Blue Jeans

Finished Jeans
I just finished a pair of blue jeans.  It is only the second time I have ever tried to make jeans.  The first time I was much younger and much slimmer. I had just worn out a pair that fit better than any other pair I had ever owned so I wanted a copy of them.  I used the scratch-off-a-pattern method to copy them. The replacement pair fit, but was not what I would call a success.  Jean making was not going to be something I really wanted to do after all.  At the time finding suitable and comfortable jeans was relatively easy anyway.

The pair I just finished I started about two years ago.  I have to admit that it is probably a wonder they ever got finished.  I started them then I sold my house and moved before I had time to finish them.  I had already completed the fly, but nothing else so the unfinished jeans got packed into an "unfinished group" and moved.  In the new smaller space they were just not a high priority to be unpacked.  When I did unpack them, I started on the pockets and some of the top stitching.  I was using jeans gold cotton thread to top stitch.  I wanted a set of jeans double needles to top stitch with in a size 6mm.  This is the standard size jeans companies use for top stitching.  All I could find were 6mm - sharp needles or 4 mm jean needles.  Details matter but if you can't get what you want, you have to use what you have.  This made top stitching require two passes when one should have been enough.

After breaking a few needles I decided this just was going to have to wait. So I worked on other projects and gave the jeans some back burner thought.  Last week I picked them up and finished them in about two hours.  I had already done all of the hard parts.  All I needed to do was sew up the outer side seams, attach the waist band, top stitch down the legs, sew the inner leg, make a button hole, cut the button hole open, attach the jean button, and hem them.  Sounds like a lot but really was not much compared to what I had already done.  Made me wonder why I waited so long to finish them.

And the best part? They fit so nicely!  Why is it when you find a pair of jeans that fit comfortably and you go back to buy more they just don't make that style any more? Or, if you think they are going to fit and feel wonderful when you buy them you buy several pair of the same cut and they are all duds?

The pair I just finished are also a copy of a pair that fit wonderfully.  This time when I copied them I did not scratch off a pattern, I deconstructed the actual pair I had worn out and used one half of the jeans for an exact pattern and the other half to refer to to see how they were constructed.  This turned out to be the best way to copy a style, pattern and fit that I liked.  Deconstruction required specific seams to be done in the reverse order of original construction.  Instead of copying the jeans into a paper pattern, I used the actual pieces laid out on the new denim.  This was a big help to properly follow grain lines, insuring the new pair would have the same feel as the old pair.  I think I will make several more pair.

If they still made this style, I would just buy them, but now that I have the secrets and the company has decided not to make them any more I do not feel one bit guilty about copying them. Since I know they fit, I may make a how to blog later when I make a few more pair.

 Look at this fun fabric I used in the pockets, this was just a scrap from some other project.

Pocket detail,  fabric pulled out to show  fun and unexpected color.


Bargello Jacket

Quilted Bargello Fabric Choices
I am still not quite finished with this project, but I have enough of it completed I can show you what I have been working on.   It started with a quick sketch/plan on a trip to the fabric store.  I made the sketches to stay on task.

Bottom sketch of the two.

The first sketch on this note is the pattern style I went to the store to find.  A blouse or jacket with fabric gathered across the waist.  The second sketch is a jacket that I have been thinking about making for a while. A quilted bargello style jacket with an asymmetrical stripe pattern. When I went into the store I found the blouse pattern and the fabric for the jacket. I decided to wait to purchase the pattern, but the jacket fabric was on sale.   

When I estimated the yardage I figured I would need 2.5 yards for the lining and a total of 2.5 yards for the pieced strips.  This was just a guess and turned out to be fairly accurate, however, if I sew it again I would purchase more of the lightest white and more of the darkest black, because I had to return to the store to get enough to complete the jacket bias edges.  I completely forgot to include that in the original purchase.(which is part of why I am finishing this even later than I thought I would.) It turned out I had more than I needed for the lining, which proved to be very useful in the bargello strips.  I also did not include any extra for the seams in the piecing.

First set of strips pieced together. I made three pieces like this.
Example of Cut Strips - these sets have been trimmed and are not complete strips.
Nearly completed jacket, still working on finishing the edges.
I  used a foundation lining and as each piece is placed it quilts the jacket.  This jacket will be too heavy for summer days, but should be perfect through the spring season and possibly as a jacket for summer evenings.


More Later

I am not quite finished with this project and don't want to post more than this before I have time to write about it.  But this is a little hint of what is coming next, hopefully later today, certainly by tomorrow evening.

Fabric just before I preshrunk it

Next step in the process
I still need to sew the pieces together.  More Later.


Have to do, Want to do or Done?

My to do list for each weekend is usually a long list of have to do chores and want to do projects. Even though I may accomplish all of the have to do and even several of the want to do items, I find that at the end of the weekend I am disappointed that I could not finish everything on the list.

This weekend I am going to approach things differently. I am not going to refer to a to do list. Yes, I would like to do some creative sewing, finish old projects, sew new cloths or work on quilts.  I will have the usual need to do things too, like clean house, grocery shop, laundry and whatever else. Even so, I am going to kick back and just have a weekend.  Anything I do will be more than I "planned" but just this weekend if I visit a museum, shop at an antique store, bake something, sew something, take a hike, read, knit, or nap, then that will be enough.

If I do make a list this weekend it will be a "done" list, instead of  a "to do" list. I suspect listing what has been done may be more revealing and rewarding than seeing what is still undone.