Monday, December 18, 2017

Late to the Party … Again — True Bias Hudson Pants Review

So, this pattern has been out since mid-2014 and currently has at least 30 reviews on Pattern Review, (plus more if you count the men's and kid's versions and reviews not on PR). I bought it about 2 years ago. Good intentions blah, blah, blah. Finally, its time had come.

Here I am wearing my adjusted second pair with the goofiest of goofy expressions. But you come here for the sewing and chit chat, not my (non)modeling/posing skills. The short verdict is: I love them! My wordier thoughts follow below.

The temps in Tampa dropped quite a bit a couple of weeks ago and I really needed casual long pants for after work, walking the dogs, running to the grocery store, etc. (We're back up to the 80s today, and I'm kind of missing the chillier weather.) Making Hudson Pants had been on my to-do list forEVER but kept getting pushed. And every time I'd want to wear those casual long pants and NOT find them in my wardrobe, I scolded myself for not taking a weekend to Just Sew Them.

Finally, my Hudson sewjo and weekend coincided and I got started. Better two years later than never. My first pair is below. They are the better pair to look at since they have a lot more visual interest than my next solid black pair. The fabrics are deep stash/leftovers from at least 10 years ago. And it holds up like iron. The bomber jacket I made from both the "print" and the solid is still going strong and I wear it on dog walks All. The. Time. This means I now have a dog walking suit. Hahaha. The "print" is a ponte with some, but not a lot, of stretch. It must be poly the way it's not changed at all over the years, but it feels like cotton. I'm pretty sure it's from back in the days that Stephen was still at the helm. The solid is also ponte, a rayon blend I believe.

I don't have a photo of me wearing them. Life is not fair.

The size chart appears less generous than it is in the actual wearing. I had read some reviews from other sewists on the higher end of the measurements reporting plenty of room in their finished Hudsons even though they themselves were quite outside the given numbers. In other words, these are very casual pants with a lot of ease. Basically, if you can pull 34-36" of elastic up and over your butt, you're good with the size 18. (That elastic measurement is about what you'd use in the waistband for the size 18 waist.)

I did make adjustments, though. One, because said other sewists/reviewers have proportionately thin legs. I do not. Two, my "muslin" fabric isn't the stretchiest kid on the block. Or something like that.

While these are not particularly low-rise, my muffin-top waist and cake-eating butt will be better served with a higher cut. (More on this below.) I added one inch to the front and back rise. In the front pattern right below, you can see that said inch was added below the pocket so messing with the pocket pieces would not be required. Yay!

I also added inner thigh space, pointed to by the red arrows, tapering to nothing around knee level.

The pattern calls for 2-inch wide elastic. Of course I did not have any on hand. I "made" my own. It was a little trickier to feed through the casing, but not terrible, and now that it's in and stitched over, I can't even tell it's really two pieces. I will probably never buy 2-inch wide elastic now. Heh.

I also cheated and didn't thread a tie all the way around. I made the buttonholes in the waistband as instructed and then just threaded a short "faux" waist tie through the buttonholes without going around the waist in between. I won't tell if you won't.

This is as close to modeled as we're doing today. (This was actually a week ago.)

Trying on and wearing the brown, first, pair told me I definitely needed more room over the caboose. I could be a plumber in these pants if you catch my drift. I added a wedge to the CB, tapering to nothing at the waist. I also thought I wanted a bit more length in the rise all around. Ultimately, I was wrong about that last part and will go back to adding just 1 inch to the rise, not the 1.5 inches I added for the second, black, pair.

Here's where the second, black, pair hits me ... right over the belly button. I don't mind too much because I'm never going to tuck into these, but if I'm aiming for best fit, they'd be better with 1/2" less height in the rise.

For the black waistband, I cheated even more and completely omitted a tie and the buttonholes. As mentioned, I'm never going to tuck into these pants and the bulge from a tie looks weird under untucked shirts.

The last thing I did differently on both pairs and which step I think is glaringly missing from the instructions and sew-along, is to edgestitch the pocket just past the band. It's a nicer finish and holds everything in place better. Speaking of the pockets ... I feel that they are right on the very edge of being too shallow. They're fine as is. My hands fit. I just want them a little bigger/deeper. I'll alter this for a next pair.

