Thursday, September 4, 2014

Making Jeans - Making Progress/McCalls 6610

Progress continues on the Jeans Project - my plan was to make a wearable muslin using McCalls 6610 and organic cotton twill from Fabric.com in red.  I was excited about using McCalls 6610 because based on my comparisons with Vogue's Calvin Klein pattern, the McCalls pattern looked very promising.

I made a few changes, though, before I even cut out.  Other bloggers/reviewers have noted that the rise on the McCalls 6610 is very high, and by comparing it to the Calvin Klein pattern, this appeared to be true.  So I used the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern and shortened both the front and back pattern pieces by about a half inch.  (Hint:  don't do this unless you are actually petite.)  And then I shaped the seat seam to mimic the Calvin Klein pattern since I like the fit.

I felt pretty confident of my changes which is usually a portent of things to come . . .  The weekend before last I cut out and put together the back of the jeans and back pockets.  On Labor Day, I picked it back up around 9:30 a.m. even though I was kinda tired and a little MS-y.  Also, I could tell my head just wasn't in the game.  But I had a free day, and I didn't want it to go to waste.

I should have listened to the universe, but I was feeling perversely stubborn that day.  This is the first zipper fly that I have made that didn't turn out well.  (Which is not McCalls' fault - I was all, hey, I've got this.)  First, I did it wrong, which I didn't discover until the jeans were put together and I tried them on.  Then, it became clear that my left side of the fly zip didn't complete cover the zipper, which is pretty much an epic fail.  Finally, I topstitched the fly four times and it still looks like crap.  

Once I got the waistband wrestled on this sucker there was only one thing I could do to get rid of the bad juju - I threw the jeans in the washer to get the evil out.  

Last night I hemmed them and did the buttonhole.  I put a regular button on rather than a jeans button because I wasn't sure if I was going to redo the waistband or not.  I didn't sew on the belt loops for the same reason.

I wore them to work today because today was a "jeans day" to celebrate the kickoff of the NFL season.  But I didn't get photos until I got home.  So they are:


I had been wearing these all day, so they are seriously wrinkled. But here's the verdict:  these jeans are too tight.  By shortening the rise as if I was a petite, when I'm really not, I made the upper hip and waist too tight.  If I had left well enough alone, they probably would have fit fine.


What I do like are the more narrow legs on this pattern than the Calvin Klein pattern.  Here's a booty shot that shows the waistband too low and too tight:


Also, you can see that the back yokes aren't flat where they meet the waistband - the instructions have you "ease" the jeans into the waistband.  I'm here to tell you that denim this heavy doesn't "ease".  At all.  For every pair of jeans I make from now on, I'll cut the waistband as long as it needs to be to avoid any easing.  If that makes the waistband a little bigger, all the better - who wouldn't want a little extra room in the waist?

Here's the shot that shows the waist too tight and my zipper exposed:


After wearing them all day, I won't be putting on any belt loops because I probably won't be wearing these jeans - they are just too tight and uncomfortable.

As I mentioned, what I do like about the pattern is the width of the legs.  The legs of the Calvin Klein pattern were too wide.  I compared the two patterns and interestingly, the back pattern pieces are the same width.  The difference is in the front pattern pieces - the front leg pattern piece of the McCalls pattern 6610 is much narrower.   

So here are my choices for my next jeans:

1)  Make McCalls 6610 again, unaltered, which will probably fit reasonably well;

2)  Combine the McCalls pattern and Calvin Klein pattern - maybe use the back pattern piece from the Calvin Klein pattern and the front from the McCalls pattern and see if that works; or

3) Do both.  I can make as many pairs of jeans as I want.

