November 18, 2014


Oh boy - they're finished... my first ever me-made jeans, and I cannot believe how amazing they are! Behold - the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns...

Pattern: Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, View B
Size: 8
Alterations: Took in the legs from thigh to hip by 1/2" after sewing (1" total overall per leg)
Fabric: 11.5 oz Stretch Denim in Indigo from
Worn with: My mom's t-shirt from college in 1979 - also my alma mater - Ball State University

First off, I have to say that I was completely nervous about making these - I make collared shirts all the time, but pants... PANTS?! Luckily, Heather Lou holds your hand the whole time.

Let me first tell you about the fabric! At first I thought about just popping over to Joann's and picking up some cheapy denim, but Heather dissuaded me in her post about sourcing high quality denim - and this was of course, the right call.

So I headed to my next source of affordable fabrics - They have a pretty large selection of stretch denim in different weights and colors. I chose this 11.5oz denim in the darkest wash that still appeared to be blue, not black (I love to wear my jeans until they fall off, so starting as dark as possible helps their color longevity). I also chose 11.5 oz because that is what one of the denims in Heather's Ginger Jeans kit is, and I wanted to practice accordingly (I cannot wait until this arrives).

When it arrived, I promptly threw the yardage in the washing machine with a cup of vinegar (as recommended by Heather in the pattern instructions). I had to sort of iron out the selvedges, which got a bit creased - but then I was off to the races.

I made View B (the higher waisted version) because they're skinny skinny and I like my jeans to have a close fit. I considered, briefly, attempting to trace off the skinny legs onto View A (stovepipe with a low rise), but then I figured - why the hell not. All my jeans are low rise, so I thought these might be nice to have in my wardrobe.

As for sizing, I fall squarely between a size 12 and 14 on the size chart (32 waist, 41 hip). The pattern instructions say that you can size down (or more) if your denim is very stretchy, so I cut a 12. I then proceeded to baste them together and try them on, and I discovered they were way too big. So a decent amount of time unpicking later, and I cut out an 8. After basting again, these fit much better.

Things went along swimmingly with my newer machine until the first topstitching step, which I had decided to use the old beast below for. I quickly remembered why I stopped using this machine (aside from being gifted a nicer one) - it has some problems. Aside from those, some of my feet (quarter inch with a guide and edge stitching) won't work due to a needle with only three positions. So I improvised and tried to use other feet as guides, with mixed success. I went into this project thinking my topstitching would be ace (I get to practice a lot on collared shirts), but jeans are a whole new animal.

Pockets were interesting... I messed up the front pockets and facings three different times, and three different ways (below), but through no fault of the instructions (this is where I started to think I should've waited for the sewalong). The back pockets are good, but I think they might need to be moved up a little next time... I like the idea of them actually being on the booty, rather than slightly below. There's also a slight pulling on the back pockets... maybe next time I can sew them on in a way that allows for them to be filled out...

Because I like my jeans superskinny, I took in the thighs through the knees by about 1/2" after sewing the side seams - which was an inch total on each leg. I probably could've taken in the hips a bit too, as there seems to be some excess there after I've worn them for awhile.

The pattern suggests basting and therefore refitting each new pair because denims can vary - so there's no telling if these types of changes would carry over into my next pair.

These jeans are sort of a mishmash of different colors and materials - I have a clay colored topstitching thread, gold serger thread, silver buttons and copper rivets. I'm excited for all the matching hardware in the denim kit, but outside of that - I would make more of an effort in the future to match everything.

I finished these jeans off by removing about 1.25" from the bottom and hemming as instructed (I'm 5'6" and they were a bit long, which is unusual for me).

