Friday, February 17, 2017

Planning for Spring  - February 17, 2017

This has been a strange winter here in mid-Michigan.  Most winters we don’t see much of the ground at all because it is usually covered with snow.  Not so this year!   I am looking out the window now and I see no snow at all, not even a small patch out in the fields.  The grass in our yard is turning green.  How can that be in February in Michigan?   The weather is so warm there is fear the fruit trees may begin to bud and that could mean a really bad year for fruit farmers and those of us who love fruit!

All this made me begin to think about my spring and summer wardrobe.  After a quick look in my closet, I decided I need to get busy sewing if I am going to have anything to wear this spring.   I thought about doing another 12-piece coordinated wardrobe like I did for the fall and winter, but decided against it.  I don’t want to put myself under another set of deadlines and I really don’t have enough time to make 12 pieces before spring.  So, I am going to start with just one item and try to make sure I already have something in my closet that will coordinate with it.
I found some navy blue fabric in my stash that I can use to make pants.  I plan to use the same pattern I used to make pants for the coordinated wardrobe that I made last year.  That was Fit for Art’s “Eureka! Pants that Fit” pattern.  This should go quickly because there should be no fitting issues.  I will let you know how the project goes.

After the pants I think I will make a skirt.  My dilemma here is whether to use fabric I like or whether I allow myself to be influenced by my husband.  I love the man dearly, but we have different opinions about fashion as well as other things.  I love large print fabric for summer skirts and he hates it.  He likes the more subdued solid colors.  What to do; what to do?  I think I will shop for fabric and if I don’t find a print I like, then I will go with a solid color, but it may not be subdued!

I also need fabric for some summer blouses, so I am off to the fabric store to see what I can find.  I have some fabric I can use in my stash, but I will also need to purchase some to coordinate with what I have. 

Have you started sewing for summer?  Good luck with any of your projects and have fun with sewing!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Jean Jacket

Jean Jacket   -   February 12, 2017

Last year I made black jeans and had a few pieces of fabric left.  I decided to use those pieces to make a jean jacket.  I knew there would not be enough fabric, but I thought I could incorporate pieces from some old black jeans I have.  I found the old jeans would not work.  Funny thing about black jeans, they do not react to numerous washes in the same way as blue jeans.  They do not continue to look better the more you wash them.  In fact, they look worse and worse!  And pieces from old jeans do not blend well with new black denim either.

Unwilling to just throw those pieces of denim away, I decided to go shopping to see if I could find some black denim that would blend well with the pieces I had.  I figured I needed another yard of fabric.  I was delighted when I found some black denim that did indeed blend well.  It was almost the same, but not quite.  I decided to try it.

A few years ago I made a blue denim jacket using pieces of old blue jeans.  I used MacPhee Workshop's Awesome Creative Jacket pattern for that project.  I made the sleeves from the legs of my husband's jeans.  Pictures of that jacket are below.

I decided to use the same pattern for this project.  If you have never used MacPhee Workshop patterns, they are sold online at  The company is owned by Linda MacPhee and is located in Canada.  I believe Linda now spends winters in Arizona and gives presentations to groups in that area while she is there.  A few years ago Linda was a vendor at American Sewing Expo in Novi.  She always put on great fashion shows that were free to those who attended the expo.  Her patterns are fun and easy to sew.  They look a little different from patterns you get from McCall, Simplicity, or Vogue, but they are simple to use.  If you buy a pattern and have a question, I am sure someone from MacPhee Workshop would answer your question.  The phone number is on the patterns.

I found some red flannel-backed satin in my stash to use for the lining.  I cut out the lining and then compared my leftover pieces of denim to the pattern to determine what shape to cut the pieces.  I used my embroidery machine to embroider a large flower on the center back piece.  After I stitched all the denim pieces to the flannel side of the lining, I top stitched all the seams.  I also used a chalk marker to make lines for top stitching on the sleeves.  I used a number 90 top stitch needle and Sulky 12 weight 100 percent cotton variegated thread.  I also top stitched around the edge of the collar.  I attempted to used a twin needle for the top stitching, but I found that did not work.  The thread kept breaking, so I used a single needle instead.

I used a pocket from a jeans pattern and added a decorative stitch across the top of each pocket as well as the top stitching around the edges.  Some pictures of the project at various stages of completion are shown below.

The body of the jacket pattern consists of one piece.  It has no side seams.  The lining is shown with the flannel side up.

The center back piece is basted to the lining first and then the other pieces are added .

This shows the upper and lower front pieces are sewn together before being sewn through both the side back and the lining.

I used a ruler & a chalk marker to make three diagonal lines across the sleeves.  I used those lines as my guide to top stitch.

This is the jacket body after I added top stitching.

The jacket with the zipper basted in and one of the facings ready to be sewn to the jacket.

Front view of finished jacket.

Back view of finished jacket.

The pockets have top stitching and a decorative stitch across the top.  I tilted the pocket before sewing to jacket.

This a close up view of some of the top stitching.
There are many different ways to make a jeans jacket.  Grab a few old jeans or some denim pieces and put your creative ideas into action!  If you have any comments or questions about how I made my jacket, please send me an email to