Tag Archives: Jalie

Pretty Bella

Jalie Bella in Red

While I was in the mood for fit ‘n flare scoop necked dresses (and still well under my November project budget), I took the opportunity to try out the Jalie Bella dress in a textured doubleknit-type fabric that has been screaming  “Bella!” at me since it first arrived in the store back in September.

(A real downside of working at a fabric store is you spend a lot more time petting the fabric at the store than you do at home petting your stash, which gives you plenty of opportunity to fall in love with Shiny New Fabric.)

Jaie 3460 - Bella

Jaie 3460 – Bella

I got this pattern in a glorious Jalie binge back in (?) June after it first came out, and have been excited about it ever since. Gillian’s version didn’t help a bit, despite her having some reservations about the pattern.

As Gillian said, the 60% horizontal stretch the pattern calls for is a lot once you step outside the world of dance wear Lycra, and my fabric, while having great recovery (also a must for this pattern), only just barely had it. I should probably have upsized a bit. I did not, and it’s fine, but the seams are definitely under some pressure. I hate to complain about 1/4″ seam allowances under any circumstances, but they don’t give you much leeway for letting a thing out. 

Back view

Back view. Wrinkles are mostly from how I’m standing.

Like Gillian, I used the curved scoop from the back on the front as well. I did actually trace out the slightly-different front and back pieces (since I wanted to add a swayback adjustment), and just added the front scoop to the back, so I have scoops in both directions—which is probably why it’s slipping off my shoulders a bit and showing some bra-strap. My bad. 😉

Bella sleeve and my sloper

One thing I loved, when I went to lengthen the sleeve, was how close the Jalie sleeve draft is to my knit sloper. (Although it is a symmetrical sleeve, unlike my sloper; it works ok in a stretchy knit.) The pattern itself has a half-sleeve, to be cut on the fold; I mirrored the pattern to a full sleeve when I traced it, mostly so I didn’t have to cut it out twice. I added about 2.5″ of length to the sleeves to get the slouchy-over-the-hand look that I covet so much, but really a single additional inch would probably have been adequate. (If you haven’t noticed, a lifetime of too-short sleeves has left me traumatized—I prefer my sleeves to come down to the fold of my thumb.)

Fun flared skirt!

Fun flared skirt!

One thing I didn’t notice from all the photos I’ve seen was that the very-full skirt actually skims the hips quite closely before flaring out right around butt-level. Not a bad thing (actually, I love it), just something I didn’t pick up on before.

Neckline closeup.

Neckline closeup.

For the neckline, I used just a cross-grain strip stitched to the outside, folded to the inside, and topstitched with a twin needle. Then I trim of the excess from the inside. My twin needle lasted through topstitching the neckline and the sleeve hems, but died less than 1/8 of the way around the skirt and I was way too lazy to thread up my Rocketeer, so I used a triple-stitch zigzag on the skirt hem. It’s so nice to have that stitch again.

Twirl!

Twirl!

In honour of the Better Pictures Project (and the full, full skirt) I tried to get some twirling shots. Um. Well, points for trying?

All in all, though, I’m pretty happy. It’s a nice, beefy fabric that handles the shape well. The colour is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. And it’s a great basic dress that will be fun to layer up for winter (I’m wearing it with one of Tyo’s little vests right now and she may not get it back.)

Happy.

Happy.

What I didn’t get photos of is the part right after I finished it, where Syo demanded a dress just like it and then I had her try it on and it basically fit except for the long sleeves and then Tyo tried it on too and demanded a shirt from the leftovers.

So, yeah. Jalie patterns. Betcha can’t make just one. 😉

Besides, I might still need to make a red velvet version…. >_<

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Maxi Mania

Jalie 3246

Jalie 3246

Maybe it was Carolyn’s recent binge on maxi dresses, or maybe it was that EVERY stylish lady in my office (and frankly, I think that’s all of the ladies in my office) has been wearing one at least three days a week for the last month, but I finally made time to make up Jalie 3245.

Jalie 3246

Jalie 3246

I meant to make this up last summer, but time slipped by me, as it often does.

The Black Version

The Black Version

As with most Jalie patterns, once you make one, it’s hard to stop. I made the first once in about two hours on a Saturday morning before I had to go to work, and that includes tracing out the pattern. I made it from a fairly heavy black knit (a doubleknit, I think) with a crep-like texture on one side—it’s got great drape and more stretch than a ponte, but is still a fairly firm and potentially sweaty fabric. Maybe not the best choice for a summer dress.

