Chevron Jeans Skirt – the cutting

It all started with my decision to declutter my life. This is not a new thing, every couple of years or so I realize I own too many things. Clutter and I don’t jive.

On the other hand, I loathe to throw out perfectly good things, or, in this particular case, a few pairs of jeans that were no longer fit for public outings. For some reason, I always find it really hard to let go of my ripped up jeans. T-shirts, pullovers, even jackets don’t cause me this kind trepidation. Maybe it’s because I practically live in jeans, and despite heavy usage, they’ve been with me for years. As a matter of fact, two of the three jeans I cut up for this skirt I have brought with me from Germany, in a move that was one station wagon full of stuff.

So, yeah, they were kinda special to me.


Continue reading “Chevron Jeans Skirt – the cutting”

More planning for the chevron jeans skirt

After the unrelenting rain, Summer has hit the UK. And while I’m really happy that we finally get to see some sun, the drive to hunch over the sewing machine or handle wool (the Elwing Calafalas is a mere 4/5 arm away from being finished) is somewhat lowered.

Which is fine, really – I have spent some time thinking about how to go about the chevron skirt. First, I tried to decide if i wanted one or  more blocks of chevrons. Out came my trusty notebook.

Chevron Jeans considerations

I am clearly leaning towards the upper version, with two chevron blocks. Not because I shy away from having to sew so many pieces. That’s a mixed bag – while it’s clearly more effort and time, it would also enable me to use more of the old jeans. This could have been a dilemma, but the (crude) drawing avoided that – I have a clear favorite. I can see the four chevron thing work on a longer, slimmer pencil skirt, tho … hm. Maybe some other time.

After that I googled around a bit, to see if I could find pretty pictures to inspire me more. Sadly, not a lot there.

I found a very dark picture of a pair of chevron jeans worn by Kate Moss, but it’s hard to make out any details.

Then there is the lovely maxi skirt Flame in the Darkness made.

Neither is what I’m after, nice as they are in their own right.

Which brings me back to the construction of the baby. This tutorial looks really helpful, even though it’s not exactly what I’ll be doing . This “wonky” chevron striping has me intrigued, tho … even though it’s not what I imagine for this particular skirt.

This looks like a great tut on how to make my pattern, although I’m not entirely convinced I want darts, as I feel they would possibly break the flow of the chevron pattern. What do you think?

I do need some tapering, especially in the back, to deal with my swayback. I was thinking I could just taper all four pieces (2 front, 2 back) from hip to waist along the seam-lines, and maybe cut the back a wee bit bigger around the bum area and taper off more for the swayback … I’m beginning to think this will need a muslin.

And just because I’ve been so short on pics this week, here’s one of a place I’d like to be at right now:

Source probably Pinterest …

Simplicity Style: 2211 – the skirt

Is it really Thursday already?!

Somehow I lost a day this week. That’s not a bad thing, you might say, as it means I’m closer to The Weekend, which also begins half a day early as our employer has given everybody in the UK Friday afternoon off so we can watch the Olympics Opening. Yay!

My suspicion is my day was lost during the night where my increasingly bad lactose and gluten intolerances decided to get together and have a party. Both these food intolerances have developed over the last few years, and I’m still not very good at dealing with it.

The easiest way to avoid unpleasantness (which can range from slightly gassy to a full-blown 12 hours of cramps and camping in the bathroom – I apologize if that was TMI) would obviously be just not eat dairy or gluten.

Well, what can I say? I love cheese. Some cheeses are alright, others … not so much. And as I’ve learned the hard way, a brie-and-redcurrant-jelly sammy is just no longer possible. D’oh.

But I digress. The plan for this post was to show you the skirt I made, together with the Caterpillar Cardi, as my first Me-Made outfit post. But this outfit is adamant it doesn’t want to be photographed. I kid you not, I took roughly 50 photos, NONE OF WHICH can be posted to this blog.

You don’t believe me?? Look at this:

Well, at least you get to see the colour changes on the cardi, if you squint a wee bit and try to ignore the fuzzyness 😀

The skirt was Simplicity 2211, the Lisette market skirt:


I had wanted a fairly simple A-line skirt for a while, and this fit the bill perfectly. The pattern is quick and easy to sew up, and I squeezed the skirt out of ~1m of left-overs from a previous trousers make.

