirt, especially since it’s not terribly fitted over the hips. Anyway; side-zip and a waistband. On reflection, while I am coming to terms with skirts that hit at my waist (at least if I don’t try to tuck a top in), I still prefer the look of a facing to an actual waistband. Less bulk in the area where I least need to add bulk. ;) Especially since this pattern has no back seam so the zipper is at the side. Next time I try this pattern, I will try making a facing for it. Or maybe add a back seam to put the zipper in. Or maybe both.


Once I had the top finished to my liking, I tried it on and decided that while the length at the back was good (allowing for a nice 2″ hem), the front could be a wee bit shorter. I trimmed about 1″ off the front, tapering to nothing just past the side seams. To make the turn-up on the flared skirt, I tried something new to me: I cranked the differential feed all the way up on my serger and serged the bottom edge of the skirt, gathering it somewhat as I went. This wound up being pretty much perfect for pressing it up; then I hand-stitched the hem, as I usually do. It’s not terribly smooth or pretty on the inside—a seam binding or other tape would help with that—but it was quick and functional. Quick being a big deal these days.


It was a deliciously quick project; IIRC, I traced the pattern on Saturday night, cut and sewed on Sunday, and finished the hem Sunday evening, to wear the skirt Monday morning. Now that is a win.


I did a lapped zipper. That probably didn’t help with the whole side-bulk thing. >_<


So I’m quite happy with the skirt, aside from some funkiness about my buttonhole on the waistband (buttonhole is not centred but button is, which causes some bubbling at the side, just where you don’t want it.) And It’s been worn a number of times since. I was quite pleased with myself for finally adding such a versatile basic piece* to my closet. Then, while digging through that closet for things to wear with the skirt, I found not one, but two long black skirts from my pre-sewing days that, um, I had kinda forgotten about. So apparently it’s a staple that I already possessed.


I still like my new skirt best, though.

*your mileage may vary. ;)


Filed under Sewing

Christmas Sewing Begins


Really late, yes. Shush. My plans are modest—this pair of dancey-flares for Syo, based on this Kwik Sew kids’ yoga pants pattern (KS3498). It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, provided I can arrange for Syo to not be home and for myself to be home.

Wish me luck. ;)


December 13, 2014 · 10:26 am

Angel Wings


It’s been a while since I made anything for Osiris. I think the last thing was a pair of indifferently-fitting fleece pants for last Christmas, distinguished only by the fact that they were the only thing I sewed anyone for Christmas. He’s not really demanding in that department, but he was definitely starting to pout, especially after all the Hallowe’en sewing I did for the kids (hopefully I’ll manage to post about that eventually, if not check my Instagram feed. :P). And it’s certainly not that I don’t have lots of ideas of things to make him. I have the Thread Theory Strathcona henley printed out but still needing taping. I’d still like to try jeans, but I didn’t think I had the energy for a major project. Turns out the joke is on me since this simple sweatshirt spiraled well out of control.

So, why a sweatshirt? Well, Osiris is many things, but foremost among them is an 80s boy. I can’t explain it, but there’s something about that decade that appeals to him. And there are few things he likes better than a warm, cozy sweatshirt.

Which, it turns out, is actually pretty hard to find these days outside of a thrift-store. Everything is hoodies with zippers. On the other hand, though, a sweatshirt is dead simple to make.

I started out with Kwik Sew 2133, a stylish gem all the way from 1991 (Which, let’s face it, from a style point of view was still firmly 80s.) I wanted the classic raglan-sleeve style, if only because the two other sweatshirts in Osiris’s current collection (yes, both from the thrift store) are set-in-style sleeves.


Being (justifiably) wary of late-80s/early 90s sizing, I rounded down and made the size 38 rather than the 42 (Osiris has a 40″ chest), although looking at the finished product I could have gown down another size easily (It occurs to me that I may just prefer seeing him in form-fitting clothes. ;) ) Like me, Osiris is long-limbed, and I wound up adding a full four inches to the sleeve length—body length was just fine.

Then… things start to go a little sideways. I didn’t want to make just a plain sweatshirt… it needed something a little special. A wee bit of bling. But something subtle, classy*… Maybe some white-on-white appliqué? Something unique, special, Osiris.


