Spring sweater might sound like an oxymoron to people in some parts of the world; here a spring day typically contains weather elements from each of the four seasons. Truly, the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait fifteen minutes" gets thrown around ad nauseam from March until June while mother nature sorts herself out. It's crucial for a person to have all forms of apparel readily available at all times.
This particular sweater is Jean from issue 14 of Pom Pom Quarterly, knit using Lil Weasel house brand yarn that I purchased during our trip to Paris last fall. (worn here with my latest pair of Birkin Flares). The jewel toned yarns in PPQ14 are what initially caught my eye when they were released. I bought this yarn specifically with Jean in mind, and I knew I wanted a bright color. It's warm enough to really classify as jewel toned...The shade is softer and fairly aquamarine hued. Perfect for spring.
I knit size 1 of this pattern and find that it fits great but is just slightly bigger than I'd prefer at the bottom band. This, I'm sure can be attributed to the garter stitch, which, isn't the best stitch for the job, IMO. It does tie the cuffs and the cowl together nicely. If I were to do this again, I'd likely keep the garter and just knit fewer rows for a snugger fit.
More jeans. I did warn you about my denim buying spree. I'm completely determined for each of those fabrics to land in my closet in the form of finished garments, pronto. It's not stash if it never lands there, right? I try not to over-plan my sewing projects, but I do typically have a loose list of things I'd like to accomplish. Right now, that list includes a variety of separates to mix & match. Jeans are at the top of the priority list, because they're a four season garment for me.
This particular pair of jeans, however, are better suited to spring and summer than they are fall and winter. These are sewn using a Japanese Denim from Mood. As I said before, all the denims I bought are very different. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say this denim most closely compares to the 9oz cone denim I used to sew my first pair of Ginger Jeans, because this denim has a similar/high amount of stretch. This Japanese denim is, however, even lighter weight than the 9oz Cone Denim.
I used the Birkin Flares pattern for this pair of jeans. Following my first experience, I knew I wanted to make a couple minor changes to my second pair. I left this pair two inches longer than my first pair and took all the length from the line above the knee. I also tapered the leg between the thigh and the knee to really exaggerate the flare. Finally, since this denim has such a high amount of stretch, I cut them smaller than I had previously. This pair combines the rise of the size 26, the waist of the size 27 and the hip of the size 28.
I do wish this denim was a bit heavier. I think it would help prevent the outlines of the pocket bags from appearing so prominently on the outside of the jeans and make it easier to tuck a shirt into them. But, overall, I'm satisfied with how they turned out.
On the subject of shirts, this one is the Pauline Alice Carme Blouse. I made this blouse once before, alongside Nathalie. At the time I made it, I wasn't sure how I felt about this pattern. Since then, I've worn that blouse plenty! Currently, 70's style, peasant blouses are flashing all over my radar, so I decided I could use a couple more shirts from this pattern in my life. This pattern has some great details incorporated into it. The pin-tucked front yoke and the sleeve tabs make this pattern both interesting to sew and to look at. The colors in this fabric are best represented above. (The sun was playing peek-a-boo on us and it made it very difficult to capture both the shirt and the jeans accurately at the same time.)
My shirt fabric is estate sale stash fabric. In all likeliness, this cotton fabric is from the 70's, and I thought it was entertaining that the color scheme contained three of Pantone's trending colors for Spring 2016 (Peach Echo, Buttercup & Green Flash). It was a perfect storm. It's like this fabric was telling me what it wanted to be.
Following my first flirtation with jeans sewing, I went on a denim buying bender. I had a general understanding what I was looking for based on the recommendations of other jeans sewing bloggers, but I was completely surprised by the packages that landed on my doorstep!
The first two denims I bought are Cone Denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I bought yardage of both the 9oz S-gene and the 10.5 S-gene knowing that they were different weights but not thinking too deeply into it. WELL, these are two totally different fabrics! The 9oz is VERY stretchy while the 10.5 oz is nearly rigid. I was surprised, actually, how little stretch the 10.5 oz has. They are both beautiful. And, they are both considerably lighter than the denim I used when I sewed my Birkin Flares. I was a little confused by the contrast between them, then my next fabric delivery landed on my doorstep.
My second shipment of denim came from Mood. I ordered two Japanese Denims: Palace Blue (sold out)& Proenza Schouler Black. I also bought a generic White Denim. You guys. They are all totally different. None of the five denims I bought feels or behaves entirely similar to another. On a whole, my confusion deepened. But, I officially understood why both Lauren and Heather included instructions to BASTE fit before sewing any final stitching. Fabric always plays a role in the final fit of a garment, but when it comes to fitting jeans, fabric and fit are completely entangled!
