Friday, July 12, 2019


Last year, everywhere I went on the internet, I saw:

I have documented here my desire for some flowy, floral pants. Not necessarily this type of floral. Don't these look comfy? They were in ads, in Facebook groups, everywhere. I heard they were the "Portlander Pants". I never bought the pattern though because 1) I have so many patterns 2) I don't have much experience buying this type of fabric online and 3) It could easily cost $60+ if I were to buy the fabric online! Yikes! So they stayed at the back of my mind.

Late last year(?), Sinclair Patterns came out with the Sunset Loungers pattern. I'm part of their FB group and it was offered free for a while when it was released. Okay, step 1 done.

The community band I'm in was doing their spring concerts. For one, we didn't need to dress up but my black pants were just too heavy. So I tried on a couple black skirts/skorts I have. Nothing fit right! I know I've been naughty with my eating this spring, but this was still a bit of a surprise since I was still wearing a lot of other clothes! Plus, these skirts were store bought, and not built for me. Why should they fit right? We have a "Music in the Park" night coming up and it's hard to dress for. Often it's quite warm when we're setting up and starting, but then when the sun sets, it's much cooler. I decided I needed some black, flowy, knit pants. Eleven or so years ago I finally caved and bought some black yoga pants and discovered how comfortable they were and how they could be dressed up. I've come to realize I'm not a leggings girl. I need a bit of width at the ankle to balance my upper half. Those yoga pants aren't black anymore (in the past, I have dyed them), and the back seam is quite thin now. It's time to make my own!

I went to FabricLand with the intent of finding a lightweight black knit. Shouldn't be too hard, right? I really wanted something with a lot of natural fibre. I did have some heavier ponte leftover from THIS dress, but it's so heavy and very similar to the black pants I already have. After going through Fabricland I found some lightweight black knit. There was no fiber content listed. It had stretch, it was soft, it seemed like it would work. There wasn't a whole lot of it, but I'm short so I crossed my fingers.

OMG.  I want to marry these pants.

I tried something new. I asked my husband to "take a picture of these pants". I'm surprised he didn't get down on his knees to take the picture. I noticed he angled the phone rather low. So I suggested that he could include me in the photo too. 

I think I was trying to show how high the waistband comes. I did the yoga waistband. I was using the petite sized patterns, and it still came so high! 
In the back, because the fabric doesn't have to travel over curves, it came up even higher, but it had slid down in this photo. The first time I wore the pants, I could see my underwear print. So this time I tried a thong. Well, I have pants wedgie. Not good either. I think I might make a few pairs of boy shorts. I don't want anything too long though because I want to keep the feeling of wearing nothing. 

I folded the waistband over, and it's pretty much perfect. The drawstring now comes out between the layers though. That's okay. Next pair, I might shorten the waistband, contouring it so it's not as wide at the back. I might add some power mesh/net across the front. Either in the waistband or the pants. I don't know which. Maybe I'll lower the rise a bit but then the pockets need adjusting. 
I did metal eyelets for the drawstrings. I tested them, and saw I needed two layers of interfacing. However, after a couple days, one started to pull out. You could see the interfacing, so I coloured that with a laundry Sharpie, and then put some nail glue (I'm out of Fraycheck) around it. 

I want more of these pants. Like, now! Heavier ones, patterned ones, maybe even shorts? I haven't had knit shorts in a super long time because I didn't like the lack of structure over the belly. But with sewing my own (and my own underwear), I can change that! I think my next pair will be grey. I still have more of the grey from THESE pants. Probably enough for a pair. This time they won't have droopy butt. I also have a heavier grey that I bought but it turns out it had no stretch. It's very similar to pants Rob has and I thought I might make him some...but he can buy his own. LOL. 


Friday, July 05, 2019

THE Dress

Every once in awhile, the average sewist wants/should tackle something a bit beyond their comfort zone. When I found this fabric at Value Village, I immediately pictured a dress with full skirt.

It's 80% rayon, 20% linen. I would go back to what I had tried in my first few dresses--lining, fitting, precision---before I had the skills and knowledge to really accomplish it.

I was disappointed after I washed it. It seemed to develop dark streaks.
It's like something washed out of the fabric and left short streaks. And I noticed this little flub (right of centre, towards the lower half) after sewing together.

