Friday, May 31, 2013

What to do with 1 3/8 Yard of Fabric?

I have been on an eyelet kick lately, however, really nice eyelet has been hard to find. I lucked out last year at Britex with the navy eyelet for my Cambie. Unfortunately I probably won't get to San Francisco until this fall, and I haven't been all that successful shopping locally.

Until now:

I just scored 1 3/8Yards of yellow eyelet from Joann's! (It's a lot more yellow in person, trust me.) It was all that was left on the bolt, and it is beautiful. I was really looking for eyelet that's more special and more complex than the ones I normally see.  This fit the bill, and yellow was high on my list of preferred colors.

The problem now is what the heck do I do with so little yardage? I really want a Lonsdale and I'm just delusional enough to pull out the pattern pieces and see how far I can make this stretch. Maybe the top of the Lonsdale pattern combined with the bottom of something else? Maybe continue to fuel my Beignet kick and make another one? Maybe a tube with neck, armholes and a bit of elastic at the waist? 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finished Denim Beignet

I was way too impatient to wear my new Beignet to wait until I sewed on belt loops. I may change my mind some day, but I'm good without them for now.

Denim Beignet with Red Buttons

(The striped shirt in these pictures is one of my many Renfrews.)

This fabric is a lightweight stretch denim purchased at Vogue Fabrics, and was leftover from my first pair of Thurlows. The red lining was quilting cotton that I picked up at Joann's while shopping for buttons. It's not really suitable for lining, but it's red! And looks like fish scales! I couldn't pass up this awesomeness just because it was quilting cotton.

Interior Detail of Denim Beignet

Also, I love the fact that I got to use red thread for everything! Red top stitching. Red buttonholes. Red serger thread. Love it! I also want to say that I love making buttonholes now. I've never had a machine that made them well (or at all) before my Husqvarna. It's made all the difference in the world.

Construction details: Someday, I'll be able to correctly judge my skirt size. I don't have this problem with dresses, just skirts. I try to take into account ease, finished measurements, the fact that there is a big difference between my waist and hip measurements, and the fact that I have to make sure the darn thing fits over my ass.  Even with all that in mind, I always end up choosing a few sizes too big and having to make major adjustments.

Denim Beignet Back View

For this skirt, I cut a size 10 and started taking it in at the waist. I didn't compare my final measurements to the pattern, but I'd estimate that the waist is now closer to a size 2 or 4. The hips were taken in slightly in the process, and are probably somewhere between an 8 and 10.

"Design Features" (aka - screw ups): I accidentally cut the shell center back panel from the lining pattern piece instead of the correct shell piece. Unfortunately, that piece was about 4" shorter and I didn't have extra denim to recut. It's not bad, but it means that the skirt is just a little bit shorter than I prefer.

This is my second Beignet, and the second time I stopped following directions midway through construction. I don't know why, and I don't blame the pattern or instructions. Halfway through, I realize that I've stopped paying attention and I go off on my own. It also means that I completely ignore things like sewing twill tape along the waistband.  Someday...

Denim Beignet

The verdict: I love it. This skirt is going to be in heavy rotation this summer. I'm sure I'll make another Beignet, and am positive I'll stop paying attention to instructions, leave off the belt loops, and decide I need to go with a size 10 again because that's just how I roll.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Work In Progress - Beignet

Here's a little sneak preview of my current work in progress, Colette's Beignet skirt:

Denim Beignet In Progress

This was supposed to be a project to use up the remaining denim from my Thurlows. I don't know if it's just me, but I usually end up buying more fabric and supplies just to finish up what are supposed to be stash-busting projects. No complaints, just find it funny. For this one, I had to run out to purchase red lining (because this absolutely had to have red lining), and the perfect red buttons.

Denim Beignet In Progress

Macy was kind enough to lend her fabulous tail to this picture.

I'm having fun just taking my time and enjoying all of the red topstitching on the denim. The only thing left is to sew on belt loops.

One more thing,

I'm not sure how well this will show up on your screen, but this is a shot of my blue stained fingers. I pre-washed the denim, but am still ending up with serious case of blue hands every every time I work on the skirt! Hopefully, this little added bonus feature of the fabric wears off after a few more washes.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I'm excited to finally be able to share the news! I was selected to be a pattern tester for the latest Sewaholic pattern, Tofino. I seriously did a little happy dance when I found out the pattern was for lounge pants! Lounge Pants! I LOVE Lounge Pants! Pick me please!!! I did a second, longer happy dance when I was selected.

