Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Clown Pants (or why one should make a muslin)

This is either the beginning or the end of my saga with the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Work Pants. Which of those outcomes will be determined by my desire to spend hours with my seam ripper and ability to find something to stream on the ol' tube to keep me occupied while I do so. I note this pattern is now $22. When I bought it, it was free/pay-what-you-can. According to my account on the website, I paid $15. I also think I probably would NOT pay $22. Especially when the very similar Muna and Broad Sculthorpe Pants are available for $16.

I bought and assembled this pattern right before my sewjo went on hiatus a couple of years ago. Since it was pretty much begging to be next, I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl. I can definitely use a pair of dog walking pants. They were never slated to become more than very casual, wear mostly at home pants. But I also optimistically thought "Who knows? Maybe they'll be great." And the pattern gods laughed.
Did I try them on as I went? No. In hindsight, since I wasn't making a muslin, I definitely should have basted everything together before committing to all the serging and topstitching. Yeah, even crusty old sewists make rookie mistakes. Hubris, thy name is Debbie. 

The photos below REALLY do not do justice to just how BIG these are on me. I have a large tummy. I have large thighs. And I have enough room in the pants legs for a small animal. Or even a medium-size one.
I picked my size from the body and finished garment measurement charts and from notes on the retail side of the ES website noting model measurements vs. the size they were wearing. Someone is fibbing. On the bright side, if you thought you were sized out of this pattern by a couple of sizes, you probably aren't. 

I think they're salvageable. It's just going to be a question of how much patience I have in me for ripping out every serged and topstiched seam. Right now, I feel up to it. Stay tuned.

Other thoughts on this pattern: Assembly of the PDF was easy enough. The instructions are so-so. I mean, they will definitely get the job done and are nicely illustrated, but I don't like the order of assembly. For one example, instead of sewing the crotch seam last from front to back with the legs one inside the other, you sew the crotch seams separately and then the inseams as one long stretch. Pretty sure this is to make topstitching the CF and CB seams easier, but I'd rather do it all in one go. So, it's really just a preference thing on my part and not a slam of the instructions. I also don't think I'm going to be a fan of the method for attaching the waist elastic, but I haven't gotten there yet. 

But what I really do not like and will slam a bit for is that notches are severely lacking for aligning the pocket pieces and all the leg panels. For the legs, there's one notch at the waist and one notch at the waist. And all the notches are just one single line/snip, so it would be very easy to mix up front and back panels since the panels are all very similar shapes. It would also be very easy to mix up front and back crotch seams for the same reasons. It's not that I need the notches for lining up the pieces, but more for identifying which piece is which. 

TL;DR: If you do make this pattern, be sure to keep track of and/or label your pattern pieces.  

Parting shot: My sewing buddy Cyrus who follows me room to room wherever I go. (Ignore the pile of crap to the right of the cutting table which still needs to be relocated.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Rhapsody On Me and a Sewing Room Preview

Here I am, after work, and with a mirror shot. Proof I am actually still alive. (And chubbier and grayer.) I currently work from home MWF and in the office TT. Today was an office day. We're moving buildings in ~2 weeks so my in-office time for the last month has been mostly spent packing up files into boxes or the shredding bins. It's approximately 400 degrees outside this month (with humidity levels to match) and it doesn't matter how much AC is blowing, my body still knows. Which is to say I was a little drippy today while moving all those files and boxes. Ugh. The new shirt held up well, though it's much more wrinkled after a full day and 2 car rides than what shows in this pic. I also see that part of the back of the top is hung up on my hip. Oh well. This is real life here.   
Behind me you can sorta kinda see the table where my sewing machines used to live. Over the weekend, I bought a new table and moved the machines into what will now be my dedicated sewing (and miscellaneous dog stuff and other junk) room. 

Below is their new home. Along with the ironing board and cracked iron (see previous post). 
My cutting table is on the other side of the room. 
Coming around full circle, there's Zillie and a shelf full of mostly non-sewing stuff. Weird fact — my ex's ashes are in the red urn in the top left cube. I'm not completely sure exactly why he is "living" with me again. The irony cracks me up regularly. If he were in a grave, he might be rolling over in it. I have a very dark sense of humor. Please disregard. 
Back to the cutting table, where you can see there is absolutely nothing on the walls in here yet. And there's a stash of big bags of dog food under the table and dog crates to the right of it. Since Alex moved out almost 2 years ago and Tyler moved in "temporarily" about 9 months ago, I've been using this room as a catch-all. Now that I'm reclaiming it for sewing, I'll need to figure out new homes for a lot of this stuff. 
That's the tour at the moment. It's definitely a work in progress. But I think the sewjo is back and I'm excited to get things going in here.

