Monday, February 24, 2014

Jeans Jeans Jeans Frida Edition

This is a rough survey of the high and low points of my jeans journey. It's not a detailed map; plenty of other blogs have done a better job. Where I've messed up and where I've succeeded.

A basic anatomy lesson. 

These are the Frida jeans. And this is the front pocket facing with a welt pocket already set in place of the traditional patch watch pocket. I've put mine on the right front, because I like it there.

Same treatment as the pockets in the Plaidness vest. Made the self welt on the face, sewed the back seam, need to sew up the sides and it's done.

Pinned the facing to the pockets. I had just enough of the quilting weight Frida's to face/pocket the jeans.

In fact, I had enough to have a little fun with image placement.

The fly facing; yes, the message will get folded over.

I made a template for the stitching at the top of the pocket

Stitched it (will notch and clip curves)

Ironing. Dark print to the right will fold over the part to the left and get sewn up at the bottom for the pocket.

I saw this curvy shape on the front pockets of a pair of my DH's Ted Baker jeans

Pocket facing is folded over and sewn. And now Frida is peeking out at the world

I'm still working on the zipper thing. 
Skipping ahead, I have the zipper in. To attach the fly facing, I slide a piece of plastic under the facing to pin.

And there it is, pinned on. Sew it up!

I have about a quarter inch overlap on the front. Personal taste.

Worth saying a few times: I can choose to have a curved waistband, a welted watch pocket, the zipper overlapped by the center seam, a contrast facing.

I don't have to have exactly what the pattern says. I made a pattern from my pants. I can make them the way I like them.

I'm back matching facings for waistbands. The nice thing about tracing paper is that I can see the fabric pattern underneath and position the piece where I want it.

Okay, it's taken me decades to learn this. When you are ironing, and you need to release some steam, tilt the iron AWAY from you. Like a lid on a pot on the stove. Don't just lift it up. Aim the steam away from body parts.

Zipper work. I've cut off the metal teeth that are going into the waistband seam, I need a new zipper stop. This is a bead clasp. Poked a hole, stuck the prong through the hole, folded it up (will cut off a little more) and glue it before I crimp the clasp shut.

When we talk about 'stitch in the ditch', it's the seam line on the non-seamed side. Like here. I'm aiming to put the seam on the yellow arrow. I am going to watch the front of the presser foot (green arrow, center line) NOT NOT NOT the needle (red arrow BAD). The needle moves and my eye does too.

Ah, bad bad buttonholer! My set up for automated button hole (on scrap of same fabric) looked great. The actual one looked awful.

Picking out buttonholes is really tedious. Can I speed this up?

Hm.  A toy!

It may not have done a lot, and the lint shaver weakens fabric, but it broke up the anger and the tedium.

My forward and reverse button hole stitching lines crossed, the material is as black as the thread, so this time I'm going to look at the seam allowance ruler (green arrow) on the plate to ensure the fabric is going forward and backwards without moving from side to side like before.

Too long on one side, but parallel. I have this problem all the time; I set up the automatic buttonhole on scrap of the same weight with interfacing, but I lose traction on the actual item. I can fix the length on the machine. 

This does mark the end of my Frida fabric collection.  Ten years of fun!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jeans Jeans Jeans

A gal needs pants.

I cannot buy pants off the rack without alterations. I need to hem them. I need to bring in the waist in the back to accommodate my back porch.

Jeans have been the third rail of sewing for me. I like how they fit, but I hate buying a pair and taking it apart to make it fit  me. And I've doing this for years.

Who the hell am I fooling? I've doing the hard part forever (the alterations), and missing the fun part (the design and fabric choice).

left to right: first edit, second edit, third edit
I channeled my inner Kenneth King.
I traced off a pattern from a pair of jeans I have remodeled several times. They are disgustingly comfortable because they fit really well.
the original model

There's this moment in sewing/fitting for yourself that you discover why fit matters.

The Chanel jacket is a good example. It's not heavily structured, but because of the raised armscye and fit across the shoulders, it's easier to move your arms. You're not dragging a lot of fabric along; the sleeve goes with your arm.

Same for jeans. The fit is from the crotch. You raise your leg, the pant leg goes with you. You bend over, the waist should stay put.

In neither case is the material glued to you, but it skims your surface.

In a strange way, the better the clothing fits, the better you look. I don't look any smaller. It's just been edited down to remove the material that shouldn't be there.  I am wearing the pants; they are not wearing me.

So if I start with something that fits okay, I should be able to wear what comes from that.

And I have.
(to be continued)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Author's Message!

There's been a valuable conversation going on in the Colette Patterns blog about body, image, self-image, wardrobe. Whatever I may think of their patterns, the conversation in the comments has been brilliant (and it really has been a conversation, not just a series of position papers).

I figured I had better own my own part of it. This is (lightly edited for content) what I wrote:

I know from experience how cruel the world can be to girls (anything that does not meet the 'standard' = deformed).  My mom taught me how to sew; I had no idea she was teaching me how to control my own destiny.

I don't think I am overstating this.  I did not realize that it would be my only way to dress myself, that my sewing would be my shield against pain, my rallying cry. I wear every insult, well meant or not (thanks Dad. It IS a shame about my legs) as defense and offense. You think my clothes look funny? Does my ass look big in this? Yes, because it is. In stripes. Horizontal.

After hip surgery a couple years ago, I can walk without pain for the first time in my life.  And I'm walking in jeans that I'm fine tuning the fit on.  In a Frida Kahlo print. I can't remake the world, but I can stop trying to make the world fit me.

Yeah, over the top for me. But I won't take it back. I am what I do. And it's about not trying to make ME fit the WORLD.  The man-made world should fit us: I can be very outspoken about handicapped access.  I swing a mean cane, kids!

Yes, That's Dora on my teenager's head

I wasn't going to make much for the holidays. I wanted to enjoy my family. 

But as the 17 yr old teen is fond of his Winnie the Pooh bucket hat, I wanted to add to his collection.

There's the public side, all black and serious.

And the sweet and silly side.

And it wears it proudly.

I am in the midst of a burst of work and tailoring and editing a Moby Dick length series of  posts about jeans and fitting and body issues and personal goals and....

And I need to trim that down.