Saturday, January 21, 2012

"No Charlotte, I will not go pants shopping!" said Joe

I started off today working with TNT Skipper again. Last night I spent some time doing some research trying to find something I liked to inspire me in dressing any of the dolls that are still waiting to get some clothes. I found a picture online of a dress that I liked last night, but waited until this morning to start working on it. I had the supplies on hand, and the patterns already picked out in my head by the time I sat down to make it. As I was working on it, it (just like the last one) kept changing as time went on. When my original idea isn't working out, I tweak this, and change that and by the end I have a dress that's pretty different, which sometimes I like better than the original idea.
This was not one of these times. I was not finished with it, and I was already very displeased with it. So I gave up. Maybe I'll come back to it, but at that moment I was so annoyed with this project (and my last few un-blogged ones) being such failures that I was ready to turn off my machine...forever. It's just so frustrating when you have a series of projects crash and burn so spectacularly when they're really not that advanced compared to other stuff you've been doing.
But I didn't give up. Instead I started another project that I've been avoiding, making Joe some jeans. Back when he was on his original body he had a default outfit (most people in the collection have one, ((except Charlotte) it's what they're usually stuck wearing). Joe's outfit had a pair of jeans that looked really good on him. When he upgraded to his next body he wasn't able to wear them anymore. The super low crotch wouldn't allow them to fit. I made him a pair of pants out of jeans material for his new body, but I never cared for how he looked in them (all pants looked off with that body), so he never wore them. I think they might be the pair that Pierre ended up with, and quite honestly, he can keep them.
But like you all know, Joe got a new body, and with that comes a new wardrobe, since his new body doesn't fit any of his older clothes. So I've been working on that. I've been working on drafting a pattern for pants that will fit. It's taken me several drafts, and several dozen test pairs but I feel like I've got a decent enough pattern. But after making a working basic pattern, then comes... adapting it up the wazoo! I like getting the most out of my patterns. Just as the seven women currently wearing something made from that same bodice pattern. Jeans were really one of the things that I wanted Joe to have in his new upgraded wardrobe. But these wouldn't be simple jean pants with some sewn on embellishments, I wanted ones with front (fake) pockets. I started off by examining a pair of Ken jeans that were basically what I wanted to get an idea how the pattern pieces should look. I drew up a new pattern incorporating how the Mattel made pair went together, but with the proportions of the pair that I drafted.
The pattern looked decent, so I quickly stitched together a practice pair. They were a good start, but I needed to fix a couple spots. Mainly the pocket placement and the side seams. So I drafted another pattern. Again sewed up another practice pair. These fit much better in the side seam, but needed to fix the pocket a bit more. So this time I just changed the pocket size, using the same pattern, now dubbed "Pattern Version 2.5". I felt confident that these would work, so I actually cut out the pieces from some denim that I had. And started to construct them. I worked very slowly. Stopping several times to check the fit and see how they were looking. A couple of time I did have to remove some stitching and redo it, but it was only a couple of times. I really focused and took my time with these. I really did not have to redo these. It was a little nerve wracking a couple times when I was doing the top stitching, and when I was sewing though several layers of denim at one time, but I managed to make them. (And not break a needle!) Not to toot my own horn, but I was really impressed how they came out. I did have a minor issue with the crotch being too low, but I was able to take in the inseam and make them fit better. I even zigzagged all the inside seams to stop them from fraying. I finished them today too. They close in the back with two snaps, I usually do one, but it was showing a little too much backside, and I want these pants to be as good as they can be.
I will say that Joe looks really good in them, and pretty awesome with his thumbs in his pockets. I don't have plans to make these pants again (which is why I wanted them to come out decently the first time), but I do have the option to make pants like these again. I do have some corduroy... and I will say that I still need to make him a pair of formal black pants, so you might see this pattern again, eventually. But first I'm going to revel in the awesomeness of the jeans that I just made!
(Still not looking forward to shirts however!)