Apr. 25th, 2011 12:51 pm
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I made the green pants first, then tweaked a bit for the orange pair.


 More photos, the back, the pattern, and notes! )

Overall, I’m satisfied. It’s good to know I am capable of making pants that work. Now I just need a pair in black crepe.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Baby pants!

(The best way to get her to stand still for photos lately is to let her play with the camera case.)

Three pairs, all from the same basic pattern as her rocket pants. They are remnants from my stash lined with cotton flannel. For the prototype pair I made a couple months ago (not shown), I fully lined them by sewing the outer and lining separately and then joining them. I decided that was too complicated and just flatlined the other ones. Once I solved some serger tension issues, these were a breeze to put together.

The main reason I made these pants is because my baby is long and skinny, so store-boughten pants that fit her in the waist are too short, and the long-enough ones fall down. She needed some pants, so. . . sewing to the rescue! So far they are fitting pretty well, but I will probably make some tweaks when I upsize them for the next set in a few months.

More photos! )

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Now that I've posted about a couple presents I made, I'll post about a present I recieved.

By far my favorite thing was David Page Coffin's new book, Making Trousers. I've been a fan of his book Shirtmaking for a long time, and Coffin is simply one of my sewing heroes.

The trouser book has the same clear, well-defined approach to fine sewing techniques that Shirtmaking has, plus a dvd with videos on how to do some of the steps. I haven't checked out the dvd yet, but the book itself has already given me a bunch of new ideas.  I've only recently started wearing pants again (as opposed to skirts) and I've only recently started thinking about getting seriously into making pants for my HB (probably one reason he gave me this book!).

Pants are hard to sew (for me anyway).  Not as hard as jackets, but harder than shirts, and definitely harder than skirts. Having some good books around makes it so much easier; this is one that does.

You can get an idea of some of the content of the book from the blog DPC on Making Trousers.

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Spent most of last week making a pair of modern dress pants for my man.  I started with a pretty basic Burda pattern with flat (unpleated) front and made a billion alterations before coming up with something that actually looked good.  I had to shorten the legs a lot because my man is all torso, plus I had issues with hip vs. waist sizes and the side front slant pocket gaping.

In addition to the weird and sometimes cryptic pattern directions, I used the book Classic Tailoring Techniques for a reference.  I also got a pair of (store-boughten) pants out of my HB's closet and used them as a reference.

Modern men's clothes are so ridiculously overly complicated.  Why do you really need to have double-welt pockets on your behind?  Especially if it's a suit, because then the coat covers them anyway.  Does the pants fly really need to have that button + hook + button and flappy thing triple-defense closure?  Why so many different fancy special fabrics on the insides?  Why do tailors use some of these techniques that are 3x as hard/time-consuming but produce an effect which is only marginally better than standard dressmaking practices?

My welt pockets ended up kind of crappy looking (I cannot believe I lost my photocopy of Kennith King's Threads article, No More Wobbly Welts.  I will never be able to make a nice double-welt again.).  But the front slant pockets looked great and didn't gape at all, thanks to silk organza interfacing, easing the seam onto twill tape, and making the seam slightly shorter than the facing behind it. The fly ended up so-so.  I am still not so good at flies.  I used the machine blind hem stitch on the hems and they look great.  Way better than I could ever do by hand.

For some reason, I just cannot get the man to stand still for photos of modern clothes, sigh.  But he said he liked the pants and I thought they looked pretty good.  The first one is always the hardest; now I feel ready to make another pair some time.

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Yesterday I finished making two pairs of jeans for the man, a project I started a couple weeks ago.  I re-drafted the front of the pattern to cut the CF on the straight grain and include an attached fly underlap/facing.  I'm using the fly method from Nancy Zieman's Busy Woman's Sewing Book, which is totally 1980s but still really useful and relevant.  I picked it up used ages ago.  The method is way more streamlined than what I was doing before.  I still need to tweak the pattern front a little for next time, since the attached facing isn't quite long enough; I needed to angle the topstitching a little oddly so I wouldn't hit the bottom zipper stop.  In the book, she reccommends aligning the bottom stop first and then cutting off the excess tape (and teeth) at the top, but I use metal zippers in jeans and I didn't want to mess around with cutting them.

I used demin made of 45% organic cotton and 55% hemp for these, since I couldn't find the same 100% organic cotton I used for the last six or seven pairs.  I made one pair from it a few months ago (version 2.0).  It's crisper, like linen, and shrinks more progressively.  Also, I think the cotton has a bit shorter staple.  But it's nice fabric and the first pair seems to be wearing well.  Now I think he has plenty of jeans for a while.  I still have denim for another 3 pairs which I'll probably make next spring.

So now I find myself without a project.  I've been waffling over the idea of making maternity clothes for months, and now with less than 2 months left, I think I'm giving up the idea.  I have plans for one more drawstring skirt and one empire-waist shirt that I may or may not get around to.  Both would be things I could still wear later, but I'm not sure I want to bother.

I do have a few baby things I want to make.  I bought a sleep sack the other day and copied the shape of it.  I have a few pieces of flannel that I plan to make some more sleep sacks out of using the pattern.  I have some other flannel that I plan to hem into simple recieving blankets.  And I also have a few quilts in mind.  I made a bunch of 9-patch blocks a few months ago, and now it is time to do something with them.  Probably I'll make some booties and mittens eventually, too, but she won't need them for a little while.  And I want to embroider some kind of hanging for her room, but I think I might make that a project to work on after she's born; embroidery is something I can work on quietly, in short spurts, with her near me.  So right now I think the quilts win.


