Guilt Pant Pandamonium


If you are a person who has not bred yet, you might not know that particular brand of THIS FEELING. If your offspring is independent, you might remember IT. If your little human is youngish and growing like a weed, you feel IT all the time. The “selfish” time you spend on thinking, drafting, muslining and fitting and re-drafting, and sewing and blogging all for yourself! And then you end up with this guilty, hangover-like sensation buzzing around your head. You might have your own way of dealing with it, you spectacular mother of a young child. I have my own way, and it always involves throwing pants (specifically pants) at it, hence the term “guilt pants” was coined in my household. This time, pajama pants for the whole family. Image

How could you resist this panda-printed, softest ever fleece? You don’t. In the midst of cutting you realize you only have enough for Daddy-o to get shorts in the best case scenario. Just as well, he has great legs!

Yes, I am married to The Rock.

To show how much you care, you add some fake flat-felled seams with black topstitching, and secure the waistband elastic to the side seams, to prevent twisting. Wow, what a great mom I am!

And then, that weird feeling of glee at the whole unit having matching PJ pants… I don’t understand this feeling, but allow myself to feel it anyway… Yey, matching PJs!

Now that I’ve cleared my conscience and unburdened my guilt, it is back to my regularly scheduled programming. The word “nautical” buzzes around my head…

Do you get THAT FEELING? Or am I the only one? How do you deal with it, o excellent mother/mother to be/wife/girlfriend/auntie/gramma/godmother?

Come back to me….



Your love is Kiiiiiiiiiing….

Been long enough, no? What have I been up to? Mostly scrubbing my hands, since two weeks ago I did this:

I edited out some wrinkles and zits, I’m normally not this perfect, SNORT!!!

Manic Panic is a messy mistress, but I love me in this colour! And moving right along, I also painted the “art wall”, to a colour that totally clashes with my hair. Bad for taking blog pictures, but at least my living room looks better. And because it’s so bad for taking pictures, I will model my latest creations in front of this wall, even though the cleanup is not quite complete, and the baseboards… Sigh…

So, have you heard about “Jean-ius:  Reverse Engineer Your Favorite Fit” from Craftsy (once again, I’m not being paid by Craftsy for this, maybe I should hit them up for some free courses)? Taught by Prof. Kenneth King, who is a true genius, his method of copying clothes is amazing. I need to say that the pair of jeans that I started with was not my favourite. I don’t think I ever had a fave pair of pants. Old Navy’s Diva came the closest, but when my last pair practically disintegrated from so much wear, I had to come up with something. Can’t buy any more, I am on a retail clothing fast, remember?IMG_0413

This is what you’re supposed to do to your pants. The idea is to mark all the necessary features of the pattern with thread, and when you’re done with taking the pattern you can pull the thread out and you can still wear your pants as if nothing happened. My pair was so dead that I got lazy and just drew on them with markers. It worked.



We can all agree that the fit to start with was not so great, but it was not catastrophic. And here’s what I came out with following King’s precise and crystal-clear instructions:

Click the image to enlarge.

There were several snags, such as awfully butchered zipper installation (the top flap did not cover the zipper, gaaaaaah!). And also, I managed to hit a gnarly combo of marking my grain line wrong on the pattern (I was off by a couple of degrees). This got amplified by the fact that the original was not cut perfectly on grain, apparently cheap clothing manufacturers do that to save on fabric costs. My being totally off the grain can be seen in the inner leg seam veering to the front (middle picture, above). But in overall I liked this pair, I wore it a lot. It had just the right amount of stretch… and… what did the prof say? That he absolutely refuses to work with stretch jeans for this technique? Even if you start with a stretch fabric, the amount of stretch you have in the “copy” fabric might not be the same, therefore the fit will be different. Makes sense, but I immediately had to venture into the non-stretch territory. I was thinking that I would make the seam allowances smaller and all should workout. Bahahaha!

I overexposed the picture on purpose, so you can see the wrinkles in the fabric.

Looking vaguely triumphant, these pants look slimming! But it’s probably because they are KINDA tight in some areas… like the stomach… and the upper bum…

IMG_0449Even though I messed up the zipper insertion again, I totally fixed the grain line problem, yes! And the extra wrinkles all around the bum come from the fact that they are simply too tight in those areas.

