Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Will they Ride Them? (Reducing Use of Fossil Fuels)

These young men will be taking care of the planet
when the rest of us move on.
Will bikes like these, help their stewardship efforts?
http://www.bayareabikeshare.com 
San Mateo County is beginning it's participation in a bike sharing program. I've seen quick-trip rental bikes like these in London and San Francisco, and am sure glad to see the idea hitting the suburbs.

Coming out of my study group at the main library in downtown Redwood City yesterday, I talked with a middle aged man and a small group of teenaged boys checking out the new bikes, which will be rentable as of today. The man said that they cost too much for him, and told me that he could buy a used bike for twenty bucks. But I noticed he studied the bikes and the rental arrangement for quite a while. 

The boys were more interested. Kid-like, they scoffed a little over the bikes not being electric. But a couple of them tried the bikes out, insofar as they could since the vehicles were locked in place.

For those who can already ride a bike to work, shop or hit the library it may be less expensive to have your own bike. At $9 a day or $88 (paid up front) - $99 dollars (paid in installments) a year, it's a serious budget consideration. http://www.bayareabikeshare.com 


Like the tee shirts say, "Good Planets are Hard to Find". 
Cutting down on around-town driving can make a real difference.
 I'll be keeping an eye out for these lovely blue bikes on our local streets.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Half Moon Bay Harbor


Driving to the coast
Too long no water views
Half Moon Bay Harbor sings

Gardening with the Half Moon Bay Rabbits

On a recent trip over to Half Moon Bay (HMB), I fell big time for these bunnies. I've got two kind of boring pots of ivy that are doing fine and not looking very exciting out under the clothesline. Wouldn't they make nice rabbits?

I looked around on the web for topiary ideas in a rabbit mode, but I'm not wild about plunking down the big bucks for topiary forms.

I did, however, find a great budget-oriented idea (the post was written in 2002) from this gardener, who planned to wrap recycled stuffed toys from the thrift store, either with chicken wire stuffed with moss and tied with fishing line, or else green plastic coated fencing wire. You can read more about her plans at http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/topiary/msg0912565932312.html

I'm thinking about planting some ivy rabbits in my own garden....





Ench By Sew-11 Fashion Engineering for Work and Play (Interview)

This month, the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast returns from a London vacation, to it's California Roots
~ ~ ~
Following up on last month's podcast, the tour of the V&A Fashion Gallery Miss Firbank's Pink Linen Cuff  and Elsa Schiaparelli's Roses Get Me Dreaming ... two recent Vintage Threads postings in my regular blog

~ ~ ~
Please send your thoughts about this month or next month's topic - Dress Forms-in the Post a Comment section,  below :-)

Early on in the show Susan and Laurel talk about Susan's
creation of this wonderful snake skirt using patterns and
techniques from
The Colette Sewing Handbook,
Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress

A denim skirt from the same pattern has also been a mainstay garment in
Susan's wardrobe 

Snakes Alive ! Environmental Consultant by Day
Sewist by night 
~ ~ ~
No coyotes or mountain lions slipped through the parking lot (as we'd both hoped they might), but snakes alive, did we have a good time talking late into the night! Come along and listen in.
~ ~ ~
Hey! The latest and greatest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Two Ways to Listen
i) Listen Right on the Web

