Twill Tape Magic Waistband Fix (patent pending)

I’m still on a bit of high from solving all my waistband problems. It’s a super simple fix really and because it doesn’t even involve a seam ripper, I think it’s fair to call it magic, apply for a patent, and start raking in the royalties. (That’s how that works, right?)

I’m talking about stretch jeans. They fit perfectly fresh out of the wash. But then they grow. They need to be constantly tugged back up. And they have to be washed again because they are a sad droopy mess by the end of the first day’s wear

The idea for my fix came from the construction of Liana Stretch Jeans. I think I sewed 3 pairs for #sewfancypants in January! (Blog posts- here and here.)

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There’s no interfacing whatsoever in the waistband on Lianas. Instead, narrow twill tape is basted into the upper seam allowance. I was skeptical at first, but I like to try new construction methods and give them a fair shot.

So 3 pairs, several wears down the road I can tell you this stabilizing method holds up incredibly well. And it’s the impetus for my fix for already constructed (ie rtw) jeans.

There’s no need to open the waistband for my fix, though! Simply sew some twill tape to the waistband facing.

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The first pair I experimented with this approach on was a pair of rtw jeans I had altered the year before, adding waist darts in the back and removing some width from the waistband. This certainly helped this pair a lot, but I found them to be too big again this year, mostly because they stretch out through the day. Since I never wear belts I didn’t even bother to take the belt loops off before sewing the twill tape in.

The bobbin thread matched my denim so well I don’t even think you can see the line of stitching that runs over the belt loops.

The bobbin thread matched my denim so well I don’t even think you can see the line of stitching that runs over the belt loops.

I went after my high-waist Ginger jeans next.

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This was the first and last time I used a cute quilting cotton for the waistband facing. Even with interfacing, it’s just not as stable as denim. I had already moved the button on this pair in an inch several months back.

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I never added belt loops to these black Gingers, so there were none to worry in this case.

I simply try to ease as much of the jeans waistband under the twill as I go. Think if it as the opposite of stretching elastic while sewing it. (Alternatively, you could use a length of twill tape that sits comfortably at the level where you want your jeans to live. Mark the quarters on your tape and jeans and ease them together.)

Can you see the line of wear across the middle of the waistband on these? The band used to always flop over. Not anymore!

Can you see the line of wear across the middle of the waistband on these? The band used to always flop over. Not anymore!

One last example coming at you. I even freed the belt loops from their top stitching on this pair. initially, I used some ricrac. But I had worn these for several hours first and they were too relaxed already. I had to rip out the ricrac, wash and dry them and go at it again. I definitely recommend stabilizing the waistband on a fresh washed pair when they fit the best and haven’t stretched with wear.

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I went back to the twill tape. And because this pair was particularly prone to growing and I found I hadn’t quiet eased them in enough, I added an extra length in the back from side seam to side seam.

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I also moved the button in 3/4”. I’m not sure if you can appreciate from the before and after pictures, but I was able to slip these straight off without undoing the button and zipper at all before and now they stay put on my hips. (Yeah. They got cut-off too. It’s hot. #aintnobodygottimetosewnewshorts)

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I’m really glad I tried the Liana stretch jeans pattern and that this stabilizing trick translated well to other applications. I’ll be using twill tape in the upper seam allowance of all my waistbands going forward and adding it at will for those pairs (both self sewn and rtw) that tend to grow too much.

And may all your jeans stay put now too!

Lucerne, Lucerne, Lucerne, LUCERNNNNNE!

Here’s the earworm that accompanies my post:

Thanks, Dolly!


Now let’s get to business.

One of my favorite indie pattern designers has done it again! Adrianna of Hey June Handmade has a new top (aka blouse) and it’s more or less the perfect simple woven top pattern. While I’m calling the Lucerne Blouse simple, she’s not short on interesting details.

Stunning tie sleeves or delicate petal sleeves. Both are winners.

You have your choice of 2 included neckline shapes as well, but I’m just now realizing I only sampled the rounded neckline during testing.

it’s a wee bit wrinkled. shoot me.

it’s a wee bit wrinkled. shoot me.