 As documented earlier, I started the muslin. The pattern only went up to a 16, which, sadly, this spring was not even large enough for my upper bust. However, I still have a 16 frame, so I went with that and did the FBA.
 The neckline needed adjusting. I changed this, and the straps, and tweaked things a bit. It wasn't lined, but it seemed good. Though I had some pouffyness above the bust, I thought taking it in a bit as I sewed would be the easiest answer.
Then I got busy. Finally I realized I needed to get this done so I could wear it to Megan's grade 8 grad, which was going to be about a week earlier than it normally is!
 I made my own piping with leftover navy from Megan's Moxie shorts. Oh yeah, need to blog those. I used Handicrafter cotton yarn. I measured off what I thought I'd need ("3 packages of piping" was all the pattern said), wound it into a little skein, and threw it in with my laundry (in a mesh bag!). New skill--piping! I sewed it together and then the instructions say to turn right side out through a shoulder. Ummmm. The shoulders were already seamed. I could not figure it out and it got stuck. I watched a video and she took a safety pin at a lower edge and fed it through, and bingo!
 Not sure what this was to show. Maybe that my lining seemed too small?  I had a lot of issues. You need to baste the lining to the bodice and I don't think I did it carefully enough and it wasn't lining up and the dress looked more padded than lined. I redid it and it's much better, but still not like the pattern picture.
 Sure doesn't look very fitted here.
 The bodice seemed to droop a bit over the waist. Don't know if that happened because of the heat, or not getting things lined up, or if the mostly rayon fabric grew during handling. I'm going with the last one because that would also explain why the lining didn't line up. Also, the fabric wasn't wide enough to do the skirt front in one piece! There's a seam hiding in there.
 A decent job on the zipper. I don't understand the lapped part though. I don't see how it can smoothly lap over when it's the same as the seam allowance. Hard to explain. But I watched some videos and they all were the same, so I guess you just fudge the bottom.
 I couldn't seem to find any of my hook and eyes so I rushed out to buy some, but then didn't get a chance to sew it on before the grad.
 I wasn't following the hem piping instructions. It sounded to me that the piping strip would be showing. I saw tutorials that have you cut a facing and basically you sandwich the piping like doing the bodice piping, then sew the top of the facing down. I didn't want to cut more fabric. So while I was getting the hook and eye (I had to make an earlier trip there for a zipper. I was not very well organized this time), I looked at hem tape and bias bianding. I found some very basic instructions on how to do it but I couldn't quite wrap my head around it until doing it. They had wide bias tape in navy which was a great match to the piping. I laid it on, figured out how it should be sewed, and then promptly did it wrong.
I hand stitched the top of the bias tape to the dress, using very tiny stitches, widely spaced. Not visible on the right side at all. I like the additional weight this adds to the very light fabric, and how clean it looks from the inside. Not that anyone really could see the inside hem, but you know, sometimes when you sit, it shows, or if you bend over, reach up, etc.
 It was a chore to get a picture of me, since the day was all about Megan (aren't most days? LOL). You can see how the bodice seems to roll over the piping at my underarm.

Megan wanted us all to not clash. She vetoed Lucy's dress because it was "too blue".

 Okay. First up, Seeing those shoes with the dress....Although I felt tall my legs actually look short!
I didn't know where to put the waist of the dress. The seam was supposed to be right at the waist, but my waist is quite high, and it would have almost been an empire waist dress. I had hoped the piping and the gathers would hide that the waist was not at my narrowest point. I did raise it a bit after the first round of basting but I was also worried it would end up too short. I think it needs to go a bit higher still. I learned a long time ago, that little changes (1/2") can make huge differences. It also doesn't fit as slim under the bust as the model. And it seemed a little tight above the bust/armhole. I'm hoping to shed a few pounds this summer though.
 It started to rain just before we had to go. And like every year, it was hot in the gym. It had been a nice day up until dinner and then it got humid.

Yes, I have a piece of hair going from my nose to my ear. You know, like those girls with the little gold cuff on their nose that's connected with a chain to their ear? (Sarcasm. It was hot. I didn't care.)
I have very few dresses that have a distinct waist seam. It's not how I roll--being very short waisted with a large bust. I'm glad I gave this a go though, and I learned a ton. I love the piping. I'm not too afraid of lining now. I can FBA a princess seam bodice. But I don't think I'm going to start making dresses with a horizontal waist line. Though I realize that was necessary to get the fullness in the skirt. If I did this one again, I'd leave out the waist piping. Though it does add a nice detail and logical separation between the gathers and the bodice....

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Still Here

June was SO busy. Even with Megan away at camp for a week (so I didn't hear "Mom, I need to go to..." every day), I was still really busy. I know I did some sewing...I finished the dress to wear to Megan's graduation. What else? Oh, two pairs of Sequoia pants! Sunset Lounger pants! A shirt for Rob! A swimsuit! I thought I had posted about that one. Oh, I did! Back in May! Really?! Okay then. Let's go with the Sequoia pants first.

