I’m having a bit of a Jalie binge.
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.
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:
I also use a curved waistband, self-drafted with no particular method, but I didn’t actually redo that piece.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still, they were a fun experiment.
Tyo’s Pikachu onesie is finished.
So, this thing was a lot of work. Probably more than I was expecting. It was the face that put it over the top. And the zip-off feet. I don’t have a lot of spare brain-power these days, figuring those out (or, as the cae may be, not figuring them out) took a lot out of me.
It’s kinda hard to know where to start. Did it begin a week and a half before Christmas, when Tyo hit upon the idea of a Pikachu onesie for herself, and promptly found five eBay sites all ready to sell her one that she wouldn’t shut up about? Did it begin when someone gave her a yellow Pokemon stuffie for her third birthday?* Did it begin when she was a baby and I decided for a year or so that footie pyjamas were my favourite thing? (I had a couple different pairs, storebought, so apparently I wasn’t the only person who thought that in the early aughties. The problem turned out to be that the legs were always too short and so they tended to make my toes go numb. Poo.)
Anyway, let’s just say that it was an idea whose time had come. So I’ve basically heard nothing for the last three weeks but PIKACHUCHUCHU. I had to scrap my previous onesie plans (PANDA FABRIC!) and buy a whack of yellow fleece.
Fortunately (?), I had ordered Jalie 3244 in the nick of time. It arrived literally the day before Christmas Eve. GO JALIE, and hooray for in-Canada shipping! So the kids got boxes of fabric each and a wrapped pattern for the both of them. I know, not the best “Christmas sewing”, but what I could manage this time-starved year.
Now, the Jalie pattern is (I think) a good starting place. It has footed and foot-free options, and, of course, every size in the book. Plus different-coloured lines! Which makes the tracing just a little bit easier. 🙂 Although, there is some piecing to be done during the tracing. The front and back piece are actually the same piece, except for the top neckline portion that you have to trace on to each piece. This mean the front and back crotch-curves are identical, but I’m somehow thinking this is not a huge deal for a glorified sleep-sack.
I was rather bemused to realize that Tyo is officially a size R. That’s the size I use to make my jeans, people. Which makes sense considering she’s been stealing my jeans since last summer, but anyway. (I should note I’m not really a size R, more S or even T** on the bottom half, but I like my jeans closer-fitting than Jalie 2908) Although, having put the onesie on her, I wish I’d gone a size up, and lengthened a bit. This is not a voluminous onesie. And Jalie patterns do not, as a rule, run large.
In any case, we traced off the pattern and got started. By which I mean, I traced off the pattern and Tyo bounced around excitedly, and then got bored and went off to facetime*** her friends.
And then things slowed right down.
Largely, it’s because it’s a project I needed to think about. While Jalie 3244 may be a great onesie pattern, it doesn’t have a hood, and a Pikachu onesie would hardly be Pikachu without a hood to put the face and ears on. I took some measurements and drafted a rough hood pattern. Jalie 3244 has feet, but not with a zip-off closure. So I had to think about (and procure zippers for) that.
The first (easiest?) problem I tackled were the stripes and the tail.
I was really at a loss about the tail—looking at a stuffie doesn’t give you much idea of size. How long should it be? How sharp and big should those zig-zags be? How far our should the brown base extend? In the end, I’m pretty happy with my first attempt, which is good, because I didn’t have enough extra fleece to do a bunch of test versions. Once we figured out where the tail should attach on her butt, (and I added some extra stitching and elastic to support the seam in that area) the next problem was the stripes. Tyo wanted the stripes to extend around onto her sides. This caused me to alter the construction order; I sewed the back pieces together and then the front pieces to each side, so I had one big onesie-piece to applique the stripes onto. There was just barely enough space to fit the two stripes between the tail and the bottom of the armscye.
First, I drafted a hood. I started by carefully measuring the neckline of all the pattern pieces, and then measuring roughly how humongous Tyo wanted it to be in terms of height and depth. The resulting pattern piece looked pretty ridiculous, and was really long. So I wound up cutting about four inches off the bottom of it. Which totally messed up my careful neckline calculations, by the way. Fortunately, fleece is exceptionally forgiving.