My first version is sewn from a 1 yard cut of some magical micro stripe lawn (ticking?) of unknown source. ETA- I found it! It’s cotton voile, soured from La Mercerie.

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label a la Gwyn, ( she’s clever )

label a la Gwyn, (she’s clever)

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The stupendous Marie-Fluerine made a gorgeous lined lace version during testing and I had to copy her and make myself one right quick. And my trusty stash did not disappoint.

stretch twill Anthro-inspired pants-  blogged

stretch twill Anthro-inspired pants- blogged

This lace version is lined with lawn and sports the petal sleeves. Doing a full lining, one can omit the facing.

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Lace purchased from La Finch Fabrics several years back.

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I hemmed the lining a half inch higher than the outer layer to keep it from hanging below.

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And we’re just getting started! with a super simple general body style, Lucerne is very “hackable,” meaning make a few mods, and you’ve got a new style. So I cut into some of my new Rifle Paper Co. rayon.

Yeah. I pressed a big crease there and didn’t notice. It’s fine. Chill.

Yeah. I pressed a big crease there and didn’t notice. It’s fine. Chill.

And I gave this blouse what I call the Trevi treatment. (Trevi, if you’re not a well-seasoned Hey June patterns enthusiast, is a button-back tank top and dress.)

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Simply cut 2 mirrored back pieces, 1.5 inches away from the fold. Fold the center back under twice (1/4” and 5/8”) and you’ve got yourself a placket. You can make functional buttonholes and stuff, but you already know this blouse fits over your head without closures, so you can go ahead and just sew the buttons on through all the layers. #jazzhands

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The neckline on this blouse is bound with bias and the sleeve pieces have a delicate little rolled hem.

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Now that you’ve got two sexy sleeve variations, you can borrow the methods from Lucerne and add the same details to other tops.

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Take that beautiful tie sleeve and slap it on a button-up.

Cheyenne  in white rayon challis. Black  Ginger jeans .

Cheyenne in white rayon challis. Black Ginger jeans.

Keep the sleeve cap the same as your base pattern; just transfer the slit and sleeve length. Bind that baby and add the tie. You’re a sewing rockstar!

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I think I’ll be copying this ready to wear blouse shortly!

So, thanks for stopping by! I don’t need to tell you you NEED Lucerne in your pattern library, because you already bought it, right? Like yesterday?


[I sewed a straight size 8 for all my versions. (I measure 34” high bust, 35” full bust, 28” waist, 37” hips. 5’5”.)]

#sewrtwstyle Hvar Jacket

Did you catch my Hvar jacket hack as part of the Itch to Stitch Make It Wear It series this week? Participating was such a wonderful opportunity! It always feels good to get picked when applying for collaboration opportunities. In exchange for my participation, I received the pattern as well as monetary compensation for the blog contribution from Kennis and Blackbird Fabrics supplied the material. I can’t thank them both enough!

My motivations and inspiration are discussed in my sponsored post on the Itch to Stitch blog and I’m supplementing that post with more details on the drafting and construction modifications I made here.

Hvar line drawing

Hvar line drawing

ready to wear inspiration jacket

ready to wear inspiration jacket

My alterations to the original pattern:

photo edited by yours truly #iwontquitmydayjob

photo edited by yours truly #iwontquitmydayjob

Drafting Changes

  • Shortened collar 2.5” at back while widening 6.5”, straightened front angle

  • Skipped back panel fish eye darts

  • Added a center back seam with top-stitch detailing to outer back piece

  • Self lined front and back pieces with exterior cropped 2.5”

  • Added zippered welt pockets

  • Shortened sleeves 2”

  • Added asymmetric front zip

line drawing mod credit-  Gwyn

line drawing mod credit- Gwyn

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Construction changes

  • Hem before adding collar

  • Alternative collar attachment (illustration below and explanation below)

  • Right side of the separating zipper is attached between notches on the front piece; left half attaches to widened collar edge

this stunning highlighting was done by moi

this stunning highlighting was done by moi

Instead of finishing the outer edges of the collar piece (stitching line highlighted in red) before attaching it to the jacket, I attached the collar to the jacket first (green line), sandwiching all right sides together. Then I closed the outer edges of the collar leaving a few inches open in the back and turned the jacket out through the opening.

