sewing journal

save the date! DEM JEANS SEW-A-LONG, june 1 2015

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in dailies, sew-a-long, sewing journal | 7 comments

DEM JEANS Sew-A-Longtop ten reasons you’re gonna want to join my

dem jeans sew-a-long

1. You can make better-fitting, better-looking, and longer-lasting jeans than you can buy. Yes, custom jeans for yourself. And yes, they look better than what you can buy retail. And after your first pair, you’ll realize it’s easier than you thought!

2. What’s your poison? Trendy raw denim, or selvedge denim? Looking to bring high-waisted acid wash into your life? Trying to emulate that awesome pair of white jeans you had in middle school? Want a pair of “boyfriend fit” in just the right dusky grey – or waxed deep indigo? Want to line your cuffs with your favorite old band t-shirt? Or stencil an awesome motif on the backside?

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.

I can help you plan your jeans out, so you get exactly what you want. Send me an email – and be prepared to put aside some time and energy.

Now, if this sounds overwhelming or intimidating, start smaller: make a pair using a standard pattern. You will get used to construction methods, before trying your own custom-fit – and you can gift your first pair to a friend!

3. These jean are ethically-produced. The vast amounts of retail jeans out there are made at the expense of workers in other countries, without regard for quality of life, and rely on pillaging environmental resources in other countries. These jeans will also last longer, further extending your clothing dollar. Use the money you save on retail jeans to buy ethically-produced retail jeans! Or make ethically-produced jeans for your friends, family, or clients!

4. Once you start shopping for good denim you will be hooked. I ain’t gonna lie. It’s like a drug. Denim, even good denim, is affordable, it feels great, it lasts a long time, it is beautiful to look at and dare I say, fondle! – and the scraps make beautiful quilts (or potholders, or teddy bears, or, or…).

5. I don’t like to compare prices – because custom-fit, ethically-made, perfect jeans with tailor-level detail simply aren’t available on the market at all –  but this is one case where a simple high-end home project is cheaper than high-end jeans. A lot cheaper. Even buying ethically- and organically-produced fabrics, you come out ahead.

6. My sew-a-long: you aren’t going to find better close-up photography and a more in-depth tutorial than mine (ask my previous students). My background in technical writing and knowledge of clothing construction means you will be rolling your eyes at the level I geek out on these! (all the while appreciating the meticulous detail!). And my photographs are important for jeans – the beauty is in the topstitching and technical detail, really.

7. Your jeans can be made for your body, as-is. Tired of jeans that don’t fit right, or too-long cuffs, or jeans too tight at the thigh? Yeah. And those high-end brands? Definitely not made in a diverse size range. Need I say more?

8. Once you’re finished, you’ll have a pattern made to perfection. It’s worth the time to create this template. Because forever after, all you need is a few yards of denim in your house, you can make up jeans whenever you’re feeling lonely. The jeans will be your friend. They won’t let you down.

9. You have a mentor the whole way. (That’s me!). I figure if Jalie Patterns (I’m not worthy!) thinks my sew-a-long is good enough for their professional site, you’ll probably be pretty pleased with my help too. You can ask questions via Skype, text (if we’re down like that), comments here, and email.

10. ASSES. Your ass looks great in jeans. Seriously. It’s true. A pair of well-fitting jeans, is a friend to asses everywhere. Someone had to say it!

So LET’S DO THIS!

 

***

If you’re a novice stitcher, you may be thinking There’s no way I can pull this off! But – you can. You’re gonna need to invest a little bit of money – and a lot of time. And you will feel like a million bucks when you are through!

Here is what you will need for this sew-a-long. Please read carefully. Some items may need to be ordered online; for instance, Kenneth D. King’s class on cloning jeans takes a small tuition, takes supplies, and takes time to complete.

Feel free to post any questions to the comments – or email me:

a pattern
I strongly suggest you take the time to prepare and do one of the following:
 
trace your favorite non-stretch pair using the methods outlined in the Craftsy course Jean-ius! by Kenneth D. King; or:
purchase any pattern and use this straight-size pattern, without alterations, as your first-run template – to get used to sewing jeans
 
denim
any kind of raw, selvedge, or cotton denim works. We are making non-stretch button-fly selvedge jeans for this course (I buy from pacific blue denim). If you want to work with stretch denim, make sure your pattern is drafted and adjusted properly for this. Be sure to buy adequate yardage; I always buy enough for two pair of jeans.
 
contrast fabric, 1/2 yard
100% cotton or linen woven works best. We will be making the pocket bag, belt facing, and button-fly detail with this fabric. Consider something that looks good on both sides, for best pocket effect.
 
rivets and snaps &/or buttons (optional)
you will need four buttons and ten rivets; buy a few extra to be sure. I buy mine from castbullet.com.
 
stitch witchery or thin fusible web
this will help us get a perfect waistband
 
sewing equipment
sewing machine(s) – can handle buttonholes
 
thread: high-quality cotton-wrapped polyester, in both construction color and topstitching color
 
serger (optional)
 
size 14 or so denim needles
 
awl
 
steam iron
 
beeswax & strong needle for button-sewing (if you use sew-on buttons, as opposed to hammer-in)
 
Make sure to add a badge to your blog, and to subscribe to the sew-a-long updates!