You can see that I kinda-sorta tried to match the plaids, but I didn’t try very hard. The result is they’re not matching very well, but I’m okay with that.

Plaid Lisette Market

There really isn’t a lot more to say about it, it was that easy to sew up 🙂 The buttons, of course, came from my stash, and I think go very well with the skirt. I had 4 of them, and they’re just the right size for ornamental use … not sure where else I cold have used them, as they’re slightly too big for a blouse or dress, but just not big enough for a jacket. Hence I’m very happy to have found them a good home on the skirt.

Lisette Market Button

Chevron Jeans skirt

It happened – the sun came out!

And like any good geek, I did what we do after whingeing about the rain for months: I drew the curtains and played Skyrim all weekend. The best laid plans and all that … what can I say. I immensely enjoyed my time-out.

Anyhoo, while pondering strategy and collecting herbs and having a few, good old fashioned brawls with bandits and the like, in the back of my mind I kept pondering an idea that’s been festering for weeks.

I would like to turn my old Jeans into a skirt, more exactly a chevron skirt not unlike this one. As it happens, however, I have not a single pattern for a fairly straight-forward, a-line skirt with  a center seam.

This seems to be simple enough, tho … I should be able to draft one myself? What do you say? And if you have any tips towards your favorite tutorial, I’d love if you left me a link in the comments.

Summer! (Or so they say, anyways …. )

Apparently, according to the BBC, next week it will happen. No, not the Olympics (well, those, too), but I speak of the Summer.

Look at this:

Sharp tongues whisper that the BBC has been bribed by the Olympic Committee …. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but I do know that I’ll believe it when I see it. The summer, still 😀

And just in case (because I’m the crazy German who has contingency plans for contingency plans) I have made this:

Felted Cloche

The pattern I used is the Beacon Street Cloche, available for free on Ravelry. It’s a well written little crochet pattern, and works up quickly – took me all of three episodes of Fringe to hook my way through it.
I used the last of the Aade Long from the Caterpillar Cardi, and some black wool from Lithuania that had been kicking around in my stash for a while and feels very much like the Kauni, so I thought they’d work well together.

Felted Cloche – off

If I’d make this again (and to be perfectly honest with you, I have just started another one …), I’d make it a wee bit shorter, as it does feel like it’s hanging over my eyes a bit.

Other than that, a delightful project, and one I’m sure will get a lot of use, if in the non-existent summer we have this  year, or later when fall sets in.


Short cuts*

My managers have been really nice to me, and as a consequence of that I had a loooong weekend, including Monday. Yay – Monday work-fatigue disaster avoided!

So I took the time to leisurely stroll around town … ah, let’s cut it. I actually ran from shop to shop, avoiding the spells of rain as best as possible, to shop for a few essentials (miso, kohlrabi, fabric, hooks and eyes … that sort of thing).

Well, actually I didn’t mean to buy any fabric at all, but my way led me by my favorite fabric shop, Fabricland**, and it would have been rude not to pop in, right? As an aside, shop assistants there now apparently recognize me – which clearly means I’m doing a great job at not being rude.

However, I also *really* needed hooks and eyes (well, one set) … for the yet unblogged Simplicity 2211 skirt I made, using a bit of stashed fabric that was a left-over from my first trousers. But when I was in there, I pretty much immediately spotted this:

Black linen with sparkly flowers

And I just knew that a) I had to buy it now, as the bolt was clearly coming to an end, and b) that was the fabric I’d been waiting for to finally spur me into making my parfait. So buy I did.

Back home, I proceeded to locate the pattern in my newly organized boxes – a breeze, that one. Then I unfolded the pattern sheets, and started to trace off the pieces. Now, I choose to trace rather than cut straight off the sheets. That’s partly because my body is … weirdly shaped, and I like the ability to go back and use a different size.

According to the Burda size guide, I’m an 18 at the bust, a whopping 20 at the waist, and a 12 at my hips.*** Well. Now, I am aware I have a belly. But trust me when I say it’s NOT a size 20 belly. And yeah, my shoulders are wide. But NOT size 18 wide, and my boobs are alright, but certainly not in the vicinity of a double-G or whatever a size 18 translates to.

So, after some pondering, and remembering that I made the Violet blouse from Colette before and it was a bit huge in 14 for me, I decided to do a muslin in 12.

There was some black linen in my stash, another left-over from another pair of trousers. They sadly never made it onto the blog, as they were nowhere near fitting me, and got cut up for pieces quickly.

The pattern calls for 2.5 yards of fabric, and I had roughly 2. Well, what can go wrong, right? Just as pattern makers add some extra ease (you have notices that you need to go down at least  a size for any pattern to fit you, too, right? What is that, over-compensating for our need to betray ourselves considering our bodies?), they usually add some extra yardage to cover for any miscuts.

So I squeezed, and I wriggled, and I refolded (the parfait has a huge number of on-the-fold cuts), and it was a close shave, but it worked:

Cut muslin for Colette Parfait

So now my parfait muslin is all cut and ready to go.

Look at the pitiful cut-offs … not even hoarder me deems these keep-worthy.


To be continued …

*This also happens to be the title of one of my all-time favorite movies, Short Cuts by Robert Altman. If you haven’t seen it, you totally should. And while you’re at it, watch ALL.THE.MOVIES  made by Robert Altman. He was a genius. He also made one of the best westerns evah. And M*A*S*H*.

**I do not take responsibility for the possible need of eye-bleach after clicking this link. They have great fabrics, for very reasonable prices, their staff is fantastic, but their website sucks. Big time.

***Those are UK sizes.

Simplicity 2447 – yet more gingham

After pretty thoroughly messing up my first take on this blouse, I applied the lessons learned and made another one.

I used some more gingham, though of a different colour, from my stash (to be fair, I bought this a few weeks ago to make a blouse).

Simplicity 2447 – front

This make turned out much better than the first one, and I’m fairly sure it’ll see some wear. If the weather ever allows for a lightweight blouse, that is. Seriously, Dear Great British Summer, it’s about time you drop the being british and show more of your greatness.

Weather woes aside, changes I made include:

– added 1/2 inch in width to the shoulders.

– omitted the collar, and used a smaller version of the neckband as mandarin style collar.

– made the pleat the right way round.

A change I should have made:

– place the pockets a bit deeper.

I really like how the shoulders fit now, and that the strain lines are gone. The front plackets are actually exactly the same lengths, which makes me somewhat proud.

Pretty much the only problem I ran into was the intefacing. Since the medium weight I used on the first version was a bit too stiff for my likening, I got some lightweight interfacing, which turned out not to be fusible. I’m not sure if that’s just the way it’s meant to be, or if some other reasons caused it not to bond, but no matter what I tried it wouldn’t stick to the fabric.

So after throwing it away in a fit (and pulling it back out of the trash bag – not a kitchen trash bag, I might add; when I sew I keep a plastic bag next to my workstation so I can dispose of all snips and scraps immediately), I eventually decided to just baste it on by sewing very closely to the seams, and that worked just fine.

I also interfaced only half of the plackets, to avoid them becoming too stiff.

And because the hems turned out really wonky last time, I applied my new favorite trick: a stitched “helpline”. To use this easy trick for an even hem, just sew a line of stitches 5/8″ away from the border, fold over along that line, press, fold over once more and you’ll get a super even hem line with all fraying enlcosed. Yay! Worked a charm.

Simplicity 2447 – the hemming trick

The other thing that still bothers me about this blouse is the weird ballooning effect in the back. I’m not sure if that’s just the fabric … maybe a fabric with more drape would fall better? I might also try to gather the back instead of the pleat … any advice would be great!

Simplicity 2447 – back

Now all I’ve got left to do is sew buttonholes and buttons. This is not a super complicated project, but it takes a few hours, due to the princess seams and pockets and all that jazz, so by the time I was fninished  I needed a break.

But the buttons are picked, and lucky me has a another day off this week, so hopefully the baby won’t have to wait too long to be truly finished.

Simplicity 2447 – button

Yes, these are from my Summer Sewing Swap parcel! Love ’em!

The other great new thing I used while making this blouse? I finally got around to making myself a tailor’s ham, and now I wonder how I ever lived without one.

Summer Sewing Swap

My week so far was a bit crazy.