And I forking love this jacket.

worn with black twill  Ginger jeans  and a very wrinkled Lucerne top ( Hey June Handmade , in testing)

worn with black twill Ginger jeans and a very wrinkled Lucerne top (Hey June Handmade, in testing)

Blackbird’s tencel twill II is simply delicious. At the time of publishing, I believe the light olive color I received was sold out, but hello! THEY HAVE A GORGEOUS DUSTY ROSE COLOR NOW.

brb. Buying some STAT.

Oh and if you’re tempted by their scrumptious stock too, code HVAR15 will score you 15% off! (Code applies to all fabrics in the shop and excludes patterns, notions, workshops and gift cards. Valid 4/30-5/10.)

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I love it layered over a simple little black dress too.

yeah, it’s weird. I have knees.  shoes-  Livvy  by L’Artiste (about 3 people ask every single time I share an outfit wearing them)

yeah, it’s weird. I have knees.

shoes- Livvy by L’Artiste (about 3 people ask every single time I share an outfit wearing them)

Zippered, the collar drapes differently but it’s equally as interesting and beautiful.

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Here’s a closer look at one little detail: I used the selvedge for long zipper pulls.

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Whether you decide to sew it as designed or hack it, Hvar is probably the most stylish jacket pattern out there. And with only 4 pattern pieces, she’s surprisingly very straightforward to make.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks again to:

Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour!

From the moment there was Lugu fabric in my hands, it seemed I was making something with it!

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I sewed Jessica Swift (you know, the DESIGNER) a dress for the lookbook. That’s Jessica in her rayon Charlie Caftan on pages 12 and 13!

But first, I sewed myself a (modified) Willamette.

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Then some Lugu found its way into the Redwood Tote I tested.

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Internet stranger turned sewing friend Gwyn’s visit in late March coincided with the week just before our tour dates. Somehow….things got out of hand. (A coincidence that things got ridiculous when Gwyn arrived? #ithinknot)

It started with a single top for my first daughter and a matching one for her little sister. Of course the 4 year old didn’t approve of my fabric choice because she suddenly coveted her sister’s top, so a third top was in order.

That makes 3 tops. Which felt like a good amount. I thought I was done sewing.

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I used the Glass Onion pattern by Shwin Designs. I’ve sewn it countless times and am certainly not tired of it yet. She sews up quite quickly, though I do deviate from the pattern slightly, lining the front bodice. This alternative construction, sans facing, calls for both sandwiching and burrito-ing but the finish is quite lovely. #andnowimhungry

The back of the Glass Onion features crossover panels reminiscent of moth wings, don’t you think? That’s what drew me to use this pattern, like a moth to a flame. (I just couldn’t not.)

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And then I got the idea to make a button up.

Another Shwin pattern,  Maxwell !

Another Shwin pattern, Maxwell!

Another kid needed a dress. (Why it couldn’t be another Glass Onion top is a long story. Maybe Gwyn wants to explain it again, but I pieced the moth for that look, and Gwyn sewed the dress.)

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So, if you’re keeping count, that’s Lugu looks for 5 children.

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(NOT ALL OF THEM ARE MINE, so you know. I own 3 total. That’s plenty.)

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It was pretty much pure chaos aka SEW MUCH FUN!

Those kids made us work pretty hard for the group shots which sadly are pretty low res.

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But they are a cute bunch in some great outfits.

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I’m probably biased, but the “baby” is pretty adorable.

The boots were her idea.

The boots were her idea.

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The moths were all foundation paper pieced using lillyella’s free moth charm blocks. (Scaled to 150% for the larger sizes.)

lita

lita

siouxsie

siouxsie

And then Gwyn made me make a leather Ida clutch (with some yummy metallic gold leather she picked out for me). I admittedly was pretty tired of paper piecing at this point so I did a simple reverse applique of sorts using the outline of one of the moths.

