It seems like that I stopped sewing once I got my new Juki! Not really, but it feels that way. Since April, I have made a new slip from Gertie's pattern, along with two camisoles, but I don't have a dress form and it is difficult to photograph without one, so I haven't posted about that project.
Instead, I became obsessed with knitting because while I'm too tired to sew after work at night, I'm not too tired to knit. So I started four sweaters and finished none. As my friend, Loy, says: "Gauge lies."
What I really enjoyed about knitting was learning a new craft. I spent a fortune on yarn, books (oh, so many books), DVDs, and notions. I was challenged and it was fun.
And then it left me, mysteriously as it had come. And it gave me time to think, "What do I really want to make?"
There are many garments that I am inspired to make because they look so darn cute on other bloggers. Not necessary on me, but cute on other people. And then there are the garments that are just so fun to make - maybe not so much fun to wear, but fun to make.
While I was thinking, I was wearing me-made clothes and I finally realized the clothing I make that I actually wear are clothes that feel good. If something doesn't wear like your best friend, you probably aren't going to wear it, no matter how good it looks.
So what have I actually been wearing? This, dear readers:
Style Arc's Sally Jean Skirt. I love, love this pattern because it is a real jean skirt, no style shortcuts involved. The white bull denim I used last year was actually meant as a wearable muslin, but it turned out so well, I stopped there and continued on with my epic jeans-making project. I had always planned to make this again using the 13.5 oz selvedge denim from Cone Mills I bought from Taylor Tailor that I used on my final pair of jeans.
I wore the hell out of it this past summer, and with fall coming I felt it was the perfect time for a traditional denim skirt.
I had all the materials, except rivets, so a few weekends ago I cut it out and enjoyed the process immensely. I realized this is where I have always aspired my sewing to be: sewing exactly what I want, with all materials on hand, and all skills already mastered in order to create exactly what I envisioned.
I used my white skirt as a reference during the sewing process and there are a few things I changed:
1. I made the pockets deeper by about one and one-quarter inches. I just eyeballed it while cutting out the pocket bags, rather than redrafting the pattern. I don't always put my hands in my pockets, but when I do, I like to get my whole hand in there. : )
2. I put in the 3/4 inch hem the pattern specifies. With my white skirt, I put in a 2 inch hem, and found that the bull denim shrunk on me in length nearly an inch during the numerous washings it received. I may not have this problem with the selvedge denim, as I washed and dried it three times before using, while I only washed the white denim once, but I thought a slightly longer length would be good for fall anyway.
3. I used a piece of SnugHug to mimic the Levis' red tag on the back pocket. I had meant to use it on my final jeans project, but forgot. I really like the look:
As you can see, I also added decorative stitching to the back pockets which I forgot to do for the white skirt.
4. I used a jeans metal zipper rather than the nylon zipper I put in the white skirt. I felt the heavier jeans material warranted the metal zipper. A note about shortening metal zippers - I handle them the same way I shorten a nylon zipper. Which means I shorten them at the top. I just sew the waistband on and cut off the excess zipper tape with kitchen shears. I don't bother removing individual metal zipper material from the excess. So far I have been lucky, and haven't broken a needle, but I know it is just a matter of time. I go slow, and so far it has worked out.
5. I had to piece the waistband at the center back in order to cut the waistband on the cross grain because my fabric was only 36 inches wide. I did this with my jeans too. I like jean waistbands on the cross grain - more stretch, but less shrinking means more comfort in the waist area. I covered up the seam with the back center belt holder.
Given the traditional jean material, my topstitching stood out more:
I'm fairly happy with it. As you can see, the rivets still aren't on, and I need to order some from Taylor Tailor because I sure didn't like what they had for sale at Hancock fabrics.
I thought it was interesting to see how much my jeans had faded from the original blue. Here are my jeans and new jean skirt side-by-side:
My photographer, The Carpenter, was not in the mood to take photos showing my entire self, and I didn't insist. Here's my top part:
All in all, a real sewing boost to my non-existent sewing mojo! One thing that helped was multiple sewing machines: I used my new Juki 600 for the construction, my Bernina for topstitching, and my newly repaired serger for serging the faux-felled seams. I had a regular little sweatshop going! It is amazing how the right tools make the job so much easier.
So what is next? Style Arc has a narrow jeans pattern I'm itching to try it. Also, The Carpenter, despite his grouchiness about taking photos, wants me to make him some jeans, given that the jeans fabric from Levis has gone down so much in quality. My plan is to use Kwik Sew's pattern number 3504.
Parting Shot: My father died in July, unexpectedly. Here's a photo I took of him in December 2013 in Cotton Creek, AL around Christmas time. He's mid-story and looking so much like himself, I can hardly believe he is gone: