I need a distraction

IMG_0791First off, the good news: While by no means perfect, my welt pocket is looking much, much better than yesterday. (Though is the dart supposed to go crooked like that where it splits?)

IMG_0792The bad news: After struggling with it for a solid half hour, at least, plus at least another 15 minutes of staring vainly at Lauren’s tutorial post, this is what my pocket lining is doing. I just can’t make heads or tails of it, and this is the only way I could figure to get the brown showing through the welt, rather than the print. I don’t think I sewed it backwards or upside down, based on the illustrations, but I’m obviously missing something here and I’ll feel really dumb when I figure out what it is. (Well, more dumb, because I am honestly rather discouraged with this entire thing right now.)

So, to distract myself, here’s my tentative plan for the rest of the FESA sewalong.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
Trousers, skirts, legwarmers and more! Anything that keeps your lower portion fashionably cozy fits perfectly here! The chilly weather necessitates the donning of bifurcated bottoms and sassy skirts!

Obviously, I’ve got this one covered by Pantsapalooza, assuming I can make it past this first pair of pants and actually start working on the other 4!

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
Blouses, tops, vests, cardigans, and sweaters! These wardrobe essentials can carry you from day to night, not to mention provide necessary layering to keep out the chill.  

I’ve got a couple of things planned here:
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These two knit prints are tagged for long-sleeved Renfrew tops. The black striped one, which was part of a Christmas haul from my parents a few years ago, will have to be a layering piece out of necessity. It’s pretty thin. The green is a little thicker, with a crinkled texture, and has been in the stash for several years. The nice thing is that I can use black thread for both, so I can assembly-line construct these as well! I’m thinking maybe a scoop-neck for the black and a v-neck for the green, since I’ve only made the cowl neck variation so far.
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I also have a new knitting project! Would you believe this one has been in progress for a few weeks now? This cardigan pattern is called Roheline, and it’s proved rather difficult to get going, though it’s completely not the design’s fault. The first time I cast it on, one of the dogs somehow got the yarn out of my nightstand drawer early one morning, and in the ensuing tug-of-war between him and my husband, the yarn broke. So I had to start again. Then I had a couple instances of misreading the chart pattern and having to rip it out. And at least once or twice casting on where I just didn’t have enough of a tail to finish. All together, I think I started this sweater about 7 times! But I’ve made it up through row 7 or 8 as of tonight, so I think I’m good now. I hope.

Fabulous Frocks
Dresses of all styles; mini, short, or long! Keep yourself warm in your modish designs, layering with tights and boots!

IMG_0795I meant to get this one done near the end of the summer, so hopefully putting it on my fall list means that I’ll get it done sometime before the end of next summer, right? Anyway, this is the Darling Ranges dress. And of course I plan to overcomplicate things for myself by attempting to fully line it. That blue bemberg rayon was the closest match I could get without actually using white (which, actually, Mood didn’t have at the time). And it’s a pretty lightweight rayon print, so those white streaks are just a liiiiiittle too transparent for my comfort. The fact that it will add some extra warmth doesn’t hurt either, since elbow-length sleeves in the middle of the summer around here just aren’t happening. Which makes this obviously a fall dress.

Underneath It All
When you’re spending months covered from the neck down, a glamorous underpinning of your choice adds a secret, luxurious touch that chases the cold away!

Tender Tootsies
Let’s not forget your frosty feet! Socks, slippers and the like are the order of the day. Keep those tootsies warm and dry!

Those Cozy Nights
Is there anything better than snuggling up in a cozy pair of pajamas with a hot drink and a book whilst Jack Frost works his magic outside? I think not! Sleepwear of all types are the way to go here!

I don’t currently have any plans for these few categories, but we’ll see if I change my mind. After all, despite my long-term anti-leggings stance, the upcoming Espresso leggings are tempting me to give them a shot.

Baby It’s Cold Outside
Coats, hats, and mittens donned to keep the cold at bay, especially when out enjoying the spectacular fall colours!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI do have a pair of handwarmers in progress that I’m frantically knitting for work, but I keep that at my parents’ house as a project to do while I wait for flute students. So this Twitter shot is the only pic I have of them for now. A matching hat may follow. And I do hope to knit the beginner scarf for my Craftsy class soon, too.