Front, black.

Front, black.

But it sure looks classy. I made this one up pretty much exactly as per pattern, only grading form size R at the bust to S at the waist and hips and adding a bit of length on the bottom. Since I recently ordered a million miles of narrow black fold-over-elastic off Etsy, I used it for the neckline and arm-bindings, which is super fast and would have looked great if I’d taken three more minutes to test my tension on a scrap or two.

FOE, slightly wavy.

FOE, slightly wavy.

As it is, it looks fine on but is a bit wavy off—limits the hanger appeal. Boo. Fortunately, handmade clothes aren’t really about the hanger appeal. 😉

Skirt: Narrow.

Skirt: Narrow.

The only major problem I had was that the skirt is VERY narrow. This means you can easily get the dress out of a pretty teeny amount of fabric, but it’s not great for walking in, especially in my rather firm fabric. There is also something slightly off about how the hips fit, which goes away when I hike it up about 1.5 cm—so for the other versions I made a small tuck between bust and waist and they sit very nicely. I’m glad I didn’t try to shorten the bodice at the shoulders, which is what I often have to do, because the armscyes are NOT deep at all, and in fact could probably be lowered a wee bit.

Back, black.

Back, black.

After the fact, I took a bit off the sides to get a closer fit in the back. It’s hard to get dresses like this to cling to the extreme back-curve I have there. The back is pretty wrinkly even when I’m not standing with my hips off to the side, but that’s life with a swayback.

How to walk in a narrow skirt.

How to walk in a narrow skirt.

The main problem with the narrow skirt is that I wind up walking around with it hiked up to my knees so I can take a decent-sized step.

Version 2 (or is it three?)

Version 2 (or is it three?)

I cut out the other two versions together a couple of days later. Both are rayon jerseys of some variety, although very different in terms of their overall stretch and feel. This dark, processed-photo-looking floral (with blue roses!) is super-stretchy and very drapy, with lots of weight, but a hard, almost scratchy feel.

Back view, with seam.

Back view, with seam.

In an effort to maximize my skirt width, I cut the second and third dresses with a back-seam and a non-directional layout. This also let me add a swayback adjustment and some shaping to the back seam, so really no downside here—and, I figured if the skirt was still too narrow for walking, I could add a slit at the back seam as well. (I know I could’ve left side slits on the original version of the pattern, but I just don’t like that look as much.

Flared skirt cutting diagram

Flared skirt cutting diagram

This may not have been the best choice since technically both my prints are directional, but I’m hoping they are big and crazy enough that nobody will pay attention.

Crazy Paisley

Crazy Paisley

Incidentally, I wasn’t paying attention to print placement at all… for the third maxi, there’s a distinct repeat to those giant paisleys that wanders from almost dead centre at the hem to distinctly over to the left side at the bust. Oops. In my defense, what I was paying attention to while ignoring the print was the grain of the knit, so I’m pretty sure that the print is not at all square to that. And maybe this is better than direct boob paisley?

Butt paisley

Butt paisley

For the non-black versions, I didn’t have a fabulous matching fold-over-elastic to speed me on my way, so I opted to bind the edges.

Step one: overlock.

Step one: overlock.

I pretty much always use the same method, only varying whether I include a bit of clear elastic in the mix or not: cut a band across the greatest stretch of the fabric, 1.5″ wide or so (I am not overly precise in this, and for the roses maxi I actually used the rather off-grain strip that was left from between the two pattern pieces—plenty stretchy in this fabric but it led to some rippling that was much less of a problem when using cross-grain pieces.) These days, I typically layer fashion fabric (right side up) – knit band (right side down) – clear elastic on top, and serge away. If I’m being good, I test to see how much tension I need on both knit band and clear elastic… if I’m not, hopefully I started somewhere like the bottom of the arm-hole so no one will really see how messed up the first few inches are. I don’t pre-measure and I don’t apply it in the round, more because I am lazy than because I think it’s a better way to do things.

Serged!

Overlocked!

Once I have this firm base attached, I wrap the binding around so that the loose edge is to the back and snug it up—having plenty of width makes it easy to pull it gently snug.

Wrap binding around to back and topstitch.

Wrap binding around to back and topstitch.

