Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Jeans project - Pt 6 Rivets


Rivets was one of those things that I was a little hesitant about using at first because it seemed so tricky. For instance I remember looking at Laura Lo's jeans and being in awe (I miss her blogging days so much, she was just awesome in every way) . But when I finally got the courage to ask for rivets in the notion store I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the assembly was. And if you have ever fastened an eyelet or a snap button you will already be familiar with the process.


What you need: Rivets (I use Prym), a fastening tool and a hole puncher (Prym always included them in the package). You can of course use a plier instead. I also strongly recommend getting an awl since it's hard to punch through thick denim layers.



Use the hole puncher or the awl to make a hole through all layers. The hole should be small since the tip of the rivet is really narrow.


Push the lower rivet through the hole.

So it looks like this.

Place the top rivet on top.


Place the fastening tool on the rivets according to the instructions that came with the rivets.

Beat the rivets with a hammer a couple of times.


There you go.
This part of the jeans making process is totally fool proof!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mixtape magazine


My quest for independent craft and fashion magazines continues and yesterday I finished reading the Australian craftzine Mixtape. This petite fanzine (petite as in having a handy format) has been published for over two years now and the current issue (nr 9) is filled with first person stories about creativity, green living and craft activism.


My favorite piece is about a women who sewed together loads of those colour coded selvedges that some home dec fabrics have. The fabric she created is just beautiful, all those numbers and colour dots looks very intriguing when put together. Another cool article is the refashion challenge where two people have been given a budget of $20 to go out and buy thrift store garments and then refashion them. Though the photos of the finished outfits are so small that it's hard to see the details. In addition there are a also couple of craft projects and Q&A interviews with crafters in the magazine.


All in all I have mixed feelings about this issue of Mixtape. On one hand I love the format, the ambitions, the personal tone - and the design is just terrific. But for me there are just too many first person stories of various quality from bloggers and not enough else. And the Q&A interviews are probably done over e-mail as there are no follow up questions. Personally I prefer more conversational Q&A-interviews, or at least less formulatic questions. I guess I'm not the target audience for this kind of zines and I suspect that my taste is a bit pickier since I am a journalist myself. But that's not to say that you won't enjoy it and it definitely does a good and inspiring job showing what goes on outside the mainstream.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Giorgio Armani documentary


Although we got plenty of cable channels in Sweden, we are not spoiled with fashion television. But the other day the Swedish state network outdid themselves by first showing Signe Chanel and then a great documentary about Giorgio Armani. Giorgio comes off as total perfectionist with his hands in everything and he reflects a lot on that in the movie.


He is also very candid about what it entails to be a big name designer and the pressure, and sometimes loneliness, that comes with it. The documentary is more a portrait of a man than a fashion documentary per se. So there is not a lot of talk about the actual design process, but you get a great insight in the life of a designer.


I have googled like crazy to find a version with English subtitles but to no avail. But if you are a Swedish reader or understand a little Italian (there is also English in the movie) you can check it out here (only available today, so please hurry!). ETA: Christina pointed out that you can't play it outside Sweden, dang!

Also if someone can direct me to a English version please drop me a note. The documentary is called Giorgio Armani - A man for all seasons and was made in 2001.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another sneak peak


Here is a preview of another design that I plan to sell. This sweaterjacket is made of thick gray marled wool knit and I only got a remaint so this will be a very limited edition. I will call this jacket Graydon I think. Also I am in the midst of setting up an Etsy shop and I have already gotten a bit frustrated with Etsy's limitations. For a start you can't change your username so I have to open a separate account for my shop. Which means that I can't bring my old transactions into my new account (I have been an Etsy member since 2006). So if you plan to get an Etsy buyer account and maybe some day start a shop too, consider your name choice carefully and don't just pick a generic username. I guess what it boils down to is that Etsy's structure is more of a craft community than a business oriented shop solution, hence the limitations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Jeans project - Pt 5 Back pockets


Hope you can take some more jeans making methods. This time I want to talk about the back pockets. I have shown this method before, but I love it so much that I want to plug it again. The secret to razor sharp patch pockets is as simple as it is genius and revolves around a paper template and some pressing.

What you need are two pattern pieces. One with the seam allowance added and one without. The one without seam allowance should be done in thick paper, I used the cartoon from a frozen pizza.




Before you start, cut out the back pockets with seam allowances.


Then fold and press the top of the pocket.



Topstitch the seam.



Place the pressing template (without the seam allowance) on top of the pocket.



Press in the seam allowances around the edge using a lot of steam. But don't spray water since the paper might curl from the moist.



Looking pretty darn sharp, don't you think?



Place the pressed pocket on the back piece, make sure that you have marked the spot carefully and check the measurements so that the markings are on the same spot on both pieces.



Pin using just one or two needles in the middle (or a few basting stitches) to attach the pocket. Then top stitch the pocket into place.