I can say with confidence that I will have to sew different pattern sizes for each of those five different denims. The jeans in this post are sewn using the Ginger Jeans Pattern and 9oz Indigo Cone Denim. This was my first time sewing this pattern, and it was a really excellent experience. The pattern is well written, the instructions are clear, and Heather includes a series of tips and pointers on sewing jeans at the forward of the instructions that I found very handy and helpful. At this point in my sewing experience, I've only worked with five pants patterns, but of those five patterns, Heather's method for installing a fly is my ABSOLUTE favorite.
I very highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking to sew jeans. That said, I don't think this is the perfect pattern for MY BODY. My body is: petite. When I was deciding which size(s) to cut, I chose the lowest possible rise of the high waisted version. My hope was to achieve a mid-rise jean. And, I think that I achieved that, but I still could use a smidgen reduction in the rise. My body is: bottom-heavy. I have all my curve below the waist. And, that curve is quite dramatic. I also have thick thighs. SO, even with grading between sizes, I ended up with my most common RTW fit issue, gap waist. My finished Ginger jeans look and fit as well as most RTW jeans, but my goal with sewing is to have jeans that fit better than RTW.
The thing I like least about this pattern (really it's the only thing I can think of that I disliked) is that the waistband is cut to the same size as the actual waist measurement of the jeans. Since I sewed the Birkin Flares first, I was spoiled by Lauren's method of cutting the waistband on the stretch grain of the fabric with negative ease. Stretch easing the jeans to the waistband creates a REALLY nice fit between the hip and the waist, because it pulls everything inward.
I do want to have more pairs of skinnies in my closet. I think my next attempt will be a mash-up of the two patterns mentioned. (Binger Jeans?). And, I am head over heels for the 9oz Cone Denim I used on this pair. The color is BEAUTIFUL and it's lovely to wear. More of this fabric is on my shopping list... as soon as I finish sewing through my first denim splurge. :-D
At the onset of the year, I (un)officially deemed 2016 my "year of the trousers". I've been wanting to sew pants for a long time. I've collected a large pile of pants patterns in anticipation. I've stashed a wide range of bottom weight fabrics. Everything was ready and waiting for me.
I procrastinated pants sewing as long as I possibly could. I finally reached a breaking point. I completely backed myself into a corner. You see, for the same amount of time that I've been collecting pants patterns and fabrics, I also completely stopped buying RTW pants. I get a lot of mileage from my clothing, typically, but my dress pants were loved to death. I had a choice to make. Cave-in and buy pants or stop being such a wimp and sew some stinking pants, already!
TA DAH! My first pair of Manhattan trousers! Like most projects that I procrastinate on, these were far less daunting than I'd imagined them to be! Actually, this pattern goes together VERY quickly and VERY easily. The instructions are simply written and clear. The pants look exactly as expected by the line drawing. The pattern fit was on point with the way the provided measurements suggested these would fit. Also, this pattern is designed with petite body types in mind, so I didn't need to do any tweaking to the rise, which was a nice little pattern prepping treat!
As I mentioned, my pants situation is fairly desperate at the moment, so I've decided to start my mission with some solid basic items. These were sewn using a medium weight wool suiting fabric. The fit is fairly decent right out of the envelope. This fabric is very stable and doesn't have any stretch component to it. So, on future versions with similar types of fabric, I think I will give myself a little more room in the upper thigh. I don't notice any tightness in them until I sit, then the thigh is a little snug. I'm eager to make more of these pants. As soon as I can get a few pairs of neutral, (boring)basic pairs in my closet, I'd like to have a pair or two of bright color or patterned pairs.
Also, photographed in this post is my Lightweight Pullover. This pattern, by Hannah Fettig, has been in my favorites/queue for ages. Over the winter when I sorted through my stash and matched yarn to patterns, I made sure to include it in the mix. The yarn I used is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I love this yarn. I purchased this particular yarn from an estate sale, but I would specifically seek out and buy it again for future projects. It has a really gorgeous feel and drape, and the microfiber component of the blend provides a nice element of stability/structure to the final garment. I feel like I used to be really resistant to any yarn blend that included the tiniest amount of synthetic fiber, but I'm coming around.
There isn't anything complicated about this pattern. It was a really wonderful social knitting project. I do recommend having a side-project on hand to offset the boredom of knitting a mile of stockinette. Whining aside, it knits fast, and I do think the resulting garment is worth it. This sweater is really easy to wear. It dresses-up just as easily as it dresses down. Just as its name suggests, this is a nice light sweater. It's been great for unpredictable bursts of chilly spring weather.... we're having a lot of those. I already have plans in place to knit this again in a different yarn variety.
It feels pretty amazing to be filling some of the notable gaps in my closet! Sewing pants is going to give me a lot more options when it comes to separates and me-made outfit building!