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Closet Case Files

Everyday outfit: Black Ginger Jeans, Striped Lark Tee

November 30, 2017

I’m always in need of basics, so I’m glad that I finally finished these black Ginger Jeans.

Lately, I have been making Gingers in a size 6 (my flares really helped me get a handle on my sizing). I decided to try shaving off a 1/4″ from the crotch to see if I could take out some extra-fabric-wrinkles that I get sometimes, and this worked out well. I’m happy to see that this change is also in the updated version of the pattern itself.  I tried the jeans on after basting them together and realized too late that this denim has less stretch in it than I was expecting–I could barely squeeze into them! Thankfully, those 5/8th seam allowances gave me the room I needed. I serged them together to create the narrowest seam allowance possible and ran an another seam just inside the serging, for added strength.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good, saturated black stretch denim for some time. This Marc Jacobs denim came from Mood and I’m very sorry to see that they are sold out because I would order ten more yards if I could. It’s dense and soft and practically perfect.

When I saw that I was out of denim hardware, I put this project aside and nearly forgot about it. Once the hardware arrived, I got the bag of rivets out of the package to see how they would look with the denim and promptly lost them in the Bermuda Triangle of Mess that is my sewing room. What started as a scavenger hunt for some tiny rivets led me to a three-day cleaning/organizing marathon (which I desperately needed to do). After the rivets were finally located (and celebrated on Instagram), I immediately installed them fearing I’d lose track of them again!

This was the first time that I’ve made the Lark Tee pattern from Grainline Studios. I opted to make the boat neck version out of this delightfully squishy, bamboo cotton from Blackbird Fabrics, which I discovered is pretty close to the fabric that Grainline used for their original samples. Unfortunately, I also discovered that I didn’t like the neckline of the front piece; it felt too scooped-out for me. So, in a quick and easy fix, I made the shirt from two back pieces, which gave me exactly what I was looking for. I was able to achieve some pretty epic stripe-matching on this shirt (through patience and many, many pins) culminating with some great design…in the armpits! This shirt feels relaxed, but not so relaxed that I couldn’t wear it to work. I’ve already got a few other Lark tees in various stages of completion, but this one went right into my clothing rotation.


Project: Black Denim Ginger Jeans

Total Cost: $60

Pattern: $16 (since I already own this pattern, I subtract this cost from my wardrobe updates)

Fabric: $32

Notions: $12

Fit: Size 6 with 1/4″ taken out of the front crotch length

Fabric country of origin: Italy

What to work on: keeping track of my supplies. Project bags, project bags, project bags!


Project: Lark Tee from Grainline Studio

Total Cost:$54

Pattern: $22

Fabric: $30


Fit: Size 6, made with two back pieces and 1 inch of length taken out of the upper chest.

Fabric Country of Origin: China



Office Prep: Named Sointu Kimono Tee and Printed Ginger Jeans

November 1, 2016

Cropped Ginger Jeans ep_04ep_07ep_05 ep_03

One of my goals for this project was to create pieces that I could easily wear in a professional work setting. It can be a challenge to find ready-to-wear items that are a). age-appropriate and b). not boring. When I do find things I like I often have to alter them to fit properly anyway. I seem to be right in-between regular and petite sizing (I’m 5’2) and I have a curvy shape.

I stumbled across this great printed stretch-twill while looking for fabric to cover some chairs. It was mysteriously labeled “assorted denim” and I’m quite happy to report that it works easily for clothing. I used the Ginger Jeans pattern as a base, but eliminated many of the classic jean styling elements – including back pockets! I knew I would have matched the pattern of the pockets with the pant legs and they would have hopefully visually disappeared, so there didn’t seem to be much point in having them. I also have the Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers on my cutting table right now, but I prefer the higher waist of the Gingers – it’s very helpful when I am out on my bike. I am a frequent cyclist and having professional clothing I can bike in is a real plus.