Next thing I know, I’m ogling tribal angel-wing designs on Pinterest and sketching out an angel-wing/cougar design to go down the back of the sweater. That pretty much killed a weekend; then there was another pause when I figured out I was two inches short of having enough steam-a-seam to do both wings.

To do the appliqué, I traced out my design on Steam-a-Seam (lite) and fused that to the thin satin I had chosen for the applique (only because it was the best match for colour & sheen in the store. I wish I could have found a beefier satin in the right shade of white, but them’s the breaks.) I traced the internal lines out in my blue wash-away pen. Love that thing. Cut that out and fused it in place on the half-constructed sweatshirt. The design spans the back raglan seams, so I had to sew those ones first. I was a little worried about how my stitching would look when crossing those seams, but it didn’t end up being a huge deal.


I like this open-toed foot for doing appliqué. You can see everything, and there’s a groove on the bottom for the satin stitch to slide through.


For the first time, I tried underlaying the applique with a cut-away stabilizer; in the past when I’ve applique’d on sweatshirt fleece the edges have often been a bit wavy, and this takes care of that nicely, although it does add some stiffness (and probably reduces the cuddly factor of the sweatshirt, too.)


After that, it was all over but the zig-zagging. And more zig-zagging. And more zig-zagging. I’d like to think I’m getting a bit better at making my curves smooth… it’s sorta like driving, no sharp corrections, kid.

I used my Pfaff 360, (my main machine now that the White is out of action), which worked quite nicely as it has this handy little lever on the stitch-width control that lets you narrow things down to nothing (or widen them), then pops right back to the set width when you let it go. Very handy when you are applique’ing something with lots of points like, oh, feather-tips.


I was pretty relieved once he could actually try it on and the shoulder paw prints fell more or less where I hoped they would and the whole thing seemed fairly proportional. I stitched the little pawprints last, and I was terrified the whole time that I was going to ruin the whole thing, as they’re the smallest bits with the tightest curves. They’re not awesome and they are a little bit wobbly, but I guess they’re ok in the end. (Well, it’s not like I’m going to redo them! ;)


I did want to make sure I added the little triangle on the front neckline. Also, I am incapable of sewing white without it getting dirty. >_<


Other than that, it’s pretty standard but pretty much what I wanted. The applique has a bit of crinkliness (do I dare say cardboardiness?) to it that I think is due to the satin being too thin for the weight of even the light Steam-a-Seam, but I’ll deal (although I do worry about how it will hold up over time, especially since this is made with the good heavy-duty fleece that will probably be going strong years from now.



Incidentally, this may be the first time I’ve actually used proper rib-knit for bands with a pattern that called for it. The pieces are TINY compared to the fleece pattern pieces, but they stretch out just fine. It is nice working with the “right” fabrics for a knit pattern… :)


Anyway, here’s hoping that Osiris is warm and snuggly for a long time to come… (and that he can keep all that white clean. >_<)

*OK, maybe the word I was looking for was kitschy after all?


Filed under Sewing

That Victorian Dress

(No actual sewing in this post, just ogling—may be boring to anyone not a history or historical-fashion nerd. On the other hand, it might make a good sleep aid.)

So we pulled this thing out of a bag…

So this crazy thing happened a few weeks ago. I went over to my mother’s house for dinner (as we often do, now that we live within popping-over distance), and, amidst the pleasant after-dinner conversation, we began to dig through some boxes of vintage and antique sewing paraphernalia an old garage-saling buddy of my mother’s was downsizing. There were old sewing notion, and lace, and more lace, and patterns—those deserve their own post—but one unimpressive bag blew everything else out of the water.

This bag held a dress.

An antique dress.

What I think is a genuine, original, Victorian, bustle-era dress, to be precise.

More or less exactly the kind of dress I’ve been musing, however on-and-off (and let’s face it, everything is more off than on with me these days :( ) about making.

Holy fucking shit, Batman.

Like most dresses of the era, it consists of two parts: bodice (“waist”) and skirt. I’m thinking it originally would’ve had an overskirt, as well, as the upper skirt is made in  plain fabric and would be pretty unsightly. The skirt as a whole is kinda weird, but we’ll get to that.