Jul. 3rd, 2009 07:30 am
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Spent a couple hours yesterday cutting out jeans.  Cutting denim is so slow.  And tedious.  And strenuous. 

After the first half hour, my knuckles were getting pretty sore, so I got up and put adhesive bandages on them to pad them from the scissor handle.  That worked really well, except after about another half hour the bandages started coming off and I had to keep pressing them back down.

Cutting that stuff required muscle power.  I could only cut with the half of the scissor blade closest to the hinge, where there is the most force, and about every 3rd or 4th cut, the fabric would just fold up between the blades.  I started wondering: is denim really this tough to cut?  Or do my scissors just suck?  Probably both.

Anyway, I cut 2 full pairs of jeans for the man and a few extra, small pieces (pocket facings, yokes, etc.) from scraps to save for next time.  I think I still have about 3 pairs' worth of denim left uncut.
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With snow in this week's forecast (and not just the flurry kind; the kind that sticks) I realized I was in denial about it being time to start summer clothes.  Yes, I could make them now and set them aside for later, but I think it would be more productive to work on something else and save the summer stuff until it's warm enough to wear it.

So, the next thing is HB's jeans.  They're heavy and tedious, but not so bad.  Which is to say, they're not the most fun thing to sew, but I don't mind too much, especially since my man really likes them.

I just need to go out this afternoon and get pocket fabric.  Then the pattern needs to get re-traced (it's got a few tears) and I also want to convert the fly pieces to be cut in one with the pants front.
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This week, I've put together most of two pairs of jeans (for the man).   I just need to sew the side seams, hems, waistbands, and belt loops.  I spent way too long on the zippers.  Every time I sew a fly zipper, I get all confused again. I want to try a couple new methods I read in Threads and various books to see if I can learn something simpler.

I spent a couple hours knitting my capacitor body.  Then I organized all my yarns.  I put all the Cascade 220 in one bag.  Making toys uses such small amounts, but I like to have all the diferent colors, so now I have about a 10-ball stash of Cascade 220.  It's nice, too, to have a bunch of the same gauge yarn for making little toys.

I have the feeling I've been very busy all week, yet I can't think of very much else I have done.

Today I want to finish the jeans, finish the capacitor, and make some bread.

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I spent about 3 hours yesterday sewing on buttons, the hook and bar, and stitching down the facings by hand.  Now all that is left to do on the pants is some kind of seam allowance finish, the hems, and a few bar-tacks that I forgot about yesterday.

After I finished the buttons, I cut out the shirt pattern.  It's the Laughing Moon informal shirt.  I used the dress shirt pattern from the same set for his wedding shirt, so I plan to just make the same few adjustments to this one.  The main problem I had was the sleeves; they are about 4" too long, and the cuff is so big it slips over his hand.  Now having a long sleeve would work, as long as the cuff was fitted, or the other way around.  

I suppose that it is not really technically the sleeves that are too long, it's the dropped shoulder that increases the length.  I would prefer to have the armhole seam sit at his natural shoulder point, but I don't want to mess with it right now; I already know it fits comfortably the way it is.  I'm not sure if the dropped shoulder is proper historically, but I'm pretty sure it's the way the LM pattern is supposed to be.
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I had a lovely bike ride yesterday morning; I went early before it got rainy and the sunshine was beautiful.  Nothing quite like a bike ride on a nice spring day to make one appreciate the beauty of life.

I didn't find anything too exciting in the way of buttons, but I found some serviceable ones and finished the fly.  I finished enough of the pants that I could fit them and measure hems yesterday afternoon, yay!


Before and after pinning the hem up.  They need pressing, but they're linen, so some wrinkleyness is expected.  He really liked how they are looking so far.  Not suprising, since he has 2 other pairs of pants from the same pattern, and likes those.

Here's the shirt fabric next to the linen and the buttons for each.


Today I need to:

attach buttons (fly and suspenders)
attach hook and bar at waistband
do something to the seam allowances (pink or zig zag)
stitch hems
interior hand finishing (stitching facing down, etc.)
start shirt
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Ironing the fabrics yesterday took for freaking ever.  I didn't get to cutting anything out until the afternoon.  I cut the pants and started sewing the fly parts, but I had to stop when I couldn't find any proper buttons in my button box.  It's amazing; I have all these buttons around, yet the off-white ones are all very small and the ones in the right size are all hot pink.

So this morning I plan to ride my bike over to Treadle to pick up some 5/8" buttons for the pants fly, some suspender buttons, and some little green buttons for the shirt.  Then hopefully I can have the pants ready to measure hems this afternoon.
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It's not just hard, it's exhausting. It's practically an aerobic excercise.

I've been working on two more pairs of jeans for my HB. My hands ache from cutting it, my arms ache from heaving it around, my back aches from guiding it under the presser foot, and I am tired!

But they're almost done - just a few more belt loops, then buttons/holes and hems.

I did figure out a couple things that caused me problems last time that I am now doing differently:

1.) Topstitching thread is a bad idea here. Too many changes, too hard to keep an even tension.
2.) It's hard to make a true flat-felled seam (in which one seam allowance wraps around both to cover all raw edges and is stitched down.) It's easier to just zig-zag the seam allowance, fold it over, and topstitch it.

The organic indigo-dyed cotton denim I'm using is very nice, though. I would recommend it, but I am not sure if it is still available. I'm pretty sure I got it from Near Sea Naturals, but it doesn't seem to be on their site anymore.  I will keep my eye on it, though.  And they do still have lots of other nice organic fabrics.

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