Lace-Blocked Tee

This is a ‘quick’ project that has taken me about a month or so because my guitar kept distracting me and begging me to play itūüėČ. It’s based on my TNT French Woven Tee pattern (self-drafted), but adapted to have a yoke-kimono cap sleeve, a separate bodice section, and the dart shifted higher up the side seam. I had the fabric in my stash from previous college projects and thought I’d use it up to make a nice summer top.

This was also an opportunity to try to improve my photography/modelling skills and as it is the middle of summer (hottest day of the year! Woo!) I could take advantage of the late golden hour.

Lace-blocked tee, front

The idea is that it looks like a bodice and tunic, sort of. A modern version, if you will, that doesn’t look like a costume.:)

To begin with the sleeves were huge and I didn’t like it. So I took them in at the shoulder seam and considerably reduced the length (about an inch or so). Regrettably I didn’t think to take photos as I was too eager to change it and see if I could make the top likeable. Which I did, and I’m happy with it now. There is, however, one slight issue: the back.

Lace-blocked tee, back

You can’t see it here, because I put the buttons on the wrong side (that’s not the issue).

Lace-blocked tee, back 2

Because of the way I finished the opening, you can see the yellow placket. Ugh. (Side note, the bottom of the placket DOES NOT look like that in real life. This must be a very bad angle).

Lace-blocked tee, details 1

Now for details. The top and bottom of the ‘bodice’ part are edged with running stitches. You may remember this feature from my FMP at Bishop. This top’s style continues from that collection. The neckline was finished by sewing stay tape along the WS, turning the s.a. under, and double-stitching. This allows for the nicest finish from the outside, I feel. The sleeves are hemmed similarly, but sans stay tape. Lace doesn’t fray, so neatening the seams is optional.

I chose to make the sleeves kimono sleeves. I thought this would be best. It uses less fabric and gives a cleaner look to the top.

(PS. The safety pin is a political thing as a result of Brexit. It’s to show that I won’t be racially abusive to you, so you can talk to me.:) )

Lace-blocked tee, details 2

The top button is a cool decorative one from my button jar. The rest are clear ones. I like using clear buttons on light-coloured fabrics. I think it looks more expensive. (Gah! In all these photos the edges of the top don’t line up! They did when I was sewing. I’m going to have to ask someone in real life how it looks!)

All in all, I’m quite pleased with this new top. It’s comfortable to wear (as it should be, having been drafted from my TNT block) and it looks good.

— Sabrina

FreeSpirit Bodice

On of my self-assigned learning goals for this module was to use fabrics with which I have little to no experience. One such fabric was real leather. I was somewhat intimidated by this fabric, and not without cause. People always say that you get one chance with real leather. There can be no unpicking. And you can’t ease it.

Well, you know what? You can do both. To a point. Leather is actually fine to work with. I used pigskin. My Bernina 380’s feet work well with it, especially the Jeans foot #8. I didn’t need a teflon foot.

Of course, you can’t pin leather because, apart from anything else, doing so will make it wavy and it won’t match up where it’s supposed to. So sewing pinlessly is the way to go. (I seldom use pins anyway.)

Now, there are some interesting design features that caused difficulty with sewing. Namely: twigs as boning, feathers as embellishment, and eyelets.

DSC08723.JPG

The twigs needed shaping, which meant soaking in warm water, then shaping with gentle tiny bends to the shape of the bodice seam. I hand-stitched them on. The princess seams were top-stitched, so I caught those stitches with my hand-needle and linen thread. TIP: lacquer things with clear nail varnish. It made this look so much better, and I think it strengthened it too.

The feathers, well, sewing them on went a lot quicker when I realised I could do it by machine. Yeah. Anyway, the ones that ended above the waistband needed holes piercing in the leather for the quills to go though. That took both my awls (the fine one, and the thick one).

DSC08718.JPG
The holes still needed enlarging a little for the thick leather thonging to thread through.

The eyelets. I had intended to use metal ones, but not only did they not come on time, but when they did arrive I found that ‘6mm’ referred not to the size of the hole, but rather to the size of the eyelet. Very annoying. Anyway, I used the straight stitch eyelet on my machine, punched with my Japanese screw punch, and satin stitched around the hole, cording as I went. I think this fits in quite well with the concept of and ‘adaptive’ survivor in that I did use my initiative. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out really.:)

In retrospect I should have sewn the twigs on afterwards because they got in the way as I rotated the bodice around to sew the eyelets.