i)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on the following links


~ OR ~
ii) Click on this link to iTunes to download these shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes 
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me at,  EnchantedBySewing AT gmail
~~~ 
I never would have guessed that this self-described fashion engineer came to fashion sewing fairly recently. It seems Susan S. owes many of her early sewing creations  to The Colette Sewing Handbook, Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress.

Colette has an extensive pattern line

Susan bought her fun snake skirt fabric (pattern from that Colette book above)  at Satin Moon in San Francisco (Richmond district). 

Britex, just off of Union Square, is another favorite fabric shopping spot for San Francisco Bay Area sewists.

Partial to Colette's patterns, Susan prefers tailored and fit styles  often with, a hint of a retro vibe.

Professional and weekend wear are well integrated in Susan's wardrobe. Business casual is her everyday look and skirts and dresses are important for Susan's girly-girl style, whether at home or work.

In the interview, we touch on... 

• Wardrobing, Sewing With a Plan (SWAP), Susan’s work-home wardrobe is well integrated

 Susan gets her fabric prepped and her creations pressed at Broadway Cleaners, RedwoodCity (San Mateo County, San Francisco Bay Area)

 "Nancy donned a sheath" As well as being an inspiration to professional women since the 1930's, Nancy Drew has always been a woman with a distinctive fashion sense.

 Deadlines and Special Occasion Sewing

 Dedicated Sewing Space and Crafternoons

 Google Sketchup is billed as 3D modeling software

 CA Fashion Styles
      One of both Susan and Laurel's favorite field trips in San Francisco ...Walk from Union Square, down Market Street, out to the Ferry building, for beautiful bay views, and the Farmer’s Market, for people watching and scenery

 CA Work Styles
     Styles vary throughout the Bay Area. Ferry Building commuters in San Francisco have their own sense of style. If you visit the heart of Techie Silicon Valley it's all about tee shirt and jeans. One classic Meetup spot where this look dominates is the Red Rock Café on Castro Street in Mountain View. Venture Capitalists? They've got another look all together.

 Personal Fashion Style, and what's the point of it

~ ~ ~

Following up on last month's podcast, the tour of the V&A Fashion Gallery Miss Firbank's Pink Linen Cuff


~ ~ ~

Please comment on next month's topic - Dress Forms
-in the Post a Comment section,  below:-)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Pickup Walk (Hiking Edgewood)



(co-published in http://EdgewoodSecrets.blogspot.com)

Invasive European grasses and Star Thistles
are one foe the Edgewood Warriors fight
tooth and nail

I know it's called a pickup game, when you run into other basketball players on the courts and have a competitive round. So I guess I had a pickup walk today.

I was hiking Clarkia and Lower Ridge trail, just appreciating the fact that my knees are back in service, when I found myself picking up a lone hiker, Diane. She hadn't found her hiking group, was pretty unfamiliar with the trails (she'd come in via Sunset Gate) and wanted company.

I ended up docenting  along Clarkia, up to Inspiration Heights, down along Lower Ridge trail to the fence that overlooks the Bluebird meadow and back to Sunset Gate, at which point we ran into her group

Discussed and seen along the way...

- Serpentine rock and soil discussion and challenge of nitrogen dump/non-native plant invasion. Also successes of Weed Warriors due to just plain hard work plus cunning and analysis 

- Why the erosion scars aren't a trail/the challenges of their trail-like appearance - And yes we ran into two erosion scar explorers that I had a chat with on Inspiration Heights. Hopefully they did go back the way I encouraged them to go on the trail. Much discussion with my new hiking pal, over how to discourage this behavior without being patronizing and actually getting desired behavior. 

- We met Steve and  Denora  out rangering and Diane had her birthday photo taken with them. Steve indicated perhaps more signs indicating erosion scar versus trail may be forthcoming?

- We enjoyed the beautiful summer colors of deerweed, tarweed and poison oak. We both think the seedheads we saw in with the tarweed is yarrow. I keep meaning to look up that pink dry headed looking flower that's in and around Ridge trail. I think it's a seed head not a bloom. It reminds me of the sea thrift I saw in Cornwall, just a little bit.

- Told her how she could find the plant database/photos lookup  on Friends of Edgewood web pages, as both of us were wondering about that pinky flower/seed head.

- Told her to come look for the brilliant green Hair Streak Butterflies during bloom time for the deerweed. Discussed the importance of the Bay Area Checkerspot and how it saved the preserve. Diane was glad we weren't hiking through the golf course this area was, at one point, destined to be.

- Diane wanted to know about animals we see in the area. Pointed out Western Fence Lizards, mentioned my few views of rattlers by me and others and where noted ...Much pointing to the area on Serpentine Loop Trail  from Ridge Trail looking down to discuss the scurry zone and habits of the cottontails. Also discussion of the jackrabbits when they go mad with testostorone in the springtime and their hare 'ness ( Here's a nice web link on their being hares and not rabbits http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/jackrabbit/). 

