Sewing Vloggers

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Let's make a pants slip!


While this may not be the most attractive undergarment you will ever own (it could be) I guarantee you will get miles of use out of it.  I have really come to appreciate the value of pants slips. Why bother with pants slips?

                     *  They save sewing time. You don't have to line every pair of pants that needs 
                         a lining. Just finish your seams and wear a pants slip and you have all the
                         benefits of a lined pair of pants.

                     * They offer versatility. Sometimes, in my cold climate, I wear pants with tights
                        underneath AND a pants slip for extra warmth. The pants glide right over the                                tights with the slip.  Pants slips smoosh right down and can even be worn very                                unobtrusively with jeans, when you need just a little extra warmth in winter. 

                     * They give you choice. Sometimes, in summer, I wear my linen pants with a pants
                        slip, sometimes I don't. All depends on weather and such. 

                     * Because She said so! Who is she? Claire Shaeffer, that's who!  When I took my 
                        Chanel class with the great Claire,  one of the students, a college level textiles 
                        professor, asked about lining couture pants. Claire informed us that couture pants
                       were not lined and were always worn with pants slips. She said she wore pants 
                        slips for all her pants. That was the real clincher for me.

So, for those reasons, I am a pant slip aficionado and just made another pair. I'll go over here how I did that and my philosophy regarding pants slips. 


            I am aware that pants slips can be made of tricots and silks and decorated with the most glorious of trims. My preference is to have something that will hold up to frequent laundering and wear with minimal fuss. I tend to use two different fabrics. My first choice is Bemberg rayon. It is reasonable in price, usually readily available, and comfortable to wear. Research tells me that many people find it warm. I don't  and it is my favorite lining for most sewing projects. If I can't get my hands on it quickly, as in this case, one of those gotta sew it now moments, my second choice is an anti-static poly. I have used the version from Joanns and it has worked just fine, launders well, and I have not found it to be warm on my lower body. Just make sure the bolt end says anti static.  This is what I have used today. I don't add trims as I want to make these as quickly as possible and spend my creativity on garments that are on my public side. I also don't want anything on these, as in trims,  that will telegraph through to the public side of my pants. 

           The number one rule of making pantslips, IMO, is to have as little bulk as possible. Keep that in mind as you go through the process. 

The pattern:

If you use the two fabrics I mention, they will smoosh under your pants and not be noticeable pretty much most of the time. It is ok if the pantslip is a bit bigger than your pant leg. I used my pants sloper, which you can see above, to cut my slip. Most of the pants that I would wear this with are straight legged and cut straight down from the hip curve, so this liner will be smaller than most pants I will wear it with but still have room to move. Very important here--notice that the sloper has darts and there are two on the front and one on the back. You must have darts but you will not sew them!!! 

For your casing you will need, preferably and hard to find, elastic cording, the type being used right now in masks. If you can't find that, you can use beading cording, which is very strong and what I used this time or 1/8th inch elastic. 


To keep bulk down, all seams were pinked only and given a hard press. I don't iron these. I just pull them from the dryer quickly, hand press, and they are fine. That poly seems to remember where the seams are suppose to lay. The hem is serged with a three thread finish, folded up an inch and a 1/4  and given a hard press as well. 

I like my hem to end two inches above what any regular pant hem would be. 

Above is the waist seam. The arrow points to the tuck that is made from the dart in the pattern. 

Fold your darts into tucks that will lean in the opposite direction of the way your pants darts are ironed. Back to keeping bulk down here! 

Your waist seam is 3/4 inch wide. It is serged or pinked and then folded to the inside and stitched to make a small casing.  You may have to leave the side seams separate to get them to fold down without pulling. You will understand once you try it. It's OK.  In other words when you stitch up the side and crotch seam stop when you reach the casing area and tie off. This makes it easier to fold down the casing. 

The side seam where you want your opening slit will end about 6 inches below the casing. Make sure this measurement works for you  to get over your hips. In the pic above you can see that the slit is simply the pinked side seam pressed back and topstitched about a 1/4 inch away.  

Cut a length of elastic cord long enough to go through the casing and tie in a bow with a double knot. Don't make this too snug. You will rarely untie this. Run the cording through and your closure is done once tied. 

This is simple, neat sewing, no fuss.  You can make a pantslip easily in an afternoon or less. While the casing area looks ruffly, it will smoosh out of the way and you won't know it is there. I like my open slit on the side, even if there is a center front fly because it keeps the tummy area smooth. You will also find the pants slips slides right over your hips for those bathroom moments as you pull down your public pants along with it so you are not dealing with any closure. 

This simple project can really make getting dressed and your sewing easier and more productive. I hope you give it a try. I have really enjoyed having these in my wardrobe. I am going to make another this week, an anti static out of gray. A supply of these in neutral colors is a great addition. One caveat-----brush up on your seam finishing skills. With unlined pants, you want the seams to look great and be well finished to hold up over time. I recommend Hong Kong seams whenever wise. Let me know if you give this a try or if you already have.....................Bunny 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

McCalls 5239, A Kathryn Hepburn Trouser, maybe?


I love classic pleated wide leg trousers, just love'em. They are my favorite style pant and now that they are back in style it was time to give them a go. Pfffft, you say, she can't wear these! She's only five feet tall! Well, Pffft, to you! I wear them and love them anyway. They are comfy and feminine and that is good enough for me. We all need to wear what we love and feel right in, right? 

