Monday, February 10, 2020

Stretch Persephone Jeans, with a little help from Ginger

It's taken me awhile to warm to the high-waisted silhouette. My body and mind are adjusting, as slow as ever, to the inevitable creep of fashion. 

The Persephone by Anna Allen is the most high-waisted silhouette in my pattern library. My first pair, made over a year ago in linen, languished because they would stretch out during the course of a day and end up sagging. I fixed that recently with a length of buttonhole elastic, and now that they stay up, I love wearing them. So I decided to make another pair.

This pair is made in Cone Mills 12 oz S-gene denim. Or at least, that's what I think it is... I got it as part of a kit back when Closet Case Patterns was selling Cone Mill kits, which was a long time ago! The kit came with 9 oz and a 12 oz jeans-sized pre cut pieces, and I used the 9 oz and have reordered it multiple times. But the 12 oz has just sat in my stash, until now. Very satisfying to reclaim this stash space!

The Persephone pants pattern calls for non-stretch, and has a note that testers have used up to 5% stretch. If I'm not mistaken, Cone Mills denim usually is said to have at least 10% stretch. I thought it might work just fine for me. I've never been one for non-stretch pants... I have no tolerance for things that squish my midsection, they make me cranky. And, it worked for isewthereforeiam, and I LOVE everything she makes, so I thought it might work for me too. 

I made them one size smaller than my non-stretch linen pants. If I recall correctly, that would be a 12 graded to between a 14 and 16 at the waist. Then I sewed them up in an order that allowed the most efficient path towards fitting: Sew the inseam on each pant leg, then baste the crotch seam and back darts. Gotta love pants with no side seam! Then, try on, which allowed me to determine that an extra 3 inches removed from the waist would be ideal. I distributed that 3 inches across 2 darts and the back seam, removing 1 inch at each location. Re-tryon-- perfect!

As before, I substituted the Ginger Jeans zip fly for the button fly. I just don't see the point of a hidden button fly, somebody enlighten me on why I should go through the trouble? To use the Ginger Jeans zip fly, all that is needed is to add the fly extension onto both sides when cutting (I just held up my ginger jeans pattern to the Persephone and traced it on, extending for the longer waist of the Persephone). I used the fly extension piece from the Ginger Jeans, also lengthened. Then I followed the trusty Ginger Jeans sew along that never lets me down. 

Since I had my Ginger Jeans pattern out already, I went with the Ginger Jeans curved waistband. I'm not sure it matters, but anything that might help keep my pants up is worthwhile in my book. I cut it in the stretchy direction of the Cone Mills denim, and faced it with quilting cotton. I also added my favorite medium weight interfacing. This interfacing is mildly stretchy in one direction, and I cut the waistband interfacing in the stretchy direction which I then fused to the Cone Mills. 

When it came time to add the waistband, I basted it in first. Sometimes I find that tugging slightly on the waistband helps the fit of the jeans and keeps the waistband on a stretch jean from bagging out... not so here, my first basted version messed up all of the good fit previously obtained. So I ripped it off and tried again with no attempt at easing any of the waist in... and the fit was perfect. 

I went with the cute and barely useful pockets that come with the Persephone. I'm not in love with them, but having a pocket is better than no pocket, and it do love the minimalism of the look. They also sew up very quickly, with minimum fuss!

I hemmed them up 4 inches for a fashionably cropped look. I'm 5'4" and I think Anna Allen drafts for 5'7", so I guess I should have thought about using the shorten lines. 

All in all I think this might have been the quickest pair of pants I've ever made. I cut them out one weekend morning in about an hour, and sewed them up over the course of another weekend day, and with lots of interruptions for kids, housework, napping, etc, I still managed to finish. 

I loving them so far. Might even require the creation of truly cropped top... that would also be a first for me... 

Wearing them today with my plaid long sleeve Cielo top, Black linen Wiksten Haori, and a silk-wool black checkered scarf (just a square of fabric with fringed edges).

