My on-again, off-again relationship with Named patterns has become quite the running joke over here at Threadbear HQ. I just can’t quit making their patterns and, consequently, lamenting about them. But, sometimes it just feels good to whine….just ask my 5-year-old daughter.
I’ve had my eye on the Jamies for a long time but they moved to the top of my list when I saw my friend Fleurine’s pair in Denver in September. They looked amazing on her (what doesn’t look good on her?) and I knew I wanted to give them a try.
My feelings about Named patterns are mixed. I adore and admire their style lines and details, but I’ve developed a mental block with their instructions, or lack of instructions I guess I should say. Before starting these two projects, though, I decided to cancel the pity party and give myself a little pep talk instead. I’ve made 3.5 pairs of jeans and about 87 (slightly exaggerated) Cheyenne tunics. I know how to sew jeans and I know how to sew button up shirts and that’s just what I did, even with less instruction than I was used to!
Let me back pedal a bit though, if you haven’t made jeans before or don’t have a weird obsession with the Cheyenne Tunic you will still be able to make these garments given the instructions in the pattern. It would be helpful if you’ve made these types of garments before, but not necessary. In fact, I would venture to say that the Jamie Jeans are one of the easier jeans patterns to construct!
Okay, let’s dig in:
Jamie Jeans: I love the style of the Jamie Jeans a lot! Most of the jeans patterns out there are high-waisted and it was nice that these had a lower rise. I sewed a size 6 with waist and hip measurements of 28.25″ and 37.75″, respectively. For reference, my measurements are 28″ at the waist and 38″ at the hip. The seam allowance is 3/8″ which seams small for jeans. I usually see 5/8″.
I got this pattern from Indiesew and, per the usual, the experts over there (Allie) put together a helpful sew-a-long. As I mentioned, I don’t think Named patterns are tailored (so to speak) for beginner sewists and so the sew-a-long is a great reference.
This is my 5th pair of pants and the 5th crotch curve I’ve assessed. Oh, the infamous and enigmatic “crotch curve”. I immediately knew that the rise was too low for me and ended up adding 1-3/8″ to the back rise and 3/8″ to the front curve. I made pattern changes, didn’t muslin, and just decided to cut into my Cone Mills denim because, well, I’m reckless. I baste-fit them as I went and ended up with 1/2″ seam allowances through the crotch and quads and 1/4″ through the calf. I’m really happy with the fit! I’m reckless….but lucky.
However, I did not baste-fit the waistband, which was a mistake. I sewed on the waistband, topstitched it…..and it was too tight. Way too tight. I don’t like picking off waistbands so I didn’t. I cut that thing clean off with my menacing and gleaming Gingher scissors, forfeited 3/8″ on the rise, and haven’t looked back since. Don’t try this at home kids, I am not a professional. Don’t do as I do, do as I say: Baste or (better yet) muslin your entire jeans.
In conclusion, I will definitely be making the Jamie Jeans again. They fit me really well and I love the slant pockets, front seam, and lower rise. I also can appreciate that I don’t have to add rivets to them…one less thing! I would recommend this pattern, I hope you give it a try, too!
Wenona Shirt: There are some really great button-up shirt patterns out there but the Wenona Shirt (and Dress) caught my eye because of two specific style features: the sleeve panel and the pleated panel on the front. I have a radar out for patterns that allow for color-blocking and this pattern fit the bill. I used this Swiss Dot by Robert Kaufman that I got from Maker Mountain Fabrics.
This pattern is available at Indiesew and I know that Allie is tentatively planning a button-up shirt sew-a-long this spring, keep your eyes out for that!
I made a Size 6 with no adjustments as my measurements matched theirs almost exactly. I think that this pattern would benefit from some shaping through the waist, but other than that I found the fit to be about right. I added my usual 2″ to the length and probably only need to add 1″. This shirt has a forgiving fit through the bust and the shoulders. The sleeve panel is drafted so that you have a drop sleeve style….which also means you don’t have a sleeve to ease in or have to do a narrow or wide shoulder adjustment. The construction is a little unconventional but it worked well.
The pleated panel was really easy to construct and it fit perfectly with the bodice and front sleeve piece. I was planning to do a white pleated panel to match the sleeves, but it was too blocky-looking so I’m glad I used the main fabric for the pleats.
I almost always (okay, 100% of the time) wear my sleeves rolled up on collared shirts and so I like to have french seams so that when they’re rolled up it’s a clean finish. I didn’t do that on this shirt, but I plan to add a little to the 3/8″ seam allowance on the sleeve seams next time to allow for a french seam finish.
I absolutely love the pairing of this shirt with these jeans. I like how the slant pockets tie in with the slanted pleats.
I’ll continue to make Named patterns and probably complain less and less about them as I continue to acclimate to their instruction style. Alls well that ends well though, I’ve made two things that I really, really love that make me feel confident! Mission accomplished….even with sparse instruction.
Happy sewing, Lovelies.