I’ve been silent for way too long!  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been making things… more that I haven’t been able to convince my hubster to take great pictures of the things I have made.  Really, I should just use the self-timer more.

So, since I last posted, I’ve made myself a burgandy stretch velvet skirt, an awesome pair of jeans (which I then grew out of, I must do something about that) and most recently a pair of dress pants for work.

For the latter, I started with a Burda pattern (Vol 8/04, adapted from style 105).  For length, I cut to the line for style 104, I didn’t make cuffs, and I didn’t add the front pocket flap either.  The back features faux pocket flaps – I wanted the detail without the fuss.  Because I’m carrying a little extra weight at the moment, I also made some changes to the actual pattern pieces.  The style went up to 42, which was fine for the waist (in fact, I had to remove some material from the back waist), but I have chunkier hips and thighs.  Instead of playing with the outside leg seams, I made the adjustments on the crotch and inner leg seams, effectively scaling them to a 44 from my wider bits.  In the past I’ve done this using the marked pattern lines, and just rejoining them, but as this style didn’t go up quite big enough, in this case I actually had to do the measuring and drafting work myself on those seams.  So I can tick off a new skill!

Do these pants make me look short?
Full length rear view


Here, Kitty Kitty!
And the all important question: Does my butt look good in these?

I think these pants are a success.  I don’t have a pic to prove it, but the fly is very nicely done.

Purple silk top from Veronica Main, shoes from Hannahs, handmade earrings by zippitydoodah.

Kitty model is M from next door.  Hobbes was hiding (and I needed to distract M from stealing his food).


I finally finished something!

In which Elisabeth reveals her new jeans!

So, amongst my pile of stash, I found a pair of jeans that were 85% finished.  I started them 3 (maybe 4???) years ago.  I drafted the pattern from scratch, refering to my copy of Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting, and taking styling details from my husband’s favourite pair of jeans (which I have replicated very successfully twice now).

This pair of jeans has been a series of trials.

  • I ran into problems trying to use topstitching thread, and it kept jamming up my machine.  I’ve now learnt the answer to that one – you buy topstitching needles, because they have a bigger eye.
  • Eventually my much loved Elna Supamatic gave up the ghost, and refused to sew any more, leading me to purchase my lovely Janome 6500P, which they promised me would handle denim just fine…
  • I got the waistband on, and went to sew the button hole, on my then brand new machine.  Disasters!  I just couldn’t get it to sew right (I needed to learn how to use the machine properly), the button hole kept on coming out much to short and I had to unpick it more than once…  and once I did finally manage to get it to the right length, I put the seam ripper through the end of the buttonhole, thereby ruining the waistband.  At which point I gave up.

Fast forward 3 (maybe 4) years, and I decided that I was going to tackle these jeans and get them finished once and for all.  I spent a couple of hours digging through my stash to try and find left-over material to make the new waistband.  Eventually I found the remnant.  All 45×12 cm of it!  So I had to get inventive.  I cut one back waistband from the original waistband, the other from the remnant, and managed to scrounge the extra from the hems.  I’m ever so glad I gave myself extra length way back then.  I finished the waistband last night, including the buttonhole (I know how to use my machine these days), and today I hemmed them.


My new jeans

They look pretty good, don’t they?  Errr, well, um, they do in that picture 🙂

Things that could be better:

Waistband detail

I should have dropped the rear waist by a cm or two, and made a curved waistband.  I did think about curving the waistband yesterday, but being so strapped for fabric I thought it would be ok.  As it is, the waist does fit me better than most commercial jeans I have ever bought.

Front view

There’s a bit much fabric in the rear thighs, making me seem unnecessarily broad (I have heavy thighs, there’s no denying it, but the cut accentuates it, more so in real life than in this picture).  Oh well, at least my hair is looking good.

And now, for the ever important question: Do these jeans make my butt look good?

Rear view. Hmmmm.

Well I guess that’s a no.

On the plus side, they are pretty comfortable, and with winter coming up they will be good for gardening.  I have learnt that I do need to lower the back of the waist for a better fit, and not to over compensate for my thighs when drafting patterns.  Making a toile would probably have been a good idea as well.

Also, in the intervening years, I have totally worn though the most comfortable and flattering pair of jeans I have ever owned, and they are now sitting down in the studio ready for me to rip apart to take a pattern from – no more guess work from me for a while!