sewing

Sewing for the husband: Colette Negroni Mk II

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This is the second time I’ve made the Colette Negroni for Luke – the first being nearly 3 years ago. This time around I made the short sleeve version for summer. I didn’t change anything else except instead of using the XL length, I went with L (and in my opinion it’s still quite a long shirt, but Luke’s happy with it). Oh, and 1 pocket instead of 2. When Luke requested summer shirts, I suggested the Negroni because I think the camp collar style fits a casual summer short sleeved shirt well. He agreed, but later, after I’d cut the fabric out, said he didn’t like the large facings. Unfortunately, with everything already cut out, I couldn’t do much about it, so the facings are unchanged. But he’s right, they are huge – and I can’t really see why they need to be. I’m not sure if I’ll make it again – I could convert the facings to a button band, but why bother when I already have at least 2 other shirt patterns I could use?

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As you can see, it’s quite roomy – Luke’s lost about 10kg since I last made him a Negroni, but he insists he’s still happy with the fit of his original one, so who am I to argue?

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The fabric is this amaaaazing lightweight cotton I bought at least a year ago from Stitch 56 – my brother bought me a birthday gift from there and they sent him a discount voucher, which he promptly passed on to me and I promptly used! Stitch 56 says it’s part of the Rajasthan Express collection, Miss Maude (who lovely Wellington sewing blogger Emma reminded me sells this fabric closer to home) says Little India collection. Let’s just agree that it’s hand block printed in India and we’ll call it good. It’s made by Merchant & Mills, and it is the best. It’s so light and breezy, it’s absolutely perfect for a summer shirt. It was great to work with – pressed beautifully, and sewed up like a dream (once I stopped fighting with my shitty modern sewing machine and employed my vintage Pfaff, anyway). Stitch 56 have increased their shipping prices to NZ substantially since I bought this fabric, so I’ll definitely be checking out Miss Maude for some more instead! I didn’t have quite enough for the stupidly huge facings, so I supplemented it with some Japanese cotton lawn from Spotlight in a dark blue that was *almost* the same weight – I used this for the inner yoke as well as the bottom 3/4 of the facings (but not the top, because I didn’t want it to be visible).

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We found the perfect buttons in Spotlight – my beloved Masco Wools where I used to buy all my buttons at amazing prices disappeared when they decided to renovate the Britomart shopping centre 😦

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Last year I bought some personalised labels from the Dutch Label Shop with my Christmas money, and they were waiting for me when I got back from Japan. I love them! If you’re wondering why “yes mice” – well…short story, it’s something Luke and I say to each other when one of us comes up with a particularly excellent suggestion. E.g.

Me: Shall we get some cheesecake for dessert tonight?

Luke: Oh, yes mice!

Longer story – this came about because when I visited the UK in 2004, I bought a small Bagpuss plush toy that, when you pressed his stomach, said, “Oh yes mice, I love you all!” I was not familiar with Bagpuss, but I was taken in by his scruffy charm and his odd catchphrase, so he came home with me. After Luke and I had been dating for a while, he too got introduced to Bagpuss, and was equally delighted by him. Bagpuss lives in my Dad’s shed with a lot of my belongings now (such is the nomadic postdoc life), but he’s with us in spirit 🙂

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Sewing for the husband: Mustard Jutlands

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A while ago, Luke decided he wanted a pair of mustard pants. A bit of an odd request, but one I figured I could fulfil. Turns out getting the fabric was the biggest hurdle – at the time he decided this (a good few months ago now) I could not find any mustard denim in NZ. I tried all my local stores, Trademe, and the very few online NZ fabric shops. I even tried some Aussie stores, but no luck. I found this a little baffling, as the number of people I saw wandering about in mustard pants suggested to me it was quite an “on trend” colour! Eventually I found exactly what I wanted at Ditto Fabrics, located in the UK. I ordered some samples and was very pleased with how they looked and felt, so I bit the bullet and ordered. It was £8.99 a metre, and I got matching thread, too. I ended up using Youshop to get it here, as despite the efforts of a very nice man at Ditto named Gill, it was just too expensive to get it shipped directly from them. It still wasn’t cheap – I think all up with shipping costs and exchange rates, this fabric was around $80. I think good denim is worth paying for, though, so I wasn’t too upset. I got a matching zip from Miss Maude’s, and the buttons and rivets (not used) came from there, too. Turns out mustard zips aren’t easy to find either, so I was thrilled when she started carrying denim notions!

