Monday, January 26, 2015

Sewing for Men - Thread Theory Jedediah Shorts

It was my husbands birthday soon after Christmas (30th December, such a pain!!) and as we were going to be in Thailand on a big family holiday and buying shorts in winter is almost impossible I decided to make him some as a gift.

I tried a new to me pattern company that specialises in menswear sewing patterns.  This pattern looked to have a modern cut, had good reviews and was available as a pdf, because of course I had left it late to get started.

Thread Theory Jedediah Pants

Link to Thread Theory Jedediah Sewalong

I wanted these to be a surprise so I had to wing it on the sizing.  Going through my husbands wardrobe was no help at all, he has shorts in size 30, 32 and 34 so I made 2 pairs - a 32 and 34.  Our family trip included my father in law, 2 brothers in law and 4 grown up nephews so I figured they would fit somebody!

Actually they both fit my husband quite well, when I asked for some feedback all I got was "one pair is closer fitting than the other".  This was not news to me!  Further investigation only yielded that the looser ones are better for doing activities in, the smaller pair are smarter and which he prefers depends on whether he's having a fat day or not!  So I can't give you much advice on sizing but I think if I make them again that I will go with the larger size.  The image above makes the red ones look much bigger, but there isn't a huge difference between the 32 and 34, really hard to get them to lie flat so this isn't very scientific.  I deliberately made the larger, red ones a bit longer.

The instructions are pretty good and there is also a sewalong on the blog.  The only change I made to the pattern was to straighten off the legs a bit instead of having them slightly tapered and shortened them and left the hems plain instead of cuffed.

I deviated a bit from the instructions when it came to finishing the waistband.  The instructions have you fold the waistband back on itself, tuck as much of the shorts out of the way and machine stitch.  It's a bit tricky, but is well documented on day 7 of the sewalong if you want to do it properly.  However I copied some RTW trousers of mine and simplified it by serging (instead of binding) the exposed waistband edge, folding it in by the zipper before topstitching the waistband, it's not at all bulky and is easy to do.

This is how Thread Theory's look on the inside compared to mine which you can see on the inside views.

Monday, January 12, 2015

BurdaStyle 04/2011 - 118 Top

I had some scraps of polka dot jersey left over from my Style Arc Marita dress, too small to do anything proper with, but too big to just throw away also so I decided to make a top using plain black as a contrast.

Somewhere in my mind I remembered this pattern though it took a while to track it down, it's from the 4/2011 issue of Burda.  It was the colourblocked dress I remembered, but I used the top pattern.

With it's batwing (or are they dolman, is there a difference?) sleeves, it is a bit 1980's, but I am lacking in long sleeve tops and this is super quick and easy to make.

It should be possible to whip this top up in about an hour, but I ran into problems with the overly wide neckline.  Much as I am a fan of Burda I often have problems with their necklines being too wide or low, I should know better by now, but I didn't realise until I tried on the top quite how wide the neck was - on me it was ridiculous and only just balanced on the edge of my shoulders!

I messed about with adding a neckband but that didn't look right so in the end opted for the quick fix of changing the shoulder line as you can see from the row of pins in the photos below.

The original neckline is just turned and stitched, but after making the change above I found it difficult to get a nice finish at the corners so I faced the neckline with a strip of the jersey instead and topstitched that down with a twin needle.  The hems are just turned and twin needled.

The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeves because my scrap piece wasn't wide enough.  I could have added contrast bands, but just wanted to get it finished after the neckline hoo ha so I have 7/8 sleeves.  The original pattern sleeves are very long, I'd have needed to shorten them in any case.

So, it took much longer than it should have to make this simple top, but I like how this turned out.  It's a good pattern for using up smaller pieces of jersey, just beware of the neckline width.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BurdaStyle 08/2014 - 132 Knit Top and BurdaStyle 03/2014 - 115 Jeans

Happy New Year!  I started drafting the next few posts before Christmas so there won't be any end of year round ups or resolutions from me, I'm just going to keep rolling on!  However as a New Year special it's 2 garments in one post today.

First up - BurdaStyle 08/14-132 Top

I'm always drawn to knit tops with a bit of detailing and Burda often have these kinds of patterns in their magazine.

This one is from the August 2014 issue and is really straightforward to put together.  It is however quite oversized so I would recommend going down at least a size if not two, I cut my usual 38 and took in the side seams, including the sleeves by around 2 inches each side and it is still loose.  You can see from the line drawing though that it is quite boxy so I think it is supposed to be this way, but I found the waist pleating to be way below my waist as well.

