Category Archives: modal

Leather jogging pants, check!

Sometimes I read something or see a post that I just cannot get out of my mind. One of these such posts was about a particularly HOT pair of leather jogging pants, created and styled by the ever-inspiring Nikki on her blog, Beaute J’adore. Now to put this all into perspective, the thermometer here is currently wavering around a sweltering 30 degrees on most days, and yet, I still couldn’t get these pants out of my mind. So these are my version.

 

Now you will have to forgive me a little for the eclectic get up in the photos. Apart from these leather pants, my wardrobe is somewhat lacking in the winter-wear department. So I found it a little difficult to put together an entire outfit. Nevertheless, I will certainly have warm legs this winter (in about six months time mind you)! And on the side, the top I am wearing is made from a little leftover modal from hubby’s birthday present. The ruffle is black silk chiffon…oh, I do feel so very chic wearing leather and silk together!


But back to those fabulous pants now. I decided to make a wearable muslin first using Vogue 8909. I chose View B because of the elastic leg bands and slightly cropped look. My plan was to make a wearable muslin first, using some cheap chambray fabric I found online.
 


I chose a size M based on my measurements, but I am slowly learning that when I make unfitted or knit garments, I really need to choose a size below my measurements or the item turns out way too big, as I found out with these pants. So, I ditched the ankle bands and relegated these delights to my pyjama drawer! They are ever so comfy but a little too baggy as you can see in the photos. They were also a little too short for the pants I had in mind.



This particular fitting mishap did teach me a few things though. After fiddling a lot in front of the mirror, I estimated that I needed to lift the crotch seam by about 1cm and take the sides in by about an inch each. This was basically the same as going down a size, so I chose this option instead and it worked out a treat.

This was my first time working with leather, and perhaps that was also part of the reason why I was so excited about making these pants. I purchased the leather lambskin from Tandy as this was the same leather used by Nikki for her pants. I know I could have found a similar product in Australia, but given this was my first leather project and I had no idea what texture, feel, look, or weight I was looking for, the shipping expense was well worth it for the education.

I chose to interface every single piece in the pattern. I attended a lecture on interfacing a while back and recalled the speaker saying all leather should be interfaced. I ummed and aahed over this for a long while, because the leather was just divine as it was and I really didn’t want to change it’s hand at all. In the end, my fear of a baggy bottom and knees won out and I chose to interface it with the lightest possible knit fusible I could find. It seemed to stick well and didn’t affect the feel of this gorgeous lambskin too much, if at all.

I partially lined the pants with rayon lining fabric. I also added an extra two inches in length for version B and added a seam in the front legs and an extra two seams in the back legs. (The extra seam in the back legs was purely an accident after I attached one to the waist seam  by mistake and had to trim and re-cut pieces to solve the problem!) For each seam, I opened it up and edgestitched both sides before trimming. This worked beautifully in keeping the seams flat and neat.

 

 Although, this was very nearly irrelevant as I nearly tore the leather when making the holes for the drawstrings using metal eyelets for the very first time. But I am very pleased with the professional result in the end.


The most difficult thing about this project was inserting the elastic into the casings. In hindsight, I should have increased the casing sizes a bit in the waistband because I forgot to account for the fact that leather is a thicker material. I actually had to pause this project overnight because my poor fingers and hands were hurting so badly. But I have to say, the end result is well worth it.


Would I sew with leather again after this? Absolutely! I have to admit, it isn’t my favourite material to sew with. I much prefer fabrics, but I am still so pleased to have expanded my skills.

Happy birthday has finally arrived

And it’s a high five for me, who has scored a perfect ten on fit. Yes, birthdays are all about me and seeing my creations finally being worn. If you can remember, I made hubby some Lisa Ho boxers and a gorgeous modal Henley a few months ago. I am ever so proud of myself for refraining from gifting them before today.

My reluctant model permitted me to take a few photos (even though it was barely 6am and he had only just woken up). And yes, he did comment on the gorgeous fabrics. I will definitely be making these for him again. The modal works pretty well in this size for the Henley, but if I use a sturdier or less stretchy fabric, I think I will have to go up a size, particularly in the arm width (yes hubby, to accommodate those massive guns).