The top is one that I can see myself creating many versions of, the Named Sointu Kimono Tee. I downloaded the PDF and had the top on in one afternoon! The only change I made was to shorten the length a bit. It’s basic but extremely useful and comfortable. And I can’t make everything in a dazzling print. The fabric is a fine sweater-knit I found at my local chain-store. I’ll be keeping an eye out for some heavier weight knits online – you only need a bit of fabric (I made it work with a 1/2 meter by adding in a seam at the center back and pieced the bias facing together) so I could really splurge if I wanted!

Lastly, thank you to my amazing photographers, the talented duo behind North by North Photography. Alexa and Luke immediately understood what I was looking for and made me laugh so much during our shoot.


Printed Ginger Jeans

Total Cost: 60.48

Pattern: $24 (CAD)

Fabric: $22.48

Notions: $14

Fit: I went with a size 8 since I didn’t really know anything about the fabric content and that worked out quite well. There is a bit of bunching behind the knee, so I might try a full-calf-adjustment in the future.

Techniques: Pattern-matching where possible.

Named Sointu Kimono Tee

Total Cost: $27

Pattern: $10 (CAD)

Fabric: $11

Notions: $6

Fit: No alterations needed.

What to work on: Making more work clothes! I’ve already worn both items many times.



Very Slow Fashion: Carolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co Fabric

October 6, 2016
Carolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co Fabric

Carolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co fabricCarolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co fabricThis project really tested me and not in a way that I was expecting.

These are the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files, made in the Rifle Paper Co rayon from Cotton and Steel. They may be the prettiest things I own. They make me feel like a grown-up (and like I need more sophisticated bedding to match.) They have piping and french seams and I love them.

However, those fancy finishes add significantly to the sewing time and there were several points with this project where I thought, “I could just go buy a pair of pj pants for 12.99 at any store and be done with it.” In 30 minutes, I could have a cute new pair, for the price of a sandwich. There is very little instant gratification in sewing and it’s been surprising to see how trained I am to want something new, right away.

But, they would not be these pajamas. They would be the most basic, cheap things and clothing should not cost the same amount as the lunch special. My gorgeous pajamas are worth every extra bit of time I spent on them. And taking that time is hopefully going to help my brain learn to wait.

Some construction details:

I ended up making a second pair of shorts. The top is a size 6 and fits great, but the shorts are a slim cut and my original size 8 pair just fit. I like a little more lounge in my lounge-wear, so I went up two sizes for the next ones and extended the length of the cuffs. I used the beautiful selvedge edge of the fabric on the pocket and instead of the sleeve cuffs. I tried it as the trim on  the shorts first, but it gave them a bloomer-like effect that I didn’t like.

These pj’s are so soft and floaty! I am delighted with the final product. I will definitely be making flannel pair for the winter.

Project: Carolyn Pajamas in Rifle Paper Co fabric

Total Cost: $109

Pattern: $23 CAD

Fabric: $78

Notions $8

Time: I lost count, but I’d put them in the 15-20 hour range, including PDF assembly.

Fit: No specific alterations, but I’d increase the  width of the arm a bit next time.

What to work on: Patience. Just keep swimming.

Ginger Flares

September 13, 2016
Ginger Flares

Ginger FlaresGinger FlaresGinger FlaresGinger FlaresGinger FlaresOh man, these pants. What a difference from my first pair of Ginger Jeans! I decided to be bold and go down from a size 10 to a size 6 for the Ginger Flares from Closet Case Files. I hardly had to make any alterations to this size. I had measured myself for the last pair, but sometimes I have a hard time believing what the tape says and am convinced that I am either smaller or, most likely, bigger than that. My size also fluctuates easily, so I often feel like I don’t really know where to begin with a pattern.

Making jeans is so fun and easy and satisfying. While custom-fitting can take a bit of time, the actual construction process of jeans is very relaxing. I used the remaining yardage from my Cone Mills Kit, which is slightly lighter in weight and darker in colour than my other fabric. I used a notions kit from Thread Theory for the buttons, rivets, and zipper.

I have seen people with sewing blogs comment that making jeans was addictive, but I didn’t really believe them. Now, I understand. It’s all I want to make! This is great news, since when I started this project, I only had one pair of jeans and while they fit, I didn’t love them and only kept them out of desperation. I’m looking forward to getting rid of that pair and building up my collection.

