Aging jeans

Handmade jeans

My precioussss….

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.

Men’s jeans, 2011.

Pumila Men

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.
Pumila Men Pumila Men

2013, 2 years after.
Pumila jeans, 2 years later Pumila jeans, 2 years later

Pocket linings have been changed (2014).

Crotch and pocket holes repaired (2015).

2016, 5 years after.
Men Men

Men’s jeans, 2013.


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 Men

Men’s Selvedge jeans, 2014.


Men’s selvedge jeans FOP07

Selvedge denim. Jeans pattern is Mens’s jeans FOP-07 by Full of Patterns (Japanese), size L.
Men Men

2016, 2 years after.

The denim fabric was quite crisp and hard when it was new. it has now turned softer and more comfortable.
Men Men

Women’s pleated pants, 2012.

Denim pants (Evan - Tamanegi Kobo)

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.
Denim pants (Evan - Tamanegi Kobo) Denim pants (Evan - Tamanegi Kobo)

2016, 4 years after.

Not much worn marks, except for slightly faded knees.
Evan denim pants (Tamanegi Kobo) Evan denim pants (Tamanegi Kobo)

Women’s jeans, 2014.

SJ tee and Sandra jeans

Sandra Jeans

Stretch denim. Pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc, size 6. Waistband has wide elastic in it.
SJ tee and Sandra jeans


2016, 2 years after.

My most comfortable and most worn item. The colour has faded and one knee has hole.
Sandra jeans Sandra jeans

Women’s boyfriend jeans, 2014.

Wyome boyfriend jeans

Wyome boyfriend jeans

Light-colored denim with no stretch. Pattern is Wyome jeans from Named patterns (PDF), size 36.
Wyome boyfriend jeans Wyome boyfriend jeans

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.
Wyome Boyfriend jeans (Named) Wyome Boyfriend jeans (Named)

Women’s jeans, 2015.

Sandra jeans and Basic tank

Sandra jeans

Dark denim with no stretch. Pattern is Sandra narrow leg jeans by Style Arc, size 6. Wider waistband to accomodate two front buttons.
Sandra jeans and Basic tank


2016, 1 year after.

Another basic favourite.
Sandra jeans (Style Arc) Sandra jeans (Style Arc)

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!

Cara top and Sally skirt

Cara top

Cara top

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.
Cara top
Cara top

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.
Sally skirt

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!

Sally skirt Sally skirt

Sally skirt Sally skirt
Cara top and Sally skirt Cara top and Sally skirt
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.

Komani cape dress – Bootstrap Fashion

Komani cape dress Komani cape dress

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


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.

Komani cape dress

  • 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.

Komani cape dress

  • 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.

Komani cape dress

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!

Komani cape dress

Komani cape dress Komani cape dress

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.

Polka dot plunge bra

Polka dot plunge bra Polka dot plunge bra

Bra draftingAnother self-drafted plunge bra! I want something smooth to be worn under T-shirt, so no pretty lace this time. The fabric is lycra in black with purple dots.

Since I don’t have much space between the breasts, I find that a plunge bra with its lowered center front is comfortable. I also found that I have flared rib, that is why I like gothic arc on center front because it releases some pressure from the band.

Drafting my own bra is great as I can include all the features that I love. This plunge bra has:

  • three piece cups
  • plunge style
  • very narrow bridge (about the width of the channeling under the cups)
  • gothic arch on center front seam
  • back strap extension

Polka dot plunge bra

This is also my first time dyeing my own notions. It was not as difficult as I thought! I used RIT powder multi purpose dye and vinegar. I think the purple looks quite fine. Let’s see how they stand several washing later.

Polka dot plunge bra

Here’s a closer look at the center front. You can see how it ‘dipped’ upwards, and the elastics are overlapped on the inside.
Polka dot plunge bra
Polka dot plunge bra

I should have managed the thread tension better. The purple thread is not supposed to be seen from the outside.

plunge1 plunge2

And here’s the bra on me! Quite happy with the result although as usual I feel that some things can be done better. The upper cup is a bit too low on the side so next time I will make it higher.
Polka dot plunge bra

The panties is made with my favorite low rider panties pattern by Merckwaerdigh. This low rider panties only need very little fabric and they are not too skimpy when worn. They are finished with foldover elastic dyed in purple.

Making bra is quite addictive! I find it amusing that I have spent so many hours measuring and re-measuring my breasts to find the perfect shape bra for them. And each time there is always something new that I found. I don’t think I knew anything about the space between my breasts, the shape and the asymmetry of my breasts, before I learned to make my own bra!


Cap sleeves dress – Bootstrap fashion

Cap sleeves dress - Bootstrap Fashion Cap sleeves dress - Bootstrap Fashion
A couple of months ago, I was approached by Bootstrap Fashion to try their custom-fit sewing patterns. Unlike with other pattern companies, you don’t have the option of choosing regular sizes when buying their patterns. Instead, you put your own detailed measurements, and Bootstrap Fashion will prepare a pattern customized just for your body!