April (I think is when I made these), I had some time when I couldn't work due to my truck being "in the shop" (stuck in the driveway, awaiting parts and good weather to put them on). I found some dark brown corduroy fabric in my stash and thought "I've been wanting dark brown wintery pants". I have some linen blend but they're not good for winter and have no pockets. I have the pair I made without a pattern, but the brown is not dark. The way spring was going, I was pretty sure I could still get some use out of heavier pants.
 I don't know why, but my phone wanted to wash out these pictures so badly. I did side pockets, making sure my phone would fit this time. My phone is a bit smaller than when I made my first two pairs, so that helped. I got some brown snaps from a friend, but they were a little lighter  than I was hoping. And, even though I didn't interface the flaps, and I used a plain cotton for the inside of the flap, I couldn't get the snaps to work. The prong wasn't long enough.
 Before I was even done, I saw that these were basically going to be like wearing a Swiffer.
 For the waistband, I followed most of the instructions, but I didn't stitch down the elastic. I don't think it has very much stretch when you do that.
I cut these a little bigger than the grey pair, because those were fairly close fitting and this is a much thicker fabric. However, once done, it was clear they were too big. I took in the waist elastic, but that resulted in a lot of bunching. Like when a little kid has to borrow someone's pants and they pull the drawstring really tight. So I took the pockets half off and took in the side seams. That helped. They are still pretty loose. Very comfy though. And indeed, it was a very cold, wet spring, so I did get a fair bit of use out of these. I didn't do the little straps because I knew I wouldn't roll these up into capris.

I wanted to make a new pair of dark blue pants from a proper pattern. While I was pleased with my first pair , since making the Sequoia pants a few times, I knew I could do better. I was cleaning up my dining room and found a tag from Value Village and on the back, I wrote "Blue sheet". I totally forgot I had already got some fabric! And I had just been looking at Fabricland! I dug through the basket in my laundry room where I throw the sheets instead of folding them and bingo! The tag says Queen size, $5.49. It was a a fitted sheet, so I had to cut the elastic off and cut open the corner seams. It's 60% cotton, 40% polyester. It has a sort of brushed feel to it. As I was working, it looked like some of the pieces were a different shade. Not sure if there had been some fading, or it was a light thing. No one has mentioned it though...

 I chose a nice print for the inside of the pocket flaps, and the facing on the front pockets. I didn't have blue snaps so I used black.
 I fused the fly interfacing without thinking it through and to sandwich the interfacing between the layers meant my mock fly went to the opposite side than usual.
I find I get a bit of pulling along the seams. Not sure why. I opted for a simple waistband with elastic inside. I did want to do a drawstring but I think I forgot. I did do the leg straps so I can roll these up on hot days. Wear them long when I get to a school for a job, and roll them up later in the day! They're really comfy, I love the pockets. Smart casual. Great for work!!

Friday, June 07, 2019

Let's Get Caught Up

I had a really good trip to Value Village earlier this spring. I hadn't planned to go, but I got to Fabricland and they weren't open yet, so I headed over to VV.  There were some great options in the fabric section! I hadn't been in awhile because the last time I did, I scored some great fabric. Large pieces of knit fabrics, possibly rayon knit. So, I didn't need more but I couldn't pass up what I did find. This prompted me to finally sew up something from the last haul.

There was enough of this fabric for a dress, so I had been saving it to make a dress. But I don't really wear dresses in the winter and my dress section of my closet is full. So I decided to make a top and skirt. Because of the busyness of the print, I opted for my good old TNT, New Look 6735.  

 With a scrap, I "made" a cleaning cloth for my flute. Okay. I was practicing in our "music nook" which is next to my sewing room. The scraps hadn't been put away yet. This was the first I grabbed. And yes, I actually went to band wearing that shirt, and with that cleaning cloth. I'm unique.

I made the skirt from New Look 6735 as well. I was tired though, and somehow cut out 2 of the sections that needed 4 and 4 for the sections that needed 2. Although they are similar, one is cut on the fold and one is cut flat. I went ahead and sewed it together anyway. It seems a little flat at the front. I added pockets, following a tutorial I found for adding pockets in a knit dress. I had read to use interfacing on the seams to stop them from stretching out. I used the lightest non-woven/non-knit interfacing I had, but I think I should have used the knit interfacing. Though to me, that would defeat the purpose. I wasn't all that happy with the pockets.

Then I tried the skirt on, and it was too big. So I unpicked the elastic in two places, snipped it and made it shorter, then resewed. It was still too big. So I unpicked the entire elastic, re-did the top corners of the pockets and sewed all the seams slightly smaller, and stitched in the elastic (after shortening it more). It's not tight, but I might be worried if I have a "skinny" day. I haven't worn it yet since spring is still hiding with the groundhog. Well, yesterday wasn't too bad and today looks nice. Edit:  I did wear it, I think with a black top. Comfy though the elastic might need to be tighter still.