I have recently developed an aversion to jeans. I don't know where it came from but I am just so sick of them. I took a pledge to wear them absolutely as little as possible.  My attempt at finding a  workable casual wardrobe has led me to decide to keep the damn jeans out, OUT I say. I have a fair amount of bottom weights in my stash and have been planning various pants and top outfits, all with a bit of interest and not jeans. I wanted them all casual. I really think this approach has upped my day to day dressing a lot. Now that these are done I am concentrating on corduroys. So let's get on with what was a very interesting sew, to say the least. 


Some stash digging brought out some 100% cotton chino fabric. This is not the greatest fabric for this style of pant but I am looking for every day wear here. I've always like working with chino and the vibe it gives off, a bit classier than a denim but still every day. Dress it up, dress it down, boat shoes or black jersey and dangles. Chino cotton crinkles but doesn't hold the wrinkles  badly. It is stiff and stands out on it's own as well. I just accepted that. This was my first use of this pattern and the goal was  my idea of a true trouser and a "trouser" fit.  There is no lining and no interfacing except in the zip area.  The pocket stay is a 100% cotton batik, a nice, tight weave.

pardon the slipping out top


I was looking for a high waisted, front double pleated pant with slanted pockets and volume in the legs from the hips down. I think I got that here in McCalls 5239. My original plan was to use my pant sloper and start from scratch with a new tissue. Then I started digging through my patterns and found this:

It had all I had in mind in View C, the red version. This is Palmer Pletch's pants fitting pattern from 2006 and now OOP. I looked at the measurements on the back and lo and behold, they were almost exactly like my own/sloper  in the size ten. The waist was a half inch off and that would be easy to fix but how would the crotch curve be? I took the pieces out and overlaid my sloper and it was pretty dang close. I just needed to adjust that crotch curve a tad and would be good to go. Now I didn't have to make a new tissue, etc.  View C was it! 

Washed my chino again, third time, and started laying out the pattern. But wait, we have some issues here. 

                   *  There were two pleats either side of the zipper. The pattern showed the  pleats for the four sizes on either side and none were marked, no sizes and very confusing. What went where and for whose size?  No reference in the instructions, either. I winged it. 

                 * The instructions tell you that all seams are one inch wide, for fit insurance, with one exception, the waistband piece, which is 5/8ths. Since all the circles on the leg pieces are on the one inch line at the waist and you later connect this one inch seam to the 5/8ths inch waist band seam which has interfacing stitched to that 5/8ths seam allowance,  not the band, it gets pretty crazy. I'd never seen anything like it. Don't get me wrong. I am always up for new techniques, as you know, but give me a reason. This did not make sense to me. 

I cut my waistband one inch wider so a half inch wider for each side.  This way it sat higher like I wanted. 

The legs are 22 inches wide at the bottom. 

Anyhoo, I got it all laid out and cut and proceeded with the construction. 


The pants have the classic slanted side pockets which means you are dealing with a bias edge.  One good thing about this pattern is that it has a pocket stay that extends into the fly zipper, something I planned on doing anyway. Pocket stays are great for keeping the tummy area looking good and if in a firm fabric can even hold that tumtum in a little bit. There was no interfacing or stay strip planned for the pocket edge. They suggested topstitching to prevent a "puckered" edge. As I always do, I cut a strip of selvage from the batik used to make the pocket stay. It was very thin and did not budge when yanked. I used this to stay the pocket edge. I always try to cut it  a hair short of a 1/4 inch shorter than the length of the seam needed and pull it and pin until the pocket edge is evenly distributed. You can see the little bubbles in the seam below the strip. This goes a long way toward preventing stretched out bias pocket edges.  The pocket edges and pleats were topstitched with a stitch often mistakenly used to sew knits. It is the one that sews over itself three times, nasty for knits, great for topstitching! It lays down a nice heavy line of thread. 

Zipper, Oy!

I found the zipper instructions not the best. The illustrations are far from clear.  I highly recommend searching out a better fly zip installation if you use this pattern. At first I thought "maybe it's me". So I got out a few patterns to compare. I picked pants that had the same double pleat, slanted pocket fly zip style. In the end, I trusted the ultimate expert, Claire Shaeffer and her couture pants pattern, Vogue 7881. Now I am not making couture pants here but she does set the bar. I found that Claire's pattern was so very clear and so very simple to understand. There were three steps for her zipper installation in the couture pants and so simple and this McCalls  Palmer Pletch fly has 7 steps, 2 tips and one "note" and very unclear drawings. 

The Waistband

I still don't understand how they did this waistband. 

                *  connecting a 5/8th inch waistband to a one inch pant seam. No reference to this in the instructions and confusing illustrations.

                * a method of sewing the interfacing to the 5/8th seam allowance, folding it over into the waistband and stitching to the one inch pant seam, I THINK. I still haven't figured it out.

                * making the waistband 6 inches longer  than the waist measurement. Yes, it needs over and underlap but 6 inches? 

                * a very odd addition of two small blocks of interfacing folded over the already interfaced waistband, at their ends, on the interior waistband. Let's add some bulk here just for the heck of it. 