Overall, I feel like this was a very successful project for me. Collared shirts used to be this difficult for me, and they aren't anymore - so I'm pretty jacked for a new challenging project that I can make over and over again. I could probably talk a lot more about how great these make me feel, and how good I feel now that they're done... but I have a lot more pairs to make, so more on that later! :D

 Feeling pretty good... hahahahaha

November 14, 2014


Pattern: Grainline Studio Archer
Size: 10 (bust), 8 (waist), 12 (hips)
Alterations: Tapered the sleeves to a 2 at the wrist

Ahhh - I have to say this is definitely a TNT pattern for me, and probably my favorite. I never run out of versions to make. In the coming months (weeks maybe??) I have a darker wash version in mind, as stated in my winter wardrobe plan, and I also just attained some dreamy plaid flannel from (surprisingly?) Joann's. Last weekend, I actually had a bolt of it in my hand, but there were only 2 yards left (it's 44" and I needed 2.75 yards). Yesterday, I tried again - they had enough, and it was EVEN CHEAPER than before, due to Joann's coupon magic. Yay!

Not too much to say about this that wasn't said about my previous denim Archer - the sizing is exactly the same. I chose to mix up the pockets this time, using Jen's tutorial on the Grainline blog. It's meant for fabrics that have no right or wrong side, but I like the contrast of the wrong side here.

This shirt is also clearly ace for drinking wine on a mountain top - Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara County. We love going here to watch the sunset while visiting our friends in Buellton (where we go all the time, and we got engaged and married nearby).

This denim is Robert Kaufman Indigo Denim 6.5 oz in Bleach Indigo Washed. It was such a breeze to cut and sew, and my next Archer is the same fabric, darker wash - as mentioned above.

In other news, I just finished my Closet Case Gingers, and I cannot wait to rock these both together!

Below - our very patient friends, Greg and Virginia...

November 11, 2014


As I've said previously, Southern California winter is more like a mild fall anywhere else - but that doesn't mean that us thin blooded humans don't get cold. Plus, being from the Midwest, I love an excuse to cozy up around the holidays (even if it was just hot enough to wear a sundress the other day).

I've tried to do wardrobe planning before, including for my handmade honeymoon. Usually this consists of making collages in Photoshop - just to get a sense of what I'm looking for. For my honeymoon wardrobe, I mostly made everything I had planned (I should post it just for fun), but this winter I think I'm setting myself up for a win.

Without further ado, the patterns I'm hoping to make - along with the fabrics...

I have to admit that I was not completely convinced that I needed this pattern at first for some reason, but then I started seeing it pop up in the blogosphere, and I had to have it... 3 times over apparently.

1. Mini Feathers Poly Crepe de Chine in Navy, from Blackbird Fabrics
2. A sort of aztec print silk of some kind from Michael Levine (I do not have enough knowledge about silk to know what specifically it is)
3. This actually counts as inspiration, but I love, love, love what Kelli chose as an inspiration in her sewalong post - from Anthropologie, linen/cotton shell and rayon lining. YES, PLEASE.

Another season, another Archer. Soon I could probably wear one of these every day for a month. Also - it's totally okay to be inspired by your own (as of yet, unblogged) shirt right? For the next one, I'm debating whether or not to use my new cranberry top stitching thread from Taylor Tailor, and I might use the pockets from the Alder Shirtdress pattern.

Fabric: Robert Kaufman 6.5 oz Indigo Washed Denim

Now this is something new for me - another collared shirt, but it's much different from the Archer (or anything else I have). It's longer, darted, has a waist, and can be worn with tights. With my fabric, I'm basically knocking off the sample on the pattern page, but also (unashamedly) ripping off Tilly's beautiful version in the same fabric, but different colorway.

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray Dots in Burgundy

I pinned this photo a long time ago with the BHL Victoria in mind. I've tried my hand a few times at the Victoria Blazer, but for some reason it never turns out just right. Wrong interfacing, no interfacing, weird fabric, etc. This time I'm hoping to nail it - and also modify the collar/lapels to be one piece so they lay down better against the jacket. Plus, can't go wrong with basic black.

