Ginger Jeans and Bow Neck Knit

Edit: Can I be a super cheeky lady and ask that you please have a look at the pyjama party at Closet Case Files and vote for my PJ’s?? I love those PJ’s (in fact I’m wearing the pants right now) it it would be amazing to win one of those prize packs. And it’s pretty tough competition!

It’s been a while since I posted! But that certainly hasn’t meant that I’m not sewing. In fact, I have a bit of a backlog of projects to photograph (the weather hasn’t been the greatest for photos here recently).

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Jean juice

ImageI’ve never really been someone who wears jeans. I think it stems from me being a bigger lady – I could never find jeans that looked nice, because I couldn’t fit pants from trendy young-people stores, so all that was available were shapeless numbers or mens pants. Sure, each winter I’d get jeans-envy from seeing everyone so comfortable in their jeans, so I’d go to the shops and buy which ever pair actually fit me. once the winter was over I’d suddenly look in the mirror and realise that I looked awful, so out they’d go.

I have had one pair of jeans that fit me well/looked good, which I bought from Forever 21 and took in at the waist so they didn’t gape (you can see me wearing them in lots of my 2013 makes). They recently died (hole in the inner thigh) and I’ve been pant-less ever since. I finally realised that I should take the plunge and try making my own jeans. The results are…. so so.

On the one hand: I made a pair of jeans! And I did it rather well! But on the other hand, I don’t like how they look at all, and they’re definitely reminiscent of all the Jeans West jeans I bought when I was a teenager.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070500-copy.jpg

I used the famous Jalie 2908 “stretch jeans” pattern and my own pants sloper; here’s where the issue starts. Laying the slop on top of the jalie pattern, it appeared that I needed WAY more room than the Jalie allowed. As in, despite being a size W in the waist and CC in the hips, my sloper was bigger than the FF size. I ended up cutting the sloper size and chalking in the Jalie sewing line. I made up one leg, decided it was much too small, and went with the sloper size.

Obviously I forgot about the stretch. I tried them off after I finished the fly (which took two attempts, the second one much helped by this blog post) and they were baggy. I pinched out some fabric, they were better, so I went ahead and finished the seams. Now, I think they could probably have been made exactly as Jalie had drafted them, as I think some of the fitting issues come from being a bit baggy in places.http://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070457-copy.jpg

They’ve ended up looking a bit like “Mom-jeans”, which is a bit mean considering I don’t know many mum’s who wear the kind of jeans I’m meaning, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. They’re a funny cut in the leg and a bit baggy in the crotch. The waist, at least, I’m reasonably proud of – it took me like 3 hours to draft that waistband and except for the fact that I hammered in the buttons 2cm from where they should be, it fits well!

Overall I’m happy with the construction, and that they look like jeans. There’s a lot of topstitching and Mr. Guy even complimented how straight it is. The inseams are flat felled (the regular way, I didn’t realise you’re supposed to sew wrong-sides-together so the bulk is on the outside), the outer leg seams are overlocked and double top-stitched. As mentioned, the fly took to me two attempts, and I hammered the buttons too far over so they pull at the fly.

I didn’t just want plain lines on the back pockets, so I sewed some mountains:


So I’m feeling very bleargh about these. When I look at the clothes I usually wear (skirts/dresses), these look awful in comparison, but I think jeans will always look average purely because of my body shape. Sure, these aren’t the worse jeans I’ve ever worn and they look pretygood from the side, but I still feel very frumpy in them. When I finished them yesterday I was feeling pretty crap, until I realised “these are the first pants I’ve ever made for myself”, and there’s lots of room for improvement. I can handle that although I had such hopes for these.


These will probably end up as “mucking around/working in the garden” pants, which is fine with me. Next time I’ll try using a slightly stretchier denim and make them tighter, and will try making the pockets larger so they reinforce the front (maybe that will help suck in my tummy) – I remember reading that on Tanitisis’s blog though of course I can’t find it now. I also would love to get hold of some polka-dot denim.



Pattern: Jalie 2908 and pants sloper

Fabric: Sturdy stretch denim, $35

Notions: Jeans buttons, $1; interfacing and thread, stash; top-stitching thread, from Mrs. C, jeans zip $4.80. I bought rivets but didn’t use them.

Total: $40.80

Two other things: one, check out these most bodacious shoes. They’re “Vans for the ASPCA”, a friend posted them on facebook and I spent the next couple of days tracking some down. I even bought a pair of the matching dog ones for my nephew in Canada.


Secondly, I was awarded a second Liebster award by Lazylinchen (which makes me think of lazy lichen, which makes me laugh because lichen is amazing). I’ve already done the nominating thing so I’ll quickly answer the questions. Skip if you don’t want to learn more about me.


1. What is your favourite pastime?

It’s probably not hard to guess that it’s sewing!

2. What do you love cooking/eating the most?

Pass! I just love eating.

3. What is you favourite fictional character and why?

Probably Alanna from the The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I love all of her books and I think I owe a large part of my feminist ideals to those books. Girls that kick ass, having to prove themselves equal to males and proving that they can even be better in a mans world.

4.  What do you like most about your life?

My husband, my job, family and pets <3

5. How do you manage your stash (if you have one)? (This is shameless digging for solutions…)

I do have a stash, although I freak out if I have too many things in it. I’m trying to only buy things with a garment in mind but that doesn’t always work. I tend to just fold the fabric and put it on a shelf so I can see it easily and stroke it for inspiration, but I also have a box of fabrics that are my “one day I’ll have the skills/pattern to make that garment”.

6. What is your favourite make?

It’s probably still my Watson Jacket, it’s just so fancy. Or, more recently, my shirtwaist dress and Mr. Guy’s Jedediah trousers..

7. Which part do you dislike most about creating?

When I end up with a product that’s worse than RTW, whether because it doesn’t fit or because I goofed on the construction.

8. Winter or Summer?

Spriiiing, mainly because of all the flowers (this is more a thing in Christchurch, “the garden city” where the council plants thousands of daffodils around the city. Wellington doesn’t have many flowers)

9. If you could choose from any animal that ever existed, what pet would you like to have?

Dragon. Either a small one like a firedrake (that’s like a very intelligent dog) or a big one that I could ride around on.

10. Why do you sew/knit/create?

I started off sewing because I couldn’t find clothes that were trendy/cool that fit me. Later, when I could, I didn’t want to pay the price for those garments. Now I love creating for the sake of it, not being at the mercy of people who decide what’s in fashion (at the moment that seems to be “everything too short”), and it’s my way of expressing myself. Plus I’ve gotten to meet so many people through sewing, it’s rad

11. What is your favourite place on Earth?

  Pass again! I think it’s cheating to just say “New Zealand” but we really do have it lucky. Favourite place that I’ve visited outside of NZ would be Mexico


Jedediah shorty shorts

Okay, sorry to disappoint – they’re not really shorty shorts. Just above the knees.


As soon as I had finished Mr. Guy’s first pair of Jedediah trousers (which are getting worn a lot), he asked for a pair of shorts. I told him yes, but he would have to wait for me to get some fabric… then after some thinking I very kindly used some stash fabric for him. This version is made up from a heavy weight cotton/lycra twill that was originally bought to copy this exact dress, to be worn at work.

I think now it actually would have been too thick/stiff for a dress (good for a winter dress but I work in a hospital that’s always the same temperature), and I really wanted to make him another pair, so it got sacrificed. The pattern actually use a lot less fabric than suggested, so there is easily enough left to make a skirt for myself.


I don’t have much else to say about the construction of these. They’re the same size as the other pair, although I took a couple of cm off the waistband as he wanted to be able to wear his pants/shorts without a belt. Unfortunately (and obviously) the lyca in these means they fit a bit looser, and despite being interfaced, the waistband is more loose than the other pair.

He usually wears his pants quite low so it’s not too bad, but I don’t like him doing that so I’ll make sure I take it in even more if I use a fabric with stretch again in the future.


Fingers over the photo because I was too busy perving, and Mr. Guy doesn’t like me taking photos of him so couldn’t re-do them

You can’t see much detail because of the black, but there isn’t much! Again the pockets have no decorative top-stitching. The side and inner leg seams are all flat felled and the seat seam is overlocked and stitched down.


This time he got blue anchors for pockets (why would I use plain fabric?).

Again, the pattern itself is excellent and not too onerous to sew up – it took two evenings because there’s quite a few things to do. I once read it should take a full day to make a pair of pants/jeans, and I don’t imagine I could make these any quicker. I cut at the “shorts” line but shortened them by about 4-5″, where Mr. Guy wanted them to finish (he looks really odd with below-the-knee-shorts).


