One big one and five small ones please Rachel

Hi sewing chickens!

So, I’m on a bit of a casual, comfortable and classic jag at the moment and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new sweatshirt and some more jeans for the cold Winter days we’re getting.

First up the Cords, using my trusty Burdastyle Floral Skinny Jeans 03/2014 in some lovely stretch corduroy I bought from Cohen’s at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last November.


These almost went in the bin, as after I tacked them together to check on the fit I found the legs had twisted at the bottom, and the inseam was all the way round to the front. After some investigating I realised that my adjusted pattern was at fault, so I got my lovely, patient husband to re-pin them and they were just about saved. They are just a little tighter over the calves than I’d like as a result and this shows as wrinkles at the knees and back due to my extended calves.


I did all the usual topstitching but it doesn’t really show well in corduroy.


Construction wise I didn’t do anything different than the last pair of jeans. I did however interface the waistband as the fabric is stretchy and I didn’t want them to fall down! They are  super comfy and soft and are a useful neutral in my wardrobe.

Since then I’ve gone back and totally revamped my jeans pattern, as I was still dis-satisfied with back leg wrinkles and after 4 muslins, phew, I think they’re pretty good, although I’ve yet to make a proper pair from them yet. Well fitting jeans are, to me, almost the holy grail of sewing.

I’ve since learned a lot about my fitting issues whilst doing this, so for the record the following changes to the pattern were made.

  • extended calf adjustment (tuck upper thigh at front to nothing at inseam)
  • Flat bottom adjustment (tuck upper thigh at back to nothing at inseam)
  • Low posterior adjustment (Scoop out and lower back crotch curve)
  • Swayback adjustment (take out wedge at centre back waist)
  • Widened inseams for large thigh/calf

I found the Itch to Stitch Liana jeans fitting sew along useful, as Kennis seems to have a similar shape to me in trousers. I do also use the Palmer Pletsch Pants for Real People fitting book but find the examples and patterns they use a bit dated. My best resource for problem diagnosis has been the Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty/Rasband & Pottberg-Steineckert, my go-to guide these days. Expensive, but comprehensive on fitting.

And now, my new sweatshirt, another Burdastyle pattern I’ve used before but not blogged,  in some lovely Liberty loop-backed sweat- shirting, or French terry, I think it’s called.


Apologies for the selfie. I got the fabric from Ebay after missing out on some over at Guthrie and Ghani in the Autumn and it’s lovely and sturdy, but has very little stretch. I used some ribbing I had already to finish it off and other than that there’s not much more to say. It’s perfect for pulling on over a vest top on casual days and after exercise classes to stay warm.

I also got the chance to meet up with fellow sewer and blogger Ali at a new shop which opened last week in our area, Fabricate. (Thanks for the photo, Ali, looking very stylish in her Tilly Cleo)


They stock  a small, but quality selection of fabrics, craft kits, habby and other crafting items, and it’s only 20 minutes from where I live. I was gifted a lovely goody bag and treated myself to some cute pattern weights too.


Ali’s organising #SewDownDewsbury , a meet-up for fellow sewers on the 25th February, and I’m really looking forward to catching up with everyone, and also bracing myself to resist the temptations of all the fabric shopping.

And how’s my New Year pledge doing too, you ask? Well, Carol, I mean Rachel, is keeping an eye on the numbers these days and here’s the results, so far.


So, I record fabric purchases,(the 7 metres in column 1 were a Liberty sale purchase made in December before my pledge) fabric out (either used or donated) and the Sum shows I’m 15 metres better off than this time last month. Admittedly some of them were toiles, however I’m pretty pleased so far, though it’s early days.

I’ve just blown the dust off the knitting machine in the teenagers room, which usually means radio silence will ensue as the great big metal-teethed monster battles the determined,wily and effervescent Yorkshire seamstress. Who will win? No one can predict!

Until then,  you have fun!



How long can 6 months be?


Around my work I’m usually pretty focused, setting myself deadlines, working towards long-term goals, making plans and being organised and scheduled. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, it’s just the lot of a small business owner, so in my sewing I usually try to avoid too many more commitments, and I certainly don’t want to put any timelines on them. It does make life more spontaneous and enjoyable,  and I really like the freedom.