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The pattern I ended up using was the Jutland Pants from Thread Theory. I’ve made them before for Luke in cargo short form, but I’ve never made them as pants. It’s probably clear by now I’m not *that* fond of Thread Theory patterns, so I was keen to try a different pattern at first. I made a test version of the FOP 07 jeans, after seeing the amazing ones Very Purple Person made her husband. I was a bit worried as Japanese people tend to be slim and their sewing patterns small, but the measurements for the very largest size seemed like they would work. The pattern is in Japanese, however I figured I’ve made pants before and have some knowledge of Japanese, how hard could it be? The answer is, harder than you’d expect, but manageable. The fly gave me the biggest issues as it’s drafted differently to the Thread Theory pants or the Ginger Jeans, for instance, but after some research I found it’s actually drafter the “proper way” and I was able to find a video to help me work it out. At any rate, I made them using some cheap black denim and they were okay, but they had issues – the butt was saggy and way too roomy, the coin pocket was sewn into the pocket facing curve and didn’t fit Luke’s flashlight, and the denim shrank (despite prewashing) and they became too short. I also attempted to install rivets in them (my first time) and nearly threw the jeans, hammer and rivets into the bin. What ones I did manage to install came off in the first wash anyway. And yes, I did do practice ones – it seems the margin for error is very small with those little things.

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So I used the Jutland Pants in a size 36 that I’d used previously for the shorts, and I placed the front and back pattern pieces against the FOP pattern, and made some adjustments. I slimmed the legs down to 32, because Luke preferred the slimmer leg of the FOP jeans. I also shorted the crotch curve a little for the same reason. I actually took some length off the leg, because even though Luke is 194cm, they were too long. I baste fit the jeans together and had him try them on, and then took 5cm off the waist/hips. With all the changing of the sizes, I wasn’t quite sure which dart placement to use so I left them at the size 36 position, and the back pockets too. I think they look fine. The denim is not stretchy, and Luke’s measurements fit the 36 on the Thread Theory size chart almost perfectly, so I don’t know why they were too loose. I feel like I cannot rely on the Thread Theory size charts at all, as I had an issue with their latest pattern too, the Fairfield Shirt, where I carefully measured him and picked a size and it was too small (this is something they have apparently corrected though, as I wasn’t the only one to complain).

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The Jutland Pants don’t come with a coin pocket, so I’ve made my own that I use, copied from a pair of Luke’s RTW jeans. It fits his flashlight perfectly! I went with tonal topstitching everywhere on these pants, because a) I’m still not that great at it, b) my machine hates topstitching thread and c) Luke preferred the look of it on these pants. I just used the same thread I used everywhere else, no special thread or stitch length. I also didn’t decorate the back pockets with any kind of design at Luke’s request.

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Antique nickel button from Miss Maude’s – wish I’d taken a little bit more care to line up the waistband across the fly! Always room for improvement…

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Guts. Speaking of improvement, I sewed the fly shield on the wrong side. I was using a combination of the Thread Theory instructions and the Ginger Jeans instructions and somehow got confused. It doesn’t really matter too much, but I wish I didn’t always stuff something up in every project! I bound the waistband with my own bias binding made from an Art Gallery cotton, and I used proper pocketing for the pockets, which I bought from the fantastic Hawes & Freer. Luke is especially thrilled with the pocketing, he says it feels luxurious. And you can see the lovely matching zip, too! Luke loves these pants a whole lot, and he said they’re the most professional thing I’ve made yet, which is a pretty big feather in my cap!