                * The only reference to trimming the seam allowance on the waistband is to trim the little short waistband ends down to a 1/4 inch.  No mention of trimming or grading anything in the waistband seams.  I don't love me bulk in my waistband. 

All in all, this waistband installation is quite odd and filled with bulk that need not be there.  I spoke with a very accomplished career seamstress who took the Palmer Pletch week long course to "improve her skills."  She was blown away by this ridiculous waistband installation when she took her course.  I know many swear by their methods but despite sewing for decades I always approach my sewing and reviews from the standpoint of a new sewist and how would they interpret the instructions and tissues.

My own thoughts on the instructions in this pattern:

                *  The construction seems overdone at every step of the way. This will not work for new sewists and I can see them throwing it in the can and giving up on pant making. Making pants, not the fitting part, is really quite simple and it upsets me that it has been made so complicated. 

                *   Basic skills are not shown and bulk is added at every opportunity. What happened to grading seams?  Again, not for the newbie sewist who would be learning how to fit and likely buying this pattern. Emphasis is needed on  time proven sewing skills as in the waistband and fly for the less experienced sewist but you will have to go elsewhere to find that. It's not in this pattern.  

                 * Just make it easy on yourself. If the pattern measurements fit you, go for it as I did, then get yourself a great sewing book  or video and follow that on  how to make pants. Anyone from AD Lynn to Sandra Betzina, Nancy Zieman, Reader's Digest Sewing Book, and the Singer Pants sewing book will work just great.  

In Conclusion

I love my Kathryn Hepburn style trousers and will make more of them. I will  use my sloper and morph out to a 22 inch leg and add pleats and slanted pockets. I know that I didn't choose the ideal fabric but it is great for everyday casual and I also know these pants would shine in a wool crepe or 4 ply silk. Maybe when Covid times end, I will have that need and will invest in a pair out of such lovely fabric. 

I wear these mostly with white leather sneaks and a tucked in shirt. They have pointed out my need for a new great white shirt, one that will tuck in neatly.  Most that I own are too full to tuck in nicely. 

There are things we wear that are universal, a good pair of classic trousers, a pencil skirt, a button down shirt,  and more. Be aware that any decent sewing manual and some good yutubers can pull you through making them all quite nicely. If you find a pattern that fits you well, don't be afraid to dump the instructions and search other resources for your directions. It will serve you well. 

Also, and last but not least, you do not have to look like Kathryn Hepburn to wear a good set of trousers. It's all about what you like and what you are comfortable in. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Another Knockoff


I will be right up front here. I was watching a sewing video and the designer was featuring a coat pattern and doing a fashion show of happy sewists who modeled her design. The coats were lovely and each quite distinct. They did her pattern great justice. She then spoke about the pattern and of course did a bit of a sales pitch. Then, and I can't remember why, she interrupted all the coat talk with a nod to an apron pattern from years back and showed the envelope and the apron. It was quite unique and it's design was of an Asian influence. It was simple, as most aprons are, and in pretty much a heartbeat I did the famous "I can make that" that all of us sewists have said a thousand times. I did make it. 

The designer is Linda Lee, who I adore, an extremely gifted and knowledgeable sewist and designer. The pattern is the Tamari Apron which she still sells and I recommend. I think like most sewists who have started young and continued for years, I have been inspired by many a designer to give a design a go on my own. I did that here and thank Lee for the inspiration. Because the original design is her's I will not share measurements other than what she mentioned in the youtube video and that was that the base of the apron was a one yard square. I did find the measurements online but won't share those either and I don't think they should have been shared by the company that did. I can tell you I  changed every measurement, including the shape and size of the base apron, This was a bit design decision and a bit "petiting" decision. The straps, pocket, base, and loop are all different from hers and that is because I wanted it more in proportion for my size and scale. I played with shapes too.  I have no idea what her instructions are regarding hem depths, pocket hems, loop fillings, etc. 

Above you can see I did deep hems all around with topstitching and mitered corners.  The wide straps are not as wide as Lee's.  I tried to use fabric with an Asian flavor. A word here and it could just be my taste. In searching these out on the internet I found a lot of people really gilded the lily with this pattern, adding rows and rows of ribbons, wide bands of contrast fabrics  on the hems and the pocket as well. Some added ribbons on top of the straps. These are all great ideas but my personal opinion is that the design is so unique and eye catching that all that foofery detracted from the finished work, just my personal opinion. I say embellish, but just don't overdo it. I can see this in canvas with some fabric painting, what fun!

It is quite unique with it's one shouldered setup. I wasn't even sure I would like it but it was captivating. I used some really nice fabrics from the LQS, 1 1/4 for the base and 3/4 yard for the details. I lined my pocket. 

Still once I tried it on, it's uniqueness made me not sure of how I felt about it. 

In the above photo you can see how the corners of the square hang quite interestingly. The wide strap is flung over the should and then through a loop on the opposite side that sits at the waist. The strap then crosses over and meets a shorter strap on the other side and is tied off in the back. The strap is long. That and the diagonal of the square being on the waistline make this an all size friendly apron with little fussing. 

I brought it upstairs  on the dress form for some photos and husband saw it and LOVED it without any solicitation. He told me it looked like the work aprons of women in Japan in a video he watched on youtube (he loves youtube). Now my plan was that if this worked it would make nice gifts for the women in my family. He thought that would be great. I left my form up overnight and in the morning, somehow she looked better. Her bit of Asian influence had settled in and I came to really appreciate the unique look and closure. Heck, I think I loved Miss Dressform in the Asian Apron. Now to just wait for the quilt fabric sales that come this time of year at the Big Box!!!


I have cut out those crazy Palmer Pletch chino trousers and they are ready to go on this upcoming long weekend. I have gone back to work and spare moments have been rare. Up here sunshine and warm weather, along with finishing up 90% of our home construction project has allowed us to do some Covid entertaining. What's that you say? My husband and I , much to the happiness and encouragement of our children, have been following quite strict CDC rules to protect ourselves. But, it is still isolating and we love to entertain and cook for our family and friends. Once we got most of the house biz out of the way we took advantage of the severe drought we are in up here. It meant constant sunshine and great weather outside. We brought in family members every weekend to entertain totally outside, two at a time only, and following all the rules. We had four big Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake, a very long picnic table and grill under the trees you see me model under and it was lovely. It almost felt normal. We wanted others with us but all understood the parameters and were thankful for what time and fun we did have together. We had paella  cooked outside, a ribs party and even shrimp burgers on one occasion. It was so great to connect and so tempting to chuck it all  and say to hell with all those masks and bottles of sanitizer, but we won't. I hope you don't either. Now, cooler weather is  setting in and the contractor and heating people will be in next week to get things all tied up and done before winter. I can get back to sewing and am so thankful for the little time we were able to spend with family. I sooooo look forward to more and I am sure you do as well. In the meantime, I am back to sewing and  blogging and more to come. I think it may be a tough winter for us all.  Stay safe all and be careful out there!.....Bunny

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pattern Frustrations, Oh, My!

I've decided that my wardrobe really needs more pants and I have made several pair over the summer from my Sure Fit sloper. They give a great fit which I tweaked on the last pair as the sloper was made pre weight lost which I kept off. I have found I just needed a small tweak in the hip width and a definite raising of the rise all around, the sad loss of my round booty. Sigh,,,,,,,Anyhoo, winter is coming and I want to find a great trouser pattern, a classic with slanted pockets, deep pleats and an increase in volume. I love this look and owned pair of Calvin Klein trousers that I paid ever so dearly for and wore until they were no longer fit for public wear. I may barking up the wrong hill on Memory Lane but I thought I'd give it a try with some cheap chino twill I have hanging around. Rather than a whole new trouser pattern from my SF sloper, which would involve new tissue,drawing, cutting, etc. I decided to look into my resources for a trouser pattern and then use the sloper to refine the fit. After measuring pleat and leg widths on various patterns I decided View C of McCalls 5239 was just right. You can see this is a Palmer Pletch pattern for "the perfect fit".The measurements of size ten were very close to mine so that's what I will cut. I haven't flat pattern measured yet but will before cutting any fabric. I may go down a size if need be.

Like all good sewists I read through the pattern instructions first and then read through it again. . I cut out the pieces for a size 10 and while cutting looked closely at the tissues. I also read the reviews in Pattern Review on this pattern. It had rave reviews  except for one, single soul who saw and felt what I saw and felt. In a nutshell, not good. I have made a ton of pleated patterns over the years. This pattern,  sold in 2009 and very verbose in the instruction, was not good in the tissue and in the instructions. I know that when making a pleated garment that on the pattern tissue it is shown usually with a line and dots that are brought over and matched to another line and another dot or two. Arrows tell you in which direction  to bring your fold and match. There are also usually numbers on the lines for what sizes to match with what lines for the same size.  This is a multi size pattern with 4 sizes. Please tell me what you see here above. There are 4 sizes here and I have cut size ten. Are these pleat folds clear to you? Are they sewn twice like a double topstitch?  At this point I don't care because I will just do my own thing. I just feel for any newbie that got stuck on this and threw it in the trash. It is unclear on the pattern what to line up with what to correctly place the pleats and also there is no reference to any double stitching or topstitching so that is not the answer.  The back pant tissue has two darts but shows 4 because of the 4 sizes it covers. No where does it show which size gets which dart. The sizes here are from 8-14. 

Then there was the waistband. Those instructions start with telling you that you will have the most, IN BOLD PRINT,  wonderful waistband installation ever. What proceeded was this, I don't know, installation like I've never seen, that to me, added bulk to the waistband , never mind confusion. Again, a newbie would have played Toss the Tissue. You had to have a certain type of waistband interfacing,  one made of "monofilament nylon waistband interfacing" cut  one  inch wide.  That is stitched to the 5/8ths inch wide waistband SA. This interfacing that is added to the waistband SA is now stitched to the pant waist SA through the interfacing. It is all very weird and unnecessary, IMO. This is all then folded up, no under-stitching, pressing, trimming anywhere. Then  two little pieces of interfacing are cut and folded over the ends of the waistband and pressed in place to sort of glue things together. Gahhhhhhh......

I can't even go on. Just no, I'm sorry. I saw no reason for those interfacing wrap flaps. I just could not see any reason for the additional steps and bulk.  Long time followers know I am crazy about couturier Roberta Carr and her teachings, number one of which is reduce bulk whenever possible. Roberta would take a drag off her well known  cigarette and roll over in her grave over this method. The illustrations of it all were confusing as well. Do you really want me to go on about the zipper instructions??? It's not good and I will leave it at that. 