#gwynmademedoit

#gwynmademedoit

Thankfully Gwyn knows how to operate a camera, so we got a few other good shots.

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All the Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour stops are linked in Jessica’s post here. I’ve been continually flabbergasted by the creativity and range on display, and we’re only on day 7, with several more weeks of awesome to go!

Thanks for sharing your fabric with me, Jessica! It’s always a pleasure to work with your designs.

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THE END

#LetsSewThisTogether: April Sew Swap

Hey friends! Jen and I excited to introduce a new sewing event. For the April session of #letssewthistogether, we thought a sewing swap could be a fun way to connect with other sewcialists and spread some love across the community. We all often gush about how supportive and generally super badass the IG sewing community is so here’s an opportunity to spread some much more tangible appreciation and love.

Inspired by Sanae and Ute’s Secret Valentine’s Exchange (which, sadly, is on hiatus!), we were planning to have this event for occur in February, but then SewFancyPants consumed our Januaries (in the best way possible) and we decided to push this swap into April. Since April pairs well with showers (like a good wine), let’s shower each other with love!

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So here’s how April Sew Swap works-

  • Sign up for the swap.

The sign up form is here (NOW CLOSED). The form will open on March 1st and accept responses for 10 days or 100 participants, whichever comes first. Some fields are optional.


  • Get paired with another random participant.

    We’ll take care of the random partner assignments and then we’ll email you the details with your partner’s mailing information. We will try to pair you with someone residing in the same country whenever possible to keep shipping costs as minimal as possible, but we cannot guarantee it. The swap is open worldwide, so do consider that you may need to ship internationally.


  • Curate a small Love & Sewing themed gift for your partner.

Get stitching and crafting! Try to use stash materials in making your item(s). Think love, rain showers, rainbows. Be creative! There’s no wrong answer. We’re sharing some ideas and inspiration below. Throw in some notions or a fat quarter of fabric if you like. Just try to keep things small and light to minimize the postage (if expense is a concern).

Bonus points- Check your partner’s social media posts for hints on what colors and motifs they are drawn to.

We recommend a budget of about $20-25 (with shipping). This is at each maker’s discretion.


  • Mail it.

Do your best to complete your gift package and mail it to your swap partner in the first week of April. That means you need to mail your package in April, no later than Monday, April 8th.


  • Share it!

    Share little sneaks of your work if you like. Once your package is received, go ahead and share the full she-bang. Use the hashtags #letssewthistogether #aprilsewswap when sharing on IG.



Project ideas!


QuietPlays’s Heart on a Spool Paper Pieced Pattern

Small zippered pouch- Noodleheads’s Lil Cutie Pouches

Photo credit-  Noodlehead

Photo credit- Noodlehead

Simple reusable bag- Fold-up Market Tote

Photo credit-  Purl Soho

Photo credit- Purl Soho

Photo credit-  sew many ways

Photo credit- sew many ways

Photo credit-  KelbySews  for Totally Stitchin’

Photo credit- KelbySews for Totally Stitchin’

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Photo-  KATM

Photo- KATM

Reversible Sock Knitting Project Bag

The April SewSwap is open to EVERYONE AND EVERYBODY who wants to share the love of sewing. We hope you’ll join us because we think it’s going to be a lot of fun!



Sewn With Heart: A Fabric Love Story Continues

In the second installment of my #SewnWithHart fabric love story, I’m sharing more of what I made with the luscious tencel gabardine from Harts.

Without any further ado, I introduce my new Flint pants! This was my first time making this pattern and after struggling with the fit on the Ailakki bodice, I was really thrilled to have an easy win.

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These pants have a unique crossover flap through the left slash pocket. There’s not even a zipper!

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Why didn’t anyone tell me about these during #SewFancyPants!?!

(Actually I’m pretty sure I bought the pattern in January when it was feautured as Megan Nielsen’s pattern of the month!)

