These Are Clothes

Shout-out to Project Runway Season 9 Michael Kors, who used, “This doesn’t look like fashion, it just looks like…clothes!” as an insult, which inspired this title. 😉

Because I have a few repeat-pattern things to share today, I figured it was easiest to just throw them all into one post. And I’m just in time for the Sewcialists “TNT Month” theme, yay!

Ready? Here we go:

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I felt like I should have been on a boat in this outfit!

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…is this how people sit on boats?

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Frontal region

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#derpface

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#nowwith100percentmorederp

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A basic bitch in basic black…

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Yep, it’s a t-shirt!

These are my newest t-shirts! I made them with the Lark pattern, which is definitely my TNT for t-shirts. I love all the options, though I tend to stick to just a few of them (v-necks aren’t my favorite, either to sew or wear). I also love that, for a Grainline pattern, it’s quite long–I don’t have to lengthen it! The two striped ones are the drafted length (with about 5/8″ taken for a hem, I think? I don’t even know the pattern’s hem allowance…), but the black one was shortened about 2″ to make it more summery. One of these days, I will try making a more fitted version; I still feel frumpy in this weird middle ground between fitted and oversized! O_o

The navy/white Lark is bamboo/lycra jersey (Telio!), and the obnoxious yellow/navy one is a rayon/lycra jersey. The basic black tee is a tencel t-shirt knit that I previously used for an Inari a few months ago. I have to say that I’m not so pleased with how this last material is wearing: it pills very early into its life cycle. (And that’s from someone who will absolutely wear non-underwear things more than once before washing them whenever possible. O_o ) But that said, having a plain black un-cropped tee in my wardrobe again has been a lifesaver! Now I just need to make more, in a hardier material!

Meanwhile, I am putting together a list of “cool” knit top and dress patterns, because I feel like I’m wasting my bamboo/lycra jersey if I only ever make basic t-shirts with it! It drapes and stretches wonderfully, so I’m hoping to take full advantage of that with some twists and stuff. Ditto for the stash of wool/lycra jerseys I’ve built up. Watch this space! In the meantime, do you have any “cool” jersey top or dress pattern recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!

And speaking of knit tops, here are 2 more:

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

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Loud-ass outfit

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How I feel about my tummy showing most of the time…

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It’s cooooooooooold

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Sulky Mads

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Back view, with an “oops”

These are Lexi A-line tops by Named (of course). Both are made from scuba knits, which I LOVE for cold-weather garments. I am always cold, and this shit doesn’t breathe: it’s like wearing insulation! 😉 You may have seen the lapis blue one with my TPC6 trousers, which is usually how I wear it. Even with my 1″ of length added at the bust, it’s just not long enough to wear to work with pants or bottoms that don’t come up to my waist. That’s why I made the blush version, which is 2″ longer (3″ longer than the draft of the pattern, because of my 1″ adjustment). Which brings me to…

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I’ve shown all the good front views for the tops, so here are some of the back!

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Close-up of the pockets

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Hems!

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Walking away

…more jeans!

That’s right, I made the ugly-ass pants in some of these photos, LOL! I kinda shot myself in the foot with these: I don’t think I’ll wear them much until Spring. To me, they don’t read as winter-appropriate and they’re kind of thin, but S/S18 will see them worn alllllllllllll over the place. I used my TNT self-made pattern, though this time I made a few tweaks:

  1. Enlarged those front pocket openings! They are now closer to the CF and cut down deeper as well. Much more proportional with the rise of the pants now! I made this change to the pattern itself.
  2. Shrunk the width of most of the pattern pieces above the full hip. This denim is really stretchy, and I knew if my last pair were too baggy at the waist, these would be a disaster! I actually made these changes to my pattern pieces, since they were needed after I cut the last pair anyway. I will have to watch out with future pairs, since stretch % is different for every denim!
  3. Despite 2., I still had to go back and take an additional inch out of the waist before attaching the waistband. O_o And they’re still a little bigger than I’d like in a couple of areas. But better too big than too small, eh?
  4. Omitted rivets and down-the-side bartacks and topstitching. I may go back and add these later, but felt the jeans were busy and tight enough to not need the embellishment. 😉
  5. Stupidly put the belt loops all the way on before finishing the waistband and facing. What I should have done is put the waistband on, baste my belt loops to it at the facing seam, and THEN sew on the facing, followed by topstitching the waistband and then bartacking the bottom ends of the loops to the jeans. I’m not happy with how the bottom of the loops look now and may go back and unpick them. 😦

Believe it or not, I bought this denim from Joann! I KNOW. I hardly ever find things there that I feel like I can’t leave the store without, in terms of fabric. (I am a spoiled USian, and prefer to shop online because #choices.) But my friend had this material and brought it to a sewing night, and I had to have it. The jeans zipper came from Zipper Stop, which I had shortened to 4″ for a fee. ($1 per zip, not bad.) The button came from either TaylorTailor or Wawak…I can’t remember!

I got a big assist from my Instagram friends when it came to picking a topstitching color for these jeans. I couldn’t decide what color would work best, but you guys came through! 😀 It’s perfect!

That will do it for me today–that’s a lot of crap clothes crammed into one post! But now I am basically all caught up: the black Lark tee and the Lexi tops were all made back in August, but weren’t blogged until now, and the jeans are from September. And I have one dress I made this summer that I didn’t blog because I don’t really like it and couldn’t get excited about writing a post for it, haha! It’s not that I want to pretend I don’t have FAILs, it’s just that I genuinely am not excited to write about that dress. Maybe for Fail February it will come out to play. 😉

As is customary around here, I have some outtakes for you! (Warning: .gif ahead)

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Running for warmth!

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Not a terrible photo, for once!

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That’s more like it! 😉

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Punching myself in the face, or fixing my Very Important hair?

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When will I learn that jumping doesn’t suit me?!?!?

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Calling this one the “TNT Happy Dance”

I don’t know what I’ll be back to share next, folks; it’s Totally Unnecessary Holiday Outfit season, which means I will be working (what’s left of) my ass off on something ridiculous for a one-night event. *eyeroll* But depending on how that goes, hopefully I’ll be back again soon with something fun!

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Dude Sewing: 2017 Edition

Hey there!

I’ve missed this blog, you guys–I did not intend to drop off the face of the internet! Stuff just got a bit busy and stressful, and even though I’ve been sewing, I just haven’t had the energy to get photos of stuff. I’m working on that, by the way! 😉 But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some things I have made for Tom this year.

I was mentally counting up all the things I have sewn this year and it occurred to me that I wasn’t even counting the stuff I’ve made for Tom! Admittedly, it’s not a lot, but it’s more than 0 so it counts.

First up is what I’ve always called a “baseball t-shirt” in classic Tom colors:

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Senior portrait pose!

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Aerobics class?

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Yep, definitely aerobics class. 😉

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Back view

This is a copy from a RTW shirt of Tom’s; he liked the fit and style, but it had a big ugly brand tag on the front near the hem. He hated walking around with a massive tag on display so much that he never really wore it. (I didn’t even realize he had that shirt–that’s how rarely he wore it!) I cut the shirt apart and used it as the pattern. Ta-da!

I used Kaufman Laguna jersey for this shirt, which I sorta recommend. “Sorta,” because it shrinks like the devil even after pre-treatment AND the color of this orange has faded considerably. My other complaint is that different colorways shrink at different rates, which is deeply frustrating. This is actually the second iteration of this shirt for Tom. The first one was a literal copy in terms of dimensions, and it shrank so much after a wash and dry (again, DESPITE being rather roughly handled–i.e., hot water and hot dryer–in pre-washing to prevent this) that it is now too short for him to want to wear it. For this version, I didn’t make it any wider, but made it a full 2″ longer; I also don’t dry it in the dryer except for on the Extra Low setting. That is not my idea of a workhorse fabric, and in my opinion, cotton/lycra jersey ought to fulfill that role without making such a damn fuss. Having said all that bad stuff, the fabric is comfy to wear and a pleasure to cut and sew. Plus it’s the right weight for men’s t-shirts and comes in a lot of colors, which is always nice. For the sake of convenience, I would use this fabric again–but with caution. It can be such a challenge to find knits that are suitable for men’s t-shirts, both in weight and in color/pattern. Do you have a favorite material for making dude t-shirts that you’d like to share?

