Raw Japanese Denim Dawns

finished objects, sewing
woman walks away from the camera in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans
Special thanks to Tillamook State Forest for being so pretty!

Up until last week, I had only dreamed of having high-waisted rigid denim jeans. So, after dreaming long enough, I decided to get to work. Some very special vintage Japanese selvedge and a hardware kit from Blackbird Fabrics was patiently waiting in my stash, begging to be made into said dream jeans. So really, no excuses besides my fear of failure.

woman poses in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans

When I decided I was going to make these, I almost went for the Ginger jeans again, but 1. I wanted a higher rise, and 2. Ginger is designed for stretch denim. Much like Jasika’s commentary on the Dawn Jeans, I was very skeptical when that pattern came out. But after seeing how amazing Jaskia’s and Lauren’s versions turned out, I decided to go for it.

I measured the straight leg pattern pieces against my favorite pair of RTW jeans I own (that are too tight in the thighs but are perfect everywhere else). As I cut out a muslin, I sharpied the original inner thigh cut line and added ample ease so I could easily add room after I sewed the inseam and side seams if needed (and I did need it). I also tapered the straight leg in a bit to match the RTWs, and I like where I ended up.

I only muslined the front and back legs and back yoke. In order to get pants that were try-onable I extended the front pockets to the side seams.

closeup of the rivets and selvedge coin pocket high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans.
Selvedge coin pocket!! (Thanks for the idea, Jasika!)

I wanted to extend the pockets to become stays, as I hate re-stuffing my pocket bags every time I put on jeans. I copied the Ginger Jeans stay by extending the pocket of the Dawns to sew in the center front seam, but because the directions have you start with the zip fly and I forgot to baste them in prior to constructing said fly, I had to redo it. I also wasn’t paying enough attention when I cut out the pocket bags and cut both on the same side, so I have one pocket that’s right-side in, and one right-side out. I ended up taking out most of the extra room I added to the crotch seam, but I am glad I had extra and was able to take it in (rather than not having enough). Lastly, I had to re cut the waistband with a much more pronounced curve (using THIS very awesome tutorial). The fit is MUCH better now, but they still could come in a little tiny bit more. When I ripped out the first waistband, I also took a small wedge out of the back yoke, since I already was in there ripping out stitches.

I used regular thread throughout this project, as my machine HATES topstitching thread. I found the bar tacks were super easy to just do a very small length zig zag and go back and forth a few times. I am quite happy with how they turned out.

The rivets, man, the rivets. I don’t have a tailor’s awl, so I used a nail to poke holes in the jeans, but the rivet posts were a little bit wider than the nail, so it took some serious wiggling around to get them to poke through. Super worth it, though, I think it makes them look so much more legit.

woman poses in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans, a pattern from Megan Nielsen

I am SO HAPPY with how these turned out, I cannot wait for them to develop their unique wear lines. I am gonna try to maximize wear and minimize washing…. we’ll see how I do. They stretched out a bit from wearing them on my trip to Portland, but I think once I give them their first wash, they’ll tighten up a bit. They do fit very snugly when I sit down, so I can’t imagine them being much more fitted when I am standing. The toils of rigid denim I guess!

Bucket Hats!

sewing
a woman at the beach wearing a patterned bucket hat.

A few weeks ago I was texting my friend with a very cute newborn baby, and I wondered if she had a summer sun hat. After hearing “not yet,” I immediately started googling for a kid hat pattern. I stumbled across this GREAT free pattern from Oliver + S. I went for the smallest size, and it used barely any fabric.

a blue linen/chambray baby-sized bucket hat
a blue linen/chambray baby-sized bucket hat. Liberty-print lining peeks out.

After I made the first one, I could not get over how cute it was. Just for kicks I measured my tiny head, and could not believe I fit the measurements for the kids Medium. I went into my stash and pulled out some options. I rediscovered this super weird faces quilting cotton I got at the Center For Creative Reuse forever ago. I decided this would be perfect for a test hat. I paired it with a very neutral Essex linen to balance it out. I used smaller seam allowances (1/4″ instead of 1/2″) to add some extra wiggle room. If you had asked me 2 years ago what I thought of bucket hats, I would have told you they are really ugly, but here we are in 2019 and I am loving my hat! Its perfect for keeping the sun off my face and neck.

a group of different patterned and textured materials

I ended up making a 3rd hat for another adorable 1-year old I know… watch out, he’s a heartbreaker already!

a baby poses for a photo wearing a plaid-lined bucket hat.

If you have a normal, adult-sized head, I bet it would be really easy to add some SA to the pattern and make it a bit bigger. I think I am going to make another soon with a wider brim… a one way ticket to floptown!

a woman at the beach wearing sunglasses and a patterned bucket hat.

