Me made march reflectionsApril 15, 2014

The Year of Denim
Results:
This year I learned a lot about making and wearing denim, and after wearing my overalls (almost) every day, I made another pair of jeans with improvements. I am also in the process of constructing another pair of sweet overalls for a client. Here is my newest pair of highwaisted trouser cut denims. The inside of the front pocket is lined with a soft worn denim scrap for comfort.1trouser

2trouser

3trouser

Some downsides to my original dream overalls:
1. Although the six button closure LOOKS pretty nice, it sure did take a long time going to the bathroom. Especially if I was wearing a sweater that I had to remove before I could take off my suspenders to pull down my pants. What an ordeal! For the second pair of overalls I’m making, I’m using hidden functional zippers with decorative sailor buttons. Much more practical!

2. Speaking of buttons and practical wear, I found that the original metal shank buttons I sewed on proved too weak paired with the heavy fabric, and subjected to nearly constant wear. Or rather, the heaviest thread I could find was still too weak to handle the stress and pressure. My top right button fell off on day 10, and top left on day 12. Bottom left fell off day 15. When making my second pair, I tried the hammer-in buttons designed specifically for jeans. It has proven quite sturdy so far, 2 weeks in. To think I had never tried them before! I will definitely use denim buttons for future custom jeans. I will also reinforce the corduroy pockets by backing it with denim. The difference in strength of the two fabrics was made apparent. Denim won!4overalls

3. The fabric I used was an unwashed raw denim, and without doing the proper tests and research, I washed them in the machine and put them through the dryer. It caused the colour to make a mottled, marbly effect, lost a lot of stiffness, and developed a soft, almost fuzzy surface feel. Here is the back of the knee shot of the first pair (washed black denim) and the second pair (unwashed navy denim) for comparison. 5denimwashed

6denimunwashed

I googled wearing raw denim and found a whole subculture of creating your own wear patterns in stiff, raw denim. I am doing this with my new jeans, and I will be posting my wear progress.

Reflections:
In terms of my mental experience throughout the month, I did find it hard to wear my overalls everywhere I went. They were just too casual for some events, and I really like to get dressed up. I’d estimate I wore them for a good 80% of the month. I did manage to transform them into jeans by tucking in the bib and removing the suspenders to offer an alternative.

Also, I found that wearing my overalls so intensively gave me a chance to observe the wear patterns at a sped up rate. I was made aware of weak areas, and was also able to make improvements as problems came about. The sped up wear process gave me lots of information on how to prevent these problems in the future.

In the general mindset of wardrobe improvements, I fixed a ton of stuff for my family, taking in shirts to make them fit better, reinforcing worn out mitts and snowpants, repairing torn seams and worn knees, and giving too-small favourite clothes another life. Gratuitous cuteness with repaired mitts!7mittfix

All in all, Me Made March this year was a valuable learning experience and a fruitful time of production.

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