So, I know this is a hugely ambitious list, and last year I was crafting for FESA well into the winter. But that’s ok. Especially because there is one more pile…

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Just as a sneak preview, these are the three things I have tagged for the Doctor Who sewalong. But I’m not going to tell yet what I have in mind, or what categories they fall into. Because, as River Song would say, spoilers!

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I may have just ruined my pants.

This is my rather sad attempt at a welt pocket. Which, frankly, looks awful and won’t lie flat at all. Especially in the corners. Since I already cut the slash, I’m not sure how to salvage this. I could maybe widen the seam allowance and make the welts more narrow, but it may be too late.

Needless to say, this is why welt pockets are on my check the technique list. I’ve never managed a good one yet.

Thurlow fitting

I have to say, this hasn’t been nearly as painful as I’d anticipated.
Thurlows, straight out of the patternThis is what I ended up with when sewing it together straight out of the pattern. (I cut a straight size 8, for the record.) And it actually wasn’t that bad! It felt a little bit tight in the lower crotch area. And it was definitely too tight in the butt, even though it was still gapping at the center back. But still…I’ve sewed worse. Which means that my hopes that the Thurlows would work well for my shape are fully justified. Hurrah for Sewaholic!

After adjusting

After about an hour of tweaking, this is where I’m currently at. The butt may still be a little too tight, especially when factoring in welt pockets, but it’s passable. And I can sit in it, which is important. I know the front still looks pretty wrinkly, but I don’t think I’m going to mess with it too much. I learned from the jeans-fitting process that I have to allow myself a little extra room at the top of the thighs, because I have what Tasia calls “strong thighs”. (As illustrated by this initial jeans post here where you can see how far they protrude past my stomach and pelvic bones!) Besides, a lot of what is there is sagginess, and based on a few tugs I was doing when trying it on, I think that problem will be largely solved when the waistband goes on.

So here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • Let the inner thigh seams out 1/8″, for a total of 1/4″ per leg.
  • Took in the darts and side seams 1/8″, for a total waistline decrease of 1/2″.
  • Scooped out the back crotch seam to give me more room in the butt. I’m still not sure why taking fabric away from the outside of the pants gives more room, but it works. TARDIS effect, maybe? I also took that slanty back seam in quite a bit at the top. Probably a solid inch and a half.

I still need to play with the waistband, but that should be fairly simple. I was also thinking about taking it in a little more at the knee for more of a bootleg effect, but since these aren’t jeans and I’m not sure how forgiving this fabric is going to be, I’m going to leave it for these. It seemed like a good fit when my knees are bent, so I probably shouldn’t mess with that too much, either.

So, how’s it looking? And do I need to add a little more into the backside still?

One more thing– I recently discovered on my blog reader that this is happening again! So since my plans for sewing a lot of pants fit oh-so-nicely into the “Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather” category, I’m signing up for sure! I mean, two sewalongs in one? Three, even, since I am busting stash for all of these! How can I resist?

A Stash Confessional, part 1

You know, all things considered, I think I’ve been doing a fairly decent job with the stashbusting this year. I mean, sure, I’ve only sewn about 7-8 things this entire year. And I did have to buy fabric for the recent wedding gifts. And that dress. But aside from those two things, pretty much everything I’ve sewed this year was from things that I’d already had in the stash for awhile. I even managed to basically use up some yarn.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I haven’t bought anything recently. But I am trying to be more mindful of my purchases, and really think about how things will fit into my wardrobe. Either that, or they’re for specific non-clothes purposes. I do need to go through sometime and figure out what my more recent totals are, since I’ve used up parts of yardage and acquired more, and I’ll probably do that before the end of the year. But in the meantime, here’s the more recent additions to my stashes, mostly as told through Twitter posts.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI bought some yarn back in August. There’s this cute little yarn store down at the beach, and I went there with my cousins again this year. The orange yarn was bought specifically to make a scarf for this Craftsy class that I’m verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooooooooooowly working my way through. (And turns out to be a different color of the same yarn that I bought last year and haven’t knitted yet, so I hope I like it!) I have ideas for the other two, but no specific patterns yet–I’m thinking the green could make a nice little triangular wrap/scarf thingy, preferably with a leaf-like pattern. And the blue-purple one….I just thought it was cool and unique. Ideally, I’d like to make a cowl with some kind of drop-stitch pattern so I can play with the dual texture of it (it can be used as a bulky or a ruffle yarn), but I haven’t had any luck yet with finding one on Ravelry. I’m a little afraid that I might have to try to come up with a pattern myself, which is more than a bit intimidating when I’m also taking a beginner knit Craftsy class to make sure I taught myself right!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI also got this over the summer–I’d gone to Joann’s to acquire some supplies for my friend’s bridal shower, and this came home with me. In my defense, it was a lovely-feeling cotton. And 70% off. And it was screaming at me that it wants to be a Pavlova skirt. Which will hopefully happen sometime before the end of next spring.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAlso from Joann’s, and surprisingly soft and snuggly. Hopefully it won’t lose that too quickly in washing. And I’m not saying exactly what I bought this for yet, but if you know the show, you can probably guess.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThat’s right, 3 more pieces of pants-like fabric. When I stopped by my parents’ to drop off my flute before the retail job–I’m kinder to my instrument than myself when it comes to dealing with the temperatures there at my outside register–my mom told me that one of her quilter friends that she’d seen yesterday wanted to pass those along to me. She’d bought them for pants that she apparently decided she’d never get to. So this means if I totally screw up my hopefully wearable muslin of the Thurlows, I have another opportunity to make brown pants. And then figure out what to do with the other two pieces.