And now you may ask why do I keep blogging about all those sewing disasters that I call “clothes”? Ummm, to document my sewing journey? To give hope to those who, like me, keep messing up and yet they go on to create another “failure”, but eventually they end up with a proper pair of pants. Or not. Because a failure is a failure only when you give up! And I know that one day soon I will have a proper, well-fitting pair of pants.

So fight on, dear sewists!

Oh yeah, I would have forgotten: I recommend this course to anybody having even a remote interest in making pants. The amount of cool techniques that one can learn from this teacher is amazing! How to make a contoured waist band with your iron? Sure!  What are pocket stays and what are benefits of such? Yes, installed them in both pairs and love them!

See, pocket stays. And the butchered zipper insertion. Obviously I’m not getting something…

But in the meantime, brace yourselves, I am churning out another dress for

Julia Bobbin - Mad Men Challenge III
Yes, yes, yes!
The post is due by April 1st (my birthday), and this time I’m going with a 50s bored housewife dress. Vaguely inspired by early Betty, since I have no idea what’s been going on for the last 2 seasons because Netflix doesn’t have those seasons! But anyhoo, see you soon, and keep on keeping on!

Feeling blue…

… on so many levels. Too friggin’ frigid, too dark, too little sleep, too many colds in the house, blah blah blah, many of you are probably riding the same train so I will shut up. Kinda. I just went to make myself a nice beverage and I forgot to put booze in it. Tragedy!!! A lot of my sadness comes from the fact that since I made my last dress I have been convinced that all I should wear is similar garments, but it is just so impractical for my work and general life. I have also been on a major sewing kick that involved blue fabric. And is work-appropriate. Exhibit 1 and 2. 


Another version of Simplicity 2369. Why another (other than that one I also have a blue dress and another black top, never blogged)? Fast and dirty, and I thought I looked good in it. Until I saw these pictures. Do you have a day that you dedicate to shooting your makes and hardly a handful of shots are suitable for public broadcasting? Yeh… Well Ladies and Gents, this top is just too large… But it feels so nice… Exhibit 2 is another version of Espresso, this time in more flared version (straight from just above the knee). Why? Fast and dirty… And also I  really wanted JEGGINGS. These are jeggings. Go mommy!

I was flirting with pink topstitching on the pockets. In the hindsight, it got a bit too far. Almost to the third base too far…

Just in case I never mentioned it, BLUE IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR. When I was pregnant, waaaaaaaaay before I knew I was going to have a son, I started dressing in head-to-toe blue, totally unintentionally. That’s how I knew I was going to have a boy, my unconscious was telling me! FYI, not expecting right now, although it might look like it… Anyhoo, have I mentioned that hardly any of the photos from today turned out appropriate for mass consumption?


But it’s not all bad blue. I made me a necklace. My favourite one broke, so I decided to try some recycling and trendy colour-blocking:

IMG_0390And also I made  McCall 6844. My first attempt, no muslin but major as-sewn fittings. Took off about 3″ off the back length, but not front (funny, my back is super-short but my front is almost regular in length, probably due to my boobage and tummy roundness). And did I mention how I was not able to take any decent photos today? I had to take my shoot outside, since photographing navy-blue is almost as hard as photographing black.  As soon as I set up, with my tripod and my me-made hat (courtesy of stashbusting challenge 2014, made from the same fabric as the cardigan) it started to snow. Bloody sh… Too much…

PicMonkey Collageswea
So not impressed with my remote shutter control… I have to point it dead-on into the camera sensor and hold it… Ugh… Maybe the battery’s dead?

I liked this pattern, I will definitely try it again. This time I will do my best not to eff up when installing the collar thingy section. I will also interface it, as per instructions…

But enough with this self-pity party. Tomorrow, February 26th, is the anniversary of my blog. I am so happy I I started blogging. I have this glorious ODE TO MY BLOGGING HEROES post in my head, but that won’t happen soon. Maybe in May… But since we are in February, I still need to blog about “sewing for the ones we love” theme. Although I wonder whether that part of February might happen in March. Oh well, all is well that ends well… Here’s the ONE “good” picture I got from today’s shoot:

IMG_0377I also realized that my back is not as big as I think it is, need to cut smaller size. And also I learnt that if you put on a summery, flowery skirt and run/dance/twirl around the house for few minutes, your spirits will elevate. Will have to remember that for the next time! What do you do when you need a pick-me-up?