Typically, I actually just use a narrow zig-zag to topstitch—I have kinda developed a hate for twin needles, mostly to do with their cost vs. the teeny amount of sewing I’ve ever managed to do with one—I don’t think I’ve ever had one last through a second project (arguably, I am hard on my needles.) However, for this project I decided to try out a feature of my Grandma’s Rocketeer that I read about in the manual but hadn’t tested yet—it can actually hold two needles in its needle slot, side by side. How? You just keep opening the screw until they both fit. They do sit side by side, so it’s a narrow spread between, about 2mm, but that was perfect for the narrow bindings on these dresses. I’m pretty darn happy with how it worked, actually, and if I bust one, all I’m out is a regular stretch needle, not some fancy expensive twin.

Trim the excess off the back.

Trim the excess off the back.

After topstitching, I trim off the extra from the back—hooray for non-fraying knits! (I wouldn’t want to use this on a knit that runs, but then those are like sewing with the devil anyway.

A little press and, voila!

A little press and, voila!

I’m pretty sure I originally got this technique off of Pattern, Scissors, Cloth, which is no longer available, a fact which makes me cry on an almost weekly basis because Sherry had SUCH great info. Everytime I go to think about making a jacket now I want to go check up on her RTW Tailoring Sewalong, and then I can’t and the sadness just wells up.

Voila!

Bindings!

I’m sure there are a million other tutorials on this way, and I know there’s lots of other ways to attach a binding, too, but this one is the one I keep going back to.

Side paisley

Side paisley

 

It seems kinda dumb that I just spent so much time going over the neck and arm bindings on this pattern, but really, that’s 3/4 of the sewing time—everything else is just a quick zip over with the serger. And the hem, of course—Steam-a-Seam is my go-to in that department.

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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?!?)

Lacing!

Lacing!

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.

'Tude.

‘Tude.

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

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. 😉

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Happy stripey dancey fun.

IMG_0699.JPG

It’s been a dancey-sewing summer around here. Probably inspired by having some fun performances happening, although the vast majority of the sewing wasn’t related to that—it has still been fun to have some exciting new gear to wear to class. And, it’s all knits which are quick and satisfying, which is important for me right now always.

Anyway, one of my sewy friends made the mistake, a few weeks ago, of lamenting over a black & purple striped spandex fabric she’d picked up some ends of a few years ago, and never actually used (her sewing has been rudely interrupted by that whole having-children thing the last few years). And then yesterday, while ogling her stash during a visit, she said if there was anything I wanted to use desperately, just let her know—she’d rather see it used than languish in her basement.

Dancey pose!

Dancey pose!

Moments later I was cradling two or three metres of gorgeous fabric in my greedy little arms. I did leave her the other end piece (a metre and a half or so) for some future swimsuit.

It was time for some more Fauxlodias, and, of course, a matching crop-top,

Pants. Jalie 2033 hack.

Pants. Jalie 2033 hack.

For the pants, I pulled out Jalie 3022 again, plus my add-on swoosh.

Swoosh.

Swoosh.

I didn’t want any extra seams in the back to have to match stripes across, though, so I attached the swoosh to the outseam and fudged the two back pieces into one. The back seam is pretty much straight except for a tiny dart incorporated into it at the top—i just shaved an amount equivalent to half the dart off the outseam and centre back seams. Not terribly scientific, but these are knits we’re talking about. Yay, knits. Oh, and after checking that the stretch lengthwise was similar to the stretch widthwise, I decided to run my stripes up the legs of the pants vertically. Less stripe matching to do that way. Also looking cool.

Ruched foldover waistband

Ruched foldover waistband

I wanted to add a ruched, fold-over waistband/overskirt thingy, for a bit more interest and because my hips need all the oomph they can get. I got the inspiration for the construction from the mini-skirt on Jalie 2920, but I didn’t actually use that pattern because it’s over at my sister-in-law’s house since the last time I made leggings for little girls.

Back View

Back View

It’s a short skirt with side-seams, mirrored at the hem, so the hem ends up being on the fold. When sewing up the side-seams, I added clear elastiic, stretched as much as I could, so that they would gather themselves up. Then I sandwiched 1.5″ wide elastic between the two layers at the top, and serged the whole thing to the top of the pants. I decided to put the serged seam on the outside, so that it’s covered by the fold-over of the ruched-up “skirt” when you’re wearing it.

Pensive.

Pensive.

