Hampton Jean Jacket

Oh hey blog, it’s been a long while! Glad you’re still here!

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I’m so thrilled that Alina from Alina Design Co. asked me to be a part of this blog tour because it really gave me the push to sew up this jacket. I’d been meaning to work on this for a while but having a deadline got me working on it! I definitely should have said no when she asked given all the sewing, school, and work commitments going on this month but I managed to get through this jacket and it’s already become a go-to wardrobe piece.

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I purchased the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern as soon as it came out and then jumped on the fabric and hardware kits that Threadbare Fabric was offering to go with the pattern. The denim in the kits was a non-stretch mid-weight in a fairly dark indigo. I knew that I wanted a pretty classic jean jacket–I didn’t currently have one in my closet and felt like starting with a classic one would be most useful. But I also knew that I wanted to get a bit of a jump start on aging and wearing in my jacket.

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I followed Alina’s directions for bleaching denim and made a day of it bleaching both the denim for this jacket and some natural denim that I wanted white for some Morgan Jeans. Bleaching went well and I was able to achieve the color I was going for based on my test swatches.

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I did decide against further distressing partly because I didn’t want to rush the process of distressing and ruin my jacket and also because I’ve never distressed denim and it makes me anxious to think of taking sandpaper to a handmade garment! (That said, I think some of the distressed Hamptons that I’ve seen are absolutely perfect and if I make another one I might give it a try.)

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I’m hoping to throw my Hampton in the wash regularly until it starts to wear in a bit. As I’ve washed and worn my handmade jeans I do really love the way that they break in  and I hope this jacket can achieve a similar look.

I made no fit adjustments to my Hampton, choosing to make a straight size 12. I was daring (read: irresponsible) and did not make a muslin for this jacket. This was mostly a matter of feeling crunched for time, but I’ve found that I’m generally safe going with my measurements in indie patterns, especially when they are a looser fit. The size I choose feels roomy enough for layering underneath but not too big that I can’t wear it with just a t-shirt underneath. (Obviously I would recommend to anyone not confident about their sizing to make a muslin because it’s a real bummer when finished garments don’t fit!)

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I sewed up my jacket following Alina’s fantastic instructions, deviating only slightly to sew as much with regular thread before switching to topstitching thread. I’ve discovered while sewing numerous pairs of jeans that changing up the construction order to do as many steps as possible with each thread before switching really helps the process go faster.

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The only design change I made was to line the back yoke. I didn’t really want the stitching to show on the back from adding my label so a lined yoke was an easy way to hide that. I sandwiched the back bottom panels between the inner and outer yokes and pressed both up and topstitched through all three.

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I did not use flat-felled seams for my jacket, again partly because of the time crunch but also because I like the look of serged and topstitched seams on the inside.

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Overall, this jacket came together so much faster than I was expecting. I had no problem with things coming together; the pattern is drafted perfectly. It probably took me about 20 hours over the course of five days which was a lot less time than I had anticipated. It’s a very approachable pattern, even though there’s a lot of pieces and a lot of seaming it goes together quite quickly!

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My jacket is pictured here with a few different outfits–one thing that I’ve loved about this jacket so far is that it seems to go with everything! Also, I had a lot of fun deciding which enamel pins to add to my jacket. These two, from Colette Patterns and Quilt Kween were top choices for now but I think I’ll probably switch them out once in a while.

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If you are looking for a great layering piece to add to your wardrobe I highly recommend the Hampton Jean Jacket! Alina is offering a discount to readers this week so go pick up the pattern and use “HAMPTONSFORALL” to get 15% off!

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There are six other fabulous ladies sewing up and sharing their Hampton Jean Jackets this week! Go check out their fantastic versions!

HamptonBlogTourBlogs

Hampton Jean Jacket Fall 2017 Blog Tour
October 9: Helen’s Closet
October 13: Well Fibre
(Other garments pictured in this post include the Morgan Jeans, a Lark Tee, the Emerson Pants, and the Ogden Cami.)

 

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Marianne Take Two

On the search for another fast project a couple weeks ago, I happened across a cotton spandex jersey that I got from Girl Charlee without having any real plans for it. It was hot here the week I made this and skirts and dresses were the best way to stay cool.

