what jean-ius have i wrought?

many, many, many moons ago i set out to re-create my favorite pair of RTW jeans: the elizabeth and james crosby. it’s a carpenter-style jean, with patch pockets, not a classic five-pocket variety. i loved the slim fit, the industrial details, the seaming and the leg zip.

textile-elizabeth-and-james-sunny-lime-crosby-pants-product-6-7883041-056905700 textile-elizabeth-and-james-sunny-lime-crosby-pants-product-3-7883041-055436211happily, it was a fairly straight-forward trouser to copy.  it has a very straight leg, and once i wrapped my mind around copying the back leg (a tad bit more involved than copying the front leg) i was totally in business.

IMG_1293.JPGnone of this would have been possible without the work i’ve done with kenneth king, both in-person and using his jean-ius class on craftsy.  the craftsy class is essentially a demonstration of his garment-copying method using a trouser (or a jean) as the base garment.  (cindy has made a shirt for her husband using similar techniques by lynda maynard)  instead of de-constructing a garment for pattern pieces, you trace out the grainlines and seamlines of each piece using thick embroidery thread, and transfer those markings to paper (or muslin) to make a pattern draft.

it’s easier than it sounds, i promise.  clio has also done it with excellent results.  she also shares my opinion that kenneth’s fly-front method should be a go-to.  first try, every time – and this weekend i did three in a row on three more pairs of these babies.

IMG_1295.JPGi knew from the outset that i wanted my trial version of the draft – it really came out too well to call it a wearable muslin – to be in a stretch cammo.  it has, perhaps, a bit too much stretch, and man, that cammo really does blend into my rock wall, no?

the crotch fit is perfect (key!!), and i used kenneth’s straight waistband technique.  this involves utilizing the crossgrain of the fabric to give the waistband some shape without using a contour waistband or interfacing.

the back yoke, alas, stretched, probably because it is slightly curved.  that bias, plus the stretch of the cammo, means that i will likely need to suck it up and add belt loops.  (insert sadface)

i had a heck of an adventure with my topstitching.  my little janome, which i keep as a backup machine, had all kinds of tension fun as i used the topstitching thread in the needle and regular thread in the bobbin.  there was much re-stitching of seams as i worked out the issues, but in the end i got a beautiful, thick flat-felled seam that i think is a bit reminiscent of early day true religion jeans.

1000x1000everything has a 1-inch seam allowance, which gave me plenty of room for a generous flat-fell and some insurance for any fitting issues.  like i said, the fit is fairly bang-on and any future variations on that front will likely be dependent on the stretch content of the denim.  i’m working on a series now with only 2% lycra and the fit is considerably tighter.

IMG_1294.JPGany other jean-iuses out there?

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crescent moon power, make-up!

because, look, i can be one of the cool geeks making stuff out of awesome sheets too.

IMG_5826it will likely surprise NO ONE reading this that i once owned a set of sailor moon bedsheets, in the late nineties and early aughts. i even had a set in my freshman dorm room, and not ironically. count me in as the kid in the hall who had all of her identity up on the wall for all to see: CDs and books neatly stacked on a small shelf, photographs and snapshots (and movie posters, god help me, the movie posters…) on the floor-to-ceiling corkboard, twinkly lights wrapped around the wardrobe and keith haring chalkboard in place of a dry-erase on the dorm door.


and lest anyone wonder if i had any, you know, actual friends in college, allow me to point out that i was the only kid on the hall with cable and a VHS player. people LOVED me.*

*actually, though, my freshman hall was pretty awesome – exactly the land of misfit toys that a college freshman dorm should be, with all of the wacky hijinks that such a mixture should encourage. see also: midnight ultimate frisbee, 4am pizza parties, 5pm group dinner followed by 2am pizza delivery, et al.  also, i went to college in the blissful time of napster and AIM away messages.  NOW GET OFF MY LAWN!

umm….right. so anyway, allow me to (over)share my sailor moon sheet crescent top. unlike my later iterations, this one i did up pretty properly with bias binding and all. i had a rough go of the bindings on such tiny seam allowances, and i definitely forgot to install the collar and had to go back, unpick the binding and shoulder seam, insert the collar, re-seam, re-bind…

but seeing the finished version in all of its glory, paired with its matching rite of spring shorts and a wraparound skirt for the playsuit look, i sort of wish i had finished my subsequent versions the old-fashioned way instead of via serger. something about the open shoulder looks cleaner (even though it does indeed pull a bit) with the binding instead of merely a turned-under serged edge.


and the collar is a fun touch. without it, i do not think my un-ironic sailor moon sheets would be as effective a fashion fabric.


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simplicity 2192: i promise that no muppets were harmed in the making of this garment

i swear that it is oona’s fault.

have i ever told you guys (excuse me, gudes) this story?  the story of the terrible influence we have on each other sometimes when we shop?  classic examples include clio buying ewok fur; suzanne and susan teaching oona about sequined bomber jackets, and my obsession with muppet fur.


the muppet thing actually goes back, i think, as far as the “oona does it” days on the sew weekly and the very first new-york-based meetup.  now, i could be making this up – memory does play tricks – but i think the way the story goes is that me, oona and nettie were giggling over a bolt of something on 39th street and attempted to dare oona to make something out of muppet fur.

and yet, all these years later, how am i the one that followed through?



seriously, sometimes i am just too easy.  the pattern is simplicity 2192, from the cynthia rowley collection.  i swear, these patterns come about as close to perfect-out-of-the-packet as possible for me.  they’re cute but not cutesy, and modern without trying too hard, and just have a vibe that i find very easy to incorporate into my vision.

this sweatshirt was a cinch to make up.  front, back, sleeves and facings.  i didn’t even do my usual tweaks to the sweatshirt (i.e., shortening it a bit, re-shaping the sides) because i wanted the slightly-boxy-oversized look.

that said, facings were a mistake with this fabric.  TOO MUCH BULK.  alas, we live and learn and wear it anyway.

