Unexpected culottes and MMM17

So I have to tell you my first ever me made May crashed and burned on the rocks of illness. The first couple of weeks were interesting. My goal was to not wear exactly the same clothes two days in a row (all me-made). I found that  exposed me to more ways of combining clothes while still allowing me to feel the comfort of wearing the same few clothes over the course of a week.

Once I got a bronchial infection plus laryngitis, I began slathering medicated ointment on my chest and throat night and day. That ointment stained clothing, so I just wore a couple of ratty old RTW t-shirts night and day for the duration. End of me made May.

While sick, I did manage to make a pair of trousers that turned into culottes purely as a result of an accident. I had cut the front pattern piece down the centre and spread them 2 inches apart on the fabric, intending to use those two inches for an inverted box pleat. But when I started cutting out the enlarged pattern piece, I inadvertently treated it as two pieces and separated them at the ankles for about 4 inches before I caught myself.

So, culottes it was. I used a pattern from my stash, New Look 6132. I used some quilting fabric. I don’t like to make clothes from quilting fabric, but I had bought a piece because I liked the print and didn’t realize it was quilting fabric. Anyway, I thought this would be a useable toile.

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Wow, the depth of field of my phone camera is not great is it? In focus at the level of the camera, out of focus above. Strange.

The fit on these was surprisingly good. The only adjustment I had to make was to lower the front waist by an inch, and that’s pretty standard for me. In case you’re wondering, the print is paint-splash effect.  I’ve blogged about the shirt and the tunic in previous posts.

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I quite like them, although I am kind of self-conscious about my skinny lower shins. But they’ll do for summer casual wear, eh?20170606_175459

Okay that was an attempt to include a fully-focused picture. Which failed, obvs. Will try to do better next time ….

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Back to denim

Okay, so I’ve been greatly frustrated with the lack of interesting trouser patterns available (mind you I don’t know all the indie pattern companies so I may have missed some, but I doubt it). AND I’ve been feeling nostalgia for denim. I haven’t worn any for about four years, and my last pair of denim jeans have gotten too tight. Plus I stopped liking them several years back!

So I picked up a couple of pieces of denim at the last OSF (a fabric recycler) sale, and I decided to have another look at a Marcy Tilton pant pattern that I made a few years ago. I posted the unhappy results here, and my alterations here. You can see the results weren’t great. I’m going to avoid calling this the worst drafted pant pattern in history, because maybe someone made these and is happy with them. I’m really curious about this. If anyone reading this made the V8499, do tell! What I liked about the pattern was that it was “different” and had a cool pocket feature and knee darts.

So this time I decided to straighten these pants out (the pattern produces a sort of round pant — narrow in the waist, wide at the hip and narrow at the ankles) I wanted to make them more vertical. First I altered the waist.

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I eliminated the dart, drastically reshaped the hip-waist curve, and also eliminated a curve in the seam between the front and front-side pieces (there’s a seam up the centre of the legs).

After making a toile out of bedsheets, I also widened the legs, straightening out both the inseam and the outside seams from the knee down.

I was being really meticulous with these, and it was kind of a pleasure. I wasn’t sure what the result would be. Before cutting into the denim I decided to go all the way and add a front fly. The pattern calls for a half-elastic waist, which is another problem. The front has a facing, and the back a casing for the elastic. That means all the bunching up occurs at the back. I decided to have a casing all around to distribute the elastic around the entire waist. And just because you’ve got an elastic waist doesn’t mean you can’t have an opening. I like front flies. And I like to wear a belt.

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Those are the knee darts, seen from above. I chose to topstitch in grey, which doesn’t stand out much, but I didn’t like the usual alternatives — blue jean gold, red, navy, black, white or blue.

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It’s really easy to add a front fly. All you need to do is make a buttonhole tab, which then slides into the casing, along with the elastic. Sew a little seam, and it’s done. On the left side, I simply stitched on top of the fly top stitching. On the other side, the line of stitching is hidden under the tab. Wish I had done this on previous pairs of elastic waisters.

So here’s the final result.