Pattern: Jedediah Trousers by Thread Theory

Fabric: Cotton-lycra twill, $18/m with 40% off = $10.80

Notions: Thread, interfacing, zip and button: stash

Total: $10.80

I’m going to have to keep my eye out for trouser fabric now; I’m sure I’m going tog get more requests as the weather gets colder!



A brave and fun-ghi: the Chataigne shorts

Okay, a disclaimer before the post proper: I am rather.. apprehensive, shall we say, to put these photos up here. I don’t have the best bod and never have, although I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got (an in-proportion pear shape). While I do have a reasonably good body image, I do still get down in the dumps, and I know that I have rolls and my legs have dimples.

Being self-conscious is part of the reason why I’ve never worn shorts. That, it’s hard to find nice ones that fit me, and I always get the horrible inner-thighs-riding-up thing. Also, some people feel they have the right to question what people wear, because it “offends them”.

When Deer & Doe released their Chataigne Shorts pattern, I was torn. They were hella cute, and the corseted waist was interesting and probably would be flattering, but could I get away with wearing short-shorts? Was I allowed? For some reason I decided to google the matter and found this excellent website – sure these girls have rolls and dimples and white or dark skin, but they look FABULOUS. The idea that I shouldn’t wear shorts because someone else doesn’t want to look at my legs is surely another form of victim blaming, and I won’t have a bar of it!

So, I bought the pattern and have finally made it up, so here we go and please be kind: my Chataigne shorts.


The shorts are the first project I’ve made with my pants sloper (which I made at The Dreamstress School of Dressmaking – perfect fit pants class – highly recommended if you’re based in or near Wellington). I used the waist pieces as is, and traced the legs as a combination of the original pattern, and the sloper, making sure to get the crotch length/rise the same as my sloper, which worked well. I also lengthened the shorts by a few inches, else they would be super short. My muslin just showed I needed more room in the waist but otherwise the fit was adequate. You can see the crotch length is perhaps a bit short, or it may be to do with the style, but there’s a bit of pulling down there.

ImageI love the word crotch. Maybe just because everyone else hates it.

The waist pieces are also a bit small still, leading to horizontal pulling and a visible tummy button, although they actually don’t feel too tight. Funnily, these are actually remarkably comfortable, it’s like they just hold everything in place! The only thing I notice when wearing them is that the hems are a bit tight (maybe because of the way I’ve sewn them).

ImageOtherwise, I’m really comfortable in these. I’m not worried about the dreaded “muffin top”, and shockingly the inner thighs don’t seem to ride up!! I’m guessing this is because of the fuller thigh adjustment we did on the sloper, but I always thought it was inevitable (for years I battled with chafe, which is the reason that I never, ever went without stockings or culotte petticoats until I was 23 and lost a bit of weight and could get away with not wearing them). Sorry if that’s TMI!

ImageYou may notice that this is the same fabric as Mr. Guy’s trousers… and, well, I swear this isn’t on purpose:

ImageIn the middle is my face, when realising that we accidentally have quite a lof of matching outfits


Sorry rachelinred! I swear it wasn’t on purpose.

In terms of construction, I flat felled both the side and inner leg seams. Hems are overlocked, folded then folded again (therefore really strong, and the reason why I think they’re a bit constricting). Crotch seam and pockets were overlocked. The seams in the waistband we pressed open and left to reduce bulk. And because the cotton twill is quite thick, I lined them with quilting cotton:


The zip doesn’t match, because it’s all I had and it’s an invisible zip (although because they’re fitting I think you can see it a bit at the perfectly matching seam 😀


I am pretty sure I’ll make these again; probably using 10mm seam allowances to loosen them and perhaps in a stretch wool or denim for some winter shorts that will look great with stockings.


Pattern: Chataigne shorts by Deer & Doe

Fabric: Blue cotton twill, and quilting cotton, leftover from other projects

Notions: thread and zipper, stash

Total: zilch.

ImageSo, thanks for letting my bare my legs. With this kind of thing it’s tempting to put stockings on first (despite the heat), stylise the photos somehow or even avoid them altogether, but doing this sort of thing is how you really come to grips with your body image, and if noone does it, people think it shouldn’t be done! There’s not enough plus-sized sewing bloggers out there which can be hard, because you only see how certain patterns look on slimmer people. So there you go – I recommend these shorts for plus-sized ladies, although only if you’re comfortable with a fitted waist!


