Summer of Basics – Ginger Jeans v3

My first pair of Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans was my high waisted pair followed by my low rise cone mills denim pair. For this pair I used cone mills denim again but this time I used a slightly lighter weight denim. I also decided to use the traditional gold topstitching thread this time around.



From my last pair I made a large calf adjustment and I added a bit more of a curve to the yoke and waistband to account for my sway back. I also shortened the crotch curve slightly.


This time around I finally figured out how to make bar tacks that don’t just end up with a huge thread nest underneath or completely jamming up my machine!!! The trick for me was to loosen the bobbin tension significantly. From there I used a .5 length and a 1.5 width. Honestly – this is a jeans making game-changer for me. I would always get so frustrated with bar tacks in the past because they would always jam up my machine and I’d have to seam rip them. removing the dense stitching was making the fabric weaker instead of reinforcing the spot.



Although I’m pretty happy with this pair there is still a good amount of extra fabric around my outer knee that I’d like to try and get rid for my next pair. After I made this pair I thought I might need a knock knee adjustment. I don’t think I have knock knees but I may have full inner thighs, which also would mean that I need the legs to angle slightly more towards the center. There is a tutorial on the Closet Case Files Blog or I considered using this tutorial, which would shift the lower leg towards the inseam. However, this would also lengthen the inseam and I have extra fabric around the inseam too. I ended up drawing a line in chalk where the knee should be on my jeans and it is actually a half inch to low. I think the issue is that my legs are just shorter, so I’m going to try just shortening my leg above the knee for my next pair and hopefully that does the trick! I also wanted a slightly closer fit around the ankle so I took off 1/4 inch from each side of the seams and tapered up to nothing at the knee.


I’m super happy with how these turned out – I think I’m really starting to get close to getting them how I want them to fit.



Tania Culottes and Nettie Bodysuit

I made the Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen. This is my first Megan Nielsen make. I was looking for something that would be good to take while traveling but still be cute. I like the idea of culottes because I often sit crosslegged even in chairs. I read some other blogs where other people ended up using version A but then cut the length of a size or two up from their actual size and those lengths looked good to me. I didn’t want a super short skirt because I want to be somewhat modest while traveling.


The only other modification that I wish that I had made would be to add pockets. I had already cut everything out when I realized that there were no pockets. Megan Nielsen does have a tutorial for adding pockets to the mini Tania culottes and it would be the same for the adult version. I could have still added pockets after I had cut it out but I wasn’t really sure about the side seam zipper with the pockets and I just wanted to get sewing so I skipped it.


I bought this fabric a while back from the imaginegnats shop. I love florals but don’t like anything too loud so this fabric was perfect. I bought two yards without having a real plan. This pattern actually calls for two and a half yards of fabric but I cut on a single layer (huge space saver!) and I also cut some of the pieces upside down since these flowers don’t have a direction.


This actually was my first time working with Rayon fabric. Since it shifts and grows quite a bit I was a little concerned but I just cut it single layer with a rotary cutter and didn’t have much of an issue. I stay stitched the waist seam allowance to try to prevent the fabric from getting out of shape there. Other than that everything came together relatively smoothly. Some of the pieces still grew a bit but not enough to make a difference.

I’m also wearing these with my second Close Case Files Nettie bodysuit! This version is a 3/4 length sleeve with the mid- back and scoop front. I made this out of an art gallery knit from also from imaginegnats.


I love the mid-back since it feels a bit risque and interesting but not at all inappropriate. I again added the snap crotch but this time I used some silk that I’ve been holding on to in the hopes of making it in to a True Bias Sutton Blouse. I added the built in bra for this version but instead of attaching the front of the bra to the back I added a back bra piece which I connected to the front. This ended up coming down to the bottom of my rib cage so I cut the elastic off and tried again. The second time worked really well.


I also shortened this a bit more than my first version and ended up shortening the bottom pieces before adding the snap crotch for a better fit. Ultimately though I just need to figure out the sway back adjustment. I also think there is probably something I can still do in the shoulders since they feel a bit like they are floating away from the skin when you really want them to be skin-tight. For my next version I think I’ll try taking out some volume at the shoulders.