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Erm, I love them, I think. With a long tunic top. They’re so shockingly different that I wonder what other people think. This ultra-baggy is what I see a lot of on pinterest. Seems to be a European style …

Ups and downs

Well, it’s been a pretty tumultous time here, what with the onslaught of the rainy season, my first bad cold in years, and an attempted cyber robbery. Let’s see if I can string words together in any meaningful way for a post about learning to serge, and about an outfit that I half like and half don’t.

I bought Vogue 9193 after seeing a totally terrific outfit Ruth of Core Couture made using that pattern, as well as some others. I have to mention that when I looked at the pictures on the pattern envelope, I did raise both eyebrows and scratch my head. Perplexed? Yes. The pictures are not at all attractive. So I looked at the line drawings, and saw some interesting things. I decided to go ahead.

I had some grey merino wool jersey that I wanted to use. And a scrap of purple wool that I thought I could mix in to give it a bit of colour. I don’t love this top.

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I guess what I mostly don’t like about it is the batwing sleeves. I never did like batwings, but I’ve made tops now with such drop shoulders, that they actually have the same profile as batwings. So I thought it was worth a try. Would I like this if there were shoulder seams partly down my arms? I really don’t know. I like the angled seam at the waist and the droopy pocket, which you’d think would give it a funky look, right? It doesn’t. I really don’t like the neckline. Even in purple. Would it be better if I replaced the little stand up collar with an ordinary t-shirt binding? I think this top is too conservative for my taste, although I’m not entirely sure what makes it conservative. All I can say is that it will be useful for the winter. But what  a waste of a beautiful fabric.

While I was working on it, I finally had the free serger lesson I was entitled to at the store that sold me the machine back in the summer. Thus far, I had been sewing everything with my sewing machine, and then serging the seam allowances. For knit fabrics that’s too much work, and the manager of the serger store explained that it was silly to remove stretch by sewing a straight stitch seam, and then add stretch again by serging the allowance. She helped me figure out how to measure for a 5/8″ seam allowance. No clear markings on the machine for that. So I sewed this top together first with a long basting stitch and then tried to serge right on top of it. That was okay, but it struck me that I really should use a 3/8″ seam allowance. So I interrupted my work to whip up a few lounge items, using just the serger, for practice.

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Two long-sleeved t-shirts and one pair of leggings. These are TNT patterns that don’t have seam allowances included.  I couldn’t bring myself to serge the sleeve-into-body seam. Gosh, is there a word for that?? They’re set-in sleeves. Does anybody serge them? Is it safe?

I love that grey fabric. It has some spandex, but not too much vertical stretch. I already have a pair of loose elastic-waist pants that I made last spring. I think I should have bought the whole bolt of fabric. I could make lounge wear, t-shirts and undies out of it forever. The orange is what they call a technical wool. Very soft and lightweight. They were practically giving it away at Our Social Fabric for halloween costumes.

So then I was ready to make the pants that came with the Vogue pattern. I have to warn you, these are a utility pant and so, not conventionally beautiful. But I like them a lot. Have a look.

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I really like the horizontal seam at the hip, with the two front pockets. The fabric is a poly/wool suiting fabric. The colour is, um, a version of khaki, right? I’m calling it “poop khaki”, but that’s not a terribly polite name for it. Anybody have a better one?

The side seam on these pants is around back, rather than right at the seam, and the legs curve in a bit near the bottom. I think these are pretty funky pants, although I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with some other small design detail that I could add to nail home the funk factor. Maybe a thigh pocket that comes out of the side seam? Or a fabric loop emerging from the hip seam?

I plan to make these again, and next time I’ll lower the waist a bit, and increase the dip from back to front. And add some funky little detail if I can think of one.

 

Panting in floral and flannel

I’m not in love with, I wouldn’t go that far, but totally delighted with Burda 7400. I’ve made two versions of it before, although the first was a bit of a botch up.  You can see them here. This past week I made two more pairs.