The crop-top is the top of the franken-pattern I put together for my red velvet dress, which is largely Kwik Sew 1288, with a few modifications for fit based on my Nettie, cut on the bias with CB and CF seams to make that fun chevron.

Crop top. Looks better on.

Crop top. Looks better on.

Because I’ve been aching for a good striped knit to try that chevron design. (OK, I could perhaps have tried it with my black and white striped spandex, but I didn’t think of it in time.)

Chevron!

Chevron!

This stripe isn’t quite as nice quality-wise as that black-and-white one, by the way, although it’s close. The fabric is a little thinner, and the stripes were a bit irregular in some places, which is really weird and makes it really hard to stripe-match. Fortunately it’s a knit, so the fit is fairly forgiving. For a finish, I just serged the edges, folded under, and topstitched with a triple-step zig-zag. I feel like this is a legitimate finish for dancewear, at least, if not for regular clothes. 😉

Back view (full)

Back view (full)

Of course, the best part is how excited I am to go to dance practice this week, so I can wear my new outfit… 😉

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Faux-lodias

Melo-Phoenix, batik

Melo-Phoenix, batik

Have you heard of Melodia Designs? No? Where HAVE you been? She only makes some the best dance/yoga activewear on the internet, duh. In particular, she pioneered (revolutionized?) the tribal bellydance wardrobe with her richly flared, side-slit dance pants, which in certain circles are the standard for awesome, high-quality dancewear, for practice or performance.

Icarus Melo-Phoenix Dance Pants

Icarus Melo-Phoenix Dance Pants

I have a single pair, a style which arose from a collaboration between Melodia Designs and Phoenix Rising (an equally cool dance/yoga/activewear line), Icarus-patterned Melo-Phoenixes. DIVINE. Here’s the current lineup, although it looks like Icarus is still available in their standard yoga-pants style. This pair of pants is probably one of my most-prized (and most expensive) possessions. And they are very well-made, with the kinds of materials and workmanship (hello, coverstitch) I can’t nearly match at home. If this kind of gear suits your lifestyle or tickles your fancy, I totally recommend it. In fact, looking at the websites just now I’m feeling all twitchy and consumeristic in a way that I rarely get over cut & sewn fabric these days.

I only have one problem—I don’t fall really well within the size vs. length ranges of these pants. For my Melos, I had to size up to a medium to get a 32″ inseam, which is tolerable but doesn’t give the kind of floor-swooshing grace that really knocks ones’ metaphorical socks off (since really, this kind of pants look ridiculous with socks.) And, while not loose, they’re not as form-hugging as they might be.

And, well, why would I buy when I can make?

Enter Jalie 3022. I was probably thinking of this pattern hack as soon as I saw the fun back-seam that makes this otherwise basic yoga-pants pattern unique—don’t ask me why it took three or more years to actually get around to it.

 

Melodia vs. Fauxlodia

Melodia vs. Fauxlodia

I traced my flare off the side of my originals (I don’t have time to reinvent the wheel, or the flare, in this case. Yes, I do feel a little guilty about that.), and super-imposed it on the rear seam of my Jalie 3022 pattern. The best part was that, since the flare is a bit short for my legs, it sits lower on my really-long pattern, so the flare starts below the knee, not above, a sleek look I really like (although there’s less skirt-like movement this way than with pants that flared from above the knee.)

 

Jalie 3022, with back-seam

Jalie 3022, with back-seam

My fabric of choice here is red supplex, a wicking fabric that Fabricland used to carry, long and long ago. I found a single languishing bolt at my local store, and managed to follow it along through the mark-downs until it was finally at a price I could afford, and nabbed the last three metres. These took about two and a half, which tells you everything you need to know about how much fabric those flares eat up. Nom nom nom.

Flares from the back seam

Flares from the back seam

I did all the construction on my spanky new serger, and finished the back slits and the bottoms with a rolled hem, with my differential feed cranked up to lend a bit of a lettuce-y effect; the stretchy, dense fabric doesn’t ruffle overly well, but I think it gives a bit of a hint. The only topstitching I did on this pair was on the inseam, where I used a triple zig-zag, for added strength. I will probably need to reinforce the seam at the top of the slit, too.

Nettie crop-top to go with

Nettie crop-top to go with

And, of course, what to go with my cute and fun pants, but another Nettie crop top. I haven’t managed to make a fully-fledged bodysuit yet (partly because it’s summer now and not really body-suit weather, so I haven’t felt terribly inclined to try), but I am loving the crop tops for dance practice.

