Everybody Pants Now

I really hope you read the title to the tune of “Everybody Dance Now” by C+C Music Factory. If not, go listen to it and meet me back here. I also hope you’re a Parks and Rec fan and remember when Leslie Knope sang that line.

Its January and I’m making pants!!! In 2018 I made:

  • leggings
  • culottes
  • casual trousers
  • jeans

Okay when I put it all together that sounds like a lot. In my mind I didn’t make a lot of pants last year. These makes were spread out across the year and I made a lot more dresses and tops than pants. After I saw the #sewfancypants and #sewwithme2019 challenges I decided that I should focus on making some pants this month.

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Leggings and jeans are on my Make Nine 2019 list, so I know that I’ll be carving out some time for those. I wanted to take this month to try some pant styles that I hadn’t made before. I’m also trying to make more clothes to wear to work.

Thats where the Seamwork Channing pants come in. As soon as I saw this pattern I knew that I had to make them. They have an old school vibe with a funky update. I made a size 22 based on my measurements and jumped into sewing with some wool suiting I picked up at Sewfisticated Fabrics.

When I first tried them on I thought they were a bit large for my intended silhouette. I also noticed that I had sewn the pleats incorrectly on one side. I don’t usually try on my garments until they are completed but I’m glad I did in this case.

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The positive ease was clearly indicated when I compared the body and finished garment measurements. That’s all on me for not checking ahead of time. My desired silhouette is also just a personal preference. I think the silhouette of the original pattern is really nice. I just decided to tweak it for my intended look.

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I took off 2 inches at the outer leg seam and 1 inch at the inner leg seam starting from the bottom of the pocket down to the hem. I didn’t want to distort the pocket, so thats why I didn’t alter the fit starting at the waist. I haven’t done a lot of fit adjustments (especially on pants) so that was my best guess at how to achieve my goal. Starting at the pockets made the upper part of the pants look a bit more curved than I intended, but it isn’t going to stop me from wearing the mess out of these pants. I decide to pair these pants with two of my favorite Cashmerette tops – the Pembroke and Montrose.

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I didn’t make any adjustments to the waistband because the flat front and elastic back worked out great for me. I really love these pants. They are fun, very comfortable, and definitely appropriate for work. I am really excited to make them again in a black wool suiting I found on the remnant table.

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I think I’ll size down for my next version, or take them in starting at the waist. I really like the pleats in these pants and they definitely make me feel fancy. I’m thinking about trying some sort of printed fabric in the future. I also wonder how a slightly heavier or more structured fabric would look.

What is your favorite pants pattern? What do you like most about that pattern? Feel free to leave a comment and share your pants story.

2019 Make Nine

So I learned about the make nine challenge in late 2017 and it seemed pretty cool. I chose nine patterns that I planned to make in 2018 based off the sewing patterns I already owned or had seen other people make. It was pretty early in my sewing journey so I didn’t put too much thought into it. I ended up making most of the patterns and learned something new with each piece.

Fast forward a year and I’m sitting down to make my list of nine things to make for 2019. Rather than picking a specific sewing pattern, I chose to look at the type of garments I wanted to make. I wanted some flexibility in the plan because that gives me the permission to switch out a pattern if it doesn’t work. That might sound silly, but I don’t thrive on being rigid. I need a balance of direction and freedom.

I also realized that a lot has changed in the past year that affects my sewing. I’ve increased my sewing skills and have a desire to try advanced techniques and work with trickier fabrics. I also moved further north and live in a colder climate. My job has me in the office most days which is a change from my previous position. I’ve also discovered more about my style and what I’m comfortable wearing. I’m really enjoying playing with proportions and new silhouettes.

Here are my plans for my 2019 Make Nine:

Jeans – Specifically skinny jeans. I might try distressing them, but the main focus is on the width of the lower leg and the inseam length.

A woman is wearing blue skinny jeans

Leggings – Most of the leggings I’ve bought in stores are too short and flare out at the ankle. My ankles are on the smaller side and I’m really looking forward to some custom leggings.

A woman is wearing grey leggings

Wrap Dress – I love how this style looks on me and I want to play with different dress lengths. I really want a maxi in a bold floral print.

A woman is wearing a dark red wrap dress

Cardigan – I’d like a cozy cardigan that will get me through the winter. I also want to make a version that helps take the chill off while I’m in the office.

