27 Jan 2022 • • by Amy

Team Makes: Blare Makes Jennys!

Blare re export-1

Hi! First time guest on the CCP blog here; I’m Blare (@buguniverse), the person in charge of fulfillment over at Core Fabrics. In practice, this means I hang out on the other end of the studio up to my eyeballs in various textiles. What this doesn’t mean is that I know how to sew. Despite my lack of experience in sewing, I do have a powerful creative drive (I make zines, paint, bookbind on my website which you can see here) and a thirst for hobbies requiring attention, which I have channeled into my second-ever make: the Jenny Overalls. These aren’t any regular Jennys, thanks to the expertise of my colleagues and a lot of inopportune pestering by yours truly, they are bootcut Jennys!

I started with our gorgeous organic cotton canvas, in Charcoal. Since it’s super-wide, I only needed about a yard and a half even though I was sewing the project in a size 16. I trucked it, a hardware kit, some thread, and myself over to my colleague Anna’s house, where we promptly realized I’d forgotten the pattern at home. Whoops. Luckily, she has a printer and I have a bank account, so one quick PDF purchase later and we were in business! Our original strategy for de-widening the legs was to do some alterations from the knee down, which would later reveal itself to be a mistake.

Team Makes: Blare Makes Jennys // Closet Core Patterns
The initial attempts

We also added a few inches into the inseam, as I have real long legs. We cut out the pieces (once Anna’s cat stopped lying on the pattern), and Anna took up pressing duty while I began the sewing. The bib went well.

Team Makes: Blare Makes Jennys // Closet Core Patterns

The illustrations in the instruction booklet helped immensely with visualizing the work before actually doing it. The legs were a little bit rocky, as I’d decided to put in pockets. We made them out of some gorgeous scrap cotton Anna had in her stash, then spent a while trying to figure out how the stabilizers in the pockets were supposed to work before realizing that they did not in fact poke out the front of the pants and were just plain stabilizers. A few stitches later and they looked pretty legit. I redid the topstitching on the back pockets a few times before getting the curve just right, which was time well spent cause they do look pretty sick on the final product. Next: the leg seams and the dreaded zip. I went for the double zip view just out of a desire for ultimate pant comfort; I probably could have done one zip had I had the expertise to make a muslin pair beforehand. The side seams went smoothly, and the zips went in surprisingly easily. Did they go in evenly? No. But they work fine and my overalls haven’t fallen off yet, so I’ll count it as a success. By the time we got to putting the waistband on the pants, it was getting late, so I decided to try on the project in progress. We realized, to the surprise of likely no experienced sewists reading this, that only narrowing from below the knee did not in fact narrow the whole leg, so I had created myself a pair of what were essentially tapered JNCOs.

It's not a fail; it's a learning success!

It was late, we were both tired, so I thanked Anna profusely and bid her adieu, with the promise that I’d work on the pants the next week with the various resources available at work. So a few days later I came in with pants in tow to ask Monserratt and Veronik for their help. Veronik promptly redrew the seams on the legs, then Monserratt helped me with the daunting task of basting said seams.

It's easy when you know how...

And once those were done, tried on, and approved by all parties, I was then asked to seam rip quite a chunk of my hard work out. But hey, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing right! Once all alterations were made, basted, and approved, I was then given the green light to use the dreaded serger. Which I promptly managed to unthread. Half an hour of wrestling later, the seams were finished beautifully. I now owe both colleagues treats and or sweets because they graciously helped me out despite facing an imminent deadline. (THANK YOU) At this point, the pant part was pretty much done save the waistband. I had to wait another day, this time for Tereska to come by and drop off her old sewing machine (did I mention that I did not own a sewing machine when starting this project?) before continuing progress on that portion of the make. Then I ran out of thread. Then, FINALLY, with thread and pants in hand, I sweated through a few hours of waistband wrangling, seam ripping, sewing things on insides together instead of right sides together, and HEMMING. I sewed my first ever buttonholes. I got my cast iron skillet and hammer out, and installed the jeans buttons with a minimum of cursing. And finally, after about a week and a half and many trials and tribulations, I have a pair of overalls. And boy how I love them. I do not want to take them off. I want to wear these things until they literally fall off my body, or until they smell really bad, whichever comes first. (If it’s the latter, I’ll just wash them and then put them back on.)

They fit perfectly around the waist, the pockets look gorgeous and are delightfully functional, the legs are long enough, and they are a lovely addition to my wardrobe that I’m excited to wear for years to come. However, they’re not perfect! The hemming is… Well, it leaves something to be desired. The buttonholes, while functional, are pretty scuffed-looking. The topstitching on the waistband is uneven and wiggly. There’s about four different colours of thread across the whole garment, depending on where you look. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m not a perfectionist! This make taught me a great deal about not just the process of garment making, but about the patience necessary to create something on this scale. When I first mentioned that I was interested in making a pair of overalls, I was met with a lot of raised eyebrows; I now very much understand why. Beyond that, knowing that someone as much of a novice as I am can (with support and a LOT of asked questions) sew something as ambitious as this project really hammers home that truly, ANYONE can sew. It just takes patience, time, and energy- and the willingness to rip out your seams, curse, and try again.

Thanks Blare~!

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