After what seemed like a marathon jeans making session earlier this year doing the Crafty Jeanius course I decided it was time for a second pair. This time around the pattern was already done and the fabric was pre-washed when I bought it.

full length front (1824 x 1368)

There were a few areas I wanted to improve on for this pair.
1. fly front, the under flap on the first pair was too narrow
2. Top stitching, my first pair has a few ends that have come undone
3. Try and flat fell the seams
4. Get a better waistband fit
5. Get the length right! The first pair were annoyingly just a bit too short.

I bought the fabric from Abakhan in Manchester. They have pre-washed denim to buy by the weight. The lengths were about 150cm long and the piece I bought cost £11. It has some lycra content probably 2 or 3%.

A few months back I came across a great blog post from ‘notes from a mad housewife’. This has a fab tutorial for flat felling seams. I knew what the finished seam looked like but I didn’t really know the best way to construct it. This way is so easy. The seams are butted together and zig zagged then pressed in a Z shape before stitching. You just need to remember you only need 3/8″ seam allowance with this method.

I flat felled the back yoke and the back rise seam.

pressing the seam before applying the two rows of topstitching for the flat felled seam

pressing the seam before applying the two rows of topstitching for the flat felled seam

The fly worked out really well but I forgot to stitch along the very edge which I didn’t notice until I’d inserted the zip and couldn’t add afterwards.

Top stitching was relatively stress free and I mastered making a decent looking bartack. I also took great care to tie off the ends of all the stitching lines so hopefully there’ll be no unravelling.

open fly (1824 x 1368)


One thing I wanted to do on this pair was get a better fit at the waist. I had altered the back yoke pattern and remembered to add twill tape to stop any stretching.  I decided to cut a two piece shaped waistband. I took out 1.5cm from the top edge on the half waistband, 3cm in total which unfortunately didn’t make as much difference as I thought it would. I can still pinch out a couple of cms so next time I need to increase the curve of the waistband from the centre back to the side seam.

One thing I found was that I had quite a bit of ease in the outside leg seam of the back, I couldn’t remember this from my first pair. You can see it in the side on photo. This is also giving a few wrinkles on the back legs, so I  before I make another pair I need to adjust the pattern and pinch out the fullness in a couple of places which should sort out the problem.

You can see the fullness in the back leg

You can see the fullness in the back leg

Saying all that I am really pleased with the make up of these jeans, they are a definite improvement on the first pair but I don’t feel I’ve quite got them right. The fit isn’t quite as my original Levis or the first pair I made. They are slightly more roomy around the back thigh. I did try them on before attaching the waistband and I felt they fitted OK but what I need to remember that at this stage they need to be tight as with wearing they loosen up quit a bit.

The rivets are from Castbullet in the US, definitely worth the investment if you plan to make more pairs.

Fabric, thread & zipper cost me less than £16 a big saving in comparison to a £90 pair of Levis.

I’m going to adjust my pattern before I put it away, take out some fullness from the outer leg seam, re-shape the waistband take some width of the back thigh so it’s ready for when I want to use it again – otherwise I’ll forget.

So rather than a slim straight leg they are more ‘boyfriend’ fit but still a pair of jeans to be proud of 🙂



Planning The Sewaholic Cypress Cape

I bought the pattern for the Cypress Cape a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t planning to buy it that particular evening but I was just seeing where I could find it at the best price including P&P. I came across e-Bay seller Trixie Lixie who has free P&P and before I knew it I had bought the pattern.

Sewaholic Cypress Cape Pattern

Sewaholic Cypress Cape Pattern

Since this pattern came out in September I’ve been thinking about suitable fabrics. The Sewaholic blog mentions a cotton feel waterproof fabric. The only one I’ve come across in the UK is Ventile but at £27.5 per metre and requiring 3.9mts to make, at that price it’s not really an option.

A lot of waterproof fabrics are just too crispy and don’t have much drape so I focused in on two qualities. A waterproof microfibre fabric from UK fabrics online which is reasonably soft and does have some drape or a polyester cotton gabardine from Calico Laine. The gabardine isn’t waterproof and would need to either have a spray on or a wash in water repellent finish added.

