Sunday, February 7, 2016

My shirt obsession continues, and a Bootstrap Fashion custom jeans pattern is a nice suprise

That title pretty much encapsulates my sewing of late. I don't know why I am making so many shirts lately, although a shirt is a reasonably quick item to sew. And very satisfying to do all that precise work. I have this Simplicity pattern adjusted to perfection (S2339). Plus I have a file folder filled with alternate pattern pieces, to rotate the darts into gathers, or choose from various buttonhole plackets. This might be the closest I have ever come to creating a TNT pattern. While I have made some dress patterns and a few skirts over and over, this is the one pattern that I would reliably use to design something new. I have a yearning for a shirtdress for spring, and even bought the famous McCalls shirtdress pattern (MC 6696) however the other day the idea popped into my head to just use this shirt pattern and create a skirt. Hmmm.
So shirt details first and then the Bootstrap jeans custom size pattern details.

Back to this new shirt. Since it is plaid I decided to use my version where the horizontal bust darts are converted into shoulder gathers. Here's a link to a shirt with that detail, and here's a link to a post I did on Craftsy showing how to convert the dart to gathers.

Plaid shirt front1

This is one of the few fabrics that I have ever purchased at Fabrix in San Francisco on Clement St.  When I lived in the city I would stop in there once in while but now I rarely go to this store. I think Shams finds some treasures there periodically. It's one of those places that are hit or miss but lots of bargains. Although the parking in that neighborhood is insanely difficult. So it has been marinating on my fabric rack for a while - maybe 4-5 years. Which is unusual as I don't keep stuff all that long but it finally made it onto my cutting table.

The main reason I decided to use the shoulder gathers instead of the dart is for the plaid matching. Which worked a treat and I'm quite satisfied if I do say so myself :)  No pesky bust dart to throw off the side seam matching, thus the sleeves are matched too. Score!

blue plaid shirt side seam

That is a scorch mark on the side of my dress form (another garage sale purchase) I think it got too close to someone's wall heater in its previous life.

What am I looking at?  Bees!  so many honeybees already in the garden. Swarming all over this camellia. Which is the only one of its type in my garden, so sticky with nectar that the bees love it. And of course in most all the pictures my front button alignment is off a teensy bit. Oh that makes me crazy.

blue plaid cotton shirt on me2

But here it looks OK. The buttons were also in my button box. I don't think I would have picked these particular ones out if I had been in the store choosing buttons for this shirt, but I had plenty, enough for shirt front and cuffs so it seemed like a good reuse.

blue plaid shirt collar

A few touches of bias.

blue plaid shirt cuff blue plaid shirt back

I received this sweater as a Christmas gift, so that is mostly what prompted me to use this fabric for a shirt.  Also why I tend to make shirtsleeves a bit on the long side, so I can flip up the cuffs when I am wearing a long sleeve sweater, just a habit. The colors are not exactly the same, but I think complementary. So far I have not worn either piece despite finishing about two weeks ago - maybe tomorrow.

blue sweater with plaid shirt

Now for the Bootstrap Fashion Patterns jeans adventure. 
To sum up the experience - I am impressed!
I have sewed a Bootstrap Fashion pattern previously, a dress and the fit was very good. And since pants are my achilles heel of fitting - I figured why not try their new custom jeans pattern? Actually I am not at all interested in making jeans per se. I have lots of ready-to-wear jeans and I just find it way easier to buy them than to source the just right denim - do all that topstitching - tweak the fit etc. So jeans sewing - a phrase that my grandmother used to use comes to mind - I just can't be bothered. But pants in general - those I would like to sew more often. And a well fitting jeans pattern I could use to make pants in other fabrics, like cotton sateen for summer or corduroy for winter. On Bootstrap there are 3 different custom jeans patterns, listed in their Indie designer section. All by the same designer Vado, she created a skinny jeans pattern, an at-waist bootcut pattern and a loose boyfriend jeans style.
Skinny jeans are super cute on lots of people but I just never feel right in them - and having a very long rise a higher waist jean usually fits better so I picked that one.

Bootstrap Fashion custom jeans choices

As usual with Bootstrap patterns you enter your measurements for a custom fit. I was pretty exact with my measurements as I wanted to see how they came out, what kind of ease etc was designed in the pattern.

Jeans measurement input

For the knee width I used the measurements from an existing pair of jeans that I have, also the leg opening (which is the bottom hem opening). Thinking about it later you could change those to obtain straight leg or any other variation. Much like their other patterns where you can choose belly shape (which I like to categorize as choosing anywhere between flat-abs up to 2nd trimester) on the jeans pattern it's not belly shape but you can indicate the shape of your bum. Useful! I picked average but for next time I might choose curvy.  The other change I will make next time (oh yeah, there will be a next time) is to increase the waist measurement entry. My waist is rather high, so my smallest natural waist point is probably 2 inches higher than where the top of the pants landed. I think if I add about 2 or 3 inches then the fit will be better around that spot and I can always take them in if needed.
Now for the result. I chose no-stretch for this version as I had a piece of 100% cotton corduroy to use for the test. Also I thought a non-stretch fabric would be a better indicator of fit. You can select fabric type, no stretch or various %'s of stretch which is clever.