I've put in a lot of fly zips in my time, a fair amount with various couture methods. The zipper illustration for view C was so small and had confusing folds and parts which bore no resemblance to anything I was familiar with.  I went through my box of couture and designer patterns to find a similar design and compare.  From the crotch up these Issey Miyake shorts were the same other than the turn of the pleats. The construction was so so much simpler, a classic fly installation. 

The same goes for these Anne Klein trousers. Notice the bottom says Easy/Facile. Right on top it says Classification: Couture. This pattern has a classic fly front zip on those trousers that anyone who has done a fly could put in. The instructions are clear, simple and doable. So is the waistband.  They are not complicated at all like the Palmer Pletch pattern. 

Why am I so upset at this old pattern? Because if offers something we all want, Great Pant Fit, and then makes it ridiculously hard to make the garment when the actual making of pants is so very easy. Once a person has a pants pattern that fits, they have found the Holy Grail and can whip out a pair of pants in no time flat. Difficult patterns turn off beginners. Bigtime. This is so unnecessary. 

I will cut out these trousers, use my sloper to fit them and sew them like all the pants I make. I'll  probably use Sandra Betzina's fly front zip techniqu, Hong Kong the seam edges and do a waist stay as I personally love those, all things out there on the web and that are not hard to do at all. I will not follow the Palmer Pletch directions in this silly pattern. There is just not enough time in my life. 

The Good News

The wonderful news from my Pattern Corner is that there are Pattern Angels out there. You may know them. They have helped me more than once over the years and I treasure and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Recently a pattern was in Threads magazine that seemed to have touched some sort of hippy, baby boomer nerve ending in my sewing soul. View A here just spoke to me. Maybe it was the lure of the tucks and their heirloom sewing vibe. I don't know. I had recently purchased a crazy Telio rayon challis and when View A showed up in my Threads. I had to find it. No luck on Etsy, Ebay and anything Google. Then a Sewing Angel, Ada G, from the lovely island of Puerto Rico said she owned this for years, never made it and never would and would gladly pass it on. In honor of Ada G. I praise all you sewing angels and the sewing community who is constantly reaching out. Thank you, Ada, for your kindness. Let the sewing community help each other along as we witness the current horrible activity of Mother Nature. Let's remember to reach out to those who have lost so much even in a small way. When you have lost everything a pack of needles is a huge deal. There is much on Face Book to send you in the right direction for giving and helping out fellow sewists who have lost everything. Just check out some of the bigger sewing groups.  I pray you are all, everywhere, safe, and as protected from fires, hurricanes and the realities of our Covid life as much as you can be. I hope you can all get back to sewing in the very near future. Bless you all...............Bunny

Friday, September 4, 2020

A Poncho Vest???


Winter sewing has begun. I find it to be a real challenge. I am going to continue the way I worked with my wardrobe this summer. I will make tops and bottoms that coordinate. Entire SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) plans are too large a commitment for me and just do not interest me at this time. However, if I can look in the closet and find a top and bottom and in winter a coordinating vest or jacket that all work together, they don't need to work any harder for me. 

You remember the little cropped poncho I made this summer to go with two other pieces, inspired by Silhouette Patterns? Well, while cruising another pattern website I came across something similar but with straps. It had buttons on the side for a closure and was really quite  cute.  I really thought I could knock off this designer's version and I proceeded. While Peggy Sagers offered her design to the public, this designer was selling hers so I will not mention her name. But you have to respect that many sewists have spent their lives knocking of designs made by others. This was no different so I proceeded. There were also differences so this is not an exact copy either. I guessed my way through the construction.  I have no idea if the other designer made her's this way. 


This was a really, really fun project and a great start to some winter sewing. I had forgotten how much I loved to sew with wool. I had also forgotten how great it is to sew really high quality fabric. I have often mentioned my dear friend Ima who bequeathed me most of her amazing stash before passing a couple years ago. As a degreed textile major as well as FIT grad she knew her fabrics. This piece of vintage Pendleton Black Watch plaid was among her gifts. When deciding what to make this poncho vest with I searched and searched the resources and this gorgeous vintage wool said "look no more". It was perfect and the one yard listed was more like one and a half yards. You'll notice the price is 16.00 per yard. I'd say that puts it back around the 60s or 70s knowing Ima. Today this exact same yardage, if you can find it new like this, runs 40-50 dollars a yard. It is heavenly to stitch with and so very classic. It felt perfect for my poncho project. I love having something I can throw over a top and pants in the winter that isn't the same old cardi or sweater. Pendleton has been making the same classic plaids for decades and actually had a mill and store about 35 minutes from where I live now in New Hampshire in a town called Guild. Alas, the mill closed and all the wools are now made in Oregon, I  believe. 


Here you can see I have the poncho laid out just like I did in the Silouette Patterns design but there are differences. 

*First, having a perfectly even plaid made matching and designing this poncho vest much simpler. All was on grain and lined up beautifully. I lined up the major green bars before any cutting or even design was played with and pinned center front bars to the center back bars. Unlike the original poncho, in this one I used a 38 inch square, not 36. I did not want a really cropped design, but a bit longer. 

In this pic above you can see where I drew in the shape for the armholes in the poncho and in the upper right I drew in the neckline. After doing this I basted it all together and put it on my dress form. I did not like the way it draped at all. I pulled out the basting and got out my big yellow head pins and started playing with the drape. I surprised myself with how fun that was. I pinned in a new shape for the sides and straps and later drew that in. I added a 3/8th inch seam allowance to that as well as the neckline I had cut. I used a dress pattern whose neckline I liked to cut the poncho neckline. 

I also made an executive decision to make the front of the poncho one inch longer than the back. I would add a one inch bias cut strip to the front only. Why? Well, as in all thing C cup and larger...a bosom lifts the front of any garment and when the poncho was properly placed at the shoulder area the front was lifted by the bust and was shorter than the back, lik   e any garment needing an FBA. So, I just made the front of the poncho longer by one inch and all fit fine. 


This was simple construction but took a while. That extra yardage was cut into 1 1/2 inch wide bias strips. I used them as a facing on all edges of the garment. Nothing was actually bound, but actually faced.  One of the wonderful things I learned from Claire Shaeffer is the amazing ability of 100% wool to be shaped. With that in mind I preshaped my strips a bit as I was ready to used them with steam and the iron but once sewn the got well steamed and conformed beautifully to all the edges you see here. There is not a ripple or bad edge any where and it all started with straight bias strips. 


When I first started sewing this fabric I had waves of glory reminding me how wonderful it was to sew with truly great fabric, which this wool was. I decided right then  and there to give this my best techniques. Some curve was first steamed into a strip. It was then basted with silk thread to the garment edge. I did the edges in this order: neckline, armholes, bottom hem edges, and finally side edges. After basting, the strip was stitched with cotton thread which I used throughout construction. The seam edges were graded and then pressed as sewn, pressed open, then pressed toward the facing strip. My  edge stitching foot was put on the machine and the facing strip was understitched. I used a ham and organza press cloth and steam to press the strip into place after the understitching. I then handbasted the strip into place with silk thread in preparation for top stitching.  All top stitching was done one inch from the edge with a triple stitch and the cotton thread. It's hard to see but looks really nice IRL and I like the way it came out. I love the triple stitch for top stitching. 

On the front side of the poncho you can see where I added the bias strip of hem. It is also topstitched with the triple stitch. A lot of these pics have been seriousl lightened/tampered with so you can see the details, etc. I always try to let you know when I use photoshop. The actual fabric is quite dark. The bottom hem bands also have mitered corners. 

To me, the really fun part of this vest/poncho combo is the draping that happens at the side. The weight of the fabric brings the drape down into nice points. Like the linen cropped poncho, I tied the sides together with soutache braid, black in this case. 

The soutache also came from Ima's legacy. Gotta love that price and how about that fiber content?  I tied the ends of the soutache in knots and coated them with Fray bloc. Once dry I stitched them to the back side of the facing in beween their "ridge". I love how that hides the stitching. I love this soutache. Do they even still make this type? I have such a bounty that I haven't ever shopped for it. 

Another side/undearm view. 

This is a very lightened photo to show you the inner bias strip facings and how they are finished. There is little bulk and all is solid and flat. There is no interfacing anywhere in this garment.

In Conclusion:

This was a simple project, one requiring some creative vision as well as the recall of pleasurable sewing skills. I thought of my dear friend often while sewing, how she love and knew quality fabric and sewing and how we shared that love. I hope this simple project honors her and her great skills. I thank her all the time for the legacy I was given and always try to honor that. It was such a delight to sew on this gorgeous fabric, to drape it's simple shape on my form to make it better than what my imagination came up with, to baste it's layers with silk thread and understitch and grade its fine wool. It is the start of winter sewing. I will probably wear it with a dark green or black turtleneck not this blouse I put under it for contrast only. I hope to make some warm non jean pants in the future, trousers, maybe corduroys, woolens, we shall see. I am just getting started................Bunny

Sunday, August 30, 2020

My first Vlog review!

I present to you our first Vlogger review and it is with Anita Morris of Anita by Design.  Until I get the knack of reviewing our vloggers I will follow the template I previously discussed. Let me know if I can do better. 


Anita's delivery is calm, articulate and what my mom would call "lady like". I think she has the makings of an anchor person and for all I know this may be her other job if she has one. Her smile is non stop, something I have found important in all the vlogs that I really enjoy. You not only end up with sewing knowledge from her videos, you finish watching them and you feel good. 

Anita is always dressed in lovely clothing she has made herself that fits well, something else I have found important in sewing videos. I have seen her make athleisure, jumpsuits, dresses, etc. You can't imagine how many vloggers are out there wearing awfully fitting clothing that they tell you they made, ugh. Not Anita. She walks the walk. Her skills show. I love her honesty. She will tell you right out she is not a fitting expert and does not try to teach you fit but she will let you see how she has worked through a fit issue for herself and even show the several tries and why they didn't work. That right there is informative, IMO. Her sewing skills are strong.

Something else I like about Anita is that she will show a technique and work it through with you and then she will back it up with a  quality sewing book, sometimes even telling you what page the technique is on. I like this reinforcement and the fact the she thinks it is a great idea to have a good reference book on hand and that she underscores that with her viewers.  

When Anita finishes a garment she models it and it is totally accessorized, bag, hat and shoes included! She loves hats! She often will then give you a different look to the same garment with all new accessories and you get the versatility of the look she just created.

Anita is full on digital with her own website where she does sell various sewing books, notions, etc. She is also on all the platforms, blogging, vlogging, insta, etc. I get the impression that she is very hardworking, focused and does not do anything unless she does it well.

 She has a special series called "Learn to sew" where she will take a beginner from zero through making six basic garments and learning to sew. I HIGHLY  recommend Anita for any new sewist. You will feel like she is holding your hand and has the patience of a saint and a voice made of velvet. Newbies, Anita is for you. She will inspire and teach you well. 

Technical issues:

At this point you think I am gushing but I've been watching a lot of these videos and I wanted to start with a really professional  quality vlogger for you. Anita's camera work is the best I have seen of any sewing vlog. I don't know how or who places her camera but she gets shots of sewing at the machine that are so much better than what I have seen on other vlogs. They are bright and so close up and open. She needs to give lessons on this. 

Another thing Anita has going for her that I am finding I really like in my vlogs for sewing is a bright white background punctuated with color. It just shows off the fabrics and garments so well. When the bright white is behind the machine it emphasizes the stitching even more and helps give the great camera work I just mentioned. 

Her programs are highly staged and don't miss a beat yet at the same time they feel genuine and real. She is just a warm, focused person. 

What did I learn?

From Anita I have learned that some people are natural born teachers and she is one of them. She has a genuine ability to relate to beginners and get her information across clearly. 

Recently Anita did a vlog called "Let's talk about it" in which she has a conversation about the current state of affairs and history of race relations in the U.S. I was curious and not quite sure what to expect.  It touched me deeply and enlightened me more than any other media presentations I have seen  on the subject. I highly recommend any of you click and watch.  It is deep and heartfelt. I learned much. 

Was it entertaining?

Anita by Design is definitely entertaining but in a soft, easy way, great to watch with your morning cup of coffee. For myself, I monitor her videos as many are beginner so those I don't particularly watch. She has great sew alongs and those are very well done but aren't my particular cup of tea either. She does take you through each and every step very clearly. So yes, her videos are entertaining and knowledgeable. For me the best ones are those that she makes for herself, discusses her fit issues and you then see all finished and accessorized. She models them well. The most important thing I can say about Anita Morris is that she is an excellent teacher for sewing beginners. Recommend her with confidence to anyone you know starting out to sew. I fit her into our Sewing Entrepreneur group. She is a pro!


I am finishing up a small vintage fabric project that I can't wait to show you! More to come with this gorgeous Pendleton Black Watch Plaid. This is the original price tag. If only it cost that much now!.....Bunny


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mimi G Style S8889 and pants

As soon as I saw Simplicity 8889, a MimiG Style pattern, there was something about it that said "petite" to me. I loved the detail, the high collar buttoned shut, the interesting hem band. I even liked the high low bottom edge, not my usual taste in hem finishes. It all just seemed a bit downsized for a petite shape. I also thought it would be the perfect foil for the rayon print pants I just made.  It would go well with some pale green I had in the stash. It would also allow the full length of the cropped pants to show. The sizing would  require a bit of adjustment for petiting but that was nothing new.  I will review the top first here and then the pants. 

The top


This is made with a fabric that someone, can't remember who, gave to me. It looks like Brussels Washer Linen, or so I thought. Once I started working with it I realized it had a fair amount of Spandex fiber and that was all on the crossgrain. I DO NOT LIKE Spandex but it was in there and I was emotionally vested in the project so went with it. It was a pain to iron and at the end drove me nuts on the last horizontal collar stand buttonhole. ugh. I found it behaved like a linen blend on the straight of grain but had a springy bounce to itself as well. So, in the end it was OK but I would not have bought it. I thank whoever gifted it to me. The hemband, collar and placket were interfaced with sf 101. I bought a bolt of this for bag making and it was handy. It worked fine enough. If I did it again I would interface just behind the specific buttonholes as the three layers of cloth for the hidden placket plus the interfacing made for a lot of thickness. Add in the spandex spring and it was a bit thicker than I would have liked but it came out OK. 


This is where it got very interesting. This pattern has no darts. It is what I call a box top or box jacket style. If you are anyone who has a C cup bust or more you know a dartless woven top does something special. It hangs straight down from the peak of the boob as you see above. This extends the bodice out into space as you can also see on the dress form. Do you want to show skin? Wear a light cami as I will ? Does it flatter? Did you forget this style does this? Did you notice how this was hidden on the pattern cover photo?

 Here's my version:

See that skin peeking out?  You can also see the top trying to make a bit of a dart, extending out, and hanging straight down from my boobs. Do you see my flesh at the side slit? I brought that slit down an inch or so. It is what it is. I have a white chiffon cami I will wear with this next time. Don't get me wrong. I still really like the  top. What get's me is that I didn't follow my own often spoken advice to really read the pattern photo on the cover. Guilty.  I'm not sure I would recommend this pattern for a newer  sewist. The directions are excellent, very clear, nothing missing. It is a bit challenging on the step where the hidden placket meets the hem band but it is all laid out. The good thing is MimiG has a youtube video sew along and you can follow the entire construction if you like.


I flat pattern measured and actually decided not to petite the upper chest of this pattern. It worked out fine. 

* I did an FBA adding  1 1/4  inches to the bust. I take a C cup. 

* I shortened the back length by 2 inches. Why? The hem it came with would have put the hem edge right at a full part of my hips and shortened my "leg look length". By raising it, it ends up in a more flattering spot for me.  Five footers fight for all the leg length they can get!  It is still very hi-lo.

Remember, if you shorten the length of the top, do it in the area above the hem band and below the armscye. 

* The last fit issue I dealt with was adding more room in the hips. I found I wanted just a bit more ease in the back so the easiest way was to just make the pleat deeper. I added one inch to the depth of the back pleat and to the hem band in back at the same spot.  


This is a pattern where you really need to follow the directions. There were 26 steps. I liked the challenge of all the detail. I chose to topstitch most edges with the heinous "stretch stitch" , aka, triple stitch. It is great for topstitching,  giving a thicker look to this seam finish. For the less experienced sewist, the curved hem band meetings at side seam can get a bit futzy and there is always the fun of a traditional collar with stand in this pattern as well. That is the one place I veered from the pattern and did the Nancy Zieman method which you can find in my tutorials. It gave a nice crisp finish as it always does.

Once again I did my buttonholes without a buttonhole foot and they came out beautifully, except for the one on the collar stand. That part of the stand is on the bias. That and the stretch spandex insisted on a wavy BH. I ironed it away but it was definitely  not as nice as the ones hiding in the placket. I would use a lighter interfacing or just behind the BHs, next time I do a hidden placket like this. I cut down the pocket a 1/4 inch all around, the petite scaling thing. I didn't do the collar as I liked it as it was. The construction went smoothly, just following directions. They were well written. 

The Pants


The pants fabric is Telio Kahlo slub rayon in "seaweed" coloration. I was inspired by a pair of loose, cropped pants I saw Linda Lee wear on a video. Matching this print was a near impossibility. It would have worked just fine if I went the no match route. but my inspiration pant had a soft large print match around the knees and I wanted that. I found in this fabric a couple of large motifs matched but there were tons of random splotches that defied any sort of repeat. I went with the large motif I wanted to match and didn't worry about anything else.  Results below. 

This fabric, 100% rayon,  is quite lightweight, I believe in the low 4 ounce range. It is near sheer. Lee suggested lining these near sheer rayons with polyester mesh. I'd never heard of such but gave it a try. It worked out great and I will do that again. The lining is a relatively heavy fabric so hangs nicely, doesn't ride or stick to anything and does it's lining job well. There is a lot more information on the fabrics I used HERE.


For the pants I used my Sure Fit pants sloper to start. I did a simple gathered waist and cropped leg with a 1 1/4 inch deep machine hem, no pockets. I rarely do pockets in pants as they add bulk and width to my already wide hips. I love this style and it's soft folds on the hips and legs help even out my proportions. I do think a short top makes it work. 


These pants were very very easy to construct. They were classic  drop one leg into the other pants sewing. I have seen people on youtube making pants in such difficult other ways. Most patterns tell you to do the leg in leg method. It is so fast and easy. I don't get it. Oh, well, to each his own. 

For these pants the toughest part  was establishing the print layout. Once I had that done it was pretty easy. I made the lining in the exact same method. I dropped the lining into the pant and basted them together at the waistline, not the seam.  I attached non roll waist elastic, cut 2 inches smaller than my waist, to the top edge of the pant with a triple zigzag stitch. I turned it to the inside,covering up the top raw edge of the lining. I stitched the bottom edge again with a triple zigzag. Done and so easy. 

The hem was serged , then folded to the inside 1 1/4 inches and stitched down at the top edge. I liked this deeper hem on such thin fabric. The extra weight of a deeper hem helps it hang better. Oh, I let this rayon hang out for several days before hemming.  The mesh lining was simply cut with a rotary cutter about an inch and a half shorter. 

I love this outfit. I like MimiG's  pattern and it's clear directions.  While I wouldn't recommend this normally for a newbie sewist, if they want to sew along with MimiG's video on youtube, I think they can pull this off. I'm not crazy about my top fabric of these coordinates but I do have a lovely and short sleeveless top in olive green linen that I made a couple years back. It  goes really well with these pants.  I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I liked this fabric so much that I went right out and bought another few yards of a different print but still Telio Kahlo slub rayon. it will become a tunic. I recommend this pattern with the caveat about the fit of the bustline that happens to box type tops. I will live with it and wear  a cami underneath. 


My husband and I have been devoting nearly every spare minute lately to painting our home. I'll post before and afters when we are done. This is a 1962 ranch house that was painted  mint green with maroon trim. I can honestly say I lived in a very ugly house.  You can see we've gone whole different route. We love how darker homes look in wooded settings and it worked out well here. This cedar sunburst was black with mold and had never been cleaned or treated since the day it went up. My husband got off all the years of crud and will be sealing it tomorrow.That will bring out the beautiful cedar even more. My job will be painting the last side of the house on the left, yay!  Almost done!........Bunny

Let's make a pants slip!

  While this may not be the most attractive undergarment you will ever own (it could be) I guarantee you will get miles of use out of it.  I...