I draped the bodice pattern on the stand because fitting a corset is just too much work when you can drape it instead, and it had to fit the stand anyway.

What would I have done differently (had I superpowers)? I should have like the bodice to fit the model better, but as no one had any idea who that would be, this was impossible. What else? Hmm… Nothing really. I’m pleased with it. I learned that leather is no terror to work with (and I¬†will be using the rest of the leather that I bought for something:) ). I also learned why we don’t use twigs as boning but that clear nail varnish has yet another use.

So, I’m fairly satisfied with this part of the project:)

 

—¬†Sabrina

 

 

Last college project for the summer

On Monday, with a mixture of relief and muted stress, I handed in my last project for this year. It is a museum piece that, alongside my classmates’ pieces, will go on display in an exhibit at York Castle Museum. The concept was Identity, which, as you may imagine, opened a can of worms for everyone, especially as most of us chose to do our own.

It all began with watching Greyson Perri’s documentary from the BBC on YouTube. People perceive identity itself in different ways, from simply what we wear, to the very brass tacks of our souls. For me, identity goes beyond what I like to do, or where I am from. It goes down to the very essence of what makes me tick, and how I fit in in this great clockwork piece we call the world.

Those of you who have followed this blog (sparsely written as it is) will know that avant-garde is not my forte. I have been close to tears before trying to do it. I do stuff you can actually wear. So my way around this project’s needing to be a museum piece was to make something more akin to a film costume. You couldn’t actually wear it in the street and look sane, but you could wear it in a film or on stage. Compromise accomplished.:)

mood board.jpg
Mood Board (yes, that is Lara Croft, my childhood idol)

My concept is my identity as a FreeSpirit – Adaptive Survivor. Now, my little journal goes quite deep into myself, and I won’t bring you to tears with it. I have grown through this project. I feel stronger and more confident. I’ve figured some stuff out too.

One thing that makes me me, is something I figured out a while ago. One day I was feeling quite unappreciated (as it turned out, this was groundless, but there you go) and on the verge of feeling down. It dawned on me as I walked silently to the classroom at Bishop Burton College, that, at least I can make other people feel good. I can make them smile, I can encourage them, and can give them the strength I felt I lacked. That made me feel good, and I went to class with the resolve to do just that.

“We rise by¬†lifting others.”

Another thing I learned was that freedom, as most people think of it, does not exist in nature. We need things, food etc., and so we either have to work for it, or we have to grow/hunt/forage it. Most of us are not going to live in the forest, so we need money. Anyway, everything has a price so the idea of being able to do whatever you want whenever and wherever you want to is no more realistic than a genie arriving on your doorstop in a milk bottle one morning. The closest we can ever come to freedom is an attitude to life that is nicely summed up in a little book called “The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k” (though I change it to “…Not Giving a Toss” or “…a Stuff.”:)

If something is bothering you, or likely to bother you, let it go. Stuff it, as we say in Yorkshire. If there is a situation you don’t like, but you can’t do anything about, let it go (even sing that song if you like). Just letting it go feels so light and lets you feel happier.

“The secret to freedom is in not¬†giving a stuff”

Something else is that, yes it takes a great deal of strength to say that you are not good at something (I cannot write songs for toffee). But it takes a great deal more to say firmly, confidently that you are good at something, bally good. And to say it with nothing more than your self-belief behind you. You are the only one who can make your ground strong enough to stand on and stand firm with things get shaky.

I suppose that ultimately, I have made myself stronger, and I make others stronger.

So how does all this come into the outfit I’ve made? Let’s have a look…

Plan page for corset.jpg
The bodice
plan page for skort.jpg
The Skorts
plan page for tunic.jpg
The Tunic

So that is an overview of the garments that are part of this project. In the next few posts I’ll go into more detail.:)

How to Make a Saddle Cover from a Bag-for-Life

cover image for how to make a saddle cover 2
This is a quick and easy project. I made my saddle cover this afternoon because my old one has holes in it, which renders it somewhat less useful as a way to keep my saddle dry.

You can download the pattern for free here in A4¬†and here in Letter size. It is ‘to cut on the fold’ because the pattern is wider than a sheet of paper and I thought it would be easier this way.