Fabric: I bought my fabric at Michael Levine, and I'm pretty sure this is it - it's at least similar. I also have black rayon challis for the lining from Angel Textiles in DTLA.

Ah the Ginger Jeans. I had literally told Jeremy just a few days before the pattern's release that I wanted to try my hand at jeans. And BAM! Here comes Heather with the best pattern ever. I've already gotten started on one pair (should be done this week, and in hindsight, should've maybe waited for the sewalong...), and I can't wait for my kit to arrive.

1. 11.5 oz Stretch Denim in Indigo from - this is what I'm currently using, and I'm excited to see how it compares to the kit below (if it's good quality or not - I have nothing to compare it to)
2. I snatched up the Ginger Jeans kit immediately after I saw the announcement. Super nice denim, hardware and the pattern - yes!

I've already made two pairs of Hudsons (soon to be blogged), but what really did it for me was Kelli's woven version. On our honeymoon, I saw about 100,000 people wearing similar pants and they were a top priority when I returned. I also want to make another pair of the knit version in French Terry, and maybe even a matching Grainline Linden to create what Jen called a "senior suit" (mentioned here).

1. For the woven version: Pale Green Solid Woven from Mood. I bought this with an Archer in mind, but I think the weight and drape will be better as pants. Plus, it'll make a nice wearable muslin for the woven version.
2. For the knit version: Heather Gray French Terry from Stylish Fabric

In a world of separates stands this one dress. I made so many dresses over the summer that I don't need many more (for now), but I had the idea for a wine colored, long sleeve version - and this is it.

Fabric: Ponte de Roma in Wine from Michael Levine. This fabric is much softer and stretchier than my last version - and I can't wait to whip it up.

Extra Credit:
I would love to make the Sewaholic Minoru and the Colette Albion (I already have both patterns), but both of these are a little less necessary than making more cool weather clothing:
1) already have a few jackets that hardly get worn, and
2) I have almost no use for a coat in my life right now (but I want one!!)

November 7, 2014


I got married this past August, and sewing and planning my "Handmade Honeymoon" was something that kept me (relatively) sane while planning the wedding. Even though most of the outfits are out of season, I'll be posting them here from time to time!

One of my favorite outfits from my Italian honeymoon (and the whole summer) was my combination Eucalypt/Cascade.

In March, I bought this rayon challis at Angel Textiles in DTLA with my sister, and in some sort of fit I bought 8 yards of it. What can I say - it was gorgeous and $2/yard!!!!

I had the idea (I'm not the first, I'm sure) to combine Eucalypt with Cascade to create a dress out of the two separates. I actually made an Elisalex in this fabric too, but it turned out to be too similar and I like the skirt/top combination more, so I gifted that to my other sister when she came to visit over the summer.

Pattern: Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank
Size: Large
Alterations: Used a 1 1/8" seam allowance - explained below
Fabric: Watercolor rayon challis from Angel Textiles – 846 S. Maple Avenue, Los Angeles

First, I'll talk a bit about the Eucalypt.  Unfortunately, I don't have any solo photos of it, but above there's a link to the pattern page. This is such a great, basic tank pattern, and I actually bought it last year when Megan was selling fabric/pattern kits after the release of the Breakwater collection.

I made three versions of this tank (why not more?!?!), but I struggled a lot with the fit. I probably need something like an FBA, something I discovered I should do with most patterns. My measurements match up with the large, but it resulted in armholes that were too wide and a very baggy middle. The medium fit was just a bit off everywhere. So what I came up with was to sew a large, then remove a 1/2" from each side for a total seam allowance of 1 1/8".

Pattern: Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt, Option 2 (back ties)
Size: Large
Modifications: None!
Fabric: Watercolor rayon challis from Angel Textiles – 846 S. Maple Avenue, Los Angeles

This is my second version of the Cascade skirt, seen here with a Deer and Doe Plantain. It's such a pretty skirt, and in drapey rayon it's so comfortable to wear when it's hot.