(also, i just now noticed from the fashion drawing as i pasted the image in that the facings were meant to be attached on the outside as a design feature.  RTFM, much?  sheesh.)


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vintage simplicity playsuits for the end of the summer

gudes*, let’s get real.  summer’s over (in the northern hemisphere), the wind is starting to smell like fall.  days are shorter.  the world is (yet again) going to hell in a handbasket.  and this past weekend was the two-year anniversary of a huge personal challenge.

i am not in an awesome place this week.  i’m not gonna lie.  so i’ll just post some fun end-of-summer outfits i finished just in time for a summer vacation weekend in california.


(and watch some buffy the vampire slayer.  obvi.  maybe read some really trashy sailor moon fan-fiction?  wait, did i just admit that out loud?)


these are both 1930’s-era simplicity playsuit patterns and can i tell you how much i love them?  they were beyond perfect for beach-strolling.  and high-waisted shorts!  awesome!


the skirts are identical and i used two different shorts patterns.  keep an eye on the pleated pair; i have a new set nearly ready (#missionarea51, much?) in some liberty of london wool from NY-Lon.


i think i just need to hole up for some quiet time with the new bernina.  i have jean-ius to accomplish!  and drapey rayon challis trousers? and a list a mile long of UFOs!


and buffy.  let us not forget buffy.


* i am reliably informed that this is how the cool kids are referring to their “girl dude” friends :-)

so, yeah, this really happened to me.


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#fqchallenge bonus garment! because i use all the parts of the buffalo

of course, technically it wasn’t allowed, but i did have some scraps left over from my #fqchallenge masterplan. see, originally i was going to really go overboard and make a skirt and blouse to go over my playsuit, sort of like this butterick weekender pattern (that actually was my base for part of my work):

but the shirt, in spite of homemade pieced bias tape and a dismembered zombie head on the pocket, was nothing but a hot mess.

but i persevered!  i made the skirt anyway.  this circle skirt pattern is my favorite, because it is so easy to play with.  i quickly ended up with something fun and wearable, even if it didn’t match my original masterplan.



i just have to give a shout-out to the other ladies who shared the fun with me:

i really loved how, even with ridiculous choices and restrictions, everyone found a way to make a garment that was nonetheless true to herself!  so, readers, what do you think?  should we let oona continue to hand out assignments?  or do we cut off her margarita supply?


Posted in Finished Objects, Vintage | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

happy birthday oona: may it be full of unicorns and rainbows #fqchallenge

20140805-135214.jpgso, good things do come to those who wait. i know a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating the results of the fat quarter challenge


– oh, wait, that was just me? because my garment is so freaking awesome? that’s right, project runway ain’t got nuthin’ on this ensemble.




and wait, what is that i see? a clear, full photograph? HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OONA. now let’s not discuss it again until next august.


i swear that lens flare is not there on purpose, oona

like most of the rest of the fashion universe, i have been obsessed with two-piece sets, or co-ords, a term i swear i have never heard before and i was a child of the nineties appropriately obsessed with clueless.


as if!

the genesis of this set was the idea of the fifties-style playsuit.  ignoring the fact that this “playsuit” would be illegal on most televisions in the 1950s, i think i succeeded with an appropriately modern twist.


that’s right, i’m livin’ on the edge of the law

i started with two simplicity patterns, both by cynthia rowley.  my favorite of favorite bodices, simplicity 2250, had a love-at-first-sight moment with a newer release, simplicity 1607, and before i knew it they had procreated themselves straight to this.


since this is an oona challenge, cocktails were undoubtedly involved.

the original guidelines stated that all of the FQs needed to be used and visible, so i treated the bodice pattern as a building block and made each piece out of a different fat quarter.

20140805-135252.jpgsome stash china silk lining and red cotton broadcloth unified all of the elements into one cohesive top.  no mean feat, amirite?

20140805-135152.jpgand then for the bottoms i wanted a more modern short than any of my fifties options offered, so i turned immediately to the papercut pattern rite of spring short.  this is my TNT short pattern, guys, even though i am still perfecting my construction technique.

20140805-135207.jpgi used pockets copied from my favorite ready-to-wear jeans using kenneth king’s jean-ius class to highlight other fabrics from the bundle and then created pieced bias tape using a technique from modern mix, one of my quilting books, for the racing stripe effect.  each stripe was finished with bias tape (also homemade) on one side and white piping on the other for a clean look. i finished the waistband with a piece of red polka dot poly grosgrain.

20140804-222424-80664037.jpghere’s the best part:  i will TOTALLY wear this in public.  as a set, as separates…it is already packed for an upcoming family weekend in laguna beach.  i wonder if the high-and-mighty LA fashion set will understand my vision?


nah.  probably too sophisticated!


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me-made-everyday: style report



Posted in Style | 2 Comments