You Will Need:

  • A bag-for-life
  • 34cm of 9mm wide elastic
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors (not your fabric scissors)
  • Sewing kit
  • A ball point pen for drawing on the bag

Helpful notes:

  • Use a long stitch length. I used about 3mm, but 4mm would have been better, especially when sewing the elastic on.
  • If you would like to make a saddle cover from something other than a grocery bag, the gusset is 78cm wide (plus 2cm seam allowance) by 8cm deep (including seam allowance.
  • Pins probably won’t help and may rip the plastic.

 

Step One: Cutting out

Once you have printed your pattern lay it on a bag-for-life (a tough grocery bag) and draw round it. I used my old saddle cover cut up as a pattern so I had to add seam allowances. If you are using your half-pattern, mark the fold lines and flip it over to complete it.

Cut off the bottom 8cm of the bag to make the gusset. Trim off one of the side seams.

Saddle cover from grocery bag

Step Two: Sew the gusset to the top

Starting at the CB, sew the gusset to the top until you get to the CF, or a little before if you like. Then sew the other side.

Saddle cover from bag-for-life: gusset to top

Step Three: Join the ends

When you get to the CF, match up the ends of the gusset and sew the CF seam. Then trim it down to a 1cm seam allowance.

Saddle cover from grocery bag

Step Four: Prepare and attach the elastic

Cut 34cm of elastic. That includes a 1cm seam allowance/overlap at each end. Divide it and the gusset into quarters with a pen.

Saddle cover from bag-for-life

Starting at the CB, start sewing the elastic on just to secure it. Then, holding the gusset taut at the back of the needle, and stretching the elastic to match the next mark, sew the elastic to the gusset.

Then turn the elastic to the inside and sew it in place there. This gives a nicer finish. I have an extra line of stitching because when I turned the elastic under the first time I didn’t catch it in the stitching.:)

Saddle cover from bag-for-life

And you’re done!

There you have your saddle cover: a practical, eco-friendly sewing project for your bike.

How to make a Saddle cover from bag-for-life

Zephyr Cycling Jacket

So this is my¬†first completed project at York College: a cycling jacket. I’m reasonably pleased with it. Are there things I would change? Of course! Am I going to? Not this month. Maybe if I make another one in my size (this is one or two sizes above me). But this one fits adequately. And it’s comfortable. And the fabric is getting cosier the more I handle it. Not to dilly-dally, here is what the jacket looks like:

Zephyr Cycling JacketZephyr Cycling Jacket Side View

Zephyr Cycling Jacket Back View
I have said it before: anyone who can take a good picture of their own back view has my admiration. It is difficult.

As you may have noticed or suspected, there are more cycling-specific features to this jacket than just a high-low hem.

The most obvious element is the reflective tape on the pockets, back and sleeve. I wanted to have 3M stuff that doesn’t show in the day, but that is extremely expensive and hard to come by, except in the stick-on stuff that is therefore unsewable (new word) and unlaunderable (another one). So I found some silver sew-on stuff on eBay and used that.

Another thing is the back Louvre vent. This is a fairly simple thing to make. Originally I had it too high up the back and it looked wrong and would probably not have been as effective.

Accordion Gussets

Next come the accordion gussets. These I noticed on a motorcycling jacket. One of the uncomfortable things with ordinary jackets on a bicycle is that when you lean forward the jacket rides up into the back of your head and gets tight across your back. The accordion gussets give you extra room for movement.

When I made up the toile I found that the accordion gussets worked to give me extra range of motion, but didn’t go back neatly into place. The solution was to use elastic to attach the inner part of the pleat to the jacket’s seam allowances. I found out afterwards that this was fairly¬†standard practice. It did the trick.

Toile testing:

DSC07638
This is what accordion gussets look like. On the final jacket I stitched them closed about half-way down because you don’t need the pleat at the top.
Accordion Gusset without elastic
This is what happens if you don’t use elastic to draw the pleat back in when you lower your arms. It’s messy.

I had thought to use a stretch stay like I saw on the Levi’s Commuter Jacket in the York store. When I was making up the jacket, I came to the part where I would sew one in (having already cut it) and decided that it wouldn’t have enough pull to do the job, so I used elastic. In retrospect it might have worked if I had drafted it with negative ease, but that’s something to think about next time.

Back Pockets

Apparently women cyclists complain that their cycling jackets don’t have three pockets at the back, so I’ve put three pockets on here. There are two patch pockets with elasticated top edges (need better elastic than this rubber stuff) and a pleated centre pocket with a recessed zip.

