Plaid Granville

I’ve been meaning for a while to add a home-sewn plaid flannel shirt to my closet. This isn’t the shirt of my dreams, but it’s going to get a lot of wear.

This is a Sewaholic Granville with the same fit modifications as my other Sewaholic Granville. It’s a little less successful in this thick fabric, as it’s kind of occupying an awkward middle ground between indoor shirt and overshirt; in retrospect, I’d push it wider. I love the fabric though, a black-and-ivory Kaufman flannel. This may have wet my whistle for sewing an actual overshirt. Kaufman does staggeringly beautiful speckled flannel solids now!! I saw the olive in person and it’s gorgeous, plus this substrate is so satisfying to sew. Even though this Granville isn’t perfect, it’s cozy and I enjoyed the process.

I mostly rolled right along and followed the directions with no wacky diversions. As they were last time, the sleeves are really too long. Excellent for tucking cold fingers inside but not so good for washing dishes. This was a bright-but-cold finger-hiding day. I’m wearing them unrolled as a rule, partly because this is a heavy flannel for chilly weather, but also because I feel I earned it. I put in the time to get those sleeves right!

Slightly embarrassing after my recent tough talk about tower plackets, but I messed these up. Or not these, precisely, but their predecessors. I attempted to pattern match and got it exactly reversed – an ivory stripe on black, and a black stripe on ivory. I finished the shirt and actually wore it a couple times that way. Then because new sewing is on pause (I can’t pre-wash fabric right now) but that sewing mojo has to go SOMEWHERE, I sat down on a quiet Saturday morning and did it all again.

Luckily, because I sewed the cuffs in this way, I could unpick them without removing the button or worrying about the buttonhole. I unpicked and discarded the old placket pieces, and whip-stitched the cut line on the sleeve shut. I also unpicked the sleeve seam to just above the elbow (twice, because it’s French seamed) so I could spread the cuff end flat.

Time to cut a new, hopefully matching placket. Obviously my original system didn’t work, so I did the one thing I skipped amid all my mental contortions of figuring out the plaid the first time: I Googled it. It’s actually pretty simple. This tutorial is even from the Granville sewalong. I probably should have done that earlier! This time it went smoothly, though this fabric is a little too bulky for a pristine finish. The little buttons at the top are just for show.

I also sewed the hem a few times. First I sewed it exactly as written, but that left just an awkward flash of white at the center front, and I’d prefer to end on a dark horizontal stripe. So I unpicked the hem, straightened the front curve so no ivory would show when folded, and sewed it again. Then I realized I had cut one of the fronts slightly askew and the plaid was asymmetric. So I unpicked the longer side, trimmed it, and hemmed it again. Then I decided I didn’t like the look of cream thread topstitched on the black front edge there, so I hand-picked the hem with grey thread and unpicked the machine stitching. And here it remains!

If I get seized by another re-sewing mania, my next target would be the collar. I folded the button bands a little too much, so they’re wider than designed (for some reason my math was off on the day I cut). I should have shortened the collar piece slightly to compensate, but I didn’t think of it, so it ends a little too close to the end of the collar stand. This isn’t a big deal when I wear the shirt open, but if I want to button it all the way up the plaid lines diverge at the neck where it pulls apart to make space for the collar.

I’ve been considering adding flaps to the chest pockets, too. I don’t think it looks right to cut rectangular plaid on the bias, so I cut the pockets on-grain and pattern-matched the fabric underneath as far as I could. It diverges slightly because it covers the dart ends, so the bottom edge of the pocket isn’t quite parallel to the horizontal stripe anymore, but they’re still blending in pretty well. So what I have here is two fairly invisible pockets that I don’t put things in, because who uses chest pockets. Flaps would give them a little more context. On the other hand, do I need to draw focus to my invisible unused chest pockets, or am I just going loopy due to lack of new projects?

You might notice my total sewing time seems a little short for all the monkey business mentioned above. That’s because those changes were made after I wore the shirt in public, which means I mentally filed them under ‘mending’, and I don’t record mending times. If some sort of sewing authority ever audits my process I’m gonna be in trouble!

Are you enjoying our transition to long dark cozy evenings? It’s the stay-homiest time of year! I hope you’re gaining some quality sewing time. And I hope I’m gaining a washing machine soon, so I can sew new stuff too!