I don’t therefore join in many sewalongs, or participate in competitions or Secret Santa exchanges because as soon as someone puts a deadline on me, it will often kill any pleasure in it. I hold my hands up. There must be something in it for me before I will join in, you’ve definitely got me there, selfish sewer in the room! Very occasionally there’s a brand new technique or item I covet or someone very special in my life who will appreciate the input that goes into making something. Only then I will make the effort. But occasionally frustrating consequences occur too.

Therefore, I’m hoping 2017 will be a little different, because this year I do actually want to set myself a longer-term goal in my sewing, one which will take me a whole 6 months to achieve. It does feel like a bit of a big deal and I’ll admit that I’m slightly scared about it too, which is a good thing, hopefully, in that it will challenge and stretch me.

I’ve really built this up haven’t I? You’re probably thinking that she’s going to say she’s only going to wear me-made clothes or make a whole wardrobe out of only chicken feathers. Nope and nope, although both of those are less challenging to me than what I’m hoping to do.

I’m actually just going to do all my sewing,  only,  from the existing fabrics that I already own (my husband told me to call it the large mountain of existing fabrics, but he doesn’t read other people’s sewing blogs, so he thinks it’s just me, ha!)

Of course, as soon as I thought I might commit to this, I went straight out and bought four metres of fabric to make a coat and some cushion covers!

But that’s it. No more fabric until July 2017. Dead simple. I have committed. Or should be!






When all around you is in turmoil, make jeans!

Happy New Year to you all! Aren’t you glad 2016 is behind you? I sure am. So many troubling and sad events it’s hardly comprehensible, and in my personal life things were mostly drama-free, thankfully, other than going through a very challenging time at work, as my small business deals with the very difficult economical circumstances we’re facing.

Anyway, that’s what the sewing is for, and making jeans is always a really good distraction when things round you are unpredictable and the future uncertain. Sometimes you want to be told exactly what to do and how to do it, so you can just concentrate on doing a good job  without too much thinking, and jeans are pretty perfect for that.


I used a pattern I’ve sewn previously, but not blogged,  the Floral Skinny Jeans pattern from Burdastyle March 2014.   I had made a tonne of alterations to the pattern previously, including inward knee, flat seat, large calf and thigh adjustments and had cut them out a while back, then I got side-tracked. Since then, I’d  lost a few pounds then put some of it back on,  so when I got round to sewing them I wasn’t sure whether they’d fit or not. I don’t normally cut things out in advance, and that’s why, but once I tacked them together for a test fit I was relieved to see that they were fairly close. Each fabric is slightly different so it’s a good idea to do this, even when you’ve got a good fitting pattern.

For some reason I had bought denim  ( I think it was from Fabworks) which had ZERO stretch, but that is lovely and sturdy, which meant I had to plan plenty of extra ease for them to be comfortable. I’m hoping that means they’ll soften up and wear in really nicely as they age.


I went full on with traditional gold topstitching and rivets, following the wonderful Ginger jeans Sewalong from Closet Case Files although the Burda magazine has fully illustrated instructions, which are pretty good too. I didn’t interface my waistband, as I like it softer and more comfortable and I went for the standard-ish back pocket embellishment although I made them slightly bigger since my derriere is rather wide and bigger pockets seem to look better somehow.



I set up by old Bernina 830 to do all the topstitching, to save time re-threading machines, but it was struggling with all the layers so I switched it to doing the normal sewing and my Bernina 350PE did the topstitching instead. I used Gutterman topstitching thread throughout and had bought the rivets previously from TaylorTailor in the USA.

And I put in the fly the wrong way round! It seems lots of RTW jeans do this so at least I’m in good company but I didn’t realise this until I’d finished all the topstitching, and I wasn’t about to unpick all that, nope.img_8364


I think that’s all to say about my jeans making. As usual I’m raring to make some more, but this time I think they’ll be in Corduroy.

Until next time, friends.