Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


50 Comments

The comfiest jeans ever!

GingerJeans-42 I made Ginger Jeans!  For years I have maintained that I’m not a ‘jeans person’ and often wear dresses or leggings and tunics rather than some form of trousers.  This denim avoidance hasn’t been for style reasons but is instead based on comfort.  I’ve bought and sewn quite a selection of jeans over the last five years but have found every single pair to be horribly uncomfortable.  I get stuck at either end of the denim spectrum – too rigid and restricting or too stretchy and droopy.  It would way rather wear a comfortable dress with the waistband sitting at the natural waist than get a stomach ache and claustrophobia due to a low rise  denim waistband that digs in.  And I much prefer the maintenance free feeling of a tunic and leggings to constantly stopping to pull up saggy jeggings!

GingerJeans-19

Well, I am happy to report that I am now a convert to high-waist jeans thanks to Heather Lou and Variation B of the Ginger Jeans pattern!  Sallie- Oh’s version was a definite source of persuasion as well.    The waistband sits at my natural waist and doesn’t slip down or dig in – in fact, the waistband actually feels more comfortable than the elastic waistband on my favorite pair of leggings.  I was nervous that high-waist jeans might make me look like a mom from the 80s but in the end, I wear most of my tops untucked so it is impossible to tell that the pants underneath extend to the waist.

GingerJeans-5

Even if I were to wear a shorter top, I am pretty satisfied with how the high waist gives my short legs the illusion of length.

GingerJeans-14

Moving on from the waistband of these jeans, I am very happy with how they fit throughout the rest of the seat and legs.

GingerJeans-36

I made a lot of changes to the pattern to get this fit but expected I would be doing this due to the fact that my hips are pretty narrow and there is a big difference in measurement between the widest point of my hips and the narrowest point of my waist (I guess all of this difference is near the center back).  This meant I had to adjust the yoke by taking a very large wedge out of center back (Heather explains how to do this very clearly).  I ended up removing about 1 1/2″ from CB and am thrilled with how nicely the shape of the yoke matches my body!

GingerJeans-56

I also removed almost all of the curve at the hips, tapering down to the knees.  I made these changes directly to my fabric pieces after basting them together as drafted.  I knew all my changes would be to make the pants narrower and so I wasn’t worried about the inability to add fabric.

GingerJeans-29

The fabric itself is absolutely gorgeous and it was bought from the discount table at Atex Designer Fabrics in Vancouver.  I am not sure what weight this denim is but it is heavier than I have seen locally and it is extremely soft.  The spandex content is fairly low compared to denims that I have used for stretch jeans in the past (sorry I don’t have specific information, I didn’t keep the tag!).  I am hoping that the weight of this fabric paired with this pretty low spandex content will help the jeans retain their shape over time…I really dislike baggy knees!

GingerJeans-30

I used our gunmetal Jeans & Pants Essential Notions Kit to finish off the pants – the silver button and gunmetal rivets look really nice with the black denim.  I’ll be applying Otter Wax to these jeans now that ‘before’ photos are taken because who can resist black waxed skinny jeans!  One of our new large sized Otter Wax bars should be more than enough for this pair of pants (I bet I’ll have enough left over for a dopp kit or to touch up Matt’s waxed Jutlands).  I’ll show you the ‘after’ photos once they are ready!

 


 

Now that I have my first pair of Gingers complete, I’m getting closer to completing my spring wardrobe – I have more denim on order from Fancy Tiger for a pair of blue jeans and will then embark on a couple Archer Button-ups as well as the Chambray skirt that I have planned.  I am already happily wearing my Coppélia Cardigans regularly as you can see in all of the above photos – such a cute, quick and easy pattern to sew!

 

 

I’ve completed all the Watson bra and underwear sets that I had planned (will blog soon!) as well as a big load of Lazo Trousers that I will blog about when the pattern is released.  The last item on my list will be a Nettie or two for layering – though I may get distracted by some By Hand London floral Kim dresses for a while!

 

 

Maintaining an impossibly long list of inspiring sewing projects puts me in such a creatively fulfilled state of mind.  I find that the emptier my project and ideas list is, the more ‘listless’ I feel! *pun intended*

 

Advertisements


26 Comments

A Newcastle Cardigan for Women

This weekend, in celebration of the pouring rain and occasional thunder outside our studio window, we are having a Newcastle Cardigan Sale so that you can sew yourself or someone else something cozy as Fall approaches!

From now until midnight, September 22nd (PST) (while I am on my Sew-cation) you can buy the Newcastle Cardigan PDF sewing pattern at 20% off!  Simply enter the code RAIN at check out (using capslock).  Happy sewing!

Since Selfish Sewing Week is coming up, I sewed something yesterday that will ease me into this weekend’s much anticipated ‘selfish’ sew-cation.

This project is both, in essence, completely selfish and decidedly thoughtful…I sewed a Newcastle Cardigan for myself!  Its selfish because I used work time to sew something that I will wear and skipped over the list of several cardigans I’ve agreed to make for family members and investors (woops!) to make my version first.  It’s thoughtful because I can now wear a ‘stolen from the boyfriend’ style cardigan without actually stealing it…not that I’ve managed to steal Matt’s more than once or twice.  Every time I’m chilly and go to grab it, he’s already wearing it!