- Pointed out the frog pond, looking down on it from Ridge Trail (would be easy to have a talk about water in the preserve at this point, wouldn't it?)

- We should have asked Denora about the bobcats when we met up with her and Steve later on, as I know she once said there is one living in the vicinity of the ranger's house. Durn

- Of course we chatted about cougars. Doesn't everybody like to know about cougars?

- We talked about the different types of oaks, and after some quick mental review. I remembered  (and I think properly id'd ) coast live oak (thanks to a hint Alf once gave me), contrasted them with a description of Valley Oaks, and mentioned the scrub oak. I think that's what grows on Upper Clarkia, not Leather Oak? Remembered to tell her about the naturally hybrid ones.

- We talked about the Western Blue Birds

Dianne was very pleased with her one-on-one docent walk! We found her group back at Sunset Gate and she introduced me all around and bragged about getting the goods on the preserve. I was lightly quizzed by a couple of folks in regards to seeing freshly blooming Farewell to Spring, and I agreed I had seen one too. Was able to respond "Clarkia, like this trail" when asked what is the real name. So I guess I passed the test. Good thing that was one I know.

Despite it not being a high bloom time, there's a lot to talk about out in the chaparral zone

A Pickup Walk (Hiking Edgewood)


(co-published in http://EdgewoodSecrets.blogspot.com)

Invasive European grasses and Star Thistles
are one foe the Edgewood Warriors fight
tooth and nail

I know it's called a pickup game, when you run into other basketball players on the courts and have a competitive round. So I guess I had a pickup walk today.

I was hiking Clarkia and Lower Ridge trail, just appreciating the fact that my knees are back in service, when I found myself picking up a lone hiker, Diane. She hadn't found her hiking group, was pretty unfamiliar with the trails (she'd come in via Sunset Gate) and wanted company.

I ended up docenting  along Clarkia, up to Inspiration Heights, down along Lower Ridge trail to the fence that overlooks the Bluebird meadow and back to Sunset Gate, at which point we ran into her group

Discussed and seen along the way...

- Serpentine rock and soil discussion and challenge of nitrogen dump/non-native plant invasion. Also successes of Weed Warriors due to just plain hard work plus cunning and analysis 

- Why the erosion scars aren't a trail/the challenges of their trail-like appearance - And yes we ran into two erosion scar explorers that I had a chat with on Inspiration Heights. Hopefully they did go back the way I encouraged them to go on the trail. Much discussion with my new hiking pal, over how to discourage this behavior without being patronizing and actually getting desired behavior. 

- We met Steve and  Denora  out rangering and Diane had her birthday photo taken with them. Steve indicated perhaps more signs indicating erosion scar versus trail may be forthcoming?

- We enjoyed the beautiful summer colors of deerweed, tarweed and poison oak. We both think the seedheads we saw in with the tarweed is yarrow. I keep meaning to look up that pink dry headed looking flower that's in and around Ridge trail. I think it's a seed head not a bloom. It reminds me of the sea thrift I saw in Cornwall, just a little bit.

- Told her how she could find the plant database/photos lookup  on Friends of Edgewood web pages, as both of us were wondering about that pinky flower/seed head.

- Told her to come look for the brilliant green Hair Streak Butterflies during bloom time for the deerweed. Discussed the importance of the Bay Area Checkerspot and how it saved the preserve. Diane was glad we weren't hiking through the golf course this area was, at one point, destined to be.

- Diane wanted to know about animals we see in the area. Pointed out Western Fence Lizards, mentioned my few views of rattlers by me and others and where noted ...Much pointing to the area on Serpentine Loop Trail  from Ridge Trail looking down to discuss the scurry zone and habits of the cottontails. Also discussion of the jackrabbits when they go mad with testostorone in the springtime and their hare 'ness ( Here's a nice web link on their being hares and not rabbits http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/jackrabbit/). 

- Pointed out the frog pond, looking down on it from Ridge Trail (would be easy to have a talk about water in the preserve at this point, wouldn't it?)

- We should have asked Denora about the bobcats when we met up with her and Steve later on, as I know she once said there is one living in the vicinity of the ranger's house. Durn

- Of course we chatted about cougars. Doesn't everybody like to know about cougars?

- We talked about the different types of oaks, and after some quick mental review. I remembered  (and I think properly id'd ) coast live oak (thanks to a hint Alf once gave me), contrasted them with a description of Valley Oaks, and mentioned the scrub oak. I think that's what grows on Upper Clarkia, not Leather Oak? Remembered to tell her about the naturally hybrid ones.

- We talked about the Western Blue Birds

Dianne was very pleased with her one-on-one docent walk! We found her group back at Sunset Gate and she introduced me all around and bragged about getting the goods on the preserve. I was lightly quizzed by a couple of folks in regards to seeing freshly blooming Farewell to Spring, and I agreed I had seen one too. Was able to respond "Clarkia, like this trail" when asked what is the real name. So I guess I passed the test. Good thing that was one I know.