Parting shots:  Anne got married this weekend!  Here's a few photos I took:


Vicki's skirt in action:


Anne and Vicki:


Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Very Promising Jeans Muslin, Or, Holy Calvin Klein! Vogue 2442

Holy Calvin Klein, y'all, I think I've found the Holy Gail of jeans patterns!  Remember Brooke Shields and her famous Calvin Klein jean commercials?  I don't because I was living out of the country from 1978 to 1981, but I've heard tales.  And did you know that Vogue released a pattern in 1980 of Calvin Klein's jeans pattern?  I didn't know that, but found this on Etsy.com one day in my effort to find a jeans pattern that is more in style with my 1980's college jeans that I am trying to recreate:



My research indicates that it was featured in Vogue Patterns March/April 1980 issue (the model's hair style certainly looks 1979).  I went ahead and bought it because the current jeans patterns have the same fit as the ready-to-wear jeans of today - low rise and just uncomfortable all the way around.  I figured if I'm trying to get my 1980s jeans back, maybe I need a pattern from 1980s.

I never owned a pair of Calvin Klein jeans.  I've been a Levi's girl since I was 13.  But this pattern seem to have the rise and seat shape I'm looking for.  I bought a size 12, which matched my measurements, and found it to be uncut:



Although I don't believe it has been unused.  The tissue paper pattern had clearly been handled over the years - I suspect this is a sought-after pattern, although my internet searches have revealed no bloggers who have made jeans from this pattern.  (I did find CarmencitaB who made the skirt, though. Merci beaucoup!)

I love the pattern.  You can see that the seam allowances are marked.  Yay.  And interestingly, the skirt pattern pieces are completely separate from the jeans pattern pieces.  I thought maybe the jeans and skirt would use the same waist pattern pieces or pockets, etc.  Nope. Completely separate.

Here's the pattern piece for the famous Calvin Klein back pocket:


Comparing this pattern to the patterns I have used for my prior muslins, I got pretty excited about this one - it looked like it had the fit and ease I was looking for. (I was so excited I actually trace the pattern, which I normally don't do!) I was tempted to jump right in and use my good jeans fabric and skip the muslin, but good sense prevailed.  I wasn't happy about doing a muslin, but I made a deal with myself:  I would use regular sewing thread and a jeans needle for the entire construction, rather than switching out with topstitching thread.  I felt like I had enough practice topstitching away.

The instructions are great:



Very clear, especially the fly instructions.  The only thing weird is above; the instructions have you sew the side seams first, and then the inseam, while every other pants/jeans pattern or blog instructions have you do it the other way around.  I did the inseams first.

I also took this opportunity to experiment and made one back pocket the Calvin Klein way, and the other back pocket the Levi's way to see which I liked better.  I drafted the Levi's pocket piece from my college jeans:




I made the pattern piece mostly by measurement and a ruler:



On the left is the back pocket in its finished size and on the right is the pattern piece with 5/8 inch seam allowances added.

Here it is compared to the Calvin Klein pocket:



You can see that the Calvin Klein pocket is more square/upright, while the Levi's pocket is more slanty (is that a word? Spellcheck  says no).  

I used some of the leftover white bull denim I used on my jean skirt for these jeans, while I used the grey twill from my Vogue skirt for the pockets:



The topstitching is hard to see since I only used regular thread on this muslin, but it gave me the general idea.  Calvin Klein:



Levi's:



The real test though was the try-on.  As soon I put them on my body said, "Ahhhhhhh!"  This was the fit I remember:








It's not perfect, of course, but the seat curve is extremely comfortable, and what I am looking for.  Changes I want to make: 1) lower the rise in the front to be just below the belly button (I found out how to make this alteration here); and 2) and I need to narrow the thighs (which I haven't quite figured out how to achieve yet other than to find other patterns with a closer fit and frankenpattern the whole she-bang).

Here's the back which shows the excess fabric in the back thigh area that needs to be eliminated:





If anyone has any ideas how to achieve this, I'm all ears!  You can see that I made the waistband from some blue denim fabric, leftover from another muslin.  The pattern comes with a contoured waistband, but an examination of my college Levis shows that they were made with just a long rectangle of fabric cut on the crosswise grain with no interfacing.  So I gave it a try, and I like it.  The crosswise grain has more stretch (and who doesn't like stretch in the waistband?) and the crosswise grain is less likely to shrink (unlike the lengthwise grain, which many pants patterns use).