Kalle Shirtdress


IMG_5281.jpgI made the newest pattern by Closet Case Files – the Kalle Shirtdress. The fabric is an amazing viscose poplin that I got from Blackbird fabrics (sadly sold out). I graded out this pattern from a size 2 at the bust to a size 10 at the hips but other than that I did not make any pattern adjustments. I typically also shorten by 2 inches at least but for this I decided not to because the side comes up quite a bit and I wanted to make sure my legs were covered enough. Next time I’ll definitely shorten though, but I may decide to bring the side curve down a bit. You can see a good amount of thigh here – I’m not sure I’m brave enough to show two more inches.


I tried hard to pattern match on this one and while it isn’t perfect by any means, I am really happy with the outcome. Because this fabric is relatively shifty  it was difficult to keep things lined up when cutting it out. Check it out!!!


I tried to match across the button band as well as the pocket. You can tell that the pocket is not quite in the right place because I really was so excited about my pattern matching. I guess I could have recut the pocket so it was in the right place and also pattern matched but that didn’t really seem like fun.


I didn’t bother matching the front/back sides or the yoke/ back since there was no way I’d get those to line up. While I was making this  but before I put the collar on I was worried that it would look like a mumu. Since there was nothing breaking up the pattern and due to the general shape of the garment the print ended up being a little overwhelming. Adding the collar and buttons definitely helped give this dress more interest and structure so I don’t think it looks like a mumu anymore! However – it did make me think that maybe sometimes pattern matching isn’t such a great idea…


I took these pictures while camping at Harrington Beach State Park, which is on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. It was so beautiful there but super hot this past weekend. This dress really was great to wear because the fabric hangs pretty far away from your body so it really keeps you cool.




Low Rise Ginger Jeans and Speckled Lark


This is the low rise version of the Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Files. I made my first pair of Ginger jeans about a year ago now. That time I made the high waisted version so I wanted to make the low rise ones this time. All of the other jeans I own are low or mid rise so I think these will be more my style. I’m also using a much darker denim this time around which matches more with what I typically wear. I think these are really going to be a staple in my wardrobe!


The fabric is cone mills dark indigo stretch denim that I ordered online from Fancy Tiger crafts a while ago. The fabric is a lot thicker than my last pair of jeans and this pair also has a lot better recovery than my last pair! I used this gray topstitching thread because I wanted a little more of a subtle look than traditional jeans topstitching. I think my next pair is going to be a slightly lighter indigo with traditional gold topstitching thread though.


I grade the pattern from a size 8 at the waist to a size 10 at the waist. I also shortened the legs by 1.5 inches. I went ahead and made a slight sway back adjustment to both the back yoke piece and the waistband piece. I am making view A for the low rise but I still want the skinny legs so I took 1/2 inch off of each side of the ankle, grading up to the knee.


These jeans fit pretty well but there are some more adjustments that I’ve made to my pattern for the next time:

  • Increased the amount of curve in the waistband and yoke to account for slight gaping.
  • Shortened the legs by 1 inch.
  • Shortened the crotch curve by 1/4 inch.

There is also some bagging at the knee that I haven’t decided how to remedy for my next pair.


As an added bonus I’m also wearing a Lark Tee by Grainline Studio. This may be my most worn t-shirt in my wardrobe. I just realized I finished this almost an entire year ago! I used a speckled jersey from Fancy Tiger. This time I made the scoop neck version with cap sleeves. Otherwise I used all of the same pattern modifications as my past versions. I think in the future I might try going up a size or doing some sort of wide shoulder adjustment since there isn’t quite enough room in the shoulders.


Kelly Anorak Jacket

I loved the Kelly Anorak Jacket as soon as I saw it and I knew I wanted to make it. I’ve been needing an alternative to my usual fleece that I wear almost daily during the fall. I love that Heather incorporated snaps and grommets to really add a professional finish to this jacket.