Next up is another pair for Luke in dark denim (when I get around to buying some) and some Ginger Jeans for me. What are you all sewing at the moment?

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Sewing for the husband: Thread Theory Jutland

Whee, it’s not even the end of January and I have another finished project to blog! Look at me go.

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Yes, it’s more sewing for Luke – this time a pair of shorts to go with his new short-sleeved shirt. After my failure with the Jedediah shorts, I was neither keen to use a Thread Theory pattern nor make shorts again. But, the weather in Auckland is humid and gross and warm, and Luke walks to work and back and was not digging it in jeans, so I relented. After trying and failing to find a suitable shorts pattern elsewhere, I gave in and bought the Thread Theory Jutland Pants pattern. The Jutland Pants are really more up Luke’s alley than the Jedediah – Luke is a no-nonsense, practical kind of guy, and these are no-nonsense, practical pants/shorts. He was especially keen on the cargo pockets! I used the instructions as a vague guide and I think they’re a bit better than the Jedediah ones. Or maybe I’ve just had more practice now. Either way, these weren’t a difficult make, just time consuming with all the topstitching and flat-felled seams.

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I made a quick and dirty muslin in a size 39, which is what Luke’s measurements put him at. They were MASSIVE on him, and so after pinning and re-measuring, I went down to a 36. In actuality, I think he’s probably a 37, but that size doesn’t exist on the pattern. It’s a bit odd there’s a 3″ difference between the sizes, really. I could have blended between the sizes, but Luke was impatient for shorts and so I didn’t bother. Between that and festive eating, when Luke tried on the finished shorts, they fit…just. With a helping of muffins over the side. No matter though, because one of our goals this year is to eat healthily and be more active, and I’m pleased to say that after some effort in that department, they fit him quite well! He does say the pockets are a tiiiny bit snug (and you can see kind of a weird fold where the pocket meets the side seam where the pocket lining bunches up if he doesn’t straighten it out), so when I make another pair (because of course he wants another pair) I will make them just a tad larger through the hips.

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The Jutland Pants don’t have any indication of where to cut them off for shorts (that I could see) so Luke indicated to me where he wanted them to sit, and we did it that way. I then carefully moved the cargo pocket markings up the requisite amount to fit them onto the shorts – I could not find anyone else in the sewing blogging world who had done the shorts with the cargo pockets, and believe me I tried, so I was a bit worried maybe it couldn’t be done for some reason, but they turned out great! They look uneven in the photo above, but they’re not – it’s just the way Luke was standing/the way the shorts are sitting with his belt. I did patch pockets on the back, and somehow fudged up the instructions for sewing, folding and turning with the tops of them, but I actually like the way they turned out – a design feature, if you will 😉 He declined any kind of decorative stitching on the pockets. All the seams are flat felled except the crotch seam, which is double stitched and then bound with store-bought grey bias binding, and the waistband, which is finished the way I like it – seam allowance folded in and stitched in the ditch to secure.

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One thing Luke requested was a coin pocket. It was pretty easy to make one – I just measured one on his existing jeans, added seam allowance, positioned it and sewed it on. Done. He wanted it deep enough to put his flashlight in (as seen above), so I added a little bit of depth to it to accommodate that. The inside of the pockets is just plain calico – Luke rejected all offerings of even slightly whimsical fabric from my stash.

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I’m pretty proud of the cargo pockets – I think they look pretty good! Luke chose the buttons from Masco Wools. The fabric for the shorts came from my local Red Cross op shop – they often have a basket out the front of fabric, and all lengths are $3. I brought home 5m of this blue drill fabric, so there’s enough to make some shorts for me if I so desire. Not bad for $3! It’s the perfect weight for these shorts. Zip came from my massive bag of zips from the Salvation Army I scored last year. All in all, a cheap, successful make!

