Keeping Warm

As I mentioned in my last post, of the 18 new-to-me patterns I tried last year, two of them were free. The first was Peppermint Magazine wide leg pants, and the second was the Megan Nielsen Jarrah. I won the Jarrah as part of the Sew Twists and Ties festivities over on Cooking and Crafting last year, an event which is happening again right now!

It took me a while to find a heavy enough knit, but eventually I ordered this 100% cotton french terry from Joann Fabrics. I’m sure this pattern would make a cute lightweight sweatshirt, too, but I would really like to be warm please.

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Happily I’m as snug as a bug in this outfit! Both pieces are warm and easy to layer. I sewed view A of the Jarrah, the traditional sweatshirt view with sleeve and bottom bands.  

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I placed the stripes on the vertical for the sleeve bands. I wish now I had done the same for the bottom band! At the time, I was skimping on fabric. The yardage came out of the dryer so badly off-grain, it was actually trapezoidal. Because the stripes are mechanically woven, I just ignored the selvage and placed the grainline perpendicular to the stripes for cutting most of the pieces. Because of the wild skew, cutting the bottom band so the stripes ran vertically would have wasted a lot more fabric!

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Except for that, it was easy to work with. The cut edges were only a little curly and because it’s cotton I could iron with lots of heat and steam. This is a super straightforward and speedy sew, especially because of the drop shoulders and with the banded finish. The stripes make some nice angles!

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I’m showing the Jarrah sweater here with my third pair of Peppermint wide leg pants. I’ve tweaked these a little each time I’ve sewn them, and this time I tried a ¼” full stomach adjustment. I’m still getting drag lines pointing to my stomach, though!

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Plus, the pants came out big! Not way too big, but they’re for sure roomy. I’m not sure what happened this time – maybe I usually take a wider seam allowance on the outseams, or perhaps my full stomach adjustment had knock-on effects? I forgot to slightly stretch the waistband when pinning, which I usually do. Also, I swapped jeans-style pockets for patch pockets, which means no pocket stay. You can definitely see the roundness of my stomach more clearly but I like my round stomach. It’s where I keep my buttered toast. Anyway, I know this may sound like the ravings of an attic wife, but there’s something to be said for too-big pants – these are as comfortable as sweatpants. ❤

The color is hard to capture accurately – it’s called “Russet” (Kaufman 14 wale corduroy) but I grabbed these swatch images from a few different websites (fabric.com, robertkaufman.com, sistermintaka.com) and it looks a little different in each picture. In person I think it’s most like the third – more caramel than burnt orange, I guess?

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Inspired by Sew North’s carpenter-style Lander pants (also a house painter I surreptitiously stared at on the subway), I decided to add patch pockets to my Peppermint pants. I drew my own rather than using her measurements since it’s a different pattern. I got a little too cute, though, trying to duplicate the grainline of the pants perfectly on the patch pockets; it was a scant angle off the straight grain, and I should have just used the straight grain for neater pressing and stitching.

I also scrapped the hammer loop – I made one but I wasn’t wild about it, and I’m pretty sure it would have functioned as a child-towing loop, anyway. But hooray for extra pockets! I placed the back pockets by centering them on the back darts, with the top edge perpendicular to the darts. The height was just a smidge arbitrary. Okay fine, completely arbitrary!

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The patch pockets have bound openings – I made too much coordinating binding for my Tamarack but luckily it seems to go with anything!

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I’m a wee bit obsessed with the leg pocket.

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It’s holding my phone and my house keys and nothing pokes me in the stomach when I sit down! Nothin’!

My last change was simple as could be; I added 4” to the pant legs, then took a nice deep hem, so the finished length is equal to the unhemmed length of the pants as drafted. No breezes are finding my ankles. Cozy 4 life!

