Fall Wardrobe–A Knitted Hat

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Fall Wardrobe–A Knitted Hat

As the weather turns cooler, like so many crafty people, I get the urge to knit.  You might not know it, but after college and before sewing became my near-daily practice, I was really into knitting.  I teamed up with a friend who was more accomplished than I was, and learned all I could.  I loved knitting.  But after a few sweaters that didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped (see one example here), and realizing that I was a really slow knitter, I started to knit less.

Fall Wardrobe--A Knitted Hat

And then I discovered sewing.  I had known how to sew a little, but after finally stumbling out of the fog of motherhood in the baby years, I really discovered sewing, and I never looked back.

Since then I’ve struggled to find just the right knitting projects when I get the urge to dip my toe back in.  I want something where my propensity to knit large won’t ruin the project and where I can still talk or watch TV while knitting.

Fall Wardrobe--A Knitted Hat

This fall, I had a realization:  I don’t want to challenge myself in the knitting arena like I do with sewing.

I want a project I can do without too much thought so I can expend my mental energy on improving my sewing skills, while my knitting, like a good cup of coffee, can be the background pleasure in a shared conversation or a night spent watching something fun on TV.

Add to this that I seem to always want but never find the perfect winter hat and you have this project.  I still have quite a lot of yarn from a Yates Farm Yarn sale when knitting was my obsession, and I still really love it.  I decided to dig into that stash, find a yarn I wanted to use, and make another attempt at the perfect basic hat.  I found that opportunity in the aptly named Basic Hat Pattern by Nerdy Girl Knits.  It had the ribbing I wanted at the bottom and the uncomplicated top that would allow me to knit while paying attention to other things.

Fall Wardrobe--A Knitted Hat

I decided, since I’ve named myself an ‘elephant knitter’ (by which I mean someone who always knits things that are too large), that I was actually going to do a swatch for this hat.  It’s a good thing I did because I had to try smaller and smaller needles to get the required gauge.  I finally got the right gauge (‘gauge’ means that by stitching a certain number of stitches in a certain number of rows I had a 4″ x 4″ square, supposedly ensuring that I’ll knit the hat to the right size), and then I was off.  I made the ribbing a little bit longer, and then subtracted those rows from the stockinette stitch of the body.  It didn’t take me long to finish, despite my slow pace.  When I finished, it was good, but just a little bit…off.  It was a little longer and wider around than I wanted, but oh well.  Large knitting seems to be my fate. 😉

Fall Wardrobe--A Knitted Hat

It is a cozy hat, and I love the yarn knit up, even though I wish I had made it slightly smaller.  I’ve already been wearing it, and I may wet it just a bit and throw it in the dryer to see what happens, per a more experienced friend’s directions.  Maybe that will help it to shrink down just enough.

I recommend this pattern if you are looking for a basic hat with ribbing.  It’s a nice pattern and comes in three adult sizes (and it’s free!).  I think a beginner could do it, and an expert could easily make several.

Fall Wardrobe--A Knitted Hat

Recommendations

  • Um…these weird finger hands?I don't know what to say about this photo...

    I got them at The White Elephant Antique Shop in Essex, MA.  They are weird and way more fun than they should be.

  • Toby Mac’s newest album, This is Not a Test,  is pretty cool.  It’s fun and upbeat, and features a lot of different artists and styles.  It’s been getting a lot of play in our house.
  • The Maker Style Podcast.  This podcast is still pretty new.  I’ve really been enjoying it as it focuses on garment sewing, a topic I don’t tend to find a ton of podcasts on.
  • And yet another reason to love Project Runway’s Tim Gunn:

A New Favorite Fall Shirt–Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

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It will come as no surprise when I tell you that I’m really excited about my latest creation.  For so many sewers, the last thing they’ve made is their favorite and this is pretty much along those lines.  It is hard for me to top last week’s pants, so maybe this isn’t my absolute favorite, but it’s a pretty close second.

I present to you my new favorite fall flannel shirt:  Simplicity 1538 made in Scarlet Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

I am IN LOVE with this shirt (at least as much as you can be with clothing).  Like the time I made my husband Thread Theory’s Jutland pants, I feel that the value of this shirt far exceeds what I paid for the fabric.  What I think really clinches it for me, though, is the feel of this flannel.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

When I felt it initially, I was actually somewhat disappointed.  It seemed much thinner than I remembered this line of fabric feeling.  Still, I had wanted to sew with it, so I bought my yardage, took it home, and washed and dried it.

