Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Jeans Everywhere! JStern 0037 Jeans review.

Dear readers,

As promised, JStern jeans, my second version, in red stretch denim from the much-loved TNT pattern.   Red jeans are in (as far as trends) right now - I'm seeing them everywhere.  ( I also chopped 16" off my hair - this is the wavy version).
 I bought the fabric from mood.  I'm wearing Danski clogs, bought in Seattle during a rainstorm two years ago, and a rain jacket from Anthropologie I'm not sure I'm keeping (it really never rains here but may be very good for travel for a less sporty option).
 Again, they are a perfect fit.  I took Jennifer's class at ASG in Los Angeles where she led us through a  fitting session (and in which I blogged about in detail).  I used stretch denim.  Her instructions state to use denim with no more than 2-3% stretch and these jeans probably have 30%!  I bought the fabric from Mood back in September.  So, I sewed the crotch and inseams the same as directed and used a 3/4 hem on the sides and I have plenty of room to move.

I also deepened and extended the back crotch curve and deepened and extended the front crotch curve.  Result: comfy!

 Here they are again, a bit closer up - really a wonderful fit and I'm thrilled.
 Here is the flat version - as you can see my waist is almost the same as my hips (darn it!).
 My fancy button ordered from ebay!
Another big decision were the pockets.  I left a simple pattern with no hoods on the pockets.  I thought that red was enough.  However, I did make a mistake.  The pockets are stretchy and when I attached them the tops were stretched - so these are mock pockets without a pocket opening, so they lay flat!

I recommend if using stretch denim to use a material such as silk organza as an interfacing, and to add ribbon or other materials inside where the pocket opening exists to reinforce the opening (high end jeans do this I see in my RTW jeans).  Therefore, you get reinforced pockets with little to no stretch.

One more recommendation - Jennifer recommends sewing on the pockets before the pants are put together (outseams and inseams); however, I wait until right before I put on the belt loops - it seams I am very picky about the placement.  I recommend this method, although it does make it more difficult to sew the pockets on.  But I'm okay with the difficulty I'm much more concerned with pocket placement.

This pattern is a dream to sew up and I highly recommend it.

Now, what to do with myself - I have no more UFOs.  I bought some quilting material and have plenty of patterns and stash material to sew.  I'm pretty excited to catch up on my projects!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Dear readers,

Jennifer Stern graciously featured the fit of my jeans on her blog  - JStern's Blog Here.  I love the fit - very comfortable - now I wish my first pair had better execution in the stitching - at the time I was fiddling with flat felled stitching (lap seams) - somewhat unsuccessfully!

Almost done with my second pair of jeans:
One of the parts of the jeans making process I find so intoxicating is the multitude of decisions that must be made before the final result. 

Below, my project is cut and waiting to be sewn:
One of my first decisions was where to sew the coin pocket (if any) on the jeans.  So I pulled a few pairs of jeans out below, to examine the differences on current designer jeans.
A few different styles from Hudson and True Religion Jeans.  It turns out, almost anything goes with the placement and design of the coin pocket.
I could have left out the pocket, but almost every "classic five-pocket design" jeans has one of these pockets.  

I looked into the history of the coin pocket.  Apparently, the small denim pocket above the front pocket first made its appearance in 1890 on Levi's intended to be used for coins and pocket watches.  

After some consideration, I chose a slightly off center style to add some pizzazz.  They are red, after all.

I am almost finished with the jeans.  All I have to complete are the belt loops, buttons and rivets, back pockets, and hem.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jeans, again . . .


I am starting my JSterns jeans again in red denim.  I have them cut, serged the appropriate parts - and am getting ready to start sewing today.

I forgot to post some details on my first pair:
I did finish my jeans using some nickel rivets from Tandy leather company
and inexpensive (it shows!) Fabric Store Jeans Buttons.
However, you can buy really great buttons at this link and rivets (even in nickel black) at Grommet Mart.  I bought some new rivets and jeans buttons off a cool ebay seller LINK HERE.:
Celtic Rivets:
 H script button:

As for denim fabric, I have previously bought mine at Mood, and at Fabric Town, a locally owned fabric store and have now found a new source, Pacific Denim Outlet - who sells to the Jeans Designers here - I'm checking into it and will get back to you.

Premium high design denims are normally (but not always there are some domestics) imported from outside the United States, but manufactured to a finished garment in Los Angeles.

Here is a pair of True Religion Jeans Below (bought for less than 20.00 at True Religion outlet but priced retail at around 200.00).  Note the techniques used in distressing the denim.

The first technique, I believe, is sand-washing (this is what I am calling it). Note the distressing in both photos around the knees and the back of the jeans.  By the way, this denim here is HEAVY - not a light lycra blend.
The second, note the whiskers on the denim in the picture above.
I've attached a great youtube videos explaining the technique that you may enjoy.

Perhaps a handy husband or boyfriend might help out in the quest to achieve the perfect distressed denim.  J. is a musician, so I am out of luck, unless I can convince my father or brother to assist!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review Green Pepper F875 - Oregon Trail Messenger Bag (Small)

Dear Readers,

I've finished my first project of the year - unfortunately, it is a bit of a mess.
For your consideration, Green Pepper F875, the Oregon Trail Messenger Bag (now numbered #545).
I made the small satchel, for the purposes of checking out this pattern.  I like it  - I don't love it.
The pattern was coming together rather well; however, once I "bagged" the lining - I fell apart.  The lining is bagged right side up to the inside-out outer bag - this makes it fairly impossible to get it straight.  I think next time - I am merely going to bind the edges - much easier and I can ensure it is straight.  Here, the top cover is simply too narrow.

I also made a mistake with the material:  this pattern calls for heavy canvas or the like - I made it with a thick linen and minky lining:)  So, it's a bit too squishy.  I could and probably would have recommended facing it with a heavy-weight pellon interfacing - but believe me the construction calls for many layers - and sewing it would have been a challenge.
 A picture of the adorable (I think) fabric:
Even though it's not perfect, I can see myself wearing it or even carrying a camera in it - in my world (where I frequently travel) you can never have enough bags.

Here is the original pattern F875, the Oregon Trail Messenger Bag (now #545):
And a new Green Pepper pattern, the Village Courier Bag, #555, which I would recommend trying - it looks like it would be easier to construct:

Luckily, my sister-in-law (to be), sent me a wonderful bag for Christmas - so I have a nice finished project to wear while biking!
Now, moving on the red jeans - my now TNT jeans pattern from Jennifer Stern.  I am sure this will trigger a jeans obsession!

I also am dying to create a new pattern for a bicycle seat saddle bag!  If you know of any please let me know.

P.S.  Another resolution albeit materialistic:  I am going to bite the bullet and trade in my workhorse serger for a babylock air threading serger at some point before the end of spring.  It sometimes takes me up to three days to successfully thread my Bernette 334 (obviously user error) but it's driving me batty!