Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jeans - miles of topstitching

Most of my days are spent in casual clothes, so I figured I should take the time to make another pair of jeans. I made a pair last year from the pattern by Palmer/Pletsch McCalls 5894.

I am trying to use up fabric from my stash and I had everything for this in house. Natural coloured cotton twill, almost denim weight, poly thread for most of the stitching, nutmeg coloured upholstery thread for top-stitching, even zipper and button were here.
Jeans are a lot of work. I knew this pattern was already tweeked so fitting would be easy. But it always surprises you how a new fabric fits differently than the last, even though they are very similar in weight. So I will make a note on the pattern to raise the centre front waist 3/8" for the next pair.
I love top-stitching, but this did give me some problems. The upholstery thread is twisted of two plies and it tends to shred in the needle as you stitch. So thread breakage was a problem, combined with the fact that I had my needle inserted incorrectly to begin with. I sew on a semi-industrial machine that takes industrial needles. These have a groove in the needle shaft that must be inserted with the groove at the 7 o'clock position. This puts the eye of the needle ever so slightly to the left. It is easy to insert this incorrectly. But this time, I wasn't pushing the needle up far enough. Once I realised what the problem was, things got a lot better. Last Saturday afternoon, there was a lot of frustration over this.
 The coin pocket sitting behind the front slash pockets, edgestitched and top-stitched.

A real fly zipper with facing behind.

The stitching went a little wonky around the bottom of the zipper and I didn't
even try to bar-tack, I knew the thread would just split.
Back pocket stitched and edgestitched; regular thread in the bobbin case.
Finished jeans, with buttonhole and button the last things to do.

A tool I use all the time; a buttonhole chisel. I couldn't cut buttonholes without it now.

No selfies; just the jeans hanging from a newly organized bookshelf.
And a word about our weather. This is Teddy, our 14-year old Lab/Husky mix. He loves the snow, and we have plenty of it this year.
But enough already, we don't know where to put it. We have been getting snow, then rain, then freezing with the sidewalks slippery and very bumpy. The ice is 4-6" thick on the sidewalks. And today, Nick turned the car and hit the snowbank, with an ice block ripping out the parking light. Altogether, it is annoying. Try not to swear! 

After I finished sewing this afternoon, I noticed that my shoulders were all hunched up and tight from the stress of that final top-stitching. I will sew something easier next time. Inspired by all the shirts I am seeing on blogs, (especially on and on   - scroll down to her floral shirt)  I have cut out a princess-seamed shirt from a cotton that was in the stash for probably ten years. I have to admit though that the email notice from did make me relent on the resolve not to purchase more fabric. And I ordered three lengths of cotton shirtings as I feel a shirt-making session coming on.
No affiliation but I can recommend BlackBird Fabrics. She has some really lovely yardage and shipping is very quick and reasonably priced. Given the rate of postage now in Canada, I don't think I could have kept my business going; the shipping costs would have done me in. Glad to know that someone else is filling the gap here in the north.
Stash Count:  2 metres out, 3.5 metres ordered  -  so much for resolve!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jalie 2795

Another winter storm here on the east coast, so rather than going to aquacise, I went into the sewing room and finished up a hoodie.  The pattern is Jalie 2795 and the fabric is a micro fleece from my stash.  This is one of the Yukon fleeces that I used to sell by mail order and I had forgotten just how nice the micro fleece is.  It feels like velveteen and really doesn't pill like regular fleece.  This is lightweight and will be much like wearing a light sweater.

Everything was here at home for this hoodie, and I am sure I have some drawstrings somewhere. But I may just sew a length of the fleece to insert into the hood casing.

I have seen that some sewers keep track of the fabric they buy and what they sew up. I cannot begin to estimate how much fabric I have in my stash, it is too embarrassing to go there. Keep in mind that, after 9 years of selling fabric online, you wind up with a lot of pieces that you just can't resist, not to mention all the end cuts that just get put into the pile.

However, in January of this year, I bought 4 metres of fabric online (from and so far, I have sewed up 3.5 metres. Already I am losing the battle. I will try better next month.

And now to get through the next storm. And I thought somehow we might get to skip winter this year.