Monday, February 28, 2011

Simplicity 5517 - Trouser Jeans Muslin

DD#1 has been shopping for a pair of trouser jeans. There isn’t a shortage at La Cantera, but none are fitting the way she wants them to.  I offered to sew her a pair and found this 70’s wannabe western wear pattern, Simplicity 5517.  I’m not sure of the date as it is missing from the battered envelope, but I’m thinking early 70’s – maybe 1973 or 1974?

Anyway, the most important feature of this pattern is the leg because it is exactly what she has been looking for. I altered the pattern to fit and to incorporate the styling she wants. Changes to the pattern (so far) include:

• Waist lowered one inch
• Zipper fly extension added to the center front
• Small wedge inserted at back crotch near the inseam
• Leg lengthened by three inches
• Back pockets added
I borrowed the back pocket pattern from the one I'd made for her Burda 6006 Anita jeans and guessed as to placement. It was easier to draw in the pockets on the muslin rather than sewing them on.

DD#1 ordered denim from SAFE Denim (American Cotton Growers) and the thirty yard roll arrived today. The website offers several types of denim and it only took a few days for it to arrive. This roll is 12 oz. ring spun, 100% cotton and the price, at $7.15/yd, is reasonable considering that it is 67" wide.

In other news, last week I attached the rivets and button to my Simplicity 7581 jeans. This time, the rivets went on without a hitch and not one was wasted. So, I guess that makes up for last time when more were ruined than attached...

I’ve worn my new jeans and I don’t love them. Well, the problem is the back crotch length near the inseam – it needs to be just a little bit longer. That wasn’t obvious with the muslin nor during construction and it has me wondering why.

The jeans are wearable, but I definitely want to correct the pattern before I sew it again. Everything else seems to be fine but I will wear them a few more times before altering the pattern, just in case there are any other issues.

By the way, the front pocket pieces on this pattern are just like RTW and for me that is reason enough to hunt down this old pattern. I will be copying those front pocket pieces to use with other jeans patterns.

The day I'd worn the new jeans, I'd met DD#1 for a very casual lunch at Chipolte. In the parking lot on the way out, she took a quick photo of the front: 
I’ve put together another muslin of Burda 01-2010-136, this time in size 44. The size 46 was simply too big. The 44 fits and I want to sew it up before I revisit the Simplicity pattern.

I feel like I've been to jeans sewing school but with 30 yards of denim, I think I'm just getting started...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Simplicity 7581 – Jeans Update

My new jeans are almost finished - they lack only the waist button and the obligatory rivets. Seems like forever since I began this project.  And yet, four jeans muslins were not enough. I tried on the size 18 muslin before I cut my fabric and decided I wanted some changes to the pattern. It finally hit me that I should just try the next smaller size.  Yes, yet another muslin! It was a good call because it really was more flattering.  So, I ended up cutting a 16 and the only modification was to the length.

I’m willing to go through these muslins as my goal it is have a handful of classic patterns that I can depend upon.  I want two styles of jeans patterns: this one (higher waist/slight boot cut leg) and another with a bit lower waist/slightly looser fit.

It took four machines to put the jeans together. I loaded the Bernina with navy cotton thread and used it to sew all of the seams. The serger took care of cleaning the edges and the coverstitch made the belt loops. I didn’t bother to press under the fabric strip before sending it through the folder and the denim fed without any problems.
The Singer 403A was utilized for topstitching. About time, right? I threaded the needle with khaki topstitching thread and more of the navy cotton for the bobbin. As expected, I had to adjust the pressure and the tension for the denim. I don’t have a “stitch in a ditch” foot for it (though one is now on the way via eBay) so the topstitching is wobbly. I knew it wasn’t perfect while I was stitching but the machine amused me and I just didn’t care.

The top edge of the pocket topstitching came from fashion disk #7, Icicle.  My instinct was to sew this embroidery pattern (and others too!) all over these jeans. You should be impressed that I exercised great control. Yep, minimal embroidery – I can actually wear these in public!
But bigger than messy topstitching and embroidery restraint, I finally attached the Singer Professional Buttonholer to the 403A and produced good-looking buttonholes! I had purchased the buttonholer back in November and had not taken time to work with it. I thought this project was the perfect opportunity. After all, it is only one buttonhole…
It took some time and I actually read the little booklet and cleaned/lubricated it before getting started with samples.  No, it’s not as quick as turning a few knobs, but you end up with a beautifully made buttonhole that will be consistent with as many as you wish to make.  So, this addition takes care of the bulk of my buttonhole woes. Reliable buttonhole spacing is next on my “to be conquered” list.

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pattern Auditions - Jeans

Well, it started from wanting to test the Schnittvision, volume 7, pants pattern and has turned into searching for a classic jeans pattern.

My detour occurred innocently enough. I didn’t have a stretch fabric that was appropriate for the Schnittvision pants so I chose to try the jeans instead. And then, being curious, I decided to compare the pattern to BML's version.

Entering identical measurements, I came away with two very different jeans patterns. They both fit. Nevertheless, the BML muslin has a “mom” jeans vibe and though the Schnittvision jeans are more stylish, I want the legs to be looser. Easy to remedy by reprinting the pattern with larger thigh/knee measurements or by simply redrawing the leg seams on the existing pattern. 
Both patterns can be corrected so they would work for me – I just don’t want to. While trying these patterns, I also put together a muslin of Simplicity 7581, view C (the one on the left). I found this bootcut jeans pattern, circa 1997, on eBay. Granted, it is ancient. But, other than taking in the side seams a bit at the hips (I cut a size 18) and shortening the leg, the muslin fits and better yet, it looks right.
I’m not stopping at Simplicity 7581. No, no…In a spirit of generosity, I’m also giving my Burda magazines a rare opportunity and have traced (can you believe it?) 01-2010-136, minus the front inner leg patch piece.
BurdaStyle 01-2010-136

The zippers and topstitching thread have arrived and I even made a trip to JoAnn’s and bought a piece of denim. I’m not thrilled with JoAnn’s denim offerings. Just sayin’.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Anniversary

Well, I’ve done this blog thing for a year now and, for the most part, have given up searching through retail stores for garments that fit. It just made sense to sew basic garments for myself and use the blog to record how it was progressing. Lately, I've realized that I’m no longer angry that retail doesn’t provide clothing that works for me.

A friend gifted me a sewing machine and I’ve also purchased new (and new-to-me) machines, tools, books, patterns and low-cost fabrics. It was wise to limit my fabrics to the mostly $1.95/yd. variety though I look forward to feeling comfortable purchasing more luxurious ones. To be honest, I do like a bargain and will continue to order them just being a bit more selective.

I have confidence that I can create clothing that fits my body.  There is much to do in waistband fitting and in tackling fear of zippered welt pockets, but rest assured, I’m gonna conquer those issues and others too.

I have to say that I enjoy wearing the things I’ve made. They may not be perfect and some are even odd – but they are mine.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sewing Muslins for Jeans - Schnittvision and BML

Since I haven’t found a stretch fabric I’m willing to sacrifice for the Schnittvision pants muslin, I went and printed the Schnittvision jeans pattern included in volume 7 and sewed a muslin.  I basted a zipper into the center front so I would have an easier time evaluating. The fit isn’t too far off, however I’m having to add to the front and back inseams at the crotch. The legs are a bit snug so I sewed a 3/8” seam instead of 5/8”. That took care of that, though I prefer a slight boot cut leg and will be adjusting the pattern from the knee down. I used non-stretch cotton for my muslin. Had I used a stretch fabric, I don’t think any adjustments would be needed.

I’m getting my jeans pattern ready even though the denim won’t be here for a few weeks. Topstitching thread and brass zippers, from Atlanta Thread, should be here tomorrow. I also need to place an order for rivets.  Just need to decide which ones I want.

BML Five Pocket Jeans

Not having had enough of taping sheets of printer paper together, I’ve also printed the pattern for the Bernina My Label jeans.  Hmm...doesn't something seem off with those back pockets?

Once the BML muslin is complete, I’ll compare the two and decide which pattern works best and then go from there.