Thread Theory

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Sue’s Spectacular Jeds!

My mother-in-law, Sue, has been quietly working away on her own version of the Jedediah Pants and blew us out of the water when her husband, Rick, arrived for Thanksgiving dinner in the absolutely spectacular results! She used a high-end cotton twill from Gala Fabrics in Victoria, BC and carefully applied all the lessons that she learned by following our sew-along. We took a few photos that day of Rick wearing the finished version, and Sue graciously sent in some of her own as well as a review so that we could show you her very successful return to the sewing world after a several decade hiatus! Without further ado, here is what she wrote to us:

Hi Morgan and Matt,

I just wanted to send a note to let you know about my experience with sewing the Jedediah pants. I noticed a few people who commented on your blog about being a bit afraid to take on what seems to be a more difficult project, and I thought my experience might help sway them to give it a try.

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I have not sewn an article of clothing since I made my high school graduation dress in the 1970s… Don’t bother doing the math, suffice it to say that was a long time ago! I never took any formal sewing training, but was just taught by my mom and through my own experimentation. Your enthusiasm for sewing and designing has been infectious and has inspired me to pick it up again, and it was the sew-a-long that gave me the confidence to get started back again. One would think that pants would be a tough project to wet your feet with, but in reality, with the well fitting pattern, great instructions, the video for the fly installation, the feedback from the sewers, and the ability to write in and ask questions, it was amazingly simple.

I wasn’t able to start the pants until well after the sew-a-long was finished but that had it’s benefits, as I was able to read all the instructions, comments and feedback before even cutting out my material and was therefore able to incorporate the suggestions that others had made. I actually started out to make shorts, but when I laid the pattern out, I had so much material left, I thought why not see if I had enough for pants, and sure enough I did. I know you made the comment that the allowances were generous to allow for pattern matching, and this worked to my benefit, as I had no pattern.

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I used Katie’s method of sewing the back patch pockets to eliminate the raw edge inside, and I added my own touch by interfacing the pocket to give it a little more strength. I sewed the inseam before the side seam, as this made more sense to me. I’m glad I did this, as I had a little trouble with the flat felled seams. The material I used was an organic twill and it really wanted to fray, so folding it over and sewing with the smaller seam allowance was a little fiddley. If I had done the leg seams in the reverse order, I would have had to do “fake flat felled seams” as you had suggested when I wrote in. They would have looked the same, but I would know they were fake. Also, I didn’t use seam binding as I thought it would become too bulky (and because I was too lazy), but I am still happy with the finish of the pants. If I made them again, I might be tempted to bind just the inner waistband as I like the finished look of the ones I’ve seen.

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I found the pattern pieces really fit together well. The only markings that didn’t make sense to me were on the ends of the waistband, but then I figured, as long as I had enough room for a seam at each end of the waistband, there wasn’t a problem, and it all went together well. The fly went in without a hitch, just by following step by step, the video and written instructions. The most difficult part of the pants was the buttonhole. I did several test buttonholes that came out beautifully of course, and then the real one was not so good. I think it was because of the bulk of the waistband seam, that my auto buttonholer on my old machine couldn’t hold the material firm enough to keep it correctly aligned. I will do as you suggested and use a hook closure, and hubby always wears a belt, so no one will be the wiser.

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The pants seemed to sew up quite quickly (even though it took me about a month overall as I was only able to pick them up for little bits at a time) and I was able to break the project easily into manageable pieces. I am really pleased (and hubby is too) with the overall result, and I must say that this is the first article of clothing that I have ever sewn that looks store bought, and fits extremely well. I will most certainly be testing out more of your patterns in the future, and I think the men in my life will be quite happy about that!

– Sue

Congratulations, Sue, on an excellently finished garment! We look forward to seeing your versions of the rest of our patterns!

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Guest Posts: Katie’s Back Pockets

Today we have another guest post treat – this time from Katie, the author of the blog, The Creative Counselor.  She is the test sewer who made this version of the Jedediah Pants.  She used a gorgeous recycled hemp and organic cotton blend and widened the legs to create a totally different style of pants than our slim fit originals – I love how well these pants display the versatility of a well fitting pants pattern – all you have to do is adjust the width or length of the legs to create endless varieties and styles!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor's recycled hemp and organic cotton pants.  She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor’s recycled hemp and organic cotton pants. She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Here is what Katie has prepared for us – super strong pockets with absolutely no raw edges – I love it!:

Hello Thread Theory readers!  I’m Katie and I blog about my sewing and crafty creations over at the Creative Counselor.

I was one of the lucky three ladies who got to be pattern testers for the Jedediah Pants, and got my greedy little hands on the pattern before the rest of the world.  I know you will all soon come to love this pattern as much as I do, if you don’t already!

One of my favorite things about the Jedediah pattern is the beautiful seam finishes that Morgan has included throughout the pattern.  When starting my pants, I told my husband that this would likely be the only pair of pants that he owned with actual flat-felled and bound seams on every single seam.  And I was right!