Now I’ve made the jacket I can see that the side pockets need to be higher at the side seams. I think I might add poppers to keep them closed better. It will make them more functional as pockets.

The centre pocket is huge! It goes all the way down to the hem. I have never used one because I’ve never had a jacket with one, but I’m told they’re useful, so I will see.

In-sleeve pockets

Zephyr Cycling Jacket In-sleeve Pocket Key-fob

I got this idea from on of the jackets in Timothy Everest’s collaboration with Rapha (possibly the most stylish existing cycle-wear brand!) I suppose the idea is to have somewhere to keep your lock key or a tissue. We all know the terror of a runny nose while cycling!

Now, as it turns out, you can’t blind-hem the jacket sleeve where the pocket is. Sounds obvious now, but I was doing that late at night. (When will I learn?) Fortunately I was too lazy to do it on both sleeves so the one with the key fob is perfectly good.

These are basically in-seam pockets with an invisible zip. ¬†It took me two samples get it right. You have to think about what you’re doing for the first few because it can get a little bit confusing.

Shoulder Strengtheners

(Proper word please. :))

I was going to add epaulettes, but there is already a lot of bulk here. The purpose is to help your bag stay on your shoulder. “In real life” I think I’d use a waterproofed suede because it would have good grip. Otherwise leather.

Apart from the practicality, I think these really finish the look of the jacket.

The Collar

You know how I like a well-drafted collar. Contrary to habit I draped this. And then made a draft. I really like how it rolls when open. It’s also just right for a close fit over the chin when done up.

The pattern is quite a different shape to any you find in modern pattern books and the opposite to Fasanella’s collar draft. Nothing against hers. You can draft some very nice collars that way. It just wasn’t what I wanted this time. I think ¬†my neckline is lower than hers is at the back and that is why my way worked better this time.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 17.36.26
My convertible collar draft.

Also, the top collar is ribbing so it is nice and soft. It would be lovely to have cashmere or merino, but I got what I could in London. I think it’s synthetic but I’d have to take a flame to it to find out. I may do that later. I expect if it’s synthetic it will melt, and if it’s cotton it will burn.

CF Separating Zip with shield and storm guard

To keep out the rain. The jackets on the market have little turn-over things at the top (name please). I should have allowed more for turn-of-cloth here. Otherwise I am quite pleased with it.

Pit-vents

pit-vents

Not actually at the underarms, so they ought probably to have a different name. These are lapped zips interrupting a princess seam, Between them and the lining are pieces of mesh shaped roughly like surfboards to stop people mistaking the vents for pockets. The mesh is sewn to the zips.

If you don’t know because you’re not a cyclist, the idea behind pit-vents is that you can let cool air in without your having to open your jacket and expose your entire front to the wind and rain.

I think I’d like these to be a bit longer, but I’m pleased with their neatness.

Wrist-Gaiters with thumb holes

It’s horrid to have the wind rush up your sleeves so I’ve put some cosy wrist-gaiters in with thumb loops to keep them down. I made the sleeve linings extra long to accommodate this but the penny has just dropped that that makes no difference as I have stitched the gaiters to the sleeve facings which do not move. Not amused. Grumbles like Marge.¬†The gaiters ought to have been stitched into an extra seam in the sleeve linings. It’s a good thing the sleeves are too long for me. Will make a note of it in my project…

So they are the cycling-specific features. Something else I did was to buy a practically new coat at a charity shop (for ¬£8!) and reverse-engineer it, then use some of what I’d learned when bagging the lining on this jacket. Consequently, this is the best one I’ve done so far. I tacked the shell to the lining at neck and side seams, and, using cotton 6mm tape, at the shoulder points. I also used cotton tape on the collar’s outer edge and the hemline because I¬†knew they would stretch and wave if I didn’t. Cotton tape is an invaluable notion!

I will spray the jacket with Jack Pyke to waterproof it. Of course, wool is naturally water-resistant, but that varies with quality and type. I got this anonymous melton from the cupboard at college (there’s one major benefit to attending York College, UK!) so I don’t know much about it.

The lining came from the same place, but it’s definitely synthetic, which will make the vents worth having. It was surprisingly easy to cut and sew. Even more surprising was when I found that my so-blunt-they-only-cut-paper scissors cut it better than my fabric scissors.

