Ginger Jeans

I finally made some jeans, and I am pretty happy with them! The motivation to make these came from the sad day when the zipper broke on my favorite pair of black jeans. I really felt their absence from my wardrobe, so I decided I would take the plunge and use my Cone Mills black denim and try out the Ginger Jeans (View B).

posting a picture of my butt on the internet is a very odd feeling.

Overall I am extremely happy with these jeans and have incorporated them into my everyday wardrobe, so thats a huge positive!!! I am also very happy with the zipper fly, the way the pattern has you do it is very easy. I did a raw hem, so I cut 3.5″ off the bottom of the jeans, and did a straight stitch a 1/2″ up from the bottom to prevent extreme fraying.

Next time I will place the pockets higher on the butt, and take in the waist a little more, they are a little bit baggy in the front crotch area. I also think I’ll raise the hem a couple of inches, as these could really have a higher rise. 

Oops, I forgot to lengthen my stitch length for the waistband…

BTW, I am wearing my Shadow Pullover and my New Yorker tote in these photos!!

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Handmade Vacation

Hey there! I just got back from my epic trip to Spain, and I wanted to share what handmade clothes I wore while traveling. Two standout pieces, my grey linen Brumby skirt, and my Red cotton/linen Moss skirt, were workhorses. I wore them almost every day!! I was looking forward to getting some wear from my jean jacket, but it was so hot in Spain, I only wore it once. What a beautiful country!

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About to discover the wrong entrance to the Toledo Cathedral in my Brumby skirt and carrying my New Yorker tote.

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Taking in the Barcelona view from Montjuïc in my Moss skirt

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Posing as the Washerwoman at Park Güell with my New Yorker tote and a Wiksten tank dress

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In awe of the Sagrada Família wearing my Hampton jean jacket

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Drinking in the Barcelona culture in my Lois dress

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Bonus Brumby skirt pic next to a delightful Joan Miró sculpture

I was daydreaming of sewing the whole time we were gone, so I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and get to autumn sewing.

Jean Jacket!!

I finished my Hampton jean jacket!! What a saga this thing has been! I was cruising along pretty well, and was almost finished, but right when I began topstitching the armholes, my machine broke. I had to take it somewhere to have it repaired, which was its own difficult tale, but I’ll spare you the details. Long story short, its very hard to crate around a heavy sewing machine in New York without a car! But Crown Machine Services came to the rescue and fixed it right up, so I was able to finish my jean jacket on Friday (just in time for it to be 97 degrees on Monday)!

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I used 10oz. Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I just found out that Cone Mill has shut down, so there are no longer any American denim manufacturers in existence, so I wanted to snag some of what’s left. I washed and air dried the fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces, and again after I completed it but before the buttons and buttonholes. I used some stashed scraps of Liberty to line the pockets and the back yoke.

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After reading Alina’s super awesome sewalong post about distressing the jacket, I used 220 and 120 sanding sponges to go to town on the seams prior to topstitching. As I was sanding, I thought it wasn’t really making a difference, but after washing the jacket it looks great and a little bit worn in!

I got a Hot Tip (thanks for the lingo, Karen!) from the_other_emily to take my jacket to Jonathan’s Embroidery in the Garment District to have the buttonholes done, and WOW I am so glad I took her advice! The seamstress sewed all the buttonholes in less than an hour (while I popped over to Mood) and they are BEAUTIFUL! I couldn’t be happier, and I think it helps make the jacket look more RTW.

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I am a little bit disappointed with the welt pockets, the top and bottoms are a little bit wonky, but other than that I really love how it came out! It fits perfectly, and I can’t wait to break it in.

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Tova Dress.

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I am several years late to the Tova Dress party, but I’ve finally made my entrance. I had this Italian double-cloth shirting remnant from Firecracker Fabrics in my stash since Spring, and just couldn’t figure out what to make with it. I agonized over deciding, looking up every indie dress pattern I could think of and then googling to see how other people’s looked. You can see my final decision was the Tova. (I am also wearing my Wiksten Oversized Kimono jacket from Making Magazine!)

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I think I would have been happier with this if I made it a few years ago. There’s nothing wrong with the pattern, I just should have chosen a pattern with more shaping, because I now realize that’s what I was after. If I make this again, I would extend the center front fold line to create more gathers. On this version, it was barely enough to get any at all. The collar also lays a little wonky, and the back neck sits away from my body. I think this pattern would be a better match for thinner or drapier fabric.

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I do love the “rich” feel of this fabric, and I like where I used the contrast side vs the right side on the cuff binding, placket and collar stand. I think once I break it in a little bit I will like it more.

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We had a very unseasonably warm sunny day, so we headed down to Battery Park to take these pics. Very windy, which I bet you could have already guessed!

PJ Shorts

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My favorite sleepwear is a t-shirt and PJ shorts. I can’t do sleep pants, they always bag up around my knee which drives me nuts, so I stick with shorts. I found the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho awhile back and made a pair from some scraps (previously unblogged), with great success. This weekend, I wanted a quick sew and I had been meaning to make another pair. I had a fabulous 80s silk remnant from the Center for Creative Reuse in my stash, and happened to have coordinating purple bias tape (also from PCCR!!), so I thought why not!! These came together so quickly, in less than 2 hours. On this new pair, I made the side hem split significant bigger, but otherwise followed the pattern exactly. I was surprised by how much better I have gotten at applying bias tape to fiddly fabrics. Practice really does make “perfect” (btw these are not perfect by any means).

