Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jamie Jeans, a Kimono and a Plantain Tee

I set a few goals for myself at the beginning of this year. I wanted to improve my sewing skills, sew more for myself and my husband, use the vintage patterns that I own and sew some pants. Well, I am happy to say that I sewed jeans (Jamie Jeans by Named)! And I love them. But more on that later.

I'm sewing along with Project Sewn this week. The theme is "If the shoe fits". Pick a pair of shoes and create a look around them. I chose a pair that I don't wear too often but I love. Dark blue with tiny pink polka dot pumps. I created an outfit that is casual but also a bit dressy.
I picked up this floral mystery fabric last year at the Michael Levine Loft in DTLA. All I know is that it is beautiful, very lightweight, silky, perfect for a kimono and if you don't finish your seams, it sheds and leaves little wisps of thin fabric all over your clothes!

I used this tutorial and it turned out great. I did end up shortening it a bit, as it was even longer in the back at first. It will be the perfect thing to wear when the weather gets warmer.
Plantain Tee:
This is my fourth Plantain Tee (Deer and Doe). This time I went for the short sleeve and I had just enough fabric! Love when that happens. I wear gray quite a lot so I was excited to make a simple tee that I know will be worn quite a lot.
Jamie Jeans:
I've seen the Jamie Jeans Pattern, by Named, around for awhile. But I heard that the instructions had no illustrations and you had to buy certain sizes instead of the whole range. So I decided to wait a little. I am a visual person and after more research I found that a wonderful person named Jennifer had taken pictures of the process and posted them to Flickr. Thank you Jennifer! And then Alida made a gorgeous pair. I had to try. I bought them and I was so happy to find out that they now come with written and illustrated instructions and you buy all the sizes! With the conversion it ended up being around $21USD. I had a lot of stretch denim and twill in my stash and I was so excited to get started. I honestly think that if I hadn't sewn these skinny jeans for H, I would have been way too intimidated to try these for myself.

I cut out a size 40 (US size 8) and used a very thin stretch denim. These were my test pair (muslin) but I still wanted them to look good in case they fit. I used a dark blue top stitching thread because I wanted a slightly more dressy jean. I cut everything out during the kids nap time then started sewing. They came together easily thanks to the illustrations and also referencing the photos on Flickr. All was going well until the waistband. I don't know what it is with me an waistbands but I always make a mistake. This time it was with the length. I should have used my knit interfacing since my fabric had stretch but I didn't think about it and just used my medium weight interfacing. Well, I couldn't stretch the waistband to fit so they ended up being a little short. So now I have some gaping and unevenness with the fly. Oh well, now I know for next time! I omitted the belt loops since I can never seem to find belts that aren't bulky and a big belt wouldn't look good with this fabric.

The fit: I'm going to give it another day or two before deciding what I need to change for the next pair. I'm not sure how much they will stretch out with wear. Here are the problems that I notice so far:
They are a little tight in the hips and pull a bit near the center front seam but that could be due to the pocket. It may be a little bulky for this thin fabric.
Pull a bit near the fly.
Tight in the knees when I sit down. How is that possible? Maybe I need to add some width to the calf area?
They do fall down a bit and I have to pull them up. I'm used to this on most of my RTW jeans. Anyone know what I should change to fix that?
I honestly have no idea how to change the things that don't feel perfect to make them perfect! I guess I'll need to start doing some research. 

I will say that I love this pattern. They are so comfortable, flattering and my new favorite jeans!

If you haven't already, hop over to check out what the designers created and cast your vote! They are seriously amazing!


Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

You had me at polka dots...awesome shoes, and I love each of your three pieces. They look really well made and super comfy.

Renee // nearest the pin said...

OMG you made jeans!!! You are my sewing hero April - I would never have contemplated sewing jeans, but you make it seem like it could be achievable. Seriously in awe :)

Anonymous said...

Really great outfit, it all works so well together! I'm so tempted by the Jamie jeans pattern but haven't made jeans before so still a bit intimidated by them but yours are definitely swaying me!

Heidi Polcyn said...