I also took this opportunity to put in a real metal jean zipper, my first.  It was long and I just sewed over it while sewing on the waistband.  I didn't break a needle, but I probably just got lucky.

You can see I've turned up the length - these jeans finish 33 1/4 inches long, which is way long for me and I have pretty long legs, as most of my height is in my legs, not my torso.

So as pleased as I am with this muslin, you would think I would go about making my pattern changes and get on with making the real jeans.  You would be wrong.  I'm taking a detour and making some jeans from McCall's 6610 because I am crazy.  I guess I want to see if there are aspects of this pattern that I like that I can incorporate into my final real jeans.  The one difference is that I am making a wearable muslin of McCalls 6610, rather than a real muslin, because sometimes you just have to make something you can really wear.  I making them in a red twill.  More to come on that.

One tip I want to share for topstitching jeans, and it's not my tip, but I wanted to pass it along.  Somewhere, in all my jeans research, I read that when you are using topstitching thread you should tighten your upper thread tension, which sounds backwards.  Logically, it sounds like you should loosen your tension with a thicker thread.  I read (and I'm sorry I can't remember who gave this advice so I can give credit where credit is due) that you should adjust your tension from a 4 on your Bernina to 7.  I tried it and it worked:


The bottom stitching on the pocket illustrates the tension set at 4 on the wrong of your fabric.  The top line illustrates tighter tension set at 7.  Here's a close up - you can see how much better the tension is when it is tighter:


Here's the finished pocket on the right side with proper topstitching thread and tension:


(Again, I used topstiching thread on top and regular thread in the bobbin, with the tension set at 7.)

Parting Shots:  The Carpenter got bored taking regular photos and felt we should be more "arty".  I can't say we succeeded:






P.S. I'm trying not to freak out about how huge my ass looks in these photos . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Jeans Project - Style Arc's Sally Jean Skirt

The jeans saga continues!  My sewing goal is to make my own pair of well fitting, non-low rise, 100% cotton jeans of quality heavy denim.  I've been flagging a bit, for various reasons, but achieved more progress today than I expected:  I finished a jean skirt.

Why a skirt instead of a pair of jeans?  Well, for a couple of reasons.  First, I was tired of making a muslins; I wanted to make something I could actually wear and a skirt doesn't take as much fitting as actual jeans.  Second, Style Arc,  an Australian company, has several jeans patterns that look like contenders, but I had never used any of their patterns before and a skirt looked like a painless introduction to their line.  Third, I really liked the styling of their Sally Jean Skirt:



The skirt has all the classic details of a jean skirt, and is slightly A-line - exactly what I love.  This looked like a good pattern to use all I had learned on the muslins - topstitching, fly zipper, pockets, etc.

I've never made anything from a Style Arc pattern before, although I bought a dress pattern from them years ago (which I never made up and now I can't find).  Ann is very high on them as a pattern company for making well drafted patterns that look like ready-to-wear clothes.  One of the most important things about Style Arc is that when you order a pattern, it only comes in one size, rather than in multi-sizes which most sewers are used to.

I ordered a size 10 based on my measurements, and based on the fact that Ann uses the same size (I use the same size as she does in other pattern lines, so it was a good guess).  Vintage patterns used to be sold this way - you only got one size with each pattern.  However, one of the advantages of vintage patterns in one size is that they usually came with the pattern pieces already cut out.  Not so for Style Arc.  Even though you only get one size, you have to cut out the pattern pieces.  

