Bottoms

New Jeans: Birkin Flares

With cold weather creeping in, I knew I needed to make some new jeans ASAP.  Just my luck, Lauren of Baste and Gather was looking for testers to sew up her Birkin Flares jeans pattern.  They looked awesome on her, and I  could really use the “dead line” pressure to get some sewing done for myself, so I applied and was selected.  Yay :)
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These jeans have a moderately high rise with a close fit through the hip and thigh that flares out at the bottom.  The fit and instructions are great, so be on the look out for this pattern.  It’s going through a second round of testing and will hopefully be released in a couple weeks.

As soon as time allows, I definitely want to make a couple more pairs!

Undercover Cat Lady

Don’t tell my dog, but I’m a total cat lady.  It’s not really a secret or anything, but the dog did come first, and she’s the jealous type.  For what it’s worth, I’m an absolute dog lover too!  (We don’t have to choose between our loves, right?)

Thanks to Erin’s Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, I’m finally throwing up a blog post, and I’m even including three hand-made items.  In honor of our cats and all the hours they permit us to spend at our sewing machines, here are my cat themed garments:
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Meow!

Maybe you can’t tell, but there is definitely some cat hair on both these garments.

It wasn’t my intention to hide my cat fabric, but that’s what ended up happening.  The jeans were next on my sewing list, and after a blouse that turned into a wadder, I swore to never use quilting cotton for garments again (I didn’t really mean it) and lined my jeans with the last of my cat fabric.
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While I really wanted to let my cat freak-flag fly and use this fabric on the outside of a garment, it just didn’t pan out.  The blouse I made was looking like pajamas and I knew I’d never wear it.   I decided to be practical and incorporate the fabric into my jeans instead.  I love the results.  Every time I go to the bathroom, I admire this charming fabric.
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I copied a pair of jeans that fit me well to make this pattern about a year ago.  I brought the rise up a little higher and widened the waist band too.

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There are double lines of top stitching all over the place, but the navy blue thread conceals those little details.  I don’t have anything against gold thread for top stitching, but I do think it adds to the casual look of jeans.  So I guess that makes these my fancy pants. I’ll get around to stitching some up with gold thread, maybe when I try out the new Ginger jeans pattern.

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There are a few wrinkles in the back, but as the denim relaxes, they become less noticeable.  The denim is 2% stretch, and that little bit of stretch goes a long way in forgiving fitting errors.
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The shirt is an older make, but it seemed the most appropriate top to wear for this blog post.

I used the Archer shirt pattern and left off the cuffs.  The leopard print fabric is featured on the under collar and inside collar stand, as well as the inside of the yoke.  This was my attempt to make a black work shirt a little more fun.

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I promised a third make, so here’s a little glimpse of what I’ve been spending most of my time on lately:
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I’ve been dying and sewing up leather.   This piece is a croc print clutch.  You can see more photos in my Etsy shop if you are interested.

I look forward to the day I stumble across a light weight cat print fabric.  In the meantime, maybe someone wants to host a dog themed sewing challenge?  I have a black silk fabric with dogs woven into it that needs to be made into something useful.  :)

 

Leopard Leggings

I guess Jungle January really got to me, because, I purchased two more animal print fabrics in January.  I’ve sewn them both up now, so here is the first project: Leopard Leggings.
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This all started when I signed up for a 5k run.  My sister and a couple girls from my weight training class had signed up, and I didn’t want to be left out.  I’m really not a runner, but I figured this would be a good motivator to get more exercise.  And so far I’ve put in a few miles…

The race is called She Is Beautiful, The Pinkest 5k and 10k. And for whatever reason, I thought I could use some special pants to wear on race day (March 17th).  It helped that I ran into this lovely knit fabric at Harts, and it called out to me.  I couldn’t forget it, so I went back with a coupon and a plan: leggings for my run.

Leggings are truly a quick project–just sew the crotch seams, inseam, hem and encase the elastic waist band.  I made a pattern by cutting up an old pair of work out pants that couldn’t hold their shape.  They made for a good starting point.  This fabric is quite stretchy and a little thin–not exactly supportive workout material, but they survived their first run and will definitely be going out again.

We went for a practice run on West Cliff Dr, where the 5k will be held.
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This is me with my sister and fitness coach, Danielle.  She is a wonderful coach and an encouragement to me.  I can’t keep up with her, but I ran about half the course and walked the rest.  My mom was visiting and ran/walked with me too, so I had great company the whole time.  The race begins at the Lighthouse and follows the coastline, so it’s a beautiful view at any pace.
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I have just enough of this fabric left, so I’m hoping to make a swimsuit with it too.  Let the jungle escapades continue!

Anyone else take a jog lately?

Double the Fun Playsuits

It was my great privilege to visit my twin sister over the weekend.  I had been wanting to make a 40’s style playsuit, and because my sister loves vintage clothing, I thought she could use one too.  So I cut out all the pieces for two matching playsuits using this bikini top pattern and shorts pattern found on etsy.