Wow! Just wow. I am so impressed you made jeans!! And they look amazing! As does the whole outfit. Someday, I would love to be able to make myself the perfect pair of jeans. I've got a lot to learn before I get there, but someday I shall have the perfect fitting jeans, with no gapping, no pulling and definitely no falling down in the back. And I'll ask you for tips ;)

Renee said...

Such a cute outfit! The jeans look great - I'm glad you tried them out because I really want to but was intimidated also. So it's good to see it work out for someone about my shape. I'd love to make jeans that fit in the legs but don't fall down in the waist-wish I knew the secret, besides wearing a belt. hopefully you crack it!

Mary LeMonnier said...

Soooo impressed!!! Super cute!!

Anonymous said...

I think you did an awesome job! They look great on you. I have made a couple pairs of jeans (crazy!) and for the pocket not to look too thick I usually use a fun quilting cotton type fabric (so it's thinner)for the front pocket facing. It won't show and it's something fun only you know about! :) I'm going to try and tackle the plantain tee, but when I printed it off the first time my two inch square was not two inches! So I think it might have sized to fit the page when I printed! oops.
Kristi - kopykat

Unknown said...

That's a great outfit--perfect for so many situations, and such versatile pieces. I do not have enough faith in my sewing ability to attempt jeans, so I am impressed!

Unknown said...

I'm super impressed you braved a fit pair of jeans! Glad your muslin turned out so wearable. And that gray tee will be so great, I agree ton of wear there.

Jenya @ While she was sleeping said...

Anyone who can make jeans is like a super hero to me :) The outfit is just fabulous, and of course I can't get over the fact you made yourself a pair of jeans, and (in my humble opinion) they fit great!

Unknown said...

Polka dots & jeans, you've earned my vote. Bravo!

Masha said...

I came over from the Deer and Doe Flickr group to comment on how many lovely Plantains you have made (and you have), but these jeans are seriously awesome. I have made the Sew Liberated Skinny Jeans but those have an elastic waist. Maybe I'll try this pattern next. Thanks for your review!

Jne4sl said...

The Jamies look gorgeous! I came to your blog through the Named pin. I posted the flickr photos, so glad they were helpful and thanks for the mention. Each of the items you made is lovely and all your Plantain mods are inspiring.

I'm no fit expert, my approach is find something that happens to fit and stick with it. Happy me the Jamies were nearly that. If the calf is at all tight, add width there, to help with the knee. That's how it was for me, the calves were snug and since the pant was sort of locked in place there, I was worried there was too much stress on the knee when bent. My second pair, I took the taper out of the back pattern piece from knee to hem and that made all the difference.

I haven't had a problem with the waist pulling down on these, in fact it's about the best waist fit I've ever had. But if you are, I'd suggest a similar approach there. If they are pulling down, the inclination might be to alter the waist, however it may be that they are too snug somewhere lower and, for example, releasing the thighs a little would allow them to move better as you sit and reduce the tug at the waist. Maybe just give yourself a larger side seam allowance to play with next time.

On interfacing the waistband, I like using non-stretch, as I don't want the waist to be able to grow while worn. But regardless of what you use, you will need to ease the waistband to the pants carefully. Especially with a stretch fabric, it's natural that the pant will be larger than the waistband. Often you can ease with pins. Just pin the notches and then match midpoints between notches, etc., a fair amount of ease can disappear that way but you may need pins nearly every inch. If that doesn't work, you can sew a gathering stitch along the pant seam line, so that you can pull up the ease in the pants and distribute it evenly across the waistband without puckers. When sewing, have the pant against the feed dogs and the waistband on top and hold each section taught as you sew and go slowly. Basically, you want to contract the pants to fit the waistband--don't let the the waistband stretch to match the pants. At least that's what works for me, you don't want a waist that feels like a funnel.

Hope this helps, sorry to ramble on. Your pants look great as-is so adjusting the fit on a second pair should be painless!

Inder-ific said...

WHAAAAAAAT? You made yourself a hot pair of skinny jeans?!!!!


Holy crap, woman, those look great on you. I'm super super impressed.

P.S. I like the rest of the outfit too. Skinny jeans! OMG!

Unknown said...

You're rocking those Jamies!

Shino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Great!! I was thinking about making Jamie Jeans lately but not enough brave to start :( I will jump in now!


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