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Sewing for the husband: Simplicity 1544

Happy 2016, all – I’m not going to bother doing any kind of round-up of 2015’s posts, simply because I didn’t blog that much! However, one of my resolutions this year is to blog more (and sew more), so hopefully there’ll be a bit more action around these parts this year.

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Since I’ve gained some festive weight (despite getting the flu at the end of 2015 and losing 2.5kg in 3 days), I’ve turned to sewing for Luke recently. It’s no hardship – I actually really enjoy making clothes for him, especially as he takes an interest in fabric/styling choices! Due to it being summer in NZ at the moment, he has requested short-sleeved shirts and shorts. I have made him a pair of shorts, but due to his own festive weight gain, they are a tiny bit too snug, so I moved right on to a shirt. We both wanted to move away from the Negroni, which I’ve made for him twice before (and blogged about once) – both because of the camp collar and because of the large facings. So this is Simplicity 1544, the imaginatively named “Men’s shirt with fabric variations”.

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I chose view C, with the pockets of view B. There is no option for short sleeves on the pattern, so I simply measured Luke’s arm from the shoulder to his preferred sleeve length, and folded up the pattern tissue at that point (with seam allowance, of course). I cut out a size 40, after measuring his Negronis to determine how much ease he likes in a shirt, but with the length of size 42. I then added an extra 4cm to the length, because Luke is quite tall (again, I consulted the Negroni for length). I also only cut out 1 pocket, due to fabric constraints. Luke told me he thought the pocket should be on the right side of the shirt, but after wearing it, he’s changed his mind and said he prefers the left. C’est la vie.

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Does anyone know the purpose of the yoke button tab? Luke absolutely loathes any features on clothing that don’t have a purpose, so when he discovered the button tab, he was less than impressed! I didn’t even really think about it, I just added it because it was there and I think it looks nice, even if it doesn’t serve a purpose, but needless to say it will not be appearing on future shirts. He and I were both also disappointed to discover the pleating in the pocket is only for show – the pleat is actually sewn together down the middle and doesn’t allow the pocket to open to accommodate larger items as you’d assume it did.

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The fabric is one I originally bought with myself in mind, from Backstreet Bargains, but when it arrived it was more…beige than I expected, and I popped it in the stash and forgot about it. When I came across it recently, I offered it to Luke, who initially was concerned about whether or not he could pull of tiny giraffes, but I convinced him he could, and here we are. Luke is very fond of the fabric – he said he likes the texture of the weave (ooh, get him using the lingo!) and he rather likes the giraffes now he’s used to the idea. The inside of the yoke and the collar stand are both just unbleached calico, at Luke’s suggestion. He bought the buttons himself, after I discovered none of the shirt buttons in my stash actually match.

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I didn’t entirely follow Simplicity’s instructions, although there were methods in there I quite liked – the button bands, for instance, are attached after the shirt is hemmed, and then folded in half inside out, sewn along the bottom and turned the right way out so they’re all neatly enclosed and level with the hem. I used Andrea of four square walls’ method of attaching the shirt collar, as it’s the best I’ve found. That said, now that he’s worn it for a bit Luke said he would prefer the camp style collar of the Negroni on further shirts, as it suits the casual style of the short-sleeved shirt better. I did a faux flat-felled seam on the side seams, rather than just double stitching them as Simplicity suggest. They use the burrito method of sewing the yoke, which is always my preferred method – it gives such a good feeling of satisfaction when you turn it out, it’s like magic.

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The pièce de résistance – a label, carefully hand-stitched in. I bought a roll of adorable label ribbon from Daiso for $3.50, and I asked Luke to choose one for his shirt. He couldn’t go past this lamb, and it’s what I would have chosen as well. Too cute!

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Sewing for the husband: Papercut Undercover Hood

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Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of selfless sewing. Luke has started showing more interest in what he wears, and as a result, is very keen on having an entirely handmade wardrobe. Somewhat surprisingly, I’ve really been enjoying the process of making him clothes – talking about his colour palette (I’m not even joking, he’s made himself a colour palette), picking out fabrics, talking style details and selecting patterns. This is my latest make for him, an oatmeal merino hoodie from the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood pattern.

