Such a Joy – Joy Jacket Pattern

It’s such a joy to sew for my mother, I love sewing for myself, but I also really love sewing for my mother!

DSCF1627 (2)
Joy Jacket, View B

As soon as the Joy Jacket Pattern was released by Chalk and Notch, I knew immediately that I needed this pattern in my life.  It was such an exciting day when it was released, everyone was sharing their tester versions of it and they were all so beautiful.  It was very inspiring to see all of the beautiful jackets and I thought to myself, “if they can do it, so can I”.  When the pattern was released, Chalk and Notch had the pattern on sale for a couple of days after the release.  A lot of the pattern testers were also doing a free giveaway for the pattern, I tried to enter as many of those giveaways as I could, but no such luck.  So I purchased the pattern while it was on sale.  I went to the fabric store and got some cheap fabric to try out the pattern for the fit.  I made my first Joy Jacket at the beginning of March (right before I decided to start blogging).  Once I made my jacket and my mom had seen it, she loved it!  I thought the Joy Jacket would be a wonderful Mother’s Day gift for my mom.   I decided that I would document my experience making my moms jacket.

DSCF1630 (2)
My first Joy Jacket

The Joy Jacket isn’t really that hard to sew up, what takes the most time is printing the pattern, trimming the pages, taping the pattern together, cutting out the pattern and then cutting out the fabric.  Printing the pattern is from pages 19-90 with a couple pages missing based on which style of pockets you want and if you make it with a hood or not.  That’s a lot of cutting and taping!  Once I finished my Joy Jacket, I definitely was not looking forward to printing and taping my moms pattern together.  But as the subtitle of my blog states – finding joy in every stitch, when really it means finding joy in the whole process.  I needed to give myself time to want to make this jacket for my mom.  I didn’t want it to feel like a chore, I wanted to enjoy the process and to put a lot of love and care into making this garment for my mom.

So, how did I gain the motivation to tackle this project?  I gave myself a break and sewed up a dress for a pattern testing assignment and another Halifax Hoodie for myself, and I also played around with my new machine.  Then at the beginning of April Sew Over It introduced the hashtag #soiselflesssewing – where you take a month off from sewing for yourself and you sew for others.  I thought this was a great opportunity to get my motivation back to tackle this 71 page project!

I broke down the printing, taping and cutting process into sets of pages.  I printed the pattern in chunks, I believe I printed pages 19-30 first – did the trimming, taping and cutting those pieces out, and so on and so forth.  That took me roughly 4 afternoons during nap time!  Next, I cut out all of my lining pieces and all of my fusible pieces.  Now, I did not follow the directions for both of the Joy Jackets that I have sewn.  What I like to do first is, sew the lining, then add of all my facings and then the main outer shell of the jacket.  That’s not what the instructions state, but that’s what works for me.  I do it this way, because the lining fabric is such a pain to sew that I want to get it out of the way as fast as possible!  I believe the instructions have you attach your fusible material to the proper pieces, then has you do the outer shell and then the lining.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this jacket for my mom, I enjoyed the whole process.  This jacket has all of the bells and whistles, I wanted to go the extra mile for my mom, as she absolutely deserves it.  I chose do to the topstitching at the seams (it is optional).  It has a hang tag, my tag, grommets and a drawstring at the hood.   A lot of love and care went into making this for my mom, if I wasn’t happy with my topstitching, I used the seam ripper and did it all over again.  I needed this jacket to be perfect for my mom.

DSCF1890
Embroidery Work

For my first go at this jacket, I hand embroidered the word ‘joy’ in my hood.  The reason why I did this, is because the meaning behind the actual Joy Jacket itself really resonated with me.  Gabriela of Chalk and Notch drafted this pattern for her friend Emily, in memory of her mother, Joy.

Since December 2017, my sewing has taken a drastic change.  Being able to sew a jacket with a lining simply blows my mind.  I never thought it would have been possible for me to sew such a thing.  It’s too bad that it took me this long to believe in my sewing abilities, and that my dad will not be able to see me sew such intricate sewing projects.  For the past 4 months, I have been sewing as an outlet, a grieving process and to find joy again.  Embroidering joy into the hood reminds me that I can find joy again, even if it’s for the brief time each night that I spend sewing.  I embroidered the word ‘joy’ into my mom’s hood using my new Singer sewing/embroidery machine (blog post coming shortly) to bring joy to my mom, knowing that I sewed this jacket for her.