While constructing my Jedediah Pants, I decided that I wanted the back pockets to have a similarly beautiful finish that enclosed all of the raw edges.  With that in mind, I examined some of our nicer RTW jeans and puzzled out how to finish the back patch pockets so that all of the raw edges were enclosed and the whole pocket looked neat and tidy.

If you’d like to include a similar finish on your back pockets, here’s how you can do it:

1.  Attach bias binding to the top edge of your back pocket piece, following the instructions included in the pattern.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to bind the top edge of the back pocket piece, you can serge or sew a zig zag on this edge, or turn the top edge down ¼” (wrong sides together) and press.  Personally, I like the bound edge here — those small hidden details make a pair of handmade pants special and truly unique.

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2.  Fold the top pocket edge along the marked fold line right sides together.  Do not press this edge at this point.  Pin it down and stitch the fold down vertically ⅝” in from each side (also per the pattern instructions).

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3.  Here, the pattern instructions will tell you to trim your seam allowance to ¼”, meaning that you will trim off about ⅜”.  Do trim your seam allowance to ¼” but rather than stopping where your stitching stopped, trim off that ⅜” all the way around your pocket piece.

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4.  Flip your top edge over so that the wrong sides are now together, and use a point turner  or a chopstick to push out the corners, making them nice and pointy.  Press the top edge of your pocket.

5.  Carefully fold in the other edges of your pocket piece (remember, your allowance has now been reduced to ¼”) and press them.  Be very deliberate here so that all edges are crisp and the point at the bottom is nice and clean-looking.

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6.  Stitch down the folded top edge of your pocket.

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7.  Position the pocket on the back pants/shorts piece and pin in place.

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8.  Topstitch the pocket down using a ⅜” allowance.

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9.  Once the pocket is attached to the shorts, you’re going to sew a second parallel line of stitching by edgestitching around the very edge of the pocket piece.  This ensures that the raw edges of your fabric are neatly enclosed between these two seams.

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You could, of course, do this edgestitching first, but I find that it is far easier to control the stitching and get a really nice-looking edge stitch if the pocket is already secured with the inner row of stitching.

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10.  Strengthen the top edge of the pocket either by stitching triangles in each top corner, or by placing a bar tack in each corner.

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You’re done, and ready to continue on with your shorts!  Take a moment to sit back and admire the prettily-finished back pockets.

Thanks so much for having me Morgan!  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished shorts!


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Guest Sew-Along Post: How to Save Fabric When Cutting Out the Jedediah Pants

Meg, of Made By Meg was one of the test sewers for our Jedediah Pants pattern.  She was the sewer who produced this spectacular pair of denim pants (with musical themed pocket linings!):

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Not only is she a thorough and enthusiastic test sewer for us, she has also agreed to write a guest blog post to show you how she improved upon our cutting layouts…and saved a bunch of fabric!  Thank you, Meg, for taking the time to do this!  Without further ado, here is Meg’s very helpful tutorial to save you fabric when cutting out your pants or shorts for the sew-along!:

It’s no secret that I don’t always follow the rules, and this holds true for the Jedediah Pants
Testing the pattern for the fabulous Thread Theory, I made sure to follow most of the instructions: I carefully flat felled my seams, cut with the grain, and even followed the exquisite directions to french seam the pockets – and I was glad I did! But there was one area where I differed from protocol: the cutting layout. When I got the A-OK from Thread Theory, I figured I’d share it with you! So, here is an alternate suggestion for a cutting layout:

A bit of background: While it is usually wise to follow pattern instructions (ask me how I know!), cutting layout is one area where you can sometimes take a bit of liberty. For one, manufacturers often have to do a one-size-fits-all approach to the cutting layout, and your smaller or larger pattern pieces may work in a few different ways than suggested. On the user side, you may have to make adjustments for different fabric widths, a directional print, or even need to make do with just barely enough fabric. This is where it may be a good idea to experiment with a few different layouts before cutting.

The Jedediah layout: For the Jedediah Pants, the cutting layout places one pant leg above the other, with the waistband running vertically next to the pant leg (illustration below). While this works great to make sure that the pattern pieces in any size will fit on your fabric, it takes up a lot of yardage (3 yards at least)! Furthermore, if your fabric has a one-way print such as pinstripes, a one-way print such as a plaid, or even a 2-way stretch, a vertically cut waistband will not face the same way as the rest of your pants.

Cutting Layout

The modifications: To save fabric and make sure my waistband stretched in the same direction as the rest of the pants (I used a fabric with 5-10% stretch), I rearranged my pattern pieces, squeezing them on to under 2 yards of fabric! Here’s what the new layout looks like, based on how I cut K’s pants (left) and what that line drawing might look like (right):

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In order to make the waistband modification, I cut the the waistband along the fold of the fabric. As shown above (bottom right-hand corner), half the waistband is placed along the folded edge of the fabric. When the fabric is cut and unfolded, you’ll have a full-size waistband facing the same direction as the rest of your pants! Now my waistband will better match the rest of the pants.

You might call me a slacker, but I just love little sewing shortcuts that save me some fabric space!

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