Monday, March 26, 2012

You Are Not Alone

 Booyah, pantalones.

Don't adjust your monitors, my friends.  These really are hot pink, pleated linen pants.  
Hot. Pink.

I bought this linen last summer.  It was described as "coral" when I ordered it online.   I was a little shocked when it came.  Not that I don't like hot pink, but it just wasn't what I expected.   I guess the color could be considered coral.  Maybe electric coral.  I decided it wouldn't be too huge of a loss if I failed at my third attempt at pants (fourth? fifth? I've lost count).

Now before you go all congratulatory on me, I want to you to know that I was not alone in the making of this hot pink wonder.  I had help.

Do you know StephC over at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World?  Well, after my first rant on how difficult pants are, Stephanie sent me an email asking if I would be interested in testing her custom pants block service.  Yes, that's right.  She was asking me if I would help her test her service.  I asked if she had the 'who was helping whom' mixed up.  We all know I needed some major pants fitting help.

The service works like this: You send Stephanie your measurements.  She drafts you a custom pants block, basically a wide leg pair of bermuda shorts.  I'll spare you the muslin photos (or spare myself).  You email back and forth for a bit and fix some fit issues.  Then, you use your pants block to alter existing patterns.

These pants are from Simplicity 2477, which is out of print now.   I made view A.  I was super impressed with the pattern, which is not usually the case with some of the Simplicity patterns I've sewn before.  I thought it was drafted really well.  I decided on the pleated version which is so unlike me.  I don't think I own a pair of pleated pants, other than the wide leg ones I made a couple of summers ago.  That was a lucky make, by the way.  I was swayed by the illustration on the front cover.  In this linen, I imagined these to be long, fun and flowy- more of a palazzo silhouette.  I think they ended up long and fun, but more of a classic trouser silhouette.  The legs are pretty straight.  I left off the faux flap and added a couple of belt loops at the center back.  I also underlined every piece with some cotton broadcloth I had in my stash that just happened to be the exact same color.

Anyway, I used the pants block Stephanie so kindly drafted and fixed a few things before I made these up.  No muslin, my friends.  Just some careful prep.   If I was a good blogger I would have taken a picture of my pants block versus the pattern.  But I didn't.  So you'll have to take my word on the changes I made.   There wasn't a huge difference in the crotch curve.  The pattern was pretty close to my block.  But I did have a bit of an extension on the back crotch curve.  According to the block I needed to go up a size then make some major changes above the hip.   I changed the side and center back seam the most above the high hip line.   I totally changed the shape of the side seams.  And I took in the darts about 1/4" each.  I also angled the center back seam quite a bit.  Essentially I created another dart at the back, I just did it while I was sewing the seam.

It's not completely perfect, but it's close, right?  I see some wrinkles in the back view photo above.  Some of those are due to my shirt being tucked in.   The only issue that still bugs me a bit is some extra fabric at the center front seam.  I took in the back seam so much above the hip that I think I probably needed to angle the front seam in some.  Only there's a fly there.  Hmmm.  There will always be things to improve on.  But I'm not going to let that rain on my hot pink parade right now.

Originally I sewed cuffs at the bottom.  But I didn't like the length.  So I took the cuffs out and hemmed them loooooonnng.  I have to wear some pretty substantial heels.

One more bit of awesomeness about these pants- I used Debbie Cook's jeans fly tutorial. How freakin' amazing. If you haven't tried her method yet, do it. You'll be astounded at how fabulous your fly turns out. I pestered J about a zillion times to check out my fly after I sewed it up. He didn't understand, but I know you will. I'm not even embarrassed about my fiddly stitching above. Or my mismatched zipper.

There it is!  I feel like I can at least credit myself with one win against pants making now.  I can see these in the heat of summer with a blouse-y tank top.  I'll have to make one of those.  I think I may even try wearing them more beach bum style with flip flops.  I can roll up the hem.  They are linen after all.  I'll have to embrace the wrinkle.