A woman is walking and wearing a dark red cardigan

Blazer – I am super excited about making this. I think it will elevate my workwear game.

A woman is wearing a bright yellow blazer and cropped pants

Blouse – I’m envisioning a romantic top with dramatic sleeves. I also want a wrap blouse that I can wear with skirts and high waisted pants.

A woman is smiling and wearing a coral wrap top and pants

Blouse – I’m envisioning a romantic top with dramatic sleeves. I also want a wrap blouse that I can wear with skirts and high waisted pants.

A woman is wearing a black sleeveless top with black and white pants

Button Up Shirt – I had grand plans of tackling this in 2018 but 2019 will be the year!

A woman is wearing a large hat blue chambray button up tucked into a dark pair of jeans

Full Skirt – I haven’t made a lot of skirts and I want to add them back into my wardrobe.

A woman is wearing a black turtleneck and patterned skirt

I used Pinterest for my inspiration pictures and I really like how it all came together. I ultimately want to make pieces that can be mixed and matched for a capsule-like wardrobe. Everything doesn’t have to match, but I want to be able to use pieces for multiple outfits. I’m excited about this journey!

The Ali Sweatshirt Is Bae

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but making sweatshirts is so delightful. Yeah that was cheesy but it’s me. As I’m adapting to weather in New England I’ve started to really examine my wardrobe. I have winter clothing but not a lot of REAL winter clothing. I lived in the south for many years so moving up north has forced me to reevaluate my clothing choices. Fast forward to when I saw the Ali Sweatshirt pattern from SEWDIY. I immediately knew that I wanted to try it.

The first one I made was a XXL in a lovely mustard french terry from Imagine Gnats that I’d been holding onto. I made it without any alterations to the pattern. The instructions were clear and I was able to get more practice on my serger, which was great. After trying it on I decided to take it in a little at the side seams for a slightly different fit.

I paired it with a dress I got at JCPenney from the Tracee Ellis Ross collection. I feel like the combo had me channeling my inner Tracee and I was really happy with the outcome. It was a departure from what I thought my style was, but was definitely a success. Side bar: I’m learning that my style is evolving. More on that in another blog post.

For my second sweatshirt I decided to size down to the XL and lengthen the pattern. I used the sewalong this time and it was SUPER helpful. I especially liked the preparation post about measuring where you’d like the hem to hit and comparing it to the pattern. That might seem like a simple step but I honestly hadn’t thought about doing it. It’s a necessary adjustment for my long(ish) torso, large bust, and fit preference.

I used a scuba knit from Sewfisticated Fabrics for this version and I was a little too eager with my serger. I cut a hole in my sweatshirt while attaching the neckband and face palmed for a second. I fixed it the best I could and kept it moving. Honestly the mistakes have NOT stopped me from wearing this sweatshirt on multiple occasions. It was also my version of the “sew frosting” challenge so I continue to wear it proudly.

By the third version I’d gotten the pattern alterations and construction down to a science. I felt more comfortable sewing this one without looking at the directions, which is something I never do. Also my serger and I got along well enough to not create random holes.

I used an organic hemp fleece from D & H Fabric Co. in this dreamy rose color. This fabric was similar to other sweatshirts in my closet. I like the softness of this fabric and the color quickly became my favorite.

For my fourth and final (for now) version of the Ali Sweatshirt, I used a bamboo cotton sweatshirting in plum from Imagine Gnats. As a bonus I also ordered the coordinating ribbing to use for my cuffs and neckband. I love that I was able to get color coordinating fabric and ribbing without guessing whether the colors would match.

I really enjoyed making all of these and trying different fabrics for each. I’ve worn each of these on a consistent basis since they came off the sewing machine and I’ll definitely be wearing them throughout winter. I used the sewalong and appreciated the pictures since I’m a pretty visual learner. Beth also answered a question I had about topstitching and I really appreciated her taking the time out to answer my email and provide resources to help me.

Shout out to Carolyn (@diaryofasewingfanatic) for her advice on the Love To Sew podcast about finding a pattern that works and making it over and over again. Her words empowered me and essentially gave me permission to make the same pattern as much as I want. I’m thinking about a color blocked one next.

What sweatshirt are you making next? What’s your go to cold weather patten?