I spent quite some time looking at pictures of Pikachu’s tail and back-stripes, and even more time looking at pictures of the face. I’m not a Pokemon afficionado, so I needed to do some research to get the details right. Tyo assured me that the red cheeks on her stuffed Pikachu are actually far too small, so I should make them bigger; as it turns out, I made them the same size as the eyes. I discovered (very carefully!) that you can use steam-a-seam on fleece. Very carefully! I experimented with applique stitches and scoured my scraps for the right fabrics. I spent a LONG time laying out that face. And I made ears. Deciding how big to do the ears was nerve-wracking (Based on most of the online examples, mine are a bit big. I think they’re cute that way, though.) Laying out the face was worse; Pikachu has a very high bar of cute to attain, and I was terrified of falling short. I would not want to produce some lame, un-cute Pikachu knock-off. We aim for only the best knock-offs here at Tanit-Isis Sews. 😉
Pikachu’s face, as it turns out, is a bit too big for the hood. Or something. It looks good from the front, but there wasn’t much space across the back to put the ears in. The result, I think, looks a bit microcephalic, but it will have to do.
Tyo’s other request that took some thought was for zip-off feet. I was secretly hoping she would opt for the footless version, but really, is it a real onesie without feet? Or is it just a baggy jumpsuit? But she wanted to wear it to school, and out and about, so zip-off feet were a necessity.****
I looked at a pair of my husband’s pants, which zip off just below the knee, for inspiration, but there was still a bit of learning at the school of hard knocks, which is always my favourite kind:
1) Put the zippers in in the round. It’s tempting to try to do them in the flat, as that’s easier but it works much better for the final flap-over if they’re done in the round.
2) allow more overlap than you think you need. Fleece puffs up and doesn’t cover as much as you wish it would.
3)attach band (I added a band above the ankle-seam as part of the foot unit; in the Jalie pattern the foot unit stitches directly to the bottom of the leg-piece) to foot-piece AFTER sewing the zippers in. This would’ve made the Tragedy of the Backwards Foot much easier to prevent.
Wait, did I mention the backwards foot? Yes, despite all my attempts at spacial reasoning and careful paying of attention, when I went to zip the feet on, this is what happened. If you look up at the picture above, you’ll note that there is an extra seam between zipper and foot. Slash, reverse, re-stitch. Much better than trying to unpick fleece. We’ll call it a design feature. I really don’t have it in me to do a full tutorial on adding a zipper to pants (or footies, as the case may be), although Google seems to be well-supplied with them. Anyone reading have a tutorial they like
Did I mention this was a lot of work? More than I really thought it was going to be. I don’t think I was thinking about the face.
I’m glad the ears are big and the tail long.
It is very warm and cozy. Also slightly grubby because it took me a while to pin her down for pictures, and the onesie has been worn to school once and around the house more or less constantly. Tyo’s teacher thought the onesie was pretty cool, but then he has a Tardis onesie.
I do kinda wish the whole thing was baggier, but that would’ve taken even more fleece. I used up a whole three metres on this project as it is, just of the yellow fleece.
She does not like taking it off.
There are a lot more things I could say, about binding zippers and seams finishes and changing the pockets, but at this point, I think I just need to hit publish. This is already well into too-long-didn’t-read territory. And, I’m tired. I think I want to go make fleece socks.
*I actually have absolutely no recollection of how the Pikachu stuffy came into our lives. I certainly didn’t buy it, so it must’ve been a gift. Tyo never particularly played the card game, nor am I aware of her watching it on TV. (Is there a Pokemon TV show? I sorta assume there is but I’ve never seen it.) And yet, Pikachu.
***My children don’t phone their friends. Like, ever. But they do facetime, Skype, and text. Constantly.
****to those bemoaning the sad state of the world, that kids are wearing giant baby clothes everywhere, I can only say, at least it’s a warm trend. As a Canadian, I’ll take those whenever I can get them.
