Calling All Sewcialists & Chicago Sewists

I am social media stupid. I kinda don’t get it, but sorta feel like I’m catching on? Perhaps I’ve watched too many 19th c. period movies. My mind just seems to be off in other eras a lot!

But, great things can come out of social media. Leila from the Three Dresses Project came up with the term #sewcialist for people who sew & do the whole twitter/social media thing. Fun, right?

Then, Another Sewing Scientist came up with the brilliant idea to make a google map of where we all live- no not our exact address, just general cities & neighborhoods. You can also add your favorite local fabric stores to the map.

Another Sewing Scientist

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Finally, a Chicago sewing blogger meetup! Yes! When I first started blogging I felt so isolated. I realized one of the blogs I had been following was run by a Chicagoan & I commented on her blog about how excited I was to hear about another Chicago sewing blogger as I hadn’t heard of any others. She never replied.

Since then I’ve met Rhonda, this past weekend meet up with Sally (more on that to come) & randomly met another blogger while we were both on our way back from Vogue. OK, maybe not so random, but in all my fabric store trips (& you know there have been too many to count) I’ve never started chatting with another person who both sewed & blogged.

So, this is a shout out to all Chicago area sewing bloggers (or just people who like to sew but don’t have blogs), talk to me! We’re looking at late March at the Vogue flagship store in Evanston for the meet up date. Come on out of the woodworks & I’ll cc you in on our long e-mail list for the meetup.Map the Sewists

One final note, this blog looks wonky! That’s because I’m switching servers. My fabulous, talented & professional friend Kim, who owns a web design company, is handling the switching. But, the templates I’ve been using were chock full of bugs & when she switched over to the server things went a bit cuckoo. Debugging that thing would take too much time away from building my new site. Yes, I’m getting a pretty new blog layout sometime in March or April!

None of these problems are Kim’s fault, just the fault of bad code in free templates. So, if you’re looking for a good web designer who has blog & WordPress experience, so talk to Kim.

One final note- an upcoming podcast will be on why & how we choose patterns. E-mail me at disparatedisciplinesATgmail with tip son how you choose patterns for your body type.


Sewing Blogger Meetup

Leila was in town for a short visit when we recorded the podcast. And good blogger that she is, she already posted about our little get together. Now, we didn’t just gab about what we call ourselves as people who sew. We also hit up the Vogue Fabrics flagship store with her costuming friend Kate.

Kate, me & Leila post-podcast recording
Kate, me & Leila post-podcast recording. Since we were talking about indie pattern designers & giving away some Cake Patterns I thought I’d wear my Tiramisu t-shirt!

As you can see, there were a lot of pretty things that wanted to come home with us.

Oooo! Wool jersey!
Oooo! Wool jersey!

Sigh, I don’t know how I was so restrained. Actually, I don’t know how we were all so restrained. Our wallets largely remained intact. Kate didn’t even get anything- can you believe it?! I think I need some of that amazing fabric self-restraint.

Pom pom trim!!!
Pom pom trim!!!

Leila & I hope to do more podcasts together, but that’s all dependent on when she can next make it back to Chicago. In the meantime, what would you like to hear me talk about on the next episode of Stitches? How long do you like a podcast to be? Shorter like parts 1 & 2 of episode 1, Steam. Or longer like episode 2 with Leila?Podcasting with Leila

Are you a ‘sewer’ or a ‘sewist’? Podcast & Giveaway

Stitches Episode 2 Are you a Sewer or a SewistToday’s podcast features a very fun & special guest, Leila from the blog The Three Dresses Project.

Leila was so excited to be on the show she was aflame. And Mari was a burning ball of fiery enthusiasm to have Leila as a guest star. Much giggling occurred during this chat about what we call ourselves as people who like to sew.

This podcast is also available on PodOmatic.

