Leisure wear and other changes

It seems like a long time since I’ve been able to sew anything new. After finishing my closet refashion, which turned out to be more physically arduous than I had expected, I had to make adjustments to a couple of pairs of trousers that had shrunk in the wash. I know, I should have pre-washed them. I managed to rescue both of them, thankfully, but it took time.

I should mention that my spring has been difficult in a couple of ways. In January my dear companion, my cat Holy Smoke, became ill and died five days later. This was really hard on me — partly for confronting the suffering of a poor helpless creature, partly for having to make the decision to ease her out of that suffering when it was clear she couldn’t recover, and partly for having to learn to live without her presence in the house. She was with me for almost 12 years. Even now I keep expecting to bump into her when I enter the kitchen, or go downstairs, or, well, go anywhere in the house.

Holy Smoke, philosopher and fabric aficianado


I guess I started the closet reno because I didn’t know what to do with myself. Lugging bag after bag after bag of broken plaster and lumber down two flights of stairs was maybe not the best way to keep myself busy.

For those who don’t follow me on IG, I had a narrow closet in my bedroom under the eaves. A lot of it was inaccessible because there was only a small doorway. I removed the wall and replaced it with curtains, which I placed about a foot further away from the eaves. The result is a LOT more space.

Things are returning into balance now. I was happy at last to be able to make something new. I chose to deal with some fairly thick stretch cotton fabric that I bought on sale at Fabricland in the summer. I thought it might work with an old-fashioned “sewing with Nancy” pattern from McCalls. It’s McCalls’s 3728, dated 2002, and includes a whole outfit including long and short “dusters”. 20180312_165510


After I lay the fabric out on the floor it looked like I could make both a short duster and an ankle-length skirt, which is the only kind of skirt I wear at home. I threw it in a cold-water wash, lined-dried it and flung it out across the floor again. It looked astonishingly shorter than it had before. A long skirt was out of the question, so I decided workout shorts would work.

Here’s the duster.


I’m wearing it with a pair of pants from the free download “Barb” pattern, which I also made in the jumble of the spring somewhere, but didn’t much like until I hit on the idea of adding elastic to the ankles.


The problem is not really with the pattern, but with the fabric. This is a beautiful suede-look stretch fabric, but it didn’t know how to hang below the knee. I quite like the pants now though.

Here’s the “leisure suit”.


It’s kind of cool, isn’t it? I used the pant pattern that came in the package, but shortened them, added inseam pockets using some black jersey fabric for the front pocket bags, added grommets and a bright lime green bootlace for a tie. This is not your average warm-up suit 🙂 It was totally appropriate for the weather today, which was sunny and warmer than seasonal. At last, a taste of summer.


16 thoughts on “Leisure wear and other changes”

  1. I’m sorry to learn that you’ve lost Holy Smoke. Pets have such presence in our houses don’t they? The leisure suit is great, an inventive switch of plans which worked out nicely!


    1. Thankyou Jay. Yes, pets do take up space, in our houses and our hearts 🙂 Glad you like my leisure suit. It’s the fabric, as always, that does it for me.


  2. So sorry you lost your beloved fur ball. Holy Smoke was a wonderful name. No wonder you feel like you’ll see her all over. I still do with Semiramis, who lived with us 19.5 years, even though it’s been 16 months and we have two new cats. How long will you manage to have a no cat household? We only managed 2 months. 🙄

    Congrats on your new wardrobe, maybe it was a strain to do, but hopefully worth it. And I love both the duster and the shorts. Good thing you prewashed! It would have been a tragedy to have first made a lovely duster and skirt just to find it suddenly became pygmy sized.


    1. Thank you for your thoughts Berta. Semiramis is also a great name! 19.5 years, wow, that must have been a terrible loss for you. I don’t know yet about getting another cat. I’m still in the “cats aren’t interchangeable” phase. And yes, I’ve learnt my lesson about prewashing …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree that cats aren’t interchangeable! These two are not Semiramis, who was the cuddliest furball ever. And very expressive, we had long conversations. 😊 Not sure I’ll be so lucky again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They all have distinct personalities — or, felinalities — don’t they? Holy Smoke was a little holy terror at times. Play time was not optional. Thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m very sorry about the loss of your beloved feline companion. A tough time, indeed. The wardrobe was a lot of work, but will make life easier for you. I like the modifications on the duster and workout short ensemble. I made Christine Jonson’s Perfect pants pattern and love the pattern, but the part below the knees, especially the way the hem hangs is bothering me. I’m thinking I need more weight in the hem as it seems to flop around, rather than hang with authority. Do you think that is the issue with the Barb pant, or do you prefer a narrower width at the hemline? Will you make the Barb pant again?


    1. Thank you for your thoughts. Regarding the Barb pants, I think the issue is with the fabric. It would work for tight garments (like leggings) or very loose garments, but not with fairly narrow pants pipes. Maybe you’re having the same issue. It may be that your fabric doesn’t have enough weight. Or isn’t stiff enough. I actually prefer pants with wider legs. I probably won’t make the Barb again because it’s meant for stretch woven fabrics and I don’t much care for that kind of fabric.


  4. Oh so sorry Felicia about your cat. We have one too who has been with us for nearly 17 years and I fear her time is limited. We try to treat her as nice as possible but she is not always so obliging….. LOL
    I like the leisure-wear outfit – especially the jacket and actually the shorts are pretty stylish too.


    1. Thank for your thoughts Ruth. I hope when it’s your cat’s time, she can go gently and easily. That will be hard enough for you, I’m sure. Glad you like the outfit. It’s going to get a lot of wear, I think.


  5. So sorry to hear you’re on your own at the moment, but grateful you were able to ease your dear friend out of pain. That was brave, and you deserve some cuddling. Your new duster & shorts combo look great – perhaps they deserve a quiet weekend somewhere down south in search of fabric & yarn…


  6. I’m very sorry you’ve lost your little companion 😦
    I love your leisure suit, how cool is that!?! Brilliant take on the ‘suit’ hype out there!


    1. Thank you annina. And I’m kind of astonished to find myself wearing something that can be called a “leisure suit”, lol. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit so I can take it out for a stroll.

      Liked by 1 person

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