Writing my last blog post reviewing some of my makes from a year ago was the prompt I needed to finally make some active effort in repairing my two pairs of jeans. I don’t have a table in my house at the moment so I can’t use my sewing machine. I’ve tried jeans repairs without a machine before and it didn’t work for me.
I used to attend the sewing cafes at Sew Over It fairly regularly, but unfortunately they don’t run them on a regular basis any more. A quick Ecosia search led me to this round-up of sewing cafes in London. It happened to be that their regular Fast Fashion Therapy group was due to meet the following Monday, when I was free.
I was disappointed to get an email on the day telling me that they were booked up. Since I had my jeans with me, I decided to rock up anyway and hope for the best. Since it was raining heavily and the early days of people being concerned about Covid-19, the class was quiet so I wasn’t turned away.
This image is quite cool because you can see my previous repair work (lighter thread) and the newest patching (dark navy zigzags).
I’ve written about mending jeans before so I won’t repeat myself. Lessons I learnt:
- zigzag stitch is a fair alternative to a straight stitch, as long as your machine can reverse while zigzagging
- I think it’s helpful to use bondaweb between the jeans and the patch. It means you don’t have to worry about keeping the fabric flat when you’re stitching
- once you’ve repaired jeans using this method, never ever try to remove one of the patches. I did this because one of my patches was looking crappy, and it made the whole situation a lot worse (in fact you can see that in the second image above)
Partly due to not using Bondaweb, the first repair I did took nearly 90 minutes. I had already cut the two patches, so I was at the machine stitching for pretty much the whole time. I’d forgotten that repairing is hardly a speedy process!
Since I didn’t have time to change threads between working on my two pairs of jeans, I accidentally did a bit of visible mending on the lighter pair.
The pattern is totally random and I just did it as quickly as I could because the workshop was coming to an end. So I feel pretty lucky that it looks as good as it does.
I’d already fused this patch to the jeans, which helped me to get it done quickly. Next time I have a repair to do, I’m going to consider using sashiko or another more decorative technique. Once again I have two wearable pairs of jeans.
Some of my precious sewing time during my time off work was devoted to patching my two pairs of jeans. I already posted a tutorial on how I do this and I followed the same technique.
I very nearly threw the lighter jeans away when I moved house in June, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even though I haven’t worn them since summer 2017, I love these jeans. I possibly kept them in case I wanted to replicate the fit in case I ever make my own jeans (at this point looking unlikely but who knows what the future has in store).
Annoyingly I didn’t think to take a picture, but the fabric around the seams on the inside leg of these jeans was completely worn away. You can see in the photo above the way the denim is pulling apart.
I was sorting though my clothes and I examined the jeans again. I think I previously dismissed the idea of patching over the seam, but suddenly this seemed like a great idea. The seam allowance is perfectly placed to cover where the denim is damaged. Shouldn’t a patch over the top hold it all together nicely?
You can see how heavily the jeans are already patched. I marked out with pins where I wanted to add new patches.
As with all of my jeans repairs, I made the patches with denim left over from my first day dress.
You may be able to see that I made the patches on the incorrect side of the fabric but you shouldn’t see this from the right side so I didn’t bother to remake them.
Weirdly intimate to show a picture of my crotch
You can see that I’ve basically reinforced the whole crotch area of these jeans with an extra layer of denim. I was a bit concerned that they would feel uncomfortable but they’re absolutely fine.
I just noticed that my ‘new’ jeans (purchased in September 2017 and worn quite heavily since) have just developed their first hole. My jeans always wear in exactly the same way.
This was a very straightforward patch job. I slightly thought about preemptively patching the areas that I know will wear away next but in the end I didn’t bother.
I almost feel like it is a personal challenge to see how many years I can keep these two pairs of jeans going. I’m fairly confident that I have had the brighter blue pair for around five years. It’s interesting how my conception of something being ‘worn out’ has changed in a fairly short period of time. This project has also reminded me how hardwearing jeans are- even though jeans are now a staple, this harks back to their history as a garment for hard physical labour.
I’ve been meaning to sew myself a pair of trousers for winter and thought that corduroy would be perfect. I normally can’t resist bold patterns so the texture of the corduroy was a nice balance; a more mature solid garment that still has some interest to it. I love to wear navy as a neutral colour so I’m excited to add these to my wardrobe for the upcoming seasons.
This is my third pair of cigarette pants! I think they make a great addition to my blue pants and zebra shorts. I wrote a post for Minerva Crafts about these trousers so check out the full post over on their site for more details.
Just to note for next time, watch the grain line placement when positioning the pattern pieces to cut out as this affects fabric usage quite a lot. I possibly could have used less fabric if I had been more mindful of this.
These trousers are breathing new life into my autumnal wardrobe. I’m loving wearing them with a tucked-in shirt. It makes me feel all androgynous and cool.
Fabric 2m of 21 wale cotton corduroy provided for free by Minerva crafts. For the facings I used the leftover Liberty tana lawn from my first pair of Carrie trousers. All other notions came from stash.
Pattern Paid £120 for workshop and pattern was included. This is my third use.