Friday, February 7, 2020

Classic Comfy Overalls: Cone Mills Denim S-Gene Jenny Overalls

I've been planning to make some basic denim Jenny Overalls since I made my first pair. Recently I came across the 3 yards of Cone Mills denim I'd bought for this purpose, and started washing it up. 

I got it cut and started sewing, then life happened. It languished in piles around my sewing machine, taunting me. I'd sneak in a little sew here and there, and finally, 3 weeks later, they were done!

I used Cone Mills S-Gene Denim, probably 9 oz. This is a pattern that calls for non-stretch, but I was going for comfort, so I figured it would be fine. I did end up taking in the side seams a bit more than I would have for a non-stretch.

I also narrowed the legs, using Heather's tutorial for a tapered leg Jenny, and also her tutorial for side seam buttons, since I'm sort of obsessed with this look.

I used these buckles and these buttons, the ones with the tiny stars in a circle, both in antique brass finish.

The topstitching and bar tacks are done with Mara 70 thread in color 448. I think this tip originally came from Lladybird. It sort of saved me since my machine doesn't much care for topstitching thread that is any thicker than this. When I first started making jeans I bought Mara 30 in a bunch of colors but it is a battle to use it, and forget about trying to sew a buttonhole with it. 

Since I was using stretch denim, I decided to do a front pocket stay, such as the one on Ginger Jeans. I drafted the pieces using the Jenny pattern, and sewed them up in a cute clouds quilting cotton that I picked up on super sale at Hobby Lobby. 

I also made the bib facing out of my cute cloud cotton! The inside waistband is also this quilting cotton, although I didn't get any pics of it.

This is the first time I followed the directions for the straps and just turned over the edges .25 twice. I thought it would be fine with denim, but they are floppier than I'd like. Next time I'll go back to cutting double the strap pieces and sewing them together as a faced strap, it makes them much more sturdy and they hold their shape better.

They are super comfy, the denim is soft on the inside and the stretch makes movement effortless. I imagine they'll be a favorite for weekend tasks like gardening and housework and hanging with the kids. I'll probably also wear them to work on occasion, for more casual days, although I think they'd also make a statement with a pair of shiny boots and a great blazer. 

Bonus pictures of our cat Dala, preening and dozing on our Eames chair (look alike).

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wool Plaid Tessuti Yuki as a winter jumper

I've been thinking for awhile about making a wool jumper over/dress. I've been wearing my linen charlie caftan in this capacity, and I think it's super cute over leggings and a long sleeve top, but it would be ideal to have the warmth of a wool version.

Then Thornberry posted her Yuki dress, and it occurred to me that this is a very similar design, only with a cozy cowl. It's funny, she talked about the pattern being wintery but then make a super colorful summery Yuki.

Then I came across this INCREDIBLE wool fabric at Homespun, just the perfect weight and drape for a dress, cozy soft, and with a very cool irregular plaid/houndstooth pattern. I've sort of been looking forever for just the right fabric, and I can't believe it was in the back corner of my local fabric shop. The Yuki made even more sense with this fabric, as I'm not sure what I would have done with the inset.

A close up of the fabric, showing its tiny houndstooths in the plaid design. 

It's been awhile since I tackled a Tessuti pattern. It had all of the usual hallmarks, hand drawn, quirky construction, etc. The taping together went rather quickly, since there are only two main pattern pieces. The pattern pieces fit side by side on my 60 inch fabric, which was a relief, since it made matching the plaid from front to back a breeze.

The pocket construction was the usual Tessuti method, which is very cool and causes the pockets to stay to the front better than a traditional inseam pocket. However the suggested seam finish is serging and I couldn't get my brain around how I would french seam this pocket design, so I had to go with a completely serged interior. Which is totally fine, but I'm spoiled by all of my french seamed and flat felled garments that look as pretty inside as out. I'll get over it, I'm sure.