Aside from those, I’ve bought several pieces of quilting cotton. Aside from the shower gift pieces, which I do have small yardages left of, I got some to make Christmas stockings for us and one gift. But I don’t have any pictures of those, particularly since I only bought the gift ones today and they haven’t come in the mail yet. (And I may have purchased a sweater knit, too. But I needed one more piece to get free shipping from Fabric.com. And it was on sale for less than $10 total,  and the truth is that I’d rather pay for fabric than shipping. Especially when it means I might be able to inject some much-needed color into my winter wardrobe!)

Stay tuned for part 2, in which I try to figure out various possibilities for things that have been sitting in my stash for awhile. Which will probably wait until after Pantsapalooza, but since I have nothing to show for that yet…note to self, next time you host a sew-along, you might want to pick a time when you don’t have multiple weekends solidly booked in a row, k?

Pants fitting and finishing tips

I’m compiling as many fitting resources for pants as I can find into this link. I’m no expert on fitting adjustments myself, but hopefully you’ll find these helpful. (I’ll keep updating this post as I find more.)

General fitting:
Pants-fitting basics, via The Coletterie
A link list for several pants-fitting issues, from Sewaholic.
This one is more for jeans, but some of the principles could apply to regular trousers as well. From Threads Magazine.
Baggy seat fix, also from Threads Magazine.
Adding a wedge for if you need more coverage in back, from Sewingplums.
Another trousers sewalong at A Fashionable Stitch.  (Thanks, Joanne and Alessa!)
An in-progress “Fit-n-Sew Along” at Maria Denmark. (Thanks to Maria and Not Sew Simple for keeping me in the loop on the Twitter discussion they were having about this while I was at work!)

Pattern-specific:
Lauren at Lladybird hosted a Thurlow sew-along last year, which I would have been all over if I hadn’t been somewhat distracted by muslining a wedding dress. The posts for that start here. She also has a bunch of helpful links in this post to various other blog posts about fitting!

There’s also a series of posts at The Coletterie for sewing the Clover pants.

I haven’t found anything specific on the Juniper pants yet, but feel free to comment if there’s something I missed!

Stepping it up:
Adding a “French Fly” with a waist stay, from Handmade by Carolyn.
Sewing a blind hem, from The Coletterie.
Also from Twitter- a video series on drafting and sewing trousers, from Joost. (This one is more for men’s trousers, so the fit would obviously be different, but I’m sure that the ladies can learn something from menswear construction, too!)

Do you have any other favorite fitting tips or pattern alterations? Feel free to share in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list.

As for my own progress, I haven’t actually started sewing yet! Between an open-to-close work shift over the weekend, church and music activities on Sunday, and going to Philadelphia to see Muse on Monday night, I’ve barely had time to even sleep, let alone sew. But I did get the pattern traced out, and my (hopefully) wearable muslin mostly cut out yesterday. I still need to do interfacing and lining pieces, so I’m going to try to get that taken care of this afternoon. And maybe even start constructing, if time allows.

It’s Pantsapalooza time!

Pantsapalooza button

Hurrah! So here it is, day one, and I’m already changing up my plan. Not for the sewalong in general, don’t worry! I’m just rethinking my own personal approach.