Show notes:

  • It seems the most well known term among people sew & those who don’t is ‘sewer’. But when written out it looks like the ‘sewer’, as in those subterranean pipes that carry all manner of sludge & ickiness.
  • Because of that people- bloggers especially- started calling themselves ‘sewists’, but when seen as a cross between ‘sewer’ & ‘artist’ some people (Mari) think it’s pretentious.
  • Hobbyist’ can also rub people the wrong way if people use it demeaningly, as a way to say you’re not serious about your craft.
  • The worst term might be ‘Becky Home-ecky.’ How are we to be taken seriously about handmaking our clothes when Tim Gunn is freely using this term on Project Runway?
  • Dressmaker’ & ‘Seamstress’ seem less controversial but also imply that someone is making clothing for other people for a living. The word ‘dressmaker’ suggests someone who makes fancier & less practical things like fine dresses. ‘Seamstress’ implies someone who does more utility sewing- as in everyday clothing & mending.
  • Tailors’ are the male counterparts to ‘dressmakers’ & ‘seamstresses.’ Can a woman be a tailor? It seems nowadays there’s more cross-over when it comes to tailoring & gender roles.
  • Can calling yourself a ‘couture sewist’ be snooty or does it just describe the kind of sewing you do?
  • In the fashion industry the people who sew clothing are called ‘stitchers,’ a more gender neutral word. But, the industry delineates what each person does more specifically for the purposes of clarity. At home we do everything: we’re pattern makers, drapers, cutters, etc. Is calling yourself a ‘stitcher’ implying you only sew?
  • Historically we haven’t heard of anyone using special terms to label themselves as someone who sewed unless they were sewing for a living. Sewing was something you had to do because you were alive- it helped shelter your body from the weather.
  • Sewing was an everyday thing & an expectation. Brides were given a basket with basic sewing supplies to mend and make the clothes they had last longer.
  • As bloggers we’re taking on more roles as we branch out into business. What do we call ourselves when we’ve got a professional business, but didn’t go to fashion school or have an apprenticeship? What about when we only sew for ourselves & don’t do custom projects for clients, but own things like pattern companies or teach sewing classes?
  • For further thoughts on this topic, see this Sewaholic post.

Recent sewing bloggers turned home sewing pattern makers include Steph from 3HoursPast & Cake Patterns, Melissa from Fehr Trade, Amy from Cloth Habit, Maddie from Madalynne & Tilly from Tilly & the Buttons.

To celebrate all these emerging indie pattern designers Leila & I are having a giveaway of Steph’s patterns from Cake Patterns. Now, Leila works for Steph & Steph graciously offered to donate these patterns to the giveaway for free. But we’re the ones who will be sending you the patterns. Leila & I aren’t doing this as agents of Cake Patterns. We’re doing it because we just recorded a podcast & because we love indie pattern companies.

Comment to win the Pavlova pattern once it's been released.
Comment to win the Pavlova pattern once it’s been released.

So, comment here to win a copy of the Pavlova pattern– we’ll ship it to you once it’s been released. Hop on over to Leila’s blog & comment to win a copy of the Tiramisu pattern. The giveaway is open until February 27th.  International entries welcome. Here’s how to win:

  1. Leave me a comment saying what you call yourself as someone who sews. Please specify that you want to win & leave a way to contact you.
  2. Get an extra entry for mentioning in the same post that you have subscribed to my blog.

And just for fun- not extra entries- fill out this poll. What do you call yourself? If you choose ‘other’ write in what that ‘other’ is. 

How to Make a Lace Bandeau Video Tutorial

Lace Bandeau TutorialDear reader, I believe there is something we can agree upon. Neither of us wants my nipples to be flashed across the internet.

However, I have no compunction about exposing the lovely Esmeralda to the world. I’m not certain you’ve been formally introduced. This is Esmerelda, the dress form I received for Christmas. Esmerelda, this is everyone. Say hello to the lovely blog readers.

Now that introductions have been made, I have a Chinese New Year present for you.

A video tutorial! How to make a lace bandeau. Just in time for that ‘V’ word, that greeting card holiday I don’t like to celebrate even though I now have a significant other.

But you may be asking what lace bandeaus have to do with Chinese New Year. Recently, I was looking up ancient Chinese undergarments (ah sewing, how you make me interested in the most random things). And during the Tang Dynasty there were types of underwear called hezi & moxiong, which have apparently been updated to suit modern tastes. I had trouble finding the site again, but during my research I found a picture of a lace bandeau that was called a moxiong. So this could also be called a modern moxiong tutorial.

If you can’t watch the video because of low bandwidth or, cough cough, you’re at work here’s the skinny.


  • Wide 4-way stretch lace elastic the length of your bust measurement- as a C cup bra I like mine to be 6″ wide
  • Matching thread
  • Clear elastic 1-3/4 times the length of your lace
  • Pins
  • Rotary cutter & mat or scissors

Instructions– see my video for more detailed instructions

  1. Pin the lace around yourself- different laces stretch at different rates so I’m not going to tell you to cut a certain length minus your bust measurement. Walk around & adjust the tightness until it’s comfortable. Mark where you want your seam to fall.
  2. If using scalloped lace mark your seam to fall between two scallops & add the width of your seam allowance to the side. Cut there.
  3. Cut clear elastic the length of your lace.
  4. Starting with the clear elastic 1/2 – 1″ off the end of your lace, sew it along the bottom edge of the lace. Keep the clear elastic taut- not too tight & not loose.
  5. Cut clear elastic the length from your underarm to underarm going along your back. Sew to the top of the lace in the same manner as the other clear elastic.
  6. Sew up your side seams.
  7. Optional: serge or overcast the seam. You may want to check the fit of the bandeau before serging.
  8. Thread a tapestry needle with the tail end of the serger chain of thread & work that through the loops your serger formed on the edge of the seam. Repeat on other side.
  9. Snip all threads & you’re done!

Now I would love to hear your comments. Did you enjoy this tutorial? Will you make a lace bandeau or is it just not your style?

Luck of the Random Number Generator: Blogiversary Giveaway Winners


Yeah yeah, it is the year of the snake. But I’m a rabbit. So I’m posting a picture of a rabbit.

No, I didn’t lose my marbles. Today really is the first of a new year- Chinese New Year that is.

And finally, congratulations to the winners of my giveaway! And thank you to everyone for the very warm birthday wishes. I really did appreciate all your comments.

Giveaway winner #1

Giveaway winner #2

Giveaway winner #3

Giveaway winner #4

Giveaway winner #5

Why do women’s pants have laughably tiny pockets?

For a long time my boyfriend would deride the tiny pockets in my RTW jeans & I’d always snarkily reply. I did not like it implied that my pants were somehow not as good than his. Silly, no?

Unsurprisingly, I was jealous of his longer pockets & frustrated that the pockets in my jeans were almost useless. I was trying to convince myself that my pockets were perfectly fine. See! My phone fit in them, even if it was bursting out. And I could fit my ENTIRE hands in them, even if I had to curl them up into fists to do it.

I could concoct silly stories about why women’s pockets are so much shorter than men’s- like they make them shorter to force us to buy purses & become dependent on this capitalist system we love! Or it could just be due to it being cheaper so they don’t have to spend as much buying extra fabric for longer pocket bags & we’re already so used to it that we don’t complain, whereas indignant men would lead an uprising against the entire fashion industry if their pockets were suddenly & systematically shortened because you know men are inherently violent & women always & only want peace so they silently put up with such indignities as short pockets.

Because of you I had to give up wearing pants. No one shortens my pocket bags & gets away with it you long pocket bag hoarder!

But that would all be wildly gross speculation based on beliefs I do not espouse. Although, it would be fun to see a little video or comic of men around the country running after pattern makers & clothing manufacturers as they tore oak tag & rusted scissors while swinging at dress forms like they were pinatas. Oooo, someone should make a dress form pinata for their birthday!

