Jim Jams!

Jammies for which to hang around.

In my continuing attempt to make things will actually get worn, I’ve made pj bottoms.  I’ve got a standard go to pattern copied from a pair of Old Navy pj bottoms from like, prehistoric times that have been made for years.  All my friends have a pair, they’re so one size fits all that they’re crazy comfy.  The most attractive pants, maybe not but super comfy jammies.

I decided to try to up my game a bit by making a pair of jammies from an actual pattern, not just a tracing from bald flannel cast offs.  I know, fancy all of a sudden, right?!  This pattern is Sewaholic’s Tofino pants.  I used cotton flannel as I always do but added the coordinating piping.  The bow, no.  I’m not a bow girl.  They turned out quite cute.  They fit  better than my personal pattern, but my personal pattern is more akin to hammer pants so that’s probably not too surprising.  The legs are more flared so I’ll have to see if I can sleep in them without tying them up in knots with my tossing and turning.  But they are cute for bumming around in. Please note:  I DO NOT EVER wear pajamas out of the house.  That is what sweats are for.

This pattern was super easy and the only change I made was to shorten the legs 2″ since they’re drafted for the taller Canadians (not really, they are long though so look at that inseam measurement on the envelope that is handily provided).

Happy “spring has sprung in my pants”!

We are calling these lounge pants

I will never wear these with a tucked in shirt (that was just for the photo). Promise and pinky swear.

Yet another black sewing project completed!  And indeed, it’s still hard to photograph black.

Seen here is my version of Style Arc Lola Pants.  I saw the pattern and thought they had the potential to fill the gap between sweats and “real” pants.  I’ve been trying to sew things I’ll actually get use out of and one thing I wear A LOT is sweat pants.  Yes, they’re not pretty but if you’re out doing errands before and after the gym, it’s what you wear.  My sweat pants are pretty much all old and loose polyester.  I love them.  I’ve got a few newer pairs that are stretchy lycra but I wear my poly ones first.  Only if all the polys are dirty will I wear the lycra.

That is a long explanation of why I’ve made lounge pants (or whatever we’re going to call them).  These made from a very nice black ponte (which is a poly double knit for those who don’t sew) from Stone Mountain in Berkeley.  Ponte quality varies, but this stuff is soft, warm to the touch and not at all see through – yummy.  The Lola pattern is for wovens but worked just fine with ponte knit.  I didn’t change anything and opted not to put in zippers at the slanted pockets.  That decision may come back to haunt me if those pockets stretch out (though I did stabilize the opening edge).  The only fiddly bit is attaching the waistband to the pant.  It took about three attempts with lots of machine basting and swearing.

This is my first Style Arc pattern and can see why they are well regarded.  The pattern was well drafted and the sizing is as stated – no Big Four ease lottery guesses here.  The pattern is rated as medium in difficulty and that is an accurate assessment.  That waistband is the “hardest” part but heck, I did it.  I am now tempted to get the actual sweat pant pattern from Style Arc and try that out as well.  I may be upping my game at the gym when all is said and done!

Yes, another one

I will now make something else, I promise.

Turns out taking pictures of a black dress on a cloudy afternoon is hard.  Sorry for the pics!

After my first Sureau I wanted to try one in black with a different sleeve.  I also modified the neckline because the first dress didn’t lie flat on my clavicle.  I pinched out the extra fullness, raised the neckline and drafted a little rounded collar.  While I was at it I changed the sleeve to an elbow length with fullness into the cuff.  What I should have done after seeing this pictures is lowered the waistline about an inch since it’s still rather higher than my natural waist. But that mod will have to wait since I don’t really need too many of these dresses in my wardrobe.

Again, this may not be the most fashionable, age appropriate style, but it is super comfy.  With a scarf and sweater/blazer it will be quite useful.

My next project is polyester pull on pants, I kid you not.  Also not age appropriate (in the other direction this time) and they look rather dodgy right now, but if they turn out you will see my version.  If they don’t, forget you read that last sentence.

Dress with a French accent

Quick, take a pic and go to work girl!

I’ve seen a few versions of Sureau on the blogs and found it to be a cute, flattering dress made for real life wearing.  So I was forced, forced I tell you, to order the pattern from Deer and Doe.

The pattern came quickly from France and this dress was a quick make.  I’d decided for this first iteration of the dress that I had to use stashed fabric and notions.  I rooted around the big plastic bins in the garage and found this piece of rayon/cotton/linen? fabric.  It looks a bit like chambray, but it’s really not chambray.  I had an acceptable length light blue invisible zip stashed and found a card of blue buttons in the button box.  Voila!  A dress is born.

It fits pretty well out of the envelope.  I used the longest length of skirt from the largest size since it runs a tad short for a lady of my years.  I added a couple more inches into the skirt gathers and may take those out since it’s a tad poofy in a crisp fabric.  I may tweak the neck a bit on the next version and perhaps add a collar.  I also moved the zipper to the center back from the side seam since I don’t enjoy a side zipper.  That’s about it.  It’s an easy dress to sew up and I’m thinking about making up one in black and moving into it permanently.

In thrift store coat news, I had the $6 coat dry cleaned for $18.95 and it looks amazing!  So final score on the Topshop coat is $24.95 and awesome!

If a leopard and a peacock fell in love…

I like to dress up to perform my household chores. Glamour, thy name is Silvia.

May I begin by saying that we are firmly in the grip of Jungle January 2014.  That will explain, perhaps, why I made Simplicity 1777 in this odd fabric. I nicknamed it peacock leopard fabric.  I must also say that I like the fabric though it wasn’t as easy as it could have been to work with.

Simplicity 1777 is a vintage pattern reissue (1940s retro) so I could have found a more appropriate print to the era, but it’s Jungle January, so no I didn’t.  Theme make!

This pattern has little retro details like elbow and neckline back darts that have been eliminated in present day patterns.  Even with these nice little elements, I must admit this dress doesn’t fit all that well.  The sleeves are tight and the bodice has 5″ ease.  It’s not so tight that you can’t raise your arms or bring in the trash, but tighter than normal.  Luckily that 5″ of bust ease help with the sleeve situation so it works as a dress.  But I don’t think my arms are exceptionally big, so sewist beware.

Also the neckline and bodice move up when I raise those arms (as you can see in the chicken wing pose on the right) causing gaping at the neckline.  I could have pinched that out of the pattern piece if I’d made a muslin, which I didn’t.

Other than a few tweaks, this isn’t a very difficult dress to make, but you do need to be ok with diligently cramming all those pleats together in the front and basting the heck out of it.  Then sewing a triangle there, that was kind of hard now that I remember it.  I finished the inside facing by hand (I know) instead of pattern’s instruction of stitching in the ditch.  It was neater and I had time during the 49er/Carolina game watching.  For more sewing info my review is here.

We will have to see how much use I find for this retro peacock leopard dress.  I think with my sewing time limited, I should choose projects that will get more wear.  I don’t need too many dresses for my lifestyle, though you must admit I was probably the gal with the best trash can retrieval outfit in the neighborhood.  Win!

We’re calling today Christmas

I wanted to get my little tree into the picture, so make sure you admire the little guy.

Because I usually work over Christmas, the actual day has to move.  So this year I’m working and today is Christmas.  I will cook ham, potatoes savoyard, corn casserole (corrections:  1/4 cup melted butter and bake in an 8″ square glass pan), green beans and a hint of green salad.  Kind of more work than I’d like but it’s the only way I’m getting any Christmas dinner.

Before I begin peeling potatoes, let me finally show you my completed top.  This is a super easy batwing top with extra long sleeves that are meant to be pushed up (Burda 12-2013-128B).  I used some black cotton jersey with a foiled tiny dot thing happening.  A bit of shine, but not bling-y.  I’m not blingy. Pattern Review here.