Woot woot!
Hope everyone has a great week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


We, teachers, are counting the days until spring break.
Yes indeed we are.
I catch myself being really short this time of year.  The weather is starting to warm up and everyone is itching for a reprieve.  I try to remain as patient as I possibly can.  But just this morning I caught my blood pressure rising after one of my little friends put that hat back on his head as soon as I turned around even though I just told him to take it off.....

I mean, seriously.  It was just a hat.  What's my deal?

Carolyn just gave me a sunshine award.  I decided I needed a little sunshine in my life.  Instead of answering questions,  I snapped a few photos of my daily work routine on my phone. This is a pictorial answering of questions.  Sort of.  Besides, I don't think I'd ever be able to pick a favorite color.  That would be like a mother having to pick a favorite child.   

Afterwards, as I flipped through my photos, I noticed my blood pressure lowering.  I really do have a fun job.  Look at what I get to work with all day.  Fun stuff.   

There's no shortage of projects at work.  I was starting to feel a little down on myself about my shortage of sewing projects lately.  Never a dull moment at school.

This was a really nice reminder of how lucky I am to be able to make a living from my passion: creating.

  And later in the day, I didn't even raise an eyebrow when another one of my little friends decided to paint his neighbor's face instead of his paper.

Ok, well maybe I did raise an eyebrow.

Or two. 
But you get the idea.

 Thanks, Carolyn!
I needed that.

I'm passing along sunshine to....

Because you all bring a little sunshine to this sewing blogiverse.


On a side note, if you gave me an award in the past couple of months and I didn't post a formal blog response, I apologize.  Thank you so much.  I really, really do appreciate it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pop On Over

The solution to rebounding from an epic sewing fail?  Make something for a baby.

Or several somethings.

I made up a few popover dresses this weekend, which is a fabulous, quick and easy pattern from Oliver and S.  I had fun sorting through my stash of small fabric scraps and leftover trims.  I hang on to so many fabric scraps-- pieces that are too small to make anything pour moi but too big to get rid off.  The first two dresses are for a friend's baby who turned one this weekend.  The sizing on the free pattern wasn't small enough so I shrunk it down ten percent on a copier.  It looks right to me.

This one was made for a coworker who is having a shower this week.  I shrunk the pattern down again.  I used fabric from an old top I'd been saving.  I actually never wore the top but couldn't part with it because I loved the print so much.   Which got me thinking-- I really, really love this print.  But will my coworker?  When you make things for other people, do you ever wonder if they will like it as much as you do?  I had to ask myself if I was making something because I thought the recipient would like it, or if it was simply because I liked it.  I guess that's what happens when you sew for others.  You run the risk of making something not quite their style because of your own preferences.

Anyway, in the end I decided it didn't matter.  And I'm sure she'll like it.  I mean, who doesn't love bobble trim? ;)

Happy sewing, friends.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Stuff of Nightmares

I spent all week working on these.  

No, scratch that.  I've spent numerous hours of precious sewing time working on these for the past month.  I have muslined-- multiple times, in fact.  I have tweaked.  I have trimmed.  I have refined.
Then, I sewed like a demon.  Seven, maybe eight hours of sewing time.  I underlined.  I top stitched.  I bar-tacked.
[cue ominous music]


Let this be a lesson to you all.  Do not use cheapo fabric.  Do not use a pattern against your better judgement (Butterick 5683).  Do not press forward when your instincts tell you it's not going to work.

I'm not going to go in to too much detail about these.  It's too terrifying.  I'll only point out a few flaws.  See that twisty leg?  Yep.  Pretty sure that's a byproduct of crappy, off grain fabric (just because it's three dollars a yard doesn't mean you should buy it...)  Or my shady underlining job.  The waistband never did match up.  And the icing on the cake?  When I tried them on for the final time, the zipper broke. Broken beyond repair.  I haven't decided if I'm going to attempt to fix them, or burn them.

Pants: 2          Liza Jane: 0

On a side note, is anyone else going to miss Picnik as much as I am?