That’s not how you do Espresso!

Hello again! Long time no see, fret not Dear Reader I have NOT fallen off my “no-buy clothes” wagon. I merely dropped my camera, which broke miserably. I focused my efforts on researching and buying a new one, and a tripod, and a remote shutter control. Also I continued to be fixated on sewing indie patterns. I zoomed my attention on Espresso leggings, by Cake. Cake is a brand that has tons of fans, but I could not bring myself to purchasing any of their patterns for dresses, skirts, or blouses, even though they are flirty and fun. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… After reading many enthusiastic reviews from various bloggers about the genius that the Espresso is, I downloaded my pattern, and all sort of craziness started… You see, this is not really a pattern, you draft your own pattern on this special grid, using instructions and your own measurements, so you’re supposed to end up with a pair of leggings designed to fit your unique body.

EFFORT #1 (let’s call it a muslin…)

IMG_0090The fabric was destined to be a maxi dress back in the day when I was learning to sew. I was planning to make the dress during a 6 week “Working with Knits” course at a  local sewing studio. Sadly, that course was the worst way to spend about $300, the course was so bad that it almost killed my will to sew.  Anyhoo, 2 years later I pulled out whatever remained out of that sad pile of ruined fabric, and made the first draft of the Espresso leggings. Please restrain your laughter…

PicMonkey Collage1Ridiculously, this is my favourite pair of Espressos I’ve made so far! I love how the print enhances my, ehem, curves, and how it sort of mimics the look of muscle fibres. I feel very strong in those pants (and a little like a Cirque du Soleil performer), although I know that they are faaaaaaaaaaaar from being flattering. Meh, move on to next versions!

EFFORT #2 and 3

The boring basics, one slim ankle, the other one with a bit of a flare. I just wanted a bit of a variation in the look, something I could wear over a short boot in the winter. Soooooooooooooo boooooooriiiiiiing!

PicMonkey Collage2EFFORT #4

By now, I should know that one should not do a knit pattern in woven fabric without accounting for the lack of stretch. Not even if the knit has some stretch in it. Or go ahead and do it, but just don’t expect to be able to sit down or move in it or something… Because one might have to do something crazy like cut open the sides and insert strips of a heavy knit, so one can actually move.

PicMonkey Collage3Yes, it is the same fabric that I made Laurel dress out of. I think that I might have still left over for ANOTHER pair of pants!!!


Last but not least, but definitely the worst:


Blue-green stretch velour. Why? I don’t know why, I had it in my stash, I did not know if I ever make anything out of it, and it seemed appropriate. Somehow, these are the worst fit, loose behind knees, loose around the ankles, I don’t know why:

PicMonkey Collage4

So there, now you know how not to make Espressos! But I have to admit, I wear them all a lot! I even wear the Version 4 and 3 (with the flared ankle) as pants (GASP), even though I generally don’t regard leggings as pants. And even though it might seem like I made 5 versions  all of which were failures for various reasons, I felt like it was a fun exercise in sewing. Perfect for those times that you can’t commit to sewing a more involved project, and need a quick make just for a  pick-me up.

So did you like my pictures taken with the new camera? Do you like my “art staircase”, courtesy of my monkey? Till next time!

Whatever makes you happy…

I’ve had this polyester fabric for almost a year, I could never figure out what to make out of it, and yet I wanted to use it so badly… The colour washed me out, I was too pale for it, but I looked at it longingly at least 3 times a day every day, wishing that I could come up with something.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The issue was, the combination of the colours and the pattern just made me so happy! I desperately wanted to wrap myself in that fabric when feeling blah. Finally, I stumbled on McCalls M6711 (I picked up that pattern because I really wanted to make the jacket, view A). As I am really intimidated to start on the jacket, I stalled by making the shirt (view B) and pants (view E). I did not make any muslins, I just  cut, sewed, crossed my fingers and toes, cut some more and more and unpicked stitches and sewed some more (in case of the shirt), and made my own waistband instead of the facing (in case of the pants). And here’s the result:

Not so impressed by the tapered cut. The pants are cotton twill, fairly high-waisted.

