Summer of Love, Part Four

Why hellllooo, here’s the fourth entry in my self-declared Summer of Love series! This outfit is sort of a round-up of my greatest hits: slouchy linen-ish outerwear, short shorts, and a wrap top that needs a safety pin so my bra doesn’t fall out. And guess what? I LOVE IT!

Yes babies, ignore the stink-face (why do I always have such a stink-face? I promise I’m very smiley in real life), I finally worked out a dressy(ish) outfit I feel comfortable and happy in! First, the creative brief: I needed something to wear to a rehearsal dinner with the equivalent fanciness of an average wedding, but since it was immediately followed by, you know, the actual wedding, my Kielo had to keep. Also, it was in a country club! First and only time I’ve been in a country club. Country club tip: forge an alliance with the man who holds the crab cakes. Yesss. Now you are ready.

Also, I was being romantically haunted (think Phantom of the Opera, Patrick Swayze as Ghost, basically those but with boundaries) by the idea of a Summer Suit. And I figured what the hecko! If not now, when! And because I love ongoing usefulness I decided to sew another Victoria blazer. I made all the changes listed in this blog post, and also I swapped in pockets purloined from the Lupin jacket (mine here).

Here is a picture of a pocket for anyone who is recently born or very forgetful. You’re welcome.

Another Patented Poundcake tip (I’m sure that crab cake thing is already paying dividends): make sure your shorts are at least a little longer than your jacket, so you don’t look like a flasher from behind.

So that’s the outermost layer of my onion! Next is a sleeveless Anderson blouse, and I made the adjustments listed in my post here, except for the armscye because this was my first draft in fact and I hadn’t noticed that issue yet.  Simple pimple.

Finally, the third piece of the ensemble – pants. I imagined cropped, pleated trousers with a tapered leg. “But Lia,” I hear you say, “Surely that’s your knees I see before us?”

PATIENCE.

Exactly at the equator, these are MN Flints. I used its (dare I say iconic?!) waistband and pocket construction.

There’s a hook and bar fastener inside, and the ties outside. Also, for once, my waistband isn’t crumpled horizontally by my mighty middle. I used BanRol! I’d bought some in a hazy panic when a local fabric store was closing, with the vague sense you put it in bag straps, but it’s for waistbands. It really stays flat! I only realized its use because of the magically impressive Shauni (she’s so cool).

So I had my waistband figured, but I wanted tapered pants and the Flints, well, aren’t. So I used the leg (sans pockets) of the Turia dungarees! I darted the back to fit, and pleated the front. It was actually pretty straightforward to get these patterns to mesh.

Then, an eagle-eyed observer might be able to spot, I just went ahead and cut the legs off anyway.

Frankly the pattern mash-up made for a nice pair of dressy slacks, but when paired with the blazer, I was getting major zoot suit vibes! So chop chop, now they’re shorts. The finished inseam is 2.75”.

This isn’t my finest sewing (those pleats are not centered on the front crotch seam, for one) and there’s some practical issues (the shorts wrinkle like crazy where they’re crushed by my butt, the blouse is a little too short to tuck in *really* securely), but for once, I don’t care. Because I feel like myself in this outfit and that makes me happy.

You may also notice, despite my claims, that I have HEELS ON! These were grandfathered in because I bought them for my sister’s wedding in 2012. Even just taking these pictures reminded me why I only wear them once every 20 months. They gave me that lift to spot my crab cakes friend from a distance though. Plus who can resist a classic grey…beige…combo? LISTEN I’m good at wearing normal clothes, okay!

My embroidered pin is from Coral & Tusk, by the way.

And my face, as apparently always, is right out of stink-ville!

See you soon!

Previous Summer of Love found here (part one), here (part two), and here (part three).

Pattern:  BHL Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; 1.5 yards of Cambridge Solids cotton lawn in Grey, $13.20, Gather Here; thread, $1.79, Michael’s

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $35.68

Pattern: SOI Anderson blouse

Pattern cost: NA

Size: XS (!!!)

Supplies: 2 yards of ivory rayon, $15.00, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 3 hours

Total cost: $15.00

Pattern: MN Flints/Turia dungarees

Pattern cost: NA

Size: L (Flints)/44 (Turias)

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; thread, hook and bar from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $20.78

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Summer of Love, Part Three

This dress was pants! Briefly! Well, culottes. This is the tale of its transformation. Welcome to episode 3 of the Summer of Love!