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This fabric was a spontaneous purchase at a 70% sale at Fabricland. I was just heading out the door, empty-handed, when I spotted this in the home decor section. I think it’s a stylized floral design, and the fabric is double? two-sided? In the background it’s all woven together, but in the “bubbles” there are two light layers. It gives the effect of padded or quilted fabric, but it’s very light and flexible (viscose and polyester). It’s a different look, isn’t it?

Here’s a look at the inside. You can see I used some linen fabric for the pockets and inner elastic casing to eliminate bulk.

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I was ransacking my closet, looking for things to wear with it, and found this old jacket.

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Double-breasted is coming back, but the shoulders? Does the padding have to be removed?

I also had a piece of striped wool flannel, which I got from Fabrics etc. It’s old fabric, apparently, left over from a parent store’s warehouse. The manager, Tian, who is becoming a friend, was selling it at a severe discount.

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I’m discovering that elastic waist pants are really quick and easy to make. This pattern is just short of fitted, despite the waist. If I were to put  two standard darts in the back, I’d have to add a fly or zip and I’d have a pair of fitted pants. I think this will become a TNT.

This is a really classic look, isn’t it? I think these pants will be really versatile. In fact I can imagine wearing both pairs at home with t-shirts, and then taking them out to the opera or dinner out. Yes?

 

Textural trousers

When I found some textured, floral fabric at Our Social Fabric, which sells donated fabric for $1 – $3 CAD per metre, I thought I’d found the perfect material for another version of Burda’s Big Girl Play Pants. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed it back. I tried all kinds of other pieces of fabric, draping them over my arm, fondling them, folding them, trying to determine what would have the right amount of drape and heft. I think this is a real skill. You start with the uncut cloth, say two metres or so, and try to determine how it will behave in a much smaller pattern piece. I finally decided this fabric would not be too bulky for the project.

Burda’s pattern is for short pants with wide short legs. Last time I extended the wide legs, and then experimented with off-kilter long darts to narrow the legs. This time I altered the paper pattern, adding a 7″ wide strip to the bottom of the pattern, in line with the outer leg seam. Then I redrew the inseam . I admit I drew it freehand.

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I’m pretty happy with the result. It matches pretty closely to what I envisioned when I first bought the pattern, planning to alter it.

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I don’t have a whole lot to wear with them at this time. They’re the colour of water, a colour I totally love, and cream.

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I had a set of small fabric samples, about 4×5 inches, made of superfine linen. Two of them are shades of aqua, so I used them to make back pockets. I lined them with a bit of turban cotton to give them an appropriate body.

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The fabric is natural, and pretty coarse. It’s either cotton or maybe cotton and hemp. The weave is pretty open, which is why it’s not too bulky. I like the muted floral design. The other side of it is pretty nice too, but I thought this was the correct side to use.

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I had one more square of linen that I pinned to the front waistband as a (Japanese-inspired???) bit of frou-frou. It serves no useful function. And I’m still debating whether to add belt loops. It looks nice with a belt? What do you think?

I know my taste can be a bit bonkers sometimes, and these pants aren’t for everyone, but I do see this style from time to time in a fashion mag, or a Hollywood celebrity mag, and I always perk up when I do, and think “I like those pants!” So, for better or for worse, this is what I’ll be wearing this fall.

I’ve been reviewing what I made this summer. By my count I made 5 pairs of pants, one pair of shorts, three long sleeved woven tops, two woven shells, and 8 or 9 teeshirts. Most items go with most other items, so it’s a good wearable wardrobe. I’m now going to do the same for the cooler months of the year. This is the first item. I’m working on another couple of pairs of trousers, which I’ll post about as soon as I’m done 🙂

Just call me angel . . . in a napkin

I ended my last post by saying I’d be refashioning a table cloth for next time. I just can’t use that horrible, horrible phrase, “and now for the big reveal”. I can’t. You know?? It must be the ugliest phrase in the English language.

So, anyway, this is me, dressed in a table cloth.

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Pretty angelic, yes?