The outfit

The outfit

I confess, I am all squeally over how they look—better than I had hoped. I was secretly sure that the swoop would be disproportionate, or fall strangely, or something. It was a little long (my altered-for-me pattern is ridiculously long, but I like it that way.)

A different crappy mirror shot

A different crappy mirror shot

I don’t think any of my photos really do them justice, but if I wait for great photos it’ll probably be next year sometime, so here we go. I just can’t wait for dance class next week. 🙂

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Can’t blog…

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Busy sewing.

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I’m having a bit of a Jalie binge.

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July 10, 2014 · 7:39 pm

Attack of the blue roses

Blue. Rose. Pique.

There are few prints that make me as weak in the knees as blue florals. I talk myself out of buying them all the time. (I should perhaps note that most of the ones I haven’t talked myself out of buying, I also haven’t sewn up yet. I think this is the first blue floral that has made it onto the blog.) I’ve also been loving the wild print jeans that have been on trend. Actually, maybe that trend is past now? Oh, well.

So, since I actually had an entire weekend free last week (enough time to tackle a serious project), well, I finally succumbed to this blue rose stretch pique that has been taunting me at my local Fabricland for a couple of months now.

I’ve never used (heard of) pique before, but the waffly texture is neat and the weight and stretch seemed about right for jeans, although the stretch was on the low side of what I like. Being rather paranoid of white jeans (I have to be very careful underwear wise with this pair, for example), I wanted to line, or rather underline, them. Fortunately for me, there was also stretch cotton poplin available at Fabricland (not always the case)—so away I went.

So, it’s been a while since I sewed jeans. And there’s been a reason for that. Namely, that the Jalie 2908 pattern I traced off years ago now, and have used for every single pair of jeans I have made for me ever (OK, except one.), was getting pretty tattered. It had also always had some issues—notches that didn’t line up, alteration after alteration, some of them to fix previous alteration mistakes (all of which were my fault, I hasten to add, not Jalie’s). And, in a coup de grace, I had cut it intentionally small, for fabrics with c. 25% stretch. This fabric was in the 10% stretch range, tops—so I figured it was high time to trace off a new version that would work for low-stretch fabrics. And this time, I wanted it to be durable.

Freshly-traced pattern

So, I shelled out four whole bucks for a couple of metres of “Trace-A-Pattern,” which is basically a wide, non-fusible non-woven medium-ish weight interfacing. I did have to re-create my personal alterations, which I did rather differently this time, although the goal was the same; the first time I did a lot of switching between sizes at different lines; this time, I traced “my” size and just altered that. I made six changes:

  1. lower front rise only, c. 1″ (this “simple” change actually involved changing five pattern-pieces, making it the most annoying one to actually do.)
  2. raise rear rise, c. 1 cm
  3. shave off 5mm at front crotch
  4. curve in yoke by c. 3 cm.
  5. add 5″ of length, distributed both above and below the knee
  6. instead of the flares, make the legs go straight below the knee.

I also use a curved waistband, self-drafted with no particular method, but I didn’t actually redo that piece.

Underlining

I cut pretty much everything (except the waistband… we’ll get back to that) out of both the pique and the poplin, slapped the two together and treated them as one. Which made for a nice, beefy fabric, and the poplin is a lot smoother against the skin than the pique would have been. So I call that a win. (Oh, I was also completely Instagram-happy while sewing these so the construction process is remarkably well-documented. Well, sorta.)

Rear view

Rear view

So, pockets. In my previous pattern, I used a really tiny, child-sized pocket, in the theory that small pockets make your butt look bigger. (Yes, this is a goal in my world.) But, I thought a bit bigger wouldn’t hurt. I still cut a couple of sizes smaller than my “official” size. I didn’t try to print-match their position on the butt, but I did cut them out singly, trying to get one nice, big flower sorta-semi-centred on the pocket. Since I was lining everything, I figured I’d take the opportunity to to try making my pockets lined patches, so I didn’t have to fuss with folding the edges under evenly or making a template.