What can I say about this top?  It’s a super easy top, comfortable to wear and took less than 2 hours start to finish.  I made most of the top on my overlocker.  I added 3/8″ seam allowances to the pattern in anticipation of overlocking the whole project.  Easy.  I twin needled the neck and cuff seams to the body to keep them flat and twin needled the hem at 1″.  Done and dusted!

I may make a few more of these, probably changing the cuff to not have it be extra long or even make elbow sleeves for a warmer weather top.  If I make as many of these as I did/do of the Renfew top, and that’s saying something.

Merry Christmas friends!  I hope you all enjoy yourselves on the day and in the manner of your choosing.

Long sleeve demonstration. Or I was secretly planning to hula.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the 1970s all over again!

For those of us celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you all a great one.  For those celebrating that it’s Thursday, happy Thursday!

I have this holiday off and that is rare!  I’m usually the bitter flight attendant working on every damn holiday, fake smiling at your stories.  Nice!  Well this Thanksgiving I’ve managed to have a vacation week.  Yes, I’ve been off a week and have no crafty things to show for it.

Turns out when you have time off, you have to do all those things you’ve put off doing for months.  Turns out there was lots I’d put off.  My only crafty item is a dress I’ve finally finished!  Ooh a dress, must have been a complicated one.  No.  In fact the pattern has “Fast and Easy” printed right on the envelope.  My version was easy, but not fast.  Half score?!

I wanted to make a dress I’d seen in the real world and couldn’t find a similar pattern anywhere.  I could easily have made the pattern but that would have taken more time than I’d had available.  I have little blocks of time to use for crafty things and the thought of all the pattern work made me sad.  I ended up pulling out my vintage patterns and decided to use Butterick 3467.  I think it’s from the early 1970s, but the envelope itself isn’t dated.  I’m basing that on the price of the pattern ($1!) as the later 1970s patterns were $1.25.

My fabric is from Fabrix (of course) and is a knit that is ribbed on the right side and flat jersey on the back side with some slubs like a french terry.  It was $3 a yard (because it’s Fabrix!) so I thought that might be a good sub for the ponte I was unsuccessfully looking to buy.

My pattern is a tad big for me and adding to the mix is me using a knit which will spread when I cut it.  I constructed the dress and left the side seams open, like when you make a tee, and took in tons from the arms and body.  It fits pretty well but am too lazy to take a modeled shot right now.  Maybe if I wear it to T-day dinner I’ll take a snap (I’m feeling lazy – sorry).  It’s a pretty basic dress and because it’s made from a heavier knit, it’s super snuggle comfortable.  I shall have to test wear it to see if it stretches out like a pair of sweat pants though…

Other than that, I’ve been making a hat for a week.  Unfortunately, I’ve knit this hat 3 times already and keep ripping out my 3/4 completed work.  I think I’m on to a winner now, but progress shots of a ribbed hat at a bit too dull.

I did make a yummy vegetarian pie since I’ve got a vegetarian in the house today (we’re eating out so I don’t have to cook!).  The recipe is from here and it’s quite yummy.  If I make it again I may not make homemade biscuit dough and just use a tube to make the dish quicker.  I made it as is but used yogurt instead of mayo and added red pepper flakes to give it a kick.  A nice dish if you don’t want to keep serving your vegetarian friends pasta.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

It’s got squash and biscuits, how is that not good?

That’s not a denim skirt

Holes galore!

I’ve been thinking about making a denim skirt.  I just want a plain denim skirt with front pockets, front fly zip, a slight A-line shape and topstitching.  Simples.  You’d think there were scads of patterns around for such a thing.  You’d be wrong.  Horribly wrong.  There is only one such pattern I can find and it’s Butterick #5649.

I went over to Joann’s the other day to pick it up since I’ve already got some denim prewashed and ready to go.  I also picked up a couple of New Look patterns for some basic tops and one pattern has what looks like the perfect pattern for sweatpants.  I’m very particular about sweatpants and I can’t buy what I like.  I can get yoga pants until the cows come home, but regular poly sweatpants that aren’t skin tight, not so easy to find.

