I might actually finish that coat…

Am in New York.  Am planning to go to Jonathan’s Embroidery tomorrow morning for buttonholes.  If all goes well, I’ll post about the (finished) coat when I’m home Sunday.

Longest work in progress ever.


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Aren’t pants the best?

The greatest thing about sewing, for me, is pants.  Other things — skirts, jackets, tops, dresses — I really like, and I like the ones I make better than what I could buy, but I feel like they are pretty close.  In contrast, I have never been able to buy pants that fit as well as the ones that I make.

I currently have two TNT patterns for work pants.  By “work pants” I mean pants that, at the end of the day, I really want to get out of.  They look great, I have a million pairs of them, and it’s all I wear for teaching, etc.  But I’ve been shopping around for possible casual pants, especially since summer is coming, teaching is ending (5 more weeks!) and it’s finally getting warmer. 

I, like everyone else, was attracted to the bell-bottom pants from April’s Burda.  Tons of people have already made these up; I’m sort of late to the party.  But here they are, made up in a beige linen.  It’s a little see-through, but not so bad.  With appropriate underwear it should be fine.


I love these.  LOVE. THEM.  I especially like the top, with the pockets, which you can see in more detail here.  And yes, that’s my belly button on the internet.  Sue me.


These are really well drafted.  I know I shouldn’t do this with pants, but I didn’t even make a muslin, and they fit perfectly without alterations.

I am already envisioning these in a nice denim, and maybe a darker linen, and with the pockets on the back, or welt pockets…. 


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It is nice to see improvement…

I really like my job.  But it can be very hard to see improvement.  I’m still working on the same papers — not the same general project but literally the same document — as in 2004.  And while they are probably a little bit better now, the changes in quality are incremental at best.  Basically, I’m just not getting a lot better at paper-writing. 

I was reminded yesterday as I was packing for my trip (I’m travelling today) that this is one of the things I like most about sewing — you can definitely see improvement.   I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of this jacket:


My initial concerns that I wouldn’t wear it were ridiculous.  I wear it about once a week, and always feel great in it.  There are things I’d do differently on the next round, but not much.

This, in contrast, is my first jacket attempt from January, 2008.  Which is only about a year ago!


“Flattering” does not come to mind, although I do think I actually wore this.  If only my papers would get better at the same rate…

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Dress or Tunic? Yes. And Yes.

This semester DH teaches on Saturdays, which leaves me to do various chores which we would otherwise do together.  Yesterday included: groceries, fabric (okay, not technically a joint chore, but I did get fabric for his shirt!), dry cleaning, shoe repair, purchasing replacement propane tanks for the grill, pilates (also technically not a chore), making dinner for our dinner party, etc.  Despite this, I managed to make two versions of BWOF 3/2009, #103.  Which really tells you how easy it is. 

The write-up indicates it could be tunic or a dress.  I think they envision a single garment which fits both of these descriptions — basically, a very long shirt or a very short dress.  I guess they think you could wear leggings under it, which is definitely not going to happen.

  I ended up with two garments: a normal length shirt, and a very short dress. I started with the dress, and while I was trying to figure out the length I realized I like it a lot as a top, as well.  I had just enough leftover fabric and — in an hour — presto. 



The dress is, admittedly, very short.  I don’t have a LOT of occasions to wear something this…ummm…revealing.  But I have several people getting married in the next few months, and I’m thinking some bachelorette parties are in order.  I think it looks pretty good.  I’d like to lose a few more pounds, but that’s a more or less permanent, unfulfilled goal.  As Tim Gunn says: dress for the body you have, not the one you want.  And so on.  And the top is incredibly versatile — I wore it last night, in fact.

Sewing-wise, these are very easy.  It’s just a front and back, attached to a two piece yoke.  The one thing I would say, and this is also in the review (here), is that you almost certainly want to interface all of the yoke pieces, since that’s the source of the structure.  I did that on the top, but not the dress, and it worked well. 