Pattern: Sewaholic Granville shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 12, modified fit

Supplies: 3 yards Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in Ivory, Ryco’s, $33.00; thread; Ryco’s, $3.25; buttons from stash

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $36.25

Last Resort

I really like black outfits in the summer even if they effectively make me look glow-in-the-dark, but this one kind of crossed the line from “casual” to “deadly-widow-on-a-cruise”. To be fair once I realized that I leaned into the styling; since I’m only going to wear this outfit this once, I may as well wear it as hard as I can. This is my wearable muslin for M7936.  

Sometimes a muslin gets promoted to the big leagues. This isn’t one of those times. I haven’t really been tempted by short rompers lately; I feel simultaneously overdressed and underdressed, and this summer has been so relatively cold in New England that I’ve gotten to enjoy long pants most days anyway. But I wanted to sew through this pattern once before deciding whether or not I would make myself a full-length version. Honestly, I’m still not sure.  

The drafting was simple but good – everything lined up, there’s generous hem allowances, and the pockets are a good height and size. I had to sew my nemesis, an invisible zipper, but even that went okay thanks to the expert guidance of Kenneth D. King! However, it seems my new nemesis is facing a V-neck with an invisible zipper at the point. My fabric was a slightly grow-y, slightly shifty rayon/linen blend, and I didn’t make it perfectly symmetrical. I hand-stitched the edge of the facing in place to minimize the mismatch.

It’s obviously not an invisible finish, but if a line is going to be slightly wobbly anyway, I think hand-sewing visually justifies it. I wonder if a closed-end dress zipper in the side seam would make a good replacement for the center zipper, possibly if the back neck had a “V” neckline as well for extra hip-in, hip-out room? I’m not fond of placing the thing I’m most likely to mess up front and center, but a back zip can be a hassle too.

Fit-wise there’s not a ton to say – the intended fit is free through the waist and loose in the hips and shoulders. I sewed a straight size M (the pattern alpha-sized, by the way). It’s comfortable but the inseam pockets gape a bit, so grading to an L probably would have been more suitable. It passes my squat test for thick thighs as-is, though.

Unfortunately it’s a little uncomfortable to raise my arms above my head. It’s a cut-on-sleeve issue, not a body-length issue. Lifting my arm moves the whole garment, inevitably, but the sleeve digs into my arm before I run out of crotch space; if it were a set-in sleeve I would have a sense of how to adjust (all due to ikat bag’s generous post, an evergreen from 2014) but I’m not sure what to do about it here. Adjust the shoulder slope, possibly?

I sewed and finished the pattern according to the directions before adding my own twist, the little strappy hardware bits. It’s just four rectangles folded like double-fold bias tape and topstitched shut, plus four D-rings. The strap width was determined by the D-rings I had sitting around, 1 ½”.

These straps each started life much, much longer. I pinned them to the finished garment before trimming. This was easiest, but it wasn’t always easy. I was home alone for this sewing project and pinning straps above my own booty with the help of exactly 1 mirror was a bit fussy. They were unsurprisingly unsymmetrical, so I took measurements on the flat garment and tried to split the difference, only to somehow end up sewing the back straps symmetrical to each other but a good 4” lower than the front straps. Several tries later I ended up with this arrangement.

I was a little worried that the cinching would pull back the fabric around the invisible zipper and reveal the coils, but it’s all good. These look a bit useless when fully loose and a bit tortured cinched to the max; this sort of half-waist seems to be the sweet spot. You can get a similar(ish) effect with something like this elastic waist, with the exception that I have a flat area (panel in that link) between the strap ends on both the front and back.   

I’m not super excited about this romper, alas. Why’d I even bother poisoning the Colonel, y’know? The one thing I unabashedly like is the depth of the V. I really wanted to recreate a particular denim jumpsuit I have pinned, but now I dunno. I was pretty grateful to pop this off in favor of jean shorts and a tank; I just feel more like me in that outfit. On the other hand, denim makes everything better.

It did inspire me to go through my wardrobe and pull out a few other things I don’t feel excited about. My clothing swap pile is growing. Got to get that stuff out before the if/when of another lockdown…

On that cheery note, arrivederci! If Scotland Yard comes sniffing around, tell them it was natural causes.

Pattern: M7936

Pattern cost: $5.49

Size: M

Supplies: 2 yards of black linen/rayon, $11.98, Sewfisticated; 22″ invisible zipper, Gather Here + 1 1/2″ D rings, Winmill Fabrics, $4.79

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $22.26

Darkest Dawns

I didn’t think I had too many pairs of jeans until I began regularly using the phrase “I’m not a denimhead, but”. I just love sewing jeans, and this pair was an easy comfort sew. Probably I should have taken it a little less easy, though, because the fit isn’t great!

