crafts · finished objects · Sewing

FO: Simplicity 2896

Pattern: Simplicity 2896

Fabric: 2 yards of 60″ wide metallic linen

Notes: Every summer I buy myself a pair of linen pants.  Usually they are wide legged and have a drawstring waist, and by mid summer they are so stretched out that I am in constant danger of my pants falling off.  This summer I thought I would try something different and make my own!  I decided on this pattern because it had wide legs, but lacked the drawstring waist (I’ve never cared for that sort of waist treatment.)  I had bought this fabric for a jacket, but quickly realized that it needed to be nowhere near my face (I don’t look good in beige) so I decided this fabric would be my summer pants.

I made a muslin of the size 10, and decided that I needed a little more room in the waist.  On the finished pants, it turns out that I could have stuck to the straight size 10 – these fit a little below my natural waist, but I think they would be nicer at the natural waist.  I had some issues with attaching the facing, as I mentioned in my last post, but they worked out otherwise.  I’m especially proud of the fly zipper!

I really wanted to make this whole project on my new Singer Rocketeer, but there were a few places that didn’t work – on the zipper I had to use my other machine, as I don’t have a zipper foot yet, and I needed the walking foot when attaching the facing.  The pattern calls for sandwiching the belt carriers in between the facing and the pants, and that made for about a million layers of fabric to sew together.  The Bernina is a champ when it comes to thick fabrics, especially with the walking foot attached.  I actually would not put the belt loops in there if I made the pants again – it’s too thick, and the facing really wants to roll out around them.  But this is a thick fabric, and it might be fine in something thinner.

I made the self-fabric tie belt, but I like the pants better with a scarf belt to reduce bulk.  They also look nice with the shirt untucked, but I wanted to show the whole thing!  I ironed the fabric before prewashing it, a Sandra Betzina tip to minimize future wrinkling.  I don’t know if it works, but for linen these pants don’t wrinkle too badly.

The metallic linen wasn’t fun.  I didn’t use my scissors at all, because I was afraid of dulling them (metallic threads can kill scissors, something I know from embroidery.)  It killed a rotary blade, but I managed.  My serger didn’t like this fabric at all, so I put the knife down and trimmed with the rotary cutter, then serged.  I didn’t want to dull the serger knife either.  It is a pretty fabric though – it looks different under different lights – very shiny at night, but only a subtle sparkle in the daytime.

They aren’t the most slimming pants ever, but that wasn’t really the point of them – I wanted a pair of breezy casual summer linen pants, and I got them!  They look best with tops with a bit of drape – I tried them with some close fitting tanks, and it was not a good look – very unbalanced from top to bottom.  I do recommend the pattern, but consider altering the belt loops, and watch for the facing instructions – it might have been just me, but I had issues!

crafts · Sewing

My sewing handicap

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I can’t understand diagrams.   My brain has a hard time translating drawings into real life… and it always has.  This is a problem that plagued me in school.    Sewing patterns often depend on diagrams to teach you how to do something.  Were it not for the internet (and especially Youtube!) I doubt that I ever could have learned to sew or knit.

Part of the reason that I always make a muslin is that, predictably, I will screw up some part of the pattern that involves me translating from a picture.  On my current pants project I messed up the zipper, managing to sew it wrong twice.  Fortunately, by the time I got to the actual pants I had watched enough videos to understand how a fly zipper is sewn.  Unfortunately, I failed to do one of the last steps in the pattern in my muslin, and screwed it up on the pants.  The directions tell you to baste the waist facing in place, and then to fold the fly out over the facing and baste.  These instructions made approximately no sense to me, but the diagram showed the fly over the facing, and it wso that’s what I did, darn it.  Apparently I did it wrong, and I ended up having to redo that part after I sewed the seam and trimmed (naturally… why would I notice a mistake before cutting off fabric?)  I managed to get everything tacked down, but I do not believe that it looks exactly the way it’s supposed to on the inside (it looks fine from the outside, thank goodness!)