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I thought about trying out a new pattern but I was getting started later in the day and really wanted to finish whatever I decided to make in time to wear it for Me Made May the next day. My previous Marianne Dress (blogged here) only took a few hours so I knew this pattern was what I was looking for. I think from cutting out to clipping threads this whole thing took me three to four hours. Not bad!

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I made Version A of the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. My only modifications were to skip the collar and to add slim bands to the cap sleeves instead of folding over the sleeves and hemming them. I figured out how long to make the sleeve bands by calculating what percentage of the neckline length the neck band piece was and then making the sleeve band length the same percentage of the armhole edge.

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I added the sleeve bands in exactly the same way as the neckband is added in the pattern. Easy peasy!

I decided to stitch down the hem of the dress without my double needle because I still don’t feel like I get the results I’d like from it. I know this means I just need to play with it a bit more but who wants to do that when there are so many other things to be sewing and I could just wish for a coverstitch machine instead.

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I was intending to just stitch the hem down once but when I was almost finished I noticed that I’d missed an inch or so of the hem in one spot. Rather than take out what I’d done (we were going for fast, lazy sewing project here!) I decided to just sew another line underneath. So it looks like I used a coverstitch machine or a twin needle but this was just two lines of stitching with my walking foot.

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Not much else to say. This is still a great pattern. I basically feel like I’m wearing pajamas all day when I wear it, and it only takes a few hours to sew. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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The other great thing about making this dress is that I now know how fantastic this basic cotton spandex jersey is. At $6.50 a yard this medium weight, 95% cotton 5% spandex blend seems very high quality for the money. It sews up very nicely and is about as easy to work with as knits can get. I’ll certainly be adding more to my sewing stash soon!

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Details:

Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

Fabric: Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Girl Charlee

-Hannah

Foxglove Tank and Dress

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I’ve had my eye on the Foxglove Tank by Selvage Designs for a pretty long time. I remember first seeing on Indie Sew as that site was coming on the scene. I didn’t buy it for a while because it was more expensive than other woven tank patterns and I was still leaning about all that goes into putting a sewing pattern together. Not that I’m an expert by any means but after a year of really regularly following a bunch of indie pattern designers I feel like I have enough of a sense of the workload that I definitely don’t feel like I’m overpaying for a $12 pattern as long as it’s a good one.

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And this one is! The pattern goes together easily, there are only two pattern pieces, the instructions are thorough, and the construction is straight forward.

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Continuing in my tradition of making two versions of easy patterns (which totally defeats what I’m usually going for, a quick sew) I dove in with a bunch of double gauze and made a tank and a tank dress.

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I was inspired to make this pattern when I finally gave in and bought some Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze last weekend. After I got home I decided that I wanted to try turning the pattern into a tank dress but of course I hadn’t bought enough fabric for that. So I dug up this Kokka broken plaid double gauze that I bought last year and never cut into.

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I made two modifications in order to turn this pattern into a dress. The first was to lengthen both the front and back pieces by 6″ at the lengthen/shorten lines. The second was to lower the front hemline. The original hemline is a high/low hemline. I wanted to maintain the low in the back and mirror the shape, though not quite as low, in the front. Basically I wanted to create a shirttail hem with the pattern pieces I had.

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After making the pattern modifications I cut out my fabric and got sewing. Nothing special about the construction for either of these. I used french seams on the shoulders and side seams which is one of several suggested finishing methods in the pattern. Bias binding around the necklines and armholes and narrow hems finished off these quick makes.

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The only thing I’d like to fix when I make this pattern again is to open up the neckline and the armholes a bit. I’m fine with the style of the higher neckline but it’s actually a bit challenging to get over my head! The armholes are also a bit higher than I’d like so the top feels a little tighter than it actually is. Opening both of those up will be easy and give me the perfect fit I’m looking for.

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I’m so happy to add two new double gauze items to my wardrobe. My double gauze Eucalypt tank got lots of wear during Me Made May and I’m glad I was able to make more pieces out of this fabulous fabric. These are both incredibly comfortable. The Foxglove pattern is also usable with knit fabric and I’d like to give a knit version a try soon!!

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Details:

Pattern: Foxglove Tank by Selvage Designs

Fabric: Kokka Broken Plaid double gauze from Gooba Designs on Etsy and Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze from JP Knit & Stitch

-Hannah

 

Lou Box Tops

My schedule and energy level over the last few weeks have left me most interested in faster, instant gratification sewing projects. This probably has a lot to do with not knowing how much sewing time I’ll have from day to day or week to week. It’s felt too frustrating to start longer, more in depth projects not knowing when I’ll be able to finish them.

