Sewing, thrifting and the like...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Short and Sweet

So the Jean craze has hit my hood.
I mostly live in jeans and t-shirts to do all things mumma during the day, but I never really contemplated Jeans as a sewing possibility until these little honeys were let loose on the sewing world. They are, of course, the Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans. There are two versions, the high-waisted skinnies and the low-rise stove-pipe combo. I am a real high-waisted skinny fan as my 'this-lady-has-had-lots-of-babies-wobbly-tum' issues are kept in check with the above the belly-button waist band and as a result i cause fewer tsunamis with my belly wobbles ;) True story.

Anyways, I had an 80cm stretch denim remnant that I thought I could wangle into a muslin/toile and if all else failed I had only lost $6! I knew I would never get the whole leg to fit in such a small piece. As it was there was a fair bit of geometry, triganometry and bobs-your-uncle-try going on to squidge all the pattern pieces on. I might have enough left over to make a mouse a coat (a coat with no collar or pockets or arms) but that's about it. Soooooo, SHORTS it is!!!

I was quite happy to make shorts because it is still blimin hot here in Canberra on many days. The stretch denim is actually quite thin too. I haven't seen anyone else make shorts yet. Presumably because most the sewing world seems to live in the Northern hemisphere, and its bloody cold there. All your snow pictures are pretty awesome you folk up there [waves], but even though the leaves are turning here, we are a long way off needing really thick winter coats and what not. So shorts it is.

Anyway because the shorts are not given as an option in the pattern, I kinda had to fang it, and YOU KNOW how this girl likes to fang it ;) All it took was to guestimate the length I wanted (up your arse and knee-length weren't doing it for me, so I went with somewhere in the middle) make two cuffs, sew and overlock them on, fold them up and top-stitch. I wanted the same navy blue as the jean not the paler blue inside, otherwise you could totally just fold the leg up and stitch, or just free-form and let them get hairy.

So with the summery short theme, I thought I would go a little fluro, because honestly, why the heck not. It seems to suit the summer vibe having pockets of lumo pink and cream lace. The lace was from Spotlight over Christmas when I raided the Hobart store big time when I had a gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket. So the two back pockets, the coin pocket and the opposite pocket facing are all lace, backed with the denim. It isn't stretch lace, but they are happy enough cuddling up with their stretch denim mate. Well they would have been if i hadn't gone a little too crazy with the iron [sad face]. I managed to scorch the coin pocket when pressing the raw edges under, faaark! It looked ok, just a little crispy in a corner, and I couldn't be arsed making another. My slack-arseness came back to bite me big time though. Cos the lumo thread within the lace started unravelling after I had finished the shorts and put them on [very sad face]. I then had to do a bit of Macguyvering, a.k.a unpicking the little bugger and making another and sewing that in. Much more difficult on the finished garment, and its not as neat as it could be but IT WILL DO. Note to self: don't be a slack-arse. Note to self will no doubt be ignored. Sigh.

I used an orangey top-stitching thread too. I am obv on an orange roll at the moment, infact I have totally dumped yellow and moved onto warmer pastures ;) Sadly it doesn't exactly match the lumo orange lace, but the world of top-stictch thread is totally crappy and small, so I didn't have a lot of choice. Any of you can hook a girl up with some wacky colours, please do!

To begin with my machine HATED the top-stitch thread and there was lots of missed stitches and tangled bottoms [the machines not mine]. But after putting an Instagram SOS out I had loads of good advice. A proper top-stitching needle, not the regular jean needle was the go, along with playing with the tension. After that, me and top-stitching are totally bff's. 

I originally cut a size 12, based on my measurements, but the pattern cunningly gets you to baste all the peices together before you sew/top-stitch it all together. I did this and it was waaay too big. So I graded down to a ten from waist to crotch and then to an 8 in the leg. Works fine. I am pretty happy with the fit. They feel really awesome on, super comfy and all that. I didn't have to make any other alterations with the pattern, yay! I hear they are a good fit for most out of the bag, and I think the stretch fabric helps here!

I left off the rivets, its quite thin denim and I didn't want to wreck it. I left off the belt-loops, despite making them, because I was never going to wear a belt with these babies. I also did double rows of top-stitching every where, because i finally got my top-stitching mad skills badge. Oh and I didn't use a jeans button, even though I have a random stash of them. They didn't look right with the summer look, and again the denim wasn't thick enough to NEED one. So I used this blue Oroton-esque vintage button from my heirloom box of button heaven. Tis nice and its shanky, so she got the guernsey.

Also, I actually make the whole outfit!

The t-shirt is a self-drafted white/blue polka dot number (thrifted cotton fabric). The wrapy-kaftan-thingy is made of this divine, JUST DIVINE I TELL YOU, vintage orange crepe de chine (also thrifted). I used the free tutorial from the amazingly talented Esther Boller, It was pretty easy really. I just wanted something simple that would showcase the stunning fabric.

So a whole home-made outfit using thrifted or remnant fabric for around $10. Win!

I do plan to make more, and proper jean-jeans next time. I used my birthday money to buy some black and some blue stretch denim to do just that. Unfortunately, there was no percentages given on the amount of cotton versus elastane, so I might need to guess the fit a bit! I will use all the proper hard-ware next time and flat-fell the seams too. Hopefully give it a more polished look and add some more skillz to my arsenal :)

I encourage everyone to give this pattern a go. I am still very much a beginner sewist and I didn't find them tricky (once i had tamed the arsey top-stitching thread that is). They are time-consuming because of the switching between threads/feets/needles etc every time you switch between sewing a seam and top-stitching (about to be rectified when my new-old Singer machine comes home after some tlc), but there is nothing complicated. The instructions are great and there is also a sew-along on Heathers blog showing everything in photographic detail. So no excuses, GET ON IT folks :)


  1. Short Gingers that's so cool ... The entire outfit actually. I'm so curious what you'll make as the final version.

  2. Love love love! I'm hoping to tackle jeans this year too. Your shorts turned out fab. I love the pockets in that floral. So cool!

  3. Hello from Brisbane! I'm a recent discoverer of your blog (via Kristy at Top Notch I think). You're right re most sewing blogs being written by our Northern sisters; well, the ones I read anyway. I wonder why that is? Are Aussie women not sewing or (like me) not blogging about it?

    Anyway, your topstitching is pretty darn impressive - & you call yourself a "beginner sewist"? Well done!

    Cheers, Kathy.

    1. Hi Kathy - did you know there is a Brisbane Spoolettes Group on Facebook? We are all sewists and our next meet up is at the end of the month. We meet pretty regularly and a lot of us blog too :)

  4. Girl's got pins!!! Those legs! I'd wear shorts instead of jeans too! Seriously Jen you did a stellar job. I still haven't got sorted with mine despite having the pattern and denim for AGES. I like me an easy peasy make. Fitting, ugh. They looks fantastically summery and I can't wait to see your jeans jeans ;)

  5. These are looking all kinds of awesome, lady! I love the lace - it's so much fun! And live up the warmth in shorts for as long as possible- we all know it is going to be freezing again in about a fortnight ;)

  6. Ack! That kaftan!!! So glamorous!!! I'm jealous of your shorts weather and your gams!

  7. This outfit is amazing, you have such fabulous and unique style - I love it!!

  8. I'm with Jillian - legs for days!!!! Your pins should be out on display as regularly as possible, preferably in gingers made short. Enjoy the warmth whilst it's still around... love the shorts :) xx


Hey, would love to hear from you, comment away my fine feathered friends....x jen