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As always, I can’t recommend this free pattern enough! I’m enjoying my Jarrah, too. This warm, colorful outfit will get me through January – just another 3 months of winter to dress for after that. But who’s counting? 🙂

Pattern: MN Jarrah

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 10

Supplies: 1.5 yards of cotton french terry, $15.98, Joann; thread from stash

Total time: 2 hours

Total cost: $15.98

Pattern: Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: F, with adjustments, including ¼” full stomach adjustment and 4” inches added to length

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Kaufman 14 Wale corduroy in Russet, $31.88, Gather Here; thread, button, zipper from stash

Total time: 6.25

Total cost: $31.88

Thfreepeats

Not just repeats, but freepeats. Three free repeats. Thfreepeats!!! That is, uh, a misty word to try and say aloud.

Hey, guess what? My blog is one year old today. 🙂 Speaking of threes, is this a good time to mention I have a posting schedule? 3x a month, on days ending in 6. I didn’t want to announce it anywhere until I was sure I could sustain it*! Anyway, in the 35 posts that I’ve shared so far, some pattern repeats have already appeared – and here’s two more.

*’I’ is a strong word for an endeavor in which every photo not of my boyfriend is by my boyfriend. ‘We’, this is a ‘we’ project.

First is the Stellan tee, a free pattern from French Navy. The first time I sewed this in a slinky-ish rayon knit, but these new two are in a sturdy organic cotton knit that the Stoff & Stil website strongly implied was for  babies, but don’t I deserve nice things as much as a baby?! I’m not sure they ship to America, but my German-citizen-sister does. Thanks sis. ❤ My particular fabrics are out of stock, but their printed jersey selection is darn cool and the quality is super…BEEFY. Seriously, is there a funnier fabric word than beefy?  

First up, beefy tigers. The tigers are toddler-approved. Since this is printed jersey, the wrong side shows on the cuffs, but I quite like the contrast. I always wear the sleeves rolled, but this is how the shirt looks uncuffed/untucked.

Secondly, beefy bananas! This is a talk-to-me shirt. Strangers tend to talk to me anyway (they do not find me intimidating for some reason?), but a banana shirt causes an epidemic of chit-chat – all friendly! I sewed these two tees back-to-back and made the same changes to both. I lengthened the neckband about 4”, sewing it in flat after one shoulder seam was sewn, and then trimming the excess. Also, um – I followed the directions. Just for the hem! Last time I could not get it to turn neatly. This time I actually sewed the foldline as instructed, and surprise…it folded! I continue to skip the neckline binding, though. I yam what I yam.

Professor Boyfriend says I can’t wear the banana shirt with these pants because “One is French vanilla and the other is vanilla bean!” but what does he know?

This cotton jersey presses well, stays cuffed, has good recovery and is easy to sew. However, those same properties mean that the neckbands could use an ironing now and then. WELL, THEY WON’T GET IT. I’m not going to iron a tee-shirt. Nevaaaarrrr!  

But look at my happy banana accident! It continues across the wrinkly neckband! Complete coincidence, the banana gods must be smiling.

For the tiger tee, I sewed the side seams and then the hems; for the banana tee, I sewed the hems and then the side seams. I think I slightly prefer the banana treatment for ease of sewing.

From here on out, please ignore my straps – since these photos were taken in a public area I needed a layer beneath the tees so I could change in the middle, and since I was getting weird show-through from the double layer of hems, I decided to photograph the pants with just my slightly ratty RTW cami.

So let’s talk about pants, bay-bee! These are the Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants, and I love them, as I loved them the first time I made them. I still haven’t solved my main fit issue though, i.e., the front pockets. I’m pretty sure I need a protruding stomach adjustment. The overall width is okay (you can tell because the side seam is hanging straight) but the front waistline dips a little instead of sitting level. I’m happy to make another pair though, and trial that adjustment! They fly together and I feel very happy and comfortable in them.

The fabric I used is something mysterious from TMOS. It’s quite heavy. It almost feels like indoor/outdoor fabric but it’s not waterproof and it burns like natural fiber. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s coated, though. The pocket linings are a scrap of shirting cotton, and the leather button is from my flea-market stash. I have a healthy chunk of this mystery fabric left but I don’t have a plan for it! Any thoughts?

