There are three jeans-type garments in #TheShire: The Golden jeans, the “skinnies,” and the shorts.
That’s quite a bit of embroidery. 🙂 These jeans have a button fly, which I had to relearn because it’s such a long time since I’d done one.
The waist somehow ended up rather larger than I expected, even after toiling, so now it’s a paperbag waist. Well, they are inspired by Levi’s 501S anyway, which have a square-cut hip. 🙂
This fabric is quite thin and stretchy (though still not stretchy enough to be proper skinnies), so embroidery wouldn’t be advisable. Apart from that I was running out of time. So used lace overlays on the pockets instead.
You may have noticed the pockets: they’re shaped like shields, which I thought fitted because it’s heraldic. 🙂
The lace bits at the hem are not symmetrical. They were cut the same, but I should have used more notches. One of the back pockets is floral embossed leather, and the other has gold and silver embroidery in the style of Tolkein’s illustrated trees.
These and the skinnies have a zip fly, which still took a bit of reworking out. I still have to perfect the specs to make it look exactly like RTW.
Some years ago now, I came across an article in Threads Magazine about Zero-Waste patterns. There was a Viking dress in there, and it kind of stuck with me. As Tolkien was largely inspired by Scandinavian culture/myths and legends, and would likely have been a proponent of sustainability, I thought I’d have a go at using this concept.
The initial design is very different to the final one.
It looks wildly different on different sizes. This is actually a couple of sizes too big for me. It looks miles better with a belt. 🙂 The sleeves were too narrow for anyone bigger.
Trying it on the right size mannequin. With potential embellishment. I like it better on me. Moving on…
The Final Dress
Completely different silhouette. And I love it! 😀 Note the dart in the back hem that just curves the silhouette. 🙂
I tried it on one of my taller friends and we established that for a model to wear it, it would have to be longer. So I added a few inches. Also enlarged the neckline.
It’s a versatile pattern because you can remove the sleeves and wear it as a pinafore or a sleeveless, so it’s a good transitional piece, or you can switch up the sleeve and pleat fabric. I’d like to make it in a lighter colour. I have some grey jersey, but that might be a bit sweatshirtish, in a bad way.
You can’t have missed the dungaree trend lately. Well, I’m not fond of having to get undressed every time nature calls, so I’ve done a dungaree dress. In leather.
I wanted to have leather in #TheShire from the beginning. I’m sure a lot of hobbits’ things would have been leather, and more likely pigskin because cows are bigger than pigs. This dress is pigskin, and the hides are from GH Leathers so it’s from the meat industry.
I had to reverse engineer the dungaree button flies at work. And please forgive my imperfect stitching. It was nearing hand-in day and I was NOT going to go full-on perfectionist. Plus, this is real leather, so you can’t unpick.
The parts of the dress are in slightly different colours, which happens, evidently, when you use a few hides.
By coincidence there are three tees in #TheShire (like three rings). There are two circle tops too, but I’ll cover them separately because they’re so different.
The first one has a kimono sleeve at the front, but Dolman sleeve at the back (so that I could get the lace to look as I wanted). I blogged about the toile of this top here, so check that out for details!
The second tee is a bit more normal. The key things here are the embroidery and the lace sections. The embroidery (free-motion) says “The Shire” in Dwarven runes. 🙂 The jersey is sort of like a Broiderie Anglaise kind of jersey. It’s covered in tiny flower-shaped hole patterns.
The third tee is intentionally devoid of embellishment because it was always intended to go under a dress. But I wanted to give it the versatility to be worn over jeans too, so I gave it the lace asymmetric hem section. It’s a bit big on me, but only by a size or two.
And yes, I will be wearing any of my collection that I can when I get them back. 🙂
Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂
I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).
These are the pages from my sketchbook:
These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).
Following on from the Viking Dress toile, I made some changes to the pattern and commenced toile 4 (of the collection):
widened sleeves a bit (though evidently not enough)
took it in at the body
shortened to make it tee-length
added lace inserts
Looking at my illustrations, I can see that I forgot to add the asymmetrical hem. -_- Never mind; I needed practice with the coverstitch machine anyway (still do).
