Papercut Patterns Guise Pants!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well and enjoyed a lovely weekend! I had a great weekend enjoying the beautiful May weather and hanging out with my visiting in-laws. I even managed to sneak in some sewing and a trip to see Mad Max: Fury Road! How about you guys?

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Question: do you fear trousers? Even though I love wearing them, I’ve been a little nervous at the thought of sewing them. Welt pockets, a front fly, fit… there’s just so much to think about! But after sewing up two pairs of trousers for my second semester of ladies’ tailoring this spring, I was stoked to take on a pair for myself! So I was excited when I saw the Guise Pants in the new Papercut Patterns collection- I was really hoping to find a pattern for pleated trousers! Katie kindly sent me a review copy for free… thank you so much!

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

The pattern features front pleats and a fly closure, with side pockets and back welt pockets. A unique feature of the pants is the elasticated back waist- I’m not usually very excited about elastic waists as they can look a little too casual, but my waistline fluctuates constantly by a few inches, so it’s nice to have some flexibility there. Plus, I never tuck in my shirts, so you’ll never even see the elastic in the back!

My plan was to make these in a nice soft wool, a pretty mint green, if I could find one, and if I couldn’t, in grey. But somewhere along the way I had the idea to cut into this strange synthetic jacquard from my stash. I bought 3 yards from Chic Fabric ages ago for something like $7/yd, planning to make an Elisalex for a winter wedding, but I didn’t have time and it’s sat in my stash ever since. It’s a pale gold that’s really metallic (hard to tell from the photos), and the wrong side is actually mauve. It smells a little funny when you press it, frays like crazy, and is super scratchy. So maybe not the best choice! But it was really fun to use! The thread, button, and zipper were in my stash, too, and I had *just* enough elastic to make it, so these are a total stash bust! Yay!

Here’s a shot so you can see where the rise sits on me (a few inches below my natural waist).

OK, let’s talk construction. These are a very straightforward sew and nothing was too confusing or difficult. I followed the instructions for the welt pockets and fly and everything went smoothly. One thing I noticed is that Katie refers to “left” and “right” as you’re looking at the garment rather than as you wear it, the way some pattern companies do. It’s clear from the diagrams which side is which, though. There’s a typo on step 7- it should say 3/8″, not 3/4″. And one little thing I did differently from the instructions was to finish the curved edge of the fly facing before doing anything. It’s just easier for me that way. I also finished the hems with seam binding to help control the fraying.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

As you can see, this fabric is pretty stiff, and these pants would probably look much better in something with more drape. I had to omit the button loops from the back pockets- they were just too bulky in this fabric. It’s kinda funny… in my tailoring class, I realized that I had most success with welt pockets when I chose fabrics that don’t fray easily, but for these trousers, I picked a jacquard that seemed to disintegrate in front of my eyes! Oops!

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Next time I make this pattern, I’ll add 3/8″ to the lower edge of the waistband facing- Katie has you neaten the waistband edge and topstitch it down from the right side, but I prefer the seam allowance to be folded under. And I will add a bit more room through the ankle- I have been noticing lately that I just don’t have enough room there in almost every pair of RTW pants I own. I could stand to take these in at the side seam a bit, but I was afraid to fit these too snugly since the fabric is so ravelly! I thought I might blow my seams out if the trousers were too fitted!!!

Overall, I really like these pants! I know this relaxed fit isn’t for everyone, but I like to wear this tomboy style and am excited to work these into my wardrobe. I’m thinking I should wear them with a black top, or maybe a classic white buttondown? What do you guys think? I’m hoping they’re not too “mature lady”, as Man Friend described them. :D

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants | Ginger Makes

Alright, fess up- are you afraid to sew trousers? If not, do you have a favorite pants pattern? Any you would recommend to me?

Steeplechase Leggings!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve blogged! Most of my sewing energy this month went towards the final projects for my tailoring class, but that’s over now so I am free to sew more fun stuff, yay!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Apologies for the pasty-white limbs… it’s been a long winter!

This is a little bit embarrassing, but, you guys, I can’t touch my toes! Even worse, I’ve NEVER been able to, not even when I was very small! So I’ve started doing yoga recently in a sad attempt to gain some flexibility and strength, and decided to sew up some clothes I can wear to class (I wore my lycra crazy dog lady leggings to my first class and oh wow, they do NOT breathe at all!).

