Jean Genie

There’s nothing like sewing the last stitch on a big project. I finished my jeans and immediately laid them out on the floor to gawk over. (I’m a loser.)

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Where shall I start… this yummy denim is from Birmingham rag market (from that day I went insane and bought ALL THE fabric). It feels very good quality, has a slight sheen with gorgeous orange undertones. The fabric is almost completely orange on the reverse – the magic of a twill weave. The denim might be a touch thin for jeans but I think it works ok. The fit is good enough for me too.

For my topstitching I actually used two spools of regular thread fed into one needle as I had an orange I wanted to use rather than a thicker topstitch weight. I love my pocket arches!

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This is my (sort of) second pair of jeans. My first pair never made it onto the blog because the denim was awful quality and I never wore them. When I finished this new pair I threw the old pair out.

I used Kenneth D King’s Jean-ius course on Craftsy which is absolutely fantastic and educational. To put it simply, you make a pattern by copying your favourite jeans and get the chance to make fit adjustments and customisations! My original jeans are the Topshop straight leg “Martha” style which they dont make any more. Thanks to KDK I don’t have to stress about that anymore!

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In case you don’t know, Kenneth is very well mannered with a no nonsense attitude. He points out that sewing shouldn’t be a series of rigid rules you must follow; there are lots of ways to get things done.

So it wouldnt surprise him that I did my own thing a couple of times during the making of the jeans!

1. I changed the construction order so I could topstitch my inseam, NOT my outside leg seam. My RTW pair had this styling and I think it makes them look smarter.

2. I made a larger fly shield compared to the one KDK suggested and I honestly regret not making it even bigger! It’s about 1cm smaller than I would like.

In terms of the course modules, the drafting of the copy was pretty easy, if a little time consuming. I’ve done rub offs with tracing paper before (using Steffani Lincecum’s technique – she’s also a Craftsy instructor but I have her book) but organza is best if you can afford it every time!

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FACT: KDK’s fly front zipper tutorial is impeccable. Seriously good stuff.

But that said; I would have liked to learn a bit more about topstitching. Namely there’s no mention of topstitching the outer edge of the fly, just the curve and crotch seam (from below the zip). I couldn’t work out at which stage I should be topstitching that part – possibly just after installing the fly facing and stopping where the zip should stop? I think that element being missing sets of a little niggle in your brain that the jeans don’t look 100% right but you can’t put your finger on why. Or is that just me?

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And I know how to do flatfelled seams from my shirt making, but we didn’t learn them in the Craftsy course!? That’s jean-making 101 in my mind.

Also I’m mad at myself for choosing my zip poorly. The pull is too large so it peeks out a little and also makes the fly bulge. At least I’ll know for next time and it’s easily resolvable.

Oh yes there will be a next time. There is some lovely quality denim online at The Splendid Stitch, with a good dark navy colour and small degree of stretch. I have plans for pockets with flaps this time too. And a cute coin pocket which I do like seeing on jeans though I have NEVER used one haha. Have you ever used yours?

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I suppose I ought to add that I used two machines for this project. I had my Toyota jeans machine threaded up with black and my Janome SMD4000 threaded with orange. This made things much quicker as I could jump between the two machines without the delay of re-threading.

But I don’t expect everyone out there to have a second machine. I just hung onto my original machine when I upgraded, in the hope I’d one day have space for them both. I do recommend it if you have space. It’s very useful to have a machine threaded up with another colour for random emergency sewing or projects like this.

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So who else has tried the Jean-ius course? There’s a good review on Amy’s blog. I know a lot of people have made the Ginger jeans as my feed has been full of great versions and Katie wows me on a regular basis with her jean sewing!

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Palm Trees in 0 Degrees

Hello! It’s blog post time!almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I picked up the Bronte Top as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6. I hope they’re bringing back the parcels soon because it’s such a good idea!

That shoulder detail got me excited as soon as I saw it. It’s comfy and satisfying to wear like a baby’s onesie but full of possibility for playing with the design.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I’d been wondering if I turned it into a dress whether I should use an A line or gathered skirt and seeing Sally’s gorgeous version clinched it!

This fun fabric is more of my cheap and dirty £1 cotton jersey from Birmingham rag market and the black contrast jersey is from Leeds market. I bought 1.5 metres of the palm trees and that was plenty. The trees sprawl in both directions. It’s like Miami Barbie meets Valley of The Dolls. And I love it.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

Do you remember when you first saw a palm tree up close? I can. It was the first time I visited California as a teenager and they lined the streets. It was wonderful! So now palm trees make me think of America, rather than tropical islands. But as I’ve never been to a tropical island I think I need to go study some to make a considered comparison heehee.

I sewed this up on a miserable Sunday night when it was bitter outside. I made a quick muslin and then cracked on. It only took a few hours!

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I mostly used my overlocker and then used a twin needle for topstitching. I only had one catastrophe where the overlocker ate my waist seam (there were tears) but I raised the waistline a little to cover this up.

As you can see I left off the buttons. I actually left of the topstitching around the bands too! I did a sample and it just looked rubbish, and the bands don’t flip out anyway.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

So I’m sat here watching it snow again and praying it isn’t going to settle. Me and snow are not BFFs. We’re not even friends. Sunshine stole my heart a long time ago.

Oh and if you can’t tell, I’ve dyed my hair two shades darker and I’m waiting for my mum to comment on this post about it. She won’t be happy!!

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Fabric Shopping Adventures!

Hello lovely Readers! I hope you’ve had a great week.

I’ve had two fantastic weekends in a row that I wanted to share. And both involved fabric shopping!

Last weekend I mentioned I was in London. The trip was centred around a lovely friend’s 30th birthday. I also got to see some of my family and go to the ballet. All excellent activities!

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On the Monday before I left for home I snuck in a little bit more fun in the shape of a Goldhawk Road trip with some famous sewing faces. I put a call out on twitter for London-based sewists who’d be free for shopping on a Monday and who replies? Only flipping Lizzie who was going to be visiting the UK and free to meet up!

Even better, Rachel, Fiona, Inna and Alana were also free for a shopping jaunt. It had been ages since we last caught up with each other.

We combed the shops for bargains and then had a lovely gossip over lunch in a funny little cafe (Rachel’s photo above). Monday was the day that Fiona’s first Mood post went live and also the day the Project Sewn results were announced! Talented ladies.

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Excellent London buys – Deer print Georgette, Geometric Cotton Sateen and Fabulous Swimming Ladies Polycotton.

This weekend was just as good. I got to catch up with Sabs, Kat, Marie, Helen, Roisin and Claire in Birmingham.

We enjoyed the Rag Market, the brilliant Barry’s and the Fancy Silk Store. Our lunch may have been more gossiping than eating but that’s just how I like it.

The fabric bargains, lovely company and good weather(!) all made it worth riding the megabus. I know I’m a broken record but it’s amazing considering we met randomly off the Internet, how I seriously value these ladies being in my life. They inspire me and they make me laugh so much.

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Brilliant Brum Purchases – Rose print Polyester, Hydrangea print Viscose. Not pictured are my bargain zip and bias binding purchases or my extremely dull lining choices.

I feel like I’ve been searching for the perfect floral since I started sewing. These two are pretty gorgeous but not perfect. They will do for now though!

Finally I still have one (ludicrously expensive) fabric purchase to show you but I’m saving that for another time…

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