Flint sews up incredibly quickly and would be fantastic for beginner pant makers.

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I made a straight size 6 (28” waist, 38” hips) in the cropped length. I barely made the pieces fit on what was left of the 2.5 yards of tencel twill I had already cut my Ailakki top from. The waistband needed to be pieced.

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And when it came time to hem them (I should add I’m 5’5”), I decided they would look better longer, so I had to finagle hem bands to finish them. It was some pattern tetris wizardry at its finest. (Thanks, Gwyn, for helping me make it work!)

hem

hem

And of course my Flint pants pair perfectly with my hacked Ailakki wrap top!

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My only regret is that I didn’t interface along the pocket openings. They tend to want to bag open a bit.

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But these pants are comfortable af and make quite a statement at the same time.

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I believe the pattern calls for 2 buttons, but I used 3 because I love these Citron Jeans buttons so much.

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And of course, I put a Kylie and the Machine label in the back. It speaks for itself.

(Harts is carrying these sexy  woven labels  now!!)

(Harts is carrying these sexy woven labels now!!)

I’m suddenly in need of a bodysuit pattern so I can replace this dingy rtw thing I’m wearing here.

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I’m ready for my Sparkly Ladies night now!

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Sewn With Hart: a rambling love story about fabric

I’m not entirely sure I know where this story begins…

Maybe my story starts in July of 2017 because that’s when the Fringe pattern was in testing and I met Dana in the testing group. I was introduced to Harts Fabric as they offered a “tester discount.” You probably know I haven’t met a fabric discount I didn’t love, so I ordered two different Cotton and Steel rayon prints.

Or does this story start in May 2018 at Quilt Market, PDX? Because here, I can actually say I met Dana. Physical, in real life, flesh and blood met. Not internet, social media stalking, fan girl met. We happened upon each other at Jessica Swift’s Art Gallery Fabrics booth. I had sewn Jessica a Fringe dress with her Sirena rayon! Serendipity, my friends!! Serendipity. I remember Dana was wearing an awesome cardigan which I mistakenly guessed was a "Driftwood.” I meant Blackwood, but my star struck brain combined Driftless and Blackwood. It was neither of those, but rather a Jalie pattern. I digress!

So hey, the year is now 2019. And it’s February. It’s Harts Fabric’s month of self love sewing, #SewnWithHart, and I’m the caboose on the blogger train. My project was inspired by my need for an outfit for a ladies night event in early March.

With a “Miami Heat” theme for this year, I knew I wanted to make something sassy. Enter Named’s Ailakki jumpsuit!

I NEVER thought I would make a jumpsuit. EVER. But suddenly it seemed like the perfect project for my event. It called for a new hashtag! #lonisewsajumpsuit

Right. How did I even wind up at Quilt Market in PDX? It’s crazy. But that story also starts with an internet friendship formed over fabric. I have the Cleverest of Colleens to thank. She also goes by Gwyn, The Fabricsourcerer. If there’s ever a very specific fabric you need found, she is your woman. I met Gwyn after falling in love with the fabric line she designed for Raspberry Creek Fabrics in early 2017. I’ll share more details when Gwyn gets around to writing the exposé, but it all started here:

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So I went to PDX to irl meet The Gwyn, wearer of buffalo plaid and drinker of vodka.

OK. Yes, you’re here for the JUMPSUIT. I was completely intrigued by the tencel gabardine in Harts’ selection and it sounded perfect for Ailakki. (Named’s cover sample is made from cupro twill.) When I received it, I was instantly in love. It’s the holy grail of tencel twill. Soft, thick, drapey. In one word: DELICIOUS.

I pulled an odd-shaped scrap of rayon for the lining, one of the two Cotton and Steel prints I had purchased during Fringe testing. (It never became a Fringe, but rather another Chalk and Notch design, Farrah!) It didn’t really occur to me until I was starting to think about writing up this blog post, but the lining fabric had also traveled through Harts’ hands, albeit over 2 years earlier. Kismet!