OK, no big deal.  But the instructions, or lack there of, was a big deal.  Here are the instructions:



Yep, that's it.  One small page of tersely worded instructions.  I note that Style Arc's website rated this pattern as "challenging".  Given that this is a skirt, I would say the only reason this jean skirt would rate as "challenging" would be the lack of clear, proper instructions that modern sewers expect.  If they had provided the type of instructions the Big Four provide, with diagrams for each step, there is no reason an intermediate sewer couldn't sew this without much fuss.

The pattern did include additional information on how to insert the fly zipper:



They look like Egyptian hieroglyphics and just as indecipherable.  I end up using the fly zipper instructions from Butterick 5682, which was my very first jeans muslin.  I have found they are the best and most clear for inserting a fly zip, and I think I'm going to have to copy them and tack them up on my wall for future reference!

I used a white bull denim from fabric.com.  I had bought this fabric previously for muslin purposes because it was 100% cotton, it was 10 oz in weight, and it was reasonably priced.  I didn't know what "bull denim" was but research revealed that it is solid colored twill denim where the threads used to weave the denim are all the same color, as opposed to classic denim, where some of the threads are white and some are dyed indigo blue.  (Just so you know).

I thought a white jean skirt would be classic for summer, and by using white topstitching thread, I wouldn't have to stress about whether my stitching was perfect or not.

Cutting out was no problem.  The pattern called for different seam allowances in different areas, but mostly required a 3/8 seam allowance, which precluded any real flat-felled seams, so I went with mock-felled ones.  I used a size 16 needle, jeans thread for the seams, and topstitching thread for my topstitching.  All of my topstitching was done with a stitch length set at 4 on my Bernina.  I found that my topstitching looked best with jeans thread in the bobbin, and the topstitching thread only in the needle.



The pattern pieces went together beautifully, but thank God I had learned how to do jeans pockets from prior muslins, particularly Kwik Sew 3193, or I would have never figured it out.  For my pocket bags, I used white oxford cotton from an old button down shirt.  

Everything was going along pretty well, until I tried to make the buttonhole in the waistband.  Berninas are known for their excellent buttonholes but I think mine got flumfloxed by all the denim layers.  It wasn't working, and I ended up ripping out the buttonhole - twice. So I skipped that part, and went on to the belt loops - nope, my Bernina wasn't having any of that either.  

I gave up, and went over to Vicki's and used her new Brother Laura Ashley which has this thingy-ma-bob that automatically measures your button and stitches your buttonhole to the correct length.  Awesome.  It made a fantastic keyhole buttonhole in my waistband and now I want the Laura Ashley so badly, I can taste it.  

But Vicki's machine still couldn't handle my belt loops - I got three on but in a very haphazard fashion - so I decided my belt loop technique was probably the problem.  I had too many layers for either sewing machine to handle.

(And by the way, while the instructions tell you to sew the belt loops where indicated, no where on the pattern pieces are there any markings for belt loops.  I ended up pulling out various Levis I own and figuring it out.)



So that is where my jean skirt sat for several weeks.  Things I still needed to do:  attach the jean button which I had ordered from Taylor Tailor, make less bulky belt loops and attach them, and hem the skirt.  This morning, I picked up the jean button and read Taylor's instructions, and decided this was a job for The Carpenter.  I was able to get the nail through the waistband in the exact spot I wanted the button to go, and then The Carpenter nailed the button on, wacking it from the wrong side of the waistband until the jean button was attached and did not turn.  After all my worrying about this step, it ended up being the easiest part of the whole project!




Then I made two new belt loops, where I cut a strip of the denim 3 times the width I wanted the belt loops to be, and folded it in thirds, and topstiched.  Voila - easier than the original belt loops, and less bulky.  My Bernina sewed them on (I only had the two left in front to do) like a boss, so any problems previously was my error, not the machine's.

Next, since I was on a roll, I put in the hem.  The skirt called for a 3/4 inch hem, but that wasn't going to be above my knee - I ended up putting in a 2 inch hem and topstitching 1 inch from the skirt edge.  And I was done.  Before noon.  Here's the finished skirt:



It's a real jean skirt, y'all.  Here's the back:



What I like about this skirt is that the back waist hits at your real waist, while the front waist is lower, a little below your belly button, which is how I like my jeans to fit.  

