Friday, February 16, 2018

Old Jeans, How Do I Love Thee?

Check out that embroidery!
Seriously, the lengths some of us will go to in order to save a favorite pair of jeans.

I have short legs; so short that I usually need shorten even "Short" jeans. Sometimes I don't bother, though, and eventually, I walk off the hems in the back. Usually I just shrug it off and buy new jeans, but some jeans just aren't replaceable.

Like these 2007 vintage Eddie Bauer embroidered jeans. Yes, I have had these jeans for almost 11 years. They just don't make them like this anymore! These were made before everyone switched to stretch denim, so they feel like real jeans. And there's bonus embroidery!

For those of you gifted with longer legs, who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about when I say I walk the hems off, let me show you.

These aren't my favorite jeans.
These jeans are undeserving of salvation.
But my favorite jeans looked just this bad.

That's what a hem looks like after you've worn your too-long jeans for a couple of years. It seems like it would be impossible to save them, right?


If I were going to repair that hem on my non-favorite jeans, what I would do - what I did, in fact, do to re-hem my favorite jeans - would be to cut off the entire old hem leaving as much length as possible. You only need about 1/8" of relatively undamaged fabric for the "hem" to make this work.

After the old hem is cut off, unfold one side of some double-fold bias tape and apply it to the hem edge. (On the right side, Paula. The RIGHT SIDE.) Fold the bias tape to the wrong side, press it, and stitch it in place. I hand stitched mine first, because I never trust my ability to catch the bias tape when stitching from the other side.

And the finished hem looks like this!

My favorite jeans, neatly hemmed again!

Hopefully these will last another 11 years.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Working Wardrobe

Published in 1981, I believe (but am not certain) Working Wardrobe; Affordable Clothes That Work For You! was the first book to present the capsule concept of wardrobe planning. The author, Janet Wallach, has impressive credentials in the fashion industry. Her career, at the time of publication, spanned 20 years and included work as a fashion designer, fashion coordinator nad fashion merchandising director.

The capsule concept involves planning your wardrobe around a grouping of basic garments in coordinating colors that can be worn interchangeably. As discussed in the book, a professional capsule consists of 12 garments and provides 48 different looks. The first capsule discussion includes illustrations of all the possible looks for the capsule...just in case you have trouble envisioning all the looks.

The book includes numerous examples and color fashion illustrations of the concepts discussed, as well as 60 suggestions for capsule color combinations, also in color. Also included are case studies of various individuals and how the capsule concept was applied to their specific life circumstances. One of the more useful features of the case studies is a description of how the women used pieces from their current wardrobes as a basis for their first capsules. As the chapter headings suggest, the author has also expanded the concept beyond a professional wardrobe. 

As the book was published in 1981, some of the featured fashions  dated; however, they are very fine examples of 1980s fashion illustrations. Since the author stresses classic pieces the problem is not as pronounced as in some books on wardrobe planning that feature trendier designs. One other thing that dates the book is the inclusion of dollar amounts in the case studies. Truly, some of the figures given are laughably small by today's standards; I could drop more in 15 minutes in Eddie Bauer than these women paid for entire wardrobes!

The book also includes some blank capsule planning charts. If you're lucky enough to be able to purchase a copy of the book, good for you! Otherwise, the charts would be easy to reproduce on notebook paper or in your word processing program.This book is not a must have but it is an excellent book on wardrobe planning using the capsule concept. This book is out of print, but affordable used copies are available on Amazon.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Under Construction

I'm re-thinking and re-arranging the blog, so please bear with me while it's under construction.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Filed Under: It Could Have Been So Much Worse

I love our dogs. Our girl, Shasta, is so sweet and Thor is, well, just like every other little boy...full of mischief.

Like this. I guess this is to be expected when you have to share your sewing room with two big, rowdy dogs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Now, To Pat Myself on the Back

Do you see how little it takes to make me happy? Some of my blog posts have been pinned!

Seattle Street Fashion

What's the first thing that jumps out at you when you scroll through these photos taken on the streets of Seattle?

You'd think that people here would rebel against the perpetually overcast skies by choosing bright, vibrant colors. Instead, they choose black, white, gray and the ever popular denim. What's up with that?

Take this girl, for example. Her outfit is well put together and she is undeniably cute, but, really, would a pop of red have killed her?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Plan C

Do you remember the Hong Kong finish I was going to use in my Simplicity 2150 jacket? Yes, I remember it, too. I also remember that I had abandoned that plan, Plan A, if you will, because the flannel bias strips that looked so pretty were phenomenonally hard to work with. So I advanced to Plan B, overlocking the seam allowances of the jacket, which I thought would be fast and still be interesting if I used contrasting thread.

Plan B was scary for me, because I don't have a lot of experience using my serger, despite having owned it for roughly 15 years. Maybe longer. The knife terrifies me. It's sharp and it moves fast and no one has ever made the mistake of calling me coordinated. So I worry about ruining garments and I worry about ruining fingers. That's the potential for a double whammy as I'm reasonably certain that, were I to cut off a finger while serging a garment, I would also ruin the garment.

Anyway, I pulled out my serger and stitched up a sample. Call me crazy, but that looked pretty darned good to me. Thus reassured that Plan B was The Answer, I started on my jacket seam allowances and...disaster. Okay, not on the magnitude of , say, an asteroid striking the earth, but, you know, almost. There were no tears, but it was close.

So it was back to the sample scrap, where I barely tweaked some of the settings and serged all the edges again. I serged slowly; I serged fast. I barely skimmed the edges with the knives and I trimmed off full seam allowances, all with beautiful results.

So I - stupidly...go ahead and say you; you know you're thinking it - tried it again on the jacket, again with disastrous results.

Take a look at the photos I've included below and tell me what you think, because I'm at a loss; I've serged the edges of my rather large sample scrap until it's roughly 4" by 4" and have been unable to recreate the abnormal stitching.

Any ideas on what might make my serger act as though it's demon possessed? 
And all of this brings me to Plan C, which is really Plan A...but without the flannel.