Oh, for Morgan and anyone else who cares, the lipstick is Flat Out Fabulous, by MAC cosmetics: one of my absolute fav colours.


Don’t be a Dickie: Thread Theory’s Jedediah Trousers

Folks, there is a reason why Thread Theory was one of my top, all time favoutite pattern companies. Here I am with my first ever pair of trousers, and apart from a few tiny issues, they look just like RTW (particularly like Dickies brand pants).

Image I traced off this pattern yesterday, washed and dried the calico for a muslin, and made the muslin which I initially thought was going to send me into a spiral of fitting-doom. From Mr. Guy’s measurements I traced a 36 in the waist and 34 in the hips, but when he tried the muslin on there was all sorts of bagging and pulling, and to be honest I had NO idea where to start.

Then I remembered that he had told me earlier that he wore a 34 in RTW (why does he never remember that when we’re in shops?), so I went back and re-cut the pattern and muslin to a size 34 all over… and hey presto! Almost perfect fit. The waistband is still a touch loose so he will have to wear a belt (which he does will all his RTW anyway) and the back crotch seam needs to be lengthened; otherwise, that’s it! Thank goodness for him being a “standard” shape, I get enough fitting issues with my own clothes.

ImageI’m almost hesitant to say that the entire process of tracing, muslin, and making the pants only took me one day: I don’t want you all to hate me. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re all sickened by how many garments I’m cranking out; I would be too! I guess I’m just relaxed and, well, there’s not much else to do here once you’ve taken the dog for a walk.

ImageJessie-dog and Travis the cat love to tussle.

The quickness it got made* was largely due to the pattern itself though. All of Thread Theory’s patterns I’ve made so far (which is all of them other than the Goldstream Peacoat) have been so well drafted, with excellent instructions that include little tips to help with the construction. There is also a sewalong for the trousers/shorts on their website which is always helpful for the confusing bits, and Morgan did a video on how to sew the fly – which made it so easy I didn’t have time to be apprehensive about it!

*now I have Sublime stuck in my head..

ImageI will admit that I made the fly a bit too shallow (I’m not sure how to explain that better), and am glad that my fly top-stitching isn’t contrasting so you can’t see that it’s a bit too close to the opening. That, and a few areas where my topstitching isn’t so straight on the corners (and the inner waistband – must remember to sew it on back to front like the La Sylphide neck tie) are the only areas that I’m not completely stoked about.


I pretty much followed the instructions for the construction. Both inner and outer leg seams and the yoke are flat-felled, crotch seam is overlocked. I didn’t have any bias binding or the inclination to make any, so the waistband seam is just tucked away and stitched.

ImageThis is one of those projects that, although I was there every step of the way, I can’t quite believe that I made it. I was looking at each leg when I had finished them (prior to sewing the crotch seam), just admiring how good they look – now that is a good feeling. Obviously sewing menswear is good for my patience in ensuring I do everything nice and proper. Now I’m keen to try making shirts and pants for myself, once I have the fabric (I have the Archer shirt and the Thurlow trousers patterns, and I’d love to try making jeans).

ImageOf course not everything in the pants is “proper”, I had to sneak some kind of personalisation in there:

ImageOut of my stash, Mr. Guy chose this lobster print cotton for the pockets (yusss). It’s almost a shame that the pants are so well designed and you can’t see the pockets from the outside! He’ll have to just pull them out to show people, and next time I might copy Meg’s first pair and sew the pockets inside out so you can see the fabric when the trousers are off.

I didn’t actually do any decorative top-stitching on the pocket – should have just gone with the suggested stitching lines, but I want to have something really cool but couldn’t think of anything – plus I’m no good at machine embroidery. ONE DAY. The back patch pockets are also a bit small, too, as for some reason I only traced off the stitching template rather than the actual pocket piece!

Image See what I mean though? Only teensy tiny problems which aren’t even real problems. I’m getting a lot better at this sewing game!


Pattern: Jedediah Trousers from Thread Theory

(I bought the PDF version a while ago, but just bought all the paper copies because I’m a fan girl <3 )

Fabric: Cotton twill from The Fabric Store, 2m at $18/m (on sale at 40% off) = $21.60

Notions: button and thread, stash. Interfacing, $2

Total: $23.60

Take that, $90 pants (although mine aren’t wrinkle resistant or “stain release”, whatever that means).