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Super comfy, and very luxurious in silk!

Making Mag!

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A little bit late to the party…. I am honored to be a part of Making’s No. 4 issue, Lines. My contribution is a Bento Bag “recipe” designed to use up scraps. These bags make lovely lunch carriers, knitting WIP bags, or extra-special homemade gift wrap. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a pattern in print!!! It is so cool! When I received the issue in the mail, I was blown away by the exquisite creativity of every single project. I was so enamored with Jenny Gordy‘s Kimono Jacket, I decided I had to make one immediately! I got some sienna washed linen from fabric.com, as well as some beautiful Liberty Tresco for the lining (treat yo self!). The result is a lovely oversized jacket that is the perfect layer for fall, and oh so soft both inside and out. Its heavy and drapy and comforting, just like Jenny intended.

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This jacket does use a lot of fabric, so be aware of that. If I make another one, I will cut the neck cuff pieces a little bit longer so I have more wiggle room at the bottom hem. I had to fudge the seam allowances to make them line up with the hem. Why does this always happen to me? I cut the size S, and I am glad I didn’t go M.

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See all the wonderful projects for yourself. Order a copy of the newest Making mag (or pick up one from a local stockist)!

Tiki Uniforms!

I took on an exciting project last year to make uniforms for Hidden Harbor, a super awesome tiki bar in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. A friend who works there hooked me up with this job– apparently they had been looking for fitted ladies’ shirts for a long time but kept coming up short with ways to make it happen. Over the past year or so, I’ve made several shirts and skirts for the ladies of Hidden Harbor, as well as shirts for the men.

The fabric is all custom printed Spoonflower basic cotton ultra, some available publicly, but some is custom-designed especially for Hidden Harbor.

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I made wrap skirts and short-sleeved shirts for the ladies, and short sleeve shirts for the men. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and I am so glad I did it!

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Their drinks, by the way, are absolutely delicious. Go try them!!!

Lois Dress

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I whipped up the new Lois Dress from Tessuti. We have a couple of weddings coming up, and I wanted to make a new dress to wear to one of them. Overall, it was fun to sew, especially the neckline seam! I french seamed everything, except for the waistband. I zigged that seam as well as the dart seam allowance, as specified. I cut a 8-6-10, and was very nervous that the seams wouldn’t line up right with all that grading between sizes, but overall I am very happy with it. I had to extend the side darts A LOT, they stuck out exactly where my hips are widest and it looked really bad. So bad that I didn’t think I would ever wear it. But I stopped over to consult with my sewing teacher and she quickly pinned out the darts to extend several more inches down the side, and now its MUCH better. I also had to redo a little bit of the side zip to take in a little bit more of the dart.

One important note: the skirt pieces require 55″ wide fabric. I neglected to realize this until I had cut out the pattern and laid out all the pieces to cut out, and saw the front skirt was extending past the fabric. I slashed the pattern and brought in the a-line to accommodate my 43″ fabric. By the way, this is silk CDC from Mood that I got awhile back. I bought 2 yards, and it was JUST enough. I had barely any scraps left after I cut everything out.

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The neckline is very risqué, but I like it! I tried on several bras with it, but none of them are low enough to not show when wearing the dress. If I make this again, I will underline the front bodice to provide a little bit more… coverage?

Overall, I love it, especially the midi length. I wore it to dinner for our anniversary last night, and am planning to wear it to a wedding this weekend!!! Update: Here is a shot from the wedding:

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Rigel Bomber Jacket!

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I finally joined the Rigel Bomber Jacket club! I bought the supplies to make this in the fall, but other projects took priority, so this sat in my sewing room, cut out and ready to sew, for several months. The gray wool is from the Center For Creative Reuse, the Liberty lining is from The Fabric Store in LA, ribbing is from Mood, and the zipper is from Pacific Trimmings. Wowza!

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I followed Ginger Make’s tutorial to line the jacket, and it was overall pretty easy and definitely worth the effort. I got tripped up with sewing the little tabs at the bottom of the zipper, I ended up slip-stitching that part shut. I am super happy with this jacket, overall, and I can’t wait for it to get chilly so I can take it out for a spin. I am a little worried that its too plain, but I can jazz it up with some enamel pins and a scarf.

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Archer For a Friend.

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I made a sleeveless Archer a few years ago using Grainline’s awesome tutorial, and I wear it all the time, even though its a white-with-bright-stripes 90s-looking seersucker. My friend Chrissy saw me wearing it one day and commented on how much she loved it, so I decided to make her one for her birthday.

I had some leftover all-white seersucker, but it was barely enough to cut out the shirt. I had to get a little creative with the pattern piece placement: I cut the button band and pockets the wrong way. I didn’t even have enough left to cut the inside yoke, so I used some light micro-floral cotton. I also used it on the under-collar as a subtle way to introduce some color to an otherwise stark white shirt. It took me a long time to settle on a fabric that wouldn’t show through the seersucker too much. I really struggled with buttons, I spent forever comparing at the fabric store before settling on these taupey gray ones. This is the first time I used a teeny button for the collar stand, and I like how it turned out. I also recently got a buttonhole cutter and some fray check, and WOW they improve the finish to look much more professional!

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I am so happy with this shirt, especially because I look at it and see such great strides in craftsmanship since the last time I made one.

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