Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Lightweight Morgan Jeans

Happy February! Or, as I like to call it, Birthday Month. My oldest daughter and myself both have birthdays this month. To counteract the fact that February is the worst month for a birthday, we just celebrate for weeks on end. Sounds about right.

I've been on a pants-making kick lately, with two dressy pairs of pants (unblogged so far, sorry!) and a pair of Morgan Jeans. I finally came to terms with the fact that I did not in fact need a 3,000th Union St. Tee, and that having only two pairs of pants that fit might be a problem.

One of my Make 9 for this year was a pair of stretch Morgan Jeans. The pattern is drafted for non-stretch denim, and that's what I used for my first pair. But I was frustrated by the amount of Morgan Jeans I saw on IG that had a slimmer, IMO more flattering fit, and I realized they MUST all be made with a stretch denim. I already had some fabric set aside but then stumbled on this super lightweight, very stretchy, perfect color denim at Hobby Lobby.

I know this fit is bad, keep reading!

I don't usually buy fabric at Hobby Lobby, in fact this was my first time. The price was reasonable (and on sale) and despite only 2% spandex there was a great amount of stretch. I took a chance and I'm pretty satisfied so far, although time will tell about the quality.

I made a size 8 with the same changes as my previous pair (a wedge from the yoke and shortening the legs), but I had to hack at the waistband quite a bit to get it even close to fitting. I think I need a size 8 hip and something like a size 4 waistband. Because of the shape of my body (swayback but with a mama pooch) it's tricky to snug up the waist without making it too tight. I found that taking small darts all over provided the best fit, BUT caused the grainline on the waistband to be all kinds of wonky. Parts of it were basically on the bias, which made it stretch out, which was the opposite of what I wanted. Add to that the lightweight nature and these are just plain loose.

I have a third pair cut out (I will solve this puzzle damnit!) which has a four-piece waistband. There will be seams at CB and the side seam to help me fit but also keep the grainlines from getting crazy. I also plan to interface the waistband AND the facing to keep the shape. Fingers crossed that helps. I also noticed that the yoke pieces are cut differently than they are on the Ginger Jeans. I think that made them stretch more than necessary and I will also change that on my next pair.

For now, I can wear a belt or just lean into the saggy plumber look. When spring hits I may narrow and shorten the legs because I think that looks cuter. Again, that's not something I could do with a non-stretch denim. I liked the raw, frayed edge of my cut fabric right off the bolt, so I went with that look on my finished pants. I sewed a single line of stitching at the hem to halt the unraveling. I did use a regular weight grey thread for all the topstitching because I could not get the tension to behave on my vintage Singer.

I finished the waistband facing with bias tape instead of pressing it in and catching it with my topstitching. I hardly ever do a good job with that and I like the way the bias tape looks. The pocket fabric is from Stone Mountain and Daughter and I specifically ordered a 1/4 yard for making pocket bags. The fabric is super dreamy though and would make an amazing top.

I used a Kylie and the Machine label on one back pocket, and a scrap piece of pink leather on the back.

I originally installed a jeans button but it fell out when I washed the jeans. I went ahead and sewed a regular button on instead.  I do have an extra button on the fly placket because these are a teensy bit smaller than what the pattern intends.

Despite the fit issues, I do find myself reaching for these over and over. I love how lightweight they are compared to other denim I've bought, and they're super soft. I may find myself wandering back over to Hobby Lobby and picking up some more of this fabric.

Last but not least, my sweatshirt is another one of my Make 9 items! This is a second French terry Pinnacle Top. I've been wearing my first one TO DEATH and now I am thrilled to have a second in the mix. I'm not sure of the fiber content of this fabric, I bought it at a store in Indianapolis called The French Seam. It was a designer overstock and although I found her line at Anthropologie, I couldn't find this fabric. In any case, it's also lighter weight than other French terry and the color is dreamy. Yes, I'm rocking a blue-on-blue look here but I think the flowered shoes break it up nicely ;)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Learning from Mistakes: A New Pencil Skirt

A lot of beginner sewists are easily frustrated when they make mistakes. I know I was, when I was first learning how to sew. I want all beginners to know--you absolutely cannot improve unless you make mistakes! Today, I have a good example of a failed project that was valuable anyway.

I made this cardigan just over three years ago. I had been inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest, but the final result did not at all match my idea (original blog post here). I probably wore the cardigan once or twice, but that was a shame considering how nice the fabric was. For no particular reason, I pulled it out of my closet last week and realized that it would make a fantastic pencil skirt.

Luckily for me, the seamlines on the pattern were few and far between. The back piece was huge with large kimono sleeves. I sewed the front closed (after removing the draping parts) and the shape was just right for my body. I chopped off the top/sleeves, and made a waistband with them. I added clear elastic to the top edge of the waistband for stabilization. The bottom was already coverstitched.

Making a mistake feels icky. I didn't like to think about this sad cardigan. But when I did, when I analyzed what went wrong, I realized some important facts:

1. Cardigans need pockets
2. I don't like cardigans make from heavy knits like ponte
3. I don't like weird drapey fronts
4. I prefer cardigans that are not super long
5. Short sleeve cardigans are not that useful

Right off the bat, I think you can see that these stipulations remove a LOT of cardigan patterns. In the future, I can avoid the same mistakes and save myself time, effort, and fabric. Luckily for me, I was able to rework this cardigan, and I absolutely LOVE this skirt.

A second piece of advice, about my sweater. It's handknit by myself!

I started it a few years ago, when I was just learning how to knit. I got a few rows in and then became completely overwhelmed by the directions. They made no sense. I literally did not know what to do next. I set it aside for TWO YEARS. When I finally came back to it, I had multiple sweaters under my belt. The directions made sense. I finished it in only a month! Sometimes you fail. Sometimes you're stumped. But these roadblocks can always teach you something, and they don't have to be permanent. Ask yourself, what did I learn?