5.30.2014

black on black

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim and black jersey tee

Hey everybuddy! I know these pictures look suspiciously a lot like my last post - but I swear it's all new makes! I feel like every year around this time I get the urge to make myself a new pair of jeans - and once I go down the jeans making route, well, it's basically a straight shot to Wardrobe-Basic-Ville!  After all, one can make only so many fun dresses before you're left standing in front of your closet on a random Tuesday morning, naked, with nothing to wear! (No? Only me?)

So for this months Mood Sewing Network make, I bring you the ever-so-humble jeans and a t-shirt combo - in all black. Because black is always the new black. This was mildly inspired by the fact that earlier this month I listened to Just Kids by Patti Smith on audiobook, read by none other than Patti Smith herself. Despite the fact that I was already pretty familiar with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe's story (I'm pretty sure it's a requirement for every art school kid), it was still a pretty engrossing read... er.. listen? And it definitely led me down a rabbit-hole of image searches where I became pretty obsessed with Patti and Robert's grungy, rock & roll style.

But let's talk about sewing!

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim and black jersey tee

This is my fourth pair of handmade jeans (here, here, and the ones that started it all, here), and I swear they just keep getting better! For this pair I used a black, medium weight denim with a bit of stretch by Theory from Mood Fabrics online. Unfortunately this particular denim is now sold out, but I highly recommend the Theory denim. I've used it for one other pair of jeans and the stuff holds up well. I always like to order swatches of my denim before buying, because it's a bit hard to tell the difference online. That way I can pick out the weight, color, and amount of stretch I like best.  This denim had some stretch for comfort, but wasn't so stretchy that it didn't feel like denim, if you know what I mean. True confessions: I've actually been wearing these jeans for the past three days by the time I got around to photographing them, and the denim hasn't stretched out much at all!

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim
Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim

Also - distressing!!! Denim. Distressing denim. I feel like people generally fall into two camps when it comes to jeans: The Purists (I will take my denim raw, and dark, and made the way my forefathers made it) and The Fashion Followers (Colored denim?! Let's do it!! Printed denim?!?! Where do I sign up!! Denim so torn up and distressed it's practically a crime that their selling it?!?! Gimme some of dat!!!)(Also, I couldn't think of a better name for this camp, suggestions are welcome). And then there's those of us that fall in between. I appreciate some fresh raw denim, so stiff it'll chafe your thighs the first month of wearing, but every now and then I get envious of those cool kids with their store-bought denim all perfectly ripped and faded... 

So I decided to try my hand at some light distressing of my own. After all,  distressing denim is just a fun embellishment! Obviously for the home sewer, industrial distressing techniques are a bit scarce, but you'd be surprised what you can do with a few basic tools. For my pair I used a hammer and a metal plate to hammer each seam, then I took a dremmel tool to the edges to wear them down and fray certain areas. It was great stress relief! You know, in case the yoga and meditation ain't working - there's nothing quite like destroying something to cure what ails 'ya! 

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim and black jersey tee

For the pattern I used my ol' reliable - the Built By Wendy pants pattern from SewU, which is so altered at this point that I should just call it mine. On my last pair of jeans that I made I had some issues with the dreaded leg twist (that spoiler of all jeans-making fun!) If you're not familiar, leg twist is when one or both legs ... well... twist! It's mildly irritating both visually, and physically for the wearer. It's often the result of inaccurate cutting or sewing, and seems to be very prevalent with jeans due to the twill weave of the fabric - which tends to have built in warp - or skew (according to my google searches). So this time I took a few precautionary steps to prevent this: 1) I traced and cut all pieces on a single layer instead of folded in half (this also results in greater fabric yield) and 2) I made sure that all the leg pieces were cut from the same area of fabric - meaning I lined them all up, going in the same direction, horizontally across the fabric. I actually remembered to take a picture while I was working to show you what I'm talking about:

My yardage was wide enough that all four leg pieces could be placed this way. This way if the twill weave was to skew, they would all skew together! Anyway, it worked! Nothing but perfectly straight seams here! If you want to read more about leg twist - this is a good source.

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim
Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim

I realized I've never really shown you guys the insides of one of my pairs of jeans. Not that they're all that exciting, but I know how nosy all of us sewists are when it comes to construction! All of my topstitching was done in black topstitching thread, which unfortunately means that it's not super visible. This is a shame, because this just might be my best topstitching on a pair of jeans yet! Also, fun fact - I don't use a twin needle to do any of my topstitching. I've broken way too many twin needles during jeans sewing that I've just given up. I usually draw out my topstitching by hand, and use my chalk lines as a guideline.

I serged all the raw edges since this is stretch denim, and because I was too lazy to do flat felled seams. And the pocket lining is just some pretty floral fabric that I keep around for just such a purpose.

Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim
Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim
Mood Fabrics Black distressed denim and black jersey tee

Because jeans sewing can be such a time-consuming project (especially if you're like me and only own one sewing machine - you're constantly changing out thread!) I wanted to pair it with an instant-gratification sew. And nothing says 'instant-gratification' to me quite like a knit t-shirt!

Mood Fabrics Black viscose jersey tee

After seeing Heather Lou's super sexy version of Deer & Doe's Plantain Tee I decided I had to jump on that bandwagon. Also, free t-shirt pattern!?! Yes please! I used this drapey silk viscose jersey from Mood, and, man oh man, is this stuff ever luxurious to wear! Silky and smooth and light, with a lovely fluidity. Even though this pattern calls for a more stable knit, I felt like the drapey quality of this silk viscose would actually pair well with the subtle flared shape of the Plantain tee (and, also, I was copying Heather... duh... clearly I can't get enough of that girl). I stabilized the shoulder seams with a bit of clear elastic, and sewed all major seams on my serger. The sleeve and shirt hems were both simply folded under and finished with a double needle.

Mood Fabrics Black viscose jersey tee

And to thank you guys for putting up with another extra long post, I'll leave you with this gem:

DSC_0053

Not really sure what I was going for there! But ya know... I like to get a little crazy for the camera every now and then. And yes, this was in front of a stranger's house. A stranger who came home while I was taking these. I have no shame...

Well, anyway! I've been wearing both of these makes a ton since they came hot off of the sewing machine! I think that's a sign of a great basic! What about you guys - got any wardrobe basics planned for the near future?

xx

67 comments:

  1. amazing.... i really need to try jeans! Thanks for the distressing tips.

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  2. I just want to live in your closet. I can't deal with how much I love everything you make.

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  3. This outfit is so good! I love that you distressed the jeans. I watched a docu once that showed the factory workers distressing jeans for RTW brands. It was so cool seeing all the techniques.

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  4. I absolutely love these jeans! They are so RTW chic. I can't even believe you distressed them yourself. That is so neat! You always make the coolest pieces.

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  5. Stop it! Everything. Ugh you're amazing. I think I'm somewhere between a 'purist' and a fence sitter. Ok fine in reality I'm probably just a skank who loves a pair of jeans as long as they fit. Jean skank. Wassup.

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  6. Gorgeous girl - gorgeous work! Love your outfit :)

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  7. Such a lovely outfit! The jeans are amazing - after seeing all of your lovely pairs I really want to have a go at making some.

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  8. Love your jeans and especially your last photo. I too take my pics in front of a stranger's house. What can I say, their fence is just cooler than mine!

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  9. ooooh, love my dremmel too - husband was a little surprised when I bought myself one but aren't they the coolest tools { EVER }. love your jeans...love, love, love!

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  10. Very cool!! So envious of jeans made to fit! We have Jeans Days at school - pay $5.00 for a cause and wear jeans to work. I just toss the five bucks at 'Em and keep wearing my comfy stretch pants! How can you be so cool with such a Mom?

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  11. Oh I love them both - there is NOTHING like a great fitting pair of jeans and a new silky tee to make me feel like a million kinds of put together. I have been very into the silk blend tees as well and appreciate the little flowing quality and drape and all that it is able to disguise without making me feel frumpy! Can't wait to see these bad boys in person! Xoxo

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  12. Samantha LindgrenMay 31, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    Pants are still a dividing line for me. Too scared to try them after my last monumental failure about two years ago…. But my next basic I need to conquer, and am ready to try, is the button down shirt. I've got the Archer in my queue, and fabric at the waiting, just need to print it out and get to it! I am MAJORLY impressed with your jeans making skills!

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  13. Thanks Samantha! The Archer is SUCH a great pattern! Definitely one of my favorite go-to's!

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  14. & there ain't nuttin' wrong with that....
    oh...& beware of those dremmel attachments - they can get kinda addictive !!! ENJOY :-)

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  15. Daayum, Sallie!! great makes! Those jeans are AWESOME. Just when I think you cannot surpass your own sartorial genius, you go and prove me wrong. I'm with Sonja, let us live in your closet!

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  16. carrieinstitchesMay 31, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    Great jeans and tee! Man you make all the basics look so cool (-: and you are making me want to try jeans, the fit is so great.

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  17. Will you clean it? Because, if so... when can you come??

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  18. Haha! Thanks Anto! You and Sonja living in my closet sounds like an awesome, yet slightly creepy, fan-girl-fantasy come true!!

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  19. I've been dreaming of black jeans, too! Yours are amazing. I would say I'm a purist, but only because I love watching materials change over time so much. There's something about black jeans that look fantastic with distressing - or maybe it's just the way you've done it :)

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  20. I never quite understood the whole 'jeans day' thing... but I guess thats why I've always rebelled against any job that gave me a dress code! And, please, I'm so cool BECAUSE of my Mom! (Duh!!)

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  21. You already got to see the tee! It's what I wore practically the entire weekend I was visiting! It was an awesome travel companion. And, yeah, basically silk ANYTHING is my friend! Such an amazing fiber... sigh...

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  22. Thanks, man! I actually think I lean more towards 'purist' myself - I would NEVER buy distressed jeans, I just can't wrap my head around that. But ruining my own handmade jeans? Yeah... I can get down with that! Haha! And I'm actually pretty excited to see how these bad boys wear over time. I'm hoping they fade out to a nice grey and you can actually see all my awesome topstitching...

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  23. Thanks Sarah! You should definitely give it a try! It's really not difficult - but it can be a bit detail oriented - lots of topstitching, pocket placement, rivets, etc... but for me those are the fun things with making jeans!

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  24. Jean Skank!! You just created a whole new camp of jeans wearer! I love it! I think I would probably consider myself more of a 'purist' with the occasional traipse into the 'other' territory, as well.

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  25. *blushes* Oh Thanks, Mary! Distressing denim is fun - I definitely recommend it for stress relief! Ha! Maybe try it out first on a NOT brand new handmade pair though... I don't endorse my level of craziness!

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  26. I love watching those sorts of things! I actually learned a lot about my own jeans making techniques by watching one of those sorts of videos. Also, I won't lie, I definitely did quite a few google searches to see if I could buy a small quantity of enzyme wash to further distress this fabric, but (probably good) to no avail!

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  27. You would OWN handmade jeans!

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  28. Thanks Carrie! You should definitely give jeans making a try! If you have a pants pattern that you already like the fit through the butt/crotch/hip area it's really easy to make the necessary pattern adjustment to turn them into 'jeans'.

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  29. Aw, thanks Nilla!

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  30. carrieinstitchesMay 31, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Oh good tip! I will put them on my list for the fall. My waist is bigger proportionally than my legs/ hips since having kids so it will be awesome to end up with a pair that fits everywhere!

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  31. Oh my gosh I can't believe you made those jeans!! Great job girl!

    Like The Yogurt Fashion. DIY. Beauty

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  32. these are amazing! i'm pretty sure it's your jeans sewing that convinced me that i could make my own (which i did, total self-making jeans convert here!), and i love every pair you show us. and the tee is great too! (p.s. i don't know if you've seen this before, but it's totally drool-worthy in regard to jeans-making http://andewhall.bigcartel.com/making-jeans)

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  33. I know the time is coming. I can feel I'm on the cusp. Of leaving behind the icing or at least licking a little less of it out of the bowl. But if this is what cake is all about then its not really not so sad at all. In fact its' fricken awesome, and wearable and yup, I'm in. Love all of it!

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  34. These jeans look great. I agree with Black is always the New Black. I am glad to hear I am not the only that wears her denim on repeat.

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  35. Haha. Well, creepy is my middle name (just ask my sister!), so I'll wear it with pride. No pun intended!

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  36. love your outfit! you really rock that jeans and a tshirt look like nobody else

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  37. My goodness, those jeans are amazing! The fit is just incredible! The top is great too, fabulous as always!

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  38. Oh yeah, I just sewed up some black basics, too. I bought 10 yards of black ITY knit on a shopping trip in NYC (from Kashi at Metro Textiles) and I made palazzo pants, a skirt, two knit tops and a cardigan. Huge wardrobe boost and now I can get on with sewing more interesting things. Your jeans and top look fabulous.

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  39. Wow, both jeans and tee are amazing!! Simple and elegant and they fit you so well. You remind me I need to sew more basics and more things that actually fit.

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  40. This look is perfection! I am really loving all black outfits right now, I just get so distracted by all the beautiful colorful fabrics out there. Otherwise I would wear all black all the time. It's so chic!

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  41. I think it's adorable that you draw out your topstitching lines. They turned out great, so that extra step is definitely worth it. Also, love the pink chalk. Work it!

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  42. Great Outfit!, those are some mean jeans

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  43. Sallie, your jeans look so good! Now, if those were RTW, how much would they go for? Check these out: http://www.shopbop.com/super-slim-jeans-dsquared2/vp/v=1/1550245702.htm?folderID=2534374302101673&fm=other-shopbysize-viewall&colorId=12867

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  44. OMG SHUT UP!! $670?!?!?! That is highway robbery!! Hahaha! Thanks Jen!

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  45. Thanks Bobby!!

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  46. Haha! Thanks Julianne! I guess I'm just one of those people that does well with a visual aid - especially a hot pink visual aid!!

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  47. It is SO HARD not to get distracted by all the pretty colors! But I was having a major 'all black, all the time' moment this winter - which was when these fabrics got bought, and man, am I glad I picked them up! Sometimes, you just need basics!

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  48. The trace off method works for jeans, I find. I just reworked a pattern for selvedge denim jeans for Nick yesterday and did the same thing. It's an extra PITA step, but I think it helps with grain control. Also, I dearly love my rotary cutter, but I think scissors are the way to go for denim, and tracing is so much more accurate than trying to scissor your way around a paper pattern!

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  49. Thanks Kristina! I think sewing more basics is a constant goal of mine. The more and more I rely solely on my handmade wardrobe, the more I realize how important these sort of items are to have around!

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  50. Thanks Robin! I feel the same way - like "Great! now I got that out of the way I can move on to the fun fabric!"

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  51. Oh thanks Kelly!

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  52. Thanks Mokosha! I do love me some jeans and t-shirts!

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  53. Thanks Latrice! Denim on repeat is the way to go! Haha!

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  54. Oh but I LOOOOVE your icing!! Hahaha! But it's true - cake can be pretty sweet too!

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  55. Yes! I love those sorts of things! I'm actually thinking of trying my hand at a pair of selvedge jeans for myself. Working on a pair right now for my husband and thought it might be fun to add to my jeans wardrobe!

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  56. Thanks Dannon!

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  57. Awesome jeans! I'm a jeans girl and I wear them all. The. Time. And I really wanna try my hand and making them sometime!

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  58. I can't believe you made these jeans! The fit and construction are impeccable. I'm not usually a fan of distressing but I really like what you've done with these jeans!

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  59. I love your jeans, every pair! I am jealous of your mad skills and inspired at the same time. Your plantain is awesome too!

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  60. Thanks Monica! You definitely should! They're a bit time consuming, but totally do-able, and SO worth it!!

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  61. Ugh! So sorry I haven't responded until now. I'm currently in the midst of moving, which is seriously getting in the way of keeping up on everyone's blogging. My priorities are straight, right?

    I love the Mapplethorpe and Smith reference. Come on, you can't call yourself an art student until you know about those two!

    Love these jeans. You and jeans equals me and bras. Amirite?

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  62. Jcrew has Eastwood jeans that say the twisted hem is a unique design detail. I always cracked up at this bc I thought it meant there was a problem with the pattern or construction, so I'm glad you mention the twisted leg problem! Check it out:
    https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/denim/boyfriend/PRDOVR~09275/09275.jsp

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  63. Love the outfit, Sallie! You are quite possibly the queen of sewing every day garments with such an understated glamour. I watched a fabulous documentary a few months ago about how the denim industry goes to such lengths to make it's new product look old again - it was seriously interested! They used rocks in a dryer with the jeans, angle grinders and sandpaper to distress seams and edges, and myriad other techniques. Absolutely love how you've worked that into these jeans - they really are perfection. I can absolutely understand the need to sew something a little more simplistic after all those thread and bobbin changes!

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  64. All Hail your denim sewing skills!!!! Seriously. I'm not even surprised anymore because you're just damn good.

    I need to look up that pattern because I'm now on a mission to sew my perfect pair of go-to pants. I hear her patterns are pretty customizable, and I think she does some kind of fitting class on Craftsy but I forget. ...I'll have to look into that.

    Anyways, another awesome outfit!

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  65. Those look great! I'm very impressed!

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  66. Oh Sallie... that's why I love you! Black is ALWAYS a good idea, and so are basics. I'm totally guilty of being caught up in making fun projects that aren't really everyday wearable, and then ending up stuck with "nothing" to wear. You are the queen of jeans, and I am always inspired by your work - basics or not ^_^

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