Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pants, Pants & More Pants

...and, OK, another vest.  We'll get this out of the way first thing:
McCalls 7290

I'm not sure about this one.  The fabric is an oh-so-soft rayon/spandex knit from Joann's.  And oh-so-stretchy.  We'll see how much it gets worn.  Looks a bit like a lab coat.  Hmm.  But it's so soft!
McCalls 7290

On to pants.  

I am determined to get a decent pair of wovens with a contour waistband this year.  I no longer want to spend big money on pants that really don't fit so hot.  I just spent untold time on McCalls 6361, a Palmer Pletsch offering.  I even have their Craftsy class.  I've had great success with other PP tissue fitting projects, but I guess I'm a bit dense because tissue fitting pants was nuts.   I'm going to skip the trauma and just state that the whole mess, including the muslin, ended up in the bin.  

I've actually had reasonable success with pants in the past few years.  I've made Burda 5/2013 117A  up twice in linen and that I love and have worn tons in the last 2 summers.  

So, today I cut another pair in lovely light gray baby corduroy that is super soft to touch and drape.  From a clearance at Hobby Lobby.







I also cut my 4th pair of Style Arc Barb Pants.  This is a winner pattern that, like the Burda, has required minimal flat butt adjustments.  I wear the past makes all the time.  That said, I'm still trying to get just the right fabric.  Stretch woven is good.  Anything with 2-way stretch does just that:  stretches both ways.  A lot.  I did read about high end RTW using clear elastic in the crotch seam.  Note to self.  I wonder how twill tape would work?  Anyway, I just picked up some navy Ponte Roma from Joannes to see how a one-way stretch will do.  I'm thinking this is the best of both worlds.  I really want to add navy to my wardrobe.  It will be a nice addition to all my black and gray as neutrals.  Keep me from looking like crow.  This ponte has a beautiful hand unlike Joanne's usual fare.  We shall see.

On to Sandra Betzina's method.  I have her Craftsy class and I have the pattern that goes with it:  Vogue 2984, a Today's Fit pattern.  I've had Sandra's books, "More Fabric Savvy," "Power Sewing" and "Fast Fit" for a long time and use them constantly.  So, I don't know what's taken me so long to focus on her method.
Pants patterns...Pants patterns traced...Pants cut...
Stay Tuned!  Thanks for coming.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wardrobe Architect & Recent Makes

Hey, there is dialogue between others like me who are 2 years late in joining in Collette's Wardrobe Architect!  I'm really pleased to see this as I had just planned to do this on my own and had even downloaded the worksheets in late December.  You can find more info on  Collette's blog

I have to say that I have been reaping the rewards of narrowing my color palette the last few years.  Now everything seems to go together color-wise.  It's a little trickier with shapes, lengths, etc.; so am hoping to work on that with the Wardrobe Architect info.

All that said, last week I finished up Vogue 8793 in gray & pink.  This is my 3rd make of this pattern though I don't get as wild and crazy mixing prints as the pattern suggests :-)  The fabric is a super soft cotton jersey from JoAnn's.  You know, I've had great luck with their line of sew classic cotton knits.  They're great to sew and wear really well


I think that's the chair back in the way here, sigh
Then, I put together covers for two naked Euro pillow forms that were laying around.  We really needed some extra reading pillows (though Randy totally rolled his eyes at more bed pillows--but he uses it every night to read with, ha ha).  I checked around about buying some and covers for this size pillow are just stupid expensive.  The fabric is a lovely tapestry from Hobby Lobby and I used a couple of invisible zips I had on hand on the backs.  


Then I made coasters with the leftovers.  To replace the annoying wooden rounds we are currently using in the living room--so easy for stuff to fall right off them!

The wrong side was pretty, too, so I made them reversable!

I'm working on a vest (!) right now that is a bit fiddly.  Hopefully it will be a success story for next week.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Vested Interest

or...an obsessive interest in vests.   Since my backside seems to have migrated around to my front and I am still working on that perfect pair of pants for a flat behind, I figure the fastest fix for that is just to cover it.  With vests.

The obsession took hold about a year ago and here's some of what actually got made in 2015:


McCalls 7057 in a soft wool-y knit from Colorado Fabrics


McCalls 6208  from a black Ponte and the white what I'm guessing is a scuba knit.  By tacking down the flapping lapels I gained surprise pockets!  

McCalls 6208

McCalls 6208

Simplicity 2148 from a gorgeous lighter weight stretch velour I got in UB


McCalls 6208 from a Ponte

McCalls 6208

McCalls 6208

Vogue 1453 from a lovely drape-y and soft rayon from umm, can't remember
Vogue 1453

Vogue 1453

There they are.  I think a bit more fitting--wide elastic along the back waist, darts, something, is called for.  But all in all, I'm pleased with the results and wear them all the time.    So, success I think :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year, New Sewing Space!

I have not blogged since November 2014.  2015 was a wild year.  Frankly, it's a blur.  Short story:  my sister was ill and I was blessed to see to her and her care before she passed away in October.  My husband repatriated back to US in August after 11 years in Asia.  There was not an ounce of time, energy or brain activity to spare 
 for blogging.  

I sure didn't do last year perfectly.  I did, however, do it with lots of love.  Lot's of God's grace applied.  

