*ETA: Jenny of Cashmerette reached out to me about what I thought was a mismatched yoke in the pattern draft. Nope. The pattern is fine. The mistake was mine. Despite having measured and traced the pattern several times in two different sizes, I managed to insert the center back upside down during five different versions of the pattern 😳 That made for the mismatched seam allowance that I noted in an earlier version of this post. I’m removing this post as it’s not an accurate review of the pattern or my alterations. The flipped pattern piece likely caused my fit problems in the back and this post should reflect sewn correctly garment.
My resulting top is the bomb diggity though, so I’m leaving a photo of it up until I get around to sewing this again.
I recently told Jordan with great pride that I hadn’t purchased any fabric in 2017. His reply, “That’s only five months.” Bubble burst. I haven’t bought for a few reasons. The main one being I have more fabric than I can sew in my current lifetime. And, I was losing track of the fabrics I loved and the projects I’ve always wanted to make. In addition, we are going to sell and buy a new home in the next two years and before we do so I’d like to get my stash down to…. visible.
Anywho, one such project that’s floated in the back of my mind for years is a graphic jersey shirtdress. Two years ago I saw wonderful 70s style knit shirt dresses at the Halston exhibit at FIT and promised myself I’d make a knit shirtdress ‘soon’. This pattern from the April 2011 Burdastyle (and still available for download) is JUST the look I was going for.
My poly jersey fabric came from Jomar in Philadelphia some time ago. I originally thought a 70s style wrap dress. But, I knew it would be GREAT as a shirt dress. I contemplated snaps rather than buttons to keep the print uninterrupted. But, found these buttons in my stash. To make the buttonholes, I used a light tricot jersey in the facing and front band. Then, I also used tear away stabilizer. I’ve seen knit buttons wonky in RTW and wanted to make mine as neat as possible.
I legit think I haven’t sewn a stand collar in years. I’d rate this one a 7/10 and am glad I won’t ever button this at the neck. I used instructions from the Better Homes and Garden Sewing Book and my Bunka Garment Design Textbook: Blouses and Dresses. Because Burda sure wasn’t giving me detailed instruction on sewing a stand collar! Next time I’ll be using my David Paige Coffin Shirtmaking book.
I’ve avoided using this print for a while because I don’t trust my print matching skills. For this dress, I focused on a straight horizontal line at the front and back and decided to let the rest do what it do.
The pattern itself is drafted for a woven. So, I sized down one to a 42 at the top and 44 through the thighs. If I make this up in a woven, I’ll just add to the seam allowances. I think the fit is spot on and will make for a great fitted shirt too. I have a second version I’m working on in a silk jersey that has less stretch and is gonna be a snug one!
I made a 1 inch FBA. I usually make a larger FBA in BWOF. But, I’ve been sewing a 40 up top for a while. This time, I finally used my upper bust measurement rather than my underbust and I’m really happy with the fit (if not the increase in size!).
Overall I lurv it. And, it reinforces my goal to sew somewhat from a plan this summer and focus on what I have. As for that plan… it involves more red,white and blue and shirtdresses 😀
I can tell you I wore three pairs of Jalie Jeans daily for the last 18 months and it was time to start replacing them. My jeans wear out at inner thigh regularly.
I asked Jordan to take photos of my butt while we were walking around like tourists. A man in the store to the right was just staring at us totally befuddled.
So, I made three different pairs over the last few months to hopefully get me through the next two years: The above cropped creamscicicle denim pair, the below straight-ish, and the end flared pair.
When I make jeans, I buy a ridiculous eight to ten yards of denim. I treat the first pair as a muslin and make the other two pairs up based on how the first pair fit after a few weeks of wear. I like my jeans to stay snug.
Waistband: I used the waistband from the the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans as a starting point. After several rounds, I’ve contoured the waistband specifically at center back and at the side seams. I use a firm woven interfacing in the waistband to help reduce the stretch AND I use narrow twill tape in the waist band seam. The Jalie waistband is garbage. It’s straight and cut on the bias and just doesn’t work for anyone I personally know.
Yoke: I do the same contouring of the yoke to snug up the back seam closer to my swayback.
I made a bit of a large inner thigh adjustment by widening the back crotch.
I shorted the front crotch by 1/2 inch or I get this above fold at the center front. Actually, this is AFTER a 1/2 inch adjustment. I need to take out maybe another 1/4 inch (as I’ve done for the orange pair).
I made a knock knee adjustment
Time to transfer my pattern to stock paper because it’s a keeper!
For the rest of the jeans I just played with leg width. Rule of thumb for flares: make them as wide as your shoes. I wear a 8.5W / 9M/ 40EU.
Below are my flared pair. These were the first pair I sewed of this set and the crotch was CRAZY long as drafted. I actually took them apart — removing 1/2 inch from the length and they are still too long in the crotch.
I finally resolved the length by removing another 1/4 inch in the first pair shown at the top. But, here you can see the extra fabric the length gives.
I sew jeans with two machines. My Singer Featherweight does main construction and my Bernina 830 Record does topstitching. I love love love the top stitching and 1/4 inch foot for my Bernina. It makes such nice precise lines. I may even set up a third machine one day if I do two tone topstitching.
Whew. I planned on taking many photos of my construction process but had a series of camera issues. But, there are a million great resources online now for fitting jeans.