Let’s rewind. These are Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans, the tapered view. I made one pretty bad muslin, and then adjusted the pattern and sewed one pretty good ‘real’ pair. This pair uses the pretty-good adjustments, plus a couple more, but with less success. These are shown on the 3rd (and final) day of wear, by the way (they are actually foxy and wrinkle-free right out of the dryer, but only for a few hours).

I started from a 14 waist, 16 hips, with a 16 rise. Here’s my list of total adjustments, with the new ones for this pair in bold:

  • ¼” small waist adjustment
  • 3/8” wide hip adjustment
  • removed ¼” from center front at waist
  • removed ½” from center back at waist
  • scooped butt curve ¾” deeper
  • lengthened front crotch extension by ¼”
  • lengthened back crotch extension by ½”
  • lowered back pocket placement by 1”
  • enlarged back pockets by ½” per side
  • integrated front fly pieces into the front legs
  • used a straight waistband

Bigger bum pockets, A+. Integrated fly extensions (and Ginger zip installation method), A++. Straight waistband…eh? B+, A-? Hard to judge in this fabric. The most significant issues stem from the denim, which is thin and crispy. I think either a heavier denim or a softer denim would be more *discreet* about my fitting problems, instead of the extremely obvious and sharp wrinkles I have here. Also, the waistband crumples. But most importantly, because I sewed my pretty-good pair with much thicker fabric, I think by comparison this pair came up a little…big? I’m not used to that. A hot wash & dry helps a lot, but the crotch is still busily wrinkled.

I spent a while staring at my own reflection, confronted with new-to-me wrinkles. I tried pinching and binder clipping excess fabric at a few different points, and what I came up with was: I just don’t know.

The extra fabric under my butt goes away if I sit down or angle a leg forward, so I assume that’s necessary for wearing ease.

The extra fabric in the front crotch smoothes out if I stand up exaggeratedly straight, but that’s not really part of my daily life in the same way sitting and walking is. If I tug the front leg fabric back (jerry-rigged test to see if I should shorten the front crotch extension), there’s no improvement. If I tug the fabric up (to see if I should shorten the vertical rise), it’s distinctly worse. I guess it’s probable that the front crotch curve needs to be shallower – it would make the crotch shorter overall, but wouldn’t affect the extension where it fits my inner thigh, or the rise.

Or it might just be that if I want to wear this cut, on my excellent bod, I’m gonna get these wrinkles! I wish I had used this fabric for something else – specifically, how good would it have been as Clyde pants?! But as the wisdom says, It’s Only Fabric.

And in any case, the pants are really comfortable. Pandemic or not, I like high hard pants. There’s no give in the fabric so I definitely couldn’t do yoga in these, but I already don’t do yoga, so problem solved.

Favorite new trick: selvage is useful not only for the outside edge of the belt loops and the unfolded edge of the fly shield, but also for the short end of the waistband underlap. It makes a neat, low-bulk finish. Yay woven selvage!

I made a couple very mild style swings on this pair. I used a traditional button instead of a jeans rivet to keep a low profile (oooh) and left the hems raw (aaah). I put a line of stitching ¼” from the raw edge as a safeguard. Then, after a wash, I trimmed the fringe neatly, somewhat mitigating my supercool edginess.

I remember reading something, somewhere, about softening natural fibers by soaking them in a solution of a common household good (like baking soda, not necessarily baking soda though) – does that ring a bell for anybody? I think I’d like these better if they weren’t so crunchy, but fabric softener seems like a no-go (I searched “is fabric softener…” and Google auto-filled “…bad?”, and the results said “Yup!”).

These are worn with a cupro knit Stellan tee, which is one of my favorite Stellans. It’s got a cool hand and it’s very slithery, so much so in fact that it slithers right out of my stitching and has been mended in several places. I’ll continue to fix it, because I love it.

Honestly I’m really fine with the jeans, too. Like I said, I’MNOTADENIMHEADBUT here’s an excellent excuse to iterate further. As always, I end up back where I started: thinking about sewing jeans.