As I often seem to, I made the rash decision to sew a garment for holiday about three days before going, when I really didn’t have sufficient time. As a result, I only got two hours of sleep the night before my flight and ended up cutting my airport arrival uncomfortably fine. However, I am pretty happy with these trousers so I will forgive myself.
Aside from the mishap with the missing pattern piece (I must have left it behind after the workshop), this was a lovely and straightforward make. Really the perfect counterpoint to the coat.
I made the elastic on my first Carries too tight. I think I had some kooky idea about wearing them high-waisted. These are a lot more comfy.
It’s been surprisingly chilly in India so very happy I took the time to complete this make.
Pattern: Carrie trousers by Sew Over It. Size 10 with extra length
Fabric: 1.5m Liberty tana lawn
I’ve had plans to make a second pair of Sew Over It Carrie trousers with the Liberty fabric I bought in their sale since… well, since I bought it at the beginning of the year. I was a bit concerned that they’d be too similar to my original Carries, but I thought that these would be super useful on my trip to India, so I decided to forge ahead.
These trousers used around 1.5m of fabric. I felt that the ladder print looked pretty similar either way up- I would have needed close to the 2m I had if I’d cut all of the pieces going the same way. I paid £22.50 for the fabric, which isn’t bad for Liberty tana lawn (in fact it’s half price). The print is called Howells Ladders B. I had in my mind that it was Jacob’s ladders, which is rather different.
Just when I thought everything was going swimmingly, I realised that I was missing a pattern piece- the back waistband. Fortunately I was able to use my previous Carries and the pattern pieces to calculate how big it should be.
Put the waistband together and it seemed a bit snug when I tried it on. Quickly realised that I hadn’t added a seam allowance to my pattern piece. D’oh! I initially planned to fudge the trousers and waistband together, and try to ease out the 3cm discrepancy. I’m glad I decided to be sensible and instead cut out a 6cm rectangle to add into my waistband. Fudging it would probably have ended up taking more time and looked crap.
I made few changes to the pattern. Used French seams on the legs. Used 4cm elastic because the thicker elastic in my original pair has a tendency to fold in half, which annoys me.
Pattern: Sew Over It Carrie Trousers. Size 10 with additional length.
Fabric: 1.5m Liberty tana lawn
I’m happy to say that my second sewing session at Sew Over It went well, and I managed to come out with a pair of Carrie trousers that I’m pretty pleased with.
Constructing the waistband was quite a lot of work. First stitching the two parts, then lots of precise folding and pressing.
One of the final steps was elasticating the back waistband, then testing the fit before stitching the elastic down and finishing the front waistband.
The last thing of all was the cuffs. I lengthened my trousers by a couple of inches but still had to do a tiny hem. The challenges of having long limbs! The only thing I didn’t have time to do during the workshop was finishing the cuff hems, so I hand-stitched them.
Pattern: Carrie Trousers by Sew Over It
Fabric: 2m Liberty tana lawn in Tiny Dancer print.
I would say it wouldn’t be possible to squeeze these trousers out of a smaller amount of fabric. So far I think tana lawn is a surprisingly good choice of fabric for these trousers. They’re not creasing too badly. Oh no, suddenly I can see lots of Liberty print trousers in my future…
I made the size 10 with no mods except lengthening the legs by about 3cm. I’m happy with the fit and I think the slim leg helps these trousers to look quite smart. An advantage of the pattern is that the fit on the waist is easy to adjust using the length of your elastic. If I was to make them again, I would actually lengthen them even more.
Last Friday was the first session of my Carrie Trousers workshop at Sew Over It. It was a three hour workshop and most of it was spent cutting out, which is one of the stages of sewing I find most stressful. The pinning. The endless smoothing of fabric. The fear.
Managed to get a pile of pattern pieces without much fabric left over. I hadn’t realised before that this cotton lawn is pretty transparent so I will have to make careful underwear selections when wearing these.
The first step was constructing the pockets, which are the most important part of any pair of trousers. This stage was a lot more challenging than it should have been because there was something wrong with the sewing machine I was using. It kept making long stitches and the thread broke loads of times. My fabric is very fine so I don’t like unpicking as I’m scared of making holes. It wasn’t until I had to leave to catch my train that the instructor realised the bobbin thread had something wrong with it that had caused the problems.
I left feeling really frustrated as I’d hoped to get further, and very small things I tried to do had taken ages because I had to keep re-threading the machine. I wished the problem had been picked up on sooner.
Anyway, despite everything my pocket is looking pretty good and I’m hoping this week’s sewing will go much more smoothly.
I’ve also been continuing work on my Aubergine Rainbow sweater. Not long after my last post, I joined the front and back at the armpits and began working in the round, which made the knitting go a lot faster.
The stripes are also helping to keep up my motivation.
I’ve got to say I’m feeling relieved as the stripes progress. I was hating colours at first and worried that 2016 is just the year of bad yarn colour choices (far from the worst thing about 2016 but still). However, I’m liking it more with each additional colour and hopefully the sleeves will add to the effect. I just love the little speckles within the stripes.
Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins