Just jeans and a top

I spend a lot of time wearing jeans and a top, and having handmade options is one of the reasons I love sewing.  These jeans are another pair of Gingers – this really is a favourite pattern for me now.


This is view B again – high rise, skinny leg – in the same slubby denim from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre that I used for my Hot Patterns Boyfriend Jeans.  It’s much happier as a pair of skinny jeans, being quite lightweight.  I cut a straight size 10, and shortened the legs by 5cm (I think) before cutting out.  As usual I basted them together to check everything was fitting ok, and had to make one more minor adjustment.  This fabric has slightly less stretch than my silvery-grey pair, so I needed a bit more room in the calf area.  I just graded out to a 1cm seam allowance at the fullest part of my calves, and brought it back to 1.5cm just above the ankle, all the way to 2.5cm at the bottom of the leg.


I think I could probably still stand to bring the ankles in a bit – I have ridiculously tiny ankles compared to my calves.


You can see the pooling around the ankle where there’s a bit too much room.  The only problem with making the ankle skinnier is that they’re just about ok to get over my feet, even at this width.  Much narrower and I’d be struggling!

As always, I really like the rear view of these jeans – they fit my bum perfectly and definitely hug in all the right places.  The creases around the knee are just wearing wrinkles – I’d had these on all day when I took these pictures.


Having been a bit dubious, I’m now a total convert to this high rise malarkey.  The pocket stays hold everything in place, and I can wear any length of top without worrying about flashing any parts that shouldn’t be flashed……


In stretch denim, without interfacing, the waistband is really comfy too, despite the height of the rise.  This pair and my silvery-grey pair are on high rotation in my wardrobe – they both have pretty good recovery so can be worn at least 3 or 4 times before needing to be washed, and I make the most of that.  They’ve completely supplanted my straight leg, lower rise pair of Gingers, but I think my next pair of jeans will be another attempt at the Boyfriend Jeans – I’m getting closer with the fit on those having made another toile in a non-stretch fabric.


And so to the top.  This is a very simple, raglan sleeve T-shirt, made from a pattern taken from a RTW top that I loved until it fell to pieces.  The fabric is a high quality viscose jersey that has a bit of body to it – I think it came from John Lewis.  Anyway, I love the colour and it works perfectly for this top, I didn’t want anything too thin and drapey.


The sleeve length was one of my favourite things about the original RTW top, I do like an elbow length sleeve.  The sleeves, neckline and bottom of the top are all finished with bands – again in imitation of the original, but also probably my favourite way to finish a simple T-shirt like this.


I really like the neckline, both front and back – predictable really, it sits wide on my shoulders and is low enough that I don’t feel constricted.  I’ll definitely be making more of these.

Sometimes it’s all about the fabric

I don’t lead a very glamorous life, but I think I’m going to have to find some sort of glamorous event to go to, just to wear my new top.


This is made from a sumptuous silk velvet from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre.  I’d been looking for some silk velvet for ages – not really with any concrete project in mind, just for stroking – but it’s quite difficult to find.  I’m not sure where I came across this website, but I thought 3 metres of 150cm wide fabric for €45 – about £35 at the time – was very reasonable.  There was a good range of colours as well, it took me a while to narrow it down to this chartreuse / olivey green.  When it arrived the price seemed even more reasonable – this stuff is seriously gorgeous.


I originally took these photos to show you my new Ginger jeans, but when I look at them the top just takes all the attention, so we’ll do the jeans another time.

Obviously with a special fabric like this, it took me ages to identify the perfect pattern.  I still haven’t really, this only used just over half a metre, so I have plenty left for a proper project.  I was flicking through an old notebook and came across this picture I must have ripped out of a magazine years ago.


I quite fancied a similar top, and then remembered one of Burda magazine’s ‘non-patterns’ from the July 2012 issue.  This issue included a number of patterns designed to use silk scarves as the base fabric, including this little number (sorry for the crappy phone photo…)


It’s literally two silk scarves, with two leather pieces for the shoulders and two straight seams for the sides.  I suppose at least Burda charges a fiver for this stuff, Nicole Farhi seems to have done pretty much the same thing and flogged it at £250 a pop!  Anyway, I thought it was a good approximation of the inspiration piece, and promised to be pretty straightforward – I wasn’t sure how easy this velvet would be to sew with.

The ‘pattern’ calls for two silk scarves at 51cm square – it seems a pretty pricey way to buy fabric, unless you got incredibly lucky and found two identical scarves in your local charity shop – and it only covers Burda sizes 34, 36 and 38 whereas my usual size would be a 40 or 42.  I took a scientific approach guessed that a 55cm square would probably be about right, so I cut two squares from my precious length of fabric, and hemmed each edge.  I was pleasantly surprised at how un-tricky this proved, there was pretty much no fraying, and I used my walking foot which prevented any weird shifting of the fabric, making it a simple process.

The shoulder pieces were cut from some soft leather scraps I picked up for £5 at Edinburgh Fabrics – Burda provide a pattern piece for these, a diamond which you fold in half and glue to make triangles.  These are then sewed to the top of the two squares, slightly in from the edge – this is what it looks like from the inside (left) and the outside (right):

Then it was just a process of carefully measuring guessing how much of a gap I needed to leave for the armholes, and sewing a 1cm seam allowance down the two sides.


Possibly the easiest top ever, but very effective.



The leather is pretty much exactly the same colour as my skin, which has the unintended but cool effect of making this look like it’s mysteriously floating along my collar bone.


So, any suggestions as to a suitable glamorous event I could attend?  Maybe I’ll just have to wear it to work in the absence of a better offer….