Project: Ginger Flares

Total Cost: $98.00

Pattern: $18 USD + 7.50 for the flare expansion pack.

Fabric: $65.00. It was the other half was my Cone Mills denim kit from Closet Case Files.

Notions: 7.50

Time: 10 leisurely hours. This includes time for assembling and cutting the PDF expansion for the legs.

Fit: GREAT. I took 1 inch from the back waistline and 1.5 inches off the length, but I might increase that next time.

What to work on: Rivets. I have yet to find that magical balance between too long and too short. I’m either smashing through them or they come off.


The Saga of the Ginger Jeans

September 2, 2016
Ginger Jeans 1

Ginger Jeans 4Ginger Jeans 2GINGERS 5Ginger Jeans 3Ginger Jeans 8

Ginger Jeans 6I made a pair of jeans. I made a pair of jeans.

A fly-front, high-waisted pair of Ginger Jeans.  And they are amazing.

It took what felt like weeks to get here, but really, it’s a simple process of following the steps that Heather, the designer, has very clearly laid out for you. I gave myself a lot more work than was necessary through some groan-inducing mistakes. Here’s how it went:

I cut out some cheapie stretch denim I got at my local chain store to make a practice pair before I used the Cone Mills denim that I have been hoarding from one of the Closet Case Files kits. The fabric store didn’t have the amount I needed as continuous yardage, but I knew it wouldn’t be a problem since I am only 5’2 and the pieces were pretty long.  As I was cutting on a single layer (to avoid pant legs that twist), I needed to flip the pattern pieces to ensure I ended up with the right amount of legs. I did not remember to do this. I discovered my mistake only one I had cut out all the pieces. (The problem was that I did not have mirror images, and one side of each leg would have been inside-out). When I pulled out my other fabric piece, I discovered that not only was it not the same denim, it certainly did not have the same amount of stretch.

But, that piece was big enough to squeeze out all new pattern pieces. Luckily for me, Jenny from Cashmerette was making a pair of Gingers over the same weekend, she kindly live-posted each step on Instagram Stories (thank you, Jenny! So helpful). Top-stitching was going great, and the fly was surprisingly easy. Then I basted the legs together to test the fit.

I couldn’t even get them over my knees.  There wasn’t any stretch to the jeans beyond pulling the fabric across the bias. I laughed, and then I may have cried a little bit. And then I felt stupid for getting upset over an item of clothing. But really, I had wanted to practice. And I had been able to discover that making jeans is not a scary, or even complicated thing. If you have ever successfully put together a piece of furniture from Ikea, you are more than qualified to make jeans.

The next day I reprinted, assembled, and cut out the PDF pattern again (I figured that going up from an 8 to the size 10 wouldn’t be a bad idea) and pulled out that Cone Mills denim. It’s so buttery to cut through! I followed the sewalong posts and ended up taking them in quite a bit (both the inseam and the side seams). I took a wedge out of the center-back seam to help with the gap at the back and angled the side seams in even more at the top. The crotch is still a little long, (though not as long as it appears in the pictures) and the rise is a little too high-rise on me. I’ll go back to the size 8 for the next pair. But these are minor adjustments and this pair is awesome.

Hammering in that last rivet I felt simultaneously burnt out, and a sudden urge to immediately start cutting out another pair. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more satisfaction out of making something. Thank you to Heather for creating such a great pattern and all of the many free resources that go along with it.

I made jeans!

Project: Ginger Jeans

Fabric: Cone Mills Denim

Total Cost:$108

Fabric/Notions: $29 for the cheap denim and $65 USD for all other items inclusively (rivets, buttons, needles, thread, fabric, etc.).

Pattern: $14 USD

Time: 1 week. This in includes all three pairs I started and the PDF printing and cutting. Making the last pair only took a weekend.

Fit: As above.

What to work on: Letting go of being a perfectionist. If I came across this pair in the store, I’d be dancing my way out of the fitting room to show you how great they are.jg

Skills/Techniques: First time I’ve used a cast-iron skillet for sewing!