Things You Should Not Do With Antique Dresses: 1) wear them!

The whole outfit is in a black wool ?jaquard, with a woven, textural pattern. The bodice is ornamented with yellow silk underlying black lace black lace yokes and undersleeves (the impression is of pagoda sleeves and engageantes, though they are not removable). And yes, I did try it on, as I was not able to resist. It fits, for a given value of fit—I suspect were I properly corseted it would be too big. The sleeves are a trifle short, but given my monkey-arms anything else would be surprising; the skirt length is remarkably good for me as well. The edge of the shoulder sits in the right plate, although it looks as if it were made for someone with much more sloped shoulders than mine.

Waist (Bodice)

The "Waist"

The “Waist”

The bodice extends about three inches below the natural waist, and has a straight lower edge. The waist closes at centre front, with hooks and eyes, with the “stomacher” added as an overlay attached to one side. The front is shaped with darts, while the back is shaped with double princess seams curving into the armscye. The neck is finished in a simple standing collar. The shoulder seam falls well to the rear of the true shoulder. Although the shoulders are quite sloped (but then I have square shoulders), at least on me, they are not dropped; there is a tiny bit of fullness pleated in at the sleeve cap, but I suspect this is more to do with inexpert easing than a desire for any actual fullness there. The sleeves are very curved, and give the impression of a two-layered sleeve. The outer sleeves are vaguely Pagoda-style, though much narrower than 1860s pagoda sleeves, with shaped, ornamented hems, and are cut in a single piece with the seam under the arm, although they are shaped with a long dart that also lies underneath the arm.  I originally thought this dart might give some shaping, but it is actually a consequence of a major alteration the bodice underwent at some point; someone took in the side-seams (by hand) by about 1″ on each side (total reduction of 4″)—so the sleeve had to be taken in to fit the shrunken armscye. The undersleeve, which is made of the yellow silk & black lace like the yoke, seems to be attached to the sleeve lining, (check this) and is rather puffed above the velvet cuff. Now, pagoda sleeves and engageantes are a classic 1860s look, but I don’t think this dress is quite that old—everything else about the cut makes me think “Bustle era”—fitted shoulders, dropped bodice waistline, narrow skirt with, y’know, bustle accommodation in the back.

The bodice is largely machine-stitched, although the decoration and some later alterations were done by hand. It is entirely underlined with a fairly smooth, sturdy cotton with a printed stripe design. This fabric has held up very well over time. The wool fabric of the main construction is also very sturdy and in more-or-less perfect condition. The main ornamentation of the bodice comes in the form of a yellow silk, which was tucked with 1/4″ tucks before it was attached, overlaid with black lace and finished with a combination of sequined trim and black velvet ribbon. This yellow silk is found in front and back yokes around the neck, the “stomacher,” and the engageantes-style lower sleeve. Although the black lace is damaged in places, particularly on the lower sleeve, the yellow silk is much more badly shattered, resembling ribbons in most places where it has split along the lines of the tucks.

The front and back yokes are strictly decorative, not part of the cut of the garment, as they are underlain by the black wool and not reflected by any seams on the interior. The yellow silk can be seen on the inside of the shoulder-seams, where the tucks are most clearly visible. You can also see very rough hand-stitching on the inside of the bodice where the bottom of the yoke was attached after, or at least attached after the sewing of the CB seam. The stomacher also seems to be basically applique’d to the front of the bodice, with a second row of hooks added to keep it closed on the left side.

The sleeve itself is lined, rather than underlined; the oversleeve (pagoda-style sleeve) is cut in a single piece, while the lining is what I think of as a typical two-pieced , strongly-curved Victorian sleeve. There are a couple of pleats around the elbow of the sleeve lining, though I’m not 100% sure they were intended to be functional. The underlseeve is stitched by hand to the sleeve lining just below the elbow, which I could see by turning the sleeve inside-out. (Another thing I shouldn’t have done) The oversleeve is held in place around its hem by thread-bars, so I wasn’t able to pull it up to see exactly how the undersleeve was stitched on.

