Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hey June Woodstock Tee

Confession: I don’t really like sewing for my kids. They constantly change sizes, they have nonsensical opinions, and they’re tough on their clothes. But I often end up with small cuts of fabric that need used up, and making kids clothes is the best way to do that. Recently, I tried out the free Woodstock Swing Tee pattern from Hey June to stash bust some of my favorite rayon knits.


The Woodstock Tee comes in sizes 6-16. My oldest daughter is 6 so she’s just moving into this range. She loves a good girly dress (see here!) but she also likes simple tees. This one is right up her alley. I made the size 6 with no alterations except to leave the hem raw.


The fabric is a lightweight rayon knit from Mood. The color is to die for, but sadly the piece got a run and a hole in it during my prewash. It also looks like the color ran? Or perhaps that’s just the heathered effect? In any case, I’m not sure I can recommend it even though I love the color and weight. I made myself a Union St. Tee from it, as you can see here (unblogged because it’s like, my 8th one).


This was a quick, easy sew. The high-low hem is fun and the little cap sleeves make it more interesting than a T-shirt. Honestly, I might try to bust out the size 16 to see if it fits me!


I made a second one from another lightweight rayon/poly knit, leftover from this dress. I lengthened this one into a dress by adding 5 inches in the middle. The neckband is a little wonky but it doesn’t seem to bother her any!


With school starting up again in a mere three weeks (sob) I’m starting to think of back to school clothes. This is a great pattern to bulk up her wardrobe!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hey June Phoenix Blouses

Remember that time I was super stressed about selling my house, and decided to channel that frustration into three Hey June Phoenix Blouses in a row?


I am probably the last person who is interested in woven tops, but for some reason the Phoenix really appealed to me when it was released. Even though I prefer knits, I still have lots of lightweight, gorgeous wovens in my stash, and no go-to patterns for them. There's nothing Earth-shattering about the design, but the proportions seemed right for me. Not too much volume. The front yoke wasn't too low. There are sleeves for fall versions. Lots of potential.


My high bust is 31" so I made a size 2. The first version was this chambray polka dot one, fabric is from Robert Kaufmann. I tacked down the corners of the slit on the yoke to prevent flopping. Fit was pretty good, but for the next version I did make alterations.


For this version, I lengthened the pattern 1" (lengthening is a typical alteration for me). I removed 1/2" on the fold from the center back (1" total). I do have narrow shoulders but this change was mostly to reduce the blousing through the bodice, not to fit the shoulders.


The second version is a cotton/linen blend woven from Jo-Ann's, and I cannot say enough about this fabric. It's probably the nicest I've ever bought there. Lovely and soft. It did fray like CRAZY though. After one wash I had to hand-sew the center front slit closed because it had unraveled.


On this version, I also lowered the underarm. I felt like it was way too tight.


I didn't want to interface the slit on this one because I felt like you'd be able to see it through the fabric. Instead, I cut the inside yoke piece on the opposite grain. Unfortunately, you can see the stripes going the opposite direction. I also used a serged rectangle of self-fabric between the layers, but as I mentioned, the fabric frayed anyway. Lesson learned, use interfacing!


After two versions, I felt confident enough to tackle a unicorn hiding in my fabric stash: Nani Iro double gauze. I got this ages and ages ago with a gift certificate after contributing an article to a blog. And yeah, sorry, it is just as lovely as everyone always says!


I stuck with the changes above but also screwed around with the underarm and side seam even more. Now, it's way over-fitted. I think I should go back to the original and redraw the underarm and side seam from there. The above is the only photo I have in the Nani Iro version, from my oldest daughter's Kindergarten graduation (wahhhhh). I look a little pregnant, right? (I'm not.) I lengthened the pattern and graded it out slightly around the hips. It's a little tight around the hips, which is causing it to ride up a little and give that pregnant look. Honestly, despite the cost of the fabric, I may cut it down to a shirt. I'd hate for this to hang in the closet the same way the fabric hung out in my stash.


If you like woven tops and don't have a pattern like this already, I can definitely recommend the Phoenix. The instructions were great and I somehow managed not to royally screw up the front yoke corners on any of my versions. It's a quick sew too! Working on these three items helped me keep my sanity while we were going through home inspections and all those kinds of stressful things. And now look, I get to live HERE on this amazing property. Yes, I'm standing in our very own creek. Gorgeous, right??

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

Woohoo I'm back! It's been too long, friends in blogland. At the beginning of June I had to pack up all my belongings, including my sewing room obviously. Mid-June we moved, but it wasn't until two weeks later that we had internet at the new house. My sewing room is still a disaster but I have a big backlog of projects to discuss in the meantime!


I showed lots of peeks on IG of these Morgan Boyfriend Jeans. I might venture to say that they are the best-made pants I've ever sewn. I love the fabric, the color of the topstitching, the details I added. The fit was surprisingly great. Those are all the good things, and honestly they are not minor so I don't want to downplay them. But I have a long history with Closet Case Files and I found the same problems cropped up here as with past projects.


