Hey Kids, We’re on a Roll Now!

We’re on a roll, I say. Really? you ask. How many garments have you completed?ONE! (Does one garment really constitute a roll?)

The Hudsons! Remember them? They are on my makenine list for this year. And they have been on my cutting table for an embarrassing number of days ….weeks ….months. But, they are finally finished!

This make was to be a toile, from sale bin fabric. No big loss then no matter what, so I would just bite my lower lip and cut right in, hoping to have a successful, wearable pair of comfort pants at a low cost, and know how to adjust the fit for a new, “better” pair. But look at this rare magic moment … when I uncovered my machine to get started, instead of a shambles, I found this:

Everything was set up and ready to go before being covered up!

So off we went, and the world’s slowest sewist (oh look, an alliterative rhyme) cut out the pants in short order. So easy! Fronts, backs, pockets, waistband, cuffs. I should have been well on my way at that point, but I needed elastic and cording. My closest fabric store is about 10 minutes away. So how many days did it take for me to complete this task? Seven! The bottom line is, after acquiring the last necessary items, I stepped up to the table and cut out the pants. I carefully marked all the pieces, and pinned the pocket lining to the pockets. Then my life began to cave in, and the Hudsons were cast even further to the background.

While I wasn’t sewing I began reading my favorite blogs again (not commenting, not posting, just reading). And from time to time, checking my emails. A newsletter from Karen Ball of Did You Make That? waited for me, asking folks what they would like to see her address. You know, problems or issues we may have with sewing. So I spilled my guts and asked for help when the sewing is just too scary to attack. And she used my question in her blog! I took Karen’s advice to allot a short amount of time to sew and when time was up, move away from the machine. Allowing myself to sew in only tiny bits freed up my worries about not accomplishing a damn thing and just see what happens. Well, my Hudson pants happened! And this is roughly how it went.

Day 1. Pockets. Pocket 1 – it was perfection! Boy am I good. Pocket 2 – the bloomin’ thing was inside out. Curses, perhaps I’m not Susie Sewist after all. However, after moving the pocket to the proper side, all was well.

Day 2. Side and crotch seams. Easy peasy.

Day 3. Waistband – hmmm do I really need that cord? What a pain it will be to do all that work, there are two buttonholes and a channel to create. But determined to do it properly, I followed the pattern and my buttonholes are perfect. Next step, attach the waistband to the pants. In so doing, I caught up the pocket in the stitching and with a sigh, began the unpicking process. Guess what? I had run out of bobbin thread! No unpicking required. This project had adverted its own crisis! Another magic moment.

Day 4. Attaching the elastic was the next challenge. With elastic in place, I basted using colorful rainbow thread because sheesh, this a lot of black thread on black fabric and my old eyeballs needed a rest. I sewed the bottom edge of waistband to pants, and tried them on once more. This was going to be one comfortable pair of pants.

Day 5. First cuff. Next I tackled the final piece of the pants puzzle, the cuffs. First cuff – meh, not bad. That’s all for today. Tomorrow will be the grand finale!

Day 6. Second cuff. Can you see the overly pinned cuff waiting for me, just behind the machine? I quickly sewed it up, and took it to the ironing board. Yikes! what happened here? Bunch upon bunch upon bunch. Once again, seam ripper to the rescue, and with only two short segments to sew (or resew, if that’s a word) with fewer pins, the cuff fit over the throat easily, and the job was at last complete.

After a good press, I am thoroughly enjoying my new, super comfy, wearable Hudson pants.

And the moral of the story? Sewing is a very humbling activity, but sometimes the magic happens. It turns out that my cheapo fabric is a wonderful ponte and my new pants are beyond wearable; they fit perfectly as printed, and are perfectly suitable for public viewing! I love my new Hudsons! Must make more. Many more. Gray, green, blue, red, wild prints. We shall see. And I must find a more dignified method of taking selfies.

Next up: the toile for my dotty Farrow Dress, which will be made of this luciousness.

Thanks for indulging me, and stitch on, everyone!

