Jolly Jalie Jeans

Not sure why I made jeans when I haven’t owned a pair that fit me for several years. Or perhaps the answer is there straight away. These aren’t the most exciting design-wise but for me they are a big shift in thinking about what I can do, and the value of pattern blocks/ basic patterns tweaked to fit.

Finding the write-ups of various patterns on PatternReview together with photos of all sorts of body shapes helped me narrow down the pattern choice to Jalie 2908. I worked with some stretch denim I picked up at The Fabric Store earlier in the year. I had thought of doing a muslin but couldn’t find fabric of a similar weight/stretch for less than I paid for this denim, so cut into the denim with an extra 20mm on all seam allowances on the legs and waist as a precaution.

I overlaid the jeans pattern with my adapted Clover trouser pattern to find the curves down to hip line were a near-on perfect match.

(L) Back (R) Front - Jalie 2908 on top (lines), adapted Clovers under

So I cut my fabric and crossed my fingers and ended up with a pair of jeans that fit me well and I am stupidly proud of. I did end up adding a bit more width at Centre Front, and in the thighs but pretty negligible compared to the tweaks I had to do first time around with the Clovers. Putting in the work in October last year paid off this past weekend.

The most fun? Well, besides putting them on and grinning? Hammering in the rivets. It was impressive the difference this little feature made. It shifted them to another level of polish I think for a standard yellow topstitched pair. They felt finished when I did the rivets. Thank you to Melissa of FehrTrade for her rivet tips including clipping the height of the nail part.

There is a bit of excess fabric at the back of the knee/lower thigh that I am sure could be dealt with.Tips anyone?

But overall, for a first pair of stretch denim jeans I am very pleased. No gaping at the back of the waist, no half metre of fabric to take off the hem, enough fabric to cover my thighs. Make again – sure thing. Also Zac asked if I could buy heavier/ regular denim to make him a pair to his specs. What a compliment from a 19 year old son!

Yeah right, the world needs more pictures like this

I'd run out of charming smiles by this stage

Finished Object: Minoru Jacket

We did contemplate using the garden hose to create ‘rain’…


I’m really delighted with how this jacket has turned out. It is as useful and as crazy as I was hoping. The photo showing the reflective piping is the most accurate in colour. Dare I say some of the others look a little washed out? The Minoru pattern is beautifully designed, and I think it is one of the first raglan sleeve garments I have made and liked. I did make a couple of tweaks:

  • I changed where the hood was attached, and followed the suggestion to line it. I also added an elastic drawstring.
  • I added an underlay to the zipper opening.
  • I added reflective piping to the raglan seams. After I’d sewn the sleeve seams I discovered this fabric needed a bit more room for comfortable arm movement so I slashed up the sleeves vertically and inserted an extra 7cm (guided by the fabric). I made it into a ‘design feature’ by running reflective piping in the seam.
  • I added welt + flap pockets to the front. I lengthened one internal pocket to fit my rectangular wallet.
  • And I skipped the elastic cuffs as I wanted a more jackety look. I did have thoughts about buttons and tabs for cinching them in, but decided they were great as a simple turned up hem.

The Fabric

Loud, I think is a good description of the colour and pattern. The first but definitely not the last time I’ve sewn a waterproof fabric for a garment. iPad covers with the coating on the outside are a lot easier! I used seam sealing tape (thanks to Caroline’s guest post on rainwear at, learnt about teflon feet and masking tape.

Thanks to Tasia for hosting the Minoru sewalong – it gave me the impetus to get started and make use of my birthday present pattern. Through this pattern and sewalong I am feeling braver about adding my own ideas to a solid base pattern, and also having a great deal of fun documenting the journey. I love the creativity that goes into a project like this. I was inspired by seeing everyone’s finished Minorus when the pattern was first revealed and I am keenly anticipating many more Minorus popping up all over the interwebs soon. I did finish early as the end was in sight and I needed the sewing to keep me sane.

Fabric: Waterproof Riley Blake design cotton, coated ‘PUL’. Source Prompt service, realistic colours in their photos and useful information online including how to use seam sealing tape.