And look at them! (Well, don't look too closely at the bow, it's a bit wrinkled.)

Pink Polka Dotted Flannel Tofino

So cute! I honestly didn't have high hopes for this polka dot flannel. It was left over from the great lounge pants Christmas project of '11 (first picture in this post). As soon as I saw this pattern, a light bulb went on in my head and I knew this fabric would be perfect. I just needed to step out for pink piping supplies - and managed to come home with fabric for two more pairs. Not sorry at all.

The pattern went together easily, but also offered some slightly more challenging details that really make it special.  I chose to make my first pair with piping, and I think this was the first time I've ever so successfully inserted piping into a project! I used a solid pink flannel for the piping and belt. The instructions said to use a zipper foot, and that really helped me achieve a great finish. (I'm sure most people already know to use a zipper foot, but not this gal).

Polka Dotted Flannel Tofino

The other detail that I love is the faux-fly. I also want to say that this was the first project where I successfully created a buttonhole. Two of them in fact. I've had my new sewing machine for over a year, but hadn't attempted buttonholes until this project. And look at them! I love the pink contract thread.

I had multiple variations planned as soon as I saw the pattern, but so far only finished this second pair:

Plaid Tofino

I really wanted to play with a different fabric for the side panel. Both of these are cotton flannels from Joann Fabrics.  I also tried to just use the fabric tie belt, but went back in and added the elastic that the pattern called for. The combo of both the elastic and belt achieved a much better fit than the tie alone.

Plaid Flannel Tofino - Back

This seriously calls for a happy dance and/or lounge pants party at my place! And, I have fabric all cut out and waiting for my third version :-)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Whole Lotta Rosy

To borrow a song title from AC/DC, I've been working on a Whole Lotta Rosy this weekend. Rosy Ladyshorts that is. I needed something quick and satisfying after spending so much time on my Thurlows.

Rosy Ladyshorts Detail

If you haven't already, I highly recommend downloading this pattern from Cloth Habit. For me, the fit is amazing and I'm able to quickly whip up something that would rival any store bought pair of underwear in a very short period of time.

Rosy Ladyshorts

These are also a great way to use up extra stretch lace and trim. Everything except the magenta trim was scored on a trip to the Textile Discount Warehouse. The magenta trim came home with me from Vogue Fabrics when I went to purchase denim for my Thurlow wearable muslin. I can't remember if I purchased one or two yards of each stretch lace, but a little goes a long way. I believe that this is my third black pair and third and forth purple pairs, with some left over for at least one more. 

This was just a nice project to reset my sewing mojo and get me in the mood to tackle a more complex project again.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Thurlow? - Part 2

Well, I didn't end up cutting out my good Mood wool yet, but after a number of mistakes and fitting issues I finally finished my first pair of Thurlow trousers:

Denim Thurlow Front View

I'd also like to mention that during the fitting process, I've never stared at so many pictures of my ass for so long in my entire life. I went through five fitting variations, and couldn't get the darn thing to fit just right in the back. I took pictures to try to help diagnose fitting problems, hence the excessive ass staring.

I give you -  ass (Thurlow) evolution:

Here's the brief summary:

1. I cut and sewed a straight size 8.  The front looked and fit fine, but there was some serious bunching going on in the back.  I get it, there's a lot of surface area for the fabric to deal with. Time to make adjustments.

2. Extensive internet research led me to add some length to the crotch in the back. Lazy me didn't want to cut a whole new pattern piece, not when I could use masking tape instead.

3. Okay, the small wedge in #2 seemed to help a bit, so lengthening the crotch more is sure to help!  I actually don't think this version was an improvement, but let's keep going forward.

Here's where I gave up on internet research; nothing was exactly what I needed.  I think this is where my "too much" information problem came into play.  When I was a blissfully ignorant sewer, I would pinch and tuck patterns like crazy.  I wanted to go back to relying on that instinct. In hindsight, maybe not such a good move.

4.  This was an attempt to take in fabric under the offending area.  I always have to make a sway back adjustment on my clothes, so maybe I need a "sway ass" adjustment for these? (Okay, I know it's not called a sway ass adjustment, but the combination of frustration and lack of sleep made this hilarious at the time.)  Image 4 shows just the right side pinned up and a bit of improvement.

5. Post sway ass adjustment. I had to abandon my masking tape and cut a new piece. I also scooped out the crotch seam a bit. It needs more, but I feel like I was almost there and ready to cut my fabric for my wearable muslin.

Fast forward about a week, a lot of swearing and me cutting out the waistband backwards, I give you the final version:

I'm trying to focus on the positives instead of the glaring fit issues. I actually think the construction looks good and I love the welt pockets. I don't think I'm going to add belt loops, because I'm not sure how much wear these will see outside of the house. 

The negatives? The fit of course. There's too much room in the crotch in front and still too much bunching in back.  I also needed to adjust the grainline because the side seam curves toward the back. I have no clue how to do this correctly, yet.  

I think I need to start from the beginning and invest in a good fitting book or online class. I'm not sure exactly where to go with this. Going down to a size 6 would probably help because I think this version is a bit too big for me, and I like pants tighter.

All in all, I don't they are bad for my first attempt. I have a lot of work to do to perfect these, but the end product will be worth it because I do love this pattern!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I'm still working on my Thurlows, I promise! Here's proof:

Thurlow Pocket

Just ignore the fact that I sewed these pieces to the wrong side of the fabric. Oops. Right now, there's been a lot of swearing at muslins and staring at pictures of my butt and other people's butts to try to work out my fitting issues. I'm currently working on a wearable muslin and yes, I broke down and purchased fabric for it. I just didn't trust cutting out my good fabric without making a full test first. For better or worse, it should be complete and ready to share in the next day or two. In the meantime, there are a few non-trouser things to report.

Britex Fabrics, my favorite fabric store in San Francisco, mentioned me on their blog! You can check out the post here.  It's so exciting! I've never felt so much like a celebrity before in my life, and I'm so thankful to them for the shout out!  Now, how to I convince my job that they need to send me to San Francisco soon so that I can make a fabric run? Until then, I'm left to longingly peruse their website.  Don't you think this fabric would make an amazing pair of Thurlows? I've been looking at it for weeks now. (Full disclosure: I have no willpower and purchased some. It was on sale.)


I also got a bit bored between my muslins and cut out fabric for three pairs of Rosy Ladyshorts.  I'll try to sew a pair or two if I need a break from my Thurlow marathon.

Fabric for Rosy Ladyshorts

On the Thurlow front, I didn't think it possible but I'm actually enjoying sewing all of the "fiddly bits" of the pattern. It means I have to take the sewing process slow, which is a good thing. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to focus on enjoying the sewing process and not on the end product. As the great philosopher Neil Peart once wrote, "The point of the journey is not to arrive".

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Thurlow?

Um, I think I might be...

Crazy, right? I don't think that these pants are the most complicated garment I've ever sewn. Not that I consider them a beginner project, I just think I've tackled more complex projects without a care in the world. I've been putting off sewing this pattern for months now, and I'm trying to figure out why because I really do want a pair of Thurlows!
I think I'm seriously psyching myself out.  When I was young, I made a few pairs of pants. Nothing difficult and they fit "okay", but that was before I learned that you could, and should, alter patterns for correct fit.  I also make lounge pants all the time. I'm a rockstar when it comes to lounge pants! I'm not sure if that's really a thing to brag about, but there you go.  If you don't believe me, check this out:

Lounge Pants Party

These were all 2011 Christmas gifts, using my go-to pattern McCall's 3019. Of course, the only fit issues with these are length and cutting the right size elastic for the waistband.

I think the problem is that I now have too much knowledge. I've read so many blogs where people struggled to perfect their pants fit through through multiple iterations. I don't just mean Thurlows; there are many pants-related fitting posts out there.  Now I'm worried about crotch length, the pants being too tight, or too loose, having to make a gazillion muslins to get it right, etcetera, etcetera.

I cut out most of the pieces that I would need for the muslin weeks ago. I think I'm just worried about messing up my awesome Mood fabric that I've earmarked for this project.  Couldn't you just make a wearable muslin? Well, yes I could but I don't currently have suitable fabric in my stash and I'm trying not to buy new fabric until I use up some of my old stuff first. (I do this every few months, just to see how long it will last.)

So, no more procrastinating. Work permitting, I'm going to start sewing up my muslin tonight! I'm not going to have major fit issues, and I'll be cutting out and not ruining my awesome striped wool this weekend!

Sew me!

And if I mess up, it's only fabric right? It sure isn't doing me any good in a box on a shelf.