Both the top and pants came out too roomy, even though I took in all the seams by considerate amount. I can’t believe how much ease was built into those garments. But oh so comfortable! And real, functional pockets! I also can’t believe that I made tapered pants, which I avoid like the plague (how did I ever miss the fact that it was tapered cut?) But wait for it…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you roll up the pants they have a totally different look, playful, and still so comfy. Unless you choose to wear them with some hooker platform heels, which I just adore! And with a belt even the top looks a bit more shaped. And with more bronzer  and blush I don’t look so washed out! Unfortunately, this is not the best choice of fabric for this top, it does not drape well, so the gathers at the shoulders and back need to be ironed down, otherwise they billow… But you know what? This top makes me happy! I’ve worn this shirt and pants (together and apart) at least 10 times since I made them. And every time I wear them, I feel so happy, it always works! As I was taking these pictures I was sick with an awful cold, super-sore throat, and second case of pinkeye. Can you tell? I know, right?!  It is because the shirt makes me so happy!

Since taking these pictures I acquired some more suitable belts to… ehem… “accentuate my waist”. They work better, but you get the idea.

So here you go, one more self-indulgent photo. The need-to-pee pose ever so slimming! And just so you know, I made the dress (view C) as well. So no more stalling, get on with the jacket now woman! But before I go, I will leave you with this gem I saw on Facebook. Heavily peppered with F-bombs, but reading this makes me so happy:

fbSo you know: whatever makes you happy! Do share…

Ikea Fabric Dare Pants – aka spring is here!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere we are! When the dare was issued to me by lovely Catja of Gjeometry, I thought I’d make a skirt out of this fabric. But then C. decided to make a skirt, so I’ve decided to make these pants (Vogue 8866, view E). I’ve had very little success with making pants in the past, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to try and make it right. It was an agonizing process (more on that later), but so worth it in the end! I wore these last Sunday, when I hosted some family over for Easter dinner/my pre-birthday party. I wore these most of the day, cooked, entertained, and got almost smaaaaaaashed! The pants did beautifully, they survived all the activities! In addition to that, not only they made me feel like spring was almost here, but  I felt like I WAS THE SPRING! No article of me-made clothing, and definitely not RTW clothing made me feel this way! So enjoy some super-fuzzy pictures, taken in front of my my son’s wall art…

See how wide they are? I would never buy pants like that, and here I am!
Back. Now that I see these pics I’m realizing that it looks like one leg is shorter than the other. Could it be?

I had only 2 meters of this fabric (that’s what the pattern called for), left from my previous sewing adventures so matching the print pattern was not an option. The print is very large, as you can see, and there would be an enormous amount of waste in any case. So I tried to concentrate the most flower action on the bottom of the pant legs and include the vertical elements to facilitate the up-down eye movement, rather than having it linger in some ehem, less attention worthy area of my bod, you know what I mean.

Side seams. Even though there’s no pattern matching, I think I tackled the issue well-ish.


Just a warning though, what follows is a lot of crotch shots, many of them unappetizing… All in the name of education.


From left to right:

1. Completely unaltered pattern, doom and gloom, waist predictably too tight, yucky folds running diagonally from the crotch towards the hip. Fitting For Every Figure diagnosis: High Hip Adjustment needed. A-ha! 90% of pants on the market represent this problem for me, and 100% of me-mades (at least the non-athletic ones).

2. I let out all the 4 seams to add more room in the high hip and waist, but then the waist  was way too big, making them drop lower, re-creating the diagonal folds.

3. Took only the side seams in at the waist, and narrowed the hip. Later, I shortened the front crotch by a tiny amount, to get rid of those horizontal wrinkles (picture #3).

4. What folds? What wrinkles?

And the back:


These pictures represent more or less same points in the construction. After adding to the waist, the pants were sitting too low, so I ended up with too much bulk in the back centre seam (pic #2, ugh!). Took that in, resulting in situation pictured with the grey pants (that was my muslin #2). The main difference between that and the finished project was that I narrowed the whole leg from the inside only, so I ended up with less bunching between the thighs.

And just so you can see that it’s me wearing my pants, here is one of me. Wearing the pants. The most flattering picture of about 50 that I took. None of them flattering, since my hairdresser gave me a haircut that was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too short. In general, not flattering at all. Crossing my fingers and toes that it grows out fast.

I promise you’ll get a better picture when the weather is nice enough to take pictures outside. And when my hair is back…

So how about you, dear reader, do you make muslins? How many per garment, if at all?