Despite it not being a high bloom time, there's a lot to talk about out in the chaparral zone

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vintage Threads: Elsa Schiaparelli's Roses Get me Dreaming

Elsa Schiaparelli created this gorgeous design
for her autumn 1937 collection
I encountered this evening coat, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, in the Victoria and Albert (V&A) fashion gallery, when I visited London in late May. If you come along on my audio tour of the exhibit, you'll hear a discussion I had with a Londoner about these lovely details, and the trompe l'œil urn design ... Is it an urn or is it two women facing in?   You may already recognize this famous double image created by artist Jean Cocteau designed to fake the viewer out. If you want to read more about the art movements that inspired Miss Schiaparelli's work, as well as more details about the garment, follow this link (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O117953/evening-coat-schiaparelli-elsa/ )  to the V&A.

I've never really been that all taken by trompe l'oeil, but I do love roses! Don't you want a bevy of these beauties? I know I do, and of course the fact that I'm caught up working slowly and carefully through my denim skirt project (learning jeans-sewing skills without yet encountering the challenge of fitting jeans) gets me dreaming about switching horses in mid stream. Best to simply dream and plan these roses, and get the skirt finished, don't you think? 


You can check out other views
of this coat at
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O117953/evening-coat-schiaparelli-elsa/ 
How will I use these blooms on that great come-and-do-it-day when I sit down with needle and a mass of silken ribbons? Well.... despite the beauty of this sumptuous evening garment, I know that I wouldn't get a lot of use out of a similar long flowing garment. It wouldn't be too practical  in a software Meetup, on a walk to the grocery store, a bike ride or trip to class. Sure, I might wear it to the ballet, opera or theatre but those aren't places I go everyday. In fact I have a pretty hooded black velvet coat I've been using for special occasions since college, and it still works great. That was a lifetime purchase (I found it in a low-key consignment store), so I won't be creating another special occasion garment with these.

I'm planning to create and use my roses in a rather different way. I wrote about those plans in a posting I wrote in Stitcher's Guild/Artisan Square, when I visited to ask a few how-to questions. 

I think they (the roses) would look nifty as an embellishment on my denim jacket, placed in a similar way to the ones that Elsa designed.

I know there are a lot of ways to make fabric roses. I'm partial to spider-web roses - but I think these are made differently. They almost look like origami- and maybe some kind of folding technique would be best. Another woman touring the gallery wondered if maybe when they were originally made, did they perhaps stand up a little more 3D, and over time they've flattened out. If so, a little iron steam might do the trick, though the flattened origami-kind of look looks good too.


As you will see, if you visit the forum and read this posting (http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php/topic,21274.0.html ), I'm not an expert when it comes to ribbon embroidery. But I got a lot of pointers from the folks in the group. No, the life of a creator just wasn't the same before we had the power of the web, was it? (In fact we used to depend on family members, classes, schools, clubs, neighbors, groups and our local libraries. We weren't that all deprived.)

Some of the basics I acquired reading different people's answers. (Though you will get more ideas when you visit the forum). 

Folks Suggested...

* Either silk ribbon or a strip of heavy bias silk--folded, draped, and layered into a rose shape similar to ribbon embroidery. 

* Intense pink at the center of each rose may be a brush dipped into dye.


* The leaves and golden bits perhaps crewel embroidery.



This gorgeous vintage camisole has
roses similar to the embellishment on the Schiaparelli Evening Coat

I loved reading the different ideas and discussions about antique ribbon work. And what about the beautiful camisole photo that emerged from the question? Yes, another distracting garment!

With the resources and ideas collected in this discussion, I'm expecting it won't be too long before I have my own bouquet of ribbon roses. 



You may also enjoy....

Stitcher's Guild Artisans Square, Forum Posting - "How Would You Create Elsa Schiaparelli's Roses?" http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php/topic,21274.0.html



 The Enchanted by Sewing Audio Tour of the V&A http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2013/07/ench-by-sew-010-v-fashion-gallery-tour.html



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vintage Threads: Myrna Loy Made the Clothes

Some women identify with Mariyn Monroe, others with Judy Garland. My favorite vintage film star is Myrna Loy, and my favorite images of Miss Loy are as Nora Charles in The Thin Man.

Wouldn't this be your favorite go-to outfit if you were Mrs. Charles? No woman has every looked as pulled together as Nora in this plaid bias-cut skirt, feather-endowed beret and bow combination.  And the shapely black companion jacket pulls it all together. I'd hazard a guess that the plaid is a mixture  of black and red threads on a white background. 

