Saturday, January 3, 2015

Out With The Old in With The New Denim Jeans Refashion.

I am a keeper. I keep things that should be thrown out because the minute I do, I discover I need it. I was recently clearing out my closet and came across a few pair of jeans for the donate pile.

Before giving them away, I remembered that I wanted to make a pieced jacket using Vogue 8483.

This jacket has a lovely angled neckline, interesting seam lines, and offset buttons. I like those elements and was drawn to this pattern because of those features. I rarely make muslins, I know, I know. I am a bit lazy in that regard, but I also use my custom dress form to check fit during construction. For this unusual style garment, I thought a muslin was a good idea.

First, I cut the middle seam open.

Then, after ironing :) I cut the pattern pieces out using Tetris like placement.

Here is the completed jacket and review of the pattern.
Worn with my African  Inspired Maxi Skirt.

Pattern Description: Unlined, above hip or above knee length jacket has front extending to collar, princess seams, raglan sleeves in two lengths and asymmetrical closing with buttons and purchased cord for loops, stitched hems and topstitch trim. I made the short sleeve version.

Pattern Sizing: B5(8-10-12-14-16), GG(18-20-22-24) I made size 10, no adjustments. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, the shape is the same, but my "fabric" added additional seam lines.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the different lines on the sleeve and the collar. I like the asymmetry of the front and button placement. I like that you can wear it buttoned up 

for one look and 

open for another.
I thought the collar would be more dramatic than it is. I have a thing for dramatic collars if you remember my Dress shirt refashion.

Fabric Used: Denim jeans repurposed for this jacket.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I used a contrast menswear fabric for the facing. I did not want to make loops, so I repurposed an elastic hair tie cut in three lengths. It is a densely covered elastic that is strong enough to be secured over my large button.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I made this as a muslin with the plan to remake it.  I did not think I would make it again. I prefer a tapered waist that gives more shape. It may be the weight of the denim, but I think it is boxy at the hip and I do not love that. Additionally, the curve of the sleeve is a bit raised and I do not like that. I think my denim is responsible for my drape issues. 

I thought I was done with it, but then I posted it on Pattern Review and got a renewed perspective on it. The lovely folks on PR were so kind on that review. I worn it to church today and a fan of it bought it right off my back! I guess I will have to make another. Hubby just gave me a pair of black jeans he is done with, so I am set for fabric :)

Conclusion: I thought this was a nice pattern and good test for repurposing jeans. I am pleased with this version. It is a nice twist on a jean jacket and I am sure to get much use from the other one I have to make for myself.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Season of Sentimental Sewing

Memory is a powerful thing. Every time I smell Peach Nectar by Bath and Body Works, I am immediately transported to Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. I wore that fragrance during my semester abroad more than 15 years ago. My mind is flooded with  feelings of adventure, freedom, curiosity and joy I experienced. The flashes of memory are always surprising in their vividness and the pleasant feelings they evoke.

We all have these sense memories and at times, long to recapture feelings brought by positive experiences. I was recently commissioned to make a garment that reminded the client of the love and care her grandmother imparted in a "Little Red Riding Hood" cape she was given as a child. I was nervous to take on a project loaded with such sentimentality, but I was willing to take the risk.  For this project, I had several cape patterns from which to choose and she decided on retro Simplicity 6630.


We considered, wool, fleece, and microsuede as fabric choices and decided on red microfiber for the exterior. This pattern is designed to be reversible though she did not want contrast. I chose a red cotton broad cloth for the interior.

Here is Ann in the completed cape. She loves it and says it does the trick. It is like the cape from her childhood made with love by her grandmother. I see that smile on her face and I can imagine her as an adorable six-year old with a pretend basket of muffins. :)

Her enthusiasm about her cape was palpable. Her joy was overheard by a passerby wanting to give that feeling to others. That person commissioned me to make two more to be given as holiday gifts! I got busy and made them!

Black, red and grey plaid with cranberry interior.



Grey and white Hounds tooth with a Panne velvet interior. 




and one for my sister in a print exterior and denim interior. 



Whew! I am beat! Making a reversible garment is like making 2 garments at once and requires twice the time. Having satisfied recipients made it worth it. I have written a review of the pattern that you can read here.

Have done any sentimental sewing? What did you make? Have you received a treasured garment? What was it? Who made it?

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wishing you a very Wacky Christmas (Picture Heavy)

This month I have wrapped another semester of my Journey Group Sewing for Support Hope Africa. Over the course of two 10-week sessions, a group of people from my church met to laugh, relax and sew these adorable stuffed animals. The recipients of these toys are orphans living in Hope Children's Home in Iganga, Uganda.  Using McCalls 5826, donated fabric and supplies we customized toys for the kids 144 kids living at the children's home.

 M5826, Creature Dolls
Our group consisted of women and children with varying levels of sewing skills. We embellished the toys with embroidery, buttons, yarn and felt. The back of each creature has a pocket with a heart on a string. The beauty of this pattern is that it is good for novices and experts alike. Any perceived imperfections in construction can be attributed to the  wackiness of the character and easily forgiven. Our creatures were made and sent without stuffing to save on shipping costs. They will be stuffed and stitched closed when they get to the recipient. 

Each one was made with love and care and you can see them all below:

Aren't they just adorable! It was so much fun working with friends on this project. In the past we have sewn pillowcase dresses and shorts for Starfish Kenya. Though we enjoyed those sewing sessions, I have to say this was so much fun. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!