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Patterns like the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY, with just three pattern pieces (two without the pocket) and minimal bias binding are really hitting the spot right now. So much so that I made 2!

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One of the best parts of this pattern is the number of options it comes with. In addition to being able to use the pattern with knits or wovens, there are two different necklines (a scoop and a crewneck) and 3 different hemlines (straight, curved or a high-low with a dramatic dip in back).

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There are two front pattern pieces depending on whether you’re going with the scoop or crewneck and then the hemline pieces can be mixed and matched. You can either just print out the pieces you intend to use (she lists the page numbers in the instructions) or print out everything and have lots of options for a variety of closet staples.

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The first version I finished has a scoop neck, a curved hem, and a pocket. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this one. I made it entirely according to the pattern except that I used french seams for the whole thing. The only problem with this is that the tight curve under the arms didn’t take to the french seams quite as kindly as I’d like. Not very surprising but I guess it is a good reason to not question the pattern instructions.

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The second version I color blocked by cutting the pattern an inch or so below the armpit and adding seam allowances to each piece. It has a crewneck, no pocket, and I added a button placket in the back. The crewneck, when made in a woven fabric, requires some sort of opening in the back so that it can fit over your head. the pattern calls for cutting the back in two pieces, seaming it except for the top couple inches and adding a button and button loop at the back neck.

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For some reason I’m all about button plackets right now so instead I cut the top portions of the back in two pieces, adding 1.5 inches to one side for the button placket, and 2.25 inches to the other side for the buttonhole placket. I sewed the plackets down and then sewed the tops to the bottom back portion which I’d cut on the fold.

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The rest of the shirt was sewn just like the first, also with the, “not the best idea ever,” french seams. After I’d finished all the other steps I put four buttons and buttonholes on and called it a day.

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Next time I make this I will size up, while they definitely fit well and are super comfortable, they’re not quite as roomy as the pattern is intended to be and I’d like to give the roomier fit a try. I was short on fabric for the color blocked version, I squeezed it out of two half yard cuts, so I went with the smallest size because with the built in ease I knew it would fit. I’ll probably also go without french seams!

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All in all I’m incredibly happy with these shirts. They’re not a lot of work and are really comfortable, especially in the hot weather, though I know they’ll also layer well in the winter. I would certainly recommend this pattern for some easy basics.

Details:

Pattern: Lou Box Top by Sew DIY

Fabric: Shot cotton from Gather Here

-Hannah

Lane Raglan Hack

I’ve been totally consumed for the last two weeks writing a term paper and haven’t had a single minute for sewing. It’s been killing me! I’ve always known that sewing time was a huge mood boost but hadn’t ever experienced being this bummed out by not sewing. I still have another term paper and finals but I was able to take some time yesterday to whip up a great light sweatshirt Lane Raglan hack.

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I got the Lane Raglan as part of the Indiesew Fall Collection but hadn’t used the pattern yet. I know that ideally I should be making a pattern as is before hacking at it but I guess I’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker! This is also a very low key hack.

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I’ve been seeing lots of funnel neck sweatshirts recently, and then last week I saw one on someone and realized I could just make one. I think I’m still new enough to the idea of sewing my own wardrobe that i sometimes forget how simple some things are and that I’m totally capable of making them myself.

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As I was finishing my paper on Wednesday I was trying to figure out what sewing project to work on as a reward for my hard work. I knew I didn’t want to start one of my longer projects, I needed some instant gratification. But I wanted to work on something I was excited to wear. I remembered my desire for a funnel neck sweatshirt, and this french terry I got from Girl Charlee a couple weeks ago. BINGO!

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This was a very simple make. Pattern taped together and cut out to finished garment in four hours!!

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To add the funnel neck I started by lowering the neckline by an inch at the CF. I saw that tip on this tutorial when I did a quick search for funnel neck hacks. It helps to keep this from being a turtleneck. I measured down an inch and graded that out to nothing about an inch onto the sleeve, ending before the shoulder notch.