And we played dueling sewing machines:

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It was a little tiring because I was determined that we finish in time to take photos before I had to go home.  But finish we did.
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YAY!

And I’m afraid I spent too much time figuring out how to adjust my new tripod and work the remote, instead of looking at the lighting, etc.  So these dark goofy pictures are all I have to share with you.
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We are concentrating on how to use the remote here, tapping our twin powered brains.

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Splish

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Qui got splashed

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and these are the best close-ups I have for you.  Shorts are high waisted with a side zip (I redrew the crotch line using my Colette Iris pattern because the original shorts pattern was a lousy fit.)  The second version is much improved, but still a little pouffy in the front, although I think that may have more to do with the 40’s style.

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The top has gingham trim and lining, with a two button closure in back.  The navy blue fabric is cotton twill.

I really like the top, but the cups are a little too big for me… so I would definitely use a smaller cup size and just lengthen the waist band for any future tops from this pattern.  The directions are fairly vague, so this would not be a good beginner pattern, but with a little construction know-how, it came together without much trouble.

The Pinstriped Shorts

Saturday afternoon, I had nothing but time on my hands, which meant I sewed till about 10pm, only stopping for a long dinner break. It was glorious.

I made up Colette’s Iris shorts pattern in a gray pinstripe suiting fabric. The whole project went quite smoothly from start to finish, requiring zero adjustments to the pattern. The only hiccups were the invisible zipper which required a little adjusting where it passed through the waistband seam, and one silly mistake on the facings which required a wee bit of seam ripping.

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Since I don’t have a serger, I chose to finish edges with a zig zag stitch. When attaching the pockets, the directions lead you to finish each piece before sewing the seams, but I found it to work better to sew the pockets together, and then zig zag through two layers, trimming the excess seam allowance down to the stitching.

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I took Lizz’s advice and turned the crotch seam to one side and topstitched instead of clipping the seam allowance.

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You can’t really see in this pic, but the inside leg seam is a flat felled seam which lays nice and flat and is now extra strong.

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I re-enforced the pocket seams at the top and bottom openings with a small row of zig zag stitches, to strengthen the opening and encourage the pocket to lay flat without budging.

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Does anyone else use the notes section in the pattern instructions?  I love the Colette pattern booklets with the folder in back to hold the pattern pieces–it keeps everything nice and neat.

This pattern was wonderfully easy to sew up, and I love the fit of my shorts.  They are so comfortable!!  I don’t usually wear shorts because they bunch up in the crotch when I walk…  These ones did too :(  …but they are nice and long which seemed to minimize the problem.  I plan to wear these a lot!  The bunching wasn’t enough to keep me from putting these cuties on again!  After a few more outings, I hope to find that my shorts wearing confidence is high enough to require more shorts in my wardrobe :)

Reversible Skirt

To adequately share a reversible skirt, one must take pictures of both sides, non?  Yes, well, getting photos of one side was hard enough, and over a week later, I finally got what will have to pass as decent enough photos of side #2.

Making the skirt was the easy part.  It is nothing more than a gathered rectangle, sewn to a curved waist band x2.  I used the selvedge edge for the bottom of the skirt so I could avoid hemming 2 layers (can we say lazy?), and instead of zippers, I made an overlapping slit opening with buttoned tabs to close.  I wanted to avoid using zippers because I didn’t want the bulk of 2 zippers, and I just didn’t see how to make it work otherwise.  Does a double sided zipper exist??
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I wore the teal side to my brother’s birthday party, held at the beautiful Seascape resort.  I arrived just in time for sunset.
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Not a bad view.

My sister was kind enough to take a few photos for me, and my 2 nieces wanted to share the spotlight.

Diptic

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Big sis accidently shut little sis’s finger in the cooler, so we are wrapping her hurt finger with a paper towel.  It immediately became a game, and I found myself wrapping her finger about 20 times in a row.  Sometimes they are so easy to please.

After a week of beautiful weather, I thought I’d wear side B today to enjoy some sunshine and get some photos.  Of course it ended up being overcast and cold out.  Mr. GF obliged me with a photo at the pizza parlor where we had lunch with friends.
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I really thought I could do better, so I set-up my mini tripod and camera at home to snap a few shots myself.  And the dog and cat would not be left out.
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There is a distinct lack of natural light in our home, and using the timer on my camera, etc, etc did not lead to any more impressive photos.  So there you have it, the navy blue side of the skirt.

It’s a very comfortable skirt to wear due to the length and light airy feeling of the fabric.  Generally a skirt past my knees makes me feel a tad frumpy, but it was nice not to be overly concerned with keeping my legs crossed (I find shorter skirts can be tiresome to wear).  Come to think of it, short skirts don’t provide much to sit on either, and I don’t like my legs to stick to chairs–this one kept me well covered.

It’s about time to put some cornbread in the oven–I made chili yesterday; big thanks to my friend Amy for sharing her recipe.  Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
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