Somehow, Tom gets a lot of love for this t-shirt when he wears it! I know I should just accept that for the awesome ego boost that it is, but it doesn’t make sense to me; it’s just a baseball t-shirt! 😀 But the color palette is very “him,” and I expect that combination doesn’t appear often in stores, especially free of logos and branding. Reactions tend to get more intense when he explains where he got it, LOL.

My other Dude Sewing project this year is also my first-ever Burda pattern!

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Too cool to care he’s in a photo…

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Posing is such hard work!

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How big that cowl *really* is…

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Blue Steel

This is Burda 6718, from the “Burda Young” line. I made View B, the one with a big cowl/funnel collar and no pocket. I made this as Tom’s birthday gift this year, although a May birthday in Ohio isn’t a great time for this kind of garment! That’s especially true given the fabric I used: Polartec Power Stretch. I heard about it from Two On, Two Off and bought it at Rockywoods.com. This fabric is completely awesome, I just wish it was easier to find in more colors! The face is a smooth jersey with a dry hand-feel, and the back side is fleece-y. It’s kinda thick and very stretchy, and I certainly didn’t use it to its full potential for this pattern in terms of the stretch factor. It does a great job of blocking cold air and wind compared to normal sweatershirts, I am told. 🙂

I made a size 40 for Tom, and the fit is spot-on. It’s loose enough that he can wear it over other shirts but not so big that it looks sloppy. (For reference, Tom is about 5’10” and usually wears a Medium in shirts and hoodies.) It was SO EASY to make. The only complicated things were the casing and buttonholes for the drawstring, and those were still very simple. (The pattern would have you use grommets, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want this to be my first attempt at setting them. I made buttonholes instead!)

Tom gets compliments on this thing all the time, too! (And unlike the t-shirt, I feel quite smug when I hear about them. 😉 ) The Burda Young line is very “cool” and fashionable, and really, this garment isn’t something I’ve seen an allegory for in stores. I also think that this fabric really adds to the cool factor. The colorway I picked has a melange effect, something Tom admired about the sweater knits I used for some tops early this year. For the effort expended, this pattern provides an amazing return on fashionable warmth! Tom has already requested more of these, especially if I can find more of this Polartec material. 😀

I know they’re not as exciting as a pair of jeans, but I’m glad I made these things for Tom. He appreciates the effort and thought that go into making something for him, but he also doesn’t have expectations or grabby-hands when it comes to my sewing time. Since sewing can be such an all-consuming and expensive hobby, having a supportive partner makes it that much more enjoyable for me. ❤ Along with more jeans, I’m hoping to try making him some underwear soon (I KNOW, WHAT THE HELL?!?) but as we all know, I tend to put myself first in the sewing room so who knows when he’ll get them! 😉

How about some outtakes? (Warning: .gif ahead)

Buckethubs

In a pinch, this thing could be used to make a Lord Buckethead costume…

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Cowl in action!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some stuff I made FOR MEEEEEEEEEE. Thanks for reading!

 

 

In Which The Blogger Wears Big Pants (Trend Patterns TPC6 Review)

Hey there!

Today I am sharing a rather large pair of pants with you all. 😉 The pattern is TPC6 by Trend Patterns, the Pleated Front Trouser. I went out on a bit of a limb here: these pants are quite unlike anything I’ve ever worn before, AND the pattern itself was pricey. I wasn’t sure I’d like these, but for some reason I really wanted to try them.

I searched the web and Instagram for other FO’s of this pattern, but came up empty. So while other folks have made different Trend Patterns designs and have reviewed them, I will be going a little more in-depth here since info on finished versions of this pattern was so hard for me to find.

Let’s start with some photos, shall we?

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Big pants!

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With pockets!

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Closer look at side pockets

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Jumping!

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Muggin’

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Pensive side view

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Back view

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Another side view!

I made these out of a dove gray cotton twill from Fabric Mart, plus some bemberg rayon for the pocket lining pieces. I don’t know exactly how many yards I used for these, but it was definitely less than the 2.3 meters listed on the pattern. I made the smallest size, the 6. Here’s my review! (This review is my opinion based on my experience, and I bought this pattern with my own money because I wanted to make it.)

Pattern Review – Trend Patterns TPC6

Overall, I am very pleased with the pattern itself and the packaging/presentation. This was a great sewing experience! The pants themselves are a big style risk for me, but I do like how they turned out; I am even happier with them now that I’ve seen how they look in photos.

Detailed Thoughts: Positives

  1. Pattern: More substantial than regular tissue, but still lighter than printer paper. I am very much a fan of this pattern paper–it’s my Goldilocks weight!
  2. Instructions: Presented in a nice, color-printed booklet. There are photos instead of illustrations, which I honestly don’t feel strongly about one way or another. The instructions are definitely geared toward a more experienced sewer, and there isn’t a lot of extra hand-holdy text and conversational gunk that I am lately finding more and more annoying! (Old age, perhaps? 😉 ) Never fear, they provide plenty of detail to get you through the project.
  3. Draft: This was my first Trend Patterns rodeo, but I was very impressed. Notches matched, lines and pieces were trued well and, despite my reservations about the shape of these trousers, I felt that the proportions were handled very astutely from a patternmaking perspective. I also felt that the darts for my size were appropriately placed and of a suitable length. Given what I know about the designer of Trend Patterns, this is the kind of result I was hoping for–she is a professional and it shows. (Obviously I am not an expert, but I think my understanding of patternmaking and drafting is good enough to state my opinion of the draft here.)
  4. Roomy Pockets: That’s right, the pocket bags on this pattern are actually generously sized! I always assume patterns for women’s interior pockets will be so small as to be utterly useless, but nah, Trend Patterns knows what’s up.
  5. Tall Length: 2 hem lengths are provided so that taller sewers can cut a longer pant from the start. While I am taller than average at 5’9″ish, my legs are not longer than average, so I went with the “regular” hem. (These are meant to be cropped.)
  6. Style: This is subjective, of course. But this pattern knows it’s a big pair of trousers, and it’s proud. I love that! Recommended fabrics are medium weight wovens with structure and crispness, and you are specifically instructed not to press those front pleats flat. Volume is the entire point! Culottes and wide-leg trousers have been trendy for a while, but I haven’t seen anyone put this particular spin on it yet. This applies to their entire line, pretty much–very fashion-forward and edgy, and not your basic wardrobe staples!

Detailed Thoughts: “Meh”

  1. The waistband shape: it’s just a rectangle. On the one hand, I get that: it’s in keeping with the boxy shape of the pants and allows for the band to be pressed in half instead of using a separate facing, which keeps things easier skill-wise. (The pattern is rated “Easy” by TP.) But a contoured waistband would absolutely fit me better–this one stands away from my waist a bit.
  2. The envelope: I wish the pattern envelope could be closed after opening–you have to cut or tear it open! And even if you tear it open, the adhesive pulls off a layer of the bubble wrap and doesn’t re-stick itself closed. 😦

Detailed Thoughts: Negatives

  1. Labels: I only have one actual negative thing to say about this pattern. The waistband piece is mislabeled. The CF–that’s Center Front–of the band needs to be in the center of the piece, but the center line is labelled “Center Back,” which is where the zip goes (and therefore the waistband needs to be open at that seam). Obviously a more experienced and/or confident sewer would notice that and be like, “WTF-ever, I know that’s a mis-print.” But that incorrect label could cause confusion or frustration for someone else, so I’m mentioning it. I’m not pointing this out to slag off the pattern company, just to provide a truthful account of my experience and what I thought. (I have emailed them to tell them about it: I’m not going to complain here while not bringing it to their attention, that’s shitty.)

UPDATE: I have heard back from Lucy, THE DESIGNER HERSELF! at Trend Patterns. She had not been aware of the labeling error previously, and has corrected the PDF version of the pattern (here). (And no, that’s not an affiliate link or anything.) The paper version will be a more complicated issue because they’re already printed, but she is working that out as well. I felt like a real jerk being the first one to point this out–the pattern is super-professional and this is comparatively such a small thing–but she was so gracious and lovely, and wasted no time working out how to handle this. Between my experience with her product and our interaction about this particular piece, I am solidly a #fangurl4life now. (Whether I am cool enough to wear all of her designs is…um…debatable, LOL.)

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Label “oops” but if that’s the worst thing I can say about this pattern, it’s pretty frickin’ sweet.

Construction Notes

You all know me: I usually go my own way, and I mostly did here. I did follow the pattern’s recommendation to serge my edges separately before sewing so that they could be pressed open; I figured that would be less bulky in this fabric anyway. (This also proved to be somewhat time-consuming.)

I didn’t have the right zip length on hand (9″) and neither did the JoAnn’s I visited (at least not in the color I needed), so I had to use a 7″. I definitely could have used the extra length: it’s a wiggly struggle getting into these! 😦 Not a fault of the pattern, that’s just what I had. I was too impatient to order one, LOL.

Finally, I opted to blind hem my trousers by hand for a less casual look. I never regret that choice, even if I’m not a huge fan of hand sewing. 🙂

Fitting Notes

Obviously, my biggest concern with these pants was…well…how BIG they are. They’re a lot of pants, and my priority was making sure the cropped hem hit me at a flattering length. Whether a flattering-in-practice length even exists for these trousers is a matter of opinion, I suppose. 😉 I tried the original length, but wasn’t sold:

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I ended up taking a 3.5″ hem in the end, which is about 1.5″ more than the original allowance.

Apart from changing the hem length, the only other change I had to make was to the waist. My waist is smaller than the allowed-for measurement in the pattern, and I felt that the waist needed to be as close to my actual measurement as I could get (for non-stretch pants, anyway) in order for them to look even remotely flattering.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Removed roughly 1/4″ from the CF seam on each front leg piece.
  2. Removed roughly 3/8″ from the CB seam of each back leg piece, starting at the waist and tapering to nothing at the zipper stop notch.
  3. Removed roughly 1/4″ from the side seam of each back leg piece, starting at the waist and tapering to nothing at the top pocket opening notch.
  4. Sewed the unaltered waistband onto my pants, matching CF notches and letting the excess overflow at the CB; I trimmed that excess off prior to installing the zipper.

My back waist is narrower than my front, which is why I made most of my changes to the back pieces. (Another benefit of taking a patternmaking class and drafting your own moulage: you learn that stuff about your body!) I ended up with a waistband about 2″ bigger than my actual measurement, which is a little bigger than I wanted but I was afraid to go too far the other way!

Final Thoughts

Honestly, until I saw photos, I wasn’t sure, but now I am sold! I like the gamine/menswear-ish vibe, especially with brogues. I do feel kinda cool in them, I have to say. 😀 Tom thinks they look good but also laughs at the size of them, which I guess makes them Man Repellers as well–fine by me! 😉

Proportions are key with these trousers: my tops need to either be cropped or snug and tucked in for these to work for me. Good thing bodysuits were on my shortlist for Fall/Winter, huh? Before I go, here are some more outtakes and silly things:

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Bemberg rayon, yay!

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Puppy crossing!

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Flail jump!

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Sun’s out, t*ts out?

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Getting ready to jump

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60’s sitcom jump?

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Clown pants.

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Ministry of Silly Walks

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Puffy pants + dog!

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Gahhhhhh so handsome!

So that’s my big (LOLOLOL) reveal and review for today! I am really looking forward to trying the Utility Trouser pattern soon, as well as seeing what TP releases next. In the meantime though, I need to get cracking on some tops and jeans. See you soon!

What do you all think of these trousers?? Do I look ridiculous? (You can say it, it’s cool.) What is the most out-of-your-comfort-zone garment you’ve ever made or worn? Did it make you reconsider your personal style? Have any of you sewn a Trend Patterns design before? What did you think?  

Showtime = Sew Time!

Hello again!

I promised/warned you I’d be right back! Our band recently had another show; I was not planning on having enough time to make a new outfit (or even a single garment), but I was able to put something together after all. One piece is a pattern I’ve made before, and the other is just simple.

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Trying to look cool

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Failing

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Mopey side view

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The boring back

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Hip tie action!

Skirt Notes

The skirt is the Moss Mini by Grainline, sewn in the same black stretch denim as my jeans. Once again, I used leftover shirting from my Blair for the pocket bags, so those are a fun (if secret!) addition to an otherwise basic skirt. The only thing I had to buy for this project was the zipper, and that’s just because I didn’t want to waste a jeans zipper on a skirt.

Despite having stated that I would make changes to the pattern after my first rendition, I definitely didn’t do that! O_o I ended up remembering after I had the skirt put together except for the waistband–d’oh! I had to remove 1-2″ from the center back and another 1/2″ at each side seam to get the fit I wanted. I really ought to get the pattern back out and make those permanent! The one thing I did manage to remember from the first Moss was how much I regretted not using a jeans button, so I used one here.

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Slash pocket, with basically-invisible topstitching

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Jeans button FTW!

To keep it simple and highly mixable, I used black topstitching throughout. There isn’t really any topstitching in the instructions, which makes sense with Grainline’s minimalist aesthetic, but I prefer this type of skirt with a little extra “oomph.” My choice of black thread, however, reduces the “oomph” factor significantly! 😉

Top Notes

The top is the Selja Knot Tee from Named. I made it in an ITY knit I bought from Fabric Mart ages ago–it’s a good type of fabric for this top, if you’re wondering! It was a devil to hem though, LOL. I used my twin needle for all the hems, since they need to stretch. The hem flares a little when the top is untied, but that’s not how I’ll wear it so #no1curr.

I have to be honest, I am disappointed with this top. For one thing, I didn’t do a good job matching my stripes on the front seam. I was thisclose to turning that piece and putting it on a different grainline for visual effect with the stripes, but was worried about distortion and weird pulling so I didn’t. I really should have!! I will probably go back and sew the seam closed another 1/8″ to match the stripe a little better. I also don’t love that I chose a fabric with an obvious wrong side–those ties have to be carefully choreographed to hide it!

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Untied…not such a great look on me. (And UGHHHHH that pathetic stripe-matching. O_o)

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Flappy flaps

The real issue though is the fit–it’s certainly not very good. I am pretty sure I didn’t add my 1″ at the bust (I traced this one well over a year ago!!), which may have helped somewhat had I done it, but the area that really bothers me is the shoulder and armscye area. To my eye, it looks like I need more width for my lats and shoulders. There is a good deal of pulling there, and it’s not the most comfortable tee where mobility is concerned. I know I am pushing the limits of Named’s EUR32 size in my shoulders/lats but I’ve not had this kind of glaring issue on other tops or bodices previously. It’s also quite baggy from the armpits on down, which makes the whole top look particularly ill-fitting. I wonder if it’s because it’s one of the earlier patterns and they’ve improved or changed things since then, or if I’m just a dolt? I can’t say for sure, but I really do wish this fit better. 😦

The neckband is also not my best in terms of how it sits. I mistakenly cut it out going the wrong way against the greatest direction of stretch! So while I did stretch it to fit the neckline, it really should have been cut with the stripes going the other direction to help it stretch and flatten out. Additionally, I’m not sure how much of the issue(s) with how it sits would be helped if the fit was better in the shoulders and armscyes–I think it would make a difference. Oh well!

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Neckband derps

Conclusions

So there you go, one rock ‘n roll outfit on short notice! Definitely not as exciting as my electric skirt, but I really love being able to come up with something in time for a show. It’s a big confidence booster for me when I get up onstage! Sorry that I don’t have any action shots for you this time around: Tom’s band was on the bill with us that night, so he didn’t bring his camera.

In case you wondered, I do wear my show outfits in real life too, not just for shows. The skirt has been worn TONS since I finished it, but I’ve only worn the top one other time. That’s more to do with the weather (which is now chilly, boo) and my hatred of that front stripe snafu than anything–once I fix that stripe, it will get more wear.

That’s all for me right now, but I have a couple of projects planned that I will–hopefully!–be back to share soon. It’s definitely feeling like Fall here in Ohio, which is influencing my sewing plans big time.

Do you wear your “meh” sewing projects, or do you banish them from your sight immediately? What project(s) are you working on right now? 

 

 

 

 

OMG, Finally! (Jeans!!!!!!!!!)

Hey everyone!

I meant to share another post entirely, but we took photos for everything at the same time and I am so excited about this project that it jumped the blog queue. (The other post is coming soon, promise!)

What’s got me so damn excited? JEANSSSSSS!!!!

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JEANSSSSSSSSSSS

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Side view: no twisting!

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Admiring myself

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Showing off the crotch?

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Overexposed to try to show the black fly topstitching…not super successful!

Closer Seam

Close-up of the flat-felling on the inseam

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Closer look at the side; sorry for the awkward hand intrusion!

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Exciting pocket/butt shot, sorry y’all. O_o 

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Trying to hike them up!

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Matching shirt + pockets!

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Hem

I have been planning this project for AGES now, but could somehow never make jeans for myself a priority item. My first sincere attempt was undone by fabric that was too stretchy (which is apparently a thing? Who knew! 😉 ) but I came back to these in August, determined to make them happen. Apart from a few little things, I am THRILLED with these!

I wanted to keep them versatile, so I stuck with black topstitching and gray bartacks and nickel hardware. I got stuck with a tacky bright gold zipper though, LOL! Unfortunately, the topstitching gets lost in the denim, but that’s okay. And my back pockets look more like cousins than twins (I don’t know where I first read that phrase, but it perfectly sums up my experience with sewing exterior pockets). The denim I used is from Fashion Fabrics Club, and I’m pretty sure I got it for like $4 a yard. It is stretchy but firm and substantial, and really perfect for skinny jeans. Plus the “smoke black” color is so 90’s!

Pattern Notes

The pattern I used is the one I cloned from an old pair of Aeropostale jeans. While the original cloned pattern was very low-rise–requiring a 2.5″ zipper!–I altered it to be high-rise. I have come around to that look and feel in jeans…mostly because I am super into cropped tops right now! 😉 I was naughty and went to Madewell and J. Crew last year to try on–but not buy–their jeans, since I was curious about the higher rise by then. I took some measurements from a few pairs of 9″ skinnies, which I liked best, for science. I compared those measurements to my original pattern, and made my alterations from there.

I know I could have just started with a high-rise pattern, like View B of the Ginger Jeans pattern, which I bought right when it was released. But in my opinion, the proportions of that particular pattern are “off”: they’re just too tall overall IMO, plus the zipper is weirdly long and the yoke always looks too tall. (And that’s to say nothing of some other bug-bears I have with that pattern draft-wise, but this isn’t the time or place to get into that!) In order to get the proportions right, you have to distribute any extra rise height correctly in the front AND back. What I learned from the RTW jeans was how best to do that and achieve the look I was after. I think my pair look proportional with my body; they don’t look “high-rise,” they just look like jeans.

I mean, look at them:

That’s a Madewell pair of 9″ rise skinnies on the left (original photo is property of Madewell). The proportions are pleasing to the eye and not exaggerated in height (i.e., no mile-long zipper). Success!

Now as I said, I would change a few things about these jeans. For instance:

  1. The waist is too big, despite my taking out almost 3″ already. This included unpicking the top of my flat-felled back crotch seam to take a big-ass wedge out there, plus another 1/2″ at each side seam. Boo.
  2. The front pocket openings need to be larger/deeper, both for visual and practical purposes.
  3. I could stand to take about 1/4″ off the length of the front crotch. I am not terribly worried about the lines you can see above–those are caused by my stomach-slash-pubis area being too flat versus my pointy comparatively prominent hip bones and front thighs. I might fix it, but I might not. Whatever.
  4. Maybe narrow the lower legs a bit for a closer fit, a la J. Crew’s “toothpick” cut.

Construction Notes

Putting these together was pretty straightforward, since I’ve made jeans before. I followed my own notes on the fly front, and flat-felled the inseam, back crotch, and yoke seams. I forgot to put my belt loops on before sewing the waistband to the jeans and its facing, so those could be cleaner next time. Once again, I used Angela Kane’s buttonhole method; seriously, I don’t think I’d ever do that any other way on jeans! I did all my sewing with a 90/14 Jeans needle; over any big bumps, I folded up some scraps of denim and put them under the back of my presser foot and that was a big help. Finally, I used true Topstitching thread for all of the topstitching EXCEPT for the gray stuff. My machine will work with that heavy-ass thread, provided I tweak my settings properly and don’t try any bartacks!

Conclusions

So here we are, one pair of self-made jeans down with many more to go! 😉 I am so excited that these turned out to be wearable, and am feeling good about making lots more pairs. Goodness knows I’ve got the denim to do that, LOL. Before I go, here is a hilarious .gif Tom made of the two shots we got of me trying to hike these pants back up where they belong:

melikeybouncey

Maximum Effort

You’re welcome. 😀

I will be back VERY shortly with another post featuring the outfit I made to wear to our most recent band gig. (Spoiler alert: one of the pieces was in some of these photos!) See you soon!

Talk to me: would you ever bother making jeans? What’s one thing you’ve always meant to sew for yourself but can’t seem to prioritize?

 

Summer Tops and Miscellany! (But Mostly A Blair Shirt)

Hello, friends!

First off, I know I kept saying I was going to do a planning post for summer sewing. Clearly I haven’t had the time for that, LOL! So while that may not materialize, I have been sewing a bit. I made a Named Minttu top but haven’t bothered to have Tom photograph it until now. Apart from being annoyed as hell about the length of the facing (it cuts off right at mid-boob, where the top is still quite fitted: WTF?!?!? Not cool.), I think it’s really cute!

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Derp Face

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Side (Can you see the facing stopping suddenly? >=[ )

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Back

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Trying to put some “swing” in my swing top…

I added my usual 1″ of length at the bust, but otherwise there are no changes to this pattern as you see it. (And yes, I added the same 1″ to the facings. #bitter) It’s snug through the shoulders and upper back, but the stretch in my fabric makes up for that.

The fabric I used is a ponte knit, as recommended by the pattern. This particular fabric almost got destashed (it is decidedly NOT my best color/look, but then neither are white skinny jeans), but I actually really like it as a top. Which is good, because I have enough fabric left for another top! 😉 I’m planning on a Named Lexi or Sointu but haven’t decided for sure yet–feel free to weigh in with a comment!

And now for the star of this post: the Blair shirt by Style Arc!

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Blair!

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Side-ish

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Flaps!

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Back view (incl. VPL, ugh)

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One more front shot for good measure

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Shirt in the sunshine

Obviously I really love this shirt, hence the barrage of photos. 😉

I bought this very nice cotton shirting at Fabric Mart (my fabric shopping frenemy) and knew I would make a shirt with it eventually. I know…I’m a fucking visionary.

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Cotton Shirting? For a shirt? Groundbreaking.

After seeing so many inspiring versions of the Blair shirt and dress, I realized this fabric was perfect for it and finally made my pattern choice. 😀 I really couldn’t be much happier with it–it turned out so much like I had hoped!

Construction Notes

This is only my second Style Arc rodeo, but I know enough to read their instructions, chuckle, and figure it out for myself. 😉 I did things my way pretty much from start to finish. Here’s a brief summary:

  1. I assembled the bottom half of the shirt and the underlayer at the side seams before hemming them separately up to a few inches before the center front (to make attaching the button bands easier). That curved hem was a tedious operation, so I wanted it out of the way! Then I basted those pieces together.
  2. Next came the shoulders and upper half side seams, followed by attaching the bottom layers to the top.
  3. I did the button bands and remainder of the hem next, then the collar assembly and buttonholes.
  4. The sleeve cuffs were the last machine step, then I sewed on my buttons. Ta da!!!

I spent a lot of time prepping the stripes so that everything mostly matched. The shoulders don’t line up exactly, but I was more concerned about the fronts so was willing to compromise there.

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I think we can all agree that was time well spent…

Pattern Adjustments

I took a big chance here and didn’t change any proportions on my Blair. O_O I know. But it’s a cropped shirt, and the length looked like it would be fine with high rise jeans so I just went for it. I only made one–ONE–change to the pattern itself, and that was the undercollar.

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Undercollar awesomeness

Surprisingly, Style Arc has you use the same pattern piece for both the upper and under, but I wanted a bias undercollar. #shirtmakingcred That’s it, though. Everything else is exactly per the Size 4 original pattern, even button placement.

Apart from some sewing, here’s what else I’ve been up to lately:

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Readers, meet Nessie! She’s a Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple. ^___^

We planted a new tree out back! We lost our large Norway Maple (it was necessary, trust me–I don’t cut down trees lightly) and replaced it with a stronger, non-invasive species. Bonus: someday, Nessie will provide maple sap for syrup!

Sox

SOCKSSSSS!!!!!!

And I’ve been knitting socks like a fiend! I have 2 more pairs on my needles as I type this. 😉

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And some hot air ballooning for good measure. Here at the “Mads” house, it’s not really summer if we haven’t played with some hot air balloons. 😀

How is your summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends!) going? Have you gone on any adventures (in the air, on the ground, under the sea)? Are you starting to think about sewing for the next season yet?

Reeta II: Copycat Boogaloo

Friends, I have made another Reeta midi shirtdress, and it may look a liiiiiiiittle familiar:

PicMonkey Collage

Suspiciously similar!

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Hem split action!

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Bodice

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That’s right: I practically #singlewhitefemaled Named’s sample dress. O_o I actually did search–in vain–for THE floral rayon they used for the sample. I needed a Reeta in that poppy red color! ❤ ❤ ❤ Sometime after concluding that fruitless search, I ended up on Harts Fabric’s website, which I had never patronized before, and they had just gotten this beautiful rayon satin in stock. Yay! Not only is it the most perfect shade of poppy red (which they describe as “tomato”), the flowers themselves are pretty colors, too. I paid more per-yard for this rayon than I ever have for that fiber–$12.99–but I think it was worth it.

I bought 3 yards exactly. I knew that would be cutting it close, but I didn’t hand over that kind of money lightly–paying for an extra 1/2 yard was too rich for my blood. Plus, I had gotten my last Reeta (complete with self fabric drawstring) out of 3 yards of rayon that was the same width as this stuff, so I figured it would be fine. Unlike my last Reeta, I used self fabric for my yoke facing because I found working with such a difference in drape in the yoke/sleeve/collar area (cotton muslin vs. rayon challis) to be annoying last time. I also opted to interface the turn backs of the front facings and the upper collar this time, using plain old cotton muslin which I hand-basted in place.

Randomly, during our “photoshoot,” I noticed there was a hole in this dress–WTF?!?!? I have no idea what caused it (it wasn’t shears or the serger, based on where it is) but it definitely needed to be patched before it frayed further. It was about the diameter of a Q-tip and just appeared out of nowhere. I can’t tell if it was a flaw in the yardage that I missed, or if some catastrophe befell the dress while I wasn’t around. I was very cranky about it, let me tell you; I am really careful with my self-made stuff, during AND after construction, and was gutted to see that my brand new, worn-once dress was already damaged. But I did get it fixed:

Repair

Before and After; thanks to the Fray Check being wet, you can just make out the entire patch on the right. Not too shabby, eh?

So I guess the moral of this story is threefold: 1.) Be extra careful with things, lest you puncture them somehow, 2.) Check your yardage extensively BEFORE you cut stuff out, just in case there is a flaw, and 3.) Keep your fabric scraps until you are 1,000,000% sure the project is done and dusted. (Obviously this fix is brought to you by #3–thank goodness I am a lazy tidier!)

Pattern Notes

Since I made this pattern successfully once before, I really didn’t need to change much this time around. Once again, I shortened the dress by about 2-3″. I did not, however, alter the length of the splits because I forgot. 😦

Having learned from my first Reeta, I did remember to move the pockets up on this one! They are now 3/4″ higher and look much better. (They are really droopy though, moreso than on the last version. Hmmm…maybe it’s the fabric?) Other than that, I just did everything the same way as before–that’s what makes repeats so awesome!

Here are a few more photos of our setting: the Scioto Mile! It’s a really pretty mostly-green space in downtown Columbus, along the river. There are pedestrian sections on the two bridges over the river, walking/biking paths, and even some fountains for playing in, all in view of the city’s skyline! And also a deer sculpture, because why not?

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Skyline

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The Deer

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Someone was on the other side of the sculpture, so we didn’t get more shots with the deer. =(

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Not flattering (aka Thank Goodness For Drawstrings)

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The best I could do–there were many more attempts at looking “pretty” but they weren’t very successful. #notamodel

Anyway, that’s it for me today! I am still planning on doing a planning post (HAH!) for my summer wardrobe, so hopefully I will be back soon to share that with you. Thanks for reading!

What are you sewing right now? Have you ever had to repair a garment due to an accident or other mishap? Have you ever balked at the price of a not-necessarily-luxury fabric? (And be honest: did you buy it anyway? 😉)

PS: I have updated my “About” page in the aftermath of something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I know reblogging is allowed on WordPress (and that you literally can’t do anything about it, except hide that button or make your blog totally private, should the reblog-er refuse to take your post down), but I am not comfortable with anyone using my blog posts and photos that way. That goes double if someone holds views that I find morally objectionable–I don’t want my work associated with such beliefs. So if you want to reblog a post from here, please do me the courtesy of asking first, so that I can tell you “No” to your face. And never, ever use images from this site that are my property: you don’t want to find out how serious I am about enforcing THAT guideline. Again, if you wish to use a photo and properly attribute it to me, ask first. 

I’m not averse to being social with my sewing hobby–that’s why I have a blog. But I do expect that people will be respectful of my boundaries and the effort I put into blogging and the effort that Tom puts into my photos. If you really want to show your readers what a hack I am, or what the World’s Best Dog looks like, just link to a post–I’m FINE with that. I’ve made some amazing connections because of blogging–this notice isn’t because of anyone I am Internet Friends with–and I have no plans to make my space private. So please, any-and-everyone, respect these boundaries.

Rock ‘n Roll Uniform (In Which The Blogger Goes Full “Fangurl”)

Hey guys and gals!

I know I said summer wardrobe planning was my next post, but I mayyyyyy have gotten a little carried away with something else in the meantime. 😉

I told you all about my new gig as a guitar player for a 90’s alt-rock cover band (thank you for the kind words on that, BTW!), and we recently had our first show together. I decided about 3 weeks before the show (of course) that I needed to make a new outfit for the occasion. O_o I haven’t been in a band in a couple of years, so between giving stuff away and my style evolving, nothing gig-worthy I owned really felt like “Me” anymore. I don’t know about any of you, but when I am preparing to get up in front of a lot of people, I get very anxious; feeling comfortable with my clothing and appearance can go a long way in terms of building my confidence (or at least giving me 1 less thing to stress about). So obviously I wasn’t about to go onstage feeling like I was wearing a costume or trying too hard. A new outfit seemed like The Answer. And I think it’s safe to say it was:

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Outfit in action!

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SKIRT!

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A non-crummy photo of me at a mic. #festivusmiracle

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The outfit in daylight

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Back

Separates were my first thought, both because I couldn’t think of rock-ready dress patterns and because separates would be easy to split up and wear with other things I own already. I started with the most critical piece: the skirt. In my epic Fall planning post of epicness, I had mentioned wanting to use a boucle I had for a Named Nascha mini skirt; I may not have gotten around to that in the Fall/Winter, but better late than never!

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Front view! (Now with awkward hands!!)

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Gettin’ the whole skirt in there…

The fabric is BANANAS, isn’t it?!? I love it. I bought it thinking I’d make a jacket but I am SO GLAD I changed my mind. I love it as a skirt!

I got this material from Gorgeous Fabrics, and am so excited that I can now wear it after staring at it for over a year. It’s such a unique fabric, and fun fact: there’s cellophane in the weave!! WUT. It made pressing trickier (which is why the hips look a little lumpy–they need re-pressed), but it was totally worth it. 😀 Other fun fact: some of the yarns glow under certain lights.

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IT GLOWS.

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You guys, I made an electric skirt.

The glow-in-the-dark nature of the skirt got more comments for me afterwards than any other aspect of the gig, which means 1.) it’s pretty cool and 2.) clearly my guitar-playing is less impressive than my sewing. I can live with that!

Construction Notes

Nascha is designed to be lined, which is good because this boucle NEEDS a lining to wear smoothly. I used a black bemberg rayon and it makes the skirt much easier to wear and put on/take off. I have never lined anything but a bag before this skirt, folks. But having worked through difficult-for-me Named instructions with my Reeta, I was able to understand the steps and nail lining this thing on the first try.


You can see that I accidentally sewed one half of the lining inside out…oops. I didn’t feel like unpicking it, because it’s just the lining. 😉 I made my lining a little “extra bigger” (the pattern pieces are definitely larger than the shell) just in case, which worked out fine; any extra fabric got pleated into the waist and hem and make the skirt feel a little less snug than it looks. 😀

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Close-up of the zipper

I have never sewn an exposed zipper before, and not to be a cocky jerk or anything, but…#nailedit. I used a 7″ zipper because that was what I had, so I had to make the CB opening longer (the pattern calls for a 6″ zip). That was a good thing in the end though, because this thing is TIGHT. Funny story, I bought this zipper (and 2 others) AND my lining fabric to make a Named Mai Zip Jacket a couple of years ago! I still haven’t made that jacket, but I did finally use this zipper and a little bit of the lining material. 😉

This fabric frays when cut, so I serged all the edges of each piece right after I cut them out. I also gave myself an extra 1″ on the side seams, just in case. Before I put the zip in, I sewed the sides up on the 1″ line (so, giving myself the 3/8″ included seam allowance as wearing ease until I could try it on). Good thing too, as I needed some room in the full hip to be able to sit down!

Pattern Alterations

For reference, I started with the US0/EUR32 size, as I do with all Named patterns. I added 2″ of length at the lengthen/shorten line (or at least that’s what I think the line was–it wasn’t clearly labelled on my PDF pieces) because I have heard tales of how truly “mini” this skirt is. Named drafts for 5’8″, and while I am not much taller than that and have shorter legs for my height, I wasn’t taking any chances, especially with that big split at CF. I wanted to make sure I could wear it to work or a gig without anyone seeing my panties. YMMV. #freethelabia

Having said that, I couldn’t really tell where the skirt was supposed to sit: at the natural waist, or at the high hip, or somewhere else. (The pattern says, “regular-waisted.” Does that mean natural waist??) Mine sits at my true waist; if it didn’t, I wouldn’t want the 2″ I added. Because I put mine up so high, I had to take in the side seams from the waist down for about 3-4 inches. I waited until I got the zipper in to do that, so I could really test the fit. That was also when I opted to let out a little bit of seam allowance at the fullest part of my hips so I could sit down with confidence. (I had to bend my knees together and SLOWLY lower myself onto a seat in the first round of testing; Tom thought it was hilarious, probably in part because I happened to be trying to “sit” using the toilet in our downstairs bathroom. 0/10, would not recommend.)

Other than that, I just followed the directions and had good luck with everything fitting nicely; no other adjustments were necessary. The back in particular is very nicely fitted, and my ass looks fabulous in it, if I may say so. The front vents, however, are acting a little odd: they have weird wrinkles or bubbles near the turn, and I don’t know why–everything is done correctly and without alterations from the pattern. Maybe it’s my fabric? Maybe the skirt is too pegged for my legs near the hem? Oh well.

Speaking of this fabric, I bought 2 yards and I have PLENTY left for another…thing. This is more impressive given the defined stripes AND the width: 45″. I am very conflicted about whether to make anything else with this fabric. O_o

So that’s the skirt! Moving on to the top:

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Top!

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Top again!

This is an Inari crop tee, with just a couple of insignificant small mods, made in a black tencel jersey. That’s right: my new onstage outfit was ALL Named patterns. #sorrynotsorry I think that finally puts me at full #fangurl status, but I’m happy to gush my Named love all over the internet: their patterns just work for me. (Plus they know WTF they’re doing technically, and are able to produce full collections twice a year–totally gush-worthy in my book.)

I had never worked with tencel fabric before this, but it was similar to working with the modal/silk jersey I used for some Penny Raglans last year. I bought my fabric from Blackbird Fabrics and have another colorway waiting in the wings. It’s really, really nice stuff! I was surprised that the top didn’t read as sheer once I put it on; the fabric itself is only semi-opaque (noted by Blackbird–her descriptions are always spot-on) but didn’t show my bra or anything.

Pattern and Construction Notes

I picked the Inari pattern because I wanted something loose, cropped, and somewhat plain to balance the outfit, since the skirt is so outrageous. I was thisclose to using the Penny Raglan pattern, but felt it would be too much boxy volume. I do sort of wish I’d thought to try to frankenpattern the raglan portion of Penny onto my Inari, though! A lot of folks have mentioned the dropped armholes of the Inari being limiting for range of motion, but since 1.) I picked a drapey and stretchy-ish knit and 2.) I am the least mobile guitar player of all time, I decided it wouldn’t be an issue.

In terms of changes, I didn’t use the cuff bands because my fabric is so floppy and light. I had added a little length to the sleeves and took a 5/8″ hem, but if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have added any length. I added about 1″ to the hem, and again took a 5/8″ hem. I also sewed all the seams of this top at 1/4″ for some reason. For real, I can’t remember why I did that.

This top took maybe 2 hours from cut to “not-hemmed-but-sewn.” The best part? I was able to conserve yardage AGAIN and had enough of my lovely tencel knit left for a regular, full-length t-shirt. Yay!!

So that’s my new gig outfit! I would show you all more show pics but the band still needs to go over them all and decide which ones we want to use. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with either a finished thing, or some Summer Sewing Plans!

What was the last outfit you made specifically for an upcoming event? Do you have any suggestions for what I should do with ~1.5 yards of that outlandish boucle fabric? Please share! ❤

Finally, A Seasonally-Appropriate Thing!

Look at me, back here already! 😉 Thanks to a recent flash of inspiration (don’t you love those?!?), I have something new to share with you all! What inspired me? FABRIC! (Duh.)

There have been so many incredible tropical prints coming out for the new Spring/Summer season (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), and many of my favorites were on rayon. I decided that a tropical print rayon had to be my next project! After trawling through multiple fabric sites and not 100% connecting with any designs for me (or balking at the price points of the ones I did like), it occurred to me that I had something perfect in my stash already: a palm leaf-print plum and aqua rayon challis I bought on Fabric.com (NAYY) about a year ago.

When I was re-organizing my stash and found this stuff again, I had planned on making pajamas out of it, but where’s the fun in that?!? The colors are good on me, and in the aftermath of this latest inspiration explosion, I decided I didn’t want to “waste” the print on pajamas. Having decided that I NEEDED to sew this fabric right now, I had to figure out what to make. A dress was the obvious choice, since I had 3 yards of fabric. But which dress?!? While searching one fabric site for “rayon,” some sewing patterns came back (since they listed “rayon” as a recommended fabric) and the Reeta Midi Shirtdress from Named was one of them. (I hadn’t bought any patterns from their Spring/Summer 2017 release and only even liked three of them–that’s normal for me and Named, as their S/S stuff doesn’t jump out at me right away like their F/W stuff does. My love is a peculiar love.) I was struck by the beautiful fabric of the Reeta sample, which is viscose/rayon. I was sold! I bought and printed the pattern 2 Fridays ago and had it put together and the fabric cut later that very night! O_O For me, that’s some high-octane action.