I am totally comfortable with the jeans making process. I’d like to make a pair of Morgan jeans this fall. And, a few more of these Jalie for the rotation. But, I am seriously considering a pants making class this year. I miss wearing pants and haven’t been successful in making a good fitting pair in many years.
I seem to make my workout gear in multiples. Last fall I made three pairs of Cora tights and this year I’m back with four of the Isabelle leggings (capris) from Jalie. I actually really like making work out pants. The cost of materials is low and the rate of return on the amount of wear I get from them can’t be beat! It’s part of the reason I stopped sewing my formal dresses. I’d spend weeks sewing up something that gets worn once or twice a year. But, with gym clothes — you just wear them over and over and over.
I love my Coras (Jalie 3462). But, I definitely prefer a capri length for summer. For the Isabelle’s (Jalie 3674) I cut the same size for the Cora – a X at the waist and Y through the thighs. I do cut the elastic at the waistband for one size smaller — otherwise I find it slides down. A little on picking my sizing: I measure at the the lower thigh into a BB ( 46 inches). My actual hips are at 43 inches though. For my Jalie jeans I do cut a BB for my jeans because I like my denim fabric with a lot less stretch than the recommended.
I’ve always really like a red, white and blue color combo. I bought this gold lycra from a local warehouse sale a few years ago with the idea I’d make a gold lame bikini. Well, my gold lame bikini days are behind me. But, I thought I could incorporate them into a Wonder Woman style swim suit or gym outfit.
I made the Wonder Woman pair from swimwear fabric. I am not really a fan I don’t love the way the fabric feels and the stretch seems more restrictive than the athletic wicking material I’m used to. That said, it doesn’t show crotch sweat. And, as you’ll see below that can’t be said for all my athletic fabric.
The ones below are made up from my stash from Suzie’s Supplex in Montreal. They have long stopped stocking this material as the warehouse burned down. But, it’s my absolute favorite fabric. Because this fabric were ends of the best stuff I’ve personally found for making activewear the colors are a bit odd. In retrospect, they all kind of work together because they were likely from the same collection.
I skipped the pockets on all my Isabelle’s as I don’t need them. I’m not running so I don’t need keys or a phone at the gym. Minus the pocket they sew up SO FAST! I can easily make one pair in under two hours. Maybe even one if I focused.
The rise in these are excellent. The back comes up well over my butt and the front is above my belly button. There is no peep show doing squats and the pants stay put during lunges and sprints. Also, the pattern has a gusset so the pants fit nice and flush in the crotch. The seams have a clever design at the inside so no chaffing from seams either.
And, if I’m being honest. I love how my butt looks in this cut. The material helps too. I noticed on the swimwear fabric leggings my butt’s more squishy looking and I have some cottage cheese show through. This material has NO show through of skin texture.
Okay, I’m asked all the time how Isabelle and Coras compare. I don’t know that they do. They both fit the same IMHO, have good rise and require no tweaking from me. It’s the style lines that really set them apart. I think I prefer the Isabelle’s ONLY because they make up faster. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with either.
For a while I was working out five days a week. But, the repetitive motion from weight lifting wreaked havoc on my tendonitis afflicted right hand. Now after a few months of physical therapy, turmeric, acupuncture and daily hand exercises my grip is generally back and I’m no longer in daily pain. That said, I have to be extremely careful with my hand — particularly my thumb So, I do still work out at the gym. But, down to a few times a week and I always wear my thumb isolating wrist brace to work out and type and ice my hand on the drive home.
So, last year when my friend Stephanie (who I traveled to Bali with) said her son was going to be a bar mitzvah in 2017, I volunteered to sew him a tallit as a test run for Jordan’s eventual prayer shawl.
I suggested Stephanie ask her dad for an old necktie that we could use for the neckband (attarah). We thought it would be a nice way to represent and connect the generations for years to come.
Using that tie Jeannie and I picked out silk dupioni for the color blocking at the prayer shawl while we were in New York before Christmas.Due to my extremely bum hand at the time, Stephanie and her daughter came over and did all the fabric cutting with my guidance. So, all I really had to do was sew!
I’m sorry I don’t have any construction photos. I swore I took a slew of them and even posted on Instagram while in progress. But, I can’t find any of them now. So, this post is more for posterity than instruction!
I used this link for ideas about sizing — bearing in mind he would need to use this as as adult too. And, they are reform so not super observant / religious so it didn’t need to be very long or wide. The main fabric came from my stash. A nice beefy off white wool with a faint plaid pattern. The tie was an all bias, massive PITA to deconstruct and work with. But, the sheen is beautiful and goes well with the silk.
For anyone attempting this project, I used the eyelet template from my Singer buttonholer in the corners. Make interfacing and a walking foot your friend.
Stephanie ordered and tied the corner strings (tzizit) using a YouTube video.
Overall it was a satisfying project. And, I’m glad it helped me be part of such a big occasion for their family. Stephanie and I hope this becomes an heirloom that he will wear on his wedding day and perhaps even pass on to his son.
I wish I had sewn one for Jordan for our wedding! But, it didn’t even occur to me that I could sew one. He borrowed his dad’s for our wedding and isn’t sure where his is from his bar mitzvah. When he goes to services he uses the loaners at the synagogue. We actually have his great-grandather’s prayer shawl framed in our guest room. So, I figure I have another five months before sewing one up for him too.