Ahhhh sewing. Thank gosh I have you as a hobby. My first few pairs of pants didn’t call for pockets. But my first two pairs of jeans, those I bequeathed with wondrously long pocket bags.

But after having sewn jeans, I’m wondering if there’s not a purpose to the shorty short pockets in women’s pants. My jeans with the longer pockets have one failing- the french seam at the bottom of the pocket bag shows through my pants. This does not a happy Mari make. It falls right across one of my largest stretches of thigh.

But none of my RTW pocket bag seams show through. None of my boyfriend’s pocket bag seams show through.

RTW jeans to the left, my 1st pair of home sewn jeans in the middle, my 2nd pair of home sewn jeans to the right. Note that the pocket bags extend all the way to the bottom of the fabric. The curved stitching higher up on the fabric secures the pocket appliqué to the bag.
RTW jeans to the left, my 1st pair of home sewn jeans in the middle, my 2nd pair of home sewn jeans to the right. Note that the pocket bags extend all the way to the bottom of the fabric. The curved stitching higher up on the fabric secures the pocket appliqué to the bag.

Is it possible that pocket bags are shorter because a longer bag would show through our tighter cut jeans? The bag is so short it often ends right where our hips bend to meet our legs- a spot that tends to a have a little more ease than the thighs do.  Does that extra ease hide the pocket bag seam?

Men’s jeans do tend to be looser overall. Is that why they have luxuriously long pockets? When you’ve had to deal with teensy pockets for years & suddenly have usefully long ones, it feels luxurious, glorious even.

One thing I don’t know is where men’s skinny jeans fit in. One of the many reasons I’m with my boyfriend is that he doesn’t wear skinny jeans, so I can’t just go raid his closet for answers.

My jeans on the left, my boyfriend's jeans on the right.
My home sewn jeans on the left, my boyfriend’s jeans on the right.

Do men’s skinny jeans also have ridiculously short pockets? I no longer work in the part of downtown Chicago that’s home to most of our art schools (universities to you ladies across the sea), which means I’m no longer surrounded on a daily basis by skinny-jean-wearing-chain-smoking hipsters. And the most I can remember from that time is being appalled- like looking at a train wreck- of pants so tight that you can see every part of a boy’s anatomy. I wasn’t really paying attention to where their pockets might fall, only thinking with horror about how even I didn’t own pants THAT tight.

Do any of you have access to or have noticed the pockets on men’s skinny jeans? Do you agree with my theory on why women’s pocket bags might be shorter due to less ease in the leg of pants patterns? Will someone make me a dress form pinata & fill it with buttons, lace & silk thread?

Blogiversary Giveaway!

What a celebratory week for me! First, my birthday. Now, a couple days later my first blog anniversary. And this is my 100th post.

It’s been a very long year with lot’s of ups & downs that have made me incredibly grateful to be part of the online sewing & knitting communities. You all have been so supportive & such an inspiration. Thank you. I really appreciate everyone who reads this blog & every comment & like I receive.

I started this blog because I was part of the 1912 project– free patterns in exchange for blogging about them. Then I challenged myself to making one thing every single week. While it was hard it was also amazingly fun & rewarding. But then I had to move. Moving put a kink in my productivity & since no one played along with me for months after the first week I stopped Make It Mondays. After that, Frosting Fortnight came along & I put out (with the help of some guest bloggers) almost a post a day for two weeks. Shortly thereafter I met up with some truly wonderful bloggers. And now I’ve started a podcast. My listeners are few- I have only put out two episodes- but I have high hopes for this little project. To top it all off I was nominated by three different people for blog awards. And I have some super huge news. I hope to tell you all about it later this month. I’m really excited!

I thought there would be no better way to express my gratitude to all of you for reading my blog than by hosting a little giveaway.