Secure the pocket using either a thick zigzag or rivets. In my next post I will talk about how to attach the rivets.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Worn magazine


The latest arrival in my mailbox is the Canadian fashion magazine Worn. The current issue's theme is shoes which incidentally is a subject, along with handbags, that I find rather boring. That said, Worn does a good job covering shoes from a decidedly noncommercial perspective. They write about things like sneakerheads, tell the story of a classic shoe designed by Roger Vivier, serve up a compelling interview with a vintage shoe collector and discuss the impact of high heels with a museum curator. But my favorite feature is the one where artists has transformed white Keds into amazing customized shoes. That spread made me want to run out and buy a pair and just go crazy with pens, pearls and other craft supplies.


Worn strikes me as a really ambitious magazine, they even have a lengthy mission statement on their homepage. It's also wonderfully free of "Top 5 must-buys" and thinly disguised promotional features. My only real complaint is the design - Worn lacks pizazz and their choice of font for the body text is not a good one in my opinion. Overall the layout is rather boring (although a couple of spreads looks really nice). This was a disappointment since the cover is so fabulous. Some of the articles could have been better written as well, but Worn clearly operates on a shoestring (they also have a pretty strict advertising policy) and I'm sure the writers do it for free. All in all Worn is the sort of big breath of fresh air that I have been longing for in fashion media. I only bought one issue, but I will probably order a subscription now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Jeans project - Pt 4 Q&A


Thank you for the encouraging comments! Several of you also asked questions about topstitching and the fit of the pattern in the comment section so I'll try to answer them here.

Tools for topstitching
I use Gütermann's button thread for the topstitching. The orange/yellow thread is no 310.
Gütermann's thread is pretty expensive for only 30 meters (33 yards) but totally worth it I think. The length of the stitches I used is about 3 mm.

In the bobbin I put regular navy thread. I also used a special topstitch
needle (from Schmetz) with a bigger hole for the thick thread. As some have noted topstitching denim is hard and some sewing machines just don't like doing it. My otherwise trusty Bernina is one of those machines so I had to redo several stitches several times because the machine messed up the thread. My vintage cast iron Husqvarna/Viking did a much better job and I'm sure that some lightweight machines won't be able to handle this kind of topstiching at all, unfortunately.

The fit of the jeans
When I looked at the member creations over at Burdastyle the jeans look super skinny, so I was surprised that they aren't tighter on me. I have the exact same hip measurements as a Burda 38 and my thighs are not thin.
My guess is that some of people who have made the jeans either used a size smaller than their actual measurements or used fabrics with minimal stretch. When you look how they fit on the model photo I would say that it's much closer to the fit that I got.

But as Melissa noted, the ease is zero or even negative around the hips, but since the jeans are made in stretch denim it's not something you need to worry about (assuming that skinny jeans are what you are looking for). I checked my RTW skinny jeans and they are also smaller around the butt than my actual measurements, but they look and feel fine when I wear them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Jeans project - Pt 3 The finished jeans


So I'm skipping a few steps today. But since I have just finished the jeans I thought I'd show them before I continue with the remaining installations of my jeans tutorial. Can I just say that I love this pattern! Burdastyle has done exactly what I have been looking for - the perfect modern skinny jeans.


This pattern has the same qualities as the Swedish mega brands Cheap Monday and Acne, with the additional bonus that the Burdastyle jeans actually fits me! My only complaint is that they could have made the pattern even tighter, so next time I'll go down a size.



The fabric is a cotton/lycra denim with a slightly beaten surface. It's a bit too much lycra in the fabric though. Most store bought skinny jeans only has 1-1,5% lycra and that seems to be the perfect amount.




In the next tutorial I'll talk about how to make sharp looking back pockets in a quick and pain free way.

Read my review of the Burdastyle Anita pattern

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Jeans project - Pt 2 Front pockets


The jeans are going forward slowly, but steadily. I did have an illusion when I started that I would be finished in time for the big music festival that starts today
. Silly me.

Anyhow, lets talk about pockets. Of the front variety. Burdastyle has you making one of these for the jeans:


But if you look inside your jeans, the pocket always looks like this:


So that's what we are making today.


First you need to draft the pocket pattern. Which is really easy. Just take a pair of jeans and measure the pocket. Then draft the pocket using the original pattern lining piece as a guide for the hip shaping and curve of the pocket opening. This is how end result will look like. The lower end of the pocket can be a little curved too.


Then you need the jeans fabric lining patch, which looks this and is sometimes, but not always included. Again it's really easy to draft.


Serge the curve of the patch.


Place the patch on top of the lining like this.

Attach the patch using a straight stitch over the serged edge. If you are making a small coin pocket, attach that one now before you continue to the next step.

Place the lining on the pocket opening like this and attach the pocket. Please check that the pocket and the patch will end up in the right place when folded.

Fold over and press.

Topstitch the pocket.

Then sew the pocket lining together using a straight stitch.

Serge the edge of pocket. Then staystich the pocket to the side.

And staystitch the pocket to the waist. Finished!

This method is both quick and easy.