The armhole finish, however, was both fussy and sort of unsatisfactory. The directions have you turn under the armhole twice and stitch down, then there is this complicated dance to get it all to lay flat with the side seam. They seem to know how fussy this all is, as they suggest basting it first... Well it all sort of worked out fine even though I did not baste, but the finish isn't as smooth as I feel it could be, since a turned over edge just isn't as nice as other methods. It seems to me there is probably a way to do this with bias or a narrow facing, and I'll probably give that a go if I make another Yuki.

The one bit that was fun and unexpected is the way the drawstring hole is formed. I don't know how to describe it, but it is super clever and easy. The drawstring I used is actually a length of rayon seam finish which was the only black finished string-like thing I had on hand. The pattern suggests making a tube and turning it, but I didn't relish doing that with my wool. I might at some point replace this string with something a bit nicer... a turned piece of black linen or even black twill tape would probably be ideal.

Cute and different, right? I'm wearing it here with a silk jersey tee and self-drafted black leggings. I think I will love wearing this on snowy days!

Three Cielo tops and a Persphone Pant

I've been admiring all of the boxy tees that seem to have taken the sewing world by storm lately. Several of the ones I most admired only come in larger bust sizes-- for example the Torrens Top really caught my eye, but alas, I'm several inches below the smallest bust measurement. 

There are of course dozens of other boxy tops out there, and as I was searching through them, it occurred to me that I might already have a perfectly suitable pattern: the Cielo top by Closet Case Patterns. Somehow the dress version took precedence in my mind, and I had forgotten there was also a shirt version. 

There was one small catch... I really wanted a long sleeve top. While the fancy "statement" sleeve on the Cielo is lovely, I really was looking for a more basic sleeve. So I lengthened the short sleeve into a long sleeve using a tutorial from Grainline on lengthening the sleeve of the scout tee.

This is what my sleeve pattern looked like. I took my best guess at a 3/4 sleeve legnth by measuring my arm, and drafted a wide hem or cut-on cuff, depending how I folded it. 

The first one I made was the burgandy top, which sewn from a light weight wool-cotton blend fabric I found at Homespun Trumansburg, my favorite local fabric shop. I just love the soft wooliness of it, it is so light and warm.

I added about 4 inches to the longest shirt length on the pattern, then made a deep hem (1.5 -2 inches?). For me, this make sit long enough that I can wear it out or tuck it in to a mid-high waisted pant.

I made the 14 shoulders, then graded out to the largest hip size, which is a size larger than my measurements... I wanted it to have a little extra ease around the belly and hips. 

The pants in these pics are white bull-denim Ginger jeans that are my favorite jeans right now.

The second is made from Atelier Brunette viscose crepe in Chestnut from Imaginegnats. I got the end of this roll, sorry! This fabric feels like a substantial silk crepe, but without the static. The drape is divine!

The pants are black linen Persephone pants (by Anna Allen). I made these over a year ago, but they are just now becoming one of my favorites. I made them from a non-stretch linen, but I find that they stretch out considerably over the course of a day, and by the end of the day they'd be down on my hips.

I recently solved this by adding buttonhole elastic to the back waistband. When they start to fall down halfway through the day, I can tighten in the elastic and then they stay up where they're supposed to. Now they are a go-to pant for me, and I want to make more!

The width of the neckline on the Cielo tends to show my bra straps, since I tend to wear cross back bras. I think that to narrow the neckline I'd have to add a closure, and I'm not sure I'm into that right now.

And finally, plaid. I haven't been a plaid person... but now I sort of can't get enough. I saw this fabric at Homespun when I bought the burgandy wool, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I went back for it.

I don't usually pick cottons, but this one is so soft, almost brushed like a very lightweight flannel.

The shoulder yokes on the back are cut on the bias, for fun and to avoid matching!

These tees have added some new life to my wardrobe, they are great under blazers and cardigans that I haven't worn for years. They've been the perfect project for a quick and satisfying sew in between the demands of work and home life.