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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!

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