Now, a detail-oriented sewist doesn’t just cut striped fabric all willy-nilly like. (I mean I used to. before I knew what pattern matching was. I’m sure if you scroll far back enough on my insta grid you’ll find some examples… #neverstoplearning ) So, I fussy cut the Ailakki bodice to match the stripes across the front, back and sides. And this is when I decided this Cotton and Steel beauty couldn’t just be the lining. It needed to also be SEEN!

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Long story short, I ended up with a reversible Ailakki top! (#lonididntsewajumpsuit)

The fitting was challenging. For one thing, it’s rather hard to pin a bodice to one’s own back. I asked my husband for some help at one point, and it didn’t end well. (He snagged the rayon!) I’m glad our marriage survived! I don’t have a proper dress form that approximates my shape and size. I have a simple mannequin I bought secondhand from a woman who used to use it to model LuLaRue. She’s great for general modeling, but she’s not a form one can use for fitting. (Her name is Tina, btw. And I’d like to think Tina is much more well-dressed now.) To make things easier, I ended up removing 2.5” from the center back, skipping the zipper, and sewing the seam shut.

yes. a flying pig.

yes. a flying pig.

I tried to eliminate some of the gaping at the keyhole by removing a wedge from the bodice edge starting at the dart. But the waist darts are quite large and probably in the wrong place as far as my apex goes, but only you, me, and the sewing community at large will notice. Certainly none of the inebriated ladies at my ladies night event will care!

I am also slightly concerned I might experience a Janet Jackson halftime show moment while dancing in this top, so I plan on affixing my lady lumps up in there somehow. The Sparkly Ladies have already assured me that they won’t mind! *snort*

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I added a long tie that finishes at 3” wide to the bottom. The rayon had to be pieced. We’re talking 5 or 6 seams in that puppy and there are essentially no usable bits left!

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I love that with the long ties, there’s a bit of versatility in styling.

One last look at the scrumptious tencel gabardine. That twill weave! Swoon.

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I have about 2 yards of this tencel gabardine left and I’m in the process of transforming it into coordinating bottoms for my “fauxsuit.” At the time that this post was due, I hadn’t finished, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing them soon!

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Thank you, Harts!! It’s always a pleasure being part of your celebrations and sewing your fabrics (even if sometimes it takes me 2 years)! #stashhappens

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Taos Top

Maybe sometimes my blog posts are timely. Maybe sometimes not so much. So while Leslie of Threadbear Garments released her first pattern, the Taos top, back in late January and I’m just getting around to blogging about my experience testing the pattern now.

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Taos is a sleeveless, paneled top with 2 interchangeable necklines and 2 hem options.

I made my first cowl neck version out of some dreamy designer overstock sweater knit I rescued from LA Finch Fabrics’ End of Bolt section. Initially I made size 8 as per the body measurements chart.

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I was somewhat concerned about how I’d style a sleeveless top in the winter, but I quickly discovered it’s a really great layering piece, and I often wear it under my favorite Evergreen jacket.

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I sent the scraps of this sweater knit to Jen and she made a matching Taos for twinning!! Read her post here.

Anthropologie is frequently a source of inspiration for my sewing, so after coming across this sleeveless, vented hem sweater, I needed to make another Taos.

This version is a combination of Joann pucker knit and a burnout.

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I like to wear it under my denim coveralls.

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With just a half an inch of negative ease at the bust, I knew I could try making a Taos with a combination of woven and knit fabrics without sizing down. With exactly a half yard of rib knit from Harts, I was able to squeeze out View A. The center is olive rayon challis (leftovers from this project).

I simply lengthened the armbands and neckband to 100% so that it wouldn’t be stretched over the challis, causing puckering. I wish I had some modeled pictures of this version to share with you. But I didn’t feel like editing my, let’s call them…. apex prominences… out of the shots I took. You’ll just have to settle for Tina’s still lifes. (I very rarely have to edit her nips out.) I would have preferred to have the woven panels at the sides, but the length of rib I had wasn’t long enough to fit the center panel. At any rate, consider this my blessing to try Taos in a combination of fabrics. It makes a great scrap buster in that case!