And that’s when the magic began.

Once it had been washed and dried, it fluffed up into a beefy, cozy, heavenly bit of fabric.  I loved sewing with it, and I love wearing it even more.

This shirt also marked my first real foray into plaid matching.  I had sort of done a bit of it when I made a shirt in Cotton + Steel’s Paper Bandana print, but this time I got serious.  I looked around at advice on the internet and in some of my trusty sewing books and tried to pick some reference points I could use to match things up.  My goal was to try to do a good job without letting myself slide down the slippery slope of perfectionism.  And I think I achieved my goal.  Not perfect, but really, really good.  And, (dare I say it?) it was kind of fun!

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

I see now, from experience, why you really want to have some extra yardage when you are matching plaids.  I really like setting my cuffs, yoke, and button bands on the bias, but there just wasn’t enough extra fabric to do that anywhere except the yoke; however this gave me the chance to work on some pattern matching across the front.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

 

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

I used my current favorite buttons from Jo-ann’s.  They look like pearl snaps.  Real pearl snaps are on my list of things to try, and a little birdie told me that Pintuck & Purl just got those in along with some Robert Kaufman flannel (plus a bunch of other great stuff), so I think there’s a pretty good chance that another flannel shirt will make an appearance on this blog in the future.  Actually, I love this flannel so much that I want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS IN FLANNEL!  But I’m going to try to hold myself back…a little.  Once winter hits, I’ll feel the same about fleece so, you know…

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

The adjustments on this pattern are as follows:  major broad back adjustment and lowered darts (as discussed here) and for this version, I also added two inches to the length.  I knew I wanted to add 2-4 inches so the shirt tail would cover my backside for wearing with leggings and 2 inches was a good amount.  It doesn’t cover completely, but it almost does.  I’m happy with it.

Additional Note: I completely forgot to add this when I first published this post until Monique brought it up in the comments–all my seams that aren’t automatically finished/covered (like in the collar) are flat-felled.  I wasn’t sure I could manage to get the sleeve seams done on my machine, but after reading a few posts on other blogs, I became convinced I could do it.  In order to make it work, I put my sleeves in flat.  Rather than sewing up the side seams and then setting the sleeve as my instructions directed, I sewed the sleeve on with my flat-felled seams first and then sewed up the sides and sleeves in one fell swoop, flat-felling those seams as well for a nice clean finish inside.  It’s a bit tricky to do, but if you go slowly and have patience, it’s completely possible, and the end result is strong and beautiful.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

And that’s it.  If you know me in real life and notice me wearing this shirt and last week’s pants every time we see each other for the next month, don’t be surprised.  I think I’ve finally found my tried ‘n true button up shirt pattern and a much loved fabric company.  I highly recommend both.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

Recommendations

  • First on my list is a long-time favorite of mine:  Harney & Sons Bangkok Green Tea.  It has a subtle coconut flavor that I really like.
  • Polartec fleece from Malden Mills.  When the temperatures dip, this fabric can’t be beat.  It’s great for outdoorsmen and it’s great for the everyday.  It also has some pretty amazing science behind it.
  • Along the lines of the last recommendation, if you live in West Michigan or plan to visit, Field’s Fabrics is a great place to find Polartec in various forms along with all sorts of other great fabrics.  I love going to Field’s and always try to visit if we are in Michigan.
  • You guys know I like to watch surfing, especially in the winter since it reminds me that it won’t be freezing and snowy forever and, as we head into the cold season in this part of the world, I’m keeping an eye open for good surf videos.  I can’t vouch for the whole movie (since I haven’t seen it), but the trailer of View from a Blue Moon about surfer John John Florence, is stunningly beautiful.

Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

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Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

Today’s project has been a long time in the  making.  And the inspiration for it comes totally and completely from an amazing seamstress on the other side of the world:  meggipeg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ever since I saw her version of a pair of Balmain jeans made from the Jamie jeans pattern by Named, I wanted my own.  But, like a lot of projects that I knew were going to take some work, I had to psych myself up.  I didn’t own the Jamie Jeans pattern and, like most indie patterns, it wasn’t cheap.  I kept thinking about it, and almost committed to buying the pattern before realizing that with just a little more work, I could use a pattern that I already had.  And then came the perfect impetus to get going on making my dream a reality:  I had signed up for a class.  And not just any class, but a choose-your-own-sewing-adventure kind of class where you pick what you want to work on.  The time was now.