I love this jacket! I’ve been wearing it basically every day I could get away with it during this Wisconsin winter. I wore it for two weeks before winter really set in but those weeks were super cloudy and a bit rainy and not good for taking blog photos. Now that its warming up I can wear it again! I love the large deep pockets that are big enough for my keys and phone. I really love how the drawstring gives the jacket some shape. I love that the sleeves are slim but you can still wear a long sleeved tee and have enough room to move your arms. I also just love all the little details that make this jacket look professional.


The only adjustments I made to the pattern were to grade from a size 4 at the bust to a size 8 at the waist and size 10 at the hips. I also shortened the pattern by 2 inches (including shortening the sleeves by 2 inches). This was one of the few projects that I made a muslin for since I wanted to make sure I had the fit right and I also wanted to do a test run of the hood and pocket since I wanted to practice the construction. The muslin fit perfectly except the front was about 3/4 inch too long compared to the length of the back. I think something with how I graded between sizes made the front a bit longer than the back so I shortened the front piece and cut out from my real fabric.


I got the hardware kit from Closet Case Files mostly as a matter of convenience. I ended up picking out a Robert Kaufman salmon pink twill fabric for the jacket which I love. However, the color doesn’t really match the black zipper and drawstring that came with the hardware kit so I ordered a pink zipper.


I ran out of interfacing while I was cutting out this jacket and I had to make a quick JoAnns run to get some more. While I was there I picked up a drawstring in a nice beige color. Hooray! I now had everything I needed.


I used flat felled seams on most of the seams which takes a bit longer but I really like the way everything is finished in the end. Since this is also a bigger project I want to really take my time on the details.


Everything was going relatively smoothly until I got to the drawstring insertion step. Since you want to use a safety pin to insert the drawstring and most safety pins don’t fit through this size of grommet you want to be able to put the safety pin in before the drawstring casing is sealed off. I pulled my drawstring all the way through, removed the safety pin and then pulled the drawstring back a bit to be at the same level as the grommet… only I pulled about 5 inches to far… I struggled to wriggle the end back up to the grommet – which I successfully did eventually. I saw a bit of drawstring peaking through and I pulled but somehow only the center part of the drawstring came with and the whole outer casing of the drawstring was caught in the jacket. I ended up taking the drawstring out, sewing the ends of the drawstring to keep the drawstring from coming apart, and then using the safety pin to re-insert the drawstring. This time I was super careful not to pull past the grommet and it went in without a hitch.


After adding the drawstring I added the right placket without issue. Then it is time to add the zipper. I lined up the zipper 1/8 of an inch past the seam allowance and then pinned all the way down to the end of the zipper facing – but I still had about an inch of zipper. Since I shortened the pattern by 2 inches my zipper was also 2 inches too long. It is ok to have a zipper 1-2 inches shorter than your coat front since it doesn’t need to zip all the way to the bottom. I could have potentially used pliers to remove some teeth from the top of the zipper but that has been a huge pain in the past so I decided to order a new zipper that was actually the correct size.


Since I was going to need to wait for the new zipper to come anyway I took this as an opportunity to also order so pretty Liberty of London bias tape to finish my seams on the inside. I used bias tape to finish the hood seam,the armholes and the hem.


I was pretty anxious when it came time to install the snaps. Installing  the snaps just seems so permanent – it is really hard to go back once you’ve installed a snap. The part that actually takes the longest is making little holes for the snaps. Heather recommends using a larger awl on the closet case files post about inserting the snaps but I didn’t have a large awl. Instead I used the point of my little embroidery scissors to help widen the hole to be large enough to get the snap through. Once you get the post through you just hammer the snap together and  you are all set. Since I live in an apartment building and I don’t want to piss off my neighbors I had to call it quits and couldn’t get all the snaps installed in one sitting. Despite being pretty anxious about the snaps they ended up being pretty easy.

In these pictures I’m also wearing my Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans and a yet to be blogged lark tee.