I've done a lot of small projects this year, that I haven't posted about. Like, slippers. I needed new slippers. The ones I made for the Florida trip were getting holes. The gold ones I made are nice but I wanted something light for summer. I posted a picture of the ones I made to Facebook and my brother's MIL (who was on the trip) asked for three pairs. My SIL asked for a pair. No problem! It seems to take forever to make more than one pair LOL. I totally messed up one for the MIL (sewed the heel piece on upside down). So she got two pairs to start with. I finished the other pair after.
The icky ones in the middle are the Roadtrip slippers. Yes, I used the same fabric as for the muslin I was just making. Great use for those scraps. Okay, I can't find a picture of the gold ones. I can't find the slippers either. Mmmm....

I've also made a lot of underwear.

 I've had this panel for awhile. I think it's a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I like it anyway. However...the fabric felt "tight", but it still had stretch. And when I tried them on, it was obviously not enough stretch. I could wear them, but I won't.

I did have to piece my bands and made the leg ones a little narrower to fit them all on the piece.

Then I went to do this pair. I noticed this fabric also had that glossy, slick feel to it. I cut the back out and then questioned if I was going to end up with another bad pair. So for the front, I use my colour block pattern, and did my regular 95/5 Cotton-Lycra fro the front sides and the bands. This pair is so, so comfortable and supportive!

These are some I made in the winter. I struggled so much with the waist band of the blue pair. It just didn't seem to be long enough. And when I tried them on, I was shocked. Then I laid them with the other ones....I don't know what happened. 
I had a stack of underwear that didn't really fit me. Some were before I altered the pattern to fit me better, some were RTW. I decided to take the ones I've sewn and fix them up--add an upper belly wedge for a bit more length. This pair I also cut a new waistband. Much better now. 

I have some light coloured pants, so for a few pairs I did the backside in white, and then a print on the front--my pants are not usually as tight at the front, and you don't have to worry about the "squat test". Nothing is worse than squatting and finding out the print on your undies suddenly show through!

When I was picking up new solids from The Fabric Snob, I found this fabric in the clearance section. 

Thought it would make cute underwear. I washed it, and the selvage did not shrink the same as the rest of the fabric. It was very puckery. This is why you shouldn't include the selvage in your pieces. At least not until it's been washed. I snipped off the selvage to let the fabric relax. I was worried it didn't have good recovery so I did the bands in white. Hubby says they're fine, but when he sleeps, the fly is not ....containing him...the overlap is not enough or the opening is too low...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I Bought Yarn...

...back on Feb 9 LOL.

I got orders from previous clients for more Christmas stockings. So, I needed more yarn! Five balls of Loops & Threads "Impeccable" in green, red and cream, 127.5gr each. I wish my fabric spending was as frugal as my yarn spending this year. However, I think I am doing pretty good at using up fabric that I buy, as well as a few projects to use up stash.

Yarn In:  200gr+637.5gr=837.5gr
Yarn Out: 633 gr
Balance:  204.5gr IN
Costs: $11.23+22.55=$33.78/141 days = $0.24/day

Frugal Roxie

Megan's program for this year's competitions was "Roxie" from Chicago. We kept an eye out for a new dress, but we couldn't find anything. In the meantime, we decided to alter her current dress. We went to the fabric store to find some trim to make the skirt more swishy and longer. I liked a sequined fringe trim, but Megan didn't. We found this fabric with columns of sequins. I didn't think it was blingy enough, but Megan liked it. We also picked up some sequined elastic trim.
The columns of sequins are sewn down with a continuous strand of clear thread.
So. As you cut the length of the fabric, you've cut that clear thread. So, all those columns need to be secured. A dab of glue. 
 Then I sliced up between the columns, sometimes singles, sometimes doubles and a few triples. I sliced up to various lenghts. Then I glued it to the sequined trim and then hand stitched that to the skirt/dress seam. We created a headpiece with a feathered headband from the dollar store, with the sequined trim over it. We really got lucky with that headband!

 When Megan took to the ice for her first competition, I went up to the top of the stands to try to get a good view to film. I heard some women say "I love her headpiece. You can just tell this is going to be a sassy piece". Yes!!
Megan had three competitions and a couple tests with this costume, but on this last test day, feathers were coming out of the headpiece (which sat on her temple, a little closer to her ear). I didn't have any glue, thread, or double stick tape!

 I never managed to get a picture of her in the dress all season! I  would have liked the skirt to be a bit fuller over her original dress, but I still thinks it all works fine. I would have liked it a bit longer, but you don't want it to get in the way!