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!!
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.


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

 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


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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Burda 5/2013 Pants

This summer has involved a lot more fitting and learning about fitting than actual sewing.  Well, I have cranked out some T-shirts and a few Magic Pencil Skirts that I didn't blog about.  

Anyway, before cutting into any of the gorgeous linen I brought back from Hong Kong, I want to give myself the best chance for a successful garment as possible.  Of course, the patterns that I was itching to use were all on the other side of the world.

So, I defaulted to my short stack of Burda Style magazines I have here in UB and downloaded a few patterns, too.  I have to say, the Burda Style pants I started with fit pretty darn good with the first muslin!  So, I made them up in the light gray bottom weight linen. Very soft.

And!  I learned how to make a flat seat adjustment!  About time.  This opens up a whole new world of pant options.  This in addition to my existing plan of simply covering my behind with longer shirts.  While on the subject of pants, I have decided that I am ready for more elastic.  And why not?  It's not like I would be caught dead tucking my shirt in anyway.  I'm finding that my lifelong love affair with jeans, is, well, fading.  Not the look I'm going for and not so comfortable.  Whew.  Feels good to get it out.

So, Burda Style 5/2013 117 A was a great place to start.  In linen.

I bound the hem & waist edges with the same lightweight cotton that I used for the pocket lining.
My best-ever pant behind.  Trust me.

 The pattern called for a drawstring, but I replaced it with soft elastic.  
Definite keeper pattern :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Burda PDFs Get My Vote

There has been a lot of dialog going on for a long time in the blogging world regarding PDF patterns vs. paper patterns.  The most memorable one (I think) being on A Fashionable Stitch a few years ago.  Sunni really nailed it!  That post obviously hit a chord
with sewers as she got 139 comments--equally entertaining.  Some fer, some agin PDFs.  So, I'm not going to go on a rant as its all been said before.

That said, when in Mongolia, I do PDFs.  I prefer paper patterns, but I can only cram so many into my luggage when boots, toiletries, vitamins, blah, blah, blah need to be packed--stuff I can't get here.  Then creativity hits and the perfect pattern is on the other side of the world.

I did haul over a year's worth of Burda Magazines last year and even though I whined through the tracing process, I have to say, everything I've made from them have FIT with little more than some of my basic adjustments.  

So I've recently downloaded 4 new patterns.  One McCalls, one Butterick, and two Burda.  Simplicity I just gave up on as the site just fought me and they never bothered to respond to an email to customer service.  

Both the McCalls and Butterick require downloading a special Adobe-esque program in order to print.  Oh, plus a special password is emailed to you in order to access the patterns you just paid twice as much as the sale price of the paper ones.  Security don't you know.  Plus, they won't allow printing the paper layout schematic (what else can I call it?).  Really, people???  Plus, I swear I read on one or both of them that I could only print them 3 times within one year.  ????  !!!!

Now, the Burda ones were instantly mine.  Boom.  Opened right up in Adobe, ready to print and to save.  The no seam allowance thing just is not that big of an issue with me as I usually add on to side seams as insurance anyway.  

And the Burdas seem soooo much simpler in every way.  As much as I don't enjoy the process, I have to admit it's getting faster with every one.  The right equipment, as in anything, helps lots.  

A rubber finger, from my old office days, is crazy helpful

I hang the cut-out patterns on skirt hooks.  These are what's available in UB.  Hey, you just can't have enough cute around the house, you know?

So, that's my PDF story and I'm stickin' to it. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Godess Muumuu

The muumuu or muʻumuʻu /ˈmm/ is a loose dress of Hawaiian origin[1] that hangs from the shoulder  Wikipedia

Before the big Hong Kong trip, I managed to make a muumuu for those weekend evenings when loose and comfortable is mandatory.  I used this great rayon knit I forgot I had here in UB.  Exotic, no?  Very godess-ish I think ;)   Especially since I was so busy getting the neckline & yoke placed just so that I didn't think about the "wings" placed in a rather odd spot.  

I used my TNT Simplicity 2852, just making it longer like I did for my muumuu stateside, seen here.