Anyhow, the woman at the Joann’s was very engaging (!) and sweetly told me that the pattern will be going on sale on Halloween if I wanted to wait a couple of days and save $12.  Yes, thank you, I will wait.  Instead of making a skirt I ended up buying a remnant of one of the oddest fabrics I’ve seen, that was on this nice lady’s counter.  It’s the essence of polyester and looks like something stocked for Halloween.  There is a sheer black under layer, and the top layer is printed and has holes.  It looks like a rag that you’ve had since the 70s.  The two layers aren’t stitched together but fused together somehow.  I bought the 3/4 yard remnant for $4 and thought I could eke out a very basic top.  I was right!

New Look 6216 may have been purchased for it’s sweat pant pattern, but the first thing I’ve made is top C.  I didn’t make any changes to the pattern other than making it an A-line top.  I think it’s a bit too loose in the body but honestly won’t fix it since it’s a “novelty” top.  I think it will look cute with jeans and a velvet jacket to play up the distressed effect.  This top took about an hour to make, even taking into account that I had to change the serger back to 4 thread use.

I may make it again using up some knit remnants I’ve kept around wondering that to do with.  I might even wear my scary holey top to the corn maze tonight because it seems rather appropriate!

Happy Halloween!

Weird fabric swatch.


I look surprised to find pockets even though I sewed them there myself.

Well I guess after all that debating about making a pattern, it was just easier to buy it and tape the sucker together.  This is Megan Nielsen’s Kelly Skirt pattern made up in a nice dotty rayon from Stonemountain.  It was just easier to buy the pattern than to draw rectangles on pattern paper and do the business.  The pattern is fine, but note it makes a short skirt unless altered.

What can one say about a basic skirt?  It’s a good pattern, especially if you’re a beginning sewist, and sews up in an afternoon.  That is unless you don’t have six matching black buttons in your button box and have to drive to Joann’s to get some.  The only changes I made to the pattern were to make it longer (about an inch and a half) and to cut the waistband piece in half width-wise.  That wide waistband just looked like a gappy mess on me, but cut in half it lays flat around my curvy self.

I’m not sure this skirt silhouette is better than a simple A-line skirt, but this works well enough in drapey rayon so I’m calling this a win.

Now I’m on VACATION and going to Rhinebeck this weekend with my big ‘ol sister.  Hells to the yeah!

Shirt scared no more

Not angry, just keeping an eye on the bees buzzing around my flowered shirt.

I’ve been working on this classic tailored shirt for was seems like EVER.  I made this blouse (Simplicity 2339) as my pattern in the Craftsy class “The Classic Tailored Shirt” taught by Pam Howard.  Note:  I am in no way affiliated with Craftsy (no shit right).  I loved this class!  Pam rocks.  I have never been comfortable sewing collars so when Craftsy had a sale I bought this class.  Pam walks you though every step and before you know it, you’re done!  She even talked me into hand sewing!  You know I hate hand sewing!  There I was, happily sewing collar and cuffs closed with a needle and thread.  That woman is good!  She also has you flat fell seams, top stitch till the cows come home and even shows you how to space buttons properly.  Soup to nuts.

The sewing on this shirt is great.  The fit is not.  I didn’t devote any thought to fit since I just wanted to work on technique.  The pattern I used had 1″ side seam allowances so I hoped I could fudge through ok, and ok is what I got.  I used some quilting cotton that I had stashed and didn’t quite have enough so the cuff facings and sleeve plackets are grey dotted and are quite cute.

I worked through this project over the last few weeks in little spurts of time.  That actually works well with the Craftsy class setup since they break down each concept into a separate lesson.  I always knew where I’d left off because the class remembers where you are.

Now I’d like to make another shirt with better fit.  I’ve got some cotton voile stashed that may just be enough yardage.  If not, perhaps a trip to the fabric store…

If you’re at all interested in sewing and if Craftsy is having a sale you have my hearty endorsement of this class.

Fit is kind of wonky, but the cup size I chose was spot on!