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I used the Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings pattern. Melissa Fehr and her husband visited several weeks ago and I got to play Garment District tour guide, yay! Melissa was kind enough to bring me a copy of this pattern, so I was stoked to sew them up! I’ve admired the Fehr Trade patterns for some time, but, to be honest, I’m not very comfortable in snug workout clothing. But loose clothing just doesn’t make much sense for yoga, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to try this pattern. PLUS, this style is modeled on equestrian garb, and you guys KNOW how I feel about horses! :D

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

I bought supplex at Spandex House on Melissa’s recommendation. I don’t know anything at all about athletic wear or technical fabrics, so I relied on her expertise and this fabric seems like a much better choice than lycra for a situation where you’re working out. Plus, it’s softer and not as slippery as spandex… definitely better for yoga! I bought a yard each of navy and fuchsia for $12/yard, and I was able to fit the full-length pattern pieces onto a yard (perfect for days when you don’t want to shave your legs before working out… I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT), so the material cost was only $12 for each pair! And I even have some small pieces left over, enough to sew into sports bras when I need to replace my current ones. I don’t often feel like I’m saving money when I sew, but athletic apparel is so expensive that making your own can save a bundle!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

These leggings are pretty interesting to sew up- there’s no inseam, which is probably comfortable for people who run more than the few miles at a time that I can muster up! The pattern piece is pretty crazy-looking… it was fun to see how it went together! My waist is a size larger than my hips, so I opted to sew up the size that fit my hips since there’s an elasticized waist. The pattern has an optional inner pocket where you can stash money or a house key- I added it to one pair, but not to the other, so I could decide if I liked it or not. I shortened them by 2″ so they hit right at my ankle, and my rise is slightly lower than Melissa drafted because I used the 1″ elastic I had in my stash instead of the recommended 3/4″. But my personal preference is a pretty low rise… I might even shorten it a bit if I make another pair. Oh man, one more thing: I keep noticing on RTW and in sewing patterns that leg openings are really tight around my ankles… do I have cankles? Is there a cankle fit alteration???? Ugh!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright… let’s talk about what’s driving me CRAZY. The curved seams look AWFUL. They’re lumpy and ugly, and look sooooo homemade. I wish that I hadn’t serged the seams- I think that added a little bulk. In hindsight, I probably should have experimented with my serger to see if I could get a flatlock effect… I think that’s possible with the basic Brother that I have? Anyway, it’s kind of a bummer that these look so crummy, but they’re definitely wearable and will keep me comfortable during yoga, so really, that’s all that matters. But if anyone has any suggestions for how I can fix this, I’m all ears!

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings | Ginger Makes

Alright, guys, do you make your own activewear? Is it possible to blind classmates with electric pink leggings? Am I the only one who really wants to give up mid-class and just lay face-down on the yoga mat?

Man Friend: “You’re not going to like this one”.

Color Me Fabric Tour!!!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! I’ve got something a little different to show you today- kid sewing!

I met Hayley of Mouse House Creations last year and immediately wanted to be best friends with her. She’s super fun, sweet, and is involved with so many cool crafting adventures that it’s kinda crazy (she’s the designer behind Mouse House Creations and a co-founder of the Willow & Co pattern collective). So when she asked me to be part of the blog tour for her new fabric collection, I was stoked! And get this: it’s fabric that you can COLOR on! How fun is that?!

The collection is “Color Me” by Hayley Crouse for Michael Miller Fabrics. There are two variations, “A Royal Life” and “Space Adventures”, and each variation has a border print in addition to an all-over. Hayley worked with her kids, Ethan and Ainsley, to design the fabric, so everything that’s included on the fabric was requested by those two. Fun! I would have been so excited to customize my own fabric when I was a kid… I used to agonize for ages before picking out my Lisa Frank designs, so how great would it be if you could avoid the choice and have both killer whales AND golden retrievers?! Mind. Blown.

I decided that this fun fabric was a good excuse to sew something cute for my nephew. He’s two years old and is absurdly adorable, and now that he looks more like a little boy than a baby, it’s prime time to start making him cool clothes! So I chose “To the Moon and Back” for him because ALIENS. What kid doesn’t want a shirt covered in flying saucers?!

I mean, look at this little alien. I LOVE IT. It’s ridiculously cute.

I knew right away that I wanted to make a little buttondown for Noah. He’s too big for M6016, a tot-sized pattern that I used to make a teensy Magnum P.I. shirt. So I did what I always do when I’m stumped- I asked the friendly folks on Twitter for pattern recommendations! Becky Jo suggested I try Ottobre, and was kind enough to send me the 3/2012 issue. There are so many cute patterns packed into the magazine! I’m looking forward to trying out several of them.