So am I done with this project now? Nope. I’ve got enough paperwork to do to redecorate the flat. You want to see my to-do list, just for this project?

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 18.44.54

I’ll show you some of my sketchbook and the results of the above to-do list later. I have done some of it (thank goodness!), but I still have a lot to do, including look for a job to last me at least until the summer, because the bike shop doesn’t need me in the slow season. At least I’ll have the weekends to do my college work. And I have my savings, loans and grant to live on so I’ll be alright.

Till next time,

Sabrina

Hi-low coat

I was doing some decorating in a very cold building so I had to wear my coat. Consequently it got white paint on it, and the coat is navy blue. I had hoped that, it being water-based paint, it would wash off in the rain, but it didn’t. So I’ve cut off the bottom of the coat and given it quite a different look.

Note: my camera decided to ignore me on the face-recognition timer, so by the time I got this shot I was eating one of my home-made scones. Please excuse me, but it was the best shot.:)

cycling coat 3/4 view

cycling coat back view

I closed the vent in the back because it was uncomfortable to cycle in when I landed on it on my saddle.

coat side view

Side note: I don’t know if any other countries do this, but in England we wear a red poppy (usually paper) on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day (which is today, the 11th¬†November) to honour those who gave their lives for us in the World Wars. According to the Royal British Legion,

The Royal British Legion is a charity whose objectives are written in its Royal Charter.  The charity looks after serving and ex-servicemen, women and their dependants who are in need, financially or otherwise.

I wear mine for the service men and women serving since and now as well (that’s what the red thing on my coat is).¬†God bless you all. I salute you. (I’m not collecting or anything, I just have a profound respect for and thanks for those in the Services.)

 

Coat Hiccup: I did try to do this the proper way of turning the bagged coat inside-out and re-sewing the hem, but for one reason or another it ended up all wavy, protruding in all directions that way. Maybe it stretched out during sewing, maybe there was an issue with the lining. Maybe I’ll never know. So I put the coat on in front of a mirror and pinned it as it looked best (yes, I used pins), Then simply topstitched the new, slightly-shorter-than-intended hemline. At least it’s presentable now. I quite like the end result really.

So that’s what I did last night. Why? Because I’m working on a cycling coat for a college project. More on that as it comes, mainly on Instagram because it’s quicker than blogging and counts towards my Project 365.:)

Best,

Sabrina

I’ve moved to York

I think it’s time for a catch-up, don’t you? As you can guess from the title, a lot has happened since the last post.

  1. I’ve moved to York (amazing place – I love it!)
  2. I’ve got a job at Cycle Heaven (best place ever to work!)
  3. I’ve started Year 2 in Fashion Design and Production at York College (major stress, but I’m getting into it now)

We’ll, that’s not a big list, but they’re pretty big changes to my life. I’m loving it!

Moving to York

This place is like the Copenhagen of England. I’ve never seen so many bikes in one place in real life!

I live in a¬†brilliant little flat with my landlord (who is lovely and put up my desk for me because it’s heavy). I have my own room and private bathroom. I’m learning to cook (I can now do pizza, home-made bases and sauce). Tesco is across the road. College is literally (really “literally”) two minutes bike ride away, so with stairs and everything, it’s 10-15 minutes from my door to the classroom.

York Solar System Cycle Route
Part of the York Solar System Cycle Route

I live on¬†the outskirts of York, not in the city centre, so I am not far from the country bike rides. Sometimes I just need to go for a bike ride in the quiet, and I can do that now. I’ve done the Solar System twice and taken lots of pictures (I’m also doing a Project 365 with my camera and my phone). Tip: tinted sunglasses make great filters for your camera.:)

Working at Cycle Heaven

Cycle_heaven
Source

One or two days after I moved in, I got a call from Cycle Heaven offering me the job¬†for which I had previously applied and been interviewed. I don’t think my enthusiasm came across on the phone, but there was some serious fist-pumping going on when I hung up! I did three week’s full-time¬†including a week’s trial, and got the job. Now I work weekends and I love it! I actually look forward to going into work. I look forward to it from about Monday. Everyone there is so nice; it’s like having another family.

Year 2 at York College

Source

Because I have done a foundation degree at Bishop Burton College, I got straight onto Year 2 of the BA(Hons) Fashion Design and Production Degree at York College. After the very long Summer holiday we design students seem to get, it’s like being thrown in the deep end when you get back to college. We get three modules at once! At Bishop we got one at a time in the second year. I suppose this might be more reflective of industry practice. I don’t know. I think the only thing I can do is get organised and focus. I always say that you learn a lot at university that isn’t on the syllabus.