I have some water repellent spray which I bought from Aldi and use for re-applying the WR finish on my waterproofs. I tried this out on the gabardine (which is left over from the unfinished trench coat) and when water is applied to the fabric it does ‘bead’ on the surface rather than sinking in and runs off. I tested the gabardine in it’s normal state and the water does bead but it began to sink into the fabric much quicker. It has a bit of natural repellence due to the polyester content and the twill weave.

The fabric on the left is gabardine without any finish, the water does bead up but you can see the fabric is darker underneath the water, it is beginning to soak into the fabric. The fabric on the left has had WR finish sprayed on, you can see the water has beaded and is just sitting on top of the fabric without beginning to soak in.

The fabric on the left is gabardine without any finish, the water does bead up but you can see the fabric is darker underneath the water, it is beginning to soak into the fabric.
The fabric on the left has had WR finish sprayed on, you can see the water has beaded and is just sitting on top of the fabric without beginning to soak in.

I think now I’ve decided on the microfiber as it is properly waterproof. The sample I have is from UK Fabrics On-Line at £6.99. It wont be a fully waterproof jacket as I won’t be taping the seams but water won’t be able to penetrate the fabric.

I’ve also been thinking about the whole hi-vis issue, (not actually thinking about making the whole cape in hi-vis…). I’m in Manchester in the UK and it seems to me that every commuter cyclist wears hi-vis. I haven’t got around to putting on my horrible boxy hi-vis waistcoat yet this autumn as I’m currently wearing a bright red jacket which must be quite visible but sometimes I do feel like I’m doing something wrong. There does seem to be a lot of debate surrounding the hi-vis issue. In my opinion in daylight it does it’s job but when the evenings are dark it’s lights and reflective areas that are most important.

Commuter cyclists in hi-vis

Commuter cyclists in hi-vis

So anyway… I did have the idea to make the central panel in the hood either hi-vis yellow or orange. I’m thinking about a dark green for the cape and I thought that the orange would give it a look reminiscent of old school parkas with the orange hood lining. But I think I’ve gone off that idea now but now thinking again whilst typing, maybe…what do you think?

If I really want to add a flash of hi-vis to myself there are plenty of options with wrist / ankle bands etc.

old school parka with orange lining

old school parka with orange lining

But then sometimes you an over-think a project. I’ve wanted a cape for a while and this is a stylish cape designed for cycling but it’s not the complete answer to wet-weather riding – for a start the sleeves are too short, if it’s really raining you are going to need gaiters for your wrists!
Which then makes me think gabardine will be fine after all…..

I shall start gathering the fabrics and trims. I can get the reflective piping and the front open-end zipper from Pennine Outdoor.

I shall keep you posted.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse – Number Two

I made my first ‘Sew Over It’ Pussy Bow Blouse back in January. I had some issues with attaching the neck tie but in general I thought is was a successful make. But it didn’t last long and ended up in the bin after a handful of washes. I must have trimmed the seam allowances inside the tie too close and the ends of the tie began to fray and overall it just looked a bit of a mess.

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse

Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse

The first problem I had when making the navy blouse was that the front neck edge stretched and I didn’t check the length of this seam before I stitched up the neck tie and attached it. It was a bit of a bodge job at the centre front. So the first thing I did when I cut out the red blouse was to stay stitch the front edges using a small stitch length to avoid any stretching and lengthening of the seam. Then before I attached the neck tie I double checked that the opening in the neck tie measured the same as the front pieces I needed to attach it to and this time it was all spot on. I also made sure when I trimmed the seam allowance inside the neck tie I didn’t trim too close to the stitches.

Pussy Bow Blouse A bit fumpy?

Pussy Bow Blouse
A bit fumpy?

I annoyed myself by making the mistake of cutting the pieces for the bow upside down, it’s hardly noticeable and if I really wanted to I could have cut out the pieces again.

The fabric I used was a light weight drapey viscose print that I found on e-bay, a complete bargain at £2.99 per metre. Even though it is not mentioned in the listing there was a couple of tiny flaws in the print but I was able to avoid these when cutting out.

Pussy Bow Blouse Cuff Detail

Pussy Bow Blouse Cuff Detail

I wasn’t too sure of what I thought of this when I finished and first tried it on but seeing the pictures I’ve warmed to it a bit more but it’s yet to have it’s first wear out. In the pictures I’m wearing it with the denim skirt I made a few weeks back but it just seems a bit frumpy with it. I haven’t yet tried it with a slimmer skirt or jeans I think that may be the answer.