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You may be wondering why I chose to use a pattern designed for women to make a hoodie for a man. The main answer would be, because I’m cheap. I also want to make a hoodie for myself, and I figured that the Undercover Hood is a fairly boxy pattern and could suit us both. Also, at the time I didn’t think there were many other men’s hoodies patterns out there (forgetting, of course, about the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory). At any rate, I’d already bought the Papercut pattern on advice from Sandra at a recent sewing meetup, so I forged ahead. I cut out a size L, based on Luke’s measurements, and lengthened the sleeves and body accordingly as Luke is 6’4″. There was some to-and-fro about whether Luke wanted the hoodie version or the neckband version – I ended up cutting both out as he couldn’t decide, but in the end he went with the hood and I think it was a good choice.

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The hoodie was the most fun part for me – I went with eyelets, rather than buttonholes, for the drawstring – all the RTW hoodies I’ve ever owned have had eyelets and besides, I hate making buttonholes. I got them from Geoff’s (where else?) along with the rope cord for the drawstring. The fabric for the hoodie came from Trademe and is a sweatshirting weight, with looped terry on the wrong side. It’s snuggly warm! I’m so proud of my stitching on this hoodie – I used a triple stretch stitch for most of it, including the topstitching on the pouch pocket. I was terrified of sewing that on, but I fused knit stay tape onto all the edges beforehand, and used my walking foot and the stretch stitch and it worked perfectly – no waviness at all! I twin needled the open edges. I sewed all the other seams with the triple stretch stitch so they’re nice and sturdy and durable. I overlocked the raglan seams, but my overlocker has serious issues so I quit while I was ahead for fear of ruining any further seams.

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As for the fit – I think it’s okay. I mean, it wasn’t designed with a guy in mind, but I think hoodies are not exactly fitted garments, so it’s fine. Luke really likes it, and has been wearing it a whole lot since I finished it a week ago. His only complaint is that the sleeve cuffs are a bit snug, and I figured out why just recently – when I was packing up the pattern pieces and cutting them down to an M for me, I realised the cuffs had been cut to an M already! So no wonder it’s a little hard for Luke to get his giant man hands through them. Oops. He says they’re already stretching out a bit though, so that’s good. Otherwise it’s all good – there seems to be *something* going on with the armpit/upper bicep area with the sleeves, but I don’t know what – there’s a fair bit of wrinkling there. I don’t know enough about men’s clothing to know what the deal is, or how to fix it, but Luke is comfy in it so that’s all that matters!

Next on the Luke Clothing Project list is jeans – eep! Wish me luck…

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Sewing for the husband: Thread Theory Jedediah

Please note: I have just switched my blog over from Blogger to WordPress, so if things look a little clunky, bear with me while I sort out all the teething problems!

As predicted, not long after I made Luke his Negroni, the weather got warmer and he started getting excited for the shorts I promised him. I initially bought something labelled as cotton drill from Trademe to make them with, but when it turned up and I prewashed it, it wasn’t suitable. It wrinkled hopelessly in the wash, and even a hot, steamy iron couldn’t get the deeper ones out. On top of that, one side of it was slightly brushed, and picked up any small piece of lint or cat hair lying about. Not practical. After a bit of a rummage in the stash, I found what I think is a cotton/linen blend that Luke approved of, and I got to work.

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The pattern I used was the Jedediah shorts pattern from Thread Theory. It was my first time using one of their patterns, although I’ve been following their releases since they started. I cut out a size 38, as it matched Luke’s measurements, and they’re supposed to be closer-fitting than other patterns. I think the photos speak for themselves, but let me just say, these are really way too big. I’m honestly not sure what happened – I measured the waistband against a pair of his favourite jeans, and all seemed well. Then when I got him to try them on sans waistband to check the fit, they were huge. I couldn’t really take them in at the sides by that point, as they had been bar tacked and topstitched, so I took them in another 3 inches at the back, and they were still too big, although wearable with a belt. I’m thinking perhaps I stretched them out a little during the sewing process, although I’ve never had anything stretch that badly before, and the fabric is not stretchy and is quite firm.