Also, a note about comments. I can't reply to them on my computer, only on my phone, and I haven't figured out why yet. Blogger has changed some things in the last couple of years and it's making me a little nuts. Since I'm not a big fan of "typing" on my phone, until I figure out what's going on I probably won't be replying individually until I get it fixed. And since my HTML skills are rusty and my patience for troubleshooting is low, it's going to take some time. But I am reading and very much appreciating that you're still out there, helping me knock down the cobwebs off this thing, and saying hi! 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Just like riding a bike (or I sewed a Love Notions Rhapsody Blouse)

I actually cut out and finished a new top in a week. Yay me! I can't tell you the last time that happened. But before I get into the nitty gritty, let me tell you what NOT to do when you return to sewing after an extended absence.

1. Don't choose predominately black fabric, especially if using black thread. And really especially if you're over 40 and sewing sometimes at night.

2. Don't think you can outsmart shifty fabric when attempting to make/apply double-fold bias binding without reacquainting yourself with the process and the tools. Yes, I used spray sizing to stiffen it up. Yes, it was better. Yes, I still managed to bungle it in places. Thank heaven for Wonder Tape and glue sticks, and the Galloping Horse Rule

3. Don't try to move your ironing board with a hot iron standing up on it, or you'll end up with the iron wobbling and then crashing to floor with a horrible BANG! and multiple cracks and chips in the outer pieces. So far, it seems to still work OK but as soon as I saw the chips and cracks, I RAN to my computer/Amazon and ordered a new one, which arrived yesterday. I like this iron a lot so I'd rather have one waiting on stand-by instead of wishing I did. 
So, with that fun stuff out of the way, let's jump into it. 

I bought, downloaded, and printed this pattern at the office long before we even heard of a pandemic. (Remember those days?) And it sat. During that time, Love Notions updated their sizing and I downloaded and printed the update. And still it sat. Until my sewjo finally came back this month, after being AWOL for years. 
What also sat, and this is embarrassing to admit, was this fabric — on my dryer for years. Yes, at least 2 years. Right on top of my dryer. Somehow I thought that by seeing it on a regular basis, I would force myself to use it. Every time I saw it, I did think about sewing and my heart would flutter a little bit, but I just couldn't get myself to actually start anything. Until last week.

Here's the finished top, and like everyone else who's made it, I really like it. I still need to toss it into the laundry before I can wear it to remove all the Wonder Tape and glue left over from struggling with the bias binding. The fabric is a really nice crepe rayon from Blackbird Fabrics.
Rear view, where you can hopefully see I converted the back pleat to gathers. I just don't think an inverted back pleat is flattering to my backside. The gathers distribute the fabric better over my terrain in my opinion. Plus, it matches the gathers at the front extended yoke/shoulder seams.
Voila! Some of my wobbly binding stitching. Absolutely NO ONE is going to be inspecting my stitch distances, so I called it Good Enough.  
Another thing I changed/added, was edgestitching along the front "shoulder" seam and …
… along the back yoke seam. I think this just gives a more finished look and also holds down seam allowances underneath. 
I think the pattern is pretty good. I love, love that Love Notions' patterns are No Trim. You just print, lay out the pages, and tape or glue. So easy. So fast. 

The sizing seems to be accurate to my measurements. I used the full bust front piece and sized from 2X at the neck/chest/armholes gradually to 4x for my Pandemic hips. (How long can I blame the Pandemic for my butt?) The only other adjustment I did was to make a square shoulder adjustment at the front yoke and armholes. Oh, I also used the cap sleeve option but added an inch to its length but that was a preference thing, not a fit thing.

The instructions were good, but I changed the order/method of some things to my preference. Specifically, I did the binding before adding the sleeves and closing up the sideseams. And gritted my teeth the entire time. I did NOT use French seams and instead just serged the insides. (Let's not push this return to sewing thing too far.) And I already mentioned the added edgestitching.

I haven't knotted the tie ends yet. I need to decide if I like them this length or want them shorter. I didn't really pay attention to that when I tried on the final top and then just didn't want to strip down again. 

I bought a new table for my machines today and I have one more piece of fabric that has also been sitting on my dryer …

* * * * *

Thank you to everyone who's still been checking this space and for leaving a comment last week. I'm really hoping to become a more regular blogger again. Lots of (mostly boring) stuff has happened in the last couple of years. I'm sure I'll be throwing in tidbits of all of that at some point. 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

I Might

I might be cutting out a pattern (after a >2-year hiatus).
I might have a separate cutting room, now that Alex has moved out, and maybe even a sewing room if I move my machines into it and straighten up the mess.
I might have a new dog (meet Cyrus), after Alex "stole" my other three when he moved out.
I might have another "roommate" after Tyler moved in "for a while." (I'll still get a cutting/sewing room since Alex had 2 rooms and I'm only sacrificing 1 for Tyler. Ha.) 
I might actually sew and blog again this year.