One of my most enjoyable sewing is making jeans. there are so many things that I can love from a pair of handmade jeans. I love the feeling of crisp denim fabric. I love cutting them and putting all the details into a pair of jeans. And when they are finished, I love watching them aged.
After several years, they can look completely different from when they are fresh out of under the sewing machine. A pair of new and crisp jeans slowly turned into a soft and comfortable pair of jeans. The colour is fading, but it only adds character to the jeans. Worn marks are appearing, sometimes there are holes on pocket where wallet and keys are usually kept. Every pair of jeans show a little side of their wearer.
Here is several of my handmade jeans that get worn most.
Pumila Men’s Jeans
Non-selvedge denim. Pattern is Pumila Men’s Jeans (Japanese pattern, no longer available).
My first handmade jeans. This is how it all started. I didn’t have an overlocker at that time, so the raw edges are finished with zigzag stitches on ordinary sewing machine.
2013, 2 years after.
Pocket linings have been changed (2014).
Crotch and pocket holes repaired (2015).
2016, 5 years after.
Men’s jeans (Kwik Sew 3504)
Non-selvedge denim with striped texture. Pattern is Kwik Sew 3504 view B, size M.
2016, 3 years after.
Color has faded, making the striped texture more prominent. Holes on pocket and crotch need to be repaired.
Men’s selvedge jeans FOP07
Selvedge denim. Jeans pattern is Mens’s jeans FOP-07 by Full of Patterns (Japanese), size L.
2016, 2 years after.
The denim fabric was quite crisp and hard when it was new. it has now turned softer and more comfortable.
Denim pants (Evan – Tamanegi Kobo)
Soft corduroy fabric. Pattern is Evan by Tamanegi Kobo (Japanese PDF pattern), size 38 on waist and 36 on hip.
2016, 4 years after.
Not much worn marks, except for slightly faded knees.
Stretch denim. Pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc, size 6. Waistband has wide elastic in it.
2016, 2 years after.
My most comfortable and most worn item. The colour has faded and one knee has hole.
Wyome boyfriend jeans
Light-colored denim with no stretch. Pattern is Wyome jeans from Named patterns (PDF), size 36.
2016, 2 years after.
I didn’t wear them so much at first because somehow the light colour felt too massive to me. Last year I decided to take a cutter and seam ripper and started heavily distressing them. Now I wear them a lot.
Dark denim with no stretch. Pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc, size 6. Wider waistband to accomodate two front buttons.
2016, 1 year after.
Another basic favourite.
As you can see the aging of my husband’s jeans is much more interesting than mine. I think it is normal as he wears the jeans on rotation almost everyday while I have many other options to wear.
There are some jeans that I have made that are not included here. Sometimes it is because they don’t fit anymore, more often it is because they don’t get worn so much. I have also made jeans for Sidra, but they never have the chance to age at all because Sidra is aging in much faster rate than the jeans!
Since the weather is getting warm, I’ve been seeing off-shoulder tops everywhere around me. I began to look for sewing patterns and came across this relatively new pattern by Style Arc: Cara top. The description on the pattern page: “This on-trend top gives a gorgeous look with its flattering, gathered, off the shoulder neckline with a floaty raglan sleeve. The elastic at the back neck band keeps the shoulder line in shape. Wear it with jeans or dress it up with a fabulous print to wear to a special occasion.”
I cut size 6 without alterations. Since I’m petite, this top may come across as a bit short short on other people. The fabric is Indonesian cotton batik with floral pattern from my stash. The pattern is quite straightforward and not complicated at all. Basically you sew the sleeves to the front and back bodice, gather the front bodice, attach the shoulder band with inserted elastic on the back part, and then sew the side seams together.
I love how the shoulder band is flat on the front and has elastic on the back. The pattern also comes with suggested elastic length for each size.
This is such a great top to wear with denim for summer. I already have several denim pants, so this time I wanted to make a denim skirt.
The pattern is Sally skirt, another Style Arc pattern. The description on the pattern page: “This skirt has all the features of a jean skirt along with the comfort of a contoured waistband. Sitting just above the knee and very slightly “A” lined. Another wardrobe ‘must have’.”