 

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1, 2, 3, 4….

Four fabric squares, each with four seams and four corners. Now that is some advanced sewing, wouldn’t you say? And all these “fours” rolled together in my brain, and came out as 1, 2, 3, 4 … can I have a little more … a dandy little ditty by my four favorite guys.

So after this little digression, let’s get on with the post.

While on vacation last September I bought 4 cotton fat quarters (2 in Brecon and 2 in Chester) to make bandanas for my dear hubby. There couldn’t be a simpler project and as it is now April, he has waited long enough, wouldn’t you agree?

I zipped through the first one, but didn’t turn the corners properly.

Even though they are not terribly bulky, I needed to make better corners with the next one. Unfortunately, the next one was a very lightweight fabric that hubby had chosen himself. Now, who can worry about proper corners when one can’t even keep the feed dogs from chomping up the teeny tiny hems? And of course, this was the smallest of the pieces so making wider hems posed a problem. (Hmm, shouldn’t fat quarters be fairly uniform in size?)  So I did some troubleshooting. I cleaned and dusted my machine, grabbed a new needle, rethreaded both top and bobbin thread. I changed from the lightweight transparent foot (which I had just bought, and love!) to a heavier edge foot and checked the foot tension. The only thing left for me to do was buck up and start again. Starting with great trepidation on the flimsy little square, I happily discovered my machine just whirred right along, and no more hungry feed dogs! And look, my corners have improved!

Rather blurry photo, my apologies.

Here is the completed stack. A grand total of 16 corners and 16 hemmed sides to create four workout/running bandanas for himself. I don’t know which is his favorite, but I’ll just bet you can guess which one is mine!

Somehow, the color is a bit off on just one of these bandanas – the plain green one is a nice, bright green. Won’t he be a big hit at the gym?

And next to come, my new True Bias Hudson pants! And could it be? A dress!

Just the top, ma’am…

This was supposed to be a post about a pajama/lounging outfit, but I’m so happy with the top, I couldn’t wait to show you.

Working on my #2017makenine, I hit a snag right from the outset. It seems all the materials I had on hand were of the stretchy variety, which I’ve never sewn, even back in the old days when I made most of my wardrobe. (oh wait, there was a pink textured polyester shorts & tank set – ack! I’d forgotten about that gem – wore it proudly, but  in retrospect, it was an absolute horror)

Anyway….I decided to  toile my first planned make, pajamas, sewing the top from the Simple Sew Shannon Collection, a pattern gifted to me by Ali of THIMBERLINA fame. I would be using a beautiful piece of Art Gallery stretch jersey, purchased at Akhaban in Chester, when I met Ali and her mum.

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Thanks to all your good advice, see previous post, the neckline was stretched into submission and sewed to near perfection (although still a bit puckery).

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I tried on the top again; the fit was right, but something was not right with the sleeves. Were they too long? Maybe. Too tight? Not really. They just weren’t right. So how did I resolve this issue? Ditch the cuffs! So, with sleeves hemmed without cuffs, the length is perfect and the top is great! I love this cheery fabric.  For my next version, I’ll most likely make wrist length, snuggly sleeves.

Truth be told, the sleeve hems are not perfectly done; I turned them under twice so they’re a tad thick. I wanted to do a better job on the hem, so I searched the internet for tutorials and tips for sewing knits without a serger/overlocker. It seemed rather hopeless, as all the examples looked so nice and mine looked so …. well, not nice.  So I procrastinated, and tidied my sewing area instead. Lo and behold, I found some hem tape! I made a couple of sample runs to get the desired width, and with the hem finally sewn, this top is finished!

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Not the best hairdo for this picture, as it reveals that something is askew with the shoulder/neckline. The neckline isn’t so pointy when my shoulders are in a normal position, not up in a funny how-does-one-pose-for-a-selfie shot.

I love this happy little top so much, it might be allowed out in public after all.

Next up, to complete the outfit, my Hudson pants in a luscious black double knit. They just might have a little contrast trim in a familiar print.

Watch this space.