Not bad huh?  The part that really amazed me was that the knee was in the right place, the length was correct, the back rise was just about right and the fit around the thighs felt like ready to wear jeans.

purple cords side view

In the interest of science - sewing science :)   I am putting these fairly awkward photos of my rear view up here.  You can see the waist is a bit tight but in the right spot. I think the pockets are a bit oversized and low, I don't like jeans pockets to be at all on the thigh but that is easily changed. I left off the belt loops for this test version. Although maybe I will leave them off future versions depending on the fabric. On the other hand I wear belts a lot. Buying jeans/pants to fit my bum means the waist is so often too big. Perhaps it's time to fix that.

purple cords back view

Front view.

purple cords on me5

In the front rise I think there is a bit too much length, generally pants that fit me best have a lower front and then are higher at the back waist. Also I think I used a too long zipper which messes up the front a bit. These were not ever gonna be real pants  (something I would wear out of the house) but I figured maybe usable, but then I went and cut a hole in the front under the zipper. So no, not wearable now.

That's the scoop on my Bootstrap fashion jeans experiment. Getting very near success. I think I will try another pattern, with the changes I noted about and also use a 1% or 2% stretch fabric. Because walking around in those corduroy pants made me realize how much I love a little bit of lycra.

Earlier this week I started another silk blouse - a version with the hidden buttonhole placket as several people left comments on my previous post that they would like to see how to do it. That will be coming up soon and it gave me an idea for a Craftsy post as well. (lately I am coming up blank on topics for my Craftsy blog posts - any suggestions would be welcome :) Do you read the Craftsy sewing blog? Some interesting stuff there. Where I have really learned some nice tips and tricks are by reading their other blog subcategories - cooking, gardening, photography are the ones I find useful.

So Super Bowl Sunday is just about over - despite having zero interest in either team it's fun to watch especially since it was here in the bay area. It has been madness all week. The city was crazy!
Also this happened today. Yep, spring is here. Although we are seriously hoping for more - more -  more rain. My new roses need it!

thermometer sunday feb

Happy Sunday sewing, Beth


  1. Great job on both the blouse and jeans. I especially love the bias touches.

  2. Well done on those pants. That's a near perfect fit right from the pattern. It is so interesting putting your measurements into Bootstrap or Lekala and seeing what they come up with. The 3D image is certainly illuminating - I fit into that 2nd trimester belly measurement!

    I used the Style Arc Jenny shirt pattern to create a knock off McCall's 6696. I do have the McCall's pattern and used the skirt, and cut a waistband and placket from the length and width measurements of my pattern pieces. It was so much easier than fitting a shirt bodice all over again.

  3. Cool! Bootstrap has jean now. If you want to try the same pattern a second time in case the first time really messes up, will they allow you a discount? I've kept out of the SA camp because they are spendy for a single size that doesn't come close to fitting me, but the bootstrap jean is intriguing.

  4. Interesting review! I like the 'design your own flare' part where you can add the desired knee width. Thanks for the research in the name of sewing science, I am tempted to try this pattern. Just like you I don't need to make jeans, but it's nice to have a pattern to make one of a kind pants in different colours and prints!

  5. I saw the Bootstrap jeans patterns over the weekend and am very interested again in making jeans - after deciding about a year ago (despite the blogger tidal wave of jeans) that jeans sewing wasn't necessary due to my sizable jeans collection! However these patterms are interesting to me. Your review is both interesting & timely. Thank you.

  6. Thks for showing the jeans - I've been looking at the boyfriend version, interesting to see the fit on the flares. Your shirt is beautiful.

  7. I can't believe you have honeybees! It may be time for me to switch coasts. I love your shirt. I love plaid but am terrified to actually sew with it. And those jeans are really pretty good. I never knew if I believed in this 'custom fit' business. But, these make me a believer.

  8. So odd--the "fit adjustments" tab is missing when I go to the pattern on the web site.

  9. Lovely shirt!! It reminds me that I still have to tweak my shirt pattern to make it a TNT... Thank you for the heads up on the Bootstrap Jeans, I'm very interested in their venturing outside the leko patterns. The boyfriend jeans are very tempting actually. I wish I had more energy to sew after work...

  10. Beth- Bootstrap just added a front rise measurement to that jeans pattern, which I think will make it easier to get the perfect waistband size. If you know the exact rise, you can know what exact waist measurement you want. I'm excited about this feature!
    Thanks for doing the review!

  11. Beth, as always, your shirt is perfect! You havve definitely perfected the process of shirt making and can probably create them with no guide sheet!

    Those jeans are FABULOUS for a first! They look really good on you! I have a pair of jeans in my sewing line up too and hope my fit is as good as yours!

  12. This shirt is perfection! I adore it!!!

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