This jacket is truly a labor of love for my mother.  I went that extra mile to make it sure it was perfect for her.  This time around, I struggled at attaching the lining sleeve to the main sleeve.  I ended up doing it wrong, then hand stitching it – which I wasn’t really happy with and I wasn’t going to settle giving the jacket to my mom.  So I turned to Instagram for some help.  My lovely friend, who knows that I’m a visual learner sent me a message with a video showing how to attach the sleeves properly.  For some reason, I just couldn’t remember how I did it on my first jacket.  The video my friend sent me was very helpful and I was able to complete the jacket for my mom!  Although I’m a beginner and I make mistakes all the time, this jacket is truly perfect!  I feel proud to be giving my mother this jacket.  I would never gift someone a make that I wouldn’t wear myself.

DSCF1917
Joy Jacket – Chalk and Notch View B

Since Mothers Day is still a bit away, I had promised my mom to make her 2 Joys!  One would be a test one to make sure the fit is right and the alterations are what she wanted.  Since my mom has a longer torso, she wanted the bodice to be longer and the sleeves lengthened as well.  I lengthened the bodice by 3 inches, and the sleeves by 1 inch.  I believe these were the perfect alterations for her.  For the size, it required a 30 inch zipper, but unfortunately they did not sell or have silver 30 inch zippers in stock at the time, so I went with a 32 inch silver zipper and left out the drawstrings around the waist!

Of course I had to do a little photoshoot of my mom wearing the jacket!  She was such a good sport!

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience making the Joy Jacket for my mom!

 

DSCF1953
Wearing our Joy Jackets together

 

“Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle.  Everything I do is stitched with its color.” — W.S. Merwin

Morgan, My New Friend

Grab your coffee, come have a seat and I’ll introduce you to my new friend, Morgan.  Now, there’s no reason to be afraid of Morgan like I was and I’ll tell you why;

Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns is simply AMAZING.  I was gifted this pattern for Christmas by my friend Michele.  Instagram is very inspiring and so is Michele.  She had made a pair of jeans back in October 2017.   When I seen her make her jeans, I thought, maybe one day down the road I’ll make jeans.  Down the road, I mean in 2019 or so.  When Michele gifted the pattern to me, I knew then that I was going to attempt to make a pair of jeans in 2018.  Sewing a pair of jeans was the last sewing project that I spoke to my dad about, so accomplishing this sewing goal of mine has a lot more meaning on the inside than it appears on the outside – especially today.

The Morgan Jeans pattern was the very first indie sewing pattern that I had ever seen before and it is the first indie sewing pattern that I attempted.

Usually, when I try a pattern for the very first time, I tend to buy cheaper fabric, this way I can see if I like the fit and if it suits my style and my wardrobe.  If it is successful, then I’m not afraid to spend a little bit more money on fabric.  February was the month of the hashtag #nofearnewjeans.  This hashtag was to encourage sewists to not be afraid of sewing jeans and to come together on social media for support and encouragement while you tackled your pair of jeans.  During February, I started researching denim and denim prices.  I had a rough idea as to how much denim was going for per meter.  One evening, my husband and I were on our way home from grocery shopping and I had asked if we could stop by the fabric store quickly – as I wanted to see how much they were selling denim for.  The first bunch of denim I found was $28-$31 a meter….NOT A CHANCE.  So I kept looking and found a bolt that said 70% off regular price.  I did the calculation in my head and I was calculating $6 a meter.  There’s no way that’s possible?  So I double checked with the staff about the price, sure enough $6 a meter!  For my size I needed roughly 1.8 meters, so I rounded up to 2 meters.  $12 bucks for a test pair of jeans?  Awesome!