Bodice inside: boning and waist-stay

The rear seams of the bodice have short bones around the waist (five in total), machine-stitched to the seam-allowances, which are in turn stitched down to the underlining. The waist-stay is attached to the boning casings of the back three bones only, with variably-neat stitches; however, whoever took the bodice in at the side-seams didn’t bother to shorten the waist-stay, so it is essentially useless in its current form.


Lace stomacher, yoke, and collar.

Lace stomacher, yoke, and collar.

While the yellow silk was attached during the construction of the garment (after the CB seam, before the shoulder seams), the black lace in the yokes was added after; the lace is pleated toward the neck-edge to make it curve around the yokes.

Black velvet ribbon trims the collar, forms the cuffs, and outlines the stomacher, as well as forming a decorative faux-lacing across it. One corner of the stomacher is also ornamented with a slightly bedraggled bow of the ribbon. The bottom of the bodice, which is straight, is trimmed with a wide black velvet ribbon as well. In addition to the black velvet trim, there is a complicated sequined trim applied along the edges of the yokes, stomacher, and oversleeves.


The skirt

Trying to get a full-view of the skirt and failing. It's not particularly full. With all the piecing, I wonder if they were running out of fabric?

Trying to get a full-view of the skirt and failing. It’s not particularly full. With all the piecing, I wonder if they were running out of fabric?

The skirt is maybe the most puzzling part about the dress—it almost seems like an afterthought. It is very narrow, and fits very closely over the (my) hips in the front (This strikes me as odd since I’m neither corseted nor naturally curvy). Most of it is made of the same fabric as the bodice, but the front panel is made in some kind of plain black twill, and the upper portion of the side and back panels are in a plain black fabric as well. (It looks brown in the photos because I lightened them to show details.)

Skirt front, showing upper panels of different fabric.

I wonder if they were running short on the main fashion-fabric, and were making do. The only fullness in the skirt is at the back; while there is very little actual gathering at the waist, there is a triangular panel the middle back waistband, creating space for a distinct, if probably small, bustle. (This is interesting—all the Victorian sewing books I’ve read talk about gathering the fabric in the back waist for the bustle, not about shaping it with darts or seams).

Skirt back, inside, showing seams of triangular “bustle cover” panel.

The waistband itself is made of the brocade fabric, underlain by something else (maybe the same sturdy fabric as the front panel, or maybe a grosgrain tape of some kind) but is not finished on the inside. The skirt opening is on one side of the front panel, and is very roughly constructed, although it has a wide underlap. Or maybe it’s just that there are very few hooks to hold it closed, so it gapes and sits a bit oddly. This rough closure, along with the plain upper panels, make me think that an overskirt may have originally covered most of it. It is unlined (and only the front panel is underlined), and is hemmed by machine.

My mom asked her friend if she knew anything more about the dress. According to my mom’s friend, the dress belonged to her grandmother, although, given the look of the dress, I’m thinking great-grandmother is more likely (Grandmother was born in 1880, great-grandmother in the 1850s). ;) I’d love to hear if anyone has thoughts on the dating or other features—I’m calling it “Bustle Era” based on the style alone; depending on how bustle-friendly it actually is (I haven’t had the chance to try stuffing the skirt to see how big a bustle it can accommodate) I might even be tempted to suggest “Natural form” (a few years in the late 1870s, early 1880s when the skirts got very slim), as the skirt seems quite slim to me—but then I’m not seeing it all puffed out with petticoats and whatnot. It doesn’t have the bell-shaped flare I tend to associate with 1890s Victorian fashion, and the smooth, narrow sleeve caps make me think Bustle Era as well, as opposed to huge 1890s puffs. But I’m also very, VERY far from being an expert on these things. (Oh, and my mom’s friend said she knew the dress wasn’t in very good shape but perhaps I could use the fabric or trim for something. >_<)

I think my favourite thing about this dress is the way the details call back to other historical time periods (assuming it is 1880s or so, anyway)—the sleeves reminiscent of the 1860s (although slimmed down for a different time-period’s aesthetic) and the stomacher and front-panel of the skirt that remind one of gowns of the 1700s.

I took a whack load of more detailed photos with my mom’s good camera (although the lighting was still not the best), and have placed them on Google Plus as well as in an album on Flickr (Flickr link currently going to my profile as that album is taking FOREVER to load… big pictures. ;) ), for those of you who want EVEN MORE closeups of actual antique dressmaking.