My original plan, as stated, was to start off with a wearable muslin in the form of shorts. But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe that isn’t the best approach. For one thing, now that it’s September, I have absolutely no way of predicting how long shorts will actually be wearable in my area. It could be anywhere from another 2-8 weeks, depending on what the wacky Mid-Atlantic weather does! Between plotting for this, that Darling Ranges dress I have queued, and the upcoming Doctor Who sewalong, my brain is rather firmly fixed on cooler-weather sewing, and shorts just seem…pointless. My other thought was that if I start with a muslin of the pants, it’ll be easier to work out the fit and the length all in one go. Plus the denim is a little heavier than any of my pants fabrics, which I’m sure will affect the fit. So my new plan is to use my mystery brown fabric as the wearable muslin, because since I got it for free, it’s not a huge loss if I totally mess it up.

I wonder if it’s possible to get the length so it’ll work with both my boots and my flats? Hmmm….
My pattern/fabric combo Anyway, here’s the fabrics that I’m going to be using. The brown on top is going to be the muslin fabric. I’m not sure what to call it, because looking at it more closely reminded me that it’s not a twill after all! It’s got an almost slubby linen-like weave to it in spots, so I’m really not sure. Below that is the navy lightweight denim, the grey and olive twills, and the charcoal lightweight denim.

I’m working on a helpful links post, which I’ll hopefully be able to get up in the next couple of days. In the meantime, when I’m not at work or rehearsal, I’m going to be busy tracing out this pattern so I can get started!

In case you missed it, I did get the html working on the button, so you can pick up the code here. I’m also probably going to update that first post with links to other posts.

Anything particular you want to see out of this, as far as post topics go? As I’ve said before, I’m no fitting expert, but I’ll be happy to help however I can!

Finally finished my August Sewcial Bee project…

And just in time for Pantsapalooza!

My finished Reeses' dressSo here it is, my Tiramisu dress and its chocolately color inspiration.

There’s not too much to say about the pattern that hasn’t been said by scores of bloggers. I’m happy with the fit, overall, now that I tweaked the bodice. It’s probably not as deep of a V as it would have been otherwise, but I feel like I can comfortably wear this for teaching and church and such and not feel like people are looking at my chest, so that’s good. And I do think the solid chocolate brown was a good move. I’m also happy to have something I can wear these (barely seen) yellow beaded earrings with, because there’s not much in my closet that goes with them.

Reeses' dress, side view

And here’s a slightly blurry side view, in which my husband was getting creative with posing, and probably a more accurate color assessment. (My weekend is entirely booked, between work and church and music-related things, so I have no idea when I’d be able to get a natural light shot. Thus the indoor pics.)

I also finished trimming and pinning up the third hem of my friend’s wedding dress today, which will be a hand-sewing job, in preparation for busy work during tonight’s episode of Project Runway. 

I also realized that today is 7 years since I wrote my first post on here. Crazy, right? 

Pantsapalooza details!

Aside from dress hemming (which I’m working as hard as I can to get everything done in time!), I finally had a chance to sit down and take care of some of the details to get this thing rolling. So here’s the plan:

The official dates are going to be this Friday, September 6 through Sunday, October 6. But if people need more time, that’s completely ok! My own plan is ambitious enough that I might need more time myself, depending on how many Saturdays I get stuck working this month. (I already know I have to do an open-to-close shift this Saturday, and I do have a cousin’s wedding to attend next Saturday, so it’s not looking so good…)

I also went ahead and started a Flickr group.

I did attempt to make a button. I am a complete idiot when it comes to html, apparently, and multiple tutorials and blog button generators have not yet generated those cool buttons with the code box underneath, and I apologize for that. I will try to figure it out, but I did promise my husband I’d spend some time with him today. So for now, I’m just going to share the graphic. I apologize, and if anyone has any advice to offer on how to make this work, I’d appreciate it!
Edit: Thanks to advice on Twitter, namely from Melissa, and this tutorial, got it working. Yay!



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Since this is a looser sewalong than many, as in we’re not all necessarily working on the same pattern, I’m going to work on putting up some posts that will hopefully prove helpful–fitting help, discussions relevant to certain patterns that are already out there, etc. I’m certainly going to be looking for information on the Sewaholic Thurlows, and the Colette Juniper/Clover pants–any other patterns I should look for?

Anyway, feel free to comment here and/or in the Flickr group to sign up, and let’s get this rolling!