Now, for this first pair of jeans – I had made a mistake with picking my size, I think I might have been looking at the wrong measurements.  Whatever the case may be, I cut out a size 14 with my $12 denim.  Prior to working with my first indie sewing pattern – I had heard that indie patterns are similar in size to retail clothing sizes, whereas McCalls (and other big pattern companies) sizes are different from retail.  So to help you understand this: in retail I’m usually a size 8, whereas in McCalls I’m a size 14.  So when I was looking at the Morgan measurements and picked a 14 to cut, I figured maybe this pattern company ran the same sizes as McCalls.  So I started sewing my very first pair of jeans which was pretty exciting!  I made a little mistake doing the fly, but it was an easy fix that involved the seam ripper.  When sewing jeans for the first time, they recommend that you baste them first and check the fit.  So I basted the $12 pair and as I was basting them, I was thinking….”Boy these are looking rather big”.  I tried them on, sure enough they were like 3 sizes too big.

What happened?  What did I do wrong?

DSCF1667
First pair, 3 sizes too big

My friend Michele is very supportive and encouraging, we spoke about the jeans and the fit.  She then did some calculations and told me to measure 8.25 inches on the pattern piece to see which size line it matches up to.  I explained to Michele that in retail I normally take a size 8.  Michele is like the sewing genius, I measure 8.25 on the pattern piece, and sure enough…I AM A SIZE 8!  No wonder why these jeans were HUGE! Am I upset that I made a mistake on the $12 pair of jeans?  Heck no, it’s all learning and with the sewing world there is SOOO MUCH to learn with each make.  I was in fact happy that I was able to practice sewing jeans, and I had realized that there is absolutely NOTHING to be scared about when it comes to sewing jeans.  No need to fear sewing jeans!

What do you think I did next?  You got it, I went back to the fabric store for denim.  But unfortunately they didn’t have any of the $6 a meter denim left.  But I did find a fuschia stretch denim.  This particular pattern calls for a non-stretch denim. So I messaged Heather from Closet Case Patterns and asked if the stretch denim could work with the Morgan’s.  She gave me no reason to be afraid to sew the Morgan’s with a stretch denim.  So I went for it!

DSCF1665
Top Stitching Back Pockets

Here we have my fuschia stretch denim Morgan jeans.  This time, it went really quick as I had practice with the first pair.  I got the button fly placket done on the first try!  But with this pair, I struggled with the waistband (I didn’t get to the waistband with the practice pair as I stopped once I basted them together and they were too big).  This was my first attempt with the waistband.  I’m a very visual and hands-on learner and for some reason I just couldn’t grasp the waistband.  I tried it once, and had to seam rip it out.  Once again, Michele to the rescue!  She told me that the waistband is very easy and that I was simply over thinking it.  I explained to Michele the part of the waistband construction that was confusing me.  She knows that I’m a visual and hands-on learner, so one afternoon Michele took my hand and text me through step by step instruction for attaching the waistband.  Michele would give me an instruction and I would take a picture and ask if it was correct.  She took me from start to finish.  Later that evening, I looked back at our conversation and attached the waistband!  I was definitely over thinking it!

DSCF1725
Morgan Jeans – Capris Length

I look back at the waistband instructions and her instructions are written exactly as how I sewed the waistband on.  It was really my lack of knowledge on knowing what the term flip and folded meant and which 5/8 fold they are talking about.  In fact, it was this pattern that I really liked how the instructions were written that I decided to purchase the Halifax Hoodie pattern.

At the beginning of the pattern, Heather explains the various ways to get a great fitting pair of jeans and the alterations that can be done.  Luckily for me, I did not need to do any alterations.  I know that the length would be too short for me, but for the fuschia color I figured I would get a lot more wear out of them in the spring and summer, so capris it was.  If I decide to make a pair for the fall and winter I would definitely need to lengthen the pattern pieces.

DSCF1673
I opted to use my sewing tags instead of a leather patch

There is a lot of top-stitching detail with jeans.  For the fuschia pair of jeans, I decided to do my top-stitching in a grey top-stitching thread.  The pattern also calls for top-stitching along the inseam of the jeans, but I decided to keep the top-stitching only on the fly, front/back pockets, waistband and belt loops.  For my next pair of jeans I might try top-stitching the inseam.

Now, to wait for spring to decide to show up, so that I can start enjoying these!  Until then, I am going to sew a shirt to go with these and then I can wear a complete me-made outfit!