I used pattern #19 in a size 96 (he’s between sizes, so sizing up seemed prudent). I made some modifications to the pattern to simplify it a bit- since the print is so over the top, the bias-bound hem and faced sleeves would be a bit much. I mean, the shirt is covered in aliens and planets! It doesn’t need anything else! ;)

Oh, and before I forget, the fabric is printed on Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture fabric, so it’s a bit thicker and softer than the quilting cottons in my stash. I think it will make for a really comfortable shirt!

I couldn’t resist… I had to try a little coloring myself! :D

Thank you for letting me be part of your tour, Hayley, and thank you for the fabric, Michael Miller! If you are interested in this fabric, check out the store locator, and be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour! The first blogger, An of Straight Grain, made an adorable fabric coloring book. I’ll be making these for the little people in my life, for sure!

One last thing: if Noah goes crazy coloring on all his clothes, it’s not my fault. :o

Grainline Morris Blazer x2!

Hi, guys! I hope you’re all well. Before we start talking sewing, I just want to take a moment to say that if you’re reading from Baltimore or Nepal, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. The firsthand updates from my sister in Baltimore and a childhood friend in Nepal have been so heartbreaking. Praying for healing, restoration, and safety for everyone!

OK, let’s talk about the Morris blazer. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of this pattern for ages! In fact, I’ve had a piece of ikat linen stashed away for it for something like two years! So I was surprised to find out that it was designed for stretch wovens or stable knits… pleasantly surprised! I had a RTW double-breasted blazer in French terry that I wore until it was dead, and never found a replacement. I frequently wear my woven blazers, but it’s nice to have something even easier to wear for situations where you’ll be running around or taking your jacket on and off.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

So, for April’s Mood Sewing Network project*, I ran to Mood with 15 minutes to spare before my evening class (NOT RECOMMENDED!) and raced straight up to the neoprene section. I’d planned to look for a fun print, but this color jumped out at me and I had to have it! As I had the fabric cut, another shopper spotted it and hovered, waiting to grab the bolt as soon as I was done with it. The color is that good!

Now, neoprene is one of those fabric fads that seem to pop up from time to time. All of a sudden it’s everywhere! I’ve been curious about it for a while, but I’ve mostly seen it used for bodycon dresses or pencil skirts and that’s just not my cup of tea (this particular fabric was labeled as Alexander Wang, and I’m pretty sure it’s what he used for this dress). But I thought it would be a fun experiment to try a nontraditional fabric for a blazer and thought it might work for the Morris since it’s such a streamlined design.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Before I sew with a new fabric type, I like to stitch samples to make sure I’m making good decisions before I start in on my garment. I had best results using my walking foot, a 75/11 ballpoint needle, and a regular straight stitch. Since the fabric is pretty thick, I had to lengthen my stitches a bit to get them to a normal size. I found that the fabric layers slipped a bit as I sewed, so I had to sew slowly and use lots of pins. I tested out binding the seams, but in the end decided to reduce bulk by just leaving them unfinished. As you can see, the lapels have tons of body in a fabric like this, which I like, but if I changed my mind, I could tack them down to the jacket front with a couple of teeny stitches.

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

I interfaced the facing pieces with Pro-Tricot Deluxe Fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply (don’t worry- I fused a sample piece first to make sure nothing would melt!). But pressing is pointless on neoprene, so I topstitched the seam allowances down. I actually love how this looks- it gives the jacket a sporty feel. And when I needed to turn under the seam allowances of the facings, I machine stitched on the fold line so the perforations would help me make a crisp fold. The only place I ran into trouble was at the sleeve head. There’s no way to topstitch that seam, so I opted to catch stitch the seam allowances down. You can see slight indentations from the stitches on the right side, like a blind hem, but that looks much better than a mushy seam! Speaking of the sleeves, I got to do my favorite sleeve trick, which is hemming them before I set them in. It’s so much easier to navigate those little sleeve openings when you’re not wrestling the entire jacket out of the way!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Let’s talk about the pattern. It goes together quickly, which was so fun and satisfying compared to the sloooooooow tailoring projects that have been taking up most of my sewing time lately. It’s unlined and there aren’t any pockets,which was great for a keeping the bulk down. I did notice that the facing isn’t smooth where it meets the front hemline, like Lizzy mentioned. This goes away when the collar is flipped up, so I think the lapel rolling over in heavy, slick fabric makes the front sag a bit. I will probably go back and catch stitch the facings in place (or maybe even topstitch them!). Easy fix!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Otherwise everything went together smoothly and I didn’t have any issues. I made a 4, my usual Grainline size. I could stand to do a small narrow shoulder adjustment (I usually should, but I’m lazy and often just skip it), but otherwise everything fits well. The stretch of the neoprene is really pretty awesome- I had so much fun stretching my arms out to see how unrestricted my movement was in a stretchy blazer! I could totally throw a haymaker in this thing without popping a seam! Good to know that my outfit won’t get messed up if I get caught up in a street fight on my way to an important meeting!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