I only made one change to this pattern, which was to grow-on the fly extensions. However, I forgot to extend the pocket bags to match! See those short lines of stitching to the farthest left and right? Those are keeping the edges of the pocket bags in place. Luckily they’re not visible when the pants are zipped. Also, I only changed thread color once (I like tonal topstitching) and it was to match the zipper tape – at the time I readily acknowledge it was a pain in the neck to rethread for, like, two 6” lines of stitching, but now I think it was worth it. Mm. Tonal.  

I quite like these patterns and garments as a benchmark, actually – a year ago I never would have worn wide cropped pants or exuberantly printed tees, and yet I have not travelled so far that I don’t appreciate a $0 pattern price tag.   

Also, my basket-weave button matches my basket-weave shoes. Ladies, gentlemen, and others, I feel I have ARRIVED.

See you on a six-day!

Pattern: Stellan tee

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: M

Supplies: 1 meter of organic cotton (tigers), $17.30, Stoff & Stil; thread, $1.91, Michaels/1 meter of organic cotton (bananas), $17.30, Stoff & Stil

Total time: 2.5 hours/2 hours

Total cost: $19.21/$17.30

Pattern: Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: F, with adjustments

Supplies: 2.5 meters of heavy linen/cotton canvas (?), $15.19, TMOS; zipper, Sewfisticated, $1.40; thread, Michael’s, $1.79

Total time: 4.75 hours

Total cost: $18.38

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!

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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:

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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

High & Wide

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Jellyfish stew,

I’m loony for you,

I dearly adore you,

Oh, truly I do!

Did you know Jack Prelutsky wrote those words about high-waisted cropped wide-leg trousers? Okay, fine, he didn’t. But he should have! And he did! No, he didn’t. HOWEVER. My heart sings for the Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants! You should go download them right away, because they’re a) terrific and b) freeeeeeeee!

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Folks are buzzing about this silhouette, and a free pattern is a relatively low-stakes way to try it out. Mine are a little wider and a little longer than the pants on the pattern model, because after my recent Case of the Small Pants (the butler did it! Well technically, the butt did), I wasn’t taking any chances. And GUYS. The PROPORTIONS. I’m so HAPPY. I started with a size F for a 43” hip, knowing it would require fit adjustments, and it did – though none of them were actually difficult to implement! Follow meeee…

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I removed ½” from the top of each outseam, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the pocket, and increased the back dart intake by ½” each, for a total reduction of 3” in the waist. The pocket openings were not a huge fan of this somewhat extreme after-the-fact grading, but I really liked the width in the leg and didn’t want to size down overall, so I changed the paper pattern as below.

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I’m hopeful this will work for future versions! I also laughed in the face of new fly directions (again, I learned caution from my recent pants failure, I am wise now) and substituted those from the Ginger jeans pattern. This pattern has fly extensions cut separately, but after attaching them I did everything but the topstitching as per Closet Case. I liked the minimal topstitching the Peppermint pattern directed. That fly is WIDE, by the way!

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You can see the bottom edge of the pockets here – the pocket bag is 1 piece main fabric and 1 piece lining and it’s a bit bulky but honestly, I’m not mad, it sewed up so quickly and the pockets are nice and generous.

I bought a sandwich baggie of mismatched vintage leather buttons at a flea market several years ago and I finally got to use one for the waist closure! It’s been through the washer and dryer a handful of times and it’s doing great.

About the waistband. I hacked my 3” adjustment off of it a little too merrily and it ended up far too short in some places (the right front, i.e., the underlap) and too long in others (the left front/overlap). Probably installing the zipper differently contributed, too. Overall the waistband still fit, though, so I just sewed it on with the seams misaligned all higgledy-piggledy!

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Fabric buying note: I didn’t use the full 3 yards of 45” wide fabric requirement. I have about 29” inches of uncut yardage (as in, selvage-to-selvage, not a bit missing) left over. I ordered this Ventana twill from Imagine Gnats using a #sewfancypants discount code, woop woop. 🙂 I was totally smitten by this color and so postponed making these in corduroy, but I want to circle back to that idea at some point.

By the way, we took these pictures on a very warm winter’s day! Can you believe this is February in Boston? O_O Ignoring for the moment the primal terror of this sentence, I wore these pants on this 64° day last week and a 20° day the week before, and they were easy to style for both weather conditions.

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This is an official statement of RECOMMEND! Stay wide, amigos!

 

Pattern: Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: F, with adjustments

Supplies: 3 yards of Ventana Twill 8 oz. in Old Blue, $36.58, Imagine Gnats; $1.91, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $38.49

 

I made the Peppermint jumpsuit!

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And it was…okay. The pattern is free (!) and found here. I think the style is actually pretty impeccable (is that a self-brag since I made one?) but I didn’t really adore the process of sewing it, and my fitting is very so-so.

I genuinely love this fabric, a light, soft black-and-white ikat cotton that somehow just doesn’t wrinkle, but it was so soft that the 3/8ths   seam allowances shredded easily. Not much manhandling or unpicking allowed.

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I added pockets, but about 5” too low! They’re comfortable for my hands but visually they should probably be sitting on my high hip, not my thigh. However, I think the way the pockets gape indicates that my thighs needed the extra breathing room, so it might have been a lucky mistake. I cut the size that should have yielded me a couple inches of ease by measuring the pattern pieces, but it’s a close thing!

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When I first tried on the jumpsuit I was really disappointed. The back gaped inches away from my body and the front was worse. It was loose, without being either easy or breezy. I needed to lose some length from the straps – eventually I settled on a whopping 1 ¼ inches from the front strap and a relatively discreet ¾ inches from the back. Turning the jumpsuit right-sides-out through the burritoed shoulder straps was nearly my Waterloo the first time, so there was no way I was going back in. I just tucked the excess under and stitched it down by machine! Thank you, black fabric! As you can see there’s a sizable lump on my shoulder now but at least the back sits fairly flush.

A note on the burrito method: wonderful in practice, a bit crap in effect, at least this time. I just couldn’t get the narrow shoulder strap to give birth to the second half of the jumpsuit. Eventually I opened part of the armscye seam to release the pressure and was able to turn the garment! I topstitched that opening shut, which was technically visible though hard to see, and eventually irrelevant because of the further shortening of the straps. Not my most notable success with a sewing technique.

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Shortening the straps had a knock-on effect, obviously. The bust darts now ended too high, and the high bust area, as you can see clearly above, is simultaneously too tight and too long. I am stymied. STYMIED. No idea what to do about that.

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Also, the zip now ended higher up on my back. I can get out of this on my own, but not into it, making this jumpsuit strictly a weekend garment! My coworkers are swell but there’s no one I have a zip-me-up-I-just-peed relationship with. I also added a button and loop at the top, since my zipper installation was too low and not right (sensing a theme?). I used this trick from Self Assembly Required for the loop!

Absolutely no issue with the body length though, even after my changes! So that was nice!

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I cut everything on the fold rather than my usual habit of cutting as stingily as possible on a single layer. My bum appears to be having a conversation with Woodstock from Peanuts. IT’S FINE.

I wouldn’t make this again without some serious tweaks, but it could be a good way to grow my understanding. Fitting above the bust is a big ol’ mystery to me. Once I read some books I could maybe sew this again as a practical test of new knowledge. Later. Much, much later.

Dang it, I still like this garment, though.

Thanks for finishing this saga! Any tips on fitting the high bust area? Which fitting zones give you grief?

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BYE!

Pattern: Peppermint Magazine free jumpsuit pattern

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: between D and E

Supplies: 4 yards of black and white ikat cotton, Etsy, $23.40; zipper, Gather Here, $3.00; thread from stash; hair elastics, CVS, $3.71 (and I’ve got a ton left over for the same use in the future)

Total time: 8.75 hours

Total cost: $30.11