A modern sewist could pull off  the creation of a very similar  ensemble (she might want to ditch the bow tie and feather, to avoid looking a bit too precious) but she could never really put it together like Nora Charles did.


Some folks say that clothes make the woman, but in the case of this great lady, Myrna Loy made the clothes.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Vintage Threads: Retro Cow Gal Denim is Thoroughly Up to Date

63 years after filming, these gals duds are still in style
With some fashions we have to wait for a return to retro. But when it comes to denim duds, their style vibe just keeps on working.

Irene Dunn's jean-jacket and Ann Doran's vest and shirt combination are as classic today as they were back in 1950 when Never a Dull Moment was filmed. The topstitching on Miss Dunn's jacket is particularly inspirational for modern sewists. You can see it up close when you click on the illustration.


Just add some pumped up pouty lips, loose flowing hair,
and a come-hither expression.
Then... as soon as our waistbands move back up from their currently
below the waist position - likely to happen any day-
these nicely fitted jeans, with belt and classic plaid shirt will put
this picture right back in style.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jeans Sewing: Skirting the Issue, When Zippers Fly (Progress)

Working with a mock-up of the waistband,
I found that I need to re-baste the side seams
It fit fine before I added that new dimension,
but now it's a whole new ballgame
The basting stitch has been my friend in
this project
I blogged recently about the denim jeans-style skirt ( using the Palmer and Pletsch pattern, M6361)  that I'm making in preparation for learning to sew jeans, but without the fit challenges I'll be working through when it comes to making those jeans. There's so much   for me to learn about working with 11 oz weight (heavy) denim, sewing techniques and jeans-style hardware that this project is plenty challenging. But it is, as I hoped, achievable.


Fly Front Zippers
I always need to review how to sew fly-front zippers, and I found a marvelous fly-front zipper tutorial on Youtube. The hostess is Colleen, of Fashion Sewing TV.

Here's the link ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91gO3iE7YOU )

I used to use Trudy's Hot Patterns fly front zipper tutorial, but for some reason I can't get that to run now.

 I used masking tape to get my topstitching lines in place for the topstitching around my fly-front, and a little chalk for the rounded part. I ended up doing a few tiny hand stitches as well. Would I do a few things differently next time? You betcha! But I'm relatively happy with it. I may still add another line of topstitching coming up from the center seam below. What do you think?

Absolutely Riveting


I've kinda, sorta arrived at the point where I'm ready to put the rivets on my denim skirt. And I've already found the samples I've tried, with three layers of scrap denim, to be plenty challenging! I'll let you know more when I get them figured out.

I've spent a lot of time dealing with fitting, to get this skirt to hang just right. The basting stitch is definitely my friend when it comes to fitting. Today, I basted  a mock-up waistband  (cut out of the teal blue fitting/muslin/poplin fabric you can see in the illustration here) and found that having a waistband greatly altered the fit and hang of the skirt. So, I was quite glad that I gave that a baste on sample fabric before committing. Also I was glad I had only basted the side seams and not yet done the (faux/mock) flat-felling on their seams.

I've decided to do a mock flat-felled seam for this project. I'm doing the traditional topstitching in golden orange thread typical of classic jeans, and it holds things tightly in place.  For my mock flat-fells, I'm just sewing right sides together with an interior seam, not the wrong-sides together then wrap one raw edge over another, that makes a true flat-fell. Somewhere I saw that right sides together is also a legitimate way to flat-fell, though I think whoever said that, did the regular wrap-around with the raw edges.  I'm just faux-serging the raw edges (I don't have a serger, but I use a decorative stitch intended to look and behave somewhat like serging) and topstitching right through the seam allowance. Frankly, it seems like it would be an awfully hard little roll otherwise, but clearly it's done that way on a lot of jeans. Once I get this done and wear it to a sewing class, I'm going to ask around about true flat-felling on this heavy-weight denim. Also I can ask in a sewing forum for jeans, but I'm glad I'm just going ahead and doing my best with this first project before I fuss around with anymore with flat-felling on this heavy, heavy fabric. When I work with a mid-weight denim, like some of the 7 oz I saw, I'll probably try out some more sample flat-felling.

