I'll share about the clothing worn by my sister and I later this week as part of the latest Winter Wear Designs blog tour. Today, however, I'm going to share all about my mom's outfit.
This outfit began when I found a rose printed stretch denim at a small Mennonite fabric store. The fabric immediately caught my eye and I stood there, handling and admiring it, and wondering if I ought to buy it. I had no idea what I would make with rose-printed stretch denim, but it was pretty. Then my mom walked by and solved the dilemma for me.
"Get it" she said.
"But I don't know what I would use it for" I replied
"I'd wear a pair of jeans from it" my mom said.
Thus, I bought the rose covered stretch denim, sometime in March, with every intention of turning it into a pair of jeans for my mom. Sometimes you don't *need* to turn the pretty fabric into something for yourself, you just need a chance to work with it, handle it, turn it into something pretty and wearable for someone. Such was the case with this denim.
A couple weeks ago, I finally cut into the denim, using the Simple Skinny Jeans pattern from Sew Liberated. (The same pattern I used to make these jeans for my mom). With a knit waistband and no fly, this is a super quick and easy "jeans" pattern to make. It goes together in under 4 hours and, judging by how often my mom wears the pair I made her for Christmas, appears to be very comfortable.
Anyway, back to the making of the jeans. The cut out jeans have been sitting in a basket next to my sewing machine, just waiting to be assembled, for a while now. Saturday afternoon, upon finishing the Easter outfits for my sister and I, I decided I really wanted to make something new for my mom too. So, out came the jeans. The floral pattern seemed quite Easter appropriate.
The first thing I do every time I make jeans, is decorate the back pockets with a bit of top stitching. Coming up with a decorative top stitching idea and executing it, is my favorite part of the whole jeans- making process. For this pair of rosy pants, I decided to use gray top stitching thread, as that's what I had on hand that coordinated nicely with the fabric.
The top stitching just about disappears in the rose pattern of the denim - but I know it's there and it makes me happy. More visible top stitching might be a bit of a sensory overload with this already busy fabric.
The fly on this jeans pattern is completely faux - just some top stitching on the left (when you're wearing the jeans) front panel. So, just top stitch and go, that's what I've done the past two times I've made this pattern. This time however, I decided to add something extra. No, I didn't make it a functional fly in any way, shape, or form.What I did is add a fly facing of sorts to make the fake fly a little more substantial and prevent the top stitching from stretching out the fabric of anything.
It may not look like much, but it does give the fake fly a more "real" appearance.
I finished the jeans early saturday evening, and presented them to my mom. She was surprised and appeared to be quite pleased with them, though she did comment that she wasn't sure what shirt she had to go with them. She needn't have worried, I'd already thought of that.
When I was cutting out the jeans, I was admiring the different shades of pink and green in the print, and considering what fabrics I might have in my stash that would coordinate. I recalled a pale green (pale teal?), very stretchy, rib knit I bought at Wal a year ago. It would match wonderfully, and be quite suitable for the Miramar top from Scroop Patterns. (I recently blogged the Miramar tops I made myself here)
I cut the Miramar for my mom tunic length, as she prefers longer tops with her skinny jeans. As this top only requires two pattern pieces, it was cut out and ready to sew very quickly.
This pattern really is a quick sew, generally, and in the beginning this particular top went together very smoothly. I sewed the shoulder/upper sleeve/collar seam and side seams with my serger easily enough. Then it came time to sew up the center front seam with my sewing machine and all the troubles started. My machine hated this fabric.
As best as I can tell (the bolt wasn't labeled), this fabric is a rayon rib knit with a very high spandex content and incredible stretch and recovery. I set my sewing machine to my standard settings for sewing knit fabric, popped in a ball point needle, and began sewing the center front seam. The thread broke. And my machine kept skipping stitches. So, I figured there was something wrong with my thread and my needle must be dull. I pulled out another spool of thread and a brand new ballpoint needle. Stitches were still getting skipped. The thread broke again.
These are the issues I had when I first started sewing with knits several years ago. Yet, ever since I learned to use a ballpoint needle and a shallow zig-zag stitch, I've been fine - sewing knits with no problems! However, I believe due to the insanely high stretch capacity and spandex content of this fabric, my normal knit settings were not working with this fabric. Finally, I discovered the lightning bolt stitch (which is technically the knit stitch) worked decently well (better than the zig-zag at least), and I managed to sew up that center front seam.
As my mom prefers her necklines to be not low cut, I raised the neckline about an inch higher than the necklines on my Miramar tops are.
Once that center front seam was done, I decided the less hemming the better with this shirt. So I finished off the sleeves with knit bands/cuffs. Then came the actual hem. I was only going to do that once with this devilish fabric, so I had my mom try on the shirt to make sure the length was just right before sewing anything.
She tried on the shirt, we decided to shorten it 2", and then I began the hemming. Through trial and error I discovered the closest thing to a decent hem I could get required me to first serge the bottom edge of the fabric, then turn that up and hem by stitching through the serging with a rather wide zig-zag stitch.
This is still far from a "pretty" hem, but at least it's hemmed! Looking back, what I really needed was a different needle. Either a "stretch" or a "microtex" needle may have worked better with this fabric and its insane spandex content than the ballpoint did. However, I had neither of those needles on hand, and I had too much to get done Saturday night to run into town to buy one. Thus, please, don't look too closely (or at all) at this hem.
The hem got sewn, the shirt was finished, and my mom, my wonderful mother, wore her new outfit to Church yesterday morning to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
And it's a darned good thing that Easter is about Jesus, his perfect life, death, and resurrection, not perfect hems.
(Also, aren't my parents cute? These pictures were taken yesterday evening, after my dad had changed out of his church clothes. We saw that the teal stripes in his work shirt perfectly matched my mom's new shirt, so we had to take a couple pictures of the two of them!)