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I’m kind of mortified by how big they are, but Luke loves them. He’s on his third day of wearing them in these photos, and he says they’re lovely and cool in the warm weather, and that he feels trendy when he’s wearing them. He has said he would like them a tiny bit shorter when I make him another pair, and I’m happy to oblige – Luke is tall, so I thought simply hemming them by 1.5″ would be fine, but they sit just below the knee instead of just above.

Unfortunately, I kind of hated making these. I went into it not expecting many problems – I’ve inserted a front facing fly twice now, on my muslined-but-yet-to-be-completed Jamie Jeans, and on my Moss skirt, and both times it’s gone pretty smoothly. I resorted to using the sewalong posted by Morgan of Thread Theory pretty early on, because I found the PDF instructions to be a little sparse. I’m a visual learner when it comes to stuff like sewing, and I have a lot of trouble envisaging how things go together, although I’m getting better at it all the time, so diagrams and clear pictures are important to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find the sewalong very helpful, and at times, I found it very frustrating. It seemed like everything was too zoomed in or too zoomed out, and I couldn’t get a clear idea of what I was supposed to be doing, especially with the fly instructions, as they differed from those I’ve used before.

By the time it occurred to me I should just do it the way I know how, I was too far into the construction to back out and change without a LOT of unpicking, so I forged on. Luke loves practical, durable clothing, and I was disappointed in the lack of a flat-felled seam on the crotch and seat seam, as I feel that’s one of the areas you really want one. I found binding the seat seam to be very difficult, with the sharp curves of the fly front, and this is something Morgan glosses over in her video. Actually, I was a bit baffled by the sheer amount of bound seams in this pattern – I like a good bound seam, it’s a perfectly good seam finish, but I do find it to be a bit bulky, and even using a lightweight fabric for the shorts I found it created bulky seams where I didn’t want them. In the end, I only bound the seat seam (and wished I hadn’t), and the zipper shield, and I did it the more time-consuming way – sewing one side first, then folding it over and sewing the other side. Early on in my sewing adventures, I tried sewing binding the way Morgan does in her video and I find there’s a lot more room for error – not catching the seam in the binding being the major one. I overlocked the outer side seams – my first time actually using my new-to-me overlock! By the time we got to the waistband and I saw there was yet more binding and oddly turned under partway, I admit I closed the sewalong and just did it my own way – turning and pressing the seam allowance under on the inside and stitching in the ditch.

Insides

I used some leftover self-made bias binding from my nautical Reglisse for the seat seam. You can see where I took it in at the back 3″ – I didn’t trim the seam allowance as I’d already bound and finished it.  Luke picked some green and white cotton from my stash for the pockets. Apologies for the wrinkles in this photo, I had to ask him to take them off so I could finally get some photos of the insides!

 

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I used a repurposed zip from a huge bag I bought from the Salvation Army for $5 – there were numerous metal zips, all salvaged from old pairs of jeans, I assume, since most still had thread attached. This one is a YKK one, and seemed to be in very good condition. I also used a trouser hook and eye from my stash for the closure, after unpicking FOUR buttonhole attempts – I didn’t trim the top of the zip/zip shield as much as I should have before sewing on the waistband, and it’s quite bulky in there – too bulky for my machine to achieve any kind of decent buttonhole. I still sewed a button on the front for appearances sake though.

Belt loops

This also marked my first attempt at doing belt loops, which I’m pretty proud of! It’s also my best edge stitching to date.

So, another pair of these will be forthcoming – I found another big pile of a very similar fabric in my stash, and I’ve already trimmed the pattern pieces down to a size 36. Luke insists I make something for myself first, though (isn’t he sweet?) so I’m planning a Deer&Doe Airelle blouse in a bird print chiffon!

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