Kwik Sew 2895 Denim Jacket – a second look

 

Levi’s jacket from the 80’s

Time to revisit a classic pattern, the good old jean jacket. It gets done in many ways, but I really admire the original Levi jacket – all those seams, welt and flap pockets, topstitching, brand buttons, orange/red button holes – what a  great look.

Here’s the thing – I doubt that it’s possible to make a convincing knockoff of the Levi classic. Maybe I should say it’s not practical – it’s sewn on industrial machines with fabric that’s been treated in special ways, and with thread that we just can’t source easily.

Solution? Buy one! I have a couple and love them. But I also like to fool around with sewing one. The leftover lightweight denim I used for my Strides trousers kind of stared at me and said ‘jacket’. Time to pull out Kwik Sew 2895…

 

It’s an easy pattern: the pieces fit together well, the instructions are great, and the collar is very cooperative. It has 36 reviews on Pattern Review! and seems a popular choice with sewists of many levels of experience. I sure like it.

 

It is really hard to photograph this fabric! A few sewing notes:

  • I made a muslin 2 years ago in white denim. And never wore it – it was a little snug on me. For this one, I stayed with the size Medium, but straightened the side seam from armscye to waistband, an increase of about 2″ in the waist. The resulting relaxed bodice is much easier to wear.
  • I extended the cuff band to form a button tab.
  • Because the collar does not have a collar stand, I added facings to the front and back neckline. I just don’t like ‘fold under and hand stitch’ finish that’s often suggested for this type of collar – it’s messy.
  • And I got out the big snap tool and used antique brass button snaps instead of buttons.

 

 

Fun with the inside, in wasabi green kona cotton.

 

 

Here’s that Pres-n-Snap tool, which I ordered from Sailrite a couple years ago. Kind of a splurge, but I love it. Because it’s levered, I can close it easily, it’s not at all hard to do. The 15 mm snaps are from Pacific Trimmings, a totally fun online store.

A note about denim: it ravels famously, in any weight, and it has a lot of bias stretch, even without any lycra. The first thing I did was to serge the edges on all my pattern pieces and staystitch any curves that might stretch out.

Now, about those britches – these are favorites, made with McCalls’ 6291 cargo pants pattern in a tie-dye denim from JoAnns. I’ve worn this pair a few times on the blog, but I’ve never mentioned them specifically. The cargo pockets on the legs don’t show in this pic, but they are there, no button flap. And the hem is plain, no elastic cuff.

Kirsten Kimono tee with 9″ added to the sleeve

 

These pants are easy to make and easy to wear, with an elastic sewn-on waist that doesn’t bunch up a lot. My very first version here

And it’s time for a fresh cup of coffee. I’m headed up to the loft, where I have a pair of purple pants in progress 🙂 Hope everyone enjoys a nice weekend.

Ciao! Coco

Kwik Sew 4015 – A Kaylee Chinese brocade jacket for Cosplay!

So pretty – Ashley’s brocade jacket for her Kaylee Firefly costume. And my first experience with Chinese brocade fabric. Interesting to say the least!

 Kaylee, of Serenity and Firefly fame, wears a Chinese brocade jacket over her mechanics overalls. Don’t we all?

Finding a pattern with just the right collar and attitude was not easy! It seemed like all the patterns I found had frog closures and were either very boxy or very fitted. Aargh.

I finally came across Kwik Sew 4015. It’s not perfect, but at least it has the basic elements – a buttoned closure, reasonable seamlines, and a kind-of mandarin collar.

Yes, I made a muslin! And fortunately, I have Lizzy, Ashley’s dressform, in my sewing loft.

First pattern change:  the collar. On the original pattern, the collar ends at the front edge. For Ashley’s jacket, I cut the collar shorter and reshaped it to be like Kaylee’s.

Covered buttons!

Next change: no side slits or lining. The original pattern has curved sides, is fully lined, and is finished with bias binding. It’s actually reversible. But Chinese brocade is heavy. I don’t want the girl to expire inside her costume!

Cutting the body without slits was easy. To replace the lining, I drafted facings for the back neckline and fronts. I also faced the cuffs, to reduce wear on the fabric. The facing is poly/cotton Symphony broadcloth from JoAnns.

Isn’t the inside of the brocade beautiful? About this fabric – it ravels if you look at it. Honestly, you can lose 1/4″ of an edge just by picking it up. The first thing I did was serge every single edge of the cut fabric pieces. I did this with my cutter up, just skimming the edge so that any existing ravels were cut off, not bound inside the serging.

Other than the ravels, the fabric was nice to sew. Topstitiching would have been a lot easier if I had remembered to take my walking foot with me to Ashley’s house!

Pressing – I practice ironing fabric the same way I practice sewing it, using scraps. This polyester brocade is a little picky. I used light steam, but with a pressing cloth, and I only pressed. Any movement of the iron tended to warp the fabric. It doesn’t take a hard crease, but it also doesn’t really wrinkle.

The jacket is beautiful – but I must give some credit to Callisto, who helped me so much with the pattern layout process…

Well done. Ciao! Coco

My double-toe-loop sit-spin disaster…

On Wednesday, I got up from sitting cross-legged in the garden, planting pretty little sedums – and only my top half got up. My feet stayed crossed and I sat back down on them, hard! hmmm. No broken bones, but my left foot is not pretty and has developed cellulitis. I’m hobbling around, off the crutches now, onto a cane, but no modeling for me. Made it up to the loft to take some photos this morning, Emile is kindly filling in.

My February Vogue 8819 cardigan is ABB – all but buttons! I decided to add them to give this cardi a little jazz, it’s kind of plain in a solid fabric. In the next photo, the white threads mark the area that will have 3 buttons.

The back is so pretty (the colors are a little weird in these photos – my walls really are a goldfinch yellow, so the light gets funky, no matter what I do).

I’ve also been working on a muslin of Kwik Sew 3782, a simple bow tie blouse. It really is a ‘quick sew’ – the bias collar and ties are all one piece and are slipped through a casing at center front. It has a front, a back, and a sleeve or not. The pattern doesn’t have a lot of finish – no facings, plain seams, a fumbly attachment of the casing. Good reasons for a muslin. 

I’m using a very inexpensive percale for the muslin. It’s very soft and drapey, much like a rayon challis, which is my target fabric for the final version.

The biggest change I’m making is to the center front – I want to have buttons (again with the buttons!). This was so easy, because the area behind the casing is about 4″ wide.  I just cut the blouse straight up the center, giving me 2″ on each center front. Then I added interfacing to the front and folded it back  to form the plackets.

I really like this bow. Just about perfect. I cut it a couple inches longer than the pattern, thinking it would be easier to shorten than lengthen if needed. But I like it as it turned out.

Here’s the reason I got off track and started working on this blouse – it looks so pretty under the cardigan!
And since I’m sitting around so much, I’ve been thinking it might be fun to adapt this bow tie and neckline to Katherine Tilton’s layered dress, Butterick 5881, in knit fabrics with long skinny sleeves…

I’m not totally worthless. I’m glued to the Olympics (curling is my very favorite winter sport, followed by snowboarding), I’ve knitted scarves for my niece and nephew, in colors matching their winter coats, and I’m really enjoying reading ‘The Plantagenets’ by Dan Jones.
Bye for now! Coco

Kwik Sew 2895 Jeans jacket – the curtain remake!

I had a great trip to see the grandson – he loved all his Spidey gear, and we played to exhaustion (moi, he does not know exhaustion…). After one recovery day, I’ve been working on a jeans jacket – I’ve decided it’s something in the air, because I’ve read two jeans jacket reviews on PR this week!

This one is a Kwik Sew pattern and I love it. I sewed View B, the classic jeans jacket look, in a size Medium/10-12. (I’m 5/7″ and generally sew a size 14/40).

Great pattern. It has faux flat-felled seams. What’s that, you ask? Well, you sew a regular seam, neaten the edges together, press the seam allowance to one side, and double-topstitch it on the outside. And it looks just like a flat-felled seam. But is super fast and easy, particularly in a heavy fabric, such as denim.

An inside view: the vertical seams are faux flat-felled. I added bias binding to the edges of the cuff, front, and waistband facings. I just cut the binding from scrap cotton – I really don’t like purchased binding, it’s so stiff and not as nice as fabrics I have in the stash. Plus mine are all pre-washed.

The medium fits me really well – as long as I don’t try to button it! The bottom meets in the front but at 38 1/2″, it definitely will not close comfortably unless I blouse it up! Fortunately, I don’t intend to button the jacket, I like it open.

I made only a couple changes, mostly just to suit me.

  • Left off the pocket bag – the pocket is not going to be used, so why bother!
  • Did away with the buttoned cuff approach and used a closed cuff. You can see some soft gathers in the upper sleeve in the pic above. I used the original cuff pattern, but shortened it’s circumference by 3/4″. 
  • A tip – since the right facing is always turned back just below the collar, I sewed the top buttonhole on the ‘wrong’ side. This way, the ‘pretty’ side of that buttonhole is on top.
  • Also cut the undercollar on the bias. It’s amazing how much easier it is to work with, when there’s no collar stand.

Loving the fabric, it’s the leftover panel from my IKEA Merete (heavy twill/denim) bedroom curtains! This is the first time I’ve used a heavy denim on either of my machines (Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, Janome 8002D serger), no problems at all, whew! I was pleased.

Have you noticed it’s the weekend? Hope it’s lovely. Ciao! Coco

Kwik Sew 3703 Maxi Dress

After 5 days of chilly weather, we are having  a beautiful warm day. Perfect for debuting my cotton jersey hibiscus maxi dress.

I’ve always liked this pattern from Kwik Sew. It has no darts, and has a great fit and flare look. And it’s a favorite on Pattern Review – I trust my fellow sewists’ opinions! 
But I’ve hesitated because it has a racerback, and that’s just not for me.

Had to solve this – I really wanted the look for spring and summer. What to do…

I decided to use the bodice top from McCalls 5893 to replace the raceback element of the Kwik Sew pattern. Perfect!
I flattened the front darts on the McCall’s pattern, did a bit of line curing, and it fit beautifully over the Kwik Sew pattern! 
Love the new front, straps, and back – the dress is so comfortable. It also matches the flowers in the garden…
Bulbine frutescens
Euphorbia milii

I hope you are having a nice weekend as well. Ciao! Coco

Kwik Sew 3914 Pleated Skirt – CurlyPops Skirt Sew-Along!

Knit top, Motto
Skirt, Khaki Weavers Cloth, JoAnns
Sandals, Chinese Laundry

 

I first saw this pattern in March, when BMV Club started announcing their plans for offering Kwik Sew – it was showcased on several of their email newsletters. Something about it just said Coco!

When CurlyPops hosted her ‘Make it in May’ Skirt Sew-Along, this pattern was my absolute first choice, and the sew-along got me going. I really enjoy a sew-along. Before I started my blog, I had no idea how much fun I was missing. I love the pics and camaraderie, enjoy reading the blog posts, and find so many fellow bloggers this way.

Back to the skirt! I think all the fun and style are in the long version (natch…). The pleats (ten on the front, ten on the back) and curved side seams are beautifully balanced by the yoke. While the skirt has a drawstring, the gathers and ease are conservative –  just enough for comfortable entrance and exit. This leaves a nice waist finish for tucked-in tops. The drawstring casing is a bit different  – it is finished on top of the yoke, rather than on the inside. A small change but it adds a bit of detail interest to the skirt top edge.

Does the pattern run large? Have been thinking about this. I have a 30″ waist, 38 1/2″ hips (low end of the Medium scale), sewed a Medium, and have a slightly large fit. I will probably sew a Small next time, being careful with the yoke measurements.

I enjoyed sewing the skirt! It was not difficult, but it had interesting elements that kept me involved. The pattern provided good instructions, particularly in managing the very long curves in the hem. The curves are prepped with both staystitching and ease stitching – with these and lots of pins, I did not have any fabric drag problems when I turned and topstitched the hem.


Often when I’m sewing, I think about what attractions a pattern might have for sewists at different skill levels. This pattern is a good opportunity to learn/practice a number of basic skills: drawstring and casing, curved hems, slit side seams, attached yoke, and flat pleats.

And I think the short version with the straight hem would be really cute and fresh to make and wear!

I did make two adjustments:
(1) Added 2″ to the length, to make it a true ankle length for me.
(2) Added pockets in the side seams – of course! I put the pockets right up at the top of the skirt side seam, since the yoke provided drop from the waist. Also, I left the seam allowance on the pocket at 5/8″ on purpose, to weight it a bit.

To me it is just such an unexpected and good-looking skirt! And fun to wear and style…

Jacket, Motto
Sandals, Dr. Scholls


For these last two you have to imagine that I have on my brown suede boots! I took them out but honestly…it was soooo hot by the end of this photo session that I just couldn’t do it 🙂 But boots would look great!

Jacket, Sunset Cove

 

 

Lemonade, fan…Bye! Coco

Kwik Sew 3871 Misses Dresses On a Rainy Day

 
Such a rainy week! But I love it for my garden. So I decided to take pictures in the rain, not the best photos of me but my cheerful dress would show nicely. This simple tank dress from Kwik Sew is quickly becoming a favorite with me. This version, in Tonga Batik City Abstract, 100 % cotton, is my first, and I do not want to take it off. I am wearing it again today as I type!

It is a simple a-line, has no darts, and has a well-balanced scoop front and back neckline. Neither is too low. And it has side-seam pockets! I sew a 14/40 and, after measuring the pieces, traced a Small in this pattern. The armscye is perfect! Always such a relief  not to have to alter in this area.

Usually at this point I would show more aspects of the dress…but my photo session took a very different turn yesterday. Here’s is what transpired in pics:
Zebra butterflies sheltering from the rain. A gift.
Coco