A Bento Bag Recipe

Tutorials
a woman in an apron demonstrates how to tie a cloth bag.
© Carrie Bostick Hoge

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese method for wrapping objects with fabric, and today it has become the essential element in gift-giving in Japan. Instead of wrapping an object with paper, a piece of fabric is folded and knotted to conceal a gift. Hundreds of variations for folding and tying fabric over virtually anything highlight this beautiful intersection of tradition and function.

A handmade bento bag is a lovely spin on furoshiki because the gift recipient can reuse it to carry daily items. In addition to sewing up very quickly, the small amount of fabric required to make a bento bag provides a quick way to use scraps of something special you’ve been saving. Additionally, sewing one is an easy way to take a break from a bigger project, or satisfy the sewing itch when you are busy with life.

3 patterned bento bags laying down.
© Carrie Bostick Hoge

Supplies / Notes

This Bento Bag Recipe is flexible to make the most of scrap fabric. The smallest recommended size uses two 10” (24cm) squares of fabric, and up to two 18” (46cm) squares of fabric. Finishing the raw edges with a straight stitch and then hand-fraying holds up with regular use, but alternate finishing instructions are provided if you prefer a more professional look.

  • Two 10×10” (24x24cm) to 18×18” (46x46cm) squares of fabric, pins, thread, sewing machine. Hand sewing needle and embroidery thread are optional.
  • Recommended fabrics: linen, voile, lawn, quilting cotton. Larger sizes can accommodate heavier fabric such as canvas. Not recommended for 1-way designs.
  • Sizing Guidelines: 10×10” (24x24cm): wrap a small jewelry box. 14×14” (36x36cm): carry a small knitting project, store a lunch, or gift-wrap finished objects such as mittens or a cowl. 18×18” (46x46cm): carry a medium to large knitting project, or gift-wrap finished objects such as a piece of clothing. The model in the first photo is holding the large size.
3 bento bags spread out on a table
Left to right: Large, Medium, Small bag sizes. © Carrie Bostick Hoge

Instructions

1. Cut one square in half diagonally to create two right triangles. Part of the long edge you just cut will become the handles of your bag. Be mindful when dealing with this bias edge, it can easily stretch out.

2. Lay two triangles on top of each other to make an almost-square, both sides RS (right side) up. Pin the free edge of the top triangle to the bottom one. Sew this long edge from the bottom corner all the way to the top corner using a ¼” (6mm) seam allowance.

3. Flip the two triangles over so both wrong side (WS) face up. Pin the free edge of the top triangle to the bottom one. Sew long edge all the way to the top at ¼”(6mm). Fray long edges to stitching line if desired
Repeat steps 1-3 with second square.

4. Take both sewn pieces and pin RS together. Sew the sides and bottom using a 1/2” (1cm) seam allowance. Finish edges if desired and press seam open.

5. Keep WS out and prop the bag open. Pinch bag shut at corner and lay the corner seam lines on top of each other. Be sure it lays flat and smooth. From the corner, mark at 1” (2.5cm) in (2”(5cm) in for larger bags), and sew across this corner. Trim excess and finish seam allowance if desired. Repeat for other corner. Be sure to move the handle out of the way while you sew! This step will allow your bag to stand up on its own.

6. Turn RS out and give a final press. Unravel the hem on the handle edges by wiggling a pin between the threads up to the stitching line. If desired, hand stitch with embroidery thread to reinforce at the point where the triangles overlap.

Variations

Selvage-edge handles or using smaller scraps: Instead of cutting fabric for steps 1 and 2, use manila or pattern paper. Using this pattern piece you just created in step 2, cut 4 triangles with long edges along selvage (or anywhere you can squeeze in the pattern piece). Continue with step 3.

Double-turned hem: before step 3, double turn and hem the long edges of each triangle. Turn the fabric under ¼” (6mm), press. Turn the fabric under another ¼” (6mm). Press and hem close to the folded edge. This will create a slightly smaller bag than the raw-edged version.

French seams: In step 6, use french seams to sew sides and bottom. When sewing the final seam, the corners will get bulky. Because of the way the bottom of the bag is finished, the corners will be cut off, so don’t worry about sewing all the way into the corners. Use your best judgement for this variation when making the smaller sizes as seams get very bulky with stiff fabric.

This pattern was originally published in the No. 4 / Lines issue of Making Magazine. All photos by Carrie Bostick Hoge. Illustrations by me.