It just so happens that right after testing for the Taos concluded, I found myself in Kansas City. And KC happens to be where Leslie lives, as well as my BFF, Kate.

I’m wearing a Taos under all those layers, for obvious reasons.

I’m wearing a Taos under all those layers, for obvious reasons.

Leslie and I met up briefly at Fabric Recycles, and yes, she is 16 feet tall. #nofilter

Kate obliged me with taking some pics around KC.

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The Museum at Prairie Fire was incredible, albeit rather cold because JANUARY.

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My final version was made from D&H Fabrics’ black wool jersey. As this fabric was rather stretchy, I was able to size down to a 6 here. Tina is modeling again because I often pair this Taos with my Evergreen too. I also brightened these pics so you could see the lovely seam lines.

This was my first experience sewing wool jersey. I’ve got to say I was surprised that it’s not scratchy in the least and is quite warm. I highly recommend trying some if you haven’t before.

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More chilly KC. Pardon the wrinkles. My duffel bag did that.

More chilly KC. Pardon the wrinkles. My duffel bag did that.

Leslie’s pattern impressed me right off the bat. The PDF was very well organized and professional. She certainly set the bar high and I look forward to seeing what other designs she has up her sleeve.

Willamins: a Willamette hack

IndieSew brought Shirt Month back again this February. I had renamed February GiveYOUary and declared I was only sewing for other people this month, but the #shirtmonth fomo was strong. Plus, Jessica Swift had sent me some of her incredibly gorgeous rayon from her new Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Lugu, and I knew I wanted to make myself a Willamette with my advance yardage. (I’ll be sewing a dress for Jessica in exchange for these fabrics!)

I had been eyeing the Perkins shirt dress pattern, but hadn’t pulled the trigger on buying it when I occurred to me I could approximate the look with a few mods to the Hey June pattern I already owned.

Perkins shirt dress by Ensemble Patterns

Perkins shirt dress by Ensemble Patterns

I didn’t realize the sleeve on Perkins is raglan until just now! But anyway, I wanted to imitate the gathered front shoulder and extra boxy shape.

I sewed view A in size 6. (I’m 5"‘5” with a 35/36” full bust and 38” hips.)

I removed 1.5 inches from the front shoulder, adding that same amount to the yoke in the back. This adjustment was also done to the front facing and sleeve pieces to keep all the seams aligned. When cutting the shirt front, I slashed the pattern piece mid shoulder and spread it about 6 or 8 inches. This extra width was gathered into the yoke.

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oh hey. This picture shows the spread was about 6.5” inches.

oh hey. This picture shows the spread was about 6.5” inches.

I used the Lumina Dusk for the yoke facing.

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The drape on the rayon is just excellent.

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I did a full placket much like Tori did here except I didn’t even bother to sew the plackets down! The buttons and holes hold the plackets in place nicely.

I used the Lumina Dusk to finish the hem with bias. I use the “French” bias binding approach as demonstrated here.

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These stunning silver mirrored buttons are from Arrow Mountain. (Out of stock at the time of publishing this post, but Ho-mei assures me they will restock soon! I’ve got my eye on the gold ones now!)

It’s love!! OBVIOUSLY.

It’s cute with the half tuck.

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or tied!

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Thank you Jessica for sharing your new fabric with me! Each new collection is even more beautiful than the last.

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THE END.

Anthro-Inspired Franken-Pants: A #sewfancypants Win

At some point in November (2018) I came across these pants on the interwebs. I instantly fell in love with the style lines and wanted to recreate them in the wine color.

The ankle button tab detail! Squee!

So I purchased the cardinal stretch chino twill offered by La Mercerie during Jess’ Black Friday Sale.

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After sewing both the Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch and the Narcisse Pants by Deer and Doe for Sew Fancy Pants, I knew I wanted to combine aspects of both patterns to achieve the ready to wear pants of my dreams.