Also, I accidentally made it a size too small. This is because the size chart in Metric Pattern Cutting (which I Googled for quickness) does not agree with the dress forms at college. A size 10 dress form fits size 12 in the book, so when I made a size 10 according to the book, it was a size 8 according to the dress forms. Confusing? It can be. -_- So now it’s a nice fit on me, and a close fit on the dress form.
Seeing this now, I notice I forgot the top inner bar of the Celtic Knot. It could be neater and I regret marking the circle with a Sharpie (lol), but everyone seems to be impressed with it (and I’m my own worst critic).
I was looking at my store-bought t-shirts (I acquire them via uniforms) and the back necklines are faced or bound (not sure what to call it) to cover up the overlocking. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this. So far, I cut a shape like this, press up 0.5cm on the lower edge and short ends, sew it on after the ribbing, and then edgestitch it down. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting there.
This was my first lay plan (not exactly zero-waste, but I cut the fabric too short, and this is a work in progress. I’m sure there’s a better way.
Realised I could cut the ribbing on the fold, so I could rearrange things to waste less fabric. I’m beginning to think kimono sleeves are not very economical.
The Whole Tee
The neckline ribbing actually sits nice and flat when I don’t have my shoulders raised. 🙂
(The colours in the first photo are truer to life). I like it. But, of course…
Changes to make
lower sleeves underseam by about 2-3cm
make the correct size
widen shoulder lace by 1-2cm
widen front lace to match shoulder lace
move back sleeve seam closer to CB
make asymmetrical hem
I’ll make these changes and toile again. The next top is slightly different. The lace is differently placed and there is different embroidery. It will have the wrong hem on the toile, but the actual one for the next tee is very simple so I don’t need to practise it. 🙂
I’m quite pleased with myself. I’d never made a t-shirt till this term, and almost never used an overlocker, but I think the quality on this is pretty good!
This is how the new pattern is looking so far:
I have a to-do list that is a spreadsheet. I might miss college.
As the Hobbit and LOTR are largely inspired by Nordic legends, I thought I’d put a Viking dress into my final collection. It’s pretty much zero-waste too.
I recently got an overlocker on eBay (Toyota SLR4D) and finally have it working properly! And learning to work with jersey is one of my goals for my FMP, so I’m making this dress from either jersey or ponte knit (which I have to test sew because I haven’t used it before and it’s different).
This dress took me about 4 hours to make including cutting. I’m reasonably pleased with it and I will be wearing it, even though it’s a size 10 and I’m a 6.
Viking dress on correct size mannequin
Viking dress on me (two sizes too big)
Viking dress on a 14 stand that’s two sizes too big
Now, you may have noticed that the sleeves are a little snug in comparison to the dress form. This is one of the reasons we toile. 🙂 I have made them bigger on the pattern.
The pockets were going to be sleeve segments, but I thought pockets would be better (because who doesn’t love pockets?!)
New skills used in this dress: ribbing, overlock seams, overstitching, using clear elastic as a stabiliser on knits, and marking jersey (use a marker pen). I haven’t perfected the neckline though (and it bothers me).
I got the fabric yesterday at The Shuttle in Leeds. I went on a fabric sourcing trip with the class, which was fruitful, though I still have a few more things to get, like sweatshirting and gold-coloured denim. I estimated my final collection will cost up to £300 in supplies. Not bad really, considering in London it’s not unusual to pay £7,000 (but that includes paying people to make it for you, which we don’t because we learn technical skills 😛 ).
I have updated the pattern to work with the changes in the sleeves, and will try it next in a t-shirt, perhaps with the lace at the shoulders too. 🙂
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I know I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, but I’m onto my final collection of my BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Production at York College. It’s called The Shire and is based largely on The Hobbit and LOTR (follow my Instagram for better updates). I’ve more or less got my final designs and two of the garments are jeans (oh yeah, I now work at Levi’s in York City Centre as a stylist and tailor). There will be a pair of Mom Jeans and a pair of skinny jeans. First I’m working with the Mom Jeans.
At Levi’s we have some jeans like this. They’re a slim, relaxed fit in the leg, with a good fit in the bottom, and a fairly straight waist. The latter is something I will not be incorporating because I like my jeans to stay up without a belt, but the legs are good and I want to use that look. So I compared the cut with those from Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear and found that they are wildly different, but both look good. The latter didn’t look Mom-jeanish though when I toiled them.