Isn’t this a great idea? I always have to make petite adjustments when using sewing patterns. Other people always need tall adjustment, short waist, full bust adjustment, and other things. With this system, you don’t have to worry about all of these adjustments!

Bootstrap fashion order page

Bootstrap fashion order page

Of course it is always better to make a muslin first. But for the sake of trying out this system, I made this dress without muslin or making any adjustments at all. This is pattern #41689 Knit Classic Princess Seams Dress With Cap Sleeves.

For every measurements, there is a helpful drawing to show where to take the measurements. Later you can save this measurements to use on other patterns. You also have the option of using standard retail measurements.

If you need further fitting adjustments, you can do so by clicking the next tab. There are options for bust adjustment, waist length, upper arm fullness, and so on.

Cap sleeves dress - Bootstrap Fashion Cap sleeves dress - Bootstrap Fashion

The patterns can be ordered in several options of output, in PDF to be printed and in CAD format if you’d like to alter the pattern in drawing program. Pattern price is very reasonable, USD2.99 for each pattern with additional USD0.5 if you’d like to add seam allowance.

Each pattern is ready within 30 minutes after the order, and it comes with written instructions. The instructions are however not very detailed. But this dress is very simple so detailed instructions are not quite necessary.

The fit is spot-on on my body! The dress fits exactly like the drawing in the pattern page. I’m quite happy with this result! I think this should be the future of all sewing patterns, where people can order customized sewing patterns for all body shapes.

Pattern is Knit Classic Princess Seams Dress With Cap Sleeves from Bootstrap Fashion, custom fit size

Disclosure: Bootstrap fashion has sent me credit store to use in their pattern store. However, the views and opinions expressed are purely my own.

Striped T-shirt

Striped Stratchona Henley Striped Stratchona Henley
A quick sewing for my husband. This is Strathcona Henley pattern by Thread Theory in straight size M, made up in striped viscose knit.

I omitted the sleeves and hem band as my husband doesn’t like them. Both hems are simply folded over and topstitched with zigzag stitches. I used to think that zigzag stitches screamed ‘homemade!’, but now I like it. Homemade (in love) is a good thing!

Striped Stratchona Henley Striped Stratchona Henley
Striped Stratchona Henley Striped Stratchona Henley
T-shirt pattern is Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory, size M.

Baby blue and white lace set

Baby blue set White lace set
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.
Baby blue set Baby blue set

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

Baby blue set Baby blue set

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.
White lace set White lace set

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.
White lace set White lace set

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.

babybluefront whitelacefront

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!
Mesh panties Mesh panties
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.



Long sleeve ruched dress

Long sleeve ruched dress Long sleeve ruched dress
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.

Long sleeve ruched dress Long sleeve ruched dress

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!

Long sleeve ruched dress Long sleeve ruched dress

Long sleeve ruched dress Long sleeve ruched dress

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….

Spending the afternoon in #karaoke 😝🎤

A video posted by Novita Estiti (@verypurpleperson) on

Pattern is Burdastyle Long Sleeve Fitted Ruched Dress 02/2015 #124 (PDF), size 38 printed at 92%.

Plunge bra

Plunge bra set

Plunge bra set

Lately I have been feeling very inspired after finished watching the latest Beverly Johnson’s class on Craftsy, ‘Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace, and Beyond’. If you are interested in bra making, I really recommend this class, along with Beverly Johnson’s first and second classes: Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit and Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques.

Actually I have bought her first two classes sometime ago, but only recently managed to watch them all. I got bored easily when watching video classes, then I found out that I can avoid boredom if I watch these classes on 2X speed! I’m very happy that I can watch these valuable classes now. A little fact: I am diagnosed with mild ADD.


Cup drafting

Anyway! I also have several books on bra and lingerie pattern drafting such as The Bra-makers Manual 2 by Beverly Johnson, Patternmaking for Underwear Design by Kristina Shin, and Become a Pattern drafter: Women’s Underwear by Najah Ouahab Rassas.

Now it is time to try all the new techniques that I have learned. I decided to draft a bra that have the following:

  • diagonal seam
  • lowered bridge
  • pockets on lower cups for removable ‘cookies’
  • very narrow bridge (about the width of the channeling under the cups)
  • gothic arch on center front seam
  • back strap extension

On the right, you can see my drafting for the cup with diagonal seam. After drafting the pattern, I made a muslin bra from scraps. I have a box of used straps, hook and eye, and fabric scraps that is used for making muslin.

Plunge bra set Plunge bra set
The cups are cut and sew foam, finished with foldover elastic on top. The lower part of the cups have pockets made with knit lining. The removable cookie is made with foam lining, it has layers of smaller foam pieces inside. Making your own removable cookie is great since you can adjust the thickness and the shape. My right breast is slightly smaller than the left, so I only need a thin pad on the right side. Technically I don’t need pocket on the left cup, but I made it anyway so the cups look even.

Plunge bra set

The bra has very narrow bridge, about the width of the channeling (1 cm) under the cups. The elastics under the cups have to be trimmed a bit to allow the channeling to be stitched over them.
Plunge bra set Plunge bra set

The center front has an upside down V shape, or also known as ‘gothic arc’. The elastic is not stitched as continuous line but overlapped on top of each other in this area. I find that the gothic arc, in combination with the narrow bridge, is very comfortable.