I'll get the details out of the way first (thank goodness for my Sewist's Notebook or I definitely would have forgotten everything by now!). My measurements put me pretty squarely at an 8, so that's the size I cut. I was almost positive that I removed some length in the leg for my 5'4" height, but I didn't make a note of it and I can't find my paper pattern at the moment. I might be mis-remembering and confusing these pants with my in-progress overalls! The fabric is a 10oz 100% cotton Robert Kaufmann denim, in Bleach Indigo Wash. The brass notions are from the Button Fly Making Kit, packaged by CCF and sold via various retailers. The fabric and notion kit were both purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts. Rivets and snaps were set with tools I purchased on Amazon and I've mentioned them a few times, most recently in my short overalls post. The leather patch was cut from a purse that was damaged by water, that my mom graciously gave me.


I think this is the first time I've made pants from a non-stretch fabric. No fudging fit here! I was pretty nervous as I was sewing, but like I said, the fit ended up pretty darn close. I have some back gaping in the waistband, some wrinkles indicating a flat pubis adjustment is needed, and when the legs are unrolled there seems to be some twist to the leg. I have bow legs and I think I need an adjustment for that to eliminate the twist. CCF has a GREAT fit guide for jeans that I've referenced many times for all kinds of pants. The photo below is the best to see the wrinkles I mean (pants are uncuffed).


On the fly to adjust the waistband, I used this tutorial from It's Always Autumn to insert elastic into the back waistband. It's not super pretty, and in retrospect I wish I would've just cut a smaller waistband, but I was over it at that point. I highly doubt I'll ever tuck in my shirt so it shouldn't be noticeable (and I could cover it with a belt). I raised the back pockets 3/4" per a recommendation from Novita's review at Very Purple Person (actually she was reviewing the Ginger Jeans but I assume the placement is similar). The back pocket design was chosen from the ebook CCF provides when you sign up for their newsletter.



I think that's all the positive praise I can dish out before getting into the negatives. I tried to keep this list as neutral as possible (and also, I wrote it out immediately after finishing the jeans). I feel the need to say that I don't have it out for CCF (in fact, I bought the Morgan Jeans pattern even after swearing off the company!). But I can't let other sewists spend their hard-earned money and time without giving a proper warning of what's ahead.
  • Fabric cutting diagram for 58" size 0-6 single layer has incorrectly labeled pieces (I and H are both labeled F). There may be more errors in the cutting diagrams but I didn't look.
  • Pocket lining/bag, it's never specified how the pockets will turn out by following the directions. They will be done with the print of the fabric facing your body. When you look into the pocket you will see the wrong side of the lining fabric.
  • When sewing buttonholes on the fly front placket, there is no direction on whether or not to use topstitching thread. Most people use it in the top and regular thread in the bobbin, so it does matter which side is the "right" side of the placket. If you follow the directions and diagrams, you will end up with your topstitching thread facing your body, instead of out/under the buttons when they're done up.
  • Before adding the waistband, the instructions say to stay stitch the waistline and ensure the fly front is flat. For me, this resulted in sewing the fly front closed, which makes it impossible to put the waistband on correctly. The diagram does not show the front to verify either way.
  • The alternate waistband method on the Closet Case Patterns blog is MUCH easier (worth noting that it was lifted from Lauren Dahl's Birkin Flares).
  • The terms "left" and "right" are used differently depending on the situation, without explanation. For example, the coin pocket is sewn on the right, but then later the buttonhole is also sewn on the right. One is correct for which leg it is when the jeans are being worn, one is correct when looking at them from above.
  • If you order a hardware kit it is not obvious that there are two different sizes of jeans buttons. Nowhere in the directions does it make mention of two sizes. Apparently, they are 3/4" for the waistband, and 1/2" for the fly front. I didn't know there were two sizes until after I installed them so now mine aren't right.
Aside from all of these issues, I simply do not jive with the flow of the directions. I had the same problems when I made the Kelly Anorak. I kept making silly mistakes I don't normally make, I had to read everything four times, and consult photos and online tutorials when things weren't clear. Now that I've made one pair, I can easily make another with only a brief glance at the directions, but it shouldn't have been so difficult. I don't know if it's just me, or because most people don't like to point out flaws in indie patterns.


All of this said, I could see myself making this pattern again, and MAYBE MAYBE purchasing the Ginger Jeans pattern, ONLY because I feel I fit decently well into the size chart, AND because there are very few patterns with a low rise option (it's an extra cost add-on though). Next time I want to make jeans, I'll be giving serious thought to Megan Nielsen's Ash Jeans instead. But for now, I'm exceptionally pleased with myself for how nice these are. They're the kind of jeans that will just get better with age, wear, and washing, and they're 100% unique.



Pocket bag fabric is from Organic Cotton Plus and is leftover from this dress (which is now on its second child!!). The bottom button in this fly is the larger one.



Coin pocket stitching was meant to mimic the back pockets. It's my favorite part!



Do not make this back pocket design. It is WAY more time-consuming than it looks!



So those are my Morgan Jeans. Perfectly imperfect. As much as I love summer, I won't be too disappointed when fall hits and I basically have a brand new pair of jeans to wear!