This stuff really makes me want to sit and make historical costumes… as if I have time. Hallowe’en is coming up and, while that would be a perfect opportunity for WEARING a historical costume, the kids’ orders are taking priority right now (hello, Batgirl and Tiny Tina.)… but a girl can dream, right?


Filed under Sewing

Quick Weekend Therapy Sewing


It was probably inevitable that I would end up with a fabric stash problem. I’m a pack rat by nature, I like to have things around that just might come in handy someday. I don’t mind having some basics (and not-so-basics) kicking around for when the urge strikes. What I have more trouble coming to terms with is the scraps. I can’t seem to throw away anything bigger than a square foot, so a frustrating portion of the stash ends up being these pieces lingering from finished projects. They do come in handy—for contrast details, bias tape making, piping, pocket linings; and the kids will dive through them from time to time, especially when Tyo is in a monster-making mood, but in general the amount generated is more than the amount used, and they’re frustrating.

The best way I’ve found to deal with them (when I have the time) is to just keep making stuff from the fabric leftovers until it’s all gone. This often gets derailed by other priorities, of course, but one can try (and at least the machine is all threaded up in the right colour.)


I had not quite a metre (very oddly shaped) of this stretch lace left from a far more exciting yet less practical project that has yet to be blogged, pending a proper photo-shoot. >_< Anyway, I having already cut some Rosy Ladyshorts (cute pattern, free, go make some) from it, I figured I would see if I could squeeze a simple long-sleeved tee out of it using my handy-dandy old knit sloper.


Obviously, I could. Not much to say, just a few details—for a light neckline finish I serged a band of white jersey to the neck, folded to the inside, and topstitched down with a zig-zag; it’s soft, a little tidier than just adding clear elastic, but not too heavy, so I think it pretty much hit the mark for what I was going for.


The sleeve hems I just serged and folded over and topstitched—nothing special.

I added a band for the hem, as I have for most of my recent knit-top makes, because it’s both easy and nice-looking, which is a rare combination. ;)


I then needed a camisole of some kind to make the thing wearable. I made one from some cream cotton-lycra jersey; this is really a wardrobe staple I’ve been avoiding making for probably as long as I’ve been making clothes here.



I hacked my knit sloper into a wide-necked curve, (maybe a little wider than ideal, but it echoes the scooped neckline of the lace overlay well) and made a little tank-top.


I didn’t have any fold-over elastic in the right colour, however, so I made bands using strips of jersey. If I had been willing/able to to make them as bindings, with the edges folded in, it would’ve worked really well, but with bands turning into knit tubes for the straps… well, there’s an ugly spot at the join. Some hand-stitching could probably pretty it up, but it’s not an ideal method.


On the whole, though, it works, and both will be useful (if not terribly seasonal) wardrobe staples.

The only tragedy is that I burnt out the motor of my White, which is my go-to machine for knits (other than the serger) about halfway round the hem of the camisole. That was a lot of hand-wheeling to get it finished. >_< Next question: is it worth it to fix such a machine? A new motor can be had online for about thirty bucks (although Sew Classic won't ship them to Canada, apparently. Boo.) and my father-in-law has the know-how to attach one if I can get the right size and mounting-brackets. (This is still more money than I spent on the whole machine, by the way.) It's an internal motor, but still belt-driven and looks just like the external ones, to my untutored eye, anyway. /sigh. It was also my favourite machine to do buttonholes with the buttonholer attachment on. Double sigh.


Of course, there’s still a little bit of the lace left. Time for another pair of ladyshorts?


Filed under Sewing

Jeans for the Cool Kid

The Happy Teenager

The Happy Teenager

Tyo’s been making out like a bandit this year. I mean, really—Syo got some yoga pants she doesn’t like and a quick stretch-knit birthday suit, and Tyo has racked in a pikachu onesie, an Avengers grad dress, and now this. I realize in terms of project numbers they’re similar (and both low… but my sewing time is at an insane premium these days, peeps), but if you look at hours committed… Tyo is way ahead. Obviously I have some parental imbalance to redress. (In my defense, Syo has benefited from at least a couple of other things that never made it on the blog, but still nothing that required more than a couple of hours to knock out on the serger.)

