Sample Sewing and Multi-Tasking

My bestie Enid came over the other day and brought with her a glorious stack of recent Burdas.  Then she left them with me.  Enid’s the best. I flipped through the lot and #127 from October 2011 caught my eye:

They feature what may be the laziest welt pockets ever.  Really.  No pocket bag or facings, and you only have to carefully stitch one short end because the other is caught in the side seam.  Further, if you screw up the welt- no problem.   Toss out the relatively small pocket patch and try again.  It’s low-risk and looks kind of cool.  I like that.

My last hurdle to clear before I open up the Pants Blocks service is creating a very clear step by step pictutorial about what to do with your block after it’s perfect.  That is, how to use it effectively as an alteration tool.  So far, the testers have picked up the challenge eagerly and done well, but I hesitate to open the service without a crystal clear pictutorial or video to illustrate my points.  I’m also very poor; I have to make sure my samples for the blog also fit into my wardrobe.  Other than that, the pants blocks service has a big green light, I’m amazed at the results from most of my testers.  Well done, ladies! (If I owe you an email please remind me, even rudely, I don’t care but my daughter basically deleted my inbox last week and I’m still reeling.  She’ll never touch my phone again.)

I have a cute pattern, I have some cute denim and a pants block that fits me well.  Surely I can combine them to make a great pair of jeans…

Today I sat down and spent some time sample sewing.  It doesn’t take long but I find it helps me plan my sewing more effectively when I know exactly what needles, threads and stabilizers to use. Can you spot the funny stitches above?  I stitched the second from the bottom line using a “default” length stitch (2.2) and the rest using a longer top-stitch (3.0).  I can’t remember where I picked this up, but to my eye it always makes a big difference.  I also used a denim needle, though the denim has so much lycra I did consider using a blue tip or stretch needle.  The denim needles seem to work fine so I’ll stick to them.   Gray denim thread tones in with the pearl snaps and is the least offensive to the eye while still giving that “jeans stitching” look.

Both PR reviewers complained that the welt pockets gape and ultimately left them off which is most unhelpful to me.  I’m sure front welt pockets on any pants gape on everyone except those of us who have the very flattest tummies (Lucky you!  Go sew more welts!).  I don’t have a flat tummy, so I decided to add a cool decorative tab with a pearl snap to prevent gappage.  I sketched the tab on the pocket pattern piece and didn’t hate it so I made a “tab” pattern piece, added seam allowances, cut it out, and stitched it into the pocket:

I cut the pocket patch perpendicular to the jeans grain.  This denim has a very pronounced slub, so I made use of it.  The welt is bias, and the tab is the same grain as the pants body.  I also fused armoweft to the entire patch pocket piece for stability.  This is a streeeeeetchy piece of denim.

Now, I have several questions I will leave to your collective wisdom-

1- The back of these pants is boring.  My original idea for this denim included a double back yoke for fun.  Would you like to see that?  Would it look silly?  I do hope the double yoke wins your favor.

2- What do you think of these pinks for Megan’s dress?  I plan to make the trip to The Fabric Store this week because I’m positive they’ll have candy pink sateen (please please please!), but what do you think about these colors?

I’m on the fence.  I can carry both colors, I don’t hate them but they don’t have the “pop” of the paler pink.  I think sateen is a good choice for this dress, by the way, and I’ll stick to that.  Commentator “Scramble” came out of the woodwork with a solid idea- carefully cut the pieces on the straight of grain, carefully sew and trim them, then press the seam open and face with a lighter fabric.  I think that’s what I’ll do because it worked out so well on my hastily cut sample.


44 comments

  1. The first (darker) pink is great, but I’m not sure about the second pink – it looks awfully warm. The joy of looking at colors over the computer screen, of course.

    • No, you’re right… It is a rather warm pink… About as warm as I can go without looking sick. Fingers crossed I find a nice cool pink today when I got to The Fabric Store…

  2. Yes on the double yoke. I think it will add something interesting back there, it’s high enough to be flattering and you know it’s what will make you happy. And people who feel happy look good.

  3. Ditto! The lighter pink could be even lighter.
    I also like the double back yoke, especially when there are no back pockets.
    I’m still puzzled by the different stitch lengths, it just seems odd to me!

      • I suppose it’s because I’ve never seen different topstitching lengths before! I wonder, does it give the illusion of depth? Just curious, how does it look beside a sample that is double topstitched with the same length stitch? Now I’m intrigued! If I get down to my sewing room today I’ll give it a try!

  4. *sniff* that is what I said about the Megan dress too, in a different way. Noone listens to me, already (oi vey!). ;-)
    Love the jeans. Eyes glaze over at mention of trouser making usually as I don’t generally wear them, and rarely make them. But I always get a vicarious thrill when you talk about anything!
    Love both Megan pinks, I think it will depend on what other pink you find as to which to use. Mx

    • Hee. I don’t know about Steph, but I need to hear something *several* times before it sinks in. She listened to both of us! :)

      and, I agree with everyone, these pinks are great, but a light pink would be fabulous.