Kristy made this in a ponte knit and took it in even more to get a much closer fitting top.  My knit is very lightweight so I have stuck with a drapy tunic style this time (also my pleats would disappear into the side seams if I took it in anymore).  It's fine, there is definitely a place in my wardrobe for this kind of top, but if I made it again I would try and add a bit more waist definition and raise the line of pleats up higher.  It does however work well with skinny pants which is good because I also made some of those....

BurdaStyle 03/2014 - 115 Five Pocket Trousers

I found some stretch fabric on one of my recent trips to Sham Shui Po, it was very cheap and has a faux suede texture with a sort of croc pattern on it and it immediately said skinny pants to me.

I went through my more recent Burda magazines and picked this classic jean style pant which also happens to be the illustrated sewing course in the March 2014 issue.

Given the fabric was so inexpensive I didn't bother with a muslin, I started with a size 40 and added extra seam allowances at the sides so I could tweak the fit later, Burda's pants draft does seem to fit me quite well so this seemed a good place to start.  I ended up taking the waist in quite a bit at the sides and centre back and trimmed the outer legs down till I got the fit I wanted.  Learning from my last pant making experience I redrafted a curved waistband and facing instead of the straight strip.

The instructions are pretty good, even for the fly front.  I tried to get clever though and catch my belt loops in the waistband which was all well and good until I realised that I then couldn't topstitch the waistband.  Oops, I don't intend to wear these with the waist showing, but the topstitching would help give the waistband more structure.  Next time I will follow the instructions!

You can see I really struggled to get these to lie flat or get the right light for photos, but the end result is exactly how I pictured them in the fabric store and while black skinny pants will go with many things, I really like them with my new top.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Style Arc Marita Dress

I've made this before so I won't repeat myself by talking about the construction - my original post is here.  It is a really quick to make dress that looks a lot more complicated than it is (oh, I just saw I wrote the same thing last time!).

Now that I've worn it a lot I can definitely say it is most successful in lightweight jerseys, which to be fair to Style Arc is what they suggest.  This is a polka dot print ITY jersey and is ideal for this dress.

I found on my previous version that the cowl neckline has a tendency to show the wrong side of the fabric so for this one I extended the cowl facing, not really understanding the pattern so the facing is asymmetrical and a right mess on the inside, but it seems to work!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

BurdaStyle 10/2014 - 101 Dress

Well it looks like the sequin cardi is a hit, must be that sparkly time of year!  In case I have inspired any similar makes, Nancy asked a good question in the comments about whether the sequins bother me at the neck.  To be honest I hadn't even thought about that, my sequins really are tiny so I think it will be OK when I wear it for more than 15 minutes!  I guess a solution would be to bind the edge with something or try the other pattern I featured and make the collar band in a plain fabric, could look fabulous, sort of like a tuxedo look!  Carolyn recently made the short version of 6844 with a contrast pleather band for example.

Back to todays post....

This dress is a bit of a departure to the shape I've worn lately, but I like trying new things and this pattern appealed to me - at least the line drawing did.

Burda showed two versions of this pattern, one in a lovely ombre matellasse fabric which let's face it is all about the fabric that I have zero chance of finding and one in fabrics that look like they were pulled out of the stash while blindfolded!  Still, at least we can see the pattern lines in the fashion photo.

The latter put me off doing full on colour blocking, but I still wanted to mark out the different sections somehow.  I decided to add rows of topstitching in matching thread.  After the first couple of panels I felt it was a bit too subtle and that I was wasting my time, not to mention thread, but the thought of unpicking anything was worse so I soldiered on.  I'm glad I did, once the pieces were put together they looked much better and I like the sort of sporty look it gives the dress.

I used a cranberry doubleknit fabric for this dress, you don't need such a stretchy fabric although Burda does say fabrics with some stretch are ideal, I think either works.  Since I added horizontal topstitching on the hip yoke I decided to keep the zipper to avoid popping any stitches.

It proved to be really difficult to photograph this dress, the colour reads as a bright red and it was hard to capture the details.

Doing all the top stitching was boring and quite time consuming, but other than that the dress went together pretty easily.  Those inset corners can be a bit tricky, but if you take your time, mark the fabric properly and use a friendly fabric they should be ok.  This pattern is the illustrated course for the month so the instructions are detailed, I always do my inset corners in two stages, stopping and starting at the corner rather than trying to pivot the fabric, Burda suggests the same method.

The end result is a really comfy and cosy dress in a cheery colour perfect for gloomy chilly days.