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It was a huge tablecloth, which I found at the local Sally Ann (does everybody know that nickname for the Salvation Army?) I almost left it behind (afterall, I didn’t know its provenance) but it was a fabulous, floppy, snow white cotton jacquard. It’s so hard to find nice cottons in Vancouver. Ninety percent of the cotton fabrics in town are quilting cottons, and maybe 8 percent are standard, basic, boring shirting fabrics. Which leaves the odd nice bolt scattered among the six fabric stores. So, I imagine it covering the long rectory table in some vicar’s cottage next to the oldest church in town, lilacs and violets in chrystal vases on its surface. Provenance, done.

The top is the first pattern I ever purchased through Pattern Review, because of reviews I saw at the site. When I received the pattern, and saw the envelope pix, I realized I would have overlooked it in the pattern book. It really doesn’t look like much. It’s Butterick 6024. I made a few changes. I raised the front and back neckline a bit. I replaced the elastic at the sleeve ends with a flat cord. I changed the hem design. The pattern has the front hem straight across, with a dip occurring only in the back panel. I cut the front and back to have the dip start in the front. A much nicer look, if you ask me.

This was my first pintuck operation, and my first woven bias binding neckline. I’m happy with how they both turned out. I love this top 🙂

The pants (shortened because I couldn’t get the whole length out of the table cloth after I’d cut out the pieces for the top) are burda 7400, which is a pattern I used once before. As I was laying out the (two) pattern pieces, I realized that I had mistakenly cut one of them for a size xxxxl! No wonder the previous pants I had made just weren’t right.

The pattern shows wide ribbing folded over at the waist. I didn’t do that the first time, and I didn’t do it this time either. Instead, I cut a rectangle and made a casing for elastic, sewing the casing to the top of the pants. It worked well. I have such a small difference between hip and waist that there isn’t much bunching. I may add belt loops so I can wear a belt with them too.

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I was so happy with these pants that I immediately took apart the previous pair I had made, cut away about an inch and a half from each of the two back pieces and sewed them back together. I like this pattern because it’s a great compromise between fitted pants and elastic waist pants. The pants fit pretty close to the body, and a belt hides the elastic waist casing. The side seams are not at the sides, but closer to the front. That means the pockets lie flat and won’t bulge out at the sides.

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These are obviously not “good” pants, but they are a general utility pant more comfortable for me than blue jeans. I love the green “railroad” stripes. For my next pair, I may put in a fly.

Big girl play pants

So, there’s what I’ve decided is a myth about ugly old lady elastic waist pants. I’ve actually seen this phenomenon once — a woman who had pulled her elastic waist pants up as high as she could over a tucked-in shirt, just like she might have done on a baby. It was an awful sight, and, well, I don’t know how anyone could be that oblivious. But I’m betting there are twenty-year olds who’ve never worn any but elastic waists. Yoga pants, sweatsuits, jogging pants, that’s all many young people wear around here. My prediction is they’ll never wear anything with a woven, interfaced waist band, and those uncomfortable things will be history in another twenty years or so. You’ll have to go vintage to find them 🙂

I wear elastic waist pants, and if I can slip a cord through the casing along with the elastic, well then I think I’m dressing young, not old.  I found a pattern that’s actually labelled “young” and decided to buy it (on drastic sale) primarily to compare it with my own self-drafted yoga harem karate dance pants. It’s a cool Burda pattern for short pants.

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I used an exterior microfibre fabric from my stash, and experimented with putting longer legs on this thing.

 

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I took a page out of Marcy Tilton’s book actually, and tried two angled wedges, one in front and one in back to make the legs narrower than they would have been if I just followed the inner and outer legs lines.

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This is the front one. The back one is a little less angled, and longer, but without topstitching (I was running out of thread). I have to confess I have no idea how or why angled wedges work. But if anyone decides to try this at home, make sure your pants legs are a couple of inches too long before you start.

They’re fun pants and super comfortable. More comfortable than the harem yoga pants, which give me trouble when I try to scramble into my truck. I plan to make another pair out of linen for the summer.

Unfortunately I had to steal a lace from a hiking boot for this project.

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What will we do about that?