 

 
Thanks Nick for the photos. You are a natural! x
 

Just another jersey top

With the recent rainy weather, I realised I was a bit low on trans-seasonal tops. Lucky for me, I had some gorgeous soft jersey from a recent trip to Tessuti Fabrics. I am a bit fussy about what prints I like on jersey fabrics, but this one managed to catch my eye. Unfortunately, I only purchased one metre of it so I had to top it up with my stash of super soft modal/silk in order to complete the top. I think I quite like the colour blocking after all. And the end result is a top so soft and comfy, that I’m not totally sure I won’t be wearing it 24/7.

Some more swish for Spring

I woke up the other day and suddenly had no tops to wear! I really have no idea where they all went…well actually I do, most likely they were reassigned to the pyjama drawer or Spring cleaned to the curb. Obviously it was time to do some Spring sewing, to compensate for the Spring clean of course!

I have a lot of modal/silk jersey in my stash and I love making myself t-shirt style tops in it for between seasons. It is so delightful to wear, but unfortunately it does pill over time. I also have a grabby toddler that stretches the necklines out in all my tops. So knowing this, I usually try to make a style of top that looks great new, but is still comfy enough to convert to a pyjama top when it has been destroyed.

This top is based on a simple t-shirt I drafted months ago that just seemed to fit me really well. I have used the same pattern several times now with different modifications. This time I used a little bit of vintage kimono fabric for the yoke. The modal contains 10% silk and is so beautiful that I just leave the sleeve and bottom edges unfinished to roll slightly. It makes for a super quick and satisfying sewing session!

 
My photographer is quite demanding. According to Miss 5, no shoot is complete without some ballerina twirls.

My finished Henley

Yes, I do realise I shouldn’t be calling it ‘my’ finished Henley because it isn’t meant for me. But the fabric I made it with is just so soft and delicious that I won’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t fit hubby and I am forced to claim it as my own!

I used the pattern below by Thread Theory and my fabric of choice was a charcoal modal from Tessuti Fabrics. Modal is a gloriously soft type of rayon fabric, made from trees (usually Beech). It is divine to wear, but it does pill a little over time. I find it holds it’s shape well, and if I am making a top for myself in modal, I wouldn’t usually finish short sleeves as it rolls prettily and doesn’t fray (although that’s hardly what I want for this very manly shirt I am making).


I enjoyed following this pattern, but I did find it a little fiddly making perfect buttonholes and plackets with modal. My bottom buttonhole was a disaster, but thankfully it isn’t too obvious with the button in place. Even though I interfaced the placket (in little strips under the fabric but not the facing fabric), it still moved all over the place when I was stitching. I think I will fuse lighter weight interfacing to the entire placket piece next time before putting it together.  

I love the modern, slimline shape of this top. I find it hard to find great menswear designs, so I must thank Andrea from Four Square Walls who introduced me to Thread Designs in the first place. Her review of this pattern is here.

I chose to make the Large size for hubby and lengthened the arms a little. I lined up another similar top he owned to check the pattern pieces for sizing. I am a bit worried the top will be too long, but this is easy enough to change at a later date.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my Henley turned out and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it fits. I’m a little bit out of season here, but I think it will make the perfect top for layering in Autumn and winter.

Getting started on the Henley

The thing that excites me most about blogging is connecting with other bloggers and of course, shamelessly copying being inspired by their fabulous ideas and teachings. Today I got started on hubby’s new birthday gift, his Henley top. Ok, so I did make him a birthday business shirt last month (which he loves by the way) but of course I couldn’t hold out until December to give it to him. Unfortunately he is still in Kansas for work so I can’t even show you a photo, but he tells me it is my best shirt ever, and I believe him, given the number of times I’ve seen it on Skype already.

I have Andrea of Four Square Walls to thank for introducing me to Thread Theory and expanding my foray into menswear. Hubby is forever tallying up the amount of garments I make for the females of this family vs him, so I suspect I might be tempted to try the Newcastle cardigan soon too. 

In any case, I got started on my Henley tonight, sticking and cutting the pattern pieces as I watch Gray’s Anatomy. I purchased some beautifully soft (and manly) charcoal modal from Tessuti Fabrics to use for it. I figure if it all goes Pete Tong, then at least it will make a super soft and comfy pyjama top!