Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jeans and Trains

Okay. My jeans are a hot mess. And my serger blade is dull, which really messes up the works. But these are practice jeans, and despite the setbacks, I think I’m getting somewhere! It may not look like it, but I did have had some lightbulb moments this week:

1.  I can make jeans that fit and flatter. I really am most concerned that these stash fabric jeans have the fit issues worked out. which, I think is happening.

2.  After pulling out the fly AGAIN, I’m really left with an unsightly disaster up front. But I have been led in the direction of some fly front tutorials:
Debbie Cook, Peter from MPB, and (while not a tutorial), Katie shared her favorite fly front recipe from Jalie Jeans, so I was able to print the instructions from their site to use the next time around.. I see better fly fronts in my future.

This is not a nice fly.


3.  I played around with the idea of a “tummy tuck” panel, and have been exploring some options like extending the pocket linings to the fly or adding an extra bit of structure by way of a separate panel, so I think that will definitely be an element in my future jeans.  

4. I have learned that some combination of denim weight + lycra content are essential to getting a good fit. My fabric did not give good jeans support. I would choose something sturdier.

5.  I need a different foot for topstitching. I think using a narrow foot would be a much better option, especially when topstitching around that fly front mine field of zipper pulls, fly facings and zipper stops. I have the feeling it will give me a little better control.

6. Today, I bought a pair of jeans at Old Navy which fit nicely. I will wear them, and use them as my muse for future jeans sewing endeavors.

     And in other news:
The best thing happened the other day at work. One of our social workers was showing off pictures of her new granddaughter, and I was showing off pictures of my newest grandbabies, and as we chatted, we learned that her Chicago daughter lives about 10 minutes from our Chicago daughter! In fact, as we talked more, she shared that she always takes the train, and then the Metra to the Glen Ellyn station, which is exactly where Amelia lives! As she told me about her train travel experiences, she mentioned she was going again for her baby’s christening in May. The SAME weekend that we are going for our baby’s christening!
So, JR and I are taking the train! I am very, very excited! It’s a brand new adventure for us and seriously makes the most perfect sense since it would cost far more for us to drive, and two extra days of driving time! And my new friend Ellie is going to be riding along both ways with us!
We get to (hopefully) sleep all night and arrive the next morning in Chicago! Needless to say, I am thinking about what I might need to take along for the train ride, and planning an easy to pack weekend wardrobe again.
Have you ever taken a long distance train trip? What things should I absolutely not forget to bring along?


  1. Eat the food in the dining car. Its pretty good. I always take a cooler with fresh fruit, cheese, and bottled water. Hand sanitizer, books on CD or my iPhone, earphones, my own pillow and a lightweight blanket. If you put your seat leg support up all the way and are fortunate to have two seats you can make a "nest" suitable for sleeping. The sleep cars are ok, but quite expensive. Oh, and don't forget your knitting! Traveling on the train is great fun. In the words of my 7 year old granddaughter , "wow, Nana, this is better than television!"

  2. That is amazing about your coworker and how fun to ride the train. Good luck on the jeans, yours will be fabulous. What style were your jeans at Old Navy? I am in need of some new jeans.

  3. Love the train! We took "The Empire Builder" from Milwaukee/Chicago to Portland, OR, when Maddy was just a baby (so, 21 years ago this summer). Our travel with 3 kids was far different than yours will be, but it was really nice... I would love to take another long train trip. We loved the observation car.

  4. You know what you always need some work in the garden jeans.
    Why not sew or embroider some flowers on the pockets...and there you have it, fancy gardening jeans.
    I still remember the train ride from Halifax to Vancouver in 1965 when I was 7.
    Have a great trip.

  5. We love train travel! We have been taking the Auto Train from Virginia to Florida for many years. A wonderful adventure for young children!

    We've never gotten a sleeping berth. As KateinIowa said, too expensive! I also agree with bringing a small blanket and pillow. We make sure we wear some comfortable clothing or bring sweats to change into at night. If you can sleep in a recliner, you can sleep on the train. It rocks you to sleep. The leg room is very generous.

    We each pack a small bag with a change of clothes and some simple toiletries for the morning. I bring a hand towel and face cloth (and Ziploc bag) for the morning freshening up.

    The bathrooms are tricky because of the rocking factor, but you you'll get the hang of it quickly. Sort of brace yourself against the wall while you're washing hands, brushing teeth, or changing clothes! (Warn your hubby... if you know what I mean.) Some of the bathrooms are larger than others. The handicap ones are big enough to change clothes in. Sometimes there is also one with a vanity/dressing area.

    If you have any questions, you know how to reach me. Enjoy!

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