Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Mens Designer Jeans

I've made a few pairs of jeans for me but this was my first attempt at making a pair of denim jeans for my husband.

The good news is he agreed to model them for my blog so you get to see him wearing them.

He is over 6ft tall and finds buying the leg length he needs quite difficult unless you want to spend a fortune [which he doesn't].

I had this heavy weight denim in  my stash and I can't remember where I bought it exactly as it's been there for quite a while.

He's quite a plain dresser and didn't want anything fancy on the back pockets so I just copied the design from a pair he already owns.

I'm quite surprised he opted for the gold top stitching but I'm pleased the way it looks as a finished garment. I actually used the ordinary thread double through the needle while the bobbin was just single. This is a super easy trick if you don't have top stitching thread in the right colour.

I did however have enormous battles with my sewing machines especially getting the several layers of fabric to stitch properly over the belt loops on the waistband. The thread kept breaking or the stitching just went completely loopy and I must admit to the occasional bad language to vent my frustration but as I was alone in my sewing room, no-one heard me.

I changed the needle [a jeans needle] three times, re-threaded about 50 times and even tried using my older workhorse machine but nothing worked for long. Having watched the machine very closely and going as slowly as possible the thread always seemed to break at the needle yet there wasn't any undue tension or bumps on the thread and I tried different threads to see if that was the issue but it didn't seem to be.

Eventually I changed the needle for a used Stretch that was supplied with my machine and at last it behaved properly. I also found a trick to get over the really thick places by using the spacer that came with my Husqvarna Viking Ruby to jump the foot smoothly over the fattest bits. What I discovered was that the cheap jeans needles that I got from Lidl's recently were the problem They just didn't fit perfectly. Lesson learned.

These jeans were drafted using my SFD Pants Pattern but with the modifications in the special leaflet from Glenda. This worked well and I did make a muslin first to check.

I used pieces of fabric I recycled from one of his Dad's shirts for the pocket bags to remind him of his father.

Would I make another pair? I feel a bit exhausted right now and can't wait to get back to some selfish sewing with easier fabrics to work with but after a while if this pair proves comfortable and he asks me nicely, I might.

I've actually booked a service for both my sewing machines next week as I think they deserve a bit of TLC don't you?

Next time are some T-shirts I made but haven't got to blog about yet and a fleece for my holiday next month. [It's super lightweight so will not take up much of our luggage allowance.]

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My second Tailored Jacket

I had to prove I could really do it so although making my first jacket was a goal achieved, could I do it again? That was my immediate reaction.

I looked in my stash and found a lovely blue winter weight check that I had initially bought to make my husband a shirt. He didn't like the colour!! He has blue eyes and it would have been fabulous on him but he prefers dull browns so it stayed in my stash until....

It actually looks a lot brighter and better than the picture shows.

I decided this second jacket would be more casual than the suit jacket so this blue plaid would work well enough, I just had to interface every piece to give the fabric a bit of extra structure.

I have a book called 'Make Your Own Clothes' and there is a shawl collared jacket at the very back that would be perfect. The book comes with its own software which allows you to input your own measurements, decide how much seam allowance you want and then print out the pattern on A4 sheets.

I measured the result against my own body sloper and it seemed to be pretty much on target so I used it to make a muslin first and that fitted perfectly so I went ahead with the fabric.

The method I used from the suit jacket pattern by Palmer/Pletsch for the welt pockets was so easy that I followed the same instructions on this jacket but decided to leave out the flap this time. They turned out very well and I've now conquered my fear of welts.

The collar was more tricky even though it should have been easier being a shawl collar. The instructions for this part of the jacket were totally non existent in the book and the pattern pieces just didn't seem to go together at all. I cobbled it as best I could and it looks fine but I'm not sure I did what I was supposed to.

The jacket is lined in a lovely sky blue satin which makes it feel really luxurious when wearing and especially when putting it on or taking it off.

This will definitely be in my holiday suitcase as a jacket to wear with jeans or trousers when dining out for a slightly less casual / holiday outfit.

I have added some temporary black buttons but I don't think they're right so I'm looking for something better.

I have already finished 3 stretch T-Shirt tops to go with the jackets and I shall blog about them very soon.

Friday, 6 January 2017

My first fitted tailored jacket with matching trousers

Wow, I've done it - I've actually made a lined, tailored jacket that fits me.

But first the matching trousers. As you see here in the photos the trousers are the same as many others I've made from my SFD pants body blueprint but the idea to embroider the left leg was to match the jacket.

Here is a close up of the left leg where the embroidery is larger than the lapel design because the larger wouldn't fit on the lapel and the smaller one was so small it looked silly on the leg.

A close up of the right lapel which has two plastic jewels to add a little shine. I wanted something to make this trouser suit unique and to add a designer touch without over cooking it. My desired aim was to have a piece that looked more like a brooch and I think this has been achieved.

The jacket was based around McCall's 8638 a Palmer/Pletsch very old pattern I have had for ages labelled as the 'no fail jacket'. The only problem were the 70s style of shoulders which were way too large and had to be trimmed back to match my SFD body blueprint. The front dart and apex position were also a long way from mine but it was easy to reposition them using SFD.

The instructions were mostly straightforward although having basted the centre lining pleat as directed they never explained when or even if they should be removed!! Strange.

The welt pockets however were a lot easier than I imagined and I would certainly use this method when I next do welts. I am so confident having made them this way that I will not be as terrified when facing this particular feature again.

And now for the short video showing the jacket itself with the smaller version of the embroidery on the right lapel. There is no sound on this video. The pink shirt I am wearing was one I made nearly two years ago so not a recent make.

I am just so pleased with the fit and look of this suit but I haven't even told you the best bit.... I bought this medium weight, inky navy blue suiting fabric from one of my trusted sellers on eBay. I had intended it was going to be a muslin or practice jacket but actually as I put more effort into it, sleeve heads, shoulder pads, the lapel design etc I realised it was perfectly wearable and hence went on to make the matching trousers. I bought 4 metres and have used just about three [enough left over for a possible waiscoat!!] and the cost - £4.00. Yes the whole 4 metres was £4.00 and OK the postage was an extra £3.15 and adding lining, thread and buttons etc the total outfit probably cost a staggering £9.50. Now that's what I call a result.

Now I really must start making my lightweight capsule wardrobe for Australia - just over two months to go and then I'll start blogging about our trip on the Australian Adventure Tab if you'd like to follow along.

Thank you for reading my blog.