Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather

If you haven't been living in a hole in the ground -- or even if you have, chances are that these days most holes in the ground probably have Internet access -- you'll have heard about the much-anticipated Birkin Flares by Baste + Gather. And why not, because they are freakin' amazing! (Oh no, did I just say "freakin'"?) They have made everyone who has made them look so, so good. Even my sorry butt looks decent in them.


Okay. These jeans. Ermagah. I don't know where to start. Having been sewing for just a few years, in my head I am still a "confident beginner" when it comes to sewing. So when I applied to test these jeans, never did I in a million years expect to be chosen. Friends, I have never sewn jeans for myself before. I have never sewn PANTS for myself before. What was I getting into? And confession: though I printed and taped the pattern right away, I was very intimidated about starting. But that's one of the great things about testing. You have no choice but to put your fears aside, suck it up and sew. And I am so glad I did.

I had some leftover denim from when I made the Poppy's Peplum Pants from FAM, and so I decided to use it for my tester version. They are super sparkly even though it doesn't really show up in the photos, and they have the recommended 2% stretch. I'd say they are about a 12oz denim. I got myself some denim thread, some yellow topstitching thread (actually, I don't think it technically is topstitching thread, since I don't know how to say it in Japanese, so instead I bought some thread meant for leather, but that seemed to do the trick - mostly), a thick denim needle (#16), and prayed that my machine would survive the test.

The first part went pretty well, and I managed to cut out all the pieces and make the pockets. And this is what things look like when you don't have a serger and you try to make due with zig zag stitches:


It's not beautiful, but it does the trick. By the way, this picture is of my second pair (2% stretch, 10oz denim) because I neglected to photograph my first pair. Hope this isn't confusing.


Here I am cutting out the pocket placement piece (the piece that says not to cut  -- but don't worry; I didn't cut the pocket out of the actual leg piece, in case you were worried). I just cut the piece out of the pattern itself so that I could place the pocket more accurately. I'm sure there are better ways of doing this, but sometimes you gotta do what makes the most sense to you.


Now I can see that you're wondering whether the triple stitching around the pocket is (a) functional, (b) an intentional design aspect, or (c) an attempt to cover up a mistake. If you chose (c) you would be correct. You are supposed to stitch the lines 1/4" apart, but I messed up that part and attempted to make up for it by sewing three topstitching lines. It would have been nice if I'd done that with the top of the pockets for symmetry, but meh. No going back now. You can see from my first picture that I didn't make the same mistake twice, thankfully.


In case you didn't believe me about working on a regular machine, this is what I did to help myself remember what lengths I used for what. Not that I recommend writing on your machine or anything, ha ha.

The other tricky part of making the jeans (other than the zip fly -- gahhh, but that was completely my fault for pulling the zip pull up too high to the point that it came off the zipper completely. And this was AFTER Lauren warned us not to do that, doh!) was the belt loops.


I took a regular household hammer and pounded those things down as instructed. And because I was working slowly and the denim was pretty stiff, I didn't want to take the chance that they would open back up. I didn't want to leave them under a book, because well, who has books lying around these days when you can use your Kindle I knew that I would forget that I'd left them under the book and I'd be tearing up the house looking for them later. Enter my Wonder Clips. Yay!

Now was the time for the bartacks. Oh, fellow sew-ers, how my machine HATED doing those bartacks. I can't tell you how many times I had to unpick them.


Many angry words were muttered under my breath as I manually forced the belt loops through. But it all got done in the end. And my machine and I became friends once again. Because, well....I made jeans, people!!! They aren't perfect, but I was so happy.


In fact, I went and tried them on right away and asked my 4-year-old daughter to take pictures of me.


These are the first version of the Birkin Flares in a size 25. I am around 5'1" so I took 4 inches off the length for myself (in the pattern, they are a 34" inseam, as is the case with most designer denim). I usually wear my inseam at 29.5"-30", so this was just right. They turned out to be a bit big on me overall, surprisingly, considering the last time I wore tight-fitting jeans was before I had children, and I don't think I need to tell you that there is no way I can fit into those jeans anymore. Lauren suggested I try making my next pair a size smaller. She also brought in the back yoke by 2 inches and shortened the fly.


This second pair came together so much more easily (except for the fly mishap). Here I am doing some weird hand-tucking-in motion because I never know what to do with my hands in photos. And a look at the back:


These fit so much better and despite the fact that I had to wiggle into them, they are super comfortable. I am already looking forward to making my next pair.


Ha ha, how's that for a sort of 70s photo vibe. Does it work? I feel like I should have brought my guitar along and sang some Bob Dylan or Joan Baez songs. Ha!

Oh and I guess you're wondering what I did with the fly, since I didn't seem to get any decent photos of it. Well, because I was too lazy to rip out the zip and sew in another one wanted to try something new and different, I thought I would give the button fly a go. It obviously wasn't planned out very well, and done while I was a bit frustrated, so you will see that I have an extra button that I probably didn't need. But I still think it'll do. A Google search taught me that some vintage jeans have exposed buttons on the fly. Also, the other day as I was going through the advertisements in my inbox, I saw that J Brand had done something similar for this season. So there you go -- I'm finally on trend, ha ha ha!!! As if.

Photo on the left is from J Brand. Gah, I don't know why my photo is sooooo yellow. Hello, can anyone teach me how to use Photoshop?? Lol.

So there you have it. My adventure into making jeans! And who doesn't want a pair of jeans that fit as if they were made just for you?? Correction: not "as if" but "because"!!!

And word on the street is that there is an expansion pack in the works. Read: skinny jeans! If flares aren't the way to go for you, then you're covered. Because with this pattern, you can do skinnies, slim leg, cigarette leg, bootcut leg -- the sky is your limit! You can make the adjustments you want to for jeans that fit you just right. And who doesn't want that?

Get them here, and don't forget to enter the code BIRKINRELEASE to get $2 off! Good until Sunday, December 13 at 11:59 PST. Lauren is also offering all of her other patterns at 50% discount. How amazing is that!!! You don't even need a code. Get them here.

Thanks for visiting!

12 comments:

  1. OMG! Great jeans! I honestly like the buttons on the front! Cant wait to see your skinny version... pls tell me you will be doing that one too! :)

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    1. Lol! I'm glad you like the buttons -- I am hoping that Lauren does a tutorial for a proper button fly, ha ha! And yes, I am working on a skinny version but please don't get your hopes up because I'm not really a skinny jeans person.... ;)

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  2. Emi, you look great! And those jeans look perfect to me! :-)

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    1. Oh Patricia, you always say the sweetest things! Thank you so much!

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  3. This jeans are perfect and they fit you so well! Love the button fly!

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    1. Thank you, Maria! I have to say they are really comfortable!!

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  4. Wow! They look so good and perfect to me :0)

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    1. Thank you so much! I do love them and am planning on making another pair -- or two!!

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  5. I thought the first pair looked great, but then, wow! The second pair!!!!
    Love the photos too. You've captured the flare vibe perfectly! Nice one Emi.

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    1. Aw, you're so nice, Shelley, thanks so much! I'm still so amazed at how the same pattern can seem so different depending on the fabric you use. ;)

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  6. You are freakin awesome Emi! I was looking forward to reading about your jeans sewing adventures, so finally catching up now :) Girl, you rock! Seriously! The jeans look super cool on you. You make me believe I cam make them, too!

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    1. That is so sweet of you to say, Jenya, but I could say the same about you and your makes! Totally inspiring and beautiful -- all of them! And you can definitely make these jeans. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can!!! Go go go!

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