Cost: $90 for fabric, $12 for seam sealing tape (+postage), $10 lining fabric, $3 thread, $7 for zips (+airfares as bought on interstate leisure trip), $5 reflective tape (+ airfares as bought extra length interstate on a work trip!).  $15? teflon foot, Pattern – birthday present from my dear husband – priceless :-)

So not cheap, but truely one of a kind. Early in December I saw some unlined waterproof trench coats imported from The Netherlands for about $180, so it is comparable. I don’t think I really should count two lots of interstate airfares, although it does highlight that the only thing bought locally for this jacket was the thread and lining. Everything pretty much was mail order or bought while interstate. Are you hearing me Spotlight?

Hours: not sure…

Pattern: Sewaholic Minoru

Make again? Most likely in a cotton unbrushed fleecy without a hood as a snuggly comfy jacket.


Okay, next project – something from leftover fabric and quick to sew


Best Foot Forward

One of the best sewing things I’ve done recently was buy a few more specific feet for my sewing machine.

Teflon Foot from

To get through the Minoru Jacket sewalong using my coated fabric without going insane, the Teflon foot is making a world of difference. When reading some information a while ago about using coated/ waterproof fabrics I’d come across the teflon feet. Sounded interesting but I didn’t order at the time. I did order the foot once I had selected my fabric – but had to wait until the second Monday of the sewalong for it to arrive.

Before the magic foot…
After a quick sample sew of my coated fabric without any special non-stick feet I wondered if I’d bitten off more than I could chew. The fabric bunched up under the foot and made a godawful mess. Deep breath and walk away for a few days. Tried not to sulk. I cut out the lining fabric instead as a diversion. I also made my own reflective piping out of some tape.

Then I remembered reading something about putting masking tape on the underside of the normal foot and gave that a shot – much better but still not perfect. I had to guide the fabric in and out at the back to stop occasional puckering and misbehavior. But it was good enough to get started and sew the shoulder seams including with their reflective piping. Too many four letter words though still. And it seemed to take about 4 times as long as it should have. I am glad the seams will be hidden by lining as some had to be restitched in places where I have wonky lines. Looks great on the outside :-)

When my teflon foot arrived and I tried it – bliss! pretty much like sewing regular fabric with a bit more attention to starting off. Phew. Since then sewing my jacket got a lot easier.


I also picked up a stitch in the ditch or edgestitching foot. Combined with putting the needle into the far left position, it makes topstitching accurately so easy.

Stitch in the ditch foot from

Pocket details

I added a welt pocket with a flap to the front of my Minoru Jacket. I figured if I am making A-line skirts and dresses with added pockets, I definitely needed external pockets on my jacket. Pockets I think are essential in a jacket. Yesterday I put welt pockets with flaps into my jacket front before I sewed the side and sleeve seams. I wanted to have pockets that would not interfere with the side seams and still be fairly water-resistant.

Originally I had planned an angled pocket as that is more comfortable for putting my hands in and leaving them there. But it just looked funny with the patterned fabric. I made the flaps and stuck them on with sticky tape before making the final decision. Rocket the dressform has been really useful for these type of things.

Do I want Straight or Angled Pockets?

Do I want Straight (R) or Angled (L) Pockets?

To decide on the size I looked at two things. The width of the front at the height I wanted the pocket and also some other jacket pockets.

I also found this fabulous tutorial on Pattern Scissors Cloth – so I won’t go into technical details as I followed Sherry’s instructions step by step.

Minoru Pockets
Finished dimensions were

  • Welt/ Pocket flap width – 14cm
  • Welt height – 1cm
  • Pocket flap height – 5.5cm with little curved corners, with 3.5cm exposed.
  • total pocket depth from top of back piece to bottom including seam allowances 17cm
Minoru Pockets

Pocket bag pulled to the outside

Pocket Launch
Pattern pieces therefore:

  • Welt/ Pocket flap width – 16cm
  • Welt height – 4cm
  • Pocket flap height – 7.5cm with little curved corners.

If you want to copy: Pocket flap and bag: Minoru welt pocket pattern pieces (A4 size)

Note – I used Sherry’s recommendation to make the underside piece of the pocket flap slightly smaller in width. Although it turned out I should have interfaced both layers or paid more attention when sewing as both fabrics had some stretch so it all came out much of a muchness. A more stable fabric would not have had this problem.

If you want to copy: Pocket flap and bag: minoru pocket pattern pieces (A4 size). You can see the pocket flap pattern was originally too small. Luckily I had decided to make these as the first step before doing the rest of the pocket.