Next up: cleaning out my fabric box, which is overflowing, and starting on DH’s shirt.  I’m going to try to come out of the cleaning with some kind of plan for what to do with different fabric pieces.  What better to do on a rainy day?




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Generic Black Skirt? Yes, Please!

The April issue of Burda was a bit of an odd duck.  On the one hand, they had four separate patterns for jumpsuits, including this one:


In case this isn’t obvious, this is made of purple velour.  This is for wearing out to a dinner party.  Where?  Seriously.  Where?  Surely not on Earth. 

On the other hand, there is a whole section with very sensible clothes — a nice looking pair of pants, a white button down shirt, and a simple skirt, for which this is the technical drawing:


It’s very basic — an a-line type shape, with the little button detail on the top.  The buttons are not functional.  This was quite easy to make up, although in black it doesn’t photograph well.




The button detail is interesting, but I couldn’t quite figure out what I would wear this with that it would show.  I don’t have a lot of slinky turtlenecks, as suggested in the magazine.


This is one of those things: it’s very practical, it looks good, I’ll obviously make many more of them.  It’s not THAT exciting, but that’s the way it is.  Next up: a dress for wearing “out”, from March 2009.  Plus, maybe some fabric for the DH shirt…and fabric for some new pants…and…and…  I guess I should probably try to get some work done sometime, also.

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What are you trying to tell me?

When DH and I got engaged, he was really adamant that it be a surprise (which it was).  He told me it was important that he surprise me, since this was the one big life event at which that was an option.  In particular, if/when we decide to have children, I’ll probably get a chance to surprise him with any pregnancy news.  I have occasionally thought about funny ways one might do that.  One definite option would be to wear this new shirt around:



It’s BWOF 7/2008, #108.  Other people have also pointed out the maternity-ness of this top, which is most obvious from the side:



The basic issue is that the pleat on the front causes the shirt to balloon out.  I did this in a stable double-knit, and the recommendation is to do it in a woven.  My guess is both types of fabric will have this problem.  I think if you did in a slinkier knit that might have less of this issue.

Although I’m somewhat wierded out by this maternity thing, I have to say I like this top a lot in the end.  It was really easy to make, and has some interesting details.  Also, if I ever do get pregnant I’ll have something to wear! 

I made this up because I realized I have only a limited set of tops to wear when we go out and the appropriate outfit is jeans and a cute top.  I’ll probably wear this out tonight.  We are going to an “all-you-can-eat” Brazilian meat place.  Which, if you think about it, has some of the same effects as pregnancy. 

Important Follow-Up: Re-reading this post, it seems prudent to put up a quick update.  I am definitely NOT pregnant.  Hopefully some day in the somewhat distant future, but definitely not now!  

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Menswear: Not that Difficult

So I managed to make up a muslin of the shirt for DH on Saturday, without hemming or anything.  Here it is:



I have to say, it was a lot easier than a shirt for me, largely because of fit issues (read: men do not have breasts).  Usually for a shirt like this for me, there is a lot of necessary monkeying with darts, and how tight it should be and so on.  I had him put this on to try for fit.  We had this conversation:

DH: Ahh!  Ahh!  Are you going to stick me with those pins!  Stop trying to kill me!

Me: (silently pinning shirt closed)

DH: Doesn’t it seem a little long to you?

Me: well, yes, it’s not hemmed.

DH: Oh.  Okay, well, other than that it’s fine.

And that’s it.  There are a few necessary adjustments, all having to do with the pattern.  The collar stand and collar aren’t quite long enough, and the sleeves are a bit too long.  I had trouble figuring out the concept of the “sleeve vent”, but as usual “Power Sewing” was right there for me.

So he’s happy with it; we just have to get some fabric to actually make this up in, and we’ll try it out.  Even with topstiching and so on, I still think it’s only a day long project.  On Saturday I even had time for another boat-neck top, which is turning out to be a great staple.

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