I didn't put any fancy topstiching on the back pockets for the simple reason that I forgot:

I didn't use rivets on the pockets because I didn't want the stress of making holes in my skirt after all the work of making this skirt!  Plus, I think the white skirt looks fine without them.

The skirt fits great.  I mean, there is nothing about it I would change and I would even be willing to make this pattern in "real" denim and proud to wear it.  While I was making it, the lack of clear instructions made me eliminate the possibility of using any of Style Arc's jeans patterns, but now that the skirt is done, and looks so ready to wear, I might have to give Style Arc another look!

I'm getting closer to my jeans reality.  One issue I still haven't dealt with:  using a real metal jeans zipper.  On this skirt, I used a regular nylon zipper.  My concern with a metal zipper is that sewing over the teeth is probably going to break a needle.  I need to figure out how you shorten a jeans zipper or sew over it in the waistband without breaking a needle.  (I think it involves pliers and pulling the teeth out one by one.)  More research.

And more fitting muslins need to be done.  But at least now I have a finish that has gotten me closer to the goal!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Re-Fashion Experiment & Kwik Sew 2976

Recently, I went through my closet and did what you are supposed to do - pull out everything you haven't worn in a year.  I generally oppose this approach because I'm an emotional clothes hoarder - I'll keep something I'm not wearing if I just have really good memories of wearing it.  (Case in point:  my college jeans.)

Now this clear out did not include all the clothes I own.  It didn't even include all the clothes I had in my closet.  It only included the clothes hanging up in my closet.  I counted approximately 160 items.  By eliminating everything I hadn't worn in a year, I removed 53 garments.  O.K., I confess, I didn't get rid of them all; I actually returned 28 garments back to the closet because I wasn't ready to part with them.  But I did manage to give 25 away (11 of which were made by me).  By my math skills (which are admittedly poor), I figure I gave away 22% of my hanging stuff.

Out of pure curiosity, I counted how many skirts I own.  Forty-six.  Wow.  Of those 46, 17 were store bought and 29 were made by me.  Wow again.  That's a whole lot of skirts.  I'm not certain anyone needs 46 skirts.

What did I learn from this exercise?  I have plenty of clothes.  I don't really need more.  But my problem is that clothes making is my hobby, so what am I to do?  Giving them away is the answer, of course, but in addition to emotional clothes hoarding, I hate to give away something I've made because of what it really is:  a muslin.  Let's say I make a dress.  Let's say I love it.  Let's say that after 4 or 5 years, I'm not wearing it anymore, but I want to make another one with new fabulous fabric.  I'm going to want to try on that old dress to see how it fits - do I need more room in the waist? (Rarely does anyone need less.)   What size seam allowances did I use?  How did I finish the armholes?  Etc.

So I've decided to approach my garment making in the future as more of an experimental exercise rather than a I've-got-to-sew-this-because-I-need-something-to-wear.  I keep thinking I'm clothes poor, when I'm really not.

One of those experiments that I read a lot about but haven't actually tried is re-fashioning a garment from one thing into something else.  I'm not normally one for re-fashioning a garment, although I admire those who do; I prefer to start with a completely clean slate on a project because re-fashioning is dangerously close to altering or even mending.  (Shudder)

I got inspired though, because we have a nice thrift store nearby, and I wanted to see if I could take a man's shirt and make something of it.  Here it is:  a high-end Brooks Brothers oxford shirt that I got for $ 3.00:



I decided the bigger, the better - this one is a size 17:



The fabric was excellent quality, and the only thing wrong with it was a little ring around the collar.  

