When I could finally pull myself away from stitching random scraps on my new Featherweight, I settled down to start work on my cream capris. Same old pattern (Jalie 2908), hopefully a few new details. I was SO excited to be able to thread the Featherweight up with topstitching thread and a) not have to re-thread every other seam and b) not have to jolly my Janome along (she will sew topstitching thread… with some careful finagling).
These pants are inspired by a couple of pairs of my kids’ jeans (kids’ jeans get the best little touches!), with piping and what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call tulip pockets. Using some of my japonesque-print fabric for the piping and pocket lining.
While I maintain that the idea is sound, the execution could use a little tweaking. In particular there’s three layers of denim and four layers of cotton at the bottom of the pockets, making folding and topstitching a little, ah, haphazard. I may have to go back and redo some of the topstitching. Bleh. That’s what I get for trying to cram everything in to an evening.
Anyway, aside from the piping, I used three pieces for the pockets—well, two pattern pieces. The overall shape is based on the shield-shaped pocket I used in the bellbottoms; I traced it off, drew in the curve to make a half-piece, and used a slightly shortened version of the original piece for the backing. I was originally going to just overlap the two “petal” pieces and topstitch them together, as in the inspiration pants, but unlike my children I tend to actually stick stuff in my back pockets, and I wanted to make sure it would stay there, so I added the third piece (rightmost in the photo). Really I should just have used a tiny triangle to fill in the top of the tulip a bit, but the full backing piece was really nice for getting the overlap of the tulips (sorta) symmetrical. I say sorta because I think I inverted two of the pieces by accident when I was piping so the curves aren’t identical. Fortunately, I was able to make the two slightly asymmetrical pockets mirror each other, so it worked out.
I stitched in the ditch at the edge of the piping to attach the various pocket pieces together, using washable glue-stick to hold things in place. I used the adjustable zipper-foot on my Janome set up as a straight-stitch foot (with the needle going down the middle), so I could see the “ditch” to stitch in it. This helps a lot. Although the feed-dogs on the Janome are definitely not well-positioned for use with a foot this narrow when it’s centred.
Swapping machines during the same project is a new experience to me (the serger doesn’t count, that’s an entirely different beast). The Featherweight is so slow (actually a good thing, especially for topstitching!) and quiet, the Janome is much louder and sews much faster. Also it’s taking some adjusting to remember which hand to use to raise the presser foot. As a lefty, I loved the back position of the presser-foot lever on the Grand Old Dame, and it took quite a while when I got the Janome to get used to lifting the presser foot with my right hand, as the lever is tucked on the inside under the harp. Now, of course, it feels weird to use my left again. You can of course reach under the harp and lift the back lever with your right, but my battered inner lefty is determined not to give in to the right-dominated world in this one small thing (I already use scissors and a computer mouse with my right hand, dammit)
I also made little cuffs for the bottom of the jeans, lined with the japonesque fabric, and hopefully they will look cute turned up or down. I picked the pink topstitching thread as it matched some of the pink in the print, but I’m wondering now (of course, too late) if the somewhat darker blue I was also considering would’ve been better (to make the piping seem a little less stark.)
You can see in the very first photo that I piped the outer seam on the leg. This took some deep breathing on my part, as that’s the place I like to twiddle with the fit, which varies from pair to pair based on the stretch of the fabric. With piping, there is no fit twiddling. But it seems to have worked out, anyway.
Readers, I have sinned. It has been… two days since my last confession, I guess. Tragedy struck while I was topstitching the fly with the Featherweight. I very carefully marked my curve so I would miss the bottom of the zipper underneath. In my (not undeserved) paranoia, I even hand-cranked through that area. Then, being safely past the bottom of the zip, I went to finish the last inch of the topstitching and—I broke the needle. My guess is I was pulling on the fabric and pulled it off centre with the needle in it, hitting the edge of the needle plate instead of its nice little hole. And after I replaced the needle, it wouldn’t stitch! Or, it’ll stitch once or twice, and then skip five, and then catch one… and… and…
I have a feeling I’m going to be stalking the Featherweight forums this weekend.
Forgive me, Sewing Gods! I have damaged my beautiful, new, vintage machine.
In penance, I shall do five pieces of mending and one full unselfish garment.
I guess that’s one upside of new machines. I wouldn’t be nearly so distressed if I had screwed up my Janome. Of course, I’ve broken probably a dozen needles in her in the exact same way. She puts up with my crap marvelously. Obviously I need to be a little more careful of the Featherweight. She is even older than my mother, after all.
And to make things worse, I have to finish the pants ALL on the Janome.
I’m going to go cry now. And put some belt-loops on the capris.
But mostly cry.