Myosotis Dress I

finished objects, sewing

I made this Myosotis dress back in May using this beautiful silk panel print that has lingered in my stash. My original plan was to make the ruffle-y version, but sadly, I did not have enough fabric. I purchased 2 panels worth of material, but the fabric was barely 40″ wide.

Experimenting with how to make this work. Not the final layout.

Somehow it worked out that I was able to match the prints fairly well between the sleeves, bodice and skirt. I added more fullness to the skirt piece to take advantage of the left and right selvedge edges: no need to finish the side seams! I also thought it would be a way to add more fullness without the ruffle. Spoiler alert: I think the added fullness at the waist isn’t the most flattering thing.

Because the silk is very sheer, and I am a sweaty person, I fully lined the dress with Bemberg rayon (THE BEST!). If I am going to be super-technical, I actually underlined the bodice and finished the seams with bias tape. 🙌for sewing 6 darts once, not twice!!

dress guts

I hand-sewed the collar, sleeves and front facings with silk thread to make it feel special. I love how this detail looks! This print is so unique, and I love how I was able to use the different parts given how little fabric I had. I am especially happy that I found a spare sliver of the purple section to use for the collar.

I LOVE this dress. I am definitely going to make another with the ruffles soon. Based on other people’s reviews, I went down a size and I am happy with that decision. There’s still a lot of positive ease in the bodice and waist so its quite comfortable.

Pictures in public make me so self-conscious!

Tracing a RTW Short Sleeved Shirt

finished objects, sewing
You can’t even see the pocket! Pattern matching FTW!

I’ve made quite a few collared shirts for Jacob over the years from different patterns but none of them fit him perfectly, so I ripped apart a RTW shirt that fits him well to make a pattern from it. I was pretty intimidated by the idea of this, but it wasn’t too hard.

To start, we went to the thrift store to find a short-sleeved shirt that fit well. Next I spent an hour or so seam ripping it while watching TV. I found this strangely meditative, and it went very quickly. I dissected almost everything completely, except one side seam and the center front folded stuff, I ripped those just enough to figure out what was going on there.

Some of the shirt pieces.

I noted the seam allowances and where they were trimmed down. I then traced the pieces and added SA where necessary. I harvested the buttons from the shirt to use on my version.

Scribbles for notes.

At this point in my sewing life, I have sewed several collared shirts so I didn’t need instructions. It was helpful to have the seam-ripped pieces handy to check things, like where to put the pocket. It was SO EASY to lay the RTW left front over my cut one, and figure out the perfect pocket placement. My buttonholer hasn’t worked since the Jean Jacket Saga of 2018, so I took this shirt to Jonathan Embroidery and they sewed the buttonholes perfectly and quickly.

The verdict? Jacob is really happy with the fit of this shirt, so its going to become his go-to short sleeved shirt pattern! He requested a fun fabric so he could participate in “tiki shirt Fridays” at work this summer, and I am in the process of sewing a second one in a more subdued check.

Me Made May 2019: Week 3

me made may

May 15

Self-drafted basic elastic-waist skirt (and that jean jacket again…)

May 16

White linen gauze Inari tee.

May 17

Linen Ruby dress.

May 18

barely visible linen Brumby skirt (repeat)

May 19

Riding on the Hudson River Greenway on a beautiful Sunday. Wearing a self-drafted linen gauze tank (same fabric as my Inari crop tee from earlier this week!)

May 20

Its a scorcher today, wearing my favorite vintage dress and a Tokyo Jacket.

May 21

hand-me-down RL collared shirt, Peppermint Mag Peplum top, Ginger jeans.

May 22

Previously unblogged Astoria cropped knit tee. I don’t wear this much, but I really should! Maybe thats the whole point of Me Made May!

Me Made May 2019: Week 2

me made may

May 8

Brumby skirt. This guy is a workhorse, and it matches everything!

May 9

Megan Nielsen Dove Top in the SAME linen as yesterday’s Brumby. I forgot to take a pic all day and remembered just before I changed into soccer garb.

May 10

I have to get better at remembering to take photos. I wore this Tea House dress yesterday.

May 11

Knitting and workin’ on my sunburn in a grey linen Acton dress.

Thanks for the photog, Asheley!

May 12

See my sunburn??? Today it was rainy and cold, so I wore my Carbeth. (and those Ginger Jeans…)

May 13

Pulled this quilted top out of the closet, I think I have only worn it once or twice since I made it four (OMG 5!!) years ago. Its hard to not see all my mistakes when I look at it. Now that I am wearing it, though, I don’t mind it! So I should wear it more!!! The quilting also really nice and cozy in the yoke on this dreary day.

May 14

My first Archer button up I ever made! The fabric is from Bolt in Portland. PS its still dreary.