I had enough left over to make yet another Kirsten Kimono Tee, a free download you can find here. (Note:  all her patterns are great--very well drafted)  

In fact, Kirsten Kimono Tees and Magic Pencil Skirts (find here)  have become my uniform this summer.  I feel comfortable and yet somewhat put together in this combo.  Note:  the armhole is not that low--I'm stupid sensitive about that.  Guess my hand is pulling it down.

Yep, comfort is king these days.  I've liberated myself of heels.  Maybe a 2" at a formal.  Or 1 1/2" on a Clark anything.  One of my best ever decisions.  Right up there with the one to quit coloring my hair.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Unborn Outfits

On our recent trip to Hong Kong, I bought fabric.  I went planning to buy fabric.  Linen to be exact as I'm just crazy about the stuff these days.  I had a certain dollar amount in mind, even.  Well, let's just say things got a little out of control.

Meet Rowena.  Excellent English.  Extremely knowledgeable.  Very on top of her inventory.  The little vixen.  

 I spent a ridiculous amount of money.  Trust me.  Ridiculous.  

Fast forward to lunch and I am filled with remorse and contemplating putting a chop stick in my eye.  What was I thinking???

You know what this 1-in-a-million husband of mine says?  "let it go.  You'll get 2 years of enjoyment out of this stack:  petting it, pouring through patterns and blogs, planning, actual sewing.  Then you get to wear it.  And blog about it."  

He's a keeper.

Here's my haul:

Linen, of course :)
Bottom weight & light weight & coordinating print.  All pre-washed and dried 3 times per blog advice

Cottons & 2 pieces of silk organza:
The one on the very bottom is gorgeous cotton sateen

Look at this one!  Isn't it fun?  I'm thinking a vest and some sort of insert to pieces down the road.

This one is a stretch cotton silk with a border repeat.  Gorgeous feel and drape.

My husband even ended up stuffing most of this in his carry on.  Back home in UB, he asks me where I want the Unborn Clothing put.  :D  Seriously, though, I think I'll get about 12 pieces from this haul!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hong Kong Repeat

I have been away from the blog for a long time, mainly due to travel.  Lots of travel; much of it quick trips within the US seeing family.  Still, getting ready for a trip, being on the trip, recovering from the trip and then regrouping and planning for the next one is very consuming!  It is for me, anyway.

...but hey, I'm back and have a recent trip to share!

Due to recent Major Drama at my husband's company here in Mongolia, he was in real need of a vacation.  Mongolia has a week-long summer festival (we checked this off our life list long ago ;), so we took advantage of the extra days off and decided on another
trip to Hong Kong as it's a mere 4-hour direct flight AND it's in the same time zone!

Hong Kong was hot and steamy and we left to return to UB with Typhoon Rammasun hammering southern China and the Philippines and causing  crazy winds and rain in Hong Kong.  Still, we had a great time.

Warning:  this is a picture-heavy blog!  I'm anxious to get on to some sewing posts :D

We took a day trip on a Chinese junk to Stanley Beach.  So fun!

The urban parks!  All over.  Gorgeous.  Huge.  Quiet.  Clean.

3 large pools in this public pool complex!

Every day on our way to and from sightseeing, we walked through a gorgeous park next to our hotel and fell in love with the flamingos!  SO FUNNY!  They're very social--and noisy! and active--pics just don't do them justice.  Bath day was a real hoot.

Then there were a bunch of turtles that captured Randy's heart ;)  He took this pic of one "frolicking".  He talked of making a vedeo.  Enough said.

The shopping!  The city is dominated by consumerism.  Shopping tourism (primarily Chinese mainlanders) is huge--cruise ships pull up to the malls.  No lie.
 Forget Prada and Louis Vitton.  We tracked down printer cartridges (unavailable in UB, grr) at this 3-story electronics place in Mon Kok.  Score.  The place went on forever.

Then, there was my fabric shopping.  That little linen thing.  Stay tuned.

The streets!  Noisy.  Chaotic.  Crowded.  At times lovely

A stylish hard hat!

Really?  Bleck

Check out the little china dishes :)

Old & new
 Talk about high density living!

The trees.  Growing out of walls

The boats!

A great vacation