Anyway, here are photos! 😉

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Graceful-ish

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Who’s that happy weirdo?

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That’s more like it!

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Earth Day love!

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My feelings about there being no hammock in the hammock stand.

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Strike a pose

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…maybe not *that* pose. O_o

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Poison ivy in the foreground, nice.

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Showing off the collar and neckline!

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Gotta get the pup in there!

Pretty cool, huh? I love it!! I will probably wear this once a week all summer, LOL! I am especially proud of my pleated breast pockets, which I had never made before this; doing them in rayon challis was “fun” but they really turned out great! Well, except for the fact that the loud-ass fabric renders them nearly invisible despite no attempt by me to pattern-match them…

(Also, what is it with me and making Named dress patterns in ridiculous fabrics??)

I used a contrasting dark teal thread for my buttonholes–livin’ dangerously! I asked my Instagram friends if I should go with matching plum or the contrast, and they (you) voted overwhelmingly for matching thread.

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Testing buttonholes and thread colors!

But I can’t explain it, I just felt like the dress needed this pop of darker blue/green against all the purple. So I disobeyed my pals–sorry, guys!!! I do value your opinions (or I wouldn’t ask!) but sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants! After doing a partial test buttonhole, I realized I needed some stabilizer under the fabric or the results would be a hot mess. (You can see that partial buttonhole in the photo above–yikes!) That meant I finally got a chance to use my Tear Away stabilizer that I bought forever ago. It worked wonders and my buttonholes look pretty fabulous, if I may be so bold. 😉 (Especially considering that they’re on rayon challis!) I used buttons that I got from Wawak last year (thank you, Past Me, for judiciously buying multiple dozens of buttons in a few neutral colors). I settled on white in the end, because this dress needed something clean and understated about it.

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Buttons and buttonholes in action!

And now for a “Do as I say, not as I do” moment: I didn’t use any interfacing on this dress. *ducks for cover* I brought down my cotton muslin with all the best intentions of using it, but in the end I decided to see how I liked the drapier quality of the challis on its own, especially on the shirtdress features. The collar was my biggest concern, and I had enough scrap fabric left to recut it if necessary, but I decided I liked it without any firming up. I pressed it carefully, as always, and I think the dress looks well-made and very nice as-is. The collar is very light and flimsy, but so is the rest of the dress. I don’t regret my decision, but I will say that I usually NEVER forgo interfacing, and neither should you. 😉 I just liked the idea of a totally breezy midi dress this time around! Actually, while challis is a perfectly acceptable fabric for this pattern, a rayon poplin would have been my IDEAL material. Maybe I’ll get my hands on some eventually!

Pattern Alterations

As per usual, I couldn’t get away without making some fitting adjustments. I added my usual-with-Named 1″ at the bust line front and back and adjusted the shoulder slope of the front piece (adding 1″ to the outer edge at the armhole and tapering into about 1/4″ at the neck opening). I got away without needing to move the bust dart, which is always nice! I was not so fortunate when it came to the armholes though, having fucked with the shoulder slope at that edge to the tune of 1″, and therefore adding length to the armholes. Since this is a sleeved garment, that extra length needed to be added to the sleeve cap as well. This tutorial does a good job of showing how to add length to a sleeve cap without also enlarging the bicep of the sleeve. That’s the method I used, and I walked/measured the pieces afterwards to confirm that they would be compatible.

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All the altered pattern pieces!

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Sleeve piece after cap height was added

Finally, I took a bit of length off the hem, because 1.) Named already drafts for a height of 5’8″, and I am at most 1″ taller than that, 2.) I added 1″ at the bust and another 1″ at the outer shoulder (which does add length to the dress overall), and 3.) my legs are short for my height, proportionally. This should be a midi dress, and it was hitting me well below that point. All told, I took about 2-3″ off the original hem length; I also opened the side splits a bit so they were close to the original length, since they had been affected by my hem shortening extravaganza. I trust Named’s proportions on design, and wanted to make sure I didn’t lose that effect; based on the modeled photos on their site, mine are damn close.

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Side splits, doin’ their thing.

All that said, I should have checked the pocket placement after doing so much lengthening: they’re a bit low, but I think only by about 1/2″. And if I’m being picky, the dart point could stand to extend about 1/2″ closer to the apex. But all things considered, I think the dress fits very well.

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My beautiful pockets! Just a touch too low, but NBD.

Construction Notes

The Reeta dress was fairly simple to assemble–if you’ve made a shirtdress before (or a shirt!), you can do this. However, things got a little more complex thanks to the convertible collar with facings (as opposed to a stand + collar + button band combo) and the use of a yoke facing. You can’t just do the burrito yoke method and get a perfectly clean finish everywhere, so don’t get cocky like I did: I sewed my burrito and came back to the directions to find that I should have done it their way. I unpicked back to the part where both the yoke and yoke facing are sewn to the dress back and started again from there. It was complicated at the end, simply because the instructions are fairly short, and the illustrations weren’t clicking for me right away. Just go slow, make sure your mind is fresh, and keep checking your assembly against their instructions. The resulting finish is impeccably clean and fully enclosed, and you won’t regret taking the extra time! (I did manage to sew my collar on upside-down the second time without realizing until after I was done with the whole shebang, so all my careful rolling of the seam was wasted. GRRRRRRRRR.)

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Finished yoke/facing/collar/dress thing–whew!

The instructions would have you use purchased drawstring cord for the waist, but I am of the opinion that this tends to look cheap. #sorrynotsorry I made my own 1/4″ drawstring out of my fabric by cutting a 1″-wide strip, turning the short ends in by 1/2″, pressing the whole strip in half length-wise, opening it back up and pressing both raw edges to the center crease length-wise, and then pressing THAT mess in half length-wise along the center line and sewing down the open edges. Still with me??? O_o I didn’t bother with a bias strip either, just a straight grain one–not only is that unnecessary for this application, I didn’t have the yardage anyway!! I used some rayon seam binding for the casing–it’s only 1/2″ wide but if you sew it right at the edges, it’s no problem to fit a 1/4″ tie through it.

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Waist tie casing, made from Hug Snug seam binding.

OH! And despite that drawstring waist, there is NO waist seam on this dress. So your front and back pieces (and front facings) are LOOOOOOONG. As such, I can’t recommend playing Pattern Tetris with anything but your sleeves, collar, back yoke, and pockets on this one–trust the fabric requirements, folks.

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All that’s left of 3 yards of fabric: daaaaaaaamn.

Conclusions

So there you have it: another wildly successful Named project! I am so glad to have one much-needed Summer/Spring dress added to my wardrobe, especially since I used fabric AND notions that I already had on hand. That’s right: the only thing I bought for this project was the pattern, which I would have eventually bought anyway. Sewing doesn’t get much better than that, does it? 😀 Well, Tom did find a way to make it slightly better, thanks to his epic Photoshop skills. This dress has now “theoretically” crossed time and space, making it The Greatest Ever:

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I dare you to beat THIS on #tbt

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DRESS…….IN…….SPAAAAAAAAAAACE

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“Mads” the Mountaineer!

And speaking of kickass Summer dresses, I think I will do a planning post for a summer wardrobe next. I desperately need more options for that season, and it is coming on fast! My goal will be to use only stashed fabric, and to focus on those patterns I already own.

In closing (FINALLY), I will leave you with one final me-made-related thing! We did band photos a few weeks ago (UGH the week before my hair got touched up–that figures), and I decided to wear one of my Inari dresses for the shoot! I am so pleased that I got to wear something that I like and feels like “me,” that I think looks “cool,” and that I MADE for band photos. SEWING ROCKS!!!

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Sitting in my car with 6 weeks of roots, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. 😉

See you all soon!