First up is a real spool of thread in the color of your choice to go along with an earbud holder shaped like a spool of thread. I like a bit of surrealism so had to buy this for a giveaway when I saw it awhile ago. Actually, I bought it before I even though about making a podcast, but it goes pretty well with my Stitches podcast. If you’re a knitter & don’t sew I’ll send you some heel reinforcement yarn for sock darning instead of a real spool of thread.

Spool of thread in the color of your choice with a spool shaped earbud holder.
Spool of thread in the color of your choice with a spool shaped earbud holder.

Second is McCall’s 6331, a Palmer Pletsch dress & romper with a vaguely 50’s feel.

McCall's 6331

Third, McCall’s 6027, a dress with eight gores.

McCall's 6027

Fourth, a winter coat. I believe this one has been discontinued, so you can’t get it in stores any more.

Vogue 8465

And finally, fifth, Simplicity 2154. I think this one is about to be discontinued. It’s a retro pattern from the 60’s & includes a blouse, pencil skirt, cardigan & jacket. Simplicity 2154


  1. Leave me a comment below saying which of the giveaway lots you’d like to win, if it’s just one or all of them. Also say what you like about my blog & what you’d like to see more of. You could tell me you don’t like anything about my blog at all, but it is my birthday week. I think there’s some rule somewhere about having to be nice to people when it’s their birthday.
  2. For five extra entries you can also follow my blog, follow me on Pinterest, follow me on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway, or post about this giveaway on your blog. To get credit make sure you mention all the extra things you do in the same comment that lists the lot(s) you’re trying to win.

This giveaway is open until midnight CST next Friday, February 8th. And now I’ll leave you with what may be the best picture of all time. *update: it’s not my cat- I wish it were! It’s just some wonderfully amazing fashion designer feline in the making that my boyfriend saw on the internet.

The Kindness of Other Bloggers

I’m very gratified & flattered to have been nominated for blog awards twice at the end of January. The first one was by Pella from Pattern Pandemonium. The second was by Em from Tumbleweeds In The Wind. Actually, I received my first blog award nomination in the fall from a non-sewing blog, but was so busy with Frosting Fortnight I forgot to post about it!very-inspiring-blogger-award-2

Now on with the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add the The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers that inspire you.
5. Include the rules.
6. Inform your nominees.

Seven things about myself:

