Friday, 6 September 2019

Jeanius Jeans - Make Nine #6

Spoiler: These are one of the best things I've ever made!! Unfortunately you'll just have to take my word for that, as they've proved pretty impossible to photograph because they are so dark.  They are also number 6 in my Make Nine

These are the Bluprint Jeanius jeans, which is a class that shows you how to take a pattern from a pair of jeans that fit well, and then sew them up. 


I have made the Closet Case Ginger Jeans before, but they were a bit big at the bum, and I had bought this class ages ago when Bluprint was still Craftsy.  Not going to lie, I was pretty daunted by it, and that was after my real-life sewing pal Ruth had assured me that she'd had great success with it.

So I put it on my Make Nine to make myself do it, as I have four pieces of denim suitable for jeans.  Also, time was pressing, because my original jeans are showing signs of age, and I kind of need jeans to wear!

I have exactly two pairs of jeans that I like that fit me well, and they are both exactly the same.  They are low-rise super skinny jeans from New Look (UK high street shop - nothing to do with New Look patterns).  I've had these jeans about six years, and one knee is out in one pair.

To make the pattern, first of all you thread-trace all the seams and details on the jeans with a different coloured thread, I used orange silk thread.  

Orange thread-tracing on the front pocket, side seam and zip fly.
Orange thread-tracing on back pocket, yoke and centre back seam.

Lengthwise and crosswise grainlines on front.
Lengthwise and crosswise grainline on back.
The jeans then get laid out flat, and you pin some silk organza to them.  You then trace over the thread with a pencil to get the seam lines of the jeans.   The back leg is draped over a sleeve board to work the whole way around it. 


The class is taught by Kenneth D King (who is now one of my favourite human beings), and he says that tracing the seams this way (rather than taking the jeans apart) means that the seams don't get distorted, so you get a more accurate pattern.  Also, this technique is transferable to any other garment.

Once everything is tranferred onto the silk organza, you then trace it onto pattern paper, true it up and add a seam allowance.  The class then shows you how to draft the front pockets, and pieces for the zip fly.

I used a combination of the Ginger jeans instructions and the instructions on the Jeanius class.  But I used the Jeanius fly instructions as the Ginger fly is a different shape, and this is the easiest and best fly zip I've ever sewn.


The Jeanius class uses a rectangle waistband, but I wanted a contoured waistband as that's what my original jeans have, and it made sense for low-rise jeans.  So I used the low-rise waistband pattern piece from the Ginger Jeans, and it worked perfectly!

My fabric is 11oz Indigo stretch denim from Guthrie and Ghani, and I can't get over how well they fit.  I'm delighted with them! I will definitely be making these again, but want to wear this pair for a bit to see how they settle in. 

Have a great weekend,


Friday, 23 August 2019

Sew Over It (Maxi) Eve Dress - 2019 Make Nine #5

This is my third Sew Over It Eve dress (one and two), and probably won't be my last because I blinking love this pattern.


I was inspired to make it maxi length after seeing a gorgeous maxi version ages ago on Instagram.  I just extended the length of the skirt pieces, but had to fold the side edges in a bit to fit on the fabric.

I also raised the underarm by 1 inch, and faced the armholes with black bias tape.

The fabric is some viscose bought last year from The Textile Centre.  I ordered 3 metres, but they sent me 3.5 metres with a note to say that the extra half metre was because there was a slight flaw on the print.  After much searching I found it, and it was only in one place and extended 8cm in from the edge.  I love The Textile Centre!


A lot of petite folks say they can't wear maxis; I say nonsense!!  I loves me a maxi dress, and this one is number 5 of my Make Nine.   And if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I've been making jeans, which is also part of my Make Nine, and they are a triumph as my sister would say!  But they are for another post.

And this is possibly the shortest post I've ever written!  Have a great weekend,


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Self-drafted Hawthorn inspired blouse and hacked Megan Nielsen Wattle Skirt

I appear to have made a matching outfit, which is very pleasing, so I'll start with the blouse.

This was inspired by the lovely neckline and collar on the Colette Patterns Hawthorn dress.  I used my block to draft the blouse, then got out the Hawthorn pattern pieces to copy for the collar and neckline.  Unfortunately all the details are lost in this busy print!

