Celery stalks and cerulean tops

I was about to start in on cooler weather items last week, feeling quite proud of my summer output, when we had a sudden heat spell. Well! A perfect opportunity to go back to the Alexandria pegs for a pair of shorts. I’d been berating myself (sort of) for not having made the pants out of this celery green linen in the first place.

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I’m not being entirely truthful. I do like my red Alexandria pegs and they’ve already gotten a lot of wear. This is a comfortable pattern. I had to discipline myself with whips and chains, though, to cut these legs down to shorts length. I had enough fabric to make pants! Why use less fabric than you have?? Well, having made four pairs of light weight summer pants in the past few months (see them here, here, here and here), I was short shorts.

The Alexandria offers a shorts version, which has some kind of weird curved bottom edge. I didn’t use it. Instead I simply widened the pants leg at the inseam, in accordance with the shorts version. I gave myself enough fabric for just below the knee shorts. It’s odd that I’ve discovered that the best skirt length for me is about 3 inches above the knee, but I haven’t won shorts that short in decade. I like my shorts long.

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I also decided to eliminate another couple of knit pieces from my stash, pieces I’ve been collecting from various discounters since I purchased the pattern magic books. I came that close to trying a couple of those items. But not yet. The avant-garde is calling me, loudly, but I need to tiptoe my way to it. So I tried a new t-shirt pattern, McCall’s 7093. I wanted a raglan-sleeve pattern, and this was the nicest one I found. It’s meant for wovens, but i didn’t see why it couldn’t be used for knits. The front is composed of three pieces, so there are opportunities for colour-blocking, and also for mix and matching woven and knit.

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For this version I added a ruffle (yes, me, a ruffle!), which I secured to the neckline with picot elastic. I also widened the sleeves a little and inserted elastic into a casing.

These two tops were really more experiments in working with mysterious knits. I think they’re both bamboo, both with 4-way stretch. The first is a feather-weight. It’s a joy to put on in the heat. The long-sleeved one is h-e-a-v-y. When I tried it on for the first time, I swear it hit the floor and bounced back up. I’m pretty sure it’s bamboo yarn wrapped around guttapercha. I doubt I will ever wear it with these shorts (though I love the two colours together) because it’s very warm.

So that’s it for this week’s production. I’m off to sing in a 240-voice choir tonight, a concert of Mozart’s Requiem. That should be a blast.

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Of bras and breasts

I hate bras. I didn’t wear one until I was 45. I was so disappointed when women began strapping themselves in again after the great bra-burning of the ’70s. I do realize that larger-breasted women needed some kind of support. And then there was Madonna. Sigh.

When I came across the free Mallori Lane “bralet” pattern, I thought that might be something that would work for me, so started collecting scraps of knit fabric and mesh fabric. The pattern calls for a short back panel, with two horizontal strips of elastic above that. I decided that would be murder to pull on and off, and so subbed a full back panel.

Instead of a vertical dart, or pleats, under the breast, the upper front panel has a wavy bottom. That attaches to a rectangular band. This two-piece design means the unit doesn’t totally flatten the breasts. I might as well say I quite like the flattened look — it was in vogue, I believe, between the no-bra and the Madonna periods, when lots of women were trying camisoles and tight tank tops under their blouses and sweaters. Still, I liked the idea of getting the little bit of lift provided by this design. Here are the two front pattern pieces.

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And here’s the finished product.

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I shortened the lower band and omitted the called-for elastic because it seemed more comfortable that way. And I should have used black picot elastic, but didn’t have any. On the other hand I do have a commercial-sized roll of white, so that’s what I used and will continue to use if I make any more of these.

The pattern called for any kind of mesh at all as an inner liner. I know nothing about mesh. My favourite discounter had some scraps of something with holes in it, which I assumed meant it fell under the category of “mesh”. Here’s the inside.

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I had to improvise the straps as there was no black bra strap elastic available in Vancouver, or Bellingham (I hopped the border this weekend with a friend who wanted to do some shopping there. I wanted to check out the Bellingham Joann’s Fabric store. They had Vogue patterns on sale for 4.99 USD — about $7 CAD, so I picked up four!)

I could only find half-straps in Vancouver, so slipped some satin ribbon through the rings to add the extra length. I wore this thing for a bit this morning before taking the pics, and this puppy is warm! Okay, here it is.

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That’s a pretty bright picture, isn’t it? You think I like red?

I’ll wear this thing a lot to see if it’s comfortable enough over the long term. If so, I foresee lots of colourful versions coming up in the future.

 

Tomato Pegs

I feel so trendy. I downloaded the pdf of one of those trendy indie patterns, and bought trendy cotton fabric from a very trendy little store with trendy high prices (but for which I had a gift card).

The pants are Named Alexandria Pegs. I saw them on another blogger’s site. She had made them out of olive green twill, and they looked great. Then I went to Pattern Review and to Named’s website to see other versions. I can’t say I was impressed. This, I suppose, is how Indie pattern makers get clients — through bloggers who try them out in some version or fabric that speaks to someone, somewhere. Olive green happens to be my favourite colour for pants (I have about six pairs in that colour). That may have contributed to my falling in love with them. Also the blogger, whose name I can’t recall, was very tall. With long legs. She looked terrific, and actually looks terrific in anything she makes.

I have to say I don’t think I made a mistake in a sudden fit of infatuation (I bought the pant pattern within 30 minutes of seeing the pants on the other blogger). I didn’t have fabric to suit them, but had a two-year-old giftcard that I wanted to use up. I liked the look of the fabric, and liked it in all their colours. But I could have wished it was a little more heavy duty. This is a lightweight fabric, without much body. They are perfect for warm weather, but if I want these pants in the colder weather, I’ll have to make another pair.

Here they are, my tomato-red peggies.

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You can see that the interesting thing about them is that they have a pair of pleats, one of which extends over the edge of the pocket.

I traced the size 8, but became alarmed when I read that the included seam allowance was only 3/8″. My hip measurement is closer to the size 10. So I cut the fabric 1/4″ bigger than my pattern pieces, and ended up using the 3/8″ seam allowance. In other words I made the size 10. The pants actually fit pretty much perfectly in the front, and all the extra ease for the elastic waist is in the back. I like that. Also, I think these pants are made for women whose widest hip point is at the upper thigh. I couldn’t see it in the pattern, but the pants almost seem to pivot at the upper thigh. I do love it when I encounter a pattern made for my body.

I added about an inch to the bottoms, and I’m glad I did because I needed the extra length for my long leg (it’s half an inch longer than the other, which is important when hemming pants).

Given that Named says its models are 5’8″ tall, I’m guessing the pants are supposed to stop above the ankles. I prefer to have them at the ankles and roll them up if I want the shorter look.

Has anybody else made an impulse pattern purchase purely because of seeing the clothing on another blogger? Clothes sure can look better on a real human being than on the pattern envelope can’t they?