I keep a postIt on top of my machine reminding me to check that I have 'heavy' stitch selected as well as the 'seam' setting and a special tension setting of  7. On the three layers points, I set my tension to 8. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out that these were, apparently the best settings for this particular project. I just had to do a lot of sample stitching through various numbers of layers of the 11 oz denim scrap to get my tension settings. Also I had to fool around for awhile with the heavy weight thread. At first I was running it in both the top and the bobbin, but that gave me a lot of back side of the project problems. I'm now using the heavy weight in the top and regular type indigo blue thread in the bobbin. Of course I have a jeans needle in my machine. Does that go without saying? I use a stitch length of 3 for the seams and 3.5 for the topstitching. Also backstitching to lock seams often jams up the lower thread. I've been hand tying threads to knot.

The side seams where the top-stitched front hip pockets meet, is turning out to be a very challenging area, with the three thick layers. Again, I'm just doing my best to get things to lay flat and hang right. It doesn't have to be perfection, it just needs to get done and be something I enjoy wearing. I will certainly be learning things to try for next time with this skirt.

I like the way it's turning out out, no matter what challenges I'm having, and  I'm looking forward to wearing it a lot. Sewing classes start next week and that is a real motivation to finish it. Also I'm really tired of the pants and shorts I've been wearing this summer. It's good to have pants I've made myself that make my happy, but a little variety is good too. I'm even getting tired of my No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency and Mille Fleur shirts, as I've been wearing them so much. It's good to have garments to turn to that fit well and look nice, but I'm looking forward to getting some more pretty shirts done. That lilac gingham with the Liberty accents (I blogged about that project in Kit1: Progress Shirt Sewing)  is another thing I hope to get done in time for sewing class startup, and if not I hope to finish it in the near future.

Being able to pep up my wardrobe using my own skills,  is something that keeps me enchanted by sewing!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Jeans Sewing: Skirting the Issue

My new amiga Colette,
is a big help when
it comes to creating a fitting muslin/toile
for the M6261 pattern.
Plus I get to use up this poplin for the fit garment.
I wonder what I thought I'd make out
of this when I bought it? :-)
I've blogged and podcasted before about my determination to  learn to sew jeans.

Until i had an actual project to sew, just doing sample sewing didn't motivate me enough, to work on my jeans sewing techniques. I sat down a couple of times this summer, and worked on denim flat-felled seams. Mostly what I learned is that when I stitch a heavy denim (11 oz), it's much more challenging to fell straight lines , than lighter weight cotton such as the ones i felled in my intermediate sewing construction class, or the scraps of 7 oz mid-weight denim, leftover from last summer's shorts and cap project. I fussed around thinking about different things to try,  and wondered if maybe I would even need a heavier duty machine, as was mentioned in a couple of different sewing forums.

I also thought a lot about simply getting straight lines of topstitching. I've located jeans needles and a variety of threads (topstitching and heavy for the seams) . In my sample sewing, I'd already run into tension issues. How could I expect to do the contrasting colored topstitching on pockets, waistband, and hems if I don't work that out?

And have I mentioned learning to install rivets and those special jeans buttons? I want to know how to do those too.

In addition to the challenges of jeans sewing skills, like flat-felling, and special embellishments, there's the whole issue of getting a jeans pattern to fit. Who among us doesn't find that a challenge?

I was determined to be really ready to sew jeans, but I was too intimidated to simply jump in and starting sewing them.

So how about a sewing project where i just sit down and work through some of the jeans techniques and special embellishments, as best as I can, but i don't actually sew jeans?

No I'm not talking about a cute cushion or a fetching tote bag, we're talking a denim jeans-style skirt. This skirt will still require fit-work too, which is a great opportunity to use my new dress form, Colette, whom I brought to life in summer school. Fitting a skirt to Collette, seems like less of a fit challenge than jeans (Colette isn't bi-forcated so I can't fully fit jeans on her, though she can help with some aspects).

M6361 is my idea of a good, basic
jeans-style skirt
I've chosen Palmer and Pletsch M6361, a  skirt and trouser pattern that suits my idea of what a jeans-skirt should look like. Here it is http://sewing.patternreview.com/patterns/47923

So far I spent about six hours fitting the skirt in this mid-weight teal blue poplin fabric, and several more hours cutting out the denim and getting going on my actual skirt. I've already realized that I'm not going to make real-true flat-fellled seams, but I'm still hoping I'll get a faux flat-felled look going. I'm relatively happy with the fit at this stage, though I haven't gotten far enough with the real skirt yet to be sure. I've also decided to wait to fit and cut out the curved waistband until I'm farther along with the project. So I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get a look and fit I"m happy with.

I'm really glad I'm getting going with my jeans sewing skills - even though I'm creating a different kind of garment. I'm looking forward to  blogging more about how the project goes.

Getting going with my jeans-sewing skills (and getting a skirt out of the deal!) keeps me enchanted by sewing!


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