Last weekend, as often happens, we went to my Stylish sister-in-law’s. Certain television premieres may have been airing that, since we gave up cable, wouldn’t be watchable chez Isis. But before the stories were watched, we sewed. I’ve had a leggings itch ever since working on the Espresso leggings for Cake Patterns, especially with the weather turning. And this purple polkadot Michael Miller knit was kinda burning a hole in the stash ever since I caved and bought it last month.
The purple was never meant for me; I handily got three little leggings out of it, for Syo, Fyon, and Waif, and there’s enough left for two more leggings or any number of pairs of underwear, depending. Stylish worked on tracing her pattern for Coat Club, but she is easily distracted by frivolities like cleaning her house and making supper, so she didn’t get much done. I, on the other hand, made five pairs of leggings, mainly by dint of ignoring everyone else.
I spent, by far, the most time laying out and matching up zig-zags. The purple knit isn’t as substantial as I’d originally thought and I’m really not sure how well it’ll wear—although it is CUTE. The zig-zags actually ran lengthwise on this fabric, which didn’t seem right, so I cut them on the cross-grain, which means the maximum stretch isn’t quite right. As a result the leggings are a bit snug, even on the Waif, who isn’t at all used to anything being tight.
I think the cuteness has made up for it, though—I made the leggings on Sunday, it’s now the following Sunday, and I’m not actually sure they’ve been taken off.*
My fave bit was using Stylish’s embroidery machine to make little tags with the first letters of their names to help the girls distinguish between their pairs. And tell front from back. The only problem with this scheme is that Syo and Fyon have names that begin with the same letter, but they don’t live in the same house so I’m hoping it won’t be a huge issue.
And my pair? Plain black, just below knee length. I wanted them mostly for sleeping, and they have been serving that purpose nicely.
*okay, they probably have. Stylish is pretty firm about things like pjs and baths…
Ok, so in the time it’s taken me to write up this (painfully poorly photographed) post, I made up two more leggings, from this slippery nasty spandexy stuff Syo talked me into buying ages ago. I had a metre, which turned out to be just enough for a pair of leggings for me and another for Syo. It actually wasn’t bad to sew (slippery but not rolly and it doesn’t run), but I did have to sew just about everything twice, because the narrow zig-zag I used the first time around didn’t have enough stretch. So I switched to a bulkier, but stretchier, mock-overlock stitch on the White. Incidentally, Stylish’s Memorycraft has a mock-overlock stitch and an over-edge foot that works REALLY nicely with it. Since my serger a) doesn’t make strong enough seams for stuff like this, and b) has decided not to cut anything, this kind of thing has been kinda important. They’re all really slow compared to a serger, though. *pout*
Hopefully at some point this week I’ll manage to write up the underwear I’ve been making, the Hallowe’en outfit, or even the Darth Vader dress…. but next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I’m not holding my breath for too much sewing time…
I’ve needed new jeans for a while. Like, a really long while. The last pair was these skinnies, a year and a half ago. Which, I’ll add, wound up twisting annoyingly in the one leg, so I don’t wear them much. I think I definitely need to embrace the single-layer cutting for jeans. /sigh.
There’s not much to say about these. It’s the same pattern as ever, the same techniques, even the same frickin’ pockets. I’ll repeat the detail shots from the last post just for the sake of completeness. I did spend some time tweaking my contour waistband pattern, which began life as the waistband from the Burdastyle Ellen pants (which are no longer free, WTF?) but has since gone through several iterations. This version is wide, curved in the back and straight(er) in the front, and doesn’t gape over my butt even a little bit. More importantly, it didn’t gape over Stylish’s butt, which I am really frickin’ proud of, but I guess that’s another post (assuming I can pin her down for blog photos. These non-bloggers, /sigh.)
I used this polkadot (?)chambray for the pocket lining and inside waistband. It’s nice, but a bit lighter than I’d like for this purpose, I think, even interfaced. The waistband is fairly wide, and it ended up being a bit floppy, even with my adding a CB seam so the front could be on the grain. Also, I should’ve added two buttons for the width, not just the one. Hopefully we’ll get around to the rivets sooner rather than later.
I did not put a whole lot of work or thought into the pocket design. Just something simple I could copy fairly easily. I was busy overseeing Stylish’s pair.
Oh, yeah, and I’ve recently discovered the one up-side of having a child large enough to steal your clothes. You can steal hers back.