Sew-A-Long ONLY rss feed | “dem jeans” ONLY rss feed

 
Forever In Blue Jeans: Back Pocket
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a baby shower gift: Larvae-Monster

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in dailies, export, sewing journal | 2 comments

I’d conceptualized this garment a while back – probably after listening to A Princess of Mars on tape. Not that this particular babycreep is inspired by any particular bit of Burroughs’ descriptive prose, but more like an idea that banged around in the ol’ braincase for a bit.

Larvae-Monster

I had this wonderful 50/50 heavy duty knit in a heathered plum… and of course a high-quality poison-green faux fur. Perfect!

Larvae-Monster

Believe it or not, faux fur – a good quality one – is a great fabric for baby and child use. It is rugged and withstands washing well, is warm, and most people enjoy the way it feels. It is also surprisingly unfussy to sew with – once you know a few tricks.

Larvae-Monster

I had to include some star-shaped ear-tabs because this is a Space Baby, of course. These were a wee bit tricky to get just right, but I know my knits. Interface first for best results!

And of course: all wrapped up for the family, with a homemade card and some chocolate just for mama:
Larvae-Monster

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“I will re-calculate. Your deaths will be indescribable.”

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in dailies, sewing journal | Comments Off

So why it’s taken me so long to sew up Ro-Man from 1953’s B-movie Robot Monster, I do not know. Clearly a failing on my part. A failing I remedied this week.

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

 You can basically see that this 6-month sized piece is identical to the monster in the film. Maybe it’s even a bit scarier.

Robot Monster (1953) - still

Below you see that Ro-Man the Robot Monster, aka baby V., was pretty much over cute bearded dad. I mean she was into him. She’d hold his hand. She’d let him carry her around all day. But she wasn’t gonna pretend she liked it!

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

OK, but seriously – it was fun trying to make a “helmet” that was smart for a small baby. No globe-and-bucket (which is perfect for an adult version!) here.

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

HUGE BRAWNY MONSTER ARMS. Tiny little baby hands! By the way, a good quality faux fur is machine-washable, very warm, and you can clean baby puke out of it pretty easy. I’m just sayin’.

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

Of course, we need a powerful ape chest. And our pacifier:

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

 Baby V. might look like a hungover owl in this photo below but I like it anyway – because Ralph is so sweet – and hirsute!

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

 “I may be a hideous monster but I have adorable, delicious feet.”

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

And of course: a secret little monster underlap at the back, where the ensemble fastens:

Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

Of course, you can read more about how I made the piece, and the troubles and successes I had, via the Flickr tagset. And of course, if you’re digging this exact monster, I’ve listed it on Etsy!Robot Monster (1953) - poster

 

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baby angler fish

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in dailies, sewing journal | Comments Off

And I have loved thee, ocean! And my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wanton’d with thy breakers-they to me.

Here’s the thing. I knew I wanted to make a baby angler fish bunting quite a while back. You can easily see why. This little piece is up for sale on Etsy.

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

 

This little critter is made from an uber-soft velveteen and lined in one of my favorite formal lining fabrics: a slipper satin, deep purple for this application.

And oh yeah. That is a real glowing lure. I mean COME ON, of course!

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

Fins are constructed of a waxed cotton – which makes for a leathery feel and a translucence by light.

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

I knit a little cozy for the lure bulb, which is lit with a battery:

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

Fully-lined pockets. Because you know how babies need pockets:

Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

Teeth: a 10% wool. I needed some ferocity but everything needs to be really safe and soft!
Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!Happy fishing!

 Baby Anglerfish! & Yes That's A Glowing Lure!

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Cloned Basketweave Coat

Posted by on Dec 25, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | Comments Off

Photos of gifts and sewn items trickling in, now that Christmas is here and photos can go public. A while back a friend in the UK sent me her coat to clone. She needed it upgraded, size-wise. We talked about fabrics and she chose a beautiful basketweave from Mood Fabrics. I chose a champagne-colored lining, a pattern for a coat base, and off we went!

Cloned Basketweave Coat

 The new fabric (left) was quite a bit heavier than the original garment. The bulkier fabric made a very different result when it came to the gathers and freeform pleats. (Well. Very different to me, but most people probably wouldn’t notice!)

Sizing up a rather complex garment was no picnic, either! But things seemed to turn out beautifully in the end. Collar:

Cloned Basketweave Coat

Front pockets: the original garment had these very small in-seam pockets – just big enough for a ladyhand. The pockets were also located in a pleated area and are rather hidden. I absolutely loved the look of the ecru satin with the shell fabric.

Cloned Basketweave Coat

Hem and lining:Cloned Basketweave Coat

I sent over the parcel a few days ago; upon receipt yesterday, my friend had to pay £38 in VAT. I’ve sent many things overseas and that’s the first time that’s happened – or at least, that someone told me about it.

Finishing the coat meant – another coat! (for a friend: photos pending), and my Christmas gifts for Ralph and the two kids. As per usual my Christmas was full of a great deal of creative exploits!

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Foxy 2.0

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | Comments Off

Five Nights At Freddy's ("The Mangle" / Foxy 2)

Borrowed from the video game hit Five Nights At Freddy’s, this morning Phoenix received her own Foxy 2/”The Mangle” hat. Those familiar with the game will think, Oh my god that is perfect! Those who aren’t will think, Why on earth would you make something so terrible?

(Why, indeed?)

Five Nights At Freddy's ("The Mangle" / Foxy 2)

Five Nights At Freddy's ("The Mangle" / Foxy 2)

Five Nights At Freddy's ("The Mangle" / Foxy 2)

Five Nights At Freddy's ("The Mangle" / Foxy 2)

The Mangle

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