Class Projects!

All my class projects ready to go!

I had verbally signed up for Lauren Taylor’s (a.k.a. Lladybird’s) Sewing Master Class at Pintuck & Purl way back in May, when I first heard about it.  I love seeing all the things that Lauren sews, and I knew it would be a great opportunity to work on some projects that I found intimidating.  So, along with a few other projects, I came up with my pants scheme.  It was time to finally make some super-cool pants a la meggipeg and Balmain of my own.

However…I didn’t love the idea of figuring out how to fit a new jeans pattern, especially when I also had so many other project supplies to buy, and that’s when I realized:  I could use the Ginger Jeans pattern.  All I needed to do beyond what I was already going to do was change the front pocket and add front leg seams.  I don’t hack patterns much.  But this seemed worth the time investment.  In addition to the aforementioned changes, I drew up some parallelograms for the sides of the front legs and divided up the back pocket.

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

Adding a seam to the front leg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Changing the front pocket shape.

I had plans to add zippers to the front of my jeans as well, similar to Papercut Patterns’ Starboard Jeans, but these didn’t make it into the final pants (because I forgot to put them in before doing the pockets).  Oh, well!  I also contemplated zippers at the bottom of the jeans, but decided against those before beginning.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ooops!  I forgot the zippers!

I didn’t get a lot done on these in the class, because this was the third of my several projects (not all of which will show up on the blog–sorry), but preparing for the class forced me to make the necessary pattern changes beforehand.  It got me going on the pants and I managed to cut out the pattern and get started during class.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Just in case you’re wondering about supplies, I’d love to share.  Here’s where everything came from:

Ginger Jeans Hack

I love this vintage sheet as pocket material!

I did one or two things differently on the construction side of these than on my first pair of Ginger Jeans.  This time around, I interfaced my waistband (good idea!) and used true topstitching thread (so-so).  I do think I’ll interface the waistband in the future, but I might try a different alternative for the topstitching thread.  Maybe I’ll use upholstery or button/craft thread, or maybe I just need a bigger needle and different tension on my machine.  I had a lot of thread nests with the topstitching thread and it just wasn’t my favorite overall.

Time for less talk and more pictures, right?

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

The pants themselves?  I LOVE them!!!!!  So far I’ve worn them about five days out of the last two weeks.  Yep!  I hope I’m not the only one that calculates how many people I’ll see more than once in a week so I can rewear outfits!  But even if I am–oh, well!

I love these pants so much.  The ease is great, the fit is great, the stretch is great, and the fabric is great.  It was definitely worth the effort to make these.  Thanks for the idea, meggipeg!  I hope you take my emulation of you as a compliment.  I’m always impressed with your style.

Ginger Jeans Hack

I even made a flannel shirt to go with it!  Stay tuned for more details on that…

Recommendations

  • I really love these Carhartt’s socks.  This isn’t an affiliate link or anything (I don’t do those currently.), just some socks I like.  I like the colors, and they keep my feet warm without making them sweaty, which means I can wear my Converse All-Stars or moccasin booties without getting numb toes when the weather is cold.
  • Robert Kaufman fabric.  I love Robert Kaufman fabric (in fact, I have some of their Mammoth Plaid that I just made into the flannel shirt of my dreams).  The fabric is moderately priced and great quality–and they have so many options.
  • The Imagine Gnats online shop.  I have a really hard time getting myself to buy fabric online, always preferring to see it in person first, but I have to recommend this shop.  The customer service is great and so is the curated fabric selection.  I’ve probably ordered twice from here and I have to give owner Rachel Gander props for the extra little sticker and piece of candy she put in my orders and for ending what has felt like an age-long search for the perfect olive green stretch twill.
  • And because candy corn is one of my favorite fall treats, here is a video that shows how candy corn is made:

Outside in October

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Outside in October

I thought there wouldn’t be an outside post for October since I had been sick or taking care of sick people nearly all month, but when I looked back through my pictures, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did have some outdoor photos to share with you.  I may not have gotten out much, but I made the most of it!  Enjoy!