Once they were finished it was time for a nice glass of wine and a “Pocket Launch” and dinner.
Seam Sealing Tape

I also discovered that the fabric I made my muslin out of was probably not stiff enough to give me the information that the seam from collar to armpit was not really long enough. I sewed and topstitched my side/sleeve seams and popped it on and thought eeek! The sleeves were also a bit snug. So I nervously cut a neat vertical line about 2 cm from the seam between back and sleeve and have added a vertical rectangle from the collar edge to the cuff, and made it into a ‘feature’ by adding reflective piping on the upper seam. This has given me more movement in the arms. Damn those ‘strong’ biceps :-) Most of the time I wouldn’t be wearing a jumper under this jacket anyhow so it will still be very wearable.

Welcome to “Rocket Sews”

I can’t remember the first thing I sewed (Mum? Any ideas?), but there have been so many garments over the years I guess it is blurring. I know I sewed a lot of tops, skirts, dresses when I was a teenager and even made some reasonable money making baby and kids hats and clothes when my son was much younger. I sewed on and off until about the mid 90′s. Then I got busy with other things, and it seemed easier to buy clothes.

Fast forward to the start of 2011. I took some long service leave with plans to spend a serious portion of that leave in the garden. My gardening pants were definitely past their best. So I cut them up to make a basic pattern and sewed them with a great sense of achievement and had tidy gardening pants once more. During my leave I passed through Sydney and ventured into Lincraft to buy a pattern and fabric to make a summery dress. I also tried on a few skirts while away and thought “I could make this” and made a deal with myself that I would get sewing again. I made the summery dress – and found my sewing skills were not forgotten but just waiting in my fingers and my pedal foot. When I went shopping for some new work clothes I was reminded how much more I enjoyed sewing clothes than shopping for them.

Through the rest of 2011 I made more garments. Nicole Mallilieu’s You Sew Girl book caught my eye in a book store with a ‘recipe’ for a self drafted wrap skirt. I had some fabric (also from Sydney) that would be perfect and so I made one, and quickly made another.

The Colette patterns caught my eye online, so I ordered the Clover trouser pattern. I made quite a few changes to the fit – morphing the pattern with some lines from a similar pair I’d recently bought and liked. I enjoyed being able to make trousers that fit (yeah, jump in the deep end, why not?) and fill out my work wardrobe.

3 Clovers

I love the feel of fabric, and how it moves and behaves when sewn into a garment. Seeing a flat sheet of fabric morph and change into something you can wear is magic. I’ve got the giggles during some projects when tackling a particularly hard technique or having something turn out better than I hoped. The tailored work shirts with self-covered buttons, my self drafted shirtwaist dress, the red bag for Katie and the multiple clovers would have to be at the top of my favourite list – combining technical achievements and also great pleasure in the fabric and colours.

Made in 2011: 1 purple summery dress, 2 wrap skirts (orange/ blue), 2 knot tops (1 white linen with sleeves, 1 sleeveless green pattern), 3 handbags (2 for me, 1 a present for Mum), 1 shoulder bag, 1 dressy evening bag (a present for Katie), 3 pairs full length Clover trousers, 1 pair capri Clovers, 2 sorbettos basic tops (1 white linen, 1 black & cream silk), 1 mens shirt (for R), 2 pairs pjs (for R), 1 grey cowl neck top, changed orange wrap skirt to non-wrap (not enough overlap), 1 silk scarf (present for Cyn), 1 a-line black skirt, new invisible zip on an old skirt, 1 pleated japanese pattern book dress, 1 green Crepe wrap dress, 1 shirtwaist dress – self drafted, 2 felt monsters for J’s kids, 1 pirate hat for Z. Oh, and the 2 pairs of gardening pants too. Making a total of 30 items.

I think that’s it. I suppose I have been busy.

Made so far in 2012: Finishing touches on 2 work shirts for R, 1 pair pjs, started a shirt for Z – just the buttons to sew on tonight. Also I traced out the pattern for the Minoru jacket Sewalong to start in a few weeks.

My Birthday treats this year were nearly all sewing themed – I felt spoilt having my pleasure in sewing indulged and supported by family.

Future plans – well, that’s another post.