I was so pumped up after making this that I immediately cut out another! Anybody recognize this fabric? It’s leftover from my Lola dress two years ago! I’d hoped to turn it into a knit Victoria blazer, but was never confident about choosing a lining or dealing with the lapels in a knit. But the fabric was perfect for another Morris! Stash-busting win!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

Now I’ve got a pile of fabric stacked up on my cutting table, just crying out to be blazers! I may be making nothing but Morrises for the next little while!!!

Grainline Studio Morris Blazer | Ginger Makes

How about you guys? Tempted to try this pattern? What kind of fabric would you use? And have you tried using neoprene? Any fabric fads you’re excited to try? Any you’re avoiding like the plague? Do tell!!!

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt!

OK. It’s another quilt. Yeah. I know. Send help!! It’s an obsession!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

This is a gift for one of my dearest friends, one of the very first people I met when I moved to New York. She’s expecting a baby boy next month, and I’m just so excited to meet him!  So when I saw Miss Make‘s wonky log cabin tutorial, I knew I wanted to try it! I like that it’s a free-form way to build a quilt and that you don’t really need to be precise. Plus, the end results are so cool!

These quilt blocks came together really quickly, especially because I had help! My friend Carrie came over to help, so I cut and stitched and she pressed all the seams open- man, I wish I could always sew with an assistant! We came close to finishing the blocks in one afternoon! Piecing is a blast when you can chatter away the whole time! Anybody wanna be in a quilting bee with me? :)

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

The quilting part went much more smoothly on this quilt, thanks to the suggestions in The Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork.* I bought curved safety pins and they made a huge difference. And instead of trying to stitch in the ditch, I quilted 1/4″ from the seamlines inside each piece to kind of emphasize the irregular shapes created by the wonky log cabin process. It looks much better!

The only trouble I ran into with this project is that I found I needed more fabric than Devon suggested. I picked up an extra 3/8″ yard of fabric from the get-go and needed to buy another 3/8 to get the blocks to the correct size. So maybe grab a bit more just in case if you follow her tutorial.

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

Picking out coordinating prints was so much fun! My friend tends to wear lots of grey, so I wanted to start with grey and add in some soft color, but not go nuts with bright colors (always my first impulse!). She and her husband love cats, so I wanted a kitty print, and when I saw the dignified lion, it really made me laugh to include it with the kittens! Here are the fabrics I used, if anyone is interested:

I really liked making this quilt, mainly because it was fun to make something for a dear friend with another dear friend, but also because it’s so stress-free to construct quilt blocks this way. If you’re looking for a way to try out quilting but you’re worried about accuracy, you should really give this a try! C’mon, do it!! We can be quilt-obsessed together!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

*Before I forget, the winner of the Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork giveaway is Laura! Congrats!!! Also, I just realized I never announced the winner of the Girly Style Wardrobe giveaway! It was Raquel from JC… I sent her the book ages ago, but forgot to mention it on the blog! Hope you’re enjoying the book, Raquel!

Book Report + Giveaway: The Practical Guide to Patchwork!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! Today I’d like to share a book I picked up recently and really enjoyed… but don’t hate me… it’s a quilting book!

I know.

Guys, I can’t help it! I’m kind of getting into quilting! It’s scary. And weird. But the thing is, planning a quilt project is just so fun! There are so many cool fabrics to choose from, and thinking about all the different shapes and combinations has literally kept me awake at nights lately. I know. It’s crazy.

ANYWAY. After fumbling through Hazel the Hedgehog, I decided that I should probably learn a little bit about the right way to quilt before jumping into my next project! I picked up The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, the designer of the Hazel the Hedgehog quilt pattern. I really love this book! In my opinion, it’s an ideal book for anyone who wants to dip their toe into modern quilting.

The book starts out with the basics of quilting and answered lots of questions I had, like, what’s a fat quarter? Or, should you pre-wash your fabric?  It lays a good foundation without a lot of boring stuff like “these are scissors”. Elizabeth covers cutting, piecing, quilting (by machine only, but she recommends another resource if you’re interested in hand quilting), and binding.

There are twelve quilt patterns included in the book, and they’re all pretty fun. I like that she also includes an idea for your backing with each pattern… it’s cool that you can experiment on both sides of your quilt!