This fabric is from Cali Fabrics, my new favorite online fabric store. Cali calls it "techno knit," which feels very much like a thin scuba. It's nicely stretchy with 100% recovery, comfortable to wear, and doesn't pill. Cali is sold out of black. I hope this is a fabric they will carry again. I know these Hudsons are boring with no contrast and hard to see details but they are definitely a basic I sorely needed in my wardrobe and I'm so happy to have them.

Overall, I think the Hudson Pants is a good pattern. It sews up quickly, the PDF is easy to assemble accurately, not too many pages to tape together, and nothing was out of whack in the pattern pieces or instructions. It was the first True Bias pattern I've tried so I've had a good first impression. I've had my eye on Jalie's similar Vanessa pant and may give into buying that one too, if only to compare. Because I'm weird like that.

This is the realistic shot of how they'll be worn most of the time.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Alex, I'll Take Potpourri for $400

(Blogpost title referring to Jeopardy! and the mish-mash stream of consciousness that follows.)

It's been 3 months since my last confes.... kidding!... blogpost. Not as bad as last time when it was more like 6. I always want to blog but feel like I don't have enough thoughts to meaningfully fill up a post. Then a month goes by and I forget half of what I wanted to share to begin with or life just moves on, or both. So, here I am. Bear with me if things get ramble-y but I'm determined to get this done and posted.

The biggest news of the last few months is that (1) Tyler is out of the Marine Corps after 7+ years and (2) he got married. I'm not sure which he was happier about. KIDDING! He also just bought a house in St. Augustine and he and wife Angela moved in last week. He's now an actual Florida resident again and is less than 3 hours away. My (step)son Michael and his wife and son also live in St. Augustine so all of my boys are in the state and an easy drive.

The official wedding pics aren't available yet but I'll share the few I have. I didn't take many pics that day, knowing I'd be able to borrow from everyone else's cell. I just wanted to enjoy the day, not the phone.  

My boys, Left to Right: Michael, Alex, Tyler. The "baby," Alex (25), turned out the tallest. A fact he never forgets to mention. Tyler had as his groomsmen his brothers and two Marine buddies, one of whom was his best man. He's definitely made some lifetime USMC friends. Rah. Weird that he's now a former Marine.

Tyler and Angela in St. Peter's, an historic Catholic church in Beaufort, SC. They both looked beautiful. :-) Loved Angela's romantic and very tastefully feminine dress.

On the church steps.

Arriving in a 1957 Chevy to the reception, which was held at Traditions on Parris Island.

The Hollywood kiss!

After the reception at the "after party." Angela had changed into this dress. Tyler kept his tux on.

And, no. I didn't make my dress. I thought about it but my sewing time is so limited that I really didn't want to pressure myself. So I went shopping. Where I found even more pressure. Hah. I must have hit the stores in the drought of fancy dresses right after June brides and before the Holidays. There was almost nothing. But I did find the above dress at Dillard's and tried it on. I don't know that I would've tried it on had my choices not been so limited. It's basically a sheath and I don't usually go for those. But this was actually not bad, and ... on sale for $49. Seriously. I couldn't believe it was so inexpensive. So even though it was too big, by at least 2 sizes, I bought it because I knew I could do the alterations. (I wouldn't LIKE doing the alterations but I knew I could do them.)

I spent one entire weekend unpicking the CB seam in the dress and liningremoving the really long CB invisible zipper, taking in the dress at CB and sides, and re-hemming dress and lining for me and my sparkly shoes. I also added gathering to the shoulders of the cover-up so the armhole seam wouldn't be 3 inches down my arm. It worked in a pinch, looked pretty, and actually held up for the whole day/evening.

The funniest thing about this dress? It is pretty much the EXACT color of the bride's mother's dress. You would think we had planned it. And both of us matched the groomsmens' vests. Once we get the final formal photos, we're all just going to be so color coordinated! And puffy-eyed from bawling our eyes out. Her mom and I are criers. Even Tyler was teared up as Angela came down the aisle. Tissues for everyone! LOL

Moving on to sewing …

I started this McCall's 7381 well before the wedding. I thought I might wear it to the rehearsal dinner. Yeah, that didn't happen. Which is OK. It was actually on the cold side in SC that week so I would've frozen in this anyway. It was actually below 60 degrees F. Brrrrr.