  1. I am a truly self-taught sewist, at least I was in the beginning. My mom wanted to keep me occupied & I wanted to make clothing for my stuffed animals. She plunked her old, all metal Bernina down in front of me- the kind of machine that can squash an elementary school kid!- showed me how to turn it on, tried to remember what some of the knobs did & let me have at it. I set about making clothing without patterns by looking at RTW. Shirts were pretty easy, but pants were tricky. Crotches confounded me! Until I figured out I could sew a tube, then sew up & down a bajillion times down the center, snip up to where I wanted the crotch to be & voila, pants! They were very ugly, but they served my purposed well & I like to think that I’ve carried that can-do, improvisational spirit on with me today. I’m sorry if my early sewing skills make you cringe. 
  2. Until about just over a year ago I had never used a commercial pattern (except for one really bad experience during high school). Everything I made before that was something I had drafted/draped on myself (without a dress form) or tried to copy from a RTW garment & it generally took a really long time. Using patterns helped my sewing skills grow tremendously as I was better able to understand how patterns went together & picked up some good sewing tips. Around the same time was when I discovered the online sewing community- it never occurred to me in all the years I had been sewing that there would be people talking about these kinds of things online. I owe a lot of my knowledge to the many great sewing blogs out there.
  3. I went the the School of the Art Institute of Chicago & studied studio art with an emphasis (minor) in art history. I had an interdisciplinary researched based practice, which is art speak for researching topics you find interesting & making art based upon what you find out while using a bunch of different media like writing, performance, sculpture & chocolate! But, after graduating I ended up working seven days a week so fell out of the habit of making art. I really miss it! But I just got a new camera so I’m hoping to slowly get back into things.
  4. I’ve made poisonous chocolate. No one ate it, so no one ever got sick. It was a piece I did on hysteria, the 3,000 year old “disease” of the uterus. And my chocolate truffles were cures for the disease, incorporating things that had been used in the treatment of the illness over those 3,000 years- things like ambergris (synthetic) & hemlock. Hemlock stops convulsion you know… They really smelled. And the essential oils I used liked to eat through plastic. By the by, vibrators were invented as a cure for hysteria- the hysterical paroxysms they induced were thought to help treat the disease. 
  5. I used to want to start a chocolate company, but then I got sick & had to stop making chocolate because I couldn’t eat sugar, well, no more than 60g of carbs a day. That’ll put a dent in your chocolate addiction. And I’d make chocolates to go along with fairy tales, with different ingredients representing different parts of the story- non-figurative/literal translations that is. It was very fun.
  6. I LOVE architecture & design. Total design snob & I would deck out my apartment in fantastical contemporary furnishings if I could. One of my favorite designers is Tord Boontje because, as I wrote in my art history thesis, he reconciles the difference between early modernism (late 1800’s, minimal by the standards of the day but very frilly by today’s standards) with the extremely minimal & machine made modernism in the contemporary art world. My absolute favorite architect is Frank Lloyd Wright (there’s more than one reason I live in Chicago) & I used to work at one of his most important buildings, Unity Temple. If you’re ever in town, see the Temple- it’s much more important historically speaking than the Home & Studio. I hate William Morris & am completely underwhelmed by the one-hit-wonder known as Mies Van der Rohe. Enough said.

    The first concrete building that wasn’t a factory. Truly revolutionary for the early 1900’s.
  7. I used to belly dance & even performed four or five times. One of my best friends & I had super long hair- down to our butts long. We would have “hair fights” while we danced. I can’t tell you how fun it is to whip your hair around & pretend it’s a weapon. Just trust me on this one. It looked really spectacular. But, like most everything else, I didn’t have the time or ability to continue once I graduated from college. One day though, I will get back to it. But I probably won’t grow my hair that long again. Also, it’s really convenient living in a city with a large Indian population when it comes to getting costume fabrics.

    This was a really fun costume to make- swarovsky crystals, hand beading & all!

Bloggers that inspire me:

I really had to narrow this list down. At first it had over a dozen blogs on it. Then I eliminated ones that had already gotten blog awards in the past few months & focused on blogs that I had recently discovered.

But really I feel like I should be thanking everyone. As I already mentioned, the online sewing community has taught me a lot & given me so much support. Thank you my fellow bloggers! And thank you Pella & Em!

Stitches, a sewing podcast- Steam episode 1.2

Now for the latest installment of Stitches, episode 1.2, the final episode in our little series on steam. If you missed the first episode, catch it hereStitches- Steam episode 1.2

I promise I’ll be on itunes soon. For now, give your browser a moment to load the podcast widget & if it’s still having trouble reload the page. You can also check out the Stitches podcast on podomatic.

Here are the show notes:

  • A common way to steam shrink wool is by hand with an iron, a steam brush, or a steamer. But, this takes a long time & can produce uneven results.
  • I searched the Internet for a quicker way to steam shrink wool & found a great tip from Pam of Off The Cuff, a tailoring blog with a store attached that sells high quality interfacing. She said to toss the fabric in the dryer with a slightly damp towel or two & let it spin! The steam that’s released from the towels as the dryer heats up will be just enough to shrink the wool. It might seem sacrilegious to put wool in the dryer, but since you’re putting the fabric in dry & not using soap it won’t shrink down to a tiny piece of felt.
  • Next was a review for the Smartek st-80n 3-in-1 steam brush. It’s small, has three different attachments & is available in Joann & Hancock Fabric stores in the US. Unfortunately, it spurted out white puffs of powder onto what I was trying to steam. They eventually went away, but came back when I tried to steam again.
  • Another way to steam garments is to put them in your shower. Hang up the wrinkly (or stinky) garment in the bathroom as you bathe & the wrinkles will smooth out. If the garment is especially wrinkly or stinky it may take a few showers to clear things up, but some only need as few as one or two sessions.
  • Clothing steam presses have two large irons that clap down on your fabric & emit a bunch of steam. This makes pressing quick work. Some are even electronically programmed & automatically turn off so you don’t burn your fabric.
  • The Reliable company builds vacuums right into their ironing boards & calls the product the ‘vacuum + blowing table‘. They claim that getting the steam out of the fabric is just as important as getting it in & that in ye olden days people would beat their fabric with sticks to get the steam out. Not only do these ironing boards suck the steam out, they also blow air through the garment, inflating parts of it so you can iron right on top of a pocket of air.
  • Pam also provided us with a little sewing trivia: “Did you know that in the “garment industry”, they apply interfacing with a dry-press rolling machine, that applies the interfacing to the fabric with much more consistent pressure and generally higher temperatures than can be achieved at home?  That is why most interfacing on the market today for those who sew at home is instructed to be applied with steam….steam is hotter that than the temperature of the sole-plate of an average iron, and as it shoots out of the holes in the iron it actually increases the pressure needed to create and hold the bond between the fusible interfacing and the fabric!”
  • Rachel from the blog House of Pinheiro said:  “Pressing is the most important process step to create a garment that looks well made, so my tip for pressing is you should avoid resting the weight of the iron on the fabric and let steam do the job, however sometimes that’s not enough to avoid impression marks, so what I do is get a strip of paper (better if doesn’t have anything printed on it) and position that between the seam and the garment. In most cases it will avoid leaving a mark on the right side.” This prevents exactly the problem I talked about in the first episode of Steam.

What would you like the next episode of the Stitches podcast to be on? Cutting things? Semi-synthetic fibers like rayon? Different kinds of pins? What other ideas do you have? Leave me a comment below. Hope you enjoyed this episode & see you next time!

My Second Pair of Jeans

Jeans, graffiti

I seem to be in the habit of making jeans not in denim. This lovely material is a mix of 50% Cotton, 26% rayon, 20% wool & 4% lycra. I like to think the wool helps keep me extra toasty, but don’t think it actually does. But no matter, the foggy December day on which these pictures were taken was unseasonably warm in the 60’s.

For these jeans I used the same pattern as my first pair. Black hides a multitude of sins. And there’s too much Lycra in this fabric. Issues may have been present in my first pair that I just didn’t see. Again, they look good when you first put them on, but after a day of moving about they develop saggy-bottom-itis. As well as saggy-crotch-itis. You can see that in these pictures. My next pair of jeans will not contain any spandex. Although, now I’m looking at all the photos, the sagging wasn’t as monstrously horrible as I had remembered.

And the saggy/bagginess has gotten better since I did what you’re not supposed to do & put wool in the dryer. Actually, putting both of my jeans in the dryer helped solve a lot of problems. It took both pairs from ‘EeEeEeeEeeee!’ to ‘oh, that’s not so bad’.

I was going to further improve the sagging pants by lining them in jersey, but after drying them they felt a touch too tight for that. You know when you know something, but it takes a few times of having it repeated before it dawns on you that you already know the solution? Yeah. Years ago I bought those ridiculous Victoria’s Secret butt-bra pants because I thought they were ridiculous & was interested in seeing how they were constructed. The theory is you stick some extra fabric in the behind of a pair of jeans & VS angels will magically lift your buttocks to a higher & more shapely position. What can I say? I had disposable income in high school. At least while those pants didn’t do anything for my butt, they didn’t get saggy.