Ah well… I have only to sew on the closure and hem, and these pants will be finished.  I have mixed feelings about them, probably because I hate that I made a mistake, but my husband was very impressed by them, saying “those look really expensive!”  I just won’t show anyone the inside.  Pictures should follow this weekend, assuming we get some sunlight!  I’ve also finished my sweater, so that should get photos this weekend as well, and I’ve bought the new Kim Hargreaves book in celebration!  I’m planning to get started on my gingham blouse, which looks like an easy project.  I’m actually not planning a muslin, since it’s easy and straightforward – I will do a basted fitting instead, and we will see how that goes!

crafts · Sewing

Weekly update!

I’m still not feeling 100%, so I haven’t gotten as much done this week as I’d planned.  My propensity for developing every possible side effect of a medication continues, as well as my general slow recovery from any illness.   But I have made at least a little sewing progress – I have finally finished sewing a muslin of the Simplicity 2896 pants!  I’ve taken to using actual muslin lately –  find it easier to work with than my usual “whatever quilting cotton goes down to $1 a yard,” and it doesn’t come in vertigo inducing prints!  I also like having the ability to mark with a permanent marker with no trouble.

I’ve also used Doris (the Rocketeer) to sew the entire muslin, as I’m trying to get a real feel for how she sews.  Certainly the feel is much different from what I’m used to – but other than the occasional wrinkle in the fabric, I find the sewing to be easy (and she sews fast!)  I am using the straight stitch needle plate, because that stops the fabric from being sucked down into the machine when back-stitching (the back stitching is not quite as smooth as on a modern machine, but I’m just glad to have it – on my MIL’s machine you have to turn the fabric around to back tack!)  I can’t quite explain why the feel is so different – but I think that Doris and I are going to be great friends – I am really loving sewing with her!  I’m on the lookout now for some attachments.  I had to sew the zipper with the Bernina because I don’t yet have a zipper foot, and I’d also like a walking foot.  I find these are the feet I use most often other than the zig-zag foot.  I have a ruffler, which is currently being de-rusted, and I’m excited about that.  I’m looking for a buttonholer, as I’ve heard great things about the vintage Singer buttonholer!  I also need to figure out what the heck the other feet I have are… I swear I cannot recognize them.  Perhaps I will post a picture of them later this week!

This was my first time doing a fly zipper and I won’t lie – it was pretty scary.  I followed the instructions in the pattern and only had to rip once, because I had allowed too much room for the overlap.   It does seem a little unnecessarily complicated, and I’m interested in trying out Sandra Betzina’s method.

But the good news?  The muslin fits!  A few readers pointed out that they are similar to my Vogue pants, and there are similarities definitely!  They are wide legged, though not as wide as the Vogues, and the waistband is faced.  The waist is a good 2 inches or more lower also – right around my natural waist, not above it.   I  It’s a very flattering  cut, and the only alteration I’ve needed is to create a new size between the 10 and 12 in the waist.  I’m looking forward to getting started in the linen I bought.  Hopefully this weekend!

I’ve also been teaching myself to use a thimble.

I have my grandma’s thimble, and it fits me!  I like that it’s on the hand with my wedding ring (which was also hers.)  I actually stabbed myself pretty badly while doing all the handsewing on my last dress, so I decided it was time (and as my Singer sewing guide says “You must teach yourself to use a thimble, even if you must force yourself!”)

I actually don’t use the thimble the way you are supposed to (for pushing in the needle.)  I keep it underneath, so I don’t stab myself when poking the needle to the other side.  You’re supposed to use it to push on the needle eye, but I’ve never had any trouble with that (I know you can get little fingertip thimbles for use underneath, but I stab myself anyway through those!)  I sew faster when I’m not worried about drawing blood.

Does anyone else use a thimble?  I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary (after all, I’ve done without!) but they really help with my handsewing.  There’s also something delightfully old-fashioned about them to me.  And, much like everything else, this vintage thimble is built to last… the modern one I have feels cheap and thin.