So, if I can sew a pair of jeans (and I’m a beginner) then you can too!  I encourage you to try to sew your own pair of jeans, you can do it!  No need to fear, Morgan is your friend!  Thank you for taking the time to read about the experience sewing jeans =)

DSCF1722
Morgan Jeans in Fuschia Stretch Denim

 

“Dad, remembering you is easy, I do it every day.  Missing you is the heartache that never goes away…” – Author Unknown

 

Comfy & Cozy Halifax Hoodie

Got your cup of tea or coffee or whatever?  Here we go!

Why have I waited so long to try out this indie sewing pattern?!  Maybe because McCalls patterns are cheaper?  Whatever the case may be, I’m so happy that I have found the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade.  This was the very first indie sewing pattern that I purchased.

I had always been slightly interested in trying a couple of indie patterns especially this one, but it wasn’t until I had seen Lara from Handmade By Lara Liz sew up her version of the Halifax that really sparked my interest in trying out this particular pattern.  Lara used a Cherry Blossom French Terry by Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  As soon as I had seen her hoodie, I KNEW I needed this in my life!  You can check out her make here.

She had posted her version shortly before Valentine’s day.  My husband and I don’t do the typical Valentine’s gifts (teddy bears, flowers, jewelry or chocolates), we usually get each other something that we want or need, just something small or else we cook a seafood dinner together.  So right before Valentine’s day my husband asked me if I wanted to go to the fabric store to pick out some fabric, he knows the way to my heart! Instead, I showed him Lara’s hoodie and told him that I wanted to make that exact hoodie.  So my husband bought me the Cherry Blossom and Coral fabric from Raspberry Creek Fabrics for Valentine’s day, so essentially, this hoodie is my Valentine’s Day gift this year, and I LOVE IT!

Halifax Hoodie
Halifax Hoodie – View D

Now, this was not my very first time sewing an indie sewing pattern before, I have actually sewn up 2 indie sewing patterns prior to this (one is still in the making, I will blog about those makes soon).  However, this is the very first indie sewing pattern that I sewed up without any confusion!  Sometimes, in patterns there is wording or illustrations that are sometimes difficult to understand which can cause frustration and you end up sewing something wrong. This usually happens when the pattern is for a more advanced sewer.  With that being said, I do not usually pick out a pattern based on the sewing level, I pick patterns that will suite my style and patterns that I like.  This way, I’m always growing as a sewist.   The instructions were clearly written, the illustrations were easy to understand, it sews up pretty quickly, and, I ABSOLUTELY love the fit!  After trying this on for the very first time, I know that I’m definitely going to be making more.

The only part that I found to be difficult was the drawstrings, which was really my lack of knowledge to use a safety pin at one end to pull the rest through.  Pulling the drawstrings through to the right side must have taken me at least 30 minutes, but now I know for next time to use a safety pin and it will go a lot faster!  The one thing I really liked about this pattern, is how the sleeves are sewn and attached to the bodice, I really like this method!

DSCF1636 (2)
Beautiful Stripe Matching

Lining up the stripes isn’t difficult at all, its more nerve-racking than anything.  Of course you want your makes to be close to perfect, and when it comes to stripes I want them to line up.  For my non sewing friends, next time you go clothes shopping, take a look at striped tops on the rack and see if the stripes line up.  I find a lot times the stripes on RTW (ready to wear) clothing does not line up.

In the sewing community, they often talk about tried and true patterns.  A lot of sewists have mentioned the Halifax Hoodie being a tried and true pattern, now after making this one I can definitely see why they say it is.  It fits really well and it is super comfortable.  I can definitely see myself wearing this hoodie at least twice a week, if not more!

The pattern is a PDF download, meaning that as soon as you pay, you will receive the pattern sent to your email.  This way, you can start sewing right away.  It was really quick to print the pattern, put it together and cut it out.  There is a layer feature in the PDF, meaning that you can have only your size print out instead of all the sizes printed out and highlighting your size line and then cutting it out.  The pattern also comes with 5 different views, this is view D with a funnel neck and a kangaroo pocket.  The next version I’d like to sew up is view B, which is essentially a sweatshirt with a high-low hem.  Be prepared to see a couple more Halifax Hoodie makes up on the blog in the near future!

Halifax Hoodie
Cherry Blossom & Coral French Terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience with the Halifax Hoodie!

 

“The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.”  —  John Green