Then, months ago I saw this informative video by Sandra Betzina for Craftsy. But it wasn’t until after I saw Laura’s post about preventing saggy velvet problems that it dawned on me to do the same thing. Clearly my whole life has been leading up to lining pants.

So next time, when I’m not making skinny jeans, I’ll line my pants in a similar way. Perhaps I’ll use jersey. It needs to be thin, somewhat stable & should probably have a touch of 4-way stretch. Maybe a lightweight but not quite tissue thin cotton? But I think what will matter most is not using fabric with Lycra. That stuff is just not made well nowadays & I am convinced it is the culprit behind our nation’s saggy bottom problem. 😉

Great googly moogly! What in Sam Hill is going on with my crotch?!

Can we talk about my crotch? I’m horrified by those odd folds- not the horizontal ones, but the ones under my crotch. Luckily a friend came to town who used to work in a costuming department. She said this folding mishap was caused by the direction in which the seams were folded. When making pants you have four different pieces of fabric that come together at the crotch. I serged the inseams first. Next, when I serged the crotch seam I started serging from the back of the pants, over the inseams- which had been at right angles to the crotch seam- then finished serging to the front of the pants. Serging over the inseams pushed them in the direction I was serging, towards the front. This forward folding of both inseams caused the wonky crotch. My friend said to solve this I could angle the inseams so one was pointed towards the front & one towards the back. Or, I could point them both towards the back.

There were a few things I did differently with these jeans. The original pair I patterned off had flared legs, the seams of which didn’t run perfectly perpendicular to the floor. The odd thing is the problem is mainly on one leg & only slightly on the other. I’m not entirely certain, but I’m attributing this to scoliosis making one of my hips higher. Maybe that’s also why that weird crotch fold is lopsided. My not so precise copying skills seemed to make this twisting more pronounced on both legs, so that the inner leg seams twisted around to the front of the pants.

When doing up these pants I didn’t change the legs because I wanted to see if it was my cutting or sewing that had slightly twisted my first pair of jeans. But the skewed seams were even worse on these, perhaps because the light color showed it off so well. Then, I tried exaggerating that twist to make it look like a design feature. Not so cute. As you can see, I ended up making them into skinny jeans. I really like this look with this fabric because when paired with a black blouse & Mary Janes it looks vaguely retro. And I dented the hems so the pants are slightly longer in the back than the front.

Because hammering in the button was so difficult last time, this time I used a dungaree button. It’s like a brass tack that you can easily push through the fabric without cutting out a hole, then you snap on the back. No tools needed. Alas! As easily as it pops into place, so does it pop off in the wash. Dungaree buttons also don’t have as long of a shaft as jean buttons. They barely have enough length to get through the thicker button holes that jeans have.

That upward wrinkling on the side seam is caused by the pocket bags being sewn into the side seams & me trying to pull one of the bags inside out.

In my stash I had one jean zipper that was the correct length & it was red- which was the only color the short ones at the store came in. For my first pair Kenneth King instructed me to shorten a longer jean zipper. This was very painful to do & was just not going to happen so soon after having done it the first time (bad blogger that I am, I finished these jeans back in November). I reasoned that the zipper would be covered anyway so no one would see how vulgarly red it was. Wrong! Of course you can see it. Big sigh.

To match the pocket bags with the zipper I used red cotton left over from my Drunken Polka Dotted Princess Dress. These pockets are gloriously deep. Now, whenever I wear my RTW jeans I get very angry at how shallow the pockets are. But, you can’t see the glorious depth when I try to pull the pockets out because they’re sewn into the side seams of the legs. However, you can see the French seam I made at the bottom of the bags. My main fabric is so lightly colored & thin enough that the seam is glaringly visible as a horizontal line running across my thighs. Not ideal.

While these jeans aren’t perfect, they did help me learn more about the jean making process in general. And they took me about half the time to finish as the first pair. So I’m counting these as a win, especially since my saggy butt problems have improved with subsequent shrinkage from drying them.