Vado jeans part two

My custom Vado jeans are coming on nicely. I haven’t got the waistband on yet but so far the fit looks pretty good! I still have wrinkles under the bum but fewer than on my Burda jeans.

The only adjustment I’ve made to the pattern is to pinch out a little bit on the top of the centre back seam because I had gapping there. Of course the waistband will make a huge difference so no photos as yet.

I’ve been trying a new sewing gadget I got for Christmas on this project. I’ve read that in industrial sewing pins are not used at all. On the rare occasions fixings are really needed they prefer clips apparently.

Clips are also good for anything that might show pin marks. Obviously it’s not a problem with denim, but I thought I’d try them out anyway when I sewed the long leg seams.

They’re pretty easy to use. It’s harder to remove them quickly while sewing than it is with pins, but the fabric sits so much more flat than when pinned that it’s worth it. I need a better container for them than a plastic bag though. Definitely a useful addition to the arsenal.

Unfortunately just as I was finishing the leg seams on the overlocker I had a spectacular needle failure. It got to where the inseam crosses the crotch seam and the needle bent instead of going through the layers.

The overlocker seems to have survived the experience but I still haven’t finished the jeans. Maybe this weekend.

Tabs and snaps

I spent some time looking for suitable closures for the jacket I’m making, Vogue 1335. The original pattern calls for home-made leather tabs with snaps applied to them. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to produce anything like that so spent a lot of time searching for toggles, buckles, and the like online.

Vogue 1335 envelope art

I completely failed to find anything suitable, so tabs it had to be. I got these scraps of cream-coloured ‘leather’ from eBay. I very much doubt it’s real leather but it’s the right colour and texture.
Leather scraps from eBay
John Lewis supplied a pack of 10mm snaps and pliers for applying them. Those things are fiddly. Here’s my first, rather wonky attempt.

Wonky snaps

I did better after drawing a lot of guidelines on the wrong side of the leather.

Top tabs

The smaller tabs weren’t so successful. 10mm snaps are a little bit too large so it was difficult to position the second snap without catching the first one in the pliers.

Bottom tabs

But they don’t look too bad when fastened.

Finished tabs

Of course it could all still go wrong because I’ve got to top-stitch them to the jacket yet.

Knowing where your towel is

Do you know where your towel is? Or your tape measure, or your scissors? Is it just me who spends a large amount of my sewing time searching for the pins I know I had a moment ago but managed to put down somewhere on the other side of the room? (In case anyone’s wondering, the towel is a substitute for a pressing ham. It also makes a handy sleeve roll when wrapped around a rolled up copy of Burda.)

This week’s been particularly bad for losing notions because I’ve added hand-sewing needles and basting thread to the usual pile of things to keep track of. The dress I’m sewing has a lot of curved pintucks which need thread tracing. (Eight down, another six to go). However this little guy, a present from my friend Jane, has come into his own lately. At first sight he’s just a handy pincushion.

But pull his tail and he’s a retractable tape measure too!

Brilliant. The retractable tape measure is much easier to use for small things than my regular one, and I haven’t lost any of my needles yet. He even hangs onto basting threads because they stick to the felt. Now I just need a pair of scissors with a homing device built in. Thanks Jane!

New gadget

Burdastyle patterns do not come with seam allowances. In some ways this is a good thing – you have to trace them and it’s a lot easier to check that all the traced pieces match up without the seam allowances getting in the way. You can also add exactly what seam allowance you want. I can see that using different allowances in different places can be a really good thing – you can avoid having to trim seams around facings for one thing – although I’ve not yet been brave enough to try this in practice.

However at what point in the process do you add the actual seam allowances? On the paper pattern tracing, or do you just place the pattern down on the fabric and add them at that point? The odd photo of the sewing process that I have seen in the magazine implies that you’re expected to add them on the fabric but not the pattern. I find this is rather fiddly and not very accurate. Having just traced a couple of Burda patterns without adding allowances I was wondering if there was a shortcut. I was in John Lewis looking for a zip, and found this nifty little device.

It is made by Prym although I can’t find it on their website. Nor has Googling found me any suppliers selling it. It has three settings for seam allowance – 1.5cm, 2.5cm, and 4cm. The marking end is just a regular chalk wheel (one of my favourite sewing gadgets) and the other side is a serrated wheel that you run around the edge of your pattern.

I haven’t tried it out for real yet because I’m currently sewing a muslin using a fabric that is far too pale for white chalk to show on it. However experiments on scraps suggest that while it’s not as accurate as adding proper allowances to the paper pattern, it’s a useful tool on a stable fabric. It’s completely unusable on a stretchy knit, but that’s not a great surprise.

Having said all that, I went and retraced my original pattern adding seam allowances in the end and used that for the muslin – if I’m going to the bother of making a prototype and fitting it then I don’t want to risk introducing any inaccuracies!