This was very, very temporarily a pair of midi-length Tania culottes, size L in old money. I’d been wild to make them for a while, but I rarely buy 3+ yards of fabric at a go. Happily Gather Here had a summer sale at the beginning of wedding season, and the Tanias seemed just right for an upcoming casual-nice engagement party!

I finished the culottes with about 18 hours to spare (maybe you’ve sung this song yourself) and popped them on for a triumphant fashion show. Twist!! I must have fudged the grainlines because instead of falling from the widest part of my hip, they hugged my leg to about mid-thigh and then abruptly belled out. NOT triumphant. Not even close. Triumph sent its sincerest regrets but would not be attending my legs.

Without a back-up plan, I unpicked the ol’ leg-bags and freestyled a dress. The culottes became its skirt. This was simple to engineer – I cut off the crotch extension of each piece and smoothed the waist, like so.

Then I pieced the skirt front and skirt back at the center seams. Since the Tanias are so full, that left a respectable amount of swing and flare, even sans crotch.

Unfortunately, I ended up with four little holes, from what used to be the ends of the big box pleats (the red dot on my diagram above).

Using about a square centimeter of scrap fabric and fusible hem tape, I ironed a jiffy patch to the wrong side of each hole. So far they’re holding!

For the bodice, I used the Workroom Social Tate Top (free to newsletter subscribers) in the cropped length. I had previously made this pattern as a scrap-buster. As a crop top, you can really squeeze it onto random odds and ends, especially if you add seaming. I got this from the culottes off-cuts with nothing to spare!

Rather than using a zip, as the pattern recommends, I divided the back bodice horizontally about 5” down. Then I cut the two upper pieces and hemmed the vertical edges separately for a simple opening. It closes with a thread chain and mother-of-pearl button, but I can get in and out without unbuttoning. I’ve definitely made versions of this with no opening at all, but you know your own coconut best!

Then I just gathered the skirt top to fit (it didn’t take much gathering), stitched them together, pressed that seam up, and topstitched. Crossed my fingers for another first try-on and hey presto! A dress!

With a handy belt leftover from a Halloween costume (I was an Egyptologist, Professor BF was a curséd mummy, it was adorable, we’re very proud), I was party-ready.

Oddly I find the Tate cropped length borderline too short for a shirt but definitely too long for a dress bodice! But by then I was sleepy. So I wore the finished dress to the engagement do, and then forgot to adjust it, and then wore it to other Summer of Love events – a bridal shower, another engagement party. It’s not quite fancy enough for a fancy wedding, but it worked great for these Bacchanals/Burning Mans/just kidding we ate finger food in a backyard.   

I wore my Halloween belt with this each time, but I might prefer it casually unbelted!

You know what – seeing this steadily and seeing it whole, I’m gonna tweak it again. I love the color and the weight of this fabric, but the bodice never sat quite right, especially in the back, and it’s a smidge tight at the underarms.

Once more for the chop, dear dress!  

Previous Summer of Love found here (part one) and here (part two).

Pattern: MN Tania culottes

Pattern cost: $9.50

Size: L, in the old MN system

Supplies: 3 1/4 yards Kaufman Essex linen/cotton in Seafoam, Gather Here, $28.60; zipper and thread, $4.60, Gather Here; button from stash

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $42.70

Pattern: Workroom Social Tate Top, as dress

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 8

Supplies: disassembled Tania culottes + leftover fabric

Total time: 5 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Summer of Love, Part Two

Welcome back to the Summer of Love, where I share what I wore to the weddings and wedding-adjacent events that ate summer 2018! Inevitably, I made a Kielo. But this Kielo has a twist. I don’t actually like it very much!!

Ho-ho, it’s a GRUMPY twist. My feelings about this dress didn’t crystallize until I took these photos, in fact. Normally I forget unpleasant sewing experiences in the satisfaction of a finished garment, but when I jumped headfirst into this stretchy green tent they were waiting inside!

More on that later! First I want to talk about the jacket I sewed to pair with this, since venues are often too cold. Venues AND spaces are too cold. Sometimes areas too. Brr. It’s a Lupin!