But anyway, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Tyo was so very, very squeaky about this project. She was starting high school (which, in our neck of the woods, starts in Gr. 9, or roundabouts age 14), and very nervous, and determined that she had to make the most badass first impression ever. Her father was committed to drive her to school for the first day on the motorcycle. She campaigned for (although she didn’t get) freshly-blue hair.  (I like the blue hair just fine—it’s the pain in the ass of getting it applied, followed by the days of blue-getting-everywhere (blue towels. Blue bedsheets. Blue bathroom. Blue clothing.) that drive me nuts.)

But she did get a pair of jeans.

I haven’t made Tyo a pair of jeans in, um, a long time. There were these shorts, over two years ago. The last pair of Jalie jeans was 2011. This was around the time Tyo became a reluctant (but eventually fervent) convert to the Cult of the Skinny Jeans, at which point the lifespan of a pair of jeans on a growing child became numbered in months, rather than seasons or years. Handmade disposable pants? Even with a little sister and littler cousins for hand-me-downs, this was Not Happening—I declared a jeans-for-kids moratorium. Actually, I declared a moratorium on any jeans that cost more than $10… thrift store scores only, it was.

But, lately, that pesky growing thing that children do has slowed down for Tyo, and this was a big occasion, and she had a very specific idea she was very excited about. And, well, she’s been stealing all my shorts for months. So I had her go try on my most recent pair of jeans for myself. And, while she’d probably rather be shot than seen on the internet in floral jeans, the fit was pretty much spot on except for length.

It’s a very weird feeling any time someone else puts on your carefully crafted, custom-fitted handmade clothes and they FIT—it’s even weirder, IMO, when it’s your daughter. At least I’m still taller than her, unless she gets a grade-9 growth spurt, anyway.

So the good news was, I didn’t need to trace another copy of my pattern—just take a few inches out of the length. And Tyo wanted her vision completed badly enough she was even willing to help cut the fabric.

The cutter.

The cutter. (In my floral jeans, although you can’t actually assess the fit in this picture)

Which is not a thing that happens, ever. So yeah.

As for the Vision behind the Pants? Well, we don’t have Hot Topic in Canada (at least, not in my backwater corner of things), but Tyo has a dear friend whose parents are, um, a little more well-heeled than we (mind you that does describe a fairly large chunk of the Canadian population) and tend to take their children on cross-border shopping trips of fairly epic proportions (Fellow Canadians should note we are not part of the 80% of Canada’s population that lives within a two-hour drive of the US border. Such trips require hours of driving and hotel stays). And said dear friend had a pair of Hot Topic jeans that were one colour on one side, and another colour on the other side. So we scoured the stash for the best black denim, and then went through all the purples (how on earth did I end up with four different lenghs of purple denim? I may have a Problem.) to find one which best matched, which turned out to be this totally-intense primary (OK, secondary) purple. That I couldn’t photograph in true colour to save my life, but anyway. It’s a very bright, clear purple.

One good thing about cutting jeans this way—you pretty much have to cut in a single layer, which is a good idea anyway if you want jeans that hang straight, but I am lazy and always talk myself into cutting folded. Sometimes I get away with it, sometimes I get really annoying twisty seams.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say about the actual construction, except that I did modify things for a stitched-on fly extension, which I think I prefer to the cut-on one all my other jeans have had to date (storebought jeans always have one that is stitched on—I think the seam gives needed reinforcement to the fly edge, especially in stretchy jeans). It’s obviously not a make-or-break detail, and I’m still not terribly comfortable with how you do a fly this way, since it’s a bit different and I did end up having to do some unpicking… but it’s a thing to work on, anyway.

Back Pockets

Back Pockets

Tyo specified that the main construction should keep colour to its appropriate side—probably a good thing. Left to myself I would probably have colourblocked everything, and it would have ended up looking really busy. As it is, I couldn’t resist swapping the back pockets and the belt-loops, and I’m not sure if it adds to the overall look or takes away. Minimalism might have been a better idea. Oh, well. I do like the doubled belt-loops at the sides as well as the back.

