Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Another pair of Shop Pants


I'm pretty sure that loosely woven wool tweed isn't a suitable muslin fabric for a pair of jeans, but whatever. I was confident enough of the fit of the Shop Pants pattern to go ahead and cut it out of rigid denim this time. I'm much happier with these than my expression would suggest. 

Silly me, it was only when I got to the step of sewing the side seams (FYI that's after finishing the front and back pockets and the fly, and stitching and topstitching the inseam and crotch seam) that I discovered I had not fully adjusted my revised pattern and the side seams didn't match! The front was approximately 2.5 cm longer than the back. 

Whoops! But The Sewing Lawyer does not easily back down when confronted with a sewing setback.

I briefly considered redoing the back with a narrow yoke but then figured I could shorten the front a tiny bit at CF and more at the side seam (like maybe 1cm), and then sewing the waistband on with a really uneven seam allowance (normal 1/2" in front, much less in back) and it would all come out in the wash.

And so it was, although honestly, when seated I feel like I could use that extra bit of length in the crotch depth, at least until the denim does its thing and stretches out. (For future reference, self, I adjusted the paper pattern to add enough length in the back so it matches the front.)

And so I have new jeans! These are absolutely rigid, very dark indigo (blue fingers dark). The pocket bags and waistband facing are leftover fabric from my newest pajamas. As you can see in the photo at right.

I didn't even think about trying to make a buttonhole in the waistband. I just got my trust Dritz heavy duty snap pliers out, and went to it. First time! I love these snaps.

I'm happy with the fit and shape of these jeans. They look good in the front and (if I say so myself) in the back as well. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

It's curtains!

These colourful PJs are a much nicer product, IMHO, than the extremely badly sewn curtain panels the crazy print used to be. The cotton fabric is courtesy of my husband, the expert thrifter. He texted me a photo and I responded "buy immediately!"

The striped fabric was also originally intended for home dec, but it was unused yardage, also sourced at a thrift store. I loved the combination, which I think works because of the black and white stripes bounding the squares in the print. 

If not, it works because ... they're pajamas! Mostly I'll be wearing them in the dark and under the covers. 

This is the relatively new release Closet Core Fran pattern. I've really liked many of their stand alone patterns and am amassing quite a collection. 

Which reminds me - I still intend to make more Pietra pants. Must shop the stash... 

Anyway, back to Fran. 

This is designed as a pajama pattern, but it would make a perfectly lovely shirt and pants combo for day wear. I think it's very versatile, style-wise. 

The pieces are quite boxy by comparison with the other pajamas from Closet Core, the Carolyn pattern. Carolyn has a shapely top with curved collar, lapels and shirt tail. The pants are low rise, as designed (not as made by me, however) and have front pockets. Fran has a convertible collar, a back yoke and generous box pleat in the shirt, and wide, elastic-waisted, straight legged pants with pockets in the side seams (as designed). It has deep cuffs and hems, and a faced slit at the side seams. As you will know from this blog, I didn't love the Carolyn's collar shape and I drafted a simpler convertible collar for it. The Fran is more to my liking straight out of the envelope. 

Fran comes in "alpha" sizing (XXS, XS, S, M, L etc, up to 4X) rather than numbered sizes. Comparing the size charts, XXS combines sizes 0 and 2, XS combines 4 and 6, S combines 8 and 10 (mostly), etc. I made the top in XS, based on my bust measurement. There's a very generous 21.5 cm (8.5") amount of ease built into the sizing. XXS would have been totally fine.

These pants have a high elastic waist that I think looks really nice due to the topstitching above and below the elastic.

I initially cut the M pants because I'm at the upper end of the hip range for size S, but in construction I decided that they would be WAY too big, so I cut them down. This sacrificed the side seam pockets, but it's not a big hardship because who uses pockets in pajamas anyway. There is a patch pocket in the rear of the pants and another in the shirt if I ever (heaven forfend!) turn into the kind of person who always needs to have a kleenex ready to hand. 

In the result, I am sure I could have cut XS pants and been perfectly happy. In fact, I would cut XXS top and XS bottoms if using this pattern for anything other than PJs. It is a distinct possibility that I'll do just that. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Washable wool - repurposing stash fabric

Now that the Sewing Lawyer is retired, there are vanishingly few occasions for the wearing of anything resembling a suit, but (surprise!) the stash is full of wool that was bought over the years to match dreams of future office finery. But it's too nice not to use. So I've come around to the idea of more casual wool clothing that won't demand to be dry cleaned. 

My first foray in this field was making a shirt for my son for Christmas. He has recently taken to wearing wool shirts as a work alternative to a jacket and didn't reject the idea of a mom-made version.

I considered using this McCall's unisex shirt pattern from 2003 that I had in my collection but had never used. 

On taking a close look at its shape, I decided to look further. This shirt is seriously boxy, has back pleats and very wide shoulders. 

I spent some quality time with Google, looking for a suitable pattern with a more modern silhouette. I came across mention of the Wardrobe by Me Overshirt pattern. 

While it doesn't have a stand collar, its other features seemed just right. It's a clean silhouette with no back pleats, has a sleeve placket opening in a seam in the sleeve, and the hem is pleasantly curved with side slits. 

I showed my husband two lengths of wool suiting acquired from the stash of a retiring tailor. He thought my son would like the neutral windowpane check better than a length of dark blue that I would have chosen. 

I threw the yardage into the machine for a cold water wash on a regular cycle. It came out slightly fulled. Not only was the fabric slightly thicker, even after a really good steam pressing, but the windowpane lines were pleasantly blurry. It shrank more in the length than the width, so the windowpanes were shorter rectangles than previously. 

Then I was back in the world of matching plaid. Sewing this shirt was straightforward except for the placket opening instructions, which I think I fudged slightly. As usual, the stash came through for everything, except my button collection let me down. 

The shirt fits and he even likes it.

My next project with washed wool is a pair of pants for myself. I had this subtly colourful but very scratchy wool tweed in deep stash. It hardly transformed at all after being washed, to my surprise. 

These pants are the Open Studio Shop Pant. I learned of this indie pattern from reading posts on Instagram about the Top Down Center Out pant fitting technique. I liked the high waist, roomy leg and barrel shaped leg. 

I did all the fitting before Christmas and can barely remember the details, but from comparing the printed pattern with my adjusted tracing, I lowered the back waist and raised the front to fit my tilted pelvis, scooped the back crotch curve a smidge, and graded from size 2 (hip 37.5-39") at hip to size 0 (!!) at the waist. 
I also added 3 cm to the lower leg because I didn't want exposed ankles in these winter pants. They are still shorter than I'm used to.

On the inside, I used a cotton twill for the front pocket bags and fly shield and to face the waistband, which is straight except for a curved bit in the CB and fits surprisingly well. Part way through construction I decided the wool was too scratchy and loosely woven not to be lined, so I added a warm lining (kasha flannel backed satin from stash) to the lower leg seam. I threw this fabric into the washing machine too and can report that it survived the ordeal nicely. 

The resulting pants are very warm and comfy in this cold snap we are having today. 

I think the fit is pretty good. Backside photo as evidence.