Lined patch pockets

Lined patch pockets

Seems very simple in theory, right? Stitch wrong sides together, leave a little gap, turn. Except, I knew I didn’t want the lining to show on the outside. So, trim the lining a little smaller, plus a good bit shorter so the 1.5 cm seam allowance at the top of of the pocket will be folded over. And, then you go to sew it and you have to ease the pique to the lining and oh, crap, those didn’t line up and what was my seam allowance again? And, let’s just say it was a nerve-wracking ten minutes until I got them turned right-side-in and realized they were, pretty well, still symmetrical and the same size. Whew. So in the end I’m actually really happy with how they turned out.

Turned pockets

Turned pockets

pockets

Back detail

Back detail

I had a lot of fun topstitching these on my Pfaff. I usually use my Featherweight, but it’s been living at my sister-in-law’s since last fall sometime, which is tragic but really useful on the rare occasions we do manage to get together to sew over there. (I don’t invite people to come sew at my house, the setup is kinda ridiculous. There’s machines in the computer room, one in the living room, cutting must be done on the kitchen floor, and the ironing board generally lives in the basement, although I did bring it up to the kitchen for this project, once I had the cutting-out done.) Anyway—I use a minimum of three machines when I’m making jeans, one for construction, one for topstitching, and the serger for finishing.

Topstitching

Topstitching the waistband

Normally I follow Peter’s advice and use a straight-stitch foot for topstitching. But, the Pfaff has this really cool edge-stitching blade that just slips in onto the presser foot, and its regular zig-zag presser foot has a really great shape:

Pfaff presser foot

It all comes down to the shape of the toes: the inner sides go straight front and back, which means you can follow a line of stitching right up them, as I’m doing in the photo above. My biggest problem in topstitching is usually “falling off” the edge of the seam, usually due to small variations in how tightly I’m holding the fabric. Using the stitch-in-the-ditch attachment, with the needle set off-centre, made it really easy to stay “on track” during that first edge-stitching pass. Of course, the fabric was lovely to handle, too, but then most denims are.

Front detail

I went for quite a wide spread between the lines, rather than my usual 1/4.” I really like it, although I did occasionally “fall off” the seam allowance, since this pattern only has 1 cm seam allowances. I did three lines of topstitching on the top of the pockets (because it looked cool) and on the belt-loops; I’d like to say I did it on the belt loops to echo the design detail on the pockets, but actually my edge-stitching wasn’t catching the edge of the folded-under fabric, leaving me with floppy serged edges on the underside of the belt loops. I really like the three lines, though. I may do that always.

Fit?

Fit?

Fitting is the eternal question, especially since in jeans you can’t try on until you’re pretty far along in the process, and I was re-vamping my pattern. And with stretch jeans so much comes down to the individual fabric and construction. I was pretty worried about whether this pique would have enough stretch. On the other hand, on the waistband of the last jeans I made, I intentionally made the waistband non-stretchy, but I didn’t stretch the pants beneath when putting the waistband on, so the waistband is kinda uncomfortably tight. (though it stays up without a belt, which is nice.) This time, I think I went too far the other way—I didn’t do any stabilizing to the waistband, though I did cut it with a back seam, so that the front portion would be on the cross-grain. This = maximum stretch. As a result the jeans are very comfy, but will need a belt to stay up. Which means I’ll have to find a belt that works with them—all of mine are pretty scruffy-looking. I may end up moving the button over some more, too—as it is the stretchiness allows the the fly to gape a bit.

There’s no gaping at the back, but I feel like I could still add a bit more height; it still seems like there’s just a little bit of a dip at the middle back.

Mini-flares

Mini-flares

As I said, I traced my pattern with legs straight below the knee, but what I actually wanted (which I tweaked in the cut fabric) was a bit of a skinny taper with a mini-flare at the bottom. Also slouchy ankle wrinkles. I always envy other people’s slouchy ankle wrinkles, but when I’m making skinnies for myself I keep cutting them off to the “proper” height, = no slouchy ankle wrinkles.) It took some serious self-control not to do that here, too, especially as when I first tried them on the legs were too wide and the mini-flare didn’t really show at all. Once I got it taken in along the outseam, from just above knee to the ankle, though, life got much better. And I *think* I quite enjoy the slouchy-ankle-slipping-over-my-shoes look, although I’ll get back to you after they’ve been worn out and about more.

Happy.

Happy.

All in all, I’m going to call these a success, although they were bloody hard to photograph for everything but the fine details. The trick is going to be wearing them—I think I like them with a white top, but I don’t have that many options. I’m not loving it with the navy stripes in the photo above, although the colours are ok.

Styling?

Styling?

Still, they were a fun experiment.

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