Sophie Swimsuit


I’ve been looking for an indie swimsuit pattern for a while but hadn’t found anything that I really loved. Then Closet Case Files came out with the Sophie Swimsuit and I knew it was the one. I love everything I’ve made by Closet Case Files and this make was no different. I also knew that if Heather can get me through making my first pair of jeans that I could trust her instructions to get me through my first swimsuit.


I also knew that gathering all the supplies would take a lot of time and since I didn’t really know what to look for I went for the swimsuit kit that was available as part of the swimsuit release.


When I ordered the swimsuit kit I was pretty confident that I was a size B but after actually measuring it turns out that I was a cup size 5. I followed the post by Cloth Habit on the Closet Case Files blog to fit the top.


For the bottoms I used the size 10 at the hip and then graded to a size 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bottoms by 1 inch (I’m around 5′ 1″).


I followed the instructions included with the pattern and it was pretty straight forward. Having never sewn swimwear or lingerie before it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to sewing the slippery fabric.


I did have to recut the swimsuit bottom lining bottoms after a little situation with the serger where I accidentally cut in to the swimsuit bottom… After recutting the bottom lining it was pretty much smooth sailing.


First Ever Jeans!

IMG_3931I finally finished my first ever pair of jeans! These are the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files. The fabric is an Italian stretch denim from GirlCharlee. I chose to start with the high waisted version with the skinny leg because I love the skinny jean and I also don’t have any high waisted jeans so I thought it would be a fun addition to my wardrobe.


I relied heavily on the Jeans Ebook that Heather released. I probably could have gotten by with just the build-along blog posts but I really liked having the PDF on my computer so I didn’t have to worry about which tabs in my browser I needed to keep open or switching between blog posts for different days of the sew along.


Once I based the pants together I fixed a couple of fit issues. I took some excess fabric off of the side seams and inseams. I took some extra fabric off of the side seams at the knee. I also pinned out some darts in the waistband and yoke to account for my sway back.


When I sewed the pieces together for real it felt like magic. Some how my topstitching lines pretty much matched up every time!


Let me start here by saying that I love my sewing machine. I’ve had it since I went to college and we’ve spent a lot of time together. It can do a lot of amazing things. Two things it really struggles with are bar tacks through more than 2 layers and button holes through any sort of bulk. I had to pick out a bar tack 3 times. If you’ve ever had to do this then you know that it is the absolute worst. Also – I’m pretty sure this ended up weakening my fabric instead of strengthening it…


When I tried the button hole with the automatic length sensor it felt the resistance from the bulk of the fabric and made the smallest possible button hole. To try to get this to make a button hole I did my best to press the fabric as flat as possible and also arrange the fabric in the sewing machine so the button hole starts with the thickest part and goes back to an area with less bulk. This ended up finally creating a successful button hole.


Then I made a huge mistake. I tried pulling the zipper teeth out with pliers but my pliers aren’t very good and it was very difficult. I thought that I had read somewhere that you could cut the zipper teeth off the zipper instead of using pliers. However, after I finished topstitching the waistband I tried on my jeans and went to zip them up and I zipped the slider right off of the zipper.


In order to fix this I slowly and carefully acted as a human slider to carefully line up the zipper teeth and close them together. Once I had done that I slid the zipper slider back on to the zipper and unzipped. I then tacked the zipper down to the zipper fly by sewing in between the top tooth and the second to top tooth. So far this has prevented any further fly mishaps.IMG_0335

I ended up raising my back pockets 1/2 inch though I might go a little higher next time. I’ve since read that other folks making these have pretty regularly taken their back pockets up 1 inch.


I then went to town on hammering in my button and rivets. This is a super fun step in the process but I’m glad I didn’t attempt this late at night since it is definitely a loud activity!


To be honest, I’m not really sure high waisted jeans really suit me or my style. Most of the ready to wear jeans that I own are low waisted, skinny jeans with topstitching that matches the denim. I like the more laid back and subtle style so I’m going to try the low waisted jeans with a more subtle top stitching thread for my next project. I’m still trying to figure out where the find hardware that is less shiny though. For now I’ll  be wearing these untucked for a more laid back look and occasionally tuck in when I want to make a statement.


As always, Toby was a super helper.