I doubted my ability to simply take the shirt and play around with it - I need a pattern.  So I dug through the pattern stash and found Kwik Sew 2976:



I felt like I could make this work - the pattern doesn't take much fabric, so I wouldn't need any more than the button down I had purchased.  It also had the button front and I wanted to see if I could use the button placket and buttons on the existing shirt for my new shirt.  I could and I did.

So I went from this:















To this: 


Here I am in it:



Frankly, it turned out better than I expected.  To make sure the buttons and buttonholes matched up, I cut out the shirt with the original shirt buttoned up.  I laid the front pattern piece with the center front line down the center of the buttons and cut out the left side.  Then I flipped the pattern over, again lining up the center front line with the center of the buttons and cut out the right side. 

I used french double bias binding cut from the shirt fabric to bind the neckline, but I used washed shantung white silk bias binding I had in my stash for the armholes; I found the oxford cloth to be rather thick for binding:



I put on a bias band at the bottom rather than a traditional hem, cutting the bias bands out of one of the sleeves of the man's shirt.  I cut them 2 inches wide, folded the band in half to one inch and then sewed it on with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  It gives a little visual interest rather than a usual hem.




Here's a close up of the button placket:



For three dollars and one sewing day worth of work, it came out pretty well.  Actually, the hardest part of the project was removing the front pocket - it was sewn on with tiny stitches and it took awhile to wrestle it off.  You can still see the outline of the pocket on the front of the shirt, but I hope that fades a bit in the wash.

I also wasn't prepared for the left/over right buttoning when I tried it on for the first time - I had forgotten that men button their shirts left/over right rather than right/over left like women do.  Only then did it occur to me that I could achieve the right/over left by cutting the shirt pattern pieces upside down to the original shirt.  I'll keep that in mind if I ever do something like this again.

All in all, a good experiment.  I like the shirt, but don't love it, but that could change with the wearing.  This shirt pattern from Kwik Sew isn't particularly close fitting or flattering, and I'm certain there are other patterns out there than can work better.  But this pattern was a good place to start because it was "free", i.e. already in the stash.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Tale of Two Skirts

In between jeans muslins, I've been sewing skirts.  And other things.  But mostly skirts.  Skirts are what I live in all summer because a skirt, a tee, and a pair of sandals is the coolest, most comfortable outfit in summer.  I realized this week I don't even own a pair of shorts, and went to buy McCalls shorts pattern, number 6930, because it was on sale for $ 1.99, but Hancocks was out of stock. I'm actually wearing a pair of The Carpenter's cut off jeans today, but I digress.

First up was Simplicity 1541, which is a basic straight skirt:


I've been meaning to try this one, not only for it's basic style, but also because it is part of Simplicity's "Amazing Fit" line and I wanted to find out if it was really "amazing".  It also allowed me to use my leftover pink denim that I used for my latest incarnation of the Gertie pants.  I made view B, the middle length version.

One of the features of the pattern is that is allows different pattern pieces for different figures: the choices are slim, average, and curvy.  Sort of the same concept as cup sizes for the bust that many patterns have these days.  And the pattern sheet provides detailed instructions to determine what you are, but let me save you time:  if you have less than 10 inches between your waist and hip measurements, you are slim; if you are 10 inches you are average; and if you are more than 10 inches you are "curvy".

More helpfully, the pattern provides detailed hip finished garment measurements for each size and each "fit".  This allowed me to determine that, unlike most Big Four patterns, there wasn't a lot of ease in this skirt.  My measurements put me as size 14, and since there are 10 inches between my waist and hip (depending on whether I've eaten pizza or not), I am "average", not surprisingly (I have pretty standard figure).  The finished hip garment measurements for a size 14 average is 39, which seemed too tight, since that is my exact hip measurement, but this pattern is drafted with 1 inch side seam allowances for better fitting.

I went with it.  The instructions seemed to create more work than necessary, but I reminded myself that I'm trying to do things new ways with new techniques so I don't get bored, so I did it their way.  You are instructed to baste the front yoke to the front of the skirt, and then baste the back yokes to the backs of the skirt, and then baste the side seams with a 1 inch seam and try it on.