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I measured the new neckline removing the seam allowance from that number. For me that was a 29″ neckline – eight 1/4″ seam allowances for a total of a 27″ neckline. I measured up, somewhat arbitrarily, from where I though the new neckline would hit to where I wanted the funnel neck to end up. That was 7″. I doubled that because I wanted the funnel neck to be self-lined and added 1/2″ for two seam allowances for a total of 15.5″. I did not add a seam allowance tot he 27″ for the funnel neck width. I knew I wanted to make it need to stretch a bit when sewing it to the neckline of the shirt so it wouldn’t be ripply. I was expecting to make it narrower but it fit into the neckline perfectly.

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Before sewing the funnel neck to the neckline I added two buttonholes. Then I sewed it on just like it was the regular neckband from the pattern. After I’d put everything else together I sewed a line about 1.5″ down from the top of the funnel neck for a drawstring channel. Then I fed a drawstring though and I was done!

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I’m super happy with this one. I will definitely be making another at some point. I’ll probably slim the sleeves a little next time and have the funnel neck narrow a bit toward the top.

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What a fantastic start to Me Made May! I need to focus for a little longer on school work but I’ll be back later this weekend to take stock of my me-mades in preparation for the rest of the month.

-Hannah

 

Julia and Natalie

This post is a bit of a photo/project dump. I’ve got a two finished projects that I’m not sure I have a whole lot to say about, not necessarily because I am unhappy with them but mostly because they’re been going on for a while and I just want to get them written up and be able to move on.

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My first finished project to show you is the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations. This was an unplanned project. I was at Joann’s a few weeks ago and noticed that in amongst the piles of polyester grossness was this amazing reversible double sweater knit. I was excited about it when I thought it was just a cotton/rayon striped sweater knit. Imagine my amazement when I discovered it had polka dots on the other side!!

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Instead of making this fabric into a quick project I decided that I had to take advantage of it being reversible and then set about trying to figure out how to make the Julia cardigan pattern work that way. At first I was considering flat felling all my seams so I could just make it according to the pattern with the doubled-over collar. But trying to neatly flat fell a sweater knit seemed a bit crazy, even to me. Then I realized I could just use the technique in the Meridian cardigan, a pattern I’ve had for a while but not used yet. So I managed to squeeze two cardigans out of the three yards I’d bought. I made a version with the stripes on the outside and a version with the polka dots on the outside, adding a single collar to each. Then I just serged the outer collar edges together with the right sides of the two cardigans together.

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I stitched in the ditch in a few key places so that the two layers were anchored together. I got stuck for a while on the cuffs. I really wanted to figure out a way to attach them with the serger, not have any seams showing, and make sure that the stripes weren’t showing on the polka dot side or vice versa. I tried a two piece cuff serged to one side and then topstitched with a zigzag on the other side but it just stretched the cuff out too much. Next try, a severely lengthened two piece cuff serged to both sides. The serged seam shows on the striped side but the cuff is long enough to be folded up. Done and done!

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After months of hiding the Natalie top, by Liola Patterns, in the back of my sewing cabinet, it’s finally done. Man was that a pain in the ass. I zipped through a lot of this top in one evening. But then I couldn’t get the front pleats to sew up properly. And then I managed to sew in one of the sleeves inside out. So it got put in time out for a month or two.

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On the fourth or fifth attempt, and after finally just hand-basting the center front seam, I got the front pleats taken care of. The sleeves went in easily.

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Of course my needle went straight through the first button I tried to sew on, fortunately I had an extra. And the first buttonhole I sewed was crooked. I got to try every single step multiple times with this thing. But it’s done. And guess what?

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I actually like it!! I’m not sure I’ll be making another any time soon but I’m so glad it’s not feeling like a waste of fabric, time, and energy.

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I think I’m caught up on finished projects now. On to the new ones!

-Hannah

Ginger Jeans!!

(Caution: What follows can only be described as full on gloating, unabashed pride, and a complete lack of modesty when it comes to any compliments. I apologize in advance but I am just so stinking proud. Have you seen these things? They’re badass.)

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Well hot diggity dog! Or as the beloved namer of the blog would say, “Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog, diggiyah dog!”

I made jeans!

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Not just that…I made wearable jeans!!

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I’d like to take some of the credit and say that perhaps I’m a better seamstress than I thought but I think mostly Heather just wrote a really amazing pattern because these turned out so well. It took me a long time to actually get started on my Ginger Jeans because I was so worried about how they were going to turn out. It’s been five weeks since I made my (successful) muslin and three weeks since I got everything cut out and prepped.