I love my green wool version.  It’s my absolute favorite colour and I treated myself to all my favorite features: military-esque brass buttons, huge patch pockets, extra long sleeves, leather details…the works!

I kept the fit really slouchy and exaggerated by cutting a size XS (way too big for me!) and then limiting my sizing adjustments to narrowing the shoulders and only slightly exaggerating the curve of the waist.  That way, the arms are still really wide and it is too long for me, making it the coziest of cozy sweaters to put over top of bulky layers for fall evening walks and to wear while sewing in my chilly sewing studio.

The rest of the adjustments I made were a bit of an experiment to see if I could eliminate the use of facings and also add a zipper.  As you can see, the zipper was a dismal failure and was quickly ripped out.  I think that a shawl collar, super slouchy fit, and stiff zipper could never co-inhabit the same sweater happily.  The zipper sat so stiffly that it pointed out, away from my chest at the top and looked really ridiculous.  Instead, I decided to treat my bound seam allowances as a built in facing by interfacing them, folding them over and adding button holes.  I added buttons on a slight asymmetrical angle to make the sweater fit slightly smaller in the chest and I kept the bottom of the sweater open to accommodate for my hips as I didn’t add width here (if you wanted to make a buttoned Newcastle for a female without many alterations to the pattern you would have to add width to the pattern pieces at the hips while likely taking away width at the waist to better fit the female form).

All my experimenting led to a sweater I really love but it certainly didn’t result in the no-facing, no buttons tutorial that I was planning to make!  It was really easy to eliminate the facing pieces though so I’ve included the tutorial photos Matt took just in case anyone is interested to see how I did it:

Resized-1You’ll need rulers (a curved on is preferable but you can always eyeball the curves if you don’t have one!), a pencil or marker, scissors and tape.

These are the pieces that I eliminated for my sweater: The Back Neck Facing, the Front Facing, and the Button Placket.

Resized-2

I eliminated the Button Placket by extending the Cardigan Front by half the placket amount on each front because I was planning to add a zipper so I didn’t want the Cardigan Front to overlap.  As you can see, I added 1 5/8″ because I mistakenly thought I should add a seam allowance to the centre front…I forgot that there was already a seam allowance included to sew the Cardigan Front to the Front Placket!  So I really should have added a total of 1″

In the end, of course, all of this was irrelevant because I added buttons instead of a zipper after all and fudged things, trusting that the forgiving wool would hide that I was pulling and tugging things off grain by making the front overlap and button up asymmetrically!

Resized-6

After adding width to the front of the cardigan I adjusted the neck curve so that it would extend to the new CF.  I tried to keep the old neckline and the new neckline as close to the same measurement as possible but I ended up needing to add a little length to the collar pattern pieces so that they would still reach the centre front of the cardigan.

Resized-7

Resized-8

 

I also removed some width from the shoulders (I didn’t adjust the sleeve heads as I technically should have because, since this was all an experiment I again trusted that the forgiving wool would allow me to ease them into the new, bigger armholes).  Lastly, I exaggerated the curve of the waist to create a slightly less boxy fit:

Resized-4

Of course, if you were to adjust the shoulder width and planned to use the yokes from Version 1 of the pattern, you would have to also remove width from these pieces:

Resized-5

To create the patch pockets, I cut rectangles of wool 7 1/2″ tall X 6 1/2″ wide and sewed them to the Cardigan Front pieces with exposed raw edges (I like how the edges felt and look fluffy when this wool is washed and dried).  You could easily serge and turn under the edges if your fabric frays or you don’t like the look of the raw edges.  Instead of sewing all the way up to the top of the pocket outside edge, I stopped half way up and then folded over the loose flap and tacked it down with a decorative button.  This pocket, with the angled top opening is really comfortable to put my hands in!

Before sewing the shoulder seams together, I top-stitched on strips of leather in the same way the Shoulder Yoke is sewn on.  I also bound the CF because I was envisioning adding a zipper at a later point and wanted finished seam allowances.  If I had known I was going to be turning under approx. 1 1/2″ as a self-facing I would have interfaced this strip before adding the binding.

Resized-11

To eliminate the Back Neck Facing I sewed the collar on, as per the directions (minus the facing piece) and then carefully graded the seam allowance before enclosing the allowance in an open piece of binding.  This creates visible stitching on the right side of the collar but it will be hidden when the collar is folded over:

Resized-28

All the binding made for a very pretty garment, but really, in the end the sewing steps took just as long as using the facings would have and were much more fiddly (I guess it depends how comfortable your machine is with stitching woven binding onto thick and stretchy knit layers).  Both the facing and binding/self facing methods have their advantages and disadvantages and I am glad to have tried both for the Newcastle because I often worry that people will be a little put off by the idea of a cardigan with facings.  In the end, I like the facing method more as it creates a sturdier garment with less visible exterior stitching and less fighting with the tricky combination of woven and knit fabrics.

Would you consider converting the Newcastle Cardigan pattern into a women’s version?

Thanks for the fun photo shoot Matt!