Sunday, February 25, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Morgan Jeans

Today I'm adding several thoughts about the construction of the Morgan Jeans. I rarely even looked at the instructions for the jeans, preferring to construct the jeans according to Kenneth D King's and Angela Wolf's methods, as shown in their Craftsy classes.

Even with topstiching, the curve can stretch
These jeans are constructed with non stretch denim, however, the front pocket is on the bias, as you can see in the photo above.

Steaming muslin strip into a curve
Prof King suggests cutting a 3/4 inch (2 cm) strip of muslin on the crosswise grain just a bit longer than the arch, and steam it into a curve. Then baste the muslin into the seam allowance of the pocket on the wrong side. He also recommends grading the seam alternately, that is clip the denim, then the facing/muslin, and so on, so you get a smooth curve. Now the pocket will never stretch out of shape.  Do this also on stretch denim, this is one area that you don't want stretch.

I don't have a photo of this, but the Morgan pattern says to sew the front and back crotch seams separately, then sew the inseam in one continuous seam. That is the only time I have ever seen this. Everyone, but everyone, say to sew the leg seams first, then the crotch seam in one continuous seam. Why do the instructions say this? I can't figure it out.

Topstitching: the Morgan pattern has you do the conventional double topstitching. I went with single topstitching with two threads in the needle, except for the hem, on which I've used the triple stitch. I also did not double turn the hem, as it just adds bulk and is not necessary in casual jeans.

Another big change I made was in the fly. The Morgan jeans have the fly as an extension of the center front seam, but this is now on a slight bias. Especially if the jeans were made in a stretch denim, the fly could stretch out over time. So I cut the center front fly off leaving the seam allowance, and cut a new fly on the straight of grain, then inserted the zipper on the new fly.

These changes make just a small difference in each section of the jeans, but overall you have a much higher quality product, which should last much longer than conventional RTW jeans. Over the years as my skills have been growing, I've been much more obsessive about those little things. They are fun to do and you know you are building quality into the garment.

Happy stitching!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Morgan Jeans in Black Denim

Boyfriend Jeans
I just finished a pair of Morgan Boyfriend jeans by Closet Case patterns, in black non stretch denim.  I bought the fabric from Mood about a year and a half ago when I was in Southern California for my nephew's wedding. What are boyfriend jeans, you say? I had to look that up, they jeans cut in a more boyish way and resemble the jeans we used to steal from our boyfriends when we were in college. They are not stretch and do not hug the figure the way the Closet Case Ginger jeans or the Jalie 2908 jeans do.

I have three Craftsy classes on Jeans, Jean-ius by Kenneth D King, Sewing Designer Jeans by Angela Wolf, and The Perfect Jeans by Jennifer Stern-Haseman. The Jean-ius class focuses on copying a pair of jeans that already fit well and contains only nominal fitting information, but has a lot of nice techniques. Well, you would expect that from Professor King. The Sewing Designer Jeans focuses more on stretch denim jeans from a pattern, but Angela has some nice ideas. She advocates using fun fabrics for the pocket bags and colorful thread in the serger. Not that anyone would see these details, but they do make you smile when you get dressed. She does offer some fitting, which I found helpful. The Perfect Jeans class focuses only on fitting, which was very excellent.

Silk pocket bags! 
Since I had some red silk charmeuse left over from a red silk top (that I never blogged about), I decided to use it for the pocket bags in the photo above.

"Lined" yoke
Then I thought well, why not on the yokes? I basted to the top seam and turned the bottoms under and hand sewed the lining to the seam allowance.

And even the waistband facing
Before I cut out the yokes I made sure that there was enough for the waistband facing. I have to admit, it feels very good against the skin but I'm not sure how practical the silk will prove to be.  I did hand wash the silk first and boy, does that red bleed. I'll have to remember to add a dye catcher when I wash these. The silk left so much lint all over the jeans I had to go over them very carefully with a pet sponge.

Belt loop and watch pocket detail
As you can see, I had way too much fun with these jeans. I found the scroll stitch on my machine and decided to add it to the pockets. All topstiching is done with two threads. I had three machines set up, my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royal for the seams, my serger for the seam finishes, and an old HV Designer I for the topstitching.

Back pockets and belt loops
Angela Wolf suggests adding a fun touch to the belt loops, so I added the scroll stitch used on the pockets to them. I cut one long strip of fabric, then stitched the scrolls, six scrolls for the sides and front loops, seven scrolls for the back ones which are crossed and therefore a bit longer.  The scrolls had about 1 1/2 inches between each group to allow for the turn under of the loops.

Can you see the difference between the hem and side seam topstitching?
Then at the very end I had taken the grey thread out of the D-1 topstitching machine, and thought I had used up all the thread on the bobbin (for the second topstitch thread), so I decided to use the triple stitch for the hem. I can see the difference, but if anyone else can while I'm wearing them, then that person is way too close. As I was cleaning up after finishing, I found the bobbin with the grey thread, of course.

I love the jeans but still have to tweak the fit a bit on the next pair. But first up, a pair of pink jeans for my granddaughter. I will post as I make these using the tips in the classes and comparing the pattern instruction against the techniques I'll be using. Those will be fun.

Now, for a bit of wildlife biology: did you know bisons eat raspberries?

Yum yum!
They love them!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Maker's Tote Bag

Binding my new tote
My latest project is a Maker's Tote Bag by Noodlehead, made during a class in the newest quilt shop here in Loveland, called Stitches.   I recently upgraded my embroidery software so I just had to add a design to the out pocket.
I made the large size
Once I saw this pattern and the sample bag I knew I had to make it. This bag has so many pockets it will be so useful.
Gusseted inside pocket
It has a gusseted inside pocket, interfaced and edge stitched to form a nice clean gusset. 
Inside slip pocket
 The is also an inside slip pocket. Our teacher had us mark each piece with a label, so we wouldn't mix pieces up, but I did anyway. I had to take out the pocket and put the correct one in. And that was after I reinforced the top edges with bar tacks.
Outside pocket
Here is the outside pocket, the one with the monogram. I sewed the right side of the inside layer to the wrong side of the pocket, so you can see the interfacing instead of the peachy pink fabric. Oh well, I'm not about to redo it. I can live with this mistake.
Outside zippered pocket
The outside zippered pocket was a challenge to get sewn in as I didn't trim the interfacing from the seams around the zipper as I should have. One of the other students decided to under stitch the lining to seam allowance before installing the zipper, just like you would on a garment facing. Brilliant idea! It looked very nice.
Clipping the binding in place
Not only did I have to clip the binding in place (those wonder clip are marvelous, aren't they?) I had to baste the binding to the bag just to get it sewn properly.
Magnet closures instead of a zipper
The pattern calls for a large separating zipper, but I decided to use three sets of strong magnets. They hold the two sides in place nicely.

The finished bag!
Here it is! I've already brought it to a stitcher's lunch yesterday and it received rave reviews. The bag is constructed with lots of interfacing to give it strength and stability. Soft and Stable is used for the outer portion, Decor Bond for the side gussets, and Pellon SF 101 for all the pockets and the straps. It is really well designed and I plan to get a lot of use out of it. The only thing I would do differently is to use a darker color for the two C's in the monogram. This shade is just a bit hard to see. After it was finished I took it outside and sprayed the outside thoroughly with Scotch Guard. I hope to keep it clean for a long time then I'll have it dry cleaned.

While I was going through my stash to find fabrics for this bag that actually coordinated, I came upon an interesting discovery. I could not find four fabrics for this bag, only three. That means my stash is slowly depleting down to manageable levels. I'm actually quite proud of myself.

Happy Stitching!