So there are some big changes in my life, and they come with stress and a gigantic learning curve. What can I say? “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this.” (Meg,¬†Herucles).

“Comfortable Trousers”

That’s what my brother called his new jeans-trousers that I made him. They are a pretty good fit, certainly better than his shop-bought trousers/jeans. And they aren’t even to a personal block. These are standard size 32″, ¬†just shortened to his leg-length!

Joe's Jeans
I do have one quibble though: why does the fly buckle when he wears a belt?

They are very much like the ones we made at Wayside Flower, but I drafted this pattern from scratch and used a zip-fly instead (whose specs I am still perfecting).

DSC06734
No super-saggy bum, or mono-butt. Better than those horrid dropped-crutch trousers in the shops!
Profile View
Profile View — An attempt at a candid shot

The photo above gives a good idea of the fit of the leg, and annoyingly, a view of the zip-pull. Why does the belt make that happen?!

At any rate, he’s happy with them, and he paid me ¬£20 for the fabric etc., which is more than he usually pays for trousers. If he hadn’t been family I wouldn’t have done it for that (labour makes up a lot of the costs when you’re a small business), but I got to test the pattern, blog about it, and hope to make the pattern available (with some style modifications to avoid copying Wayside Flower’s design).

It took me two days of non-continuous work to make these, partly because I had an issue with the waistband. I think this denim may warrant interfacing on the waistband as I cut on the cross-grain (as Fasenalla advises) and it stretches a bit. It’s lovely denim, just soft enough and just heavy enough (11oz). And of course, no pins were used in the making of these jeans.:)

Do you like fashion?

Maybe that seems like a funny question on a sewing blog (or maybe it doesn’t). Personally, I can’t say that I do like fashion. I don’t like shopping. I’m not keen on marketing and sales. And yet, I like to look nice. I like some branding. I like designing. I like style.

The other day I went to the shops. It was kind of depressing, and not for the reasons you might think. I kept seeing stuff that was pretty much what I designed in college. I know vintage is on its way out and a more utilitarian, modern aesthetic is trickling down into the mass market, but it was everywhere.

Basically, I don’t like the race of fashion. Either keeping up with it or keeping ahead of it. It’s exhausting and it’s expensive. And that, for me, makes it boring. I can’t be bothered with it. It also quickly gets very unenjoyable and uninteresting to care what people think of you and your appearance. And all this is before we even touch the subjects of marketing ploys and corruption.

I’m not going to go into the whole ethical fashion subject. We’ve been there before. We know there is bad stuff going on and there is only so much we can do about it, which we do.

The next thing is marketing. I know the companies have to make money. They need it to live, the same as we do. They are doing it the way they learned because that’s all anyone would teach them. They give us a dream and get us to buy things to build it. Then they change the dream and get us to buy something else. This, of course, only works as long as we succumb to the sales message and/or actually have the money to buy stuff.

Then there is planned obsolescence. A certain “fruit company” (as Forrest Gump put it) is well-known for this. Each phone they release has¬†a different charger fitting, so instantly your previous phone’s docks and accessories are obsolete. Lightbulbs are designed to last only so long (really). And there is ‘fast fashion’. Impulse buying and things that last neither in wear nor in fashion.

Personally, I would rather spend my time doing something non-consumptive, like riding my bike, or painting (I know you use paints and paper etc. but it’s less wasteful and more creative and relaxing than shopping).

Plus, I don’t like being told what to do. (This is not necessarily a good thing as I’ve noticed I sometimes rebel against myself and don’t do what I know I ought to do.) “X Must-have items” will meet with more than a raised eyebrow. Possibly a chuckle.

I was in danger of enjoying myself in a shop the other week. It was almost like when I used to make Barbie’s outfits from her myriad clothes. Thankfully I have a few powerful reasons not to shop: one being ethics, another being the number of times I’ve gone on about ethics and thus don’t want to be a hypocrite, and another being money. Also, I haven’t room for many clothes, let alone shoes and bags.

You may wonder why I even go into shops. Well, sometimes it’s just for a look. Sometimes I want to visually reverse-engineer something to see how it’s sewn. Sometimes I actually need something (but I won’t buy what I can make unless I need it right there and then like when I got caught in a heavy downpour recently and bought a waterproof jacket).

