Jeans and a very late #TheBigStitch top.

I’ve learnt a couple of new things about my sewing pursuits recently. Firstly I seem to cut a bit to large in size. This has happened a few times recently. Despite making a toile which I feel I am ultimately happy with before cutting the real thing I end up with a garment a bit to big. Here is an example of this. Jeans! I have had pattern Vogue 8774 in my stash for months and months, with a plan to get round to making a pair of jeans. My most worn pair of jeans I bought pre-babies which is over eight years ago. I still do wear them but have been craving a higher waisted cut.

I did do something a bit silly. I made my toile in regular calico which would generally be quite a good choice for a toile for a regular denim pair of jeans…however I choose to use blue heavyweight stretch denim for the real thing. So naturally the stretch will make the fit feel easier, which I didn’t account for when I cut the real thing.

I made the jeans up and only tried them on once during the make up, which was just before applying the waistband. I still felt like they were fitting OK. Generally speaking I prefer an easy fit to a close fit. However on first real wear I decided I definitely needed a belt to make them feel comfortable. Since making them I have worn them with a belt and decided they are my boyfriend fit jeans! I don’t plan to unpick all that top-stitching to reduce the size but I realise I was hoping for a slightly more snug fit.

Talking of top-stitching there is a fair bit on these. I chose to do this with the same thread I used for my denim vintage pledge dress posted last week. I used a heavyweight top stitch thread and used standard thread on the bobbin. The colour is pale pink however against the dark navy does look more like white.

I enjoyed making these and have cut the pattern down and I am making a pair in black heavyweight stretch denim to try and achieve the fit I was originally hoping for.

The second thing I have learnt about my sewing pursuits is that though I have spent a large chunk of my career in the deadline driven fashion industry I no longer seem to have such a good ability to meet deadlines! Way back in July this year The British Heart foundation launched an up-cycle competition. I saw it and read that the deadline was the end of July and felt inspired to try a bit of up-cycling ( I am also a sucker for a good sewing cause). Just ahead of my summer break I was in town buying a few last minute bits and pieces and wandered in to one of the British Heart foundation shops. I ended up feeling really inspired and coming away with a big bag of goodies.

I went off on hols and returned with about a week to the comp deadline…I’m not sure where I thought I might fit any up-cycling in that space of time!! Nevertheless I decided with or without the comp I would still carry on and up-cycle the items I bought.

This scarf stood out because of the lovely colours. It is a lightweight (possibly) wool fabric. There was no label on it it so I washed it on a cool machine wash.

I didn’t really do anything very clever with this, I decided it was wide enough to make a top. I love the whole kimono style that is around at the moment and thought this scarf would lend itself well to making a nice kimono top.

I simply folded the scarf in quarters and marked a neckline hole on the folded edge. I did test out a neckline on a piece of calico first because I wanted to make sure I didn’t cut it to wide or deep. Then I shaped the side into an underarm seam. I left the fringing as the hem finish on both sleeve and hem. I am not sure how this will fair in the washing machine so I might need to turn a narrow hem if it frays to much.

 I finished the neck with bias binding. The quickest and easiest top ever, worn with probably some quite time consuming jeans!

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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