Outside in October

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Ahoy! Stuffed Whales from Tilda’s Seaside Ideas

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Ahoy!  Stuffed Whales from Tilda’s Seaside Ideas

Hey, everyone!  It’s been awhile!  I’ve been sick or taking care of sick people for the last month over here; hence, the silence on the blog.  I think I am mostly better at this point, so I thought I ought to write up a blog post!  Thankfully I had these photos ready to go, because I haven’t gotten to the point of taking new blog photos yet.  Hopefully soon!

This one is a little bit of a departure from my usual makes.  I sewed up some stuffed whales from the book Tilda’s Seaside Ideas by Tone Finnanger.

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Both whales were baby gifts.  I tend to find an interesting project to make as a baby gift and then make that until I’m ready for a change.  In the past, I’ve made flannel baby blankets and burp cloths, little kitty stuffed animals, etc.  This time I decided to go with whales.

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I can’t remember how I found this pattern–maybe Pinterest, but my library system had the book that the pattern was in, so I checked it out and got started.  I had some Art Gallery denim left over from my shorts, and I liked the idea of using that for the whales.

Whale Stuffed Animals

It’s a match!

For one of them, I used a little lace flower as an embellishment because I thought it fit my friend’s style.

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For the other whale, created for a family member, I made a little heart from the bridesmaid dress I wore in her wedding.

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The eyes are drawn in with a fabric marker, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them becoming choking hazards.

I am not experienced in making stuffed animals, but I thought that certain parts of the pattern seemed a little…ambitious?  In general, it’s an easy pattern, but there were some stitching lines on the tail and fins that you are supposed to push stuffing into, and since I made the medium size whales, it didn’t seem very realistic to think I could stuff those without a lot of frustration.  Just getting stuffing into the little space under the sewn mouth was tricky enough, so I left off the added tail and fin stitching.

This wasn’t a tricky project overall, and I really love how they turned out.  I think the moms liked them, and it was good to have a homemade gift to give.  I used to give handmade baby gifts almost exclusively, but I really don’t any more–just once in a while.  Now I’ll have to keep my eye out for the next baby gift project.

Recommendations

  • A great sewing blog that I have been looking through lately is A Fashionable Stitch.  Sunni hasn’t been posting much lately, but she has a few years’ worth of very informative, interesting, and inspiring posts.
  • I love Anne Bannert’s feed on Instagram (@anne_bannert).  She started following me when I first began using Instagram (although I have no idea why or even if she still follows me), but I followed her back and found the most fascinating feed.  She is a model, originally from Germany, who lives in Connecticut.  However if, when I say “model”, you picture a pretty but helpless woman, you would be completely wrong.  If Anne’s car needs new seat covers, she’ll sew them.  If her fence falls down, she cuts new posts, pours some concrete, and fixes her fence.  Maybe she’ll weld something, or play polo, or train a horse or take care of chickens.  This lady is truly impressive.  It’s so much fun to get a glimpse into her life.
  • Another cool Instagram feed to check out is Eugenia Zoloto’s (@eugenia_zoloto).  She is a paper cutting artist in Ukraine.  Her work is really stunning.
  • I don’t know why fitness can be so funny, but here’s another LEGIT workout for you!  Prancercise!!!!

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag Designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

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And now for something completely a little bit different.  I sewed a bag!  So…still sewing, but not my normal apparel sewing (although I do get to wear it!).

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

I’ve seen a lot of cool bag patterns out there, but I never dove in.  I almost dipped a toe in years ago, before I sewed regularly, when I bought an Amy Butler diaper bag pattern, but I think it was one of those aspirational projects where you buy the supplies, tell yourself you’re going to do it, but know in your heart that you never really will.  Thankfully my best friend saved me from that whole scenario by making the bag for me.  Otherwise I guarantee it would still be sitting in my box of patterns, unmade.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

That aberration aside, though, no bag has tempted me.  Until now.  It may be that it was the right bag at the right time.  My shoulders were getting sore from carrying my normal messenger-style bag, and I was thinking I needed a change.  It was Instagram that did it.  I saw this bag in my feed under the hashtag #giucygiucebucketbagsewalong and I got kind of intrigued.  I wasn’t really planning on making one, but if I did, I would get the added benefit of learning a few quilting techniques since the designer, Giuseppe (“Giucy Giuce”), is a quilter.  I would also have a new bag that would distribute weight equally between my shoulders.  And I knew a place where I could get my supplies…

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

So, I mulled it over, and finally decided to go for it.  With help from Maggie at Pintuck & Purl (We all knew that’s where I was going for supplies, right?), I picked out fabric in colors that would be neutrals for me, with a little bit of a surprise on the inside.  I found all the directions to make the bag on the Bernina blog.  Even if you don’t own a Bernina sewing machine (I don’t), this blog has a lot of good information.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

As an apparel sewer, it took me a little while to get my head around the quilting concepts, but I got there.  I realized as I went along that my creation wasn’t going to be “perfect”, so I made the important decision to *mostly* let that go.  I couldn’t get bogged down in perfectionism if I ever wanted to finish.  And guess what?  Once I moved on and actually finished the bag, I didn’t even think about the parts that had struck me as imperfect while I was making it.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

I was a little skeptical about using quarter-inch seams in a bag that would have to take weight.  I know 1/4″ seams are common in quilting.  I’m curious about what is standard in bag-making.  Is there a standard?  Is it 5/8″ like in apparel?  One inch?  Something completely different?  Either way, as my husband pointed out, the lining could carry a lot of the weight, and that wasn’t pieced beyond attaching the bottom to the body of the lining.  I like security, so I double stitched the bottoms onto both the inside and the outside for extra security, and it’s never given me any problems.  In fact, I’ve used this bag every day since I made it.  I felt a little disloyal to my old beloved bag that I had been using, but I haven’t had any sore shoulders due to heavy bags since I switched.  I love this bag, and I liked dipping my toe into quilting techniques without having to make a full quilt.  It was just enough.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

 

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

 

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

 

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

 

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

But you know what?  I love apparel even more.  I don’t think I’m going to become a bag-maker any time soon, but I’m glad I tried because now I know I can do it.  I can learn quilting techniques and, if I want to, I can also learn to make any bag that strikes my fancy.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

In case you are interested in my fabric choices, here they are, all from Pintuck & Purl:

Outer fabric strips: one fat quarter (I think) of each of these:  RJR Supreme Solid Carolina, Cloud9 Cirrus Solid Ocean, Cloud9 Cirrus Solid Sky, RJR Supreme Solid Teal, RJR Supreme Solid Seafoam, RJR Supreme Solid Bowood Green, RJR Supreme Solid Slate

Outer fabric triangles:  one fat quarter (I think) of Cotton + Steel Basics XOXO in Ghost

Outer bottom fabric and bottom tabs:  1/3 yard of Cloud9 Rainwalk Ripple Grey Canvas

Inner fabric:  1 yard of Cotton + Steel Mustang Canvas (Oddly enough, this link is the closest I could find on Cotton+ Steel’s website to the cotton/linen canvas I used, so it’s close, but not quite the same.)

My grommets and rope were purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag; designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo

I was feeling pretty good at the end of this photo shoot.  I made my shirt, shorts, AND bag!  I love sewing!

Recommendations

  • Lately I’ve been listening to C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy on audiobook.  I’m currently listening to Perelandra, the second book and probably my favorite of the three.  C.S. Lewis always makes me rethink ideas and see things in new ways.
  • My Refashioners 2016 skirt was nominated for the Best Skirt Refashion in the Summer Skirt Awards for 2016 on the Skirt Fixation blog.  Thanks!
  • I love following @wingandaprayerfarm on Instagram.  Tammy White gives you a look into her farm in Vermont that is at once honest, loving, and beautiful.
  • How about a little ‘Mesmerizing Mass Sheep Herding’ to start your fall off right?

Outside in September

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September has flown by around here.  The beginning was definitely still summer, but now the cooler weather is coming in.  I don’t know if I’m ready or not, but I bought some fleece, I’m ready for pumpkin spice everything now that the autumnal equinox has passed and starting tomorrow, I’m all about the candy corn.  ;)  Here are some things I saw outside this month.  It’s been beautiful.

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

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Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

Outside in September

 

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Summer’s Last Garment: Simplicity 1020 Pants

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Fall has officially started (the autumnal equinox was Thursday, September 22), but I still have one more summer garment to share with you.  I also have a few other projects I did during the summer, but those are great for any season, so we’ll save them for another time.  Today I want to talk about these pants!

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I really wanted some wide-leg linen pants for summer, and I also wanted to try sewing with linen, something I hadn’t done until I made this Datura blouse (also pictured).  When trying to find a pattern for the pants I had in mind, I remembered some scrub pants I owned in college.  They had a wide, straight leg and were the ultimate in comfort.  Since I hadn’t been able to find a pattern I really liked among the “regular” clothing patterns, I turned to the scrub patterns, and found Simplicity 1020.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I figured I could use that and just leave off a few of the extra pockets, keeping the front and back ones.  I found my fabric at Fabric.com–a Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen blend (55% linen, 45% cotton) in blue and a cotton/rayon (50% cotton, 45% rayon, 5% Lycra) knit in Indigo for the top of the pants.  Other than that, I just needed elastic and thread, which I had in my stash.

I made a quick muslin out of a sheet since I’ve had to do so many fit adjustments on recent bottoms, but while these could maybe have been tweaked slightly, they were good overall, and I decided to make them without adjustments.  This makes me wonder if the Simplicity pants/shorts patterns will fit me better (i.e. with fewer adjustments) than McCall’s and Butterick.  I’ll have to explore that as I make more pants.  The pants themselves were not too difficult to sew up, although I did prolong the process by finishing all my seams.  Finishing seams used to feel like such a chore and while it still does sometimes, I didn’t want thready insides once these pants were finished and went through the wash.  I used a turned-and-stitched finish (a.k.a. clean-finish) per the instructions in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

Turned-and-stitched/clean-finished seam allowances

The linen seemed too thick for French seams, although I’m open to hearing about other finishes people have used.  I also basically did a double turned hem for all the pockets and then topstitched them on so that I wouldn’t get threads in the pockets, either.  Last, but not least, I covered the seam where the main pants fabric joined the knit waist fabric with bias tape.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

All of that added quite a bit of time, but I was really happy with these when they were finished.  I don’t know what has happened to me, but it makes me really happy to see those beautiful insides in a project.  I guess I’m “growing up” as a sewist. 😉

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I think my only question on the whole thing is the hem length.  If I had hemmed these at the suggested spot, they would have been long, but probably good with heels.  I turned them up one more time so I could wear them with flatter shoes, and I think that is the right length for lower shoes, but sometimes, at some angles, they look a little bit like floods. (Wow.  I just used Google Images to look up “flood pants”.  It was a little different than I expected, but I think my statement still stands.)  I didn’t actually cut my excess off the hems, so if I change my mind later, I can rehem them to be longer.  I’m done with them for this year, though.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

These pants are super comfortable (secret pajamas for the win!) and they wrinkle much, much less than I thought they would–maybe because of the cotton blended in?  I think of cotton as pretty wrinkly, but who knows?  Maybe because of the midweight?  I don’t know.  Whatever it is, I’m happy with them.  Now it’s on to fall sewing!

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

Recommendations

  • Here’s one more post from Cotton + Steel about the fabric called cotton lawn.  Sounds like lawn is a winner for your button up shirt needs.
  • I’m really impressed and intrigued by the embroidery of Tessa Perlow.  This article about her has some great pictures so you can get a feel for what she does.  I think I’d like to try adding embroidery to some of my garments someday…
  • If you are a garment sewist in fairly close proximity to Exeter, NH, you might enjoy the Pattern Review Meetup happening at Pintuck & Purl this Saturday, September 24 from 2-4pm.
  • Jellyfish or jelly fish?  Be careful how you say it!

Adventures in Shorts Fitting: McCall’s 6930

Standard

We’ve been talking a lot about shorts lately, haven’t we?  I’ve noticed that in my sewing, I tend to make tops.  I have a lot of me-made tops in my closet, but not a lot of shorts and pants.  Why is that?  Fear.  That’s it.  Silly as it sounds, I have been afraid of making shorts and pants because I don’t know how to fit them.  But this was the year of sewing first jeans and then, this summer, shorts.  I’m so glad I finally plunged in because now I have a better grasp of some of the fitting issues I might face and how to fix them.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

So let’s talk about this particular pattern, McCall’s 6930 (View A).  There are a couple of shorts options in this one, as well as capris.  They have a flat front, shaped waistband, back zipper, and pockets, with optional belt carriers.  It actually took me three tries to get this right, and I took pictures of each of them, so you could see some of the things I had to fix and the mistakes I made.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

 

McCall's 6930 Shorts

Last summer, I began my first version of this pattern.  I could tell that something was wrong with it, but I wasn’t sure what to do, so I put it away until this summer.  I nearly threw these shorts out when I was cleaning up one day, but I tried them on first and realized that they weren’t as terrible as I remembered.  So, I finished them, and came up with ideas on what I wanted to improve.  The front was baggy and went up too high, and the back felt like it needed more length in the crotch seam.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

The baggy front was no good.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

McCall's 6930 Shorts

I looked in my trusty book, Sewing Pants that Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library, and decided to try taking a wedge out of the front and add a wedge into the back.  After I had done this, I saw that the book said not to take wedges out of the front, but there was no explanation as to why, so I decided to try it anyway.  I took out the wedge and redrew the top of the front crotch seam, making sure it was straight like before.  When I asked a friend who used to work as a pattern drafter what was up with the book’s advice, she asked if I had redrawn the center front line and, when I told her I had, she said it ought to work.  Her other suggestion was to take some of the length out of the top of the front, thereby leaving that front seam intact.  She also told me that the new grainline should be more or less perpendicular to the top of the shorts so that they would hang straight down.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

The front pattern piece, above.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

The back pattern piece.

Version two came out much improved.  There was one main problem, however.  I had made these out of a stretch denim…but the pattern didn’t call for a fabric with stretch.  So, as you may imagine, these shorts tend to “grow” throughout the day until they are a bit large by the end of the day.  Another minor thing that I noted was that using a lighter weight fabric for the back of the pocket is not as good as using a fabric of the same weight.  I did this in versions one and two.  It creates wrinkles and doesn’t hang as well–not super critical, but important to note.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

This picture makes me look excited about the hugeness of these shorts, but I’m really just making funny faces for my photographer.  This photo shoot got a little silly by the end…

McCall's 6930 Shorts

 

McCall's 6930 Shorts

Fabric the same weight as my denim would have worked better than the lightweight denim scrap I used.

I cut into some of my precious fabric from Pintuck & Purl for my third version…and it came out great!  When I put these on, they just feel right.  The one thing I will probably tweak if I make this pattern again (which I’ll probably do) is to lengthen the back crotch point just a bit as the front of the legs feel closer to the body than I think they should.  The leg openings aren’t too small, it’s more like they are tilted toward the back when they should be more balanced.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

Front view.  There’s a little yellow on the darts from my chalk markings, but that washed out easily.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

Back view.

Each of the adjustments I made were the same as those I made on McCall’s 6848, the pajama-turned-everyday shorts I recently blogged about.  It feels good to know I am on the right track.  Now the question is, will these be standard adjustments for me, or will they be limited to McCall’s patterns?  Either way, I feel like I’m making progress in learning to fit pants and shorts, and a lot of the scariness is dissipating.  It’s such a pleasure to occasionally wear an outfit that I’ve made–not only the top, but both the top and the bottom.  I’m really happy that I tried despite my fear.

McCall's 6930 Shorts

 

McCall's 6930 Shorts

McCall's 6930 Shorts

And…..guess what?  Today is this blog’s third birthday!  That’s pretty cool!  I thought about doing a round-up of past posts, but I wanted to talk shorts one more time instead.  I’m so thankful for this blog, which has helped me grow in confidence as a writer, seamstress, and photographer.  I think I have a good groove, have seen some improvements in those areas, and I hope for more improvements in the future in both sewing and blogging.  I’m also thankful for you, my readers, some of whom have been with me from the very beginning.  Thank you for encouraging and supporting me in this.  Learning these skills goes far beyond sewing–the confidence and happiness that comes from sewing has expanded into other areas of my life as well.  So, I’m thankful for the blog, for you, and to God for the skills, time, resources, and frame of mind to grow.  Thank you.

And last but not least, let’s have some Recommendations!

  • Another fun post in the Cotton + Steel substrate series is the one all about rayon, which is new to me.  I’m looking forward to trying it out in the near future.
  • Have you ever wanted to turn your favorite button up shirt pattern into a popover top (a top with a button placket that only goes partway down the shirt)?  I have!  I just wasn’t looking forward to figuring it out on my own.  Luckily, Craftsy did it for me.  You can read all about it here.
  • Did you know it’s National Sewing Month?  It is!  To celebrate, Pintuck & Purl is doing a fun Q & A with various bloggers and pattern designers over on their blog, and I’m one of the bloggers!  You can read their blog here.
  • When knitting takes over…