05/03/2016

IndieSew Spring Collection | Birkin Flares

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresHullo! Today is the final stop on the Indiesew Spring Collection Tour and I am here representing #teambirkinflares! That’s right. Made some jeans (dusts knuckles on shoulder). And I fully credit Lauren and her jeans drafting prowess with the fact that these may be the best fitting pair of pants I’ve ever owned. The idea that I made them, is too ridiculous. It’s a dream. I’ve been coveting a pair of the high-waisted Birkin’s for myself after seeing everyone else’s (see Kelly’s and Oona’s and Sara’s and…) and it can only be described as divine timing that Indiesew’s Spring Collection Tour came when it did.  I already had the pattern in my stash but without a deadline I’m sure I would have simultaneously avoided and pined for them all season. Sewing pants is traditionally, not my thing and jeans…JEANS are were THE PINNACLE! I mean, who makes their own jeans? Really.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresIf you’re curious or tempted to sew jeans, it is really worth having a go. Actually, I don’t think this can be considered having a ‘go’; with Lauren’s impeccable and beginner friendly instructions, it’s impossible to come out the other side with anything but a pair of beautifully finished, store-bought-looking jeans. For me the biggest concern was fit. I so wanted to believe it was possible to make a pair of jeans with perfect-fit. It seemed like an absurd undertaking to sew a pair of jeans that could end up with a less than satisfactory fit. Still, it was a possibility. I had to TRUST.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresSpecifically I was worried about sizing. Anyone who’s ever bought a pair of jeans that were a ‘great’ fit in store only to have them bag-out after a few wears, knows, it’s a grief that runs deep. This happened to me again and again until I figured out that a pair of jeans needs to be borderline too tight in the change-room, to be a perfect fit once they relax. This is a terrible idea if the jeans have no stretch. However, I was feeling confident that the denim I was using for my Birkin’s, the dreamy, US-milled, 11.5 ounce, Cone Mills denim (currently sold out but others available), was going to follow the rules. I measured a 28 across both waist and hips which is my normal RTW jeans size. But before cutting, I did some considerable Birkin Flare sizing research (stalking your blogs) to gauge whether to size down or not. A problem I often run into with pants is that being a little taller I need the ‘seat depth’ of the larger size but the hip width of a smaller size. So, I figured it was safer to go the 28 and take the sides in; an adjustment I was confident I could deal with.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresThis is where the ingenious instructions made it even easier to get the fit right. By having you baste the side seams together, once all the main parts, back yoke, fly, front pockets, are complete, there’s no ‘I think they will still fit like this after I put the fly in’. It’s a guarantee! Instead of a 5/8″ seam I basted my side seams together with a 7/8″ seam. I’m guessing that taking this much off actually put them at the equivalent of a 27 which, combined with the seat depth of the 28, was just right. But having taken so much out of the sides, looking at the above photo I feel I could have moved the pockets closer to the centre back seam. When it came to attaching the waistband, I re-marked it with the size 27 markings and basted it first to make sure I could eat lunch. I can. I know ‘perfect’ is a dirty word that we sewists don’t flash around willy nilly but when the fit is wriggle-in, jump up and down, get-into-dem-jeans-dance p.e.r.f.e.c.t, you’re allowed to scream it from the mountain tops!