This is a classic denim skirt with A-line shape with five pockets and zipper fly closure. I cut size 6 and widened the waist part a little bit. The hem was shortened a lot because I’m petite. As I have made several denim pants, I didn’t really looked at the instructions and just sewed it the way I have used to.
One of my favourite thing to do is making all the details on denim pants or skirt. So I made sure to put all the necessary details: metal zipper, metal button, rivets, and all the topstitching. I wish I could do this all day!
I’m quite happy with the result, no complaints at all. A perfect outfit for strolling along the street in summer. The skirt is not too bike-friendly, but I can still manage!
Top pattern is Cara top by Style Arc (PDF), size 6
Skirt pattern is Sally jean skirt by Style Arc (PDF), size 6
Style Arc’s patterns in paper form are also available on their website.
This is the Komani cape dress, the second pattern that I made from Bootstrap Fashion. As I have mentioned in my previous post about Bootstrap Fashion, the patterns are drafted according to your individual body measurements including height and other details like belly protuberance and upper arm circumference, among other things.
This pattern is one of the exclusive design made by indie designers who use the same Leko fit customization technology. Bootstrap Fashion allows indie designers to set their own price, that is why these patterns are set on much higher price than other Bootstrap Fashion patterns.
Komani Cape Dress – Bootstrap Fashion
I was attracted to the dress’ many interesting details. From the front, it looks like the dress has a cape over the shoulder. But from the back, the cape is integrated to the back part. To achieve this effect, the back side pieces have lining pieces that are attached to the armholes. I’m sure I don’t make much sense here but hopefully you will understand it when you see the pieces.
The recommended fabric is medium weight jersey. I found this cotton knit fabric with giant brush strokes design which I think complement this dress pattern quite well.
There are many things that I love about this dress, but let’s talk about these first:
- At $9.95 (+$0.5 for seam allowances), this pattern is much more expensive. Ordinary Bootstrap Fashion patterns are only $2.99.
- It does have more instructions compared to ordinary Bootstrap Fashion, but it is very confusing to me.
- The instruction has step by step photos, however the photos are poorly lit and often fail to show clearly what is going on. Since this is a rather complicated dress, clear pictures are necessary.
- I ended up doing the neckline differently because I couldn’t understand how to finish it. In the instruction, the neckline is finished before attaching the sleeves, I just made a simple neck band strip similar to T-shirt’s neck band.
- My finished dress is a bit different than the technical drawing and the photos in the pattern page. The shoulders on my dress dropped much lower, so probably I have made some mistakes in the process.
Apart from all these things, I still think the design is brilliant. I love how the lining pieces shape the armhole area and create the underside of the cape. This is definitely not a basic piece. People will notice the details and make comments about it. I just wish that I can understand how to construct it better.
The dress is also quite comfortable because basically it is a loose knit dress. It will get lots of wear this summer for me. When my husband saw in the dress, he said that it kinda looked like an insect. He really meant that as a compliment though!
Pattern is Komani cape dress – Bootstrap fashion custom-fit sewing pattern
Disclosure: Bootstrap fashion has sent me credit store to use in their pattern store. However, the views and opinions expressed are purely my own.
If you like bra making, you have probably heard about Maya bra by Ana Filimon. It’s a 3 piece cup bra pattern, available in wide range of sizes, and it is free!
This pattern uses different method for finding the bra size. It needs two measurements: underbust size and wire size. With these two measurements, the bra size can be found in the available size chart in her site. I found that my size is 30D, the same as my usual size for most bra patterns.
Ana has put up several pages of very detailed sewing instructions, although it is still not finished. I have made several bras before, so I didn’t use her instructions.
I made my Maya bra with baby blue stretch lace, foam padding, and white notions. Alterations that I made for this bra:
- added height on center front and side seam to accommodate the longer wire
- narrowed the centre piece because I have very little space between breasts
- very narrow cradle (about the width of the channeling under the cups)
- changed the center front to gothic arch
- added back strap extension
The top of the foam padding is finished with foldover elastic, so are the top of side and band. I also like to put a strip of channeling on the side seam for added support.