[Itch to Stitch and Deer and Doe were both sponsors for the Sew Fancy Pants Instagram event. I purchased the Liana pattern from UpCraft Club with my monthly credit (I have a month-to-month account) and I received the Narcisse pattern for free.]


The back of the pants are 90% Liana. I laid the Liana back pattern piece over the back of the Bryce cargo pattern (which I had also previously sewn) to eliminate the yoke.

(It’s come to my attention since winging this my own way, that there are posts out there (for example) about switching out a pattern with a yoke for one with darts, but I went the mashing route with 2 of my tried and true patterns.)

I used the patch pocket markings from Bryce to situate the welts from Narcisse and used all the back welt pocket pattern pieces and instructions from Narcisse.

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The front of my pants are also about 80% (I’m making these numbers up as I go along) Liana with a touch of Narcisse. I knew from my muslin of Liana that I would cut the front of the pants 10” up from the original hem to create the lower front vented panel. I took 2” off from the original side seam to make the side seam panel that would give birth to the front inseam pockets a la Narcisse.

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And here is where I made a mistake I frequently make when altering patterns. I cut my new side panel 2 1/2” (width plus seam allowance x 1) wide instead of 3” wide (width plus seam allowance x 2). Thankfully the 1/2” seam allowance was enough that I could sew the fronts with 1/4” seam allowances and not end up with a pair of pants a size too small.

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So anyway! The front pockets are basically inseam pockets. They sit on the seam I created between the front of the pants and the 2” wide side panel. This general approach was borrowed from Narcisse.

And the pockets are enormous! After all was said and done, the left pocket was too wide and overlapped with the front fly too much, so I trimmed it down.

Sorry this photo is too purple. White balance is for people who know what they are doing. That’s obviously not me.

Sorry this photo is too purple. White balance is for people who know what they are doing. That’s obviously not me.

This was after I removed about 3” from the top of the Narcisse front pocket pattern piece! The rise on Narcisse is higher than Liana and I just guestimated how big I would want these to be by holding the pattern piece up to my body. If I were to do it over again, I would adapt the Liana pocket stays to be compatible with an inseam construction.

Since the fly isn’t stabilized by the pockets in my pants, I interfaced the fly extensions.

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The lower front panel was the bottom 10 1/2” of the original Liana front. I attached it to the assembled upper front and top stitched the seam. When I closed the side seams, I simply stopped at the level of the bottom panel.

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I removed an inch from length at the hem so they would finish at the ankle (I am 5’ 5” tall). I also slimmed the width of both the front and back at the vent, tapering from 1” wide at the hem to nothing at the top of the vent. (I wear a size 7 shoe and this was perfect for me, but you ought to do some foot and ankle measurements if you want to be able to keep the buttons closed while taking the pants on and off. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have to open and closed the buttons, but I don’t have time for that myself!

Now comes the creative part for creating the button placket/vent feature. I polled my IG followers and mulled it over quite a bit. Folks either said they would approach it as a button fly a la Landers or they would bind the seam a la Brunswick. I don’t own the Lander pants pattern and was familiar with Brunswick having recently tested that pattern, so I went with that method.

I sewed the hem before adding the binding. My pattern piece for the binding was 4” wide by 18” (2” finished width plus seam allowance x 2 by (vent height x 2) plus (seam allowance x 2)). I hope I’m making sense! I wish I had some simple illustration skillz. I just don’t!

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Then they just needed a shit ton of buttons. Lucky for me, I’m a glutton and had ordered a bucket load from my favorite jeans button peddler, Citron Jeans, about 10 days prior.

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These are 14mm buttons, so I used 2 for the waistband.

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Five on each ankle vent.

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And 1 for each of the welts.

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So 14 buttons and holes! Weee!

The end of my story is simply that I love these pants. I think they turned out pretty damn amazing.

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And my pocket bags match my Rifle Paper Co. rayon Trevi top (which I made last summer)! Kudos to that Clever gal, Colleen, for telling me to pair these 2 garments together.

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And they look great with my new Keds!

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I’m always happy to talk shop if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!