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Do you ever have that happen to you with a sewing project? You’ve read the pattern, cut out the fabric, you’re really excited about the idea of the finished product. But you’re just not sure your technical ability is up to the task? My biggest concern was how my topstitching and finishing skills would hold up on the denim. The places on my previous makes where I’ve been the least impressed with my skills have been topstitching and finishing in particularly bulky areas. I was also worried about fit, of course. Other than a couple pairs of Hudson Pants made around Christmas time last year, I’ve never made pants so I was anxious about how well they’d fit, even though I made a muslin.

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Heather nailed this pattern though, and that’s evident not just from how well I think my jeans  came out, but also from the enormous number of glowing reviews of this pattern and the number of fantastic Ginger-clad butt selfies running around on Instagram.

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All in all, I was surprised by how easily these came together. I’d made a full muslin version several weeks ago, I’m pretty  sure the only things I skipped were some topstitching and the hem, so it was basically my second time putting them together. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it went. Probably 15-20 hours over the course of 3 days. Maybe that’s a long time, but I’m trying to get myself to slow down and do everything well. And I think it shows. (See above caution about lack of modesty.)

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I think I have to give all of the credit for my good topstitching to my Jean-a-ma-jig which I used whenever I was stitching over other seams. You just place it under the back of your presser foot as you’re coming up to a particularly bulky area and it helps you maintain an even stitch length as you make your way across the bulk. I also used a little makeshift one that was just a folded over square of denim. I used that for the start of topstitched seams where I was just going to be sewing on a couple layers of denim. It helped me get a nice even start.

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I don’t think there’s much to say about fit that I haven’t already mentioned here. When I decided to make these I knew that I wanted the lower waist of one version with the skinny legs of the other. I couldn’t begin to explain why I thought that it made sense to try to skinny out the legs of the lower waist version instead of just lowering the waist of the skinny version. But that’s what I’d decided to do. In my muslin I took out 3/4 of an inch on the side seam and inseam of each front and back leg. This result in having to cut my muslin at the knees because they were SO tight in the calves. When I cut out my denim, I added back 1/2 an inch to the side seams and inseam. Then I basted those seams to check fit.

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I could certainly have left them the way they were, but I really did want skinnier legs so I took out 1/8 of an inch on the side and inseams when I sewed those seams permanently. I could probably have gotten away with more, but I think they look good. Next time around, and believe me there will be a next time, I will try lowering the waist on the skinny version instead of messing with the leg width.

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There are a couple other places I will want to focus on next time. I think I could still take out a tiny bit more length. Probably just another 1/2 inch at the knees. They’re also feeling a bit big from the crotch up. I think they’ve stretched at bit, which makes sense, it’s stretch denim, and I might even be able to get away with a smaller size. If I stick with the same size next time I’ll need to take a chunk out at the center back seam and take out some extra fabric around the crotch too.

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Other than the tweaks I’ve mentioned I sewed these up just as the pattern calls for. I was expecting to find the switching back and forth between regular thread and topstitching thread to really drive me nuts but it wasn’t that bad. I did my best to break some of the construction sequence rules so that I was doing everything I could with whatever thread I had in the machine before switching. Other than that they were sewn up as prescribed.

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My one and only frustration with these was the rivets and button. I’d picked up the jeans notions kit from Thread Theory because Heather recommended it in her supply round up. I was happy with the zipper, and the rivets were okay, but the button in that kit and I are not friends. I think the problem is actually with the pin that you hammer into the button. I’ve done some research on this in the last few days and many of the other buttons I’ve found come with pins that have several ridges on them that catch inside the button to secure it. The pins that come with the kit only have one, very slight ridge on them. The result was trying both of the buttons from both of the kits I’d bought and neither of them working. The first one seemed to catch but then pulled off and bent when we tried to get it back on. The second one just never caught. I went ahead and bought new buttons from Pacific Trimming. They got here very quickly, and went on easily.

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Other than the button nonsense, these were such a fun and satisfying make. If you’d told me even six months ago that I would make jeans and there would be no crying involved I would’ve told you to cut the crap. I know that my sewing has improved a lot in the last year but there’s something about finishing these jeans that makes me feel able to try anything!

I can’t wait to wear these all over the place and start planning some new pairs too. I’m thinking they probably need to happen in corduroy this fall. What do you think?

Details:

Pattern: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Fabric: Theory Denim from Mood Fabrics

-Hannah