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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I dream of JeanSies (made of light blue denim)

I'm thinking of changing the refrain from that classic old song...
I dream of Jeannie with the light brown hair 
                                               Floating like a vapor on the soft, summer air. 
I'm dreaming of JEANSIES sewn from light blue denim
that float 'round my nether regions, like the light from heaven

This semester, and next, I'm focusing on sharpening my basic sewing skills. Those skills include the basics of pant construction. Sure, I've sewn many a pair of pants since my first bell-bottoms project back in high school, but being self-taught there are a lot of techniques I've glossed over. So in addition to basic Fashion 110 (*), the introductory sewing class where I'm learning things I never knew I didn't know about needles, thread, hems, stitch length, directional sewing, and.... (the list goes on and on), I also took the 4-session Pants Construction class. There I sewed sample fly front zippers, a variety of pockets and learned some new and improved waistband techniques. In addition to two pair of elastic waist pants for the introductory class, I've got a pair of light-weight denim pants in the works, that will incorporate my new and improved fly front zipper skills, front-hip pockets and a couture waistband in the style taught by our teacher Lynda Maynard (the directions are in her Couture Sewing book). I'm using the same McCalls pattern that I used for the 3 pairs of shorts I made this summer and fall. You can check out one pair (and their matching cap) in this posting, The Lady Wears Shorts.

Producing all these pants will add to my wardrobe, as well as improve my basic sewing skill set. But there's another sneaky reason for gaining confidence when it comes to sewing trousers. I really want to be able to sew my own jeans. 

Are you with me there? I've got a couple of different RTW jeans that kind of work for me, but not totally. I'm looking forward to the day when I can quit perusing the catalog pages trying to find jeans that sorta kinda work, and can just design and sew my own. Right off the bat I know I want one pair of the typical tough-denim, work horse old-school style (without this low-rise modern beeswax!) and a second more fitted, lighter weight denim. I also have some dreams that flit past different colored jeans (Can I find turquoise denim?) and back pockets with lace appliqués.

Clearly there are two important aspects to this long-term learning project. 
a) Fit
b) Technique

OK learning more about jean fabric weights and sources for various denims, and specialized notions like rivets, topstitching thread, needles, etc. might be a third aspect.

I'm not desperate to start in on this learning project, because I'm headed in the right direction. 

1) I'm honing my basic and intermediate sewing skills, so that I won't be caught up being challenged by something that has nothing to do with specialized jeans fitting and construction.

2)I'm starting to collect articles from the web relating to techniques needed for making jeans. I've just started a Pinterest board specifically related to sewing jeans, that I can come back to when I'm ready. (I've got a couple of other sewing boards in Pinterest as well, here's a link to all my boards there.)

Inspired by my school work, I'm planing to start a jeans notebook with technique samples once this semester is over in December. Aren't sewing program classes an excellent way to learn how to approach new-to-me kinds of garments? :-)

3) I bought the Sandra Betzina Vogue1034  jeans pattern ( Here's a pattern review for it, which doesn't seem to want to pin to my Pinterest boards). It has lots of tips about fitting jeans. I'm sure I'll ask for fitting help in the Sewing Lab at school as well. And down the road, there's a pants drafting class taught at Cañada each fall. I expect to already have some experience working on jeans by the time I take that class next year.

* I take sewing classes in the Cañada College Fashion Department, Redwood City, California

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