Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tutorial: DIY Clip-on Doggie Pickup Bag Holder/Carrier


Two months ago I lost our $20.00 doggie pickup bag holder - one which you could latch onto a belt loop for a walk.  After contemplating buying another - I simply decided to make one!  Here is a tutorial I designed after making about five-seven samples.  I think you will like it and the materials should just cost a few dollars, if that!  This project can be completely made from reused materials and dog leashes if you wish.
Materials  needed:  9" by 5" fabric
                                  cord or ribbon (4" to 6" total)
                                 1/4" elastic (about 10 inches total

1.  Cut out a fabric piece 9 inches by 5 inches.  My bag I lost was 9" by 6".  This is a matter of personal preference.
For this project, I used weather-proof Gore-tex bought from Seattle Fabrics out of my stash because I've been making some outdoor adventure items.  However, one could use canvas, a heavy weight fabric or simply some rip-stop, or supplex.   To be honest any material is a candidate. 

Above is a picture of the Gore-tex material above - note it doesn't fray but is a bit hard to get the needle through.  I finished my edges using a rotary cutter.  By the way, if you wish to attach reflective tape you need to sew that on before you head to the next step.  The doggie bag I lost had it - I didn't feel that it was a necessity for this project.
 Ripstop, pictured above would be fine.

If you wish to hem the top and bottom edges of the doggies bag - this would be the time.  You want to finish (or "hem") the long length of the fabric (the 9" part) first and merely edge finish or serge the shorter (5" part) if this is your preference.

For the top hems,  I recommend serging (perhaps a rolled edge) OR I did a 1/8" hem on my previous project by folding the material and sewing it.  I believe a 1/4" hem should work too!  Again, for this project I did not hem it as this material does not fray.

2. The tab attachment.
Cut a small strip (I did three inches -  a bit too long) of ribbon, I used some grosgrain ribbon, but as the picture shows below - you could use cording, or the end of an old dog leash attachment, ribbon attached to a D ring. . .a host of fun choices.  Better if you have a cuppa while you're choosing:)
I placed my ribbon 1/2 inch from the end of the long length of the fabric (well, the pictures shows 1" here) and I used a pin to secure.   
Then using matching thread (I used red here for visibility); a universal needle, and a straight stitch -  stitch across the top of the tab ribbon (or cord) 1/4" from top edge of fabric.  See below.
 Because I made my tab too long - I put anther row of stitching 1/4 inch down from the last stitching.
3.  Now cut your elastic.  This is a matter of preference because my project is 9"; I used a slim 1/4" black elastic.  Any elastic will suffice.  I cut the elastic for the top of the long length (9 inches if you remember) - to be 4 1/2" and for the bottom long length - 4 1/4".  This allows you to push the doggie bags in a slighter larger hole at the top and slimmer hole at the bottom. 
 I pinned the middle and stitched each end 1/4" from the edge.
 I used a zig zap stitch (standard) and the smaller piece of elastic took quite a bit of pulling while I sewed.
 Note the zig zag.
 I stopped the thread about 1/4 to 1/2" from the edge.

4.  Finishing and the fun part.
Note:  If you have not finished the edges on the short 5" edge and you wish to do so - please do - I did not as this material doesn't fray.  

Put the short sides (the 5") sides of the fabric right sides together and stitch 3/8" from the edge.  
5.  You're done!  Turn inside out and attach a carabiner or any other clip and out you go with the doggies.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To Gusset or Not to Gusset? That is the question.

Dear readers!

Look what I found:   Crotch gussets in J.'s high end hiking pants.  These are made by Royal Robbins:

What an ingenious idea!  Now I think every man should have them, at least in their active wear!

Don't you think it would increase the comfort while not decreasing the style?

For example, in the Kwik Sew shorts I made for J.  Perfect Fit.  Absolutely perfect.  But, wouldn't a crotch gusset make them more comfortable for outdoor activities?

Have you run across this before?  I want to put gussets in all my man's trousers and shorts now!  I googled "crotch gussets" and found a jeans company  Gusset Jeans (really, great jeans but need PR help for that name -  - I originally thought they were named "crotch guesset jeans"!).  Here is a picture, courtesy of their web site:

They also make women's jeans - but I'm not so impressed with those. . .

Now other bloggers and messages boards have considered the idea of crotch gussets.  Fashion incubator in particular has wonderful tutorial (and great pictures of when you should add gussets (I hesitate to say it - "male camel toe").

Fashion Incubator's Article on Crotch Gussets

Here is what I think is the best tutorial on Gussets - it is for underarm gussets but can easily be adapted to the crotches (similar concept of expansion):
Tutorial on Gussets

This is what I would use - I'd like to do a series of tutorials but have not gotten around to perfect execution to actually think through the learning steps for new tutorials.

I am going to add the gussets when I make J.'s next page of cargo pants/shorts - I've added a link below to the pants.  And, I will do a gusset tutorial at that time!

                                           Green Pepper Cargo Pants

I finally bought some rivets from Tandy Leather and Jeans Button and will do a cleanup post next!  What am I working on - an elastic self-drafted A line skirt.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Completed: First Pair of Jeans, JStern 0037 (or Self-Stitched Jeans, the LA Way)

Dear readers!

Completed.  My first pair of jeans, Jennifer Stern Designs No. 0037.

Well, almost - I didn't put the jeans button fly, pocket buttons or the rivets  on (yet). 

MNBarb from Pattern Review (message board discussion here) probably provided one of the best link for jeans buttons - I'm going to order them from this ebay seller - Dimebuttons - link is Here.  Apparently, since LA is the hub (reputedly 80% of the high end jeans are designed here) - I should be able to buy some fantastic supplies; I need to hunt some down stat!

For more information on the high ends jeans manufacturing in Los Angeles - check out this LA Times Article, "Premium Jeans the Los Angeles Way."   One of the key aspects of this business is that LA manufacturers can take orders as late as 2:00 pm and have them out by 5:00 pm.  Wow!  According to research, wholesale denim (high end) can cost anywhere from 12.00 a yard to 25.00 a yard.  My denim was 6.00 a yard:)  I am going to check out sources for us readers, my recollection is that Mood has some good denim.  

Above is a close up - I do need to work on my execution skills.  I made these in 6.00 dark denim for a boot cut.  I lost 10 pounds since my muslin fittting so instead of 1/2" inseams, outseams and crotch curve - I cut 3/4".  Which worked out well and is still a bit loose (although you cannot tell from the pictures).  I only felled the back crotch curve and the yoke (and do need to work on those skills).  Also I pulled out the wonder tape at the crotch and   redid that topstitching so until I wash them they appear a little gunky.  By the way the fly is absolutely flat - but without a button it's pulling a little with belt.

On the others I used a denim double needle to simulate the felling.  However, I don't recommend the use of the denim double needle.  I made a mistake and in pulling up the stitches cut a hole in the inseam - I took up the right leg 1/4" and am experience some pulling (not evident in the pictures) on that side but I can live with that.  These jeans need a good wash - so I can get off all the tiny threads!

I am particularly pleased with the back - I place the decoratively stitched pockets once the jeans were assembled (the directions called for them to be done before the inseams and outseams are complete) - and placed the pockets 1 down near the middle of the back and sloped it down to 1 1/4".  On the I also slated the pockets starting from 1" from the back middle crotch curve to 1 1/2" as to go down.

Another essential tool is an awl which sewing.  Really critical.  I am working and made some great progress on my topstitching!  I am definitely making these again and will use a contrast thread most probably next time - and higher end denim (and maybe corduroy).  I'd also like to make a wide leg version ala Hudson Gwen jeans pictured here.

I have written a Pattern Review here for more detailed information.

The end.

P.S.  After reviewing the pictures - I am definitely going to switch from a YKK Jeans Zipper 3.5" to a 5".

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Obsessively staring at the back of everyone's jeans.

Dear readers,

It's the end of Day 1 of the jeans construction period - and I've made serious progress  -   and some decisions:

1) I finished the front pockets - I used a twin jeans needle to topstitch - and I'm fairly happy with how these came out.

2)  I finished the zipper - I used both JStern's blog but mostly relied on the clear directions and I am happy with how the zipper turned out.
3)  I'm not sure I'm happy with how the inner front crotch below the zipper turned out - I topstitched it after securing it to be well-finished in the front, per the directions - I believe I altered the front crotch curve.  The picture below depicts where the curve should be (the top scissors) versus where the crotch seam is now due to the topstitching (the bottom scalpel seam ripper).  I am thinking tonight about whether I should redo this curve.

4) I finshed the back flat-felled crotch curve seam. Jennifer's directions call only for the yoke to be flat-felled but I went ahead and did a 3/4 flat felled on the curve seam also (the directions called for 1/2 seam) and again, we shall see how this turns out.  I originally very much disliked the flat felled construction but after a night at the movies obsessively staring at the back of everyone's jeans I've determined it's not so bad.  And, because of this particular denim - I don't believe I can tear out the seam without disturbing the denim (little white threads have begun showing up where I did re-do a portion of the flat-felled seam).

5) Based on my failure in the flat-felled seam area - I've now determined to put in 3/4" seams versus 1/2 (since I've lost weight and the muslin was a bit looser) and NOT flat-fell but to top stitch with the dual needle on the side seam and inseam.  (J. Brand jeans does this).

6)  Here is a depiction of a 3.5" zipper I bought from Jennifer at ASN (actually I bought five!).   It's a YKK zipper, excellent for jeans and reputed (I cannot yet verify) to be environmentally conscious.  I'll investigate that further.
More on the history of jeans to follow - I merely wanted to give everyone an update on the progress.   I did note my London "Hudson" jeans have a "Made in Los Angeles" tab.

Tomorrow:  Sewing inseam and outer seam; construction of back pockets on the jeans, and waistband.  Monday:  Rivets, buttons and hems!  Jeans Ho!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Considering Jeans.

Dear readers,

I'm in the middle of making a great pair of jeans; and in doing so, I am taking my time (gasp!).  Yes, it's true - I'm not rushing to get through!

I said I've never make jeans because I love high end RTW jeans and have quite a few pairs.  But, as they say, never say never!  I'm doing it after taking J. Stern's Jeans Fit class at the ASG and loving it.   What a fun project.  Since I'm taking my time I'm going to do a series of posts about my trials and tribulations - and about making choices.  Once you have your muslin fitting (the stage I'm at) it's all about making choices.

Now, that said, I've lost 8 pounds since the muslin fitting (I'm not traveling for work and have cut out beans (lectins), wheat and sugar for the most part.  So, I am proposing a few new techniques in the form of construction choices:

First, deciding whether to flat fell the outseams and inseams (the yoke is called for to be felled in J. Stern's jeans pattern and is a classic technique used in jeans).

My favorite jeans are boot cut Hudson jeans.  As you can see here the outseams are topstitched rather than flat-felled, and the entire inseams are flat-felled.

 Here is a pair of skinny jeans -  rock and republic - although their crotch line is flat-felled - their inseams are not flat-felled.  Also, notice that the outseams are flat-felled at what looks to be 1/2 inch rather than the standard 3/4 inch.

 Sorry about the open crotch construction shots - this isn't normally a "dirty" blog:)

My thought is to flat-fell the inseam and crotch area and consider (based on fit) whether to do the outseams in a full 3/4 inch flat-fell seamed.  I am concerned that I've lost weight and that my jeans denim (dark and pictured below) has more than the 1-2% stretch recommended for this pattern.  The roll was unmarked as to lycra percentage when I bought it.

Another choice which must be made is what color thread to top-stitch and whether to use a pattern or embroidery on the pockets:

Hudson Jeans:  no pattern
Rock and republic:  Embroidery and use of matching thread to topstitch:

Two sewing bloggers have done amazing pockets - check them out:

1)  Katy did an unique "medical inspired" pocket  HERE at the most Awesome Pocket ever!
2)  Dawn did an wonderful embroidered pocket  - I couldn't find the pictures on her blog, Two One Two Off, but have put the link to the pattern review (she and Katy did the Jalie Jeans pattern 2708) HERE.

Since the jeans are dark I'm thinking of topstitching with a medium jeans blue thread.  (J. thinks this is a good idea as my prior attempts at topstitching have been iffy).  I have bought a dual jeans needle.
 I may put a pattern on the pockets, below these are my tests on the jeans fabric I bought:
 I really like the geometric design:
And, the wave:

By the way, if you'd like some pictures of other jeans, please comment - I do have a wide variety to photograph in my arsenal (levi's, true religion, J-brand, etc.).

Today - I'm doing pockets and the zipper.  Tomorrow's post will be about the history of jeans (and the rise of high-end jeans manufactured in Los Angeles).