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresOne thing I really enjoy about the sewing process is making design decisions. Which colour buttons? Contrast hem? I love putting thought into this stuff! But it can be kind of paralysing. That’s when we pass responsibility over to Instagram. I was actually looking forward to sewing a “basic” for once because I thought it meant time-out from decision making. I mean, jeans are jeans. There’s just a button and some top-stitching, right? Err, no. It went more like this…silver or copper button? Rivets or no rivets? Neutral or gold top-stitching? Plain or embellished pockets? Wait, what sort of pockets, welts? It was popping a cork on a red I didn’t even know I had! I knew I wanted a dark blue denim and preferred neutral / invisible top stitching, like this pair. I went with plain pockets from the size below with a (conspiracy) theory that smaller pockets make your ass look smaller. I chose a muted brass button over copper because I didn’t want it to be a stand-out feature. I deepened the hem to 2.5″ because I thought it looked, um, rad. That’s what the kids were saying in the 70’s right? And I decided no rivets because they detracted from the minimalist, dress jean vibe I was going for.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresUsually an up-coming fly section is enough to induce mild fight or flight. But the instructions for inserting the fly here were uh-mazing. And yes you were all right, top stitching IS fun, even without an edge-stitch foot. Having the Baste + Gather Facebook group available is invaluable, especially when you panic over why your zip is 3″ longer than in the pictures (you shorten it later). There were only two sections in the entire thing I couldn’t figure out. One, was how to remove the extra teeth from the zipper using the pliers. I tried. My burly dad tried. In the end I just grabbed a quick-unpick and sliced off the extra teeth, solved! The other was transferring the fly top stitching guide lines to the fabric. I’m still not sure what method everyone else was using but I couldn’t see how I would get the chalk pen to go through my easy-trace onto the jeans below. So I traced over the lines in chalk pen, flipped it off and then rubbed off the markings onto the jean and went back over it. Genius! Or maybe we were supposed to do that.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresThere were so many tips and tricks I learned along the way. Things I would never think of doing. Having now sewn the Birkins, these are a few that really made a difference to the sewing process and my enjoyment levels:

  • Hammering the back of the belt loops flat before sewing made them really easy to sew to the jeans with bar tacks.
  • Using a couple of layers of folded denim to level out the foot when sewing the belt loops to the jeans.
  • If you don’t have fray-check you can carefully melt the ends of the belt loops with, um, fire.
  • If your machine doesn’t love sewing the button hole with top-stitch thread, you can feed two spools of normal thread into the needle instead – this worked a treat on both the button hole and all the bar tacks for the belt loops.
  • Double sided tape is a great alternative for sticking the back pockets in place, pre-sewing.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | Birkin FlaresGet your copy of the pattern here.

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Comments

  • Helenwrote:

    These look amazing! the fit *is* perfect, as is the topstitching and everything else. Great job!!!

  • TamsinW-Pwrote:

    These jeans are amazing – I have not made the Birkins, but have made the Ginger jeans and it is amazing how much better they fit than rtw! Whilst I love your jeans, I really love your top! Did you make that too? very dramatic!

  • salliewrote:

    These are so wonderful! I love sewing jeans, but they can be a bit of a ‘project’ with all the little decisions and switching out the thread and what not. You did a freaking fabulous job on your first go! I’m so impressed! I’d really like a pair of flared denim but I’m not totally confident I can pull them off. If I had your fabulous top to pair with them I would definitely be riding that Birkin train to 70’s town! Is that RTW or did you make it? Regardless, we need some details!! Its making my eyes all sorts of happy!

  • Ivonawrote:

    Amazing job on the jeans and top to go with them, as well as the platforms! Totally groovy look!

  • Viviwrote:

    You did an amazing job with these jeans! I’m definitely getting more and more tempted by the idea of sewing my own jeans, especially because denim fabric is quite affordable but I feel that ready-made jeans (even the ones that are not made in USA or Europe, that’s a different thing) are often way too expensive, compared to the quality. This post has given me hope that maybe one of these days I’ll attack this project, too 😉

  • Miewrote:

    Gosh, I don’t think I have seen anyone not look amazing in the Birkin Flares and you are no exception. AMAZING work and as always fabulous fabulous styling. And another hilarious post 🙂 Thank you for being you!

  • Sashawrote:

    The styling, the pictures and of course the BIRKINS! … yup … speechless – cool girls are cool no matter what! If I hadn’t already bought the pattern, after seeing this I would! I am waiting for warmer days to make and wear them – I don’t know why but I equate flares with warmth and sunshine … maybe it’s that flower power history they carry 🙂

  • Rhondawrote:

    When I needed to transfer a fly top stitching guide, I traced the stitching guide onto another piece of paper and cut it out on the stitching line. I then placed this new guide onto the material and used chalk to draw the stitching line onto the material. It worked beautifully!