Two buttons

Two buttons

I finally remembered, after regretting it my last couple of projects, that my currently-favourite-waistband pattern piece is a bit wide, and the jeans buttons I can get a hold of here are a bit small, so a single button results in a rather insecure attachment that lets the waistband roll over in weird ways. Two buttons, however, is perfect. (I also made Tyo try them on while I marked the button location, so I don’t THINK I need to move them over, which I still have to do with my flower jeans, because the position that looks like it’s lined up  nicely when the jeans are laying flat is actually too “loose” when the jeans are on a body and the waistband is under tension—leading to chronically-low-flying flies.

One final detail, which you probably noticed in the earlier pictures, was inspired by some jeans a character in one of our favourite family TV shows, Lost Girl, wears. I can’t find any good shots, but I screen-capped this one:


Kenzi's laced-up jeans

Kenzi’s laced-up jeans


The Kenzi character wears at least a couple pairs in this style, with the sneaky inner-thigh lacing, which I knew Tyo loves as much as I do. And, Fabricland recently started carrying some fairly sturdy grommet-tape (where was this stuff two years ago when I was looking for it for the steampunk Hallowe’en costumes?!?)



So I added some. It was ridiculously simple to do, although its obviously a bit of a different look than the inspiration. Still, a fun, unique detail, and definitely one no one else has.

We took a bout a bazillion photos of Tyo in the jeans, but it was the end of the day and we were rushed so there was a lot of blur and not a lot that did the jeans justice.

I’ll still subject you to them anyway.

Back view, with pockets and blur.

Back view, with pockets and blur.

I should note one more thing: these are not true “skinnies.” They were made according to my personal favourite leg-style, which I would call a stovepipe—tapered and form-fitting to the knee, absolutely straight below it, which creates jeans that are snug through the calf but not actually skinny in the ankle. I asked Tyo if she wanted them skinnified, but she said she likes this shape, and it doesn’t seem to have decreased the cool factor (although it has its drawbacks when we get to stuffing-pants-into-winter-boots weather).

Great pose, plenty of blur.

Great pose, plenty of blur.



I did try them on, but lucky for Tyo, they’re just a little bit too short. :P

Obviously this first-day-of-school project is a bit out of date at this point >_<—I’m currently working on a Hallowe’en costume for the Stylish sister-in-law, and hating it mostly because it’s not for MEEEEEE, and dying to work more on ridiculous historical clothing projects that I have no actual need for. Not that I have a need for much clothing, at the moment, other than perhaps warm fuzzy things to get me through the impending winter. Hopefully I’ll manage to blog some of that in a more reasonable time-span… hah.

In the meantime, I’ll just be happy that my kid still thinks the things I make are “cool”.

At least sometimes. ;)


Filed under Sewing

A quickie


I’ve been starting a lot of projects but not finishing much. /sigh. Never a good sign. But when this scrap of knit jacquard (can knits be jacquards?) threw itself in my path last week, I thought that maybe it would be something quick enough that I could actually get it out. It was a piece as-is, a cut barely over half a metre, but it had the most gorgeous roses pattern, and it obviously needed to be the world’s simplest knit skirt.

Simple knit skirt.

Simple knit skirt.

It didn’t end up being quite as simple as I might have liked. The wider feature of the roses wasn’t centred on the panel, but I wanted it centred on the skirt—I figured I’d cut the panel so the roses were centred, with a single seam at the back. As it turned out, this wasn’t quite wide enough, so I had to add a narrow panel to the back. We’ll call it a feature.


I took the opportunity to use a bit of snuggly-soft grey elastic I’ve been hoarding as an exposed waistband. Possibly black would’ve been a better choice as the grey is a bit lighter than the charcoal in the skirt, but I think it works, and it’s every bit as comfy and snuggly as I had hoped it would be.



Since it’s visible, I didn’t just want to overlap my elastic; so I sewed it right-sides together and then topstitched the seam allowances down to the sides to flatten them. This may not have been the cleanest way to finish the waistband, but it’s serviceable, and it won’t likely be seen often anyway.

I used Steam-a-Seam in the hem and finished it off by hand with catch-stitches for lots of stretch. And that’s about as complicated as even I can make a simple knit skirt.


It’s almost nice enough to make me excited for fall…


Filed under Sewing