Bonne journée, Lupin! Conversely, making this was a madcap ride of pure sewing joy. These were my first welt pockets and my first jacket lining. I had so much fun making this, I spent much of the time thinking of when I could make another. It almost doesn’t matter that I don’t like it very much either?!

I love it as an object, I just don’t love it on me.

The exaggerated lapels, the blousy back – it seems like too much fabric to me. Or maybe it’s the color? In an olive drab or a mossy green, I could see this working. This light blue isn’t as versatile as I expected. My Lupin is a straight size 42 and the fit is fine really but it feels (and I think looks) a smidge long.

With a linen/cotton shell and rayon lining, it’s the perfect weight for weather of about 55° – 65° F, which is a great transitional layer. Again, um, for someone who likes it.

 The directions were really clear; my only changes were to skip the topstitching on the lapels and omit the epaulettes. I also used two different lining fabrics, because the solid one had been gifted to me and the other…

WAS THIS MAGNIFICENT ½ YARD OF VERY EXPENSIVE RAYON. It’s gorgeous. That half yard cost me $10 and was absolutely worth it. I should wear this jacket inside out.

And it coordinates so well with this Fearsome Beast pin!

The upside of relying almost exclusively on blue and green for color in my wardrobe is effortless coordination, baby!

I felt very appropriate in this outfit. Picture that remark, in say, a Regency drawing room, and you might get a sense of how withering I’m being. Ms. Poundcake! Fie! It also packed well (an away wedding must) and clearly communicated my desire to be a fancy friend. It also also contains some of my junkiest sewing this side of a seam ripper.

Let’s talk turkey.

As seen here in this photo of me, apparently, playing a small invisible violin, the fit is fine. It’s totally acceptable! I’ve put all my points into fitting pants, so learning how to fit my top half has accidentally gotten nerfed in the meantime. Luckily I had the lead of Erica from Handmade Wardrobe to follow. I shortened the front bodice by 1.5” above the dart, the back bodice by 1” above the armscye notch, and narrowed the top back 2” total (1” from each center back starting at the neck, tapering to nothing about 6” down). I also raised the back split by about 2”.

Bunching at the front armscye/above the bust seemed to be a common issue with the pattern, so I was pleased to have avoided it! But then came…THE SEAM FINISHES.

The pattern instructs you to use bias tape to finish the arm- and neck-holes. Okay, fine, you can bias bind the neck. But the armscye is continuous with the side seam! There’s no division, just a notch marking it!

Ignore the incoming armpit hair and stick with me here. I guess it’s possible to miter the binding for that corner somehow, but I lack confidence with knits, let alone knit bindings, so I just serged the seam allowances separately, pressed them open, and topstitched – effectively turning them under once, which I repeated for the neckline so the topstitching would be consistent. Consistently stretched-out-ish. : P Not to mention the wobbly back seam and the bulgy dart points!

But my worst, worst sewing is at the top of the split. That split, elegant from a distance, is an uneven mess inside. It changes width, there’s some serging that just…trails off, and I had to snip into the seam allowance, which kind of stresses me out even when the fabric won’t ravel. I tried WonderTape for the first time (as in “I wonder if I’m doing this right, because I’m having a crummy time”) and it did not seem to improve my experience.

And in conclusion: PANTY LINES.

I had an un-fun time sewing this slinky knit and now that the un-fun isn’t being actively opposed by cheese boards and Whitney Houston tracks, I feel it. I just don’t trust a dress I can’t press with steam!!

None of this is to say you shouldn’t sew it. Heck, I’m not even saying I’ll never wear it again. Maybe time will massage my yucky feelings to indifference? Or even better, maybe I will Grow As A Person and stop caring? It’s not an A-plot level arc, but growth is growth.

So, no moral to the story. Not yet, anyway. But the dress did its job, and there’s only one way for this post to end…

Flying squirrel!!

Previous Summer of Love found here.

Pattern: Named Kielo

Pattern cost: $14.00

Size: US 8, with adjustments, above

Supplies: 2 meters bamboo jersey knit in Spruce, Blackbird Fabrics, $32.50; $4.41, WonderTape, Amazon seller; $4, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $54.91

Pattern: Deer & Doe Lupin jacket

Pattern cost: $13

Size: 42

Supplies: 3 yards Essex linen/cotton blend in chambray blue, 1/2 yard Menagerie cotton rayon lawn in Monstera Midnight, Gather Here, $36.40; thread, Gather Here, $3.10; vintage bemberg rayon, gifted

Total time: 9.25 hours

Total cost: $52.50

Summer of Love, Part One

Put your hand up if the following apply to you:

  1. You’d rather get dressed than get dressed up.
  2. A clutch of weddings either has or is about to rain down upon you.

I know the Year of So Many Weddings will seem like a safe harbor when I’m swimming with the sharks of Look at All These Babies, Do I Really Have to Remember Their Birthdays, but literally every weekend but one from June to October 2018, I went either to a wedding or a wedding-related event. And I wore the same few outfits to every last one of them! And so, honored guests, let me welcome you to the next few posts on my blog: what I, an un-fancy person, wore for chronic wedding attendance, a.k.a., The Summer of Love. Part One!

I have THOUGHTS about weddings in general (thoughts on thoughts on thoughts! So many patriarchal rituals! So much free labor, usually performed by women! So much dang money! But also the possibility of spending that money locally, often at female-owned businesses! Thoughtful marry-ees are working hard to erode the gendered baloney! Also I like passed hors d’oeuvres and theme parties!) which is why I look forward to never having one myself, but I do have fun at other people’s. I consider my main duty as a wedding guest to be 100% danciness all night long.

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This familiar friend is V1501 (Rachel Comey mock-tuck dress for Vogue) and you’ve probably seen it everywhere. I saw it first on What Katie Sews and now looking back, did I make the wrong size? Hers is sassier! Oops, I guess your marriage is annulled, friends. ANYWAY, this satisfies dancing requirements: it’s comfortable, the skirt’s swishy, and nothing is going to pop out. That seems like faint praise, but it’s about as high as dress-up clothes are going to get.

I did have fun sewing this though! I used my favorite yarn dyed linen/rayon blend, Kaufman Brussels Washer in Redrock (the same one I used for my very first post on this blog!). The skirt is a size 14, and when I wrapped the waistband pattern piece around my waist I made the instant call to add 2.75” inches to its length. I must have made a bizarre tracing error, because the lengthened waistband fits me comfortably, if a little loosely (I could have added 2.25” and been okay), but when I went to attach it, the skirt top was 2” wider than that (but hooow?).

I added another 1” dart to each skirt back, so now there’s 4 darts in total. I’ll have a close-up later, but it solved the problem, even while leaving me, to this day, baffled and confused.

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The skirt pieces are wider at the top than the hem! I’ve never seen this before! It makes sense, I guess – I’m wider at the hips than the knees. They’re seamed at the center front and center back, and the extra-wide front pieces allow for generous pleating.

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Swiiish! I used the selvage edge for those seams, since they’re straight lines and I’ve never met a millimeter of fabric I didn’t want to scrounge and save.

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I made a whole buncha changes to the top. I shortened the back bodice by 3”, topstitched the front pleats (why?? I don’t remember! Well, too late now), and raised the split at the sides by 4”. I did this little by little after the bulk of the bodice was complete, so I could push it juu-uu-ust to the edge of my bra. But if you have a cute bra you want to share, excelsior!

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Consider them dancing vents! I made this adjustment to the angle from hem to side, to make it more acute. The width at the hem of the bodice is unaffected, but the side seams meet higher up. I think in my fabric choice this dress is right on the edge of frumpy, unless you have the drama or gravitas to carry it off. I don’t! I don’t wear makeup or heels so I was comforted and sustained by the little bit of visible side.

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Naturally when I finally tweaked that angle to my own satisfaction it was also the time I hemmed the back inside-out. Tra la la. You can see the double darts here if you look closely, and the invisible zipper without looking closely at all! I still struggle with invisible zippers! Either you can see them, or I break them. This seemed the lesser of two evils.

I followed this EXCELLENT tutorial from Crafterhours to sew the all-in-one facing. I did skip the gussets and shoulder pads, so I can’t speak to integrating those with the facing! Finally, I took a cue from many bloggers who have sewn V1501 before, and sewed the top and bottom as separate pieces, joined by buttons on the inner waistband.

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My buttonholes are not centered either vertically or horizontally because I was slapdash! That’s between you, me, and the mulberry tree. I can store this puppy on a hanger no problem, though. Flex.

I might use the skirt separately, with a tank or cami, for like…a summer fête? If I ever need to act ladylike on a riverboat? A grift where I pretend to lose the church roof fund and also carry a lace hankie? IS THIS WHY PEOPLE DRESS NICE?

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More wedding guest outfits coming soon, in this the Summer of Love!

Pattern: V1501

Pattern cost: $10.29

Size: 12 top, 14 skirt, with variations, above

Supplies: 3 yards of Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Redrock, fabric.com, $33.42; buttons, zipper, Gather Here, $3.60; thread from stash

Total time: 13 hours

Total cost: $47.31

Diagnosis: Trouser

These pants don’t fit!

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People, these pants don’t fit!

Obviously nobody is delighted when a project flops, but I’m actually excited to write this post, and it’s mostly down to my new acquisition – Singer’s Sewing Pants that Fit. This book was recommended on the Pattern Review forum when I asked a pants question, and its clear diagrams and jewel-toned eighties style madness do NOT disappoint. Also, there’s so much experience and generosity on the PR forum, it’s amazing!

My eventual goal is to sew a trouser-fit or carrot-leg pair of jeans. I couldn’t find an ideal pattern but I remembered Made by Meg’s jean-style Lazos, and decided THOSE, I want those! So I bought the Lazo trousers PDF and got to hackin’. Arguably too much hackin’ all at once. But now that I look back on my inspiration pair, also signally failin’ to add a yoke as Meg did. Oops.

My wearable muslin, which I’m talking about today, is not a success, but that means it’s time to read…those…wrinkles!! Eventually!

Anyway, this is going to be a long one.

Chapter 1 – What I Did

I started from a size 16. I’d recently removed the tucks from MN Flints as per the tutorial, as a learning exercise, so I thought I could apply that technique to remove the pleats from the Lazos. However, the tuck lines on the Lazos are parallel, not convergent. I decided to mark a line roughly at the knee and then treat them as though they would converge there, following the MN directions.

Chart 1

Okay, done.

Meg reduced the width of her waistband by half and kept the lower half. I wanted to reduce it by half but keep the top. So, ideally, the upper edge of the waistband would stay on my waist, while I would increase the rise of the pants. I did this after removing the pleats!

Chart 2

I blended the lower half of the waistband into the pants legs. On the front I needed to increase the fly extension to match; happily I prefer a wide extension. Instead of extending the pocket bag pattern pieces, I scooted them up and maintained the same opening and angle, as shown above. Apart from merging it with the lower half of the waistband, I didn’t make any other changes to the back legs. Yet!

Chapter 2 – What Went Wrong

Immediately and obviously, the back didn’t fit (SURPRISE!). According to Morgan at Thread Theory, the back darts are integrated into the center back seam of the Lazo trousers. It’s also designed for flat bottoms, I think. Since I raised the waist by 2 1/8” on my draft, and have lotsa bottom, I could have stored a bushel of acorns in the gape.

I’d already stitched on the pockets so I unprofessionally bunged a couple of darts back there, terminating under the edge of the patch pocket. The pocket openings would no longer sit flat, but at this point I already knew these wouldn’t be wearable. I still wanted to get them a) close and b) done so I could read the fit more accurately for next time.

Standing, these pants are reasonably cute and comfortable.

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Sitting, they’re punishing.

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The front waistband digs into my gut (not an issue with other high rise jeans) and the back waistband dips far too low, hence the bodysuit for these photos.

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When standing up, my side seams are vertical and my waistband is level. That says to me – the crotch length is probably okay, except at center back. The crotch depth is #!!@*%!!ed.

Chapter 3 – What Next?

First, when I talk about ‘fit problems’ I am NOT saying my body is the problem! The problem lies in the interaction of my body and the garment, and adjustments are always undertaken on the garment, not on my fine self. When using my book’s terms like ‘large hips’, it’s just a way of defining where the pattern diverges from my body, and not a judgment on whether hips are good or bad.

Okay, from front to back:

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I’m seeing some space between the waistband and me: small waist. Also, the pocket bags are popping open: large hips. And that little triangular pucker between my upper thighs: protruding front thighs!

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So far none of these changes affect the crotch curve, except the poppin’ front thigh adjustment, which adds a little depth. But so far so good! Now let’s mosey on around to the back.

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Look at those wrinkles, then at this guide:

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Protruding seat, as clear as day! It’s me!! This will add depth AND height, right where I need it.

Here’s an image that combines adjustments for many, though not all, of my issues, plus one I don’t have:

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I’ll definitely reference this during my redraft-a-rama!

I’d like a yoke instead of darts, as mentioned earlier, but that’s more of a style tweak than a fitting one. This particular pair of trousers might not work on me, but I feel like my brain is learning to touch its toes. There’s a clear and achievable path to another draft and I’m feeling energized to walk it!

And that’s the end of this meaty post! Speaking of, we first tried pictures of my bum straight-on when attempting to photograph the dreaded back dip. Professor Boyfriend showed me some and I said ‘Oh no! It just looks like a blimp! It needs context!’. He took more, but it turns out it wasn’t really the photos’ angle that was responsible, so I present to you this voyage of the Heinie-burg.

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Or maybe the Hinden-butt?

The end!!

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Lazo trousers

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 16 with extensive edits

Supplies: 2 yards of denim, $8.00, Sewfisticated; zipper, $1.38, Sewfisticated

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $9.38

Peppermint Shorts

Note: I sewed an outfit for Sew Brave on the Sewcialists. This is part two of my associated technical posts. Part one is here!

“Of the three pants fastenings these remain: fly front, wrap, and elastic. But the greatest of these is elastic. No wait, fly front. No, elastic! Hmm, am I bloated? Elastic!”

Those are my favorites. Invisible zippers can take a flying leap (I still use them, I just dislike and mistrust them). And can you beat elastic for comfort and flexibility? Madams, sirs, and otherwise, you can’t.

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Though, I’m not so sure that elastic is easier to sew neatly than a zip. It’s sort of wobbly and stretchy and twisty and if your safety pin comes off while threading you have to dive into the casing head-first with a pair of tweezers. On the other hand…

Beat that with a stick! I don’t typically wear print at all, and especially not as shorts, so I didn’t want any barriers to wearing these. So the way these pop on and then feel like nothing? Hooray! The pattern is the Peppermint Shorts (variously Spring shorts or Drawstring shorts) and another downloadable freebie. So far, so good! And yet…

The first time I sewed this pattern, I sewed a straight size 14. I didn’t have enough fabric for the pocket bags (scrapbusting!), so I skipped them. Possibly this increased the emphasis on my stomach. My stomach is not a state secret. I’m not ashamed of it, or trying to hide it, but this trial pair of shorts…it sort of cupped it? Like hands in a pregnancy photo shoot? I don’t want to be cupped.

But I was happy with everything else. Back fit, leg fit, crotch curve – I just wanted a little more fabric in the crucial location so I wouldn’t be held tenderly by my own shorts all day.

Also, I mostly don’t like shorts that widen at the hem, possibly because they make me look like I’m teetering around on a pair of parsnips; meanwhile, nice close-fitting shorts legs showcase the curvy aspects of my pins. You could probably talk me into a zookeeper/Egyptologist inspired pair, but for these, my priority was making keeping the leg shape the same while adding moreso for my torso.

And since they’re cinched with elastic, it was as easy as snip-spread-tape!

Chart

The shorts are hemmed with a facing, so I taped the front leg pattern piece and front leg facing pattern piece together before making my changes. Altogether I spread the shorts at the top 1.25” per leg.

I imagine if you were outside the limited size range (the highest size available is 16), some combination of horizontal and vertical slashes would grade these nicely. This pattern is free – which represents a significant gift from the designer – but also so, so narrowly sized – why are people with 33” waists ineligible for gifts?!

I think this style could feel comfortable and nonrestrictive on many shapes and sizes. The ‘drawstring’ is looped through two buttonholes (or grommets, if yah fancy. I was not) and tied in a bow, so it doesn’t actually constrict at all. I ran a wee line of stitching between the buttonholes so my tie would stay put. It’s a piece of self-fabric double-fold bias tape, stitched shut. Turning tiny tubes is my Waterloo.

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Hem facings, on the other hand, turn out to be my waterpark. Fun, I mean, not heavily chlorinated. Tidy shape, no flare, easy to sew around curves. I find this to be the easiest way to prep these:

Chart 2

Then attach as normal. And the result:

Those flashes of white are because the block printing stopped a couple inches before the selvage of my fabric, but I am a fabric miser who will use every inch.

I talk a little more about their style over on the Sewcialists. In short (shorts!! Yuk yuk yuk), I won’t know for sure until the weather gets hot, but I think this pair of shorts will end up being a friend indeed, and a welcome departure from my summer norm.

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Bye for now!

 

Pattern: Peppermint Shorts

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 14, with variations, above

Supplies: leftovers from my Ruth blouse, fabric costs placed there; thread and elastic from stash

Total time: 3 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Rhubarb Rhubarb

Hooray, Professor Boyfriend is triumphant in his first pink shirt!

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I originally thought of this hue as Nantucket Red, but a little research proved that that’s actually an indistinguishable but legally distinct color! Apparently, Nantucket Red – that mainstay of New England coastal preppie summer culture; just picture someone named Bryant drawling “We summer at the Cape” – is owned by one business in particular. I have a soft spot for Nantucket Red, since growing up it gave even the most normative boys an entrée into wearing pink (though as I reminded some students today, colors don’t have genders, and genders shouldn’t be valued by comparison – seriously, who is feeding them ‘blank is a girl’s color (subtext: and therefore bad)’ at this stage of the game?! >( Blah, rant over. Well, paused). Anyway, I’m calling this universally flattering hue “rhubarb”! Come at me, copyright!

Plus we’ve concluded that if Professor Boyfriend was a vegetable, that’s what he’d be (I’d be a butternut squash, obviously). And here he is, fulfilling his destiny!

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This is my zillionth time sewing the Thread Theory Fairfield, but only the second time with short sleeves. I love a sassy short-sleeve button-up, with my eventual goal being to put him in a Winston Bishop from New Girl-style Bird Shirt, as I think this is the exact right amount of fabric and casual flair to float a wacky print. However, as I’m historically lazy, I did not print out the separate pattern piece for the short sleeve. Instead I measured an existing shirt to find out that the final sleeve should be 5” long (armpit to hem), with a 1” deep hem. It looks nice cuffed, too! No photos of that here, since we took these photos in literally 12 minutes between the end of work and the beginning of game night.

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This is a straight size M with back darts, no need to reinvent the wheel; we’re both happy with the fit on him. Professor Boyfriend has requested that next time, I move the pocket upwards a few inches; using the pattern markings places it a cool half-inch under the business end of his pec. Something to look out for, if you’re considering the pocket! No need to unpick and resew this time as it’s pretty well blended into the stripes. And speaking of resewing…

This relatively simple shirt (no cuffs, no sleeve plackets) took me FOR-EV-ER. I resewed the front placket three times! That’s just two straight lines, but I couldn’t get them right! Finally I fiddled the stripes perfectly into place, topstitched oh-so-precisely, and went ahead with the shirt. When it came time to hem I realized my fussy aligning and topstitching had failed to catch the raw edge in places.

I could not, would not, unpick and resew at this point. I didn’t think the collar stand would survive, for one thing. This cotton is lovely and soft but it doesn’t have a ton of tensile strength and it already wasn’t too happy with my unpicking binge.

IMG_8465So I hand sewed a length of cream twill tape over the raw edge! Honestly, it was easier to face at that point than any other solution I could think of. It’s not too obvious or offensive and I’m hopeful the shirt will last through many washings and wearings despite my dingleberry routine.

And to soothe my troubled heart…

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Not too shabby, eh? The collar isn’t perfectly lined up but considering I forget to account for the stripes moving across it when cutting, it’s darn close. A big thank-you to Lady Luck!

To conclude, in the words of many valiant background actors in many movie scenes: rhubarb rhubarb, rhubarb rhubarb.

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Th-th-that’s all, folks!

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 2.5 yards of lightweight pink/cream cotton, $30, Gather Here; $1.91, thread, Michaels; $6.00, buttons, Gather Here

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $37.91