The second set is made with Classic bra pattern by Pin-Up Girls, a two piece . This is the bra pattern that I used for my first ever handmade bra! I have used this bra so many times and made countless alterations to it. This time, I started over from scratch and ditched all the alterations that I have made.
Here you can see the upside down V-shaped of the gothic arc where the elastic is overlapped. This is my favorite treatment of the center front!
This bra is made with stretch lace, tricot, and notions in all white. Alterations that I made is pretty similar to the baby blue bra. In fact, basically the cradle and band is similar and only the cups are different. The upper cup has added front strap extension. The transparent cups look pretty delicate but actually the tricot underneath the lace is pretty strong and stable.
As usual, a couple of small B/W photos of the bras on me. I think that the Maya bra gives a very rounded shape while the Pin-Up Girls has a more natural shape. I love both shapes!
To complete the set, I made a couple of panties with transparent mesh fabric and foldover fabric. I have used all the lace edges on the bra so there’s nothing left for the panties. It is okay though, because the panties can be easily mixed and matched with other bra.
I really like the fabric that I used for my red dress that I also bought the same fabric in black and deep green. I used part of the black to make a pencil skirt, and this is the green one.
The pattern is also from Burdastyle with my usual petite alteration. I really love the ruched detail on the side seam and the raglan sleeves. The original pattern also has ruched detail on the sleeves but my fabric is a bit thicker than ordinary jersey so I eliminated it.
The pattern is only three pieces, front, back, and sleeves. If you bought this pattern, don’t be confused when you see other pieces on the pattern. They are for the the Diagonal Divided Panel Dress from the same Burdastyle edition.
The ruched part was stitched first and reinforced on sewing machine, and the rest was finished on serger. I like that Burdastyle pattern has no seam allowance. It means that I can add 1 cm seam allowance instead of using the standard 1.5 cm seam allowance. I find the 1 cm seam allowance is easier to handle on both sewing machine and serger.
The dress is quite fitted but the knit fabric makes it comfortable. I think it is a perfect dress for the transition period between winter and spring. Sorry for the constant photobomb by Fuwawa. She was sitting on her sunny spot and refused to move at all!
And here I am wearing the dress last week when I went to a karaoke with my husband. It was actually my first time going to a karaoke in Japan! I’m not really sure how I feel about listening to my own voice, somehow it sounds different than what I imagine….
Pattern is Burdastyle Long Sleeve Fitted Ruched Dress 02/2015 #124 (PDF), size 38 printed at 92%.
I always like high waisted pencil skirt and have made them several times. This high waisted denim skirt that I made a couple of years ago is particularly a favorite, but recently I have found that my waist is getting smaller. The wide band of the skirt has boning in it so the waistband sticks out around my waist in a strange way. Maybe I should have altered it but I decided to make a new skirt!
Burdastyle Stretch Pencil Skirt 02/2011 #103A
This time I use Burdastyle pattern, Stretch Pencil Skirt 02/2011 #103A. It is a pencil skirt made with stretch fabric, with wide waistband and an interesting seam and godet on the back side. I did my usual petite alteration for Burdastyle pattern, printing the pattern at 92% and cutting size 38.
Other alterations are 1 cm swayback adjustment on the back, and shortening the skirt about 5 cm. I shortened the skirt around the hip line so it wouldn’t affect the slight flare shape on the bottom of the skirt.
The fabric is grey black double jersey, the same kind as the one that I use for my red knit dress, and black knit lining. For this pattern, the lining is necessary to keep the stretch fabric from sagging.
The godet part has 1.5 cm hem. I finished the godet hem first before attaching it to the skirt. The skirt has 4 cm hem that closed over the godet seam allowance on the wrong side. I don’t know if I can explain that more clearly! Please see the picture below.
The lining has no godet. It is attached to the skirt on the waistband, on each side of the zipper, and around the godet. Everything is done on sewing machine, no handstitching!
I also added some rigilene boning on the inside part of the waistband. Actually I prefer metal spiral boning, but it might be a bit of an overkill for this skirt.
Since the fabric is stretchy, the skirt is very comfortable and not restricting at all. You can see how far I can lift my leg!
Pattern is Burdastyle Stretch Pencil Skirt 02/2011 #103A (PDF), size 38 printed at 92%.
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