Plunge bra set Plunge bra set

The back band has back strap extension that curved over to keep the straps from falling off the shoulder. The dummy has wider body than mine so it looks that the back strap is placed too far to the side.

plungebrafront plungebraback

Here is the plunge bra on me. The back strap placement is right on this picture. I naturally have almost no space between the breasts. Interestingly, it is something that I just noticed after I started to learn making my own bra. Making your own clothes is really a way to know your body better.

Plunge bra set Plunge bra set

The panties are made with Merckwaerdigh low rider pattern. Merckwaerdigh has recently launched several PDF patterns, and it is such a great news because I like PDF patterns. Bra and panties pattern pieces are usually small so printing the PDF patterns don’t waste too much paper.

So I’m not very happy to find that Merckwaerdigh don’t place all the pattern pieces close to each other. This low rider panties have four pattern pieces, each is placed in different page with instructions next to the pattern. Maybe the patternmaker meant that these pages are to be kept as they are, and the pattern pieces have to be traced before being used. But I’d rather printed the pattern pieces only and read the instructions on the computer. So I traced the size S of the pattern on Illustrator, added the seam allowances and placed them so they can be printed on two A4 paper.

The pattern itself is lovely. It sits very low on the hip, the front and back is connected with a little bar on the side. You can make lots of variation with this pattern, or even make a swimwear bottom with it. I use soft powernet as the main fabric, and placed scraps of lace on side edges of the front and back pieces. Instead of side bars, I used pieces of wide elastics on the side.
Plunge bra set Plunge bra set

Overall, I’m very happy with this set, an especially with what I have learned while making it!



Learning tools:

Soft bras (Watson and Jalie 3131)

Watson bra and lace tanga

Taking picture of my new bra

It seems that nowadays I sew more lingerie than ordinary clothes. Sewing lingerie is so addictive. The pieces are small so it doesn’t take too much space, but the number of variations and alterations that can be made are endless. Wearing a pretty set of lingerie always makes me happy, as if I’m having a beautiful secret.

Watson bra and lace tanga Watson bra and lace tanga

Here is the most popular Watson bra. I’m sure you have seen this pattern around the blogosphere and maybe have made one for yourself! It is indeed a beautiful pattern with very clear instructions. I used white stretch lace because I want a white bra that can be easily matched with other panties.

The cups are lined with white powernet, while the bridge is lined with non-stretch lining. I made the longline version in size 30D, shortening the height of the band a bit because I’m short-waisted.

Watson bra and lace tanga Watson bra and lace tanga
I was very satisfied with the fit and how pretty it looks. However, after wearing it for sometime I found that the bottom band keep flipping up. I’m not sure what causes this, probably because I’m short-waisted? To fix this problem, I stitched underwire casing on the sides and center front of the bra, and inserted rigilene plastic boning inside. Problem is fixed, no more rolling up! I feel that the boning also makes the bra keeps its shape better.
Watson bra and lace tanga Watson bra and lace tanga

The panties are made with Lace Tanga pattern by Sew Fast on Burdastyle. I have made this pattern several years ago for this red lace set. It’s free, very easy to sew, and doesn’t require any elastics.

Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242 Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242
The second set is made using Jalie patterns. I just found out that Jalie patterns are also available in PDF. How did I not know this?? Anyway I quickly went ahead to buy several patterns.
Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242 Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242

The bra pattern is Jalie 3131, it is a bra and camisole patterns in 17 sizes. In Jalie patterns, you pick the band pattern according to the underbust size and the cups pattern according to the full bust size. My underbust falls to size Q, and coincidentally my full bust is also size Q.

The panties pattern is Jalie 3242, it includes 6 underwear patterns for men, women, and children in 29 sizes. you can make underwear for the whole big family just using this one pattern. I also made size Q for this underwear, but it feels a bit too snug. So next time I will make size R.
Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242 Jalie 3131 and Jalie 3242

The instructions for both patterns are very good with diagrams and step by step instructions. You can even watch this video on how to sew the Jalie bra. I also like that Jalie patterns have suggested elastic length for every part that needs it. The bra cups and bridge are lined with powernet and all the seams inside are enclosed between the fabric and the lining.

Here is the fit of the Watson bra (size 30D) and Jalie 3131 (size Q) on me. My underbust is 26.5″ and full bust is 31.5″.

watsonside  jalieside
I really don’t like how the cups of Jalie bra seem to smush my breast. The cups on the Watson bra gives a much better shape compared to Jalie’s. Having said that, the Jalie bra is surprisingly very comfortable! I wore it reluctantly (because I hate the shape), but at the end of the day I went to sleep in it. The next day I even made another one with the leftover fabric!

Looking at the pictures of the Jalie bra, I probably need to make one cup size bigger although I have used the size according to measurements. I also might need a smaller band because I wear this one already in the tightest hook. However I’m not really sure if I want to experiment with this bra anymore because of its shape. But it is comfortable! But the shape! That’s the kind of dilemma that I face in daily life….




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