Something I really like about the book is that Elizabeth gives different ideas for changing up each of the patterns. It’s pretty easy for me to think about a garment pattern and imagine many possibilities for it, but I haven’t developed that eye yet for quilting, so it’s nice to see the potential variations for all these quilt patterns.

The book focuses on modern quilting, which is super interesting. I have mentioned before that my mom quilted lots when I was a kid, but she is a hand quilter who is mainly interested in traditional patterns, so I haven’t really seen these kinds of quilts before. I love the looks of old-fashioned quilt patterns like the drunkard’s path or double wedding ring, but I also really like these bold modern designs.

Isn’t it fun to think about how you can make these styles your own? I would love to play with blocks of bright color for my own Kitchen Windows quilt.

Planetarium just looks super fun to sew! I wanna try it!

Little Leaves teaches you how to applique, which seems pretty free-form and loosey-goosey… what’s not to like about that?

I would like to own a quilt made from this pattern but I would not like to cut, piece, or quilt it. Too many pieces!

But look at these fun variations on the Superstar! I really like the colors she’s got here in the flying geese variation- wouldn’t they look cool in a quilt???

I really like Birdbath! I think it would be fun in hot pinks and greys, maybe. Ooh- and zebra print, just to be wild!

This crazy windmill block looks really cool! I bet there’s a way to create a 3D effect in a monochromatic color scheme… wouldn’t that be awesome?

Alright, guys, I love this book so much that I’d like to give away a copy to one of you! I’ll ship it anywhere in the world (since I’ve found out that Book Depository offers free worldwide shipping, it’s much more affordable for me to do that, yay!!), so if you’re interested, please fill out the Google form below before Monday, April 20th at 11:59PM EST! I’ll draw a winner using random.org. Yay!

Now tell me- which one of these patterns is your favorite??? Do you have a favorite traditional quilt pattern? Any of you convinced to start quilting??? Do tell!

Ondawa Sweater!

Hi, guys! Hope your weeks are all off to a great start! And I hope you had wonderful Easter and/or Passover celebrations, if you celebrate!

Michele Wang Ondawa | Ginger Makes

Today I’m ushering in spring with, well, a sweater! OK, OK, so this isn’t really spring apparel, but I should still be able to wear this for a few weeks before the summer heat sets in. :)

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The pattern I used is Ondawa by Michele Wang. I’m a huge fan of her designs– they’re complex, unique, and absolutely beautiful. Obviously, Ondawa is no exception! I love cables, all cables, but these are extraordinarily pretty!

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The construction of this sweater is a bit unusual. The front and back are knitted as flat panels and are identical. Once you’ve knit the first panel, the second goes by in a flash because you’ve already got the stitch patterns memorized! The sleeves are also knitted flat and set in after the sides are seamed up. The front and back are seamed at the shoulders so you can decide how wide you want the boatneck to be, which is nice. Now that I’ve worn this a bit, I think I may bring in the neckline a touch more… it’s cool that I can easily do that!

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The pattern is fun to knit and kept me interested without being too complicated. I got confused a few times with the direction of the smaller cables and had to rip them back, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I also made a silly math mistake and knit an extra 12 rows on the first panel, so I repeated that on the second. As a result, the sweater is a few inches longer than the pattern intended, but I actually prefer it to be a bit longer (I just didn’t intentionally lengthen it because I was worried about running out of yarn). So I’m really happy with the finished length! I knit the second smallest size, which should have given me about 13″ of ease, in case that’s helpful to anyone.

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

I tried a new yarn for this, O-Wool Balance in graphite. It’s a 50/50 blend of organic cotton and merino, which makes for a really soft and wearable yarn. I love 100% wool yarns, but I’m hoping that the cotton content will make the sweater a bit cooler for spring and fall so I can wear it to death! I really like this yarn and will definitely use it again. I’m so happy to use a brand that carefully sources its fibers so you can be sure that it’s cruelty-free. The price point is higher than what I usually pay for yarn, but it’s worth it (to me) for an organic, animal-friendly yarn that’s produced here on the east coast.

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

Now, the sweater is really boxy, so it may not be the most attractive garment I’ve ever worn, but I really like it and feel quite cozy in it. I’m not in love with the back view (the fabric sort of flaps out a bit, like a built-in cape!) but I don’t have to see myself from the back, so that’s fine! Overall I’m seriously into this sweater and am so pleased that I was able to finish it up in time to get some wear out of it! Now tell me, are you knitting anything right now? Are you into fitted sweaters, or are you a “wearable blanket” gal like me???

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