And, while I normally wouldn’t show this much tummy these days (never mind on the internet), Osiris’s reaction to this ensemble was, shall we say, sufficiently positive that I’m gonna put it out there anyway.
Of course, just as I finished these, summer’s last gasp really set in and we’ve had nothing but hot, sunny days completely unsuited to jeans. Ah, well. Winter’s just around the corner and I’ll have plenty of chance to wear them soon enough…
I worked it out the other day and realized it’s been like a year and a half since I made myself a pair of jeans. Say what? I know! Crazy! And, the best of the remaining pairs (or at least, the newest) recently developed a run, or whatever you’d like to call it, in the butt just beside the CB seam—you know, when denim wears so the threads one way are gone but the threads the other way are still there. Anyway, I darned it up on my Grandma’s Rocketeer, which is about all I can really do on it since neither cams, accessories, nor bobbins have appeared.* but the fact remains that it’s well past time for a new pair or two.
So I cornered my Stylish sister-in-law and we picked a date for a sewing day—after months of not being able to—and when I asked her if there was anything she wanted to make For Her (as opposed to the kids or husband), her first thought was capri-length jeans. Perfect!
Not really a beginner project, you say? Pah, I say! We shall charge ahead! Especially since I just scored some lovely denim at 70% off… What could go wrong?
Don’t answer that.
Anyway, we set up our little sweatshop in Stylish’s basement. I brought over the elderly serger (which has decided it won’t cut at the moment. Yes, I’m sure the blades are dull as all get up, but the damn thing was slicing everything just fine right up until two weeks ago. WTF?) and my featherweight, for the topstitching. The three-machine, two-sewists setup worked quite well, as I could usually manage to be working on a different machine.
So, over the weekend we spent all our spare time tracing, cutting, and sewing a couple of pairs of jeans. The pattern, of course, is Jalie 2908. I really need to re-trace and revamp my version of the pattern, and come up with a less stretch-intensive version, but for this one I resorted to just chalking in a bit more ease (and length) where I needed it. Again.
For Stylish, I had her trace off her hip size, and then added the usual suite of alterations I do for Tyo in Jalie patterns—adding to the rear rise with a wedge at CB and curving in the rear yoke. I’ve been working on my contour waistband pattern, too, and I think I may have perfected it—or at least, it appears to work for both my butt AND Stylish’s, which is a friggin’ miracle if you ask me.
(Note—all images are of my jeans. Why? Because while I was standing around taking pictures, Stylish was actually working on hers. 😉
Confession—between when I first banged off this post and publishing, we managed to pretty much finish. My pair is OK, although I made the waistband non-stretch which means it’s really tight. I like the non-stretch waistband but I need to make some pattern modifications (i.e., more ease) in the upper hip if I’m going to use one. Stylish’s pair is pretty good IMO, in her opinion not so good—one of the legs twists a bit and the fly does a curious list to one side. I’m not sure what’s up with either, frankly, since we both did the exact same thing. I just wish I could get her to appreciate the miracle that is the fact that it doesn’t gape at the back and is only mildly wrinkly under her butt. Also, I don’t think she is adequately awed by the fact that that fly (which she sewed entirely on her own, albeit with me going “ok, sew this part now. Now sew this.” is her FIRST ZIPPER. FIRST ZIPPER EVER, peeps.
Actual photos to follow at some point, but for now, have a floor pic with a chihuahua, MPB style. My Crafty sister-in-law came over one evening, too, and finished a blouse she had started way back in the winter—so I will have to make her dress up and get photos done of that, too. In my copious spare time…
*not strictly true. There is actually a cam in the machine, for making, based on its markings, a diamond pattern zigzag. I have managed to get it to produce great straight stitches, narrow zigzag stitches, and a variety of “decorative” variations that don’t look like much. I will definitely be consulting the manual linked to by my helpful readers! Intuitive, this machine ain’t. I’ve come to the conclusion that I like my sewing machines the way I like my computer programs—while I appreciate a good manual, I’d much rather just sit down and bash at it and see what I can figure out. For that matter, I think that’s my approach to a good chunk of life…