Now, bear in mind that the first ones are size 12, and the latter ones are my size (approximately 8) so mine are narrower. The legs on the Levi’s jeans are much straighter at the outseam than the Metric Pattern Cutting ones. The alignment is also a lot closer to the side seam; you could very nearly make selvedge jeans with that pattern!
So I printed it out in my size and toiled it. All going to plan, but I made the pattern too long and shortened it on paper. This is where things began to go awry. When truing the side seam I forgot to take account of the yoke on the back, so the front pattern ended up 3cm too short, and of course I didn’t realise at the time.
I noticed something was wrong when I was sewing the inseam and the back was not only not shorter than the front (it should be) but it was too long by a fair bit. I just cut it off the crutch with the overlocker (bad move). Now the inseams matched. So I sewed the side seams, and realised that it wasn’t just the inseams that wouldn’t have matched. I carried on sewing and tried the toile on afterwards.
Now, the first problem was the bum-nose. I do not wish to appear as if I have a tail tucked in there. I assumed that this was probably due to the issue with the crutch seam, so I moved on.
Another issue came to my attention when I looked down. The legs had twisted symmetrically. I could not fathom why. Levi’s jeans didn’t. And my toile wasn’t even in twill so that couldn’t be it. Surely it must be the fit?
I cut up one leg and examined the new shape. It was… odd.
Now, I assumed, based on half-remembered facts about twisted seams, that I must adjust the pattern to make the jeans hang right when I wear them. So I spent a good few hours playing with the pattern on Illustrator, in vain, because I couldn’t get the seams to be corresponding measurements. After said good few hours it occurred to me to get the toile out and examine it again. I thought, What would happen if I lay the legs as they would have, had they been the same length to begin with and I hadn’t chopped that bit off?
And this is what happened…
The back leg’s inseam was 3cm lower than the from leg, but sewn to match it, so the grainlines were not level. This meant the leg was trying to level itself out. As it couldn’t do that magically, it twisted round like a spiral staircase. It sort of makes sense and evidently is what happened, as you can see in the above photo. Accidental Pattern Magic. As proof, if I lay the front leg properly across (as it should have been) all it well. I wore it pinned for a while correctly and it didn’t twist. I didn’t take any pictures of this (but I’m going to retoile to eliminate this issue and check the fit otherwise).
So there we have it: the (or a) cause of twisted legs in jeans is when either the front or the back isn’t level (maybe because the seamstress/seamster stretched one of them and cut it off to match). I think this happens more if the problem extends below the knee.
I’m glad I learned that little tidbit, especially as I want to be a Master Tailor at Levi’s. 🙂
This is a throwback to a post I did a while ago on how to draft a skirt pattern. A reader messaged me and asked for a post on how to properly measure oneself, so I said I would do one. And here it is 🙂
The first thing to do is to tie some tape round your waist and your hips to keep a level. This is easier if you have a full-length mirror, which I currently do not. -_-
To get your front and back waist measurements place the end of the tape where you feel the side-most point of your waist it (this is all a matter of what feels right), wrap the tape around your waist and use your thumb nail to mark the other side-most point. Hold that and the waist measurement point (good thing you have two hands) and make a note of them.
Do the same for your hips. Be a little slack on the front of your hips if you like, especially if like so many of us, you have a bit of a tummy. 🙂
And do the same for your high hip measurement. This is along your pelvis bone line. On me that’s 8cm down from my waist at the CF. I know the measuring tape drooped a bit in the photo.
You will use this measurement to check that the darts aren’t too hollow and the side seams aren’t too curved when you shape them. I once scooped my back darts too much and now I have a high-waist skirt. 🙂
Measure from the waistline to the hipline front and back.
This is why a mirror helps: my hip tape dropped a bit at the back in the photo. 🙂
To make this easier/quicker, I’ve added an Excel file for you to download. It makes it quicker to get your dart measurements and so on ready for drafting your skirt pattern. Click here to access the file. 🙂
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 it ;). 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.
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.
You can’t see it here, because I put the buttons on the wrong side (that’s not the issue).
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).
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. 🙂 )
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.