I did finish it this past weekend and lucky you, you get more work bathroom photos. Dark, blurry, and so unflattering.

The dress is OK. I don't think it's super flattering on me but it's not the worst either. It is comfortable and it does fit. It's just got a bit too much waist floof to be my best silhouette (which you can see better on Zillie below). The dress may grow on me and I love this fabric, but even if it doesn't, I'm happy I made it. I liked the dress pattern when it first came out and I've wanted to try it. I'm not sure how I'll feel about ironing it when it comes out of the laundry. If nothing else, that may relegate it to occasional wear only. Not a big iron-er here anymore. Press-er when sewing, yes. Ironing, newp.

Pattern notes: I sewed it without too much pattern alteration. I did alter for my square shoulders since this is a woven (rayon challis from Fabricmart). I blended from 16-ish neck/chest to 20-22-ish at waist hips. I recall the pattern being lettered (S-M-L-etc) instead of numbered sizes, so blending was kind of an "by eye" thing. I also added about 6 inches to the above-knee view, since I wanted below-knee. I did not do an FBustA, but did a FBicepA (hah, so witty) of about 1 inch. The sleeves eased in very well, probably due to the give of the rayon. I haven't sewn a set-in sleeve in forEVER and I was not looking forward to fighting with excess ease. Luckily, I didn't have to. Dodged that bullet. All in all, it's a good pattern. I would recommend it.

It should be obvious in the pics above and below that I added pockets and have my hand jammed down in one. Pockets. Yay!

Here it is on Zillie. See the waist floof? It's kind of blouson-y, kind of not. I think it would be much better if my waist didn't have its own blousons.

Closer view of the bodice. I'm not sure if you can tell without me pointing it out, but I did sew down all the pleats (shoulders and waist, 12 total). I was not about to press pleats each time this comes out of the laundry, on top of regular dress ironing. No way.

Next up is the True Bias Hudson pant that's now a couple of years old. Nancy mentioned on Instagram that she converted one of her TNT woven pants patterns to a pattern for knits. I could do that, but I also like to just sew new-to-me patterns. Especially new-to-me *popular* patterns. I like to see for myself if the bandwagon is worth jumping on. I'm guessing I'm not alone. I'll keep you posted.

Signing off for now. I'll be back when I've got more wedding pics! I bet you can't wait. :-)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Another Hot Patterns 1120: Primavera Dress

It's been 6 years since I first made this dress. (Old blog post here.) I'm much happier with this one than the last because I tweaked the fit better. And it doesn't look like a quasi skeleton costume (reference to previous fabric). Time flies, because I certainly wasn't planning on a 6-year break from the first try. This pattern is currently on clearance on the HotPatterns website. I guess it seems like an old pattern now to them, but it's actually still on trend. I would recommend the pattern. It's got some nice shaping and details that could be a bit tricky/time consuming to just hack yourself.

Once again, you're getting work bathroom selfies. I did get a new, more portable, little tripod thingie but I haven't tried it out yet so the bathroom it is. Wild-eyed sideways glance.

I already had the pattern cut from last time but I did need to review my notes to deal with the fitting problems. First up was raising the scandalously low neckline. Not quite sure who would ever wear it as it was. Even with the 2 inches I added, it's still on the low side on me, but I'm not flashing anyone anymore so that's good. The bust darts (which are French darts) needed no adjustment, nor did I need to add bust room.

Here's the finished dress on Zillie. The gathers at center front make me think I'm disguising my tummy. I'm probably not, but it's a good thought.

The pattern is originally designed with a facing which gets sewn into the waist seam. Since I recently finished the Turner dress, which has a fully lined bodice, it inspired me to ditch the facing and copy the lined bodice idea. I'm not a fan of facings in general and I usually have problems with HP's facings in particular so I try to eliminate them whenever I can. It did take a little reimagining the construction steps, but it wasn't too complicated.

In this photo below you can also see how the pockets are made. It's really one big pocket which spans the front of the skirt, but it functions as two separate sideseam pockets. Even though it's one piece and you could actually touch hands inside across it, you don't really notice it's not normal separate pockets since the shape is such that your hands just go downward and don't want to meet up.