Pattern: MN Dawn jeans (Curve, tapered view)

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 14 waist/16 hip & rise, with many changes

Supplies: 1 2/3 yards of Mid Weight Cotton Denim Black – 10 oz, Stylemaker Fabrics, $25.00; zipper, Gather Here, $1.60; thread, Michael’s, $3.70

Total time: 4.25 hours

Total cost: $30.30

Double dip

Brace yourself for a temporary but exciting boost in photo quality! We recently vacationed for a few days in Ashfield, MA, in the foothills of the Berkshires. I spent the chilly, drizzly days tucked up next to a Jotul with a mug of tea and a puzzle and the fresh, sunny ones picking raspberries and walking up Pony Mountain. It was (it will shock you to learn) nice!! One unexpected bonus is that one of our friends-cum-travel-companions is a skilled photographer, and he generously gave Professor Boyfriend a photography lesson and loaned his camera for these pictures, too.

One activity I didn’t do (thanks to the cold weather which I looove) was test-drive – or test-swim, I guess – the subject of this post, my new bathing suit.

I mentioned this in my planning post, but this swimsuit is based on the CC Nettie. I ended up merging the Nettie with the straps of the Halfmoon Atelier Basic Tank (free when you subscribe to the newsletter); I used the width of the Nettie bodice, and split the difference between the depth of Nettie scoop and the Basic Tank scoop necks, but the shape of the straps is the Basic Tank shape. Even though I’m not happy with the finished suit I’d like to take the tank pattern for a real spin. The back scoop is particularly to my taste.

So! I don’t like the suit! Boo. I was planning on basic but it’s downright austere. I look like I’m doing stage tech for a water ballet. I have enough leftover fabric that I could cut new leg bindings, but I’m not sure how to achieve the bum coverage I want AND a higher front leg – it seems like I’d have to start making the leg opening higher across the side seam, and surely that would affect the back?

It’s also far too thick and warm. I fully lined the suit – front and back. This, I have discovered, is exactly the same as wearing two bathing suits. Technically, I underlined the suit, since I sewed the bindings at the same time to both shell and lining. I also added thin, lightweight foam cups between the layers, zig-zagged to the lining only.

You can make out the top edge of a cup there, I think! Inserting them was a bit of a pain. There’s gotta be a better way, but here’s what I did:

  1. Baste the front outer + lining together at neck and side seams. Repeat for the back. If you’re doing this with black fabric, do it in the daytime, not by lamplight, or you will end up with different sides of each fabric showing and you’ll have to unpick and do it again. Take it from One Who Knows.     
  2. Sew the shoulders and neck binding in the order you prefer (I do shoulder 1, neck binding, then shoulder 2, because I don’t like serging in a circle).
  3. Baste the front (2 layers) to the back (2 layers) together at side seams. Pin the crotch seam together while wearing the suit (unless this alarms you, in which case baste that too).
  4. Again, while wearing the suit, slip the cups between the front outer and front lining through the un-basted front leg. Move them around until they’re comfortable and then pin in place.
  5. Remove the suit. Unpick the basting holding the front and back together. Unpick the basting holding the front outer and front lining together.
  6. Rearrange the pins so the cups are pinned just to the lining. Move the outer fabric out of the way. Smooth the lining fabric over the cups and zig-zag around each cup’s edges.
  7. Baste the front outer and front lining together again.
  8. Finish the suit in the order you prefer.

Credit where credit is due, neither fabric – the outer nor the lining – show any sign of all this stitching, unpicking, and re-stitching. The outer is this SPF tricot and it’s very stretchy and comfortable and the edges don’t roll at all. The lining is this matte tricot and perhaps you notice the words ‘high compression’ in the product description. I didn’t. It’s NOT kidding around. I wish it was!!

Speaking of that step 8, by the way – finishing in your preferred order – I flubbed that. I decided to join the front and back crotches, sew the leg bindings flat, and then sew the side seams last. This was effective, in that it prevented a great big lump of seam allowance in my crotch, which was the idea. I still have those lumps, though; they’re just on the side seams where anyone could see instead.

The leg bindings are driving me UP A WALL. I don’t think it’s only that last bad decision that causes them to constantly flip and roll, since it’s happening on the back neckline, too.

I invested in black serger thread (a thing I never usually bother doing) and it’s the only saving grace of these messy, roll-y, uneven bands. Even though the fit is basically fine, the thickness of those double fabric layers and the unreliability of the bands make this bathing suit uncomfortable and fiddly to wear.

So, next steps? I like the top half better than the bottom half, so I might chop the suit in two a couple inches below the foam cups and finish the top with one last flippin’ band. And then I might hiss at the bottom half and call it names. I don’t know. Maybe I can find a pattern for swim boyshorts, or something – I want the coverage but something about this cut just feels so sternly modest. At least shorts say “I’m fun! Gender is a construct!”.

I was beginning a “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” pose (translation: “Nudie Ladies Have A Picnic”) when a bug set up shop on my leg. It probably thought it had landed on the moon. Go find another big white thing to walk on, buggy Neil Armstrong! I’m going to go put on pants!

Pattern: CC Nettie + Halfmoon Atelier Basic Tank

Pattern cost: NA (previously made) + free

Size: Nettie – 10 bust, 12 hip; shortened 1.5″ at waist; Tank – 5 bust

Supplies: 1 yard of Black UV Protective Compression Tricot With Aloe Vera Microcapsules; 1 yard of 5.6 Oz Black Matte Tricot, $30.97, Mood; 4 cones black serger thread, $17.08, fabric.com

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $48.05

Black Dungarees

I used to prefer navy blue to black, but over the past few years I’ve learned to love the clean simplicity of true black. That said, it’s no friend to the blogger, is it? But if you peer into the shadows you might just see my new dungarees!

This is view B (modified) of the Marilla Walker Roberts collection, which you really can’t beat for value. Even ignoring the dress view (as I do, because dresses are not my preferred flavor of jam), that’s three hip, comfy patterns for under ten bucks American. I wish I did like dresses, because the lines of their Isca dress are just gorgeous. And look at this sweet collection! The directions aren’t the greatest in the biz, but I love the designs. Okay, that concludes Marilla Walker aesthetic appreciation hour, back to the dungas.

I reworked this pattern something fierce. Under the influence of tiny YouTube waifs who swan around in airy shapeless jumpsuits made in under fifteen minutes with 96 cm of linen and no pattern, I drafted out the tucks and the front waist seam. Directions below:

  1. First, remove all seam allowances.
  2. Treating the pocket and front leg as one piece, draft out the tuck. I like this Megan Nielsen tutorial.
  3. Butt the bottom of the front bib against the new waist seam, making sure to match the grainlines. Trace as a single piece.
  4. Add seam allowances.

I added an additional 5/8” seam allowance to the outseams, just in case, because I decided to omit the closure. The button tab directions were confusing, and a try-on of my existing jumpsuit from the collection made me think I wouldn’t need one. (The extra seam allowance turned out to be unnecessary, as I’ll discuss later.) The original front bib pattern piece was now just a front facing, so I cut 1 on the fold instead of 2. The back and back facing needed no changes, except the added SA.

I made the straps 8” longer because I wanted to use a knot-and-loop fastening for the bib. It turns out a single knot doesn’t require an extra 8 inches, but I kind of like the excess! The loops are a little wider than the straps, and I tucked them between the front pieces and the facing and sewed over the junction several times for security.

This pair of dungarees is heavy – I don’t mean warm, I mean physically heavy. I was worried having all that weight resting on relatively thin straps would be uncomfortable, but it hasn’t been a problem. The knot stays put in the loop, too, even though they’re load-bearing. The fabric is a thick, coarse linen/cotton blend, which helps everything hold!

I wish I had done something a little differently in the back – made the back bib either wider or narrower, or criss-crossed the straps, maybe. It just looks a little unconsidered back there. The facings are already stitched down at the side seams, so I won’t be editing this pair (unpicking black thread on black fabric? No thank you).

Also, I extended the legs by 2” from the bottom, but I shouldn’t have bothered.

Super wide cuffs to the rescue!

Since removing the waist seam meant removing the slash pockets, I added two patch pockets. They’re about 7” wide by 8” deep, finished. Initially I planned on having them both on the back – I measured placement by draping the back piece over myself and patting my butt, by the way – but after sewing the first I lost interest in matching them symmetrically. In my defense, 90°F/32°C heat gives me a serious case of the good-enoughs. So instead I popped the second one on the opposite front (now with the scientific technique of patting my thigh).

Why yes, they ARE functionally invisible, thank you.

Let’s talk fit for a minute. The Roberts collection has a dropped crotch, so there’s plenty of room to move. But I just read about girth measurements in the latest Threads, and I recommend the article if you find your jumpsuit/overall/dungarees patterns need more vertical space.

Vertical, check! I overdid the horizontal, though. Back to that extra seam allowance – I didn’t need it. In fact, probably because I didn’t staystitch the curves (it was VERY hot that day) I ended up removing 1.5” from the waist at each side, so a 6” total reduction in circumference. I reduced the thighs by stages, too, until I got a fit I liked. The magic numbers seemed to be: remove 1.5” from the waist, and 1.25” from the thighs, reducing to nothing 17” up from the hem (and I trimmed the facings to match). It was a lot of pants-on, pants-off, but I’m actually pretty thrilled with the final leg shape. And it was a quick sew even with the adjusting.

And in case you’re wondering, you’d really have to work at it to peer down the side and see my underwear (fair question).

I realized after the fact that I accidentally recreated this Workshop pattern. So, no points for creativity! I’m still happy with the result, though! Time will tell if I can wear the dungarees in the fall – I expect they’ll be okay with boots and a flannel. Don’t tell summer, but I miss fall, okay?

Oh and, a new friend is moving into a local mural – how snazzy is that shirt?

You inspire me, snazzy shirt man. See you next time, buds!

Pattern: Roberts Collection dungarees

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 4, with changes, above

Supplies: 2.5 yards of black linen/cotton blend, $12.48, Sewfisticated; thread, $1.99, Sewfisticated

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $14.47

Perse-phony

First, a plug: if you’re shopping for fabric or yarn, and you don’t have a local fabric store, may I recommend mine?

And now, a post! Pants!!

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What, pants AGAIN? So soon? Yes – not to be A Bummer, but my school is closed for obvious reasons, so I have some extra time. And, I find pants are substantial/engrossing enough that sewing them is a mental and emotional booster. So yeah – more pants!

Actually, while I’m proud of these pants, I feel a little weird about sharing them. Because here’s the thing: they don’t have side seams, but they’re not Persephones. Despite the fact that everybody looks like a vixen in that pattern, I don’t own it. Every time I thought about buying it, I hesitated, because I wanted to figure it out all by myself.

I also want to respect intellectual property and the hard work of a small business owner. I know an individual can’t ‘own’ a side seam (or lack thereof) but in my corner of the sewing world it’s impossible to separate this look from Anna Allen’s pattern. I decided once my experiment was done, if I found anything lacking in my draft that a simple tweak couldn’t fix, I would buy the pattern and learn from it. And if I was satisfied with my version I would obviously still credit her design! Introducing: my Perse-phonies!

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Thank you, Anna Allen, for an amazing design! I had a ton of fun trying to recreate it, and hopefully this will be accepted as a loving homage to a red-hot pants pattern. YMMV, but here’s how I got there.

My hypothesis: since seams are essentially darts, I could change the angles of the front and back crotch seams to have larger intakes, and remove the side seam entirely. I started out with two patterns I’ve sewn a number of times – the Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts, and the Peppermint Magazine wide-leg pants. I worked with my copies of the patterns, both of which had already been graded and adjusted for my shape. I used the Fern shorts from the crotch up, and the Peppermint wide-legs for the in- and outseams. Also, I removed the Fern pockets and all seam allowances for this experiment.

On the Fern short front, I removed the width of the front dart and the difference between the side seam and a straight line from the front crotch, changing the angle to meet the new center front. I did the same thing for the back piece, but I kept the dart. Then I butted the pieces together, and traced off the inseam and outseam from the Peppermint pants by overlaying the patterns at the crotch point. Finally I smoothed the waistline, added back the seam allowances, and I had a pattern piece! This lengthened the front crotch, but that’s fine, as it would hopefully have a similar effect as my usual full stomach adjustment (it’s not quite that dramatically slanted in real life, but I wanted the modification to be clear in a small diagram).

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I sewed a pair of shorts as a wearable muslin, and actually it went great! I just had to widen and lengthen the darts by ½” total, and scoop out the bum seam a little. Meanwhile, the front was surprisingly perfect! :O Or, well, with one exception – I used the button fly directions from my Morgan jeans pattern, but I was a bit cavalier about buttonhole placement and they are SO DEEP under the fly overlap, I have to mount a spelunking expedition to button myself in and out. I sewed the shorts from some leftover scraps of Cone Mills denim and you will definitely see them some sunny day (if I can find the buttonholes again).

Since I didn’t add pockets, these came together shockingly fast. I can see why people make multiple pairs. They’re like the chocolate chip cookies of pants.

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I didn’t necessarily need another pair of black pants right now, but it’s the fabric I had on hand at a time when that’s an even more valuable consideration than usual, and it was always destined to be pants someday! The fabric wasn’t perfect for this experiment because it has a small amount of stretch, but I interfaced both sides of the waistband and all the crotch facings/shields. It’s sturdy. It’s practically armor (what sublimated feelings?)! It’s no longer available at Threadbear Fabrics, but it’s a true black USA-made denim with scanty stretch and the magical ability to pick up all the white fluff in my house. And I think it worked!

They’re a little loose, but I might sew them again in a non-stretch denim or canvas and then reevaluate. Luckily this shape is easy to adjust – I’d just remove a skinny column from the center of my leg pattern piece (probably about 1/4”). The big surprise was how LONG these were! I must have used my adjusted Peppermint pants piece (the one where I added 4” inches to the length), because these pants have a 2 1/8” double-fold hem and they’re not that cropped! I described them to my sister as “just cropped enough that you wonder if it was on purpose” and I stand by that! I could have trimmed, but nice deep hems are luxurious.

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The fit around the front crotch is a-ok, but I did make the front button placket (do you call it a placket on a crotch?) ridiculously long. I can get in and out of these pants by undoing the waistband and three underlap buttons, even though I sewed four, and I have a vestigial fifth buttonhole way down deep. I thought about tacking the overlap down in a couple places, but since these have broken in a little the overlap doesn’t want to pop open as badly as it used to (this is popped with encouragement).

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Speaking of broken in, I’ve worn these like 4 times in the last 10 days. What, nobody’s gonna see!

If you have some bottomweight yardage, interfacing, and a handful of buttons, these are a great q sew (Prof. BF and I calling this time ‘the q’, which I know sounds flip but for some reason we find it comforting)! These are things I usually have on hand, as opposed to pocketing and zippers – I’m always out of zippers – and I’ll definitely repeat this project. Maybe even this q. >_> We’ll see. 

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How do you feel about recreating patterns? Obviously most people would agree it’s different when copying a corporation versus an individual, but what about design? Do you feel differently if it’s complex or simple? Specific or universal? What if the business serves an underserved or underrepresented community? And what if a pattern is only available as a PDF and your access to printing is limited by a global pandemic (for example)?

I don’t have clear feelings about these questions myself. Well, I do have one clear feeling – a wish for you, your families, and your communities to be safe and well.

Pattern: Uhh…?

Pattern cost: N/A

Size: 10 at waist, 14 at hip (sizes synthesized from a mélange of patterns)

Supplies: 1.6 yards stretch denim in True Black, $24.40, Threadbare Fabrics; thread, buttons from stash

Total time: 4.25 hours

Total cost: $24.40

Witchy Weekend

Never before seen on this blog: A HAT! Oh! I didn’t make it though!

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And it’s not the point of this post! Today is pants. But I’ve owned the hat for a couple years and only in the last few weeks have figured out how to wear it (hats are hard, aren’t they?) so excuse my pride. Hat people, I am one of you now! For brief bursts, before losing my nerve!

Anyway, the pants. They’re a combination of two Megan Nielsen patterns – the Tanias and the Flints. The fabric is repurposed from what was briefly the skirt portion of a failed dress which was itself part of a failed Halloween costume (this costume was the ultimate ‘fail better’ for me – I also got two Hemlock tees out of it!). The skirt was based on the Tania culottes pattern pieces with the crotch extension whacked off. That’s step one of my probably ill-advised but ultimately successful pattern mash-up, as seen below.  

Okay, picture a giant flashing red light: THIS IS NOT BEST PRACTICES. THIS IS NOT EVEN RECOMMENDED PRACTICES. But it IS what I did…

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 After that, I just sewed these exactly like the Flint culottes. I got lucky that they came together without drama; it also helped that these were both MN patterns. Little things like the consistent pocket extension made merging these patterns a lot easier. I’ve absolutely gotten my money’s worth from the Flint pattern, even before taking into account the cash I’ve saved on zippers!

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And the time spent buying them, too! It’s nice to be able to dive into a sewing experiment without taking a bus to a shop first.

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The finished garment is shorter and wider than the Flints, but narrower and more pants-like than the Tanias. The resurrected fabric is a cheapy linen/rayon blend. I have mixed feelings about it; I certainly would have been less cavalier about cutting and experimenting with a more expensive fabric. But, since I like the pants, I now wish they were made from something sturdier!

We’ve had a lovely long warm fall, but the mornings and evenings are chilly, so I’ve been tossing this shawl over a lot of outfits –

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Not me-made, sadly, but it’s just a rectangle with a slit down the front. It’s essentially one of these or these without the belt openings. I’d like to try actually following one of those tutorials at some point.

I get a ton of use out of these pants. They’re pretty much a three-season garment – swishy in summer, spooky in fall, cozy in winter with thick tights. Dress ‘em up, dress ‘em down, but their ultimate purpose is startling people who say something nice about your skirt.

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“THANKS! THEY’RE PANTS!!”

I feel witchy and practical in these. I’m not Gothic or Victorian (no ruffles, lacing, or intricate details) but maybe I can cultivate a semi-minimalist witchsona (witchsewna?!). For clothing goals – not to mention lifestyle goals – clean house, homemade cider!! – I’m thinking Morwen from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Except she has magic sleeves that can store supplies for days. I’ll get to work on that…  

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And in the meantime, I’ll just be here concocting spells sewing plans in my poison garden the local native pollinator garden, listening to my Halloween mix…see you next time!

Pattern: MN Tanias and MN Flints

Pattern cost: NA (already used)

Size: Tanias: L, Flints: 14

Supplies: remade Halloween costume; thread from stash

 Total time: 4 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Black Hemlock

That sounds a bit witchy, don’t you agree? Very appropriate, since I made this woven version of Grainline’s free Hemlock tee from the scraps of my Halloween costume.

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Actually the costume was a bit of a goof, but I enjoyed experimenting with this low-cost linen/rayon blend. Normally I prefer high quality fabrics (hot take, Lia) but low stakes are nice too, for a change! I took a swing at this inspiration shirt by Elizabeth Suzann, using the Hemlock tee as a base.Insp

Hemlock is a one-size-fits-many pattern. In addition to sewing it in a woven, I cropped it and widened the sleeve (further details below).

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Oh, and surprise! This shirt is two shirts! Originally I planned this post as a comparison between the two sleeve styles I tried, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference in photos without an effort of will that most people don’t apply to the sleeves of strangers. So here’s my official ruling: whether you stitch a folded cuff to the armscye or use the sleeve pattern piece, it’s good stuff.

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This is the hemmed and rolled sleeve. It’s about 8” long (because that’s the width of computer paper. I mean because of important…and serious…calculations…that I considered carefully) and I made it wider at the base than the supplied pattern piece, with a right angle at the bottom for hemming. Like so:

Sleeve diagram

Black lines original, red lines mine.

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And this is the cuff treatment, above. My notes say this shirt took  a smidgeon longer to sew than the other. I cut the cuff on the 60° bias and as wide as my scraps allowed – 4 inches or so, finished width 1.5”. I thought using the bias might prevent it “winging out” but it wings, it wings good and wingy. Well, nevermind!

Since the pattern was intended for knits, I extended the seam allowance of the armscye so I could french-seam the sleeve/topstitch the cuff easily. I could paint you a word picture but actually, here’s a picture picture.

Armscye diagram

Red mine, black original! And the total package:

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Oh and my necklace! A Christmas gift from my boyfriend last year! We call it my Egyptian space witch necklace and I am 1000% cooler while wearing it.

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The jeans are my third high-rise Morgans (changes detailed here, second pair seen here). The denim is from Gather Here and I think it’s Wrangler overstock. It has a bronze-gold cross thread instead of white. That color on the cuffs! I mean!!! I love this outfit – sure, it’s jeans and a t-shirt, but I feel like kind of a boss in it. Plus I’m excited to continue using the Hemlock tee as a scrapbuster. Odds and ends of linen, bring it on!

 

Pattern: Hemlock tee

Pattern cost: $0.00 (free download)

Size: one-size pattern

Supplies: Halloween costume leftovers, $0.00; thread, Michael’s, $1.50

Total time: 4.5 hours for two tees

Total cost: $1.50 for two tees

 

Pattern: Morgan jeans

Pattern cost: $0.00 (multiple uses)

Size: 12 waist, 14 hip

Supplies: 2 yards Indigo AA/BB Washed Classic denim, Wrangler, 12 oz., Gather Here, $20.72; $2, zipper, Threadbare Fabrics; $5.50, 1/2 yard Rifle Paper cotton, Gather Here; $3, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 5.75 hours

Total cost: $31.22