And yet, fashion is a fact of life. It’s always been there and it always will be because that is how human civilisation works. People copy each other, then the first people get bored and do something else and everyone copies that. It’s not a bad thing. It just depends who’s copying whom. If the people at the front are setting a good example then that’s good. And as long as that good example is thought to be normal and not a mere trend, then we’re headed in the right direction. Like with recycling. People the public looked up to (celebrities) had to do it as part of their everyday lives for the public to first take it as a good thing to do, and then get used to it so they do it all the time. The same is happening with bikes and the CycleChic movement. It helps that Britain has had three¬†Tour de France wins in the past four¬†years.:)

Usually an aesthetic goes with a lifestyle movement. That’s just part of getting people to like something. I suppose that’s fine. It’s just that I don’t want to follow. I don’t have to anyway. If last week’s trip to the shops is anything to by, I’m at least right on time, if not early. But I bet I’m not the only one. How often have you, as a sewist, gone into a shop only to find that instead of getting inspiration, you get maker’s d√©ja vu?

Here’s a good video:

My Cut21 Jeans — The Test Ride

Last week I had a job interview at a bike shop in York and made some jeans for it. They were the Cut21 Jeans made over my jeans block, so the fit is a little different, partly because there were some changes I wanted to make, like narrowing the legs.

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Cut21 Jeans test ride, worn with Cut21 Jacket Toile and Cut21 handbag.

The jeans are getting more comfortable as I’m breaking them in. I’m used to stretch denim or skirts. Mainly skirts. They were not comfortable to begin with.

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Cut21 Jeans front view; they slip down a bit because the waistline stretched a little during sewing. That is why “wad” appears. If I had a belt that wouldn’t happen.

Aldrich’s jeans and trouser drafts go right to the floor, which is about 8cm longer than a garment’s inside legs would be, which is roughly what I have as my turn ups. It’s lucky they are this length. When I drafted the pattern months ago I evidently typed in 120cm instead of 102cm, so when I printed out my pattern it¬†were frankly too long. I shortened it and narrowed the leg to get this fit. I’ve corrected my Illustrator pattern now.:)

Many of the features of these jeans you have already seen on the original Cut21 jeans but, as I said, I changed a few things. Specifically:

  • the narrower leg (measured round my ankle with the tape at an approximated circumference)
  • no yellow hand-topstitching (no time, haven’t bothered since)
  • and the belt-loops are now uniform in length and made from the selvedge, which I thought was a nice touch.
Making the belt-loops
Making the belt-loops

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The fit is pretty good (bear in mind that they are slightly crumpled here for having been worn while cycling). I can’t really say whether the gusset improves comfort because I don’t have any jeans without a gusset. It’s not as nice as cycling in a skirt anyway.

 

Things I Would Like To Improve

  • The back pockets are a bit far apart. I think they could do to be 1.5cm nearer to the CB seam.
  • The little pocket that I was going to keep my keys in is too small for that, so it’s really just for looks and I don’t like that.
  • I still couldn’t get the facing to be perfectly aligned at the CF. You can’t tell from the outside, but still…
  • The waist is too low, and I think it stretched a bit during sewing. I suppose that is why they fuse waistbands in RTW jeans. I didn’t do a higher back waistline either, so the whole waistline needs redesigning if I’m to make another pair.
  • The shape on the front waistline detail is not perfectly round.

 

Thinks I’m pleased with

  • Not one pin was used to sew these! (I’ve given up pins for sewing lately; I don’t need them).
  • RTW fly front zip like in my brother’s jeans (slightly different though as they use a felling attachment and make their patterns accordingly in RTW; you work with what you have)
  • The fit of the legs. It reminds me of Hiut denim (great company; I’ve never bought anything from them because I make my own, but they look good!)
  • The fit on the crutch — no monobutt here!
  • They get more comfortable the more I wear them
  • They’re real denim, not stretch stuff. It’s so nice and the perfect step between weighty denim and soft denim, which is nice for women’s wear. It got it from Merchant & Mills.

So they are my Cut21 jeans 2.0. They’re going to look so cool with my Cut21 jacket (I’m working on a hack for that now)!

If you could make some dream jeans, what would they be like? Any special features? A particular fabric? Please do share in the comments below!

Sabrina