The blouse is shaped with bust and waist darts, and I thought I'd try splitting the waist darts into two darts for a different look.  It worked really well (even if it was double the darts to sew!).  Below is a photo the back of my toile, which is a bit easier to see.  You can see the double dart on the left, and the single dart on the right.

The fabric is some left-over cotton lawn that's been in my stash for years.  I had 89 cm in length and it was 54" wide, and I was very pleased with my Olympic Standard pattern tetrising to be able to get it cut out - being small sometimes has it's advantages!  I was even able to make some bias tape from the area between the two armholes, and used this to face the armholes.

I love how this turned out, and will be making it again.  

The skirt is my very hacked version of Megan Nielsen's Wattle Skirt.  This pattern passed me by when it was released, but then I saw this version by Katie from Katie Makes A Dress and was sold (and if you don't follow Katie's blog, you absolutely should - she's amazing).   

This pattern has four very different versions which I love, it's always great to get so many options on a pattern.  All four views have a rectangle waistband, so the seam where the waistband meets the skirt sits at the natural waist.  The skirt closes with a clever overlap on the top of the left pocket, so it doesn't have a zip.

Katie made View D, and as she pointed out, rectangle waistbands don't really work on small, curvy folk.  So I thought "I know, I'll change this to a contoured waistband.  How hard can it be??!!".  The Too Long, Didn't Read is - very, and don't do it...  

I'll try and explain what I did.  I didn't use the waistband pieces at all, and the top of my skirt is the top of the skirt pieces on the pattern.  I marked in the seam allowance at the waist, then marked down 1 3/4" for the waist band.  Then I traced out new skirt and pocket pieces, and sewed it up.  

It all went well until I realised that I hadn't allowed for the loss of the top of the pocket opening; luckily I have small hands, and the pockets are usable!  It this point the skirt sat for about three weeks considering it's behaviour.  Then I plucked up the courage to draft the waistband, and I really can't explain how I did this, but I cut it out and hoped for the best. And it totally worked!!!  

The fabric is Robert Kaufmann Essex linen which is 55% lined and 45% cotton, and the colour is called Kelly.  I ended up sort of using the closures from Views A and B, because I couldn't be bothered to make the ties for View D, and my lovely button came from my Granny's button box.

So success was clutched from the jaws of disaster with the skirt, and I'm loving my outfit!

Happy sewing,


Saturday, 13 July 2019

A tale of two shirtdresses

I seem to be all about the shirtdresses at the minute, and have made three in a row.  The first was the Sew Over It Penny dress here, these are the next two.

Both are self-drafted, and the first is made from this gorgeous Hill-Berg Fabrics poppy print quilting cotton.  This came from the @dressmakersanonymousbelfast fabric swap earlier this year.  



I am especially pleased with my Olympic standard pattern tetrising on this, because the fabric is 2 metres long and about 45 inches wide.  Sometimes being small has it's benefits!

The bodice has princess seams, as I'm finding these are a better fit for my full bust; the collar is a two piece shirt collar, and the skirt is gathered rectangles.  Also, it has pockets.

Here's my top tip on gathering cotton fabric - don't use cotton thread!  I'd put the stitch length to 5.0mm and turned the thread tension to zero, and the thread refused to gather up.  So I ended up unpicking it and using silk thread, which worked perfectly.

The black buttons came from a big bag I bought on ebay, and I flipping love this dress!


The second dress is also self-drafted.  The bodice is the same as the dress above, but it has a convertible collar and placket facing.  

The skirt is a self-drafted half-circle skirt, and I used the same drafting method as on my Penny Dress.

This dress is all about the fabric, and isn't it amazing?!   I got it from Oh! Sew, which is a gorgeous new fabric shop that opened in Northern Ireland after Easter.  Fabric shops are pretty thin on the ground in NI, so I was understandably excited about this and had to go on the day it opened, which is when I bought this cotton poplin.  And if you happen to find yourself in this part of the planet, then I can recommend a visit! 


Accidental print matching on the collar :)

My long-suffering sister (who doesn't sew) got trailed along with me to the shop, and she doodled this little inspiration picture when we got some lunch in the cafe next door.  As she said to me "I'll draw them, you make them!".  I also flipping love this dress too!


Have a great weekend,