As you all know I work in the video games industry, and those rumours you might have heard about crunch time … well, they’re not rumours. It happens. I’m lucky, as my company and my collegues and managers try to avoid that as much as possible, but still, occasionally I have to work crazy nightshifts for launches.

That happened this week, and it always has a bit of a weird impact on my life. I get the day before and after off – because at launch night, I usually go into the office sometime between midnight and 2am, and a launch can take anything from 6 to 14 hours (or very occasionally even longer). So I try to get some rest before I go in, which means the day is usually spent more lounging and reading and napping than actually doing a lot.

The days leading up to the launch are generally crazy, as a million and one things need to be tested, bug fixes are coming in late, or they break other things, and so on. So by the time I came home Tuesday, I was looking forward to the relatively relaxed Wednesday and very exhausted and a bit down-beat.

And then I found a parcel sitting on my doorstep!! Come to me all the looong way from Sunny California!

I took it in, and carefully set it on my coffee table. I stared at it. I might have felt a bit guilty because mine had just been sent off, and I was worried it might not arrive in time (despite the lady at the post office assuring me it would).

All these mixed feelings made me wonder if I should wait until the 18th before opening it, but of course that lasted for about 45 seconds, then the scissors tore into the paper and I eagerly unwrapped  it.

Maybe you remember me raving about Kitkat Chunky Peanutbutter, and my inability to get them over here? My lovely swapping partner Redsilvia surely did!

That alone would have made my day 🙂 I actually lol’d with glee.

And it got better!

My favorite sewing notions – buttons! There are some lovelies in there, you’ll shortly see more of them, I’m sure!

Adorning one of these beauties (once I’ve made them, obviously), maybe:

I really love the jacket and am hugely intrigued by the blouse construction.

Pants! And another jacket! By designer Issey Miyake, who I adored in the nineties – I still might, but you know how some things just vanish from the surface of your mind.

And another pants pattern – I’m super keen to make the ones with the little latches on the yoke!

To hold all this together – the book I needed and didn’t even know I did 😀

I’m sure you’ll hear a lot more about this one.

And last, but not least – some healthier sustenance:

Heirloom seeds! Now to find space on the window sill (next to my other chili plants and the basil – how could she possibly know??).

Silvia, thank you so much, I feel so blessed to have been paired with such a thoughtful swap partner! And I really hope you like my offerings, too … I might have interpreted the “no more than 5” rule somewhat loosely … *blush*

And of course a huge thank you to Kestrel, who came up with the idea and organized the swap – thank you, this was brilliant!

The new ritual

Last week, I told you why The Very Best Jumper is named the way it is (and it has nothing to do with Martha Stewart!).

Today, I’ll show you my silly little new ritual.

And this ritual was inspired by something I also talked about last week, namely the first pajama pants I ever made. Now, I don’t really have a photo of them, tho they’re rather snazzy, if I say so myself … black satin with lace edgings.

The only thing that’s really a constant test of my patience is the fact that it’s really, really hard to tell the front from the back. Because of the slinky fabric, and their blackness, and the fact that it’s usually in a poorly lit bedroom that I put them on, this process can take several moments.

Just imagine me … holding them up, inspecting both sides. Peering inside. Eventually resorting to searching for the gap in the waistband I used to insert the elastic band.

So one day, I said to myself, enough is enough … I need a tag of some sort. Now, me being me, I can’t just … ah, well, you know, sew a little something into the pants and let it be good. This little princess won’t do below a proper tag. Clearly it should bear my name (or the name of my blog) on it.

So I found these:

TVBJ laundry tags

For a very affordable £6.99 plus postage (I paid ~£10 quid overall) you get 36 of these lovely, woven laundry tags. You can choose your font, the colours,  and whether you want some fancy decorations (yes, please!) on them. They come in two different sizes, and were delivered within a week.

The first garment to get one was this (new) pajama bottom:

First use of TVBJ tag

And today, I used another one:

Finishing touches on the caterpillar cardi

It went into the caterpillar cardi, first mentioned here, which I finished today.

As we speak, it’s soaking in the third load of detergent – the green heathered wool is a lovely yarn, scottish lambswool from a small mill, but it comes oiled for machine use, and needs some quite thorough cleaning before it fluffs up.

Hence the absence of photos of the FO … you’ll see more of it during the coming week.