What have you been sewing lately? Do you ever curse yourself for choosing a tricky fabric for garments that require precision? How do you feel about the midi trend: LOVE or HATE? 

 

It’s Spring, So Here Are Four Winter Things

Well, this post took me long enough, didn’t it? 😀

I don’t talk much about my non-sewing activities on this blog, as I’m fairly sure they’re boring. But back in January, I decided to audition for a 90’s alt-rock cover band and guess what? I GOT IN!!! I’m really excited–that genre has been a long-term love of mine from back when I’d sneak downstairs on Saturdays to watch MTV as a kid–but it’s been a lot of work. I have to learn not just the existing set list, but a whole host of other songs we want to add as well; then there’s the weekly practice, which takes most of an evening after work. I’ve had a really hard time adjusting to my new obligations when it comes to time management, so a top that I started for Jungle January took me until March to pick up again (and it was a FAIL–salt in the wound). Yikes! To be fair, I was also working feverishly on some hand-knitted birthday gifts for my bestie (2 pairs of socks and 1 cowl), so any spare craft time went to those items first. (And yes, they were delivered on time!) Here’s hoping I get used to my new extracurricular activity and make more time for sewing, eh?

So anyway, I had hoped to be sharing a leopard-print blouse–that I started in JANUARY–with you today. Unfortunately, I am still without a leopard print garment. 😦 Since M7436 is a big ol’ shirt, I didn’t bother doing any flat pattern measurements. Yeahhhhhh, my lats and shoulders were too big for the shirt. (Thanks, one year of varsity track and field!) I’m bummed, since I had been looking forward to this top being done after 2 months of not having time for it but badly wanting to wear it. Lesson learned: MEASURE SHIT.

To console myself, I jumped headlong into something else. I had bought some sweater knits–my first ever–on Fabric.com about 3 months ago and have been eager to use them. Here they are! (NAYY.) I have also been wearing the same busted-ass pair of Forever21 sweatpants for 5 winters (and falls…and springs…) now and was due for at least one new pair, so I bought some french terry knits from Urban Rag Trader (NAYY) for those. So while I meant to be showing you all 1 new thing, I have 4 different-than-planned things to share instead!

First up: M7471, View B!

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A good depiction of the drape of the front.

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Closer look at the front collar

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Back wing-a-lings in action

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We made the same face!

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how this top would work for me–the envelope photo looks a little too oversized, but I loved the idea of it based on the line art. I picked View B because it had all the elements I wanted: straight hem, long sleeves, and no ruching. I am really, really happy with the finished top: it’s a winner! I don’t think it’s too much fabric at all, and the shape of the top is interesting and stylish (but very, very easy to sew). It also used a lot less fabric than I expected: I had 2 yards of my knit, and I still have enough left to use for something else! The key, I think, is to pick a fabric that drapes well; otherwise this top will look like you are wearing a pile of fabric in heavy folds. Just my $0.02, anyway.

Pattern Adjustments

The only adjustments I made to this pattern were vertical: it would have been a belly top on me otherwise! O_o (If you go to the pattern page on the BMV website, look at the model in the red top–that’s the one I made, and that’s about how short it would have been on me…no thanks.) I added 2.5″ at the waistline (which is marked on the pattern) and gave myself an extra 1.5″ at the hem; I only took a 5/8″ hem. I left the sleeves alone after taking some measurements and deciding they were fine as-is.

Construction Notes

Like I said, this top is dead simple to make. Just beware of the instructions: they have you baste the shoulders and necklines together, and then tell you to fold down the front collar at the fold line (after you’ve basted PAST it), baste that down somehow, and then sew the shoulder/neckline seam for real. DO NOT BOTHER WITH THAT. I blindly followed the directions to that point and then realized I’d be sewing the same thing twice, for no good reason. I unpicked my basting from the foldlines on up, folded the collars down FIRST, and then basted everything. So much simpler.

The instructions also have you sew the side seams before setting the lower sleeves…yeah, nuts to that. I put the lower sleeves in flat and whipped up the side seams and sleeves in one pass with the serger.

Next up is M7538, View A:

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Front view! You can see the top overlaps due to my fabric being lightweight…

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Back view, which is basically identical to the front (right wraps over left, etc.)

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Boob crossover in action! Nursing or soon-to-be-nursing folks, this top could probably easily be hacked for access! (I am neither: just an idiot who plays with her clothes.)

Now if M7471 has flown somewhat under the radar, THIS pattern is one that got everyone’s attention when it was released. It BEGS to be color-blocked. So of course, I did the most boring thing possible with this awesome pattern and just used 1 color for the entire thing. Style FAIL. 😉

The only things I would change if I make this one again (and I think I will) are to add a little less length, take a wedge out at each upper back piece near the shoulder blade, change the shoulder seam slope just slightly (those two factors cause the shoulders to fall down during wear), and use a heftier fabric. I think my hatchi knit is a bit too lightweight for this pattern, so the crossovers at the bust show through and look a bit bumpy. But otherwise, I am happy with this one.

Pattern Alterations

This is one of those tricky patterns for long-torso’d people. It clearly says, “No provisions made for above-the-waist adjustments.” So if you need that length, you have to figure out how to add it. My solution? Slice all the pieces except for the top ones along their horizontal centers and add 1″. I also added some amount at the hem, 1.5″ maybe? (Can’t remember, sorry!) It was definitely enough length, and I ended up taking a lot off the hem before hemming the top (it was covering my entire ass). There are a couple of spots on the body that are too long as well, so I’ll make further adjustments if there’s a “next time.”

I also went for half-length sleeves, hitting at my elbows. I thought long sleeves would be too much of this color on me, and with the low necklines front AND back, it wasn’t ever going to be a “keeping warm” shirt anyway. I also prefer shorter sleeved tops under cardigans and other toppers, so it was an easy choice. Since that length isn’t in the pattern, I just measured my arm to where I wanted the sleeve to hit and added 5/8″ hem allowance to that.

Construction Notes

Make sure you transfer your markings carefully–you’ll want them. The top looks like a bunch of twisted, overlapped fabric strips, but really it’s just clever pieced construction. Orienting your pieces is really the only challenge in this pattern, and even that isn’t difficult if you were careful from the beginning. I did opt to baste all of my pieces in place before serging.

I have mentioned this next bug-bear before (when I made my Jungle January dress last year), but I encountered a very bloated sleeve cap on this pattern: it was just way, way excessive for a pattern designed for knits. On top of that, they expect you to set the sleeve rather than sew it in flat. I’ve found McCall instructions for knit patterns to be old-fashioned; they will get you there in the end, but there is almost always a better way than they recommend. Food for thought…

And last but not least, 2 versions of the True Bias Hudson Pants:

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Pair #1! (Photo was lightened somewhat to show the detail–black fabric is hard to photograph!)

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Back view

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Using those pockets!

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Side view

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Puppy time!

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Blue pair!

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Wayyyyyyy stretchier than the first pair!

Having made the men’s version of this pattern before, there isn’t much new to say about the original women’s version. The pattern goes together very easily, though I did deepen the pockets by about 1.5″ and omit the drawstring at the waist. I made the smallest size and cut the elastic to 7″ shorter than my high hip measurement (I made no adjustments to the waistband pattern piece for my size). My only issue is that the black french terry fabric isn’t as stretchy as I need it to be, so the ankle bands make that pair hard to take off!

I didn’t add any length to either pair–both my fabrics stretch on the grain slightly (or in the case of the blue one, about as much as on the cross-grain) and I didn’t really care if they ended up full-length or not because I don’t wear sweatpants except at home. I think I got away with it because of the stretch of my fabrics, because the Hudsons are designed to be dropped in the crotch, and because I have a small butt and short-for-my-height scrawny legs. I also wear these at my high hip, and not at my waist. YMMV, so check the rise and leg length if you aren’t sure!

So there you have it, 4 things! Hopefully I won’t be gone as long before my next post–I have some plans but that’s never a guarantee. 😉 Just in case it takes me a while, here are some cute Mulder photos to hold y’all over!

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THAT FACE.

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Happy model pup!