Puns N Needles

Dispatches from my adventures: sewing, knitting, and otherwise.

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Sailing toward my dream pants

I’ve wanted “sailor” pants for a long time, and I really like the shorts I made with this pattern last year.
So several months ago, I cut out the pants version of the pattern in some mystery canvas as a trial run. The pieces sat for months while other projects took priority, and the size I cut is now too big. As in, I almost can’t wear the shorts from last summer. That’s why my promise to make two new pieces of work clothes in May had a rocky start.

I don’t like wasting materials, so I wanted to use what I’d already cut for a muslin. I had to re-print and assemble the PDF pattern because last time, I cut up the original (which was a giant piece of 48 letter size pieces of paper taped together). Hindsight being 20/20, for this version, I traced the pieces. Then, I laid the newly-cut pattern pieces over what I’d already cut, and thankfully, most of the pieces could be re-used.

Happily, I only had to re-cut one pattern piece and then it went together pretty quickly. I had to make a small adjustment, letting out the inside front piece

Seam let out/small wedge added to right of slash pocket opening

but otherwise was really happy with how the pants fit.

Linen swatches
From my stash, I decided on this Robert Kaufman Essex Washer Linen yarn dyed (a linen/cotton blend) in a charcoal color for the “real” pants. I love this fabric, and really like the two tops I made from it, so I’m pretty sure it’ll make good pants. Grey is my favorite neutral, so I expect I’ll wear them a lot. The other two are blended with rayon and will make nice dresses, tops, or jackets.

The pattern says that 1.7 yards are required for my size range, though I barely squeezed it out with 2 ¼ yards. I couldn’t find a recommended pattern layout but can’t see where I could have re-arranged the pieces and had any more leftover. I used a novelty print quilt cotton for the pockets and waistband. 


I chose the “Darling” view (not “Sailor) and followed the instructions exactly, except for the button loops, which are very narrow. They’re so narrow that when I sewed tubes, it was impossible to turn them right side out, so I improvised by folding and then top stitching. The legs are much wider than the pants I’m used to wearing, but in linen fabric they will be great for the summer. Later on, I want to make the Sailor view, and maybe try leg width variations since the waist, hips and behind fit so comfortably. I love them.


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Fast or slow—What’s better?

When I started sewing lots of clothes, I felt pretty good when I could knock out a dress or a shirt in a day, or maybe a weekend. That meant I was good; I found a good pattern, I enjoyed myself, everything worked right. Excellent.

But then I started learning about fit, and everything took longer because I wanted to spend the time to make it fit well. I took an online class on couture sewing and the project involved a lot of hand sewing and extra layers and well, don’t tell anyone, but I never did fully finish the dress. I ran out of time but was also kind of overwhelmed. Making something like a formal dress with couture methods, jeans, or a suit takes time. And there’s no reason to rush. I’ve been making peace with slow sewing. It’s nice to not have a deadline (self-impose or otherwise) and to relax and enjoy the process.

Also, sometimes I have an entire weekend, or a few weekdays without work, during which to sew with few interruptions. But most of the time, I’m sewing on a weekday afternoon in the middle of a split shift at work, or on a weekend day between other obligations. Without having huge blocks of time, it doesn’t make sense to try to knock out a shirt in a day.

But a recent weekend was different. I was feeling pretty terrible about work and decided that it would make me feel better if I spent ALL of my time sewing. Boy, was I productive. I started out with a leggings pattern that I bought months ago, thinking it would be fun to try. Several hours later, once that was finished, I moved on to a knit shirt, in a pattern I’d made twice before and whipped that up in 90 minutes.

Holy smokes — I finished a pair of leggings, in a new pattern, and a shirt/sweater before we left for the movies on Saturday night. And on Sunday, I was able to take a great walk and have lunch out with the Machinist, so it was kind of well-rounded. When we got home on Sunday afternoon, I started another project, though this one is going to take a while…