  • allie J.wrote:

    O.M.G. AMAZING. every new pair of birkins i see increases my need to make them. and WHERE is that top from or did you make it? We need details!!!

  • Suewrote:

    I was almost bought Cynthia Rowley flair pants pattern but i may should try this pattern first.
    Your whole outfit is just what i was dreaming. beauuuutiful as usual.

  • katiewrote:

    They’re fabulous! Reminds me of why I love making jeans so much. I’m glad you’re a convert and nailed it first try!

  • Sheryllwrote:

    They look lovely on you! Really like the denim and your minimalist topstitching approach. I haven’t made jeans for years because of all the notions needed, but you’ve just shown it can be done with less!

  • Lizwrote:

    Love! I want to echo everyone else and say WE NEED MORE INFO ABOUT THAT TOP. It is perfection.

  • Christywrote:

    Great jeans and I like the matching top stitching thread.

  • Ashleywrote:

    Okay, so the jeans are f*ing awesome, but so is that top. You are totally rockin the 70s vibe! Love it all!

  • Michellewrote:

    This outfit is EPIC! love the jeans and like you I have been stalking everybody’s blog checking the Birkins out. Those with that blouse makes the world a better place! I’m all over that 70’s vibes and you got it going on.

  • Rosiewrote:

    Lookin’ mighty fly

  • Jillian - SewUnravelledwrote:

    You’re so ridic. Ridiculously amazeballs! Your jeans!! I need to go order me an edgestitch foot because I don’t care what you say. I can’t face all that topstitching unarmed. Nup.

  • eimearwrote:

    stunning. i am dithering on making these, as I have yet to see a pair on a pear-shape…. but I may yet. that top fabulous…………..perfect combination and I love the same colour thread – where did you get/make that top?

  • PsychicSewerKathleenwrote:

    What beautiful outfit. I was just so impressed with you jeans – I have a pattern, book and denim all ready to go for my first jeans but I admit to being daunted. You’ve inspired me though just looking at how great these jeans look on you. Love your blouse too! It’s lovely 🙂

  • Kate Carvalhowrote:

    Sensational! I’m off to buy the pattern now!

  • ebonyhwrote:

    Trying to convince myself I don’t need this pattern because I’m already a very happy owner of the wonderful Ginger Jeans pattern. But I’m seeing Amazing Birkins Everywhere! The fit on your pair is truly perf & I love your choice to keep the finishings clean + modern.

    But, ahem, I think I read this entire post and found not a single mention of THAT TOP. Babe, please tell me it’s not RTW so you can provide some insights on how to make myself one too because I’ll be dreaming of those sleeeeeeeeeeves.

  • Kay Dwrote:

    Ditto every one else’s statements. Those jeans are perfection on everyone I’ve seen them on so far! But also THAT TOP!!!!! Please tell us what pattern that is/how you made it!

  • Sonjawrote:

    GIRRRRRRRL! Are you kidding me???? These are too fabulous and you are WAY too fabulous! Bravo!

  • Morganwrote:

    You’re right, there are so many little design choices when it comes to jeans! I like all the ones you made, especially the subtle top-stitching. I’ve got some of this exact denim waiting for me and seeing what you did with yours is making me amped to cut into it!

  • Dariwrote:

    Your jeans look amazing and you did a fabulous job putting together your outfit. You definitely have the 70’s vibe going for you in these pics. Also, that top is too cute. Did you make it? Maybe you could share the pattern you used with us? 😉

  • Wednesday Weekly #28 | Helen's Closetwrote:

    […] outfit from Ada Spragg is too fabulous for […]

  • carlawrote:

    Wow the skill level…something to aspire to. More about the top please….it’s perfection!!

  • kristinwrote:

    SOPH. they’re stunning. you did an amazing job on the jeans, and i love these photos too!!

  • Beth - Sew DIYwrote:

    These look amazing!! I made the Birkin Flares last month and it was really fun. I think I need to make the tall girl adjustment for more seat depth too. Something to try next time. 🙂

  • freniewrote:

    Wow, that’s fantastic! You did such a great job on this pattern making!

  • Allisonwrote:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post more info about that top. It’s to die for!

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