Now it's a new year!  God was/is SO good during all the extreme challenges of last year, that I am nothing but joyful and thankful and hopeful for whatever this year brings!  Because He lives, I have no fear.

So!  Moving on!  I want to blog!  For so many reasons; but I think most of them creative. 

Not so much travel right now--no international flights for over a year.  Yikes. 

But lots of sewing.  Sewing for love.  Sewing for joy.  Sewing for sanity, at times.

So, here we go!  I want to start with my updated sewing space!  I'm still in the loft and my former space was great, but Randy insisted that I needed more storage.  What sewer doesn't???  What a guy.

We found these amazing solid-wood desks at Goodwill--$55 for both pieces.  Tons of storage.



The antique dresser was a $25 Goodwill find as many years ago.  Cream paint and contact paper.  Randy refinished it and it served as kitchen storage in an open pantry.  Then it lived in a guest room holding extra bedding.  Now it is re-purposed as sewing storage and cutting table and gift wrapping station.  Perfect height.



And my lights!  A hand-crafted birthday gift from Randy.  He's quite taken with all things Steam Punk these days.  It appeals to the technical side of him.  He spray painted, assembled and everything. 
 They provide superb lighting directly to the cutting area.

A few other crazy thoughtful gifts Randy gave me for Christmas:

Magnet Bar

Ruler Rack

From Home Depot--Who knew?

Then....drum roll...my new Pfaff Performance 5.0!  Love, love, love this machine.  I've used it almost daily for 6 months and am ready to review it.  Stay tuned.



That's very much enough for now.
SEW HO!  
:-D

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Burda Style's Men's PJs 12/2010; i.e., Happy Pants

Winter demands a wardrobe of Happy Pants.  For years that's what our family has called around-the-house pants that are soft and have some sort of elastic waist.  

Now to date, my husband has been very happy to see his gym clothes do double duty.  Then one day he pulled out a particularly obnoxious pair of black & red flannel Happy Pants from his suitcase.  And asked me to hem them up.  If I'm going to hem ugly Happy Pants I might as well make them, you know?

So, I brought this fun flannel back from the States and intended on using Vogue 7079 that I've had for a very long time.  



However, the pattern was a one-piece job and looked like a wagon sheet.  Lots of potential fitting issues.  For Happy Pants--really??  Since I've had great fit with Burda Style pants for myself, I checked out Burda Style's Men's Pajama Set 12/2010 #145 .  It got good reviews on PR. 

When made up,  they indeed had the crotch shape and rise that my husband is so picky about (hates his pants to come all the way up to his natural waist). 


These are a winner!  
Sneak shot, he he ;)
I allowed 1" side seams, and ended up letting them out, so a good thing.  This tells me he is not a fan of "European fit." (as if!)  And I took 2 1/2" off the length.  In this pic, the hems are rolled up, so may need to take up more after next washing/drying.

So, I'm really looking forward to making him lots more with all the fun flannels out there!

I made 2 pair of happy pants for myself (of course ;) I used the silver stretch velour for the Laura Lounge Trousers my Maria of Denmark and the ponte for another pair of Style Arc Barb Pants .  Love, love, both these patterns and have made both countless times.  Great fit and a fun sew.

So, lots of happiness all around.
Which should be what sewing is all about, right?





Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gobi Cashmere Tour

Well, yes, it has been awhile.  No need to go into details other than all the distractions have been good ones.  :)

Yesterday I went along with some 20 fellow members of the  International Women's Assn. of Mongolia to a behind-the-scenes tour of Gobi Cashmere!!
Yikes
I love, love cashmere.  Soft, light, warm, timeless.  Gorgeous and practical.  What's not to love?

But after 10+ years of "collecting" ;) Gobi cashmere, I had never been to that building.  Where it's actually made.  Until yesterday.

The tour was CRAZY COOL.

The place was massive and busy as a beehive.

My silly pictures don't do it justice.  ...and speaking of pictures...If I had any doubt that phone pics are NOT as good as my old Sony point & shoot camera, I doubt no more.  (OK, I have a iPhone 4S and we were a group of 20 being herded along pretty fast)  Still, I'm so glad I replaced my camera on the way back to Mongolia.  However, I forgot to take it along on the tour.  Grr.

Anyhoo....

Stage One:  picking out all the straw, poop, etc.  

The grades of and natural colors of the cashmere
Stage Two:  combing



Gossamer fine
Stage Three:  spinning



Despite all the machines, a lot of hands-on still required

Bobbins
 The computerized silk screening room.  Gobi will actually print to order.  I just happen to own a silk-screened cashmere scarf, thanks to Randy.  :)

The room where I would find my husband in a different place & time :)  Mr. Fix All The Machines is stuffed into this windowless room.  He gave me all smiles--he seems very happy in his work.  That's a Gift.

Here's where garments are made to hang on the showroom racks and also made-to-measure orders are filled.

On to the Room Where They Make the Fabric (didn't catch the name :/)  It seemed like the center of the hive to me.  A blur of activity.


Look at this--she is hand setting the loom to make the b/w cashmere fabric


The Dying Room:  


Resulting in a bunch of colors

The Finishing Room.
Amazing color & texture



This lady is straightening the grain and then trimming scarves

oohh...ahh


Someone has transformed a Soviet manikin--ha ha!  Still...we're all being watched...right?