Closer pocket bag pic. I recall having a hard time figuring out these pockets from the instructions the first time but I had no problem at all this time so I guess I was just being a blockhead before.

I did interface the pocket facing piece, which gives the opening a bit of stability, which you can see below.  You might also see that I forgot to snip the seam allowance to lay flat around the pocket facing and my sleeve hem needs a bit of trimming too. And by "needs," I mean I've already worn this as-is and am too lazy to go back and trim anything. ;-)

I did face the hem as per the instructions, and I understitched the joining seam before coverstitching the hem facing in place. I really like the extra something that a wide, faced hem adds to a knit dress. It just feels fancier and more substantial and it definitely hangs nicer.

The sleeves are kind of a hybrid between set-in and raglan. HotPatterns calls it semi-raglan. The armsyce is set inward further than a true set-in sleeve and there's a shoulder dart.

I didn't reshape the shoulder dart for my very square shoulders as I usually do with darted raglans and I love the semi-structured shape that resulted. Slight Crystal Carrington vibe, but my shoulders are narrow so the illusion of a little width there is a good thing on me.

The understitched inside neckline.

Below shows I edgestitched waistline to stabilize joining seam allowances, skipping the gathered areas. I used a small ZZ for this to allow some give when sitting, etc.

Rear view. Not quite as symmetric as I thought I had it laid out before cutting. Oh well. Plus, even though I adjusted the back this time, I still had to take in the CB seam about an inch at the neckline, tapering to nothing by mid upper back, and I still needed to remove an additional 3/4" from the back bodice length, tapering to nothing at the sideseams. You can see this if you're looking for it. Tweaking the fit would have been a whole lot easier if I had basted that CB seam instead of sewing it for reals AND adding the understitched lining. The dress had to stand in time out for a week before I wanted to deal with it again. But I'm glad I did. I really like the dress. It's comfortable any time but especially good for hot Florida summer days.

Me, still in that bathroom. Woo.

Parting funny shots. While I was nearly done sewing this dress, I noticed the spool was running dangerously low. I was on the homestretch attaching the hem facing, which would leave only coverstitching (with different thread spools) to do after this seam. Could I make it? It was going to be close.

And then the bobbin ran out. Yeah. (Really should get that bobbin sensor fixed.)

See ya next time! Click on my Instagram link in the upper right to see an animated me compiled of more work bathroom selfies than anyone needs.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Turner Two

I finally was able to revisit the Cashmerette Turner dress (pattern link HERE (nayy) and previous review HERE).

This fabric, from Fabricmart, sat in my stash for exactly 4 minutes before it was on the cutting table with Turner pattern pieces on it. It's a fun, summery ITY print with just enough body. Side note: I wish Fabricmart would stop labeling all ITYs the same and divide them up a bit by weight.

I made no changes from my last pattern modifications (narrowing the shoulders/neckline) except to lower the front vee about an inch, which equals a net 1-inch raise from the original pattern neckline. At this level, it's not quite cleavage revealing, which does well for me at work. I also added about an inch to the skirt length for no particular reason except to change it up. Sewing is a fickle wench. :-)

In addition to the few minor pattern issues I mentioned in my original Turner review, there are a couple of "truing" mistakes, which are easily corrected. By mentioning them here, maybe Jenny of Cashmerette will make note of them for the next print runs/editions of the pattern.

First, the sleeve hem allowance is not shaped correctly for a perfect fold-up.

Second, the side seams finish in a point at the hem edge. I trimmed the point so it blended into the curve of the hem edge, which makes for a smoother hem turn-up on a circle-ish skirt.

No mistakes here! I'm just showing off the nice point at the vee. :-)

I remembered to add my pass card loop. I just love having these when I don't have pockets.

And I added a self-fabric sash (interfaced with scraps of Perfect Fuse), which means I really didn't need the pass card loop. Hey, it's nice to have options! With that sash in place, I'm easily imagining a hack to Turner into a faux wrap dress. Excuse the bad pun. Maybe it won't take me another 6-7 months for my next go.

Happy Friday! I'm hoping to continue this weekend with my next sewing project.