    • I went back and re-read, and yes that’s exactly what you told me to do but my silly brain couldn’t put it all together!

      Sigh. I’m not much of a jeans person either… Though I have sewn several pairs to have the experience under my belt.. I just want a pair of stretch jeans that I can put on when I’m trying to “pass” for normal.. Know what I mean? Like, sure, 6 days out of 7 I’m happy to show up at the park in my belted mu-mu with the velvet burnout border, or wearing a big fluffy dress or a maxi circle skirt made of hemp, but every now and then I just want to blend in a little so I get less raised eyebrows from other mommies… Know what I mean?

      • I do! Being able to fit into jeans was the biggest triumph of weight loss for me 5 year ago, after nearly 30 years. I still love to wear them. I just have to wear long tops over them so the top region is a sight to behold! heehee.

  5. What an awesome bestie! Also, what’s to stop people sewing those welt pockets shut if you don’t need them? Nothing I guess… (that’s what I’d do – make them submit to me!)

    The only fear I have with the double yoke that I have seen in real life, is that if it doesn’t fit just right, or if it’s sewn too tightly, it can create bad bumps back there, or worse, flatten your butt in an unattractive way.

    I say go with the lighter pink on the dress… the contrast is really pleasant and eases the eye into the stronger contrast colours.

    • Yeah, bestie is pretty awesome.

      I could sew them shut, but then I wouldn’t have pockets. It’s a problem. I like and need pockets, and I’m so sick of sewing them shut I’m going out of my way to figure out other ways to get around the problem… My favorite way is to simply use patch pockets on the front… Very cute, too. But by now, most of my pants are made that way so I should branch out…

      Thanks for the caveat on the yokes! I’ll post a little drafting tutorial on how I did it, but I figure if the pants pattern already fits well, then it should still fit well after sewing.. But I’ll be careful!

      I think the lighter pink is better, too, but if I can’t find it I can’t find it… : /

  6. Yep, always a longer length for topstitching! (My problem is trusting the feed-dogs, I tend to over-control and end up shortening my stitches manually in some places :P)

    YES to the double yoke! I keep ogling some of the fancy yokes on my kids’ jeans and thinking I’d like to include something like that in an upcoming pair, but that would require actual pattern-work instead of just cutting out the same old thing. sigh.

    Those welt-patch pockets are neat. I like. :D

    I like the colours you show for the pink dress, but I agree a lighter shade would be nice for *pop*. Good luck! :D

    • The longer length makes all the difference… I think mine was getting hung up a little on the feed dogs, too… And I’ll probably use a tearaway stabilizer under the felled seams to keep them from warping because this is some very very stretchy denim…

      Do it! You make such cool jeans, why not make some intricate ones for yourself? I’m always amazed at the variety and possibilities when it comes to making jeans..

      I really like the pockets too, I think they’d be especially good for someone learning to make welts…

  7. Cant wait to see the finished jeans. I am a long way off from tackling trousers let alone jeans yet but will certainly be referring to your blog when I do :)

  8. I like the different fabric directions you have going on with the welt pocket. Especially the bias lips!

    I’m on the fence about the pinks. I like the darker hues, but the one pink screams pepto bismal to me, and I think a lighter colour would be more…uh…lighter? Less heavy, anyways. I love the raspberry colour, though. It’s go nicely against your face, I think.

  9. I read this post first thing this morning, and then went away and thought about the colours all day. I think this dress has a real chance of being a closet orphan – something that you worry and fuss over like mad, and is a money sink hole, and which you are never happy with (like my Luna Moth dress….sigh). So make darn sure you are totally happy with the colours, because they might make the difference.

    With that said, I love the idea of a double yoke (though it took me a minute to figure out the curved lines were just meant to illustrate a figure, not a very strange yoke indeed!). And I can see the difference in your stitch length. Definitely go with the long one!

    • Nah, I don’t let myself do money sinkholes anymore. I can’t afford it! But I know what you mean. *shudder* Thank you for thinking about my colors, you’re good at that. :)

      Yes… One of my “real life” friends told me she had to stare at that sketch for some time before she realized I wasn’t proposing a G-string back. Now there’s a look…

  10. Hi! I loved that Burda issue. Now that is a cool idea to add tabs to keep welts shut. I will have to try that sometime. Also, my favorite, favorite pair of (store) jeans has a double yoke in back and it fits sooo smoothly (and they are high waisted–which means they hit my actual waist). When I ever get around to making jeans (I have the Jalie pattern) I’ve been thinking about drafting a double yoke too. It seems to allow for some nice contouring! Hee.

    • These hit at the actual waist in the CB, and 2cm below in the front… I think I’ll rather like it. Thanks for that, you cinched the whole “double yoke or not” question for me. :)

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  12. How nice to have a real life sewing bestie!
    These are such fun pants – the welts being what make them fun, so it would be a shame to leave them off. I have them traced out. I have many things traced out….

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