My first version of this skirt, which I also took on the honeymoon (seen here), is the button front option, while this one has back ties. I much prefer the ties for this skirt because eating big Italian meals makes the button front rather uncomfortable.

Both skirts are a straight large, and the only real modification was to shorten the back hem to be more even with the front as I'm not a huge fan of hi/low hems.

The hem was finished with a sort of rolled hem/narrow hem using Andrea's awesome method with the serger. The hem is about 3000 miles long, so it takes quite a bit of time to sew all the way around 3 times - but it's worth it!

The skirt tends to blow open a bit when you walk, so I added an elastic "stay" as shown on Megan's blog.

I'm hoping to make Cascade again this winter in either a cobalt rayon or a dark gray knit ala Cut Cut Sew.
These pictures were taken on the Amalfi Coast. We stayed in Ravello, at the best hotel ever. More pictures from our trip can be found (if you're interested) here: (#handmadehoneymoon and #jacocksinitaly)

November 5, 2014


Pattern: Stretch & Sew 100 (more info below)
Size: 42
Fabric: Supersoft gray sweatshirt knit from Angel Textiles – 846 S. Maple Avenue

This sweatshirt has been a long time in the making... Sometimes making clothing for another person is difficult, mostly because they might have different expectations, or higher standards. When I make something for myself, little mistakes don't usually hamper my desire to wear my new garment... I just sort of blur my eyes when I look directly at the problem. Jeremy - not as much.

This is most likely the 5th or 6th iteration of this sweatshirt, and the first successful/worn out of the house version. Problems have stemmed from poor fabric selection, weird color choice, not stretchy enough fabrics, miscalculations on my part from the pattern, and even poorly applied neckbands.

Note to self: when applying a neckband in the flat (demonstrated well here), with raglan sleeves, make sure the seam is on one of the back shoulder seams - not the front.

But all previous problems aside, raglan sweatshirts are easier to make, in my opinion, than shirts with regular (non-raglan) sleeves. Raglans are essentially a bunch of straight lines sewn together. Because the construction is really straightforward, I thought I'd focus mainly on this vintage pattern.

The pattern is Stretch & Sew 100 and Jeremy found this on eBay or Etsy. According to a vintage patterns wiki:
"Stretch & Sew Pattern Company was founded by Ann Person sometime in the 1960s. Patterns featuring her technique for sewing stretchy fabric were very popular and patterns from Stretch & Sew are still published today."

The actual pattern pieces consist of one front/back and a sleeve. I traced off everything, in the largest size (sizes are 38-40-42). There's no size chart included, but he wears a 42 jacket size, so I went for it.

The instructions attempt to walk you through how to create a v-neck or a crew neck. To do this, you trace the front/back piece twice, and cut a lower neckline for what will become the front (I say attempt because they aren't super clear).

For a sweatshirt look, you do a series of adjustments to allow for cuffs and a hem band, which could include raising the hemline of the sleeves and front/back pieces. After you suss that out (aka guess if you're me), you make your own pattern pieces for the hem band and cuffs. I'll be completely honest - this was not easy for me the first time, and I found it all to be very confusing.

However, once I made one completed sweatshirt, it became easier to adjust to get the fit that he wanted (longer sleeves, longer torso, etc.) Despite changes, I still use the original pieces I traced, I just follow notes I left myself like "remove 1.5" from bottom of sleeve" and "remove 4.5" from hem." If I keep the sleeves and torso long, I can make t-shirts from the same pieces.

If you've made another raglan sleeve pattern, like the Grainline Linden Sweatshirt, then this pattern is super easy to make. If not, then I suggest making a raglan shirt with more complete pattern pieces and instructions before tackling this.

Also - Dixie has a great tutorial on how to make a v-neck t-shirt which would come in very handy if you want to make this raglan a v-neck.

Look how great these guys on the front look: