January 25th, 2016

Facing my fears – Ginger Jeans!

I do not like sewing very much. I think about sewing, and my brain image is of me sitting at a sewing machine stitching, and I think ‘oh that’s not so bad, I like that!’. This is true. However I always forget that this accounts for only about 20% of sewing. The rest is ironing and pinning and cutting and playing furniture tetris because my room isn’t quiiite large enough for the table fully extended and the ironing board and space to easily move between them, and I find this part physically exhausting and quite boring, there’s too much stopping and starting to get into a good rhythm with it.

However, this time I am going to persevere with it, as I want some jeans. I find jeans very hard to buy as I have a 12″ difference between my hip and waist measurements, so I end up eventually finding a pair of jeans to fit my hips (which could be anywhere between a size 8 and a 14 depending on brand and cut) and having to ignore the fact that they are too big at the waist and gape horribly at the back.

I’ve been aware recently of the internet hype over Ginger Jeans (well, as much as there CAN be hype over a sewing pattern) and decided to give them a try. The pattern is fairly expensive, but it is SO worth it, and for relative sewing noobs like me it’s a perfect pattern to try as it was also done as a sew-along on the authors blog, so there are extra hints, tips, and photos for bits that are harder to figure out.

I am making the size 12 to fit my hips, and took a couple of inches out of the waistband in two darts before cutting the pattern, and also did a full seat adjustment as explained in the blog post to add extra butt space and hopefully stop the back waistband pulling down when I sit. I added about a centimetre to the back seam, though from having quickly basted and tried them on, I think next time I’ll add two.

While waiting for my fabric to dry I cut and taped the pattern together, then it was time for cutting!

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The pattern said I would need 2.1m of 60″ fabric for my size. I was only able to buy in 1m increments, so I had to get 3m. On examining it, due to the fact that I’m not making the largest size and the fact that my fabric is actually 62″ wide, I realised I could amend the cutting layout so I can actually get two pairs from the fabric I have. Score.

I cut all the denim, interfacing, and lining. I picked a pretty pink and blue fat quarter for the pocket linings as although they won’t be visible when worn, it looks fun as I am putting them on.

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The process took longer than anticipated as I had to stop many times to remove the cat from the fabric, or from the ironing board, or from my chair, as well as having to take lots of breaks to stop myself getting too tired. Here is my helper helpfully holding down my pattern instructions so they don’t get lost.

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And here’s what I’ve got so far…pockets! It’s the first time I’ve done topstitching with a thicker contrasting thread, and the first time I’ve used my serger for curved seams, but it’s going okay so far without any major disasters.

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The topstitching could be neater, especially around curves, but I’m sure I’ll improve with practice, and a few wonky seams are worth it to have jeans that actually fit me!

January 20th, 2016

Preparing for loom arrival!

So provided nothing horrible happens between here and Japan, my loom should be here within the next couple of weeks. I sorted all my ravelry stash and added the colour tags so I can easily sort by colour to remember what yarns I have in various colour families. While doing so, I realised that I don’t have very much cotton at all, pretty much only a load of dishcloth cotton, which is wonderful and makes awesome squishy teatowels, but is fairly limiting as it’s rather fat. So I hunted around the internet for some cheaper cottons for practicing 4 shaft patterns with. I ended up buying this surprise mixed box from yeoman yarns. 4 kilos of cotton for £30 including delivery!

They allow you to have some input in what you get, so I said it was for weaving so I’d prefer mostly finer weights, and that I like natural colours and bright jewel colours, please no pastels.

This is what the postman brought me!

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It is all unlabelled, so I have no idea what it is, and many of the items are mill ends or otherwise unrepeatable, so it’s not a great thing to buy if you want to know exactly what you’re getting and be able to order more, but for learning purposes without spending a lot of money, it’s perfect, and I’m really impressed with the great value for money.

In closer detail:
random small cones given as freebie
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bright red. very fine. 2 ply, approx 44 wpi, 2 cones, 282g each including cone
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raspberry, purple, green, and beige. 2 ply yarn cabled (2 x 2ply) approx 515g including cone, 30wpi
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natural, about fingering weight, 22 wpi, 3 ply, 595g including cone
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turquoise, 4 ply, 18 wpi 553 g including cone
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natural, singles, thin with thicker slubs, 515g including cone, 30wpi
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I also got bored of reading and thinking about weaving, so decided to actually DO some. I got my rigid heddle out with a couple of skeins of wollmeise (campari orange and herzblut), a ball of my very first handspun in coordinating colours for texture, and made these two scarves:

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Fingers crossed the saori loom gets here soon, and that it’s not too hard to assemble, then I’ll be doing all sorts of twills and other fun things soon!

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