My skirt was tight, like indecently tight.  The pattern instructions have all kinds of fitting tips, like what to do if you side seam pulls to the front or to the back, but my side seams were completely straight, the thing was just too tight.  The instructions tell you pull out some of your basting stitches and pin until you get a straight seam, but I couldn't remove the side seams while standing in it, so I eyeballed it and decided the whole thing would fit better if I used 3/4 seams instead of 1 inch, thus giving me 1 inch more of ease in the skirt.

I basted the 3/4 inch side seam, and then removed the 1 inch seam and tried it on.  Very good fit.  But of course, by doing it this way, I then had to remove the 3/4 basted side seam, and remove the yokes from the skirt, sew the front and back yokes together for real, and then sew the side seams for real this time, using the 3/4 inch seam allowance.  Then attach the yokes to the skirt. Whew.  A lot of work for a simple skirt:




Once I got it all done, though, with the yoke facings and zipper and everything, the waist felt a little loose.  Grrrr.  Did my waist stretch while putting in the yoke facing?  Was it the lycra in the denim?  I don't know, which just goes to show, no matter how much you fit as you sew you never really know until you are done, done, done.

I made the front seams a mock felled seam since I have been doing that on my jeans muslins:




The inside view of the mock felled seam:



And I put in my first lapped zipper, which I've never done before, but again, I'm trying new things so I don't get bored:



A pretty good first effort, but I'm not convinced of its superiority to the centered zipper.  

The skirt has a back kick pleat:



All in all, I'm very pleased with this skirt (its an excellent work skirt) although next time I might try a 7/8 inch side seam and see how that works.  I think it depends on your fabric and its stretch, so I won't know until I make it.

Next up was Vogue 1247:



Where have I been?  This pattern was named one of the top 10 patterns of 2011, I think, but I was totally oblivious.  Everyone on the interwebs seems to love, love, love this skirt, with the front in-seam pockets, although most sewers are adding 5 to 8 inches to the length.  As drafted it finishes 15 inches long.  Which is fine if you are a teenager, not so good if you are over 45 years old.

I knew I wanted to make this in a soft cotton twill - the kind you would use to make a great pair of chinos.  I knew I also wanted to make this skirt so I could wear it at the beach, so I chose a soft grayish blue (or a soft bluish gray, I can't tell) from fashionfabricsclub.comhttp://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/p710_12372-sea-glass-blue-twill.  The color reminds me of bleached-from-the-sun beachwood.

I made a size 14 but added 5 inches as I figured 20 inches was a good length on a summer beach skirt.  I didn't add the length to the pattern pieces; I just chalked it out on the fabric since it was a pretty straight forward alteration.

Here's the hands-in-the-pockets obligatory photo that everyone who has made this skirt has posted:


And the back:



I used a centered zipper and a button in the back, rather than a hook and eye closure.  I also put in a top-stitched hem rather than the blind hem as instructed. The pattern called for some serious seam binding that included the side seams and pockets - the photos of some of the insides of the skirts on everyone's blogs are neat to see, but I wasn't inspired to rise to that level of effort - I just used my overlock stitch on my Bernina to finish the seams and called it a day.

A lot of the sewers who made this skirt have made multiples, but strangely, I don't feel the urge, even though I ordered another cotton twill in anticipation that I would want to.  I might make this in corduroy or wool come this fall, adding another couple inches.  We'll see.

Vogue has a reputation of being slightly more difficult that the other Big Four, and I admit that while this is a simple skirt, more than once I had to think about how things went together, and not every little step is illustrated in the instructions.  But there was nothing anyone will some sewing experience couldn't figure out.

More on the jeans project to follow, but that's all for now!

Parting Shot: The Carpenter and some of his brothers before we were evacuated from the island due to Hurricane Arthur: