Jean juice

ImageI’ve never really been someone who wears jeans. I think it stems from me being a bigger lady – I could never find jeans that looked nice, because I couldn’t fit pants from trendy young-people stores, so all that was available were shapeless numbers or mens pants. Sure, each winter I’d get jeans-envy from seeing everyone so comfortable in their jeans, so I’d go to the shops and buy which ever pair actually fit me. once the winter was over I’d suddenly look in the mirror and realise that I looked awful, so out they’d go.

I have had one pair of jeans that fit me well/looked good, which I bought from Forever 21 and took in at the waist so they didn’t gape (you can see me wearing them in lots of my 2013 makes). They recently died (hole in the inner thigh) and I’ve been pant-less ever since. I finally realised that I should take the plunge and try making my own jeans. The results are…. so so.

On the one hand: I made a pair of jeans! And I did it rather well! But on the other hand, I don’t like how they look at all, and they’re definitely reminiscent of all the Jeans West jeans I bought when I was a teenager.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070500-copy.jpg

I used the famous Jalie 2908 “stretch jeans” pattern and my own pants sloper; here’s where the issue starts. Laying the slop on top of the jalie pattern, it appeared that I needed WAY more room than the Jalie allowed. As in, despite being a size W in the waist and CC in the hips, my sloper was bigger than the FF size. I ended up cutting the sloper size and chalking in the Jalie sewing line. I made up one leg, decided it was much too small, and went with the sloper size.

Obviously I forgot about the stretch. I tried them off after I finished the fly (which took two attempts, the second one much helped by this blog post) and they were baggy. I pinched out some fabric, they were better, so I went ahead and finished the seams. Now, I think they could probably have been made exactly as Jalie had drafted them, as I think some of the fitting issues come from being a bit baggy in places.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070457-copy.jpg

They’ve ended up looking a bit like “Mom-jeans”, which is a bit mean considering I don’t know many mum’s who wear the kind of jeans I’m meaning, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. They’re a funny cut in the leg and a bit baggy in the crotch. The waist, at least, I’m reasonably proud of – it took me like 3 hours to draft that waistband and except for the fact that I hammered in the buttons 2cm from where they should be, it fits well!

Overall I’m happy with the construction, and that they look like jeans. There’s a lot of topstitching and Mr. Guy even complimented how straight it is. The inseams are flat felled (the regular way, I didn’t realise you’re supposed to sew wrong-sides-together so the bulk is on the outside), the outer leg seams are overlocked and double top-stitched. As mentioned, the fly took to me two attempts, and I hammered the buttons too far over so they pull at the fly.

I didn’t just want plain lines on the back pockets, so I sewed some mountains:


So I’m feeling very bleargh about these. When I look at the clothes I usually wear (skirts/dresses), these look awful in comparison, but I think jeans will always look average purely because of my body shape. Sure, these aren’t the worse jeans I’ve ever worn and they look pretygood from the side, but I still feel very frumpy in them. When I finished them yesterday I was feeling pretty crap, until I realised “these are the first pants I’ve ever made for myself”, and there’s lots of room for improvement. I can handle that although I had such hopes for these.


These will probably end up as “mucking around/working in the garden” pants, which is fine with me. Next time I’ll try using a slightly stretchier denim and make them tighter, and will try making the pockets larger so they reinforce the front (maybe that will help suck in my tummy) – I remember reading that on Tanitisis’s blog though of course I can’t find it now. I also would love to get hold of some polka-dot denim.



Pattern: Jalie 2908 and pants sloper

Fabric: Sturdy stretch denim, $35

Notions: Jeans buttons, $1; interfacing and thread, stash; top-stitching thread, from Mrs. C, jeans zip $4.80. I bought rivets but didn’t use them.

Total: $40.80

Two other things: one, check out these most bodacious shoes. They’re “Vans for the ASPCA”, a friend posted them on facebook and I spent the next couple of days tracking some down. I even bought a pair of the matching dog ones for my nephew in Canada.


Secondly, I was awarded a second Liebster award by Lazylinchen (which makes me think of lazy lichen, which makes me laugh because lichen is amazing). I’ve already done the nominating thing so I’ll quickly answer the questions. Skip if you don’t want to learn more about me.


1. What is your favourite pastime?

It’s probably not hard to guess that it’s sewing!

2. What do you love cooking/eating the most?

Pass! I just love eating.

3. What is you favourite fictional character and why?

Probably Alanna from the The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I love all of her books and I think I owe a large part of my feminist ideals to those books. Girls that kick ass, having to prove themselves equal to males and proving that they can even be better in a mans world.

4.  What do you like most about your life?

My husband, my job, family and pets ❤

5. How do you manage your stash (if you have one)? (This is shameless digging for solutions…)

I do have a stash, although I freak out if I have too many things in it. I’m trying to only buy things with a garment in mind but that doesn’t always work. I tend to just fold the fabric and put it on a shelf so I can see it easily and stroke it for inspiration, but I also have a box of fabrics that are my “one day I’ll have the skills/pattern to make that garment”.

6. What is your favourite make?

It’s probably still my Watson Jacket, it’s just so fancy. Or, more recently, my shirtwaist dress and Mr. Guy’s Jedediah trousers..

7. Which part do you dislike most about creating?

When I end up with a product that’s worse than RTW, whether because it doesn’t fit or because I goofed on the construction.

8. Winter or Summer?

Spriiiing, mainly because of all the flowers (this is more a thing in Christchurch, “the garden city” where the council plants thousands of daffodils around the city. Wellington doesn’t have many flowers)

9. If you could choose from any animal that ever existed, what pet would you like to have?

Dragon. Either a small one like a firedrake (that’s like a very intelligent dog) or a big one that I could ride around on.

10. Why do you sew/knit/create?

I started off sewing because I couldn’t find clothes that were trendy/cool that fit me. Later, when I could, I didn’t want to pay the price for those garments. Now I love creating for the sake of it, not being at the mercy of people who decide what’s in fashion (at the moment that seems to be “everything too short”), and it’s my way of expressing myself. Plus I’ve gotten to meet so many people through sewing, it’s rad

11. What is your favourite place on Earth?

  Pass again! I think it’s cheating to just say “New Zealand” but we really do have it lucky. Favourite place that I’ve visited outside of NZ would be Mexico


The “One Day” outfit featuring The Afternoon Blouse

For a while now I’ve been complaining (in my head) about two things: I’m desparately lacking in nice blouses to wear, and I need some more plain skirts. I’m attracted to bright colours and patterns which sometimes mean that my wardrobe looks like a higgeldy mess of colours and I have to pick through everything to find things that match. I am quite happy mixing patterns but sometimes it just gets a bit much, you know?


So we’ve established that I can’t say no to brights. I’m also not to good at buying blouse fabrics – no idea why, but I think part of it is that lots of patterns call for almost 2m, and I figure if I’m going to buy 2m (and the fabric is usually in some way expensive), I might as well get a WHOLE outfit out of it. I can get a bit stingy with fabric, so I’ve been trying to get hold of cute patterns that use not-so-much fabric and don’t have lots of details that I’m not ready to tackly in delicate blouse fabric.

The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren Vintage (from Dunedin, NZ, where I went to university) kind of meets both of those criteria.

ImageAlthough the “required yardage” is about 1.5m, I used vastly less than that – I had a 140x60cm piece and a much smaller piece that I was able to just fit the facing onto, so you should easily be able to get it out of ~90cm. The fabric itself is a rayon from one of the members of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (erm, I can’t quite remember who it was, sorry and thanks!). I’m not sure if it’s vintage or not, but it has a few small stains on it that look like the ones you get on vintage tablecloths. All I know is I snapped it up as soon as my beady eyes caught sight of it, and didn’t ask any questions.ImageThe fabric is looovely and drapey and feels really nice to wear, and I love how it blouses over the skirt. I feel like I’m wearing a vintage grandma blouse and I love it.


This photo is for Mary – this was the first photo we took! It’s damn windy here…

The blouse was SO quick to make. I even timed myself, and it took 90 minutes all up. In terms of construction, I basically followed the instructions (mainly I just glanced at the diagrams). The inside seams are finished with the overlocker and the hem and sleeves are all finished with a narrow hem. For the facing, instead of fusing the interfacing on and then finishing the edges, I sewed right sides together (using the glue side as the wrong side), trimmed the seam with pinking shears, then turned and pressed the interfacing down. This gives the facing a really nice finish without any extra stitching.

ImageFor some reason the only good photos from today were crazy photos.

In case you’re wondering about the skirt; yep, I made that as well. In the same evening as the top. Hence the “one day outfit”.

It’s from the Gertie’s high waisted skirt (previously made here, here, here and here). When I tried it on halfway through I decided I wanted it to be a bit more pegged than my other versions, so I took it in at the bottom of the side seams, and the bottom center back seam. BIG MISTAKE. I think that really needs to be a flat-pattern adjustment, because I can feel some weird pulling around the bottom. I was also left with a much shorter vent, which combined with the peggings makes it VERY difficult to get on (getting dressed may remind my husband of my pantihose dance). I also got some excess pooling at the bum:

ImageThis photo makes me wonder if there’s a fitting issue that needs fixing at the hips on my sloper, or if it’s just because I changed the bottom of the skirt. It’s not tooo bad but I do end up tugging it a bit during the day (and apologies about the wrinkles, I can only take photos after work and I do a lot of sitting-to-standing and back).

ImageI decided to straighten out the waistband, rather than using the curved one that I’ve done with all my other versions.

ImageI did an invisible hem and decided that it’s not the best idea on a vented skirt – at least, if you’re going to do it, do it before you sew up the center back seam! So it’s not the greatest black skirt, but it’ll do and I always have to remind myself that it still fits better than ready-to-wear.

ImageWhat am I doing here?

I actually really like the blouse – the funny fold-over front is cute although I will need to sort out some way to make it stay in place (it’ll help when I have hand-needles…I had to sew the waistband button with a sewing machine needle). It uses very little fabric and is quick, and the kimono sleeves give it a classy/casual look. I may use this pattern to make a plain v-neck kimono blouse for even more versions.

The black skirt I’m 50% happy about – I will wear it a lot because it’s so plain it will go with anything else in my wardrobe (and is one of only 4 black items in my whole place), but the fit is a bit off.


Patterns: The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren Vintage, $14 NZD, and Gertie’s high waisted skirt

Fabric: Black stretch cotton twill, $8,60 and rayon, free

Notions: Pale blue button and white and gold button (skirt), zip, thread and interfacing all from stash. Thread, $4

Total: $26.60 all up


Self-drafted Shirtwaist dress, and a sneak preview of the new Thread Theory pattern, the Thetis Undershirt!

I’ve always liked shirtwaist dresses. I don’t even know what is about them; perhaps it’s that they’re an easily wearable “vintage” look, along with the fit-and-flare silhouette that suits me so well. Regardless of the reasons I’ve always wanted a wardrobe full of them. Before I started sewing, they just weren’t available to me – the only ones I ever saw ran at about $200+ which was well out of my student clothing budget.

ImageI have tried sewing them twice before. The first, my Gertie’s Palomino Dress, was one of my favourite items for a while, but it has some serious fit issues; I successfully tackled the broad shoulder issue, but the bust darts are crazy. And I have several issues with the back – there is way too much fabric gathered into the yolk, and the shirred lower back results in some extremely unflattering gathers. I do still love this dress and get plenty of comments (including one elderly patient telling me that it took him back to the 60’s), but I don’t want to make the base pattern again.

ImageI then tried to use my princess seam bodice sloper and the Gertie’s pattern to draft a better-fitting version, seen here. The bodice of this one fit well, but for some reason the collar (which was borrowed from the Gertie pattern) is way too short; I dislike the buttons that I chose; and it ended up with an a-line skirt because I didn’t buy enough fabric. Looking at the photos, it isn’t as bad as I remember, but I think I gave this dress away.

It’s taken me a while to get the courage to try again… and I think I’ve almost cracked it

ImageI would go so far as to say I drafted this myself; although it’s based off several different patterns, I had to alter them significantly and have ended up with “my own” pattern. The bodice front used a combination of the Gertie Shirtwaist, La Sylphide, and my princess seam sloper. It started off with just one (vertical) dart and I ended up adding in a bust dart, by figuring out how much needed to come out of the side, marking my bust point on the muslin, and aiming the dart there (finishing 1″ before).

I then rearranged both darts to make the center of the dart parallel and perpendicular to the grainline (does it annoy you when the dart pulls funny when you’re forming it? I’d never thought about it before but figure the reason is that they’re off grain). The bodice back is the La Sylphide/my bodice sloper back piece, cut on the fold. Sleeves are from my sloper.

ImageThe collar is my only issue with the dress (GUYS THERE’S ONLY ONE THING I DON’T LIKE). I used the pattern piece from the Negroni shirt, as I think the Gertie dress uses a one-piece collar. It hasn’t worked and makes the back neckline gape weirdly. Although it’s not ideal, though, I’m perfectly happy with the whole thing because it still looks awesome and now I know. Next time I’ll draft or find a collar stand and collar.

ImageOnce I had the pattern sussed, I pulled out the only fabric in my stash that I thought would work… and realised that it’s a large scale pattern. I should pattern match. Crap.

I’ve never really done much pattern matching before – I used to not even be aware of it, and I often just bypass it on smaller print stuff. After my accidental-matching on my lobster dress, I realised how gutted I would have been if it was way off. So I decided to bite the bullet and do it.

ImageI did it! Because it’s buttoned up and not just a regular seam, I had to work out where the two patterns would actually meet. I marked the center front on the pattern piece, then cut out one piece (on the flat). I then folded the fabric under at the center front and laid it on top of the fabric, lining up the pattern – then lair the pattern piece down (in a mirror image), removed the first bit of fabric, and unfolded the center front. If you like pictures, Sewaholic and Bind The Seams both have pictorials. I’ve just clicked that “pictorial” probably means picture tutorial.

ImageBecause the dress is only buttoned to the waist, I added a lapped zipper to the side seam. This also meant that the buttons would be non-functional, so I decided to sew most of the front shut and sew the buttons straight onto it. The top button is still functional and I had a hell of a time with my automatic buttonholer, as it wanted to make a buttonhole 3x shorter than I needed (it’s funny how a malfunctioning convenience tool makes you so much madder than if you didn’t have it at all).

ImageI have so many zips, but they’re not very often the colour that I need.

ImageLike my last few dresses (and another one almost finished), the skirt is an a-line gathered skirt, and for this version, both the front and back skirt were cut on the fold. And the hem is my first actual ever blind hem. Oh my glob guys, it is amazing – why have I never done one before? It only took a little bit more fussing with the iron and pins, and it’s such a nice finish. I’m going to be doing them a lot more.

ImageWowow I like this dress a lot, and apart from the collar it’s really comfortable (I keep finding myself tugging it forward a bit). It doesn’t even use up much more fabric than any other dress, so I’m hopefully going have my dream of a wardrobe half filled with shirtwaist dresses!! Just need to find the fabric for them first…

ImageI run out of poses, okay?


I’m also going to count this as a Sew Dolly Clackett entry. She has made a few similar shirtwaist dresses, and although it’s not her classic style I did buy the fabric because of her inspiration.


Pattern: Self-made, details in post

Fabric: Quilting cotton from fabric.com, about $30 after shipping

Notions: Buttons, 50c each. Thread, interfacing and zip from stash

Total: $31.50


I’d also like to show off another make: the Thetis Undershirt by Thread Theory.

ImageAfter some cheeky pointed emails to Morgan from Thread Theory, I was lucky enough to be able to test a soon-to-be-released pattern, the Thetis Undershirt. It’s designed to be a loose, v-neck for wearing as is, or under other clothes (such as a dress shirt – so many of those need a singlet to maintain modesty), and it will be released as a FREE pattern.

ImageIt’s a straight-forward top that uses very little fabric (I used an 80cm scrap piece of cotton-spandex). It is meant to be a loose style and I prefer Mr. Guy’s tops to be a bit more fitting so I did take it in at the sides a bit – Morgan recommends going down a size from your measurements if you prefer it fitted.

ImageI can see myself making a few of these; even though Mr. Guy said “I don’t need another singlet, I already have a black and a white one” he’s worn this one several times.

ImageI’m not 100% sure when the pattern will be released (it’ll be availble after Morgan and Matt get back from their USA roadtrip, I believe) but be sure to keep an eye out!


Don’t look now Jessie, she’s gone full lobster!

Ah ah ah this dress!


This, my lovely readers, is the Sewaholic Cambie in full on LOBSTER PRINT. I’ve been wanting this fabric ever since I saw the lady who owns Swonderful Boutique (highly recommended for Wellingtonians – excellent quality and made in store) wearing it in the white colourway, and she told me about Michael Miller fabrics.

I’ve actually had the fabric in my etsy card several times only to see it sell out again when I dithered. When I decided to try buying from fabric.com*, I snapped it up instantly. And I was not disappointed – the colours look even better in real life than in the shops photos.


Even though this is my fourth version of the Cambie bodice, I actually made a muslin! My last version I found to fit a bit oddly, and the bust darts were too high on previous versions (here and here), so I thought I’d make one so I never have to worry again. Which I think I have now – it’s a bit loose (because of the give in the cotton vs muslin) but the darts are in the right place and I now have the sleeves at the right length.

But I’ve got no idea how I made the sleeves two difference widths:


You’ll notice that I didn’t do the gathers on the sleees which… wasn’t totally on purpose, but I’m glad because it would potentially make this a bit too squee. Like my ships dress, the skirt is just a gathered a-line skirt. For construction the bodice seams are just pinked, the skirt seams are overlocked, and the waistband is (dodgily) stitched down using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot. Hem is turned and sewn so the overlocked edge is hidden. The lining is, of course, totally different to the shell:


I did a lapped zip (again, using scruffy badgers technique. I think I’m just going to print these pictures out and stick them on my wall!), which I put in then had to pull out completely because the waistband didn’t match up. I actually considered leaving it, but it was pretty obvious, so I sucked it up and did it again (this time using the same technique that I use when doing invisible zippers – start sewing from the waistband down, turn around and sew from the waistband up – you just need to make sure the tops line up when you sew down the lining/facing).

I didn’t really make any effore to pattern match which was supid, but I accidentally got this:


They’re only off by 1-2cm! So from far away it’s not that noticible at all, woot. I did have a heck of a time getting the lapped part to sit nicely at the neckline after I sewed the lining down. Looks kiind of okay, but really I need to remember it’s not a good idea in a lined dress – unless anyone has any tips??).

And, of course, it has pockets


I love love love this dress, and I already got two compliments when I wore it to Whangarei – and some very odd looks.

This, you might have guessed, is also my third entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett sewalong. I might squeeze one or two more into the competition, we’ll see how we go – I still have The Monthly Stitch’s challenge for the month, and I was hoping to take part in Sew For Victory 2.0, but my pattern hasn’t arrived yet and it will need muslining and things. There’s some long weekends coming up though so I should have time!


I’m also on the look out for a red belt… you may have noticed that I always wear this scummy brown one that I think I bought from the $2 op-shop in Christchurch. I don’t like shopping though, okay?



Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

Fabric: Lobster quilting cotton by Michael Miller, about $35 after shipping

Notions: zip and interfacing, stash. Thread $3

Total: $38





Jedediah shorty shorts

Okay, sorry to disappoint – they’re not really shorty shorts. Just above the knees.


As soon as I had finished Mr. Guy’s first pair of Jedediah trousers (which are getting worn a lot), he asked for a pair of shorts. I told him yes, but he would have to wait for me to get some fabric… then after some thinking I very kindly used some stash fabric for him. This version is made up from a heavy weight cotton/lycra twill that was originally bought to copy this exact dress, to be worn at work.

I think now it actually would have been too thick/stiff for a dress (good for a winter dress but I work in a hospital that’s always the same temperature), and I really wanted to make him another pair, so it got sacrificed. The pattern actually use a lot less fabric than suggested, so there is easily enough left to make a skirt for myself.


I don’t have much else to say about the construction of these. They’re the same size as the other pair, although I took a couple of cm off the waistband as he wanted to be able to wear his pants/shorts without a belt. Unfortunately (and obviously) the lyca in these means they fit a bit looser, and despite being interfaced, the waistband is more loose than the other pair.

He usually wears his pants quite low so it’s not too bad, but I don’t like him doing that so I’ll make sure I take it in even more if I use a fabric with stretch again in the future.


Fingers over the photo because I was too busy perving, and Mr. Guy doesn’t like me taking photos of him so couldn’t re-do them

You can’t see much detail because of the black, but there isn’t much! Again the pockets have no decorative top-stitching. The side and inner leg seams are all flat felled and the seat seam is overlocked and stitched down.


This time he got blue anchors for pockets (why would I use plain fabric?).

Again, the pattern itself is excellent and not too onerous to sew up – it took two evenings because there’s quite a few things to do. I once read it should take a full day to make a pair of pants/jeans, and I don’t imagine I could make these any quicker. I cut at the “shorts” line but shortened them by about 4-5″, where Mr. Guy wanted them to finish (he looks really odd with below-the-knee-shorts).


Pattern: Jedediah Trousers by Thread Theory

Fabric: Cotton-lycra twill, $18/m with 40% off = $10.80

Notions: Thread, interfacing, zip and button: stash

Total: $10.80

I’m going to have to keep my eye out for trouser fabric now; I’m sure I’m going tog get more requests as the weather gets colder!



The Monthly Stitch Knitspiration: underwear

(I’ve already posted about this pattern here, but have written a post for the start of next month’s The Monthly Stitch’s challenge – to sew with knit fabric)


Underwear is something a few years ago I NEVER would have thought about making. I mean, come on – make your own underwear? That’s ridiculous. Skip forward to today, and I haven’t bought myself underwear in about a year. I’ve made myself underwear from a few different patterns – Jalie 3242, and Ohhh Lulu’s Ginger and Betty patterns. I haven’t posted any pictures because they were mainly all made before I started my blog. So far they’re just plain cotton knit ones, but I would like to branch out into a bit of lace to make them pretty Because it uses such a small amount of fabric, you can make underwear out of scrap fabrics, or you can get several (3-4) pairs out of 1m.

And if you think it would save money to make your own underwear, think about mens underwear! In New Zealand, a nice quality pair of brief’s costs at least $20, and a nice pair of knit shorts costs >$25-30. When you consider how much fabric would cost US to buy, and then realise that these are being made off shore, and I’m 100% certain the fabric will cost a fraction of what we pay for yardage. It’s even cheaper if, like me, you were able to get sent a whole box of knit fabric scraps for FREE – thanks Levana!!!

ImageThe only issue is PATTERNS. For ladies patterns you have several options. There’s ones to buy, like those from the Big 4 pattern companies, Ohhh Lulu, and Merckwaerdigh there are vintage versions, free patterns like those from So Zo and Cloth Habit, and many others. For men, there haven’t been many options. Several months ago I had a go at making mens underwear, starting by pulling apart a pair of Mr. Guy’s briefs (I buy him briefs/gruts partly because they’re cheaper than shorts! Ha) and making  pattern. Lets just say that didn’t work well – turns out that particular pair didn’t fit him well in the first place, and the pair I made were terrible.

I then tried the Jalie 3242 mens brief pattern (you can see Male Pattern Boldness’s boxers and briefs here). I ended up making several different pairs, but they just didn’t fit well (even though I re-drafted the crotch piece 3 times) and I found the leg binding really difficult to look good. After that I kind of gave up, with the general idea in my mind that I would revisit the idea later.


Then, two weeks ago, Thread Theory launched their new pattern, the Comox Trunks. Dang it but Morgan and Matt know what we want, and the PDF pattern in particular is really cheap (only $7.50 CAD). I snapped up a copy and the next night I had a version made up:

ImageThis was the only knit I had in my stash, hehe. Original blog post here

This pattern is EXCELLENT, as can be expected with all of Thread Theory’s patterns. After my big box of knits arrived from Levana, and I got some more waistband elastic from Made on Marion, I quickly made up three more pairs (one pair has… disappeared).

ImageThe shorts only take me about 60 minutes to make up, including cutting, so they’re a great project if you want a quick fix or only have a short time to sew. I think I’ll end up cutting these out in bulk and having them pre-cut ready to sew up so they take even less time.

ImageUnderwear can be really difficult to get pretty; they’re quite a different beast from full-size garments. Mens underwear (and this pattern in particular) is designed to be easy to look professional, once you get used to stitching the smaller pieces (I find womens underwear much harder because of all the picot elastic etc). For these two pairs, there’s a couple of dodgy areas, especially when I stitched my twin needle over the waistband elastic… which then broke. The blue pair doesn’t have that seam top-stitched.

Mr. Guy tells me these shorts are really comfortable, and he reaches for them before his other RTW pairs. I wish I had some photos of him modelling them, but I’m not willing to share 🙂 You can see some lovely modelled pairs on Thread Theory’s blog


Thread theory is running a sew-a-long for the shorts starting Friday April 4th (today for us kiwis/Australians and tomorrow for those from almost everywhere else). To celebrate, until Friday night there is 30% off the pattern! Just enter SEW-ALONG at the checkout.

Close ups:


Pattern: Comox Trunks by Thread Theory

Fabric: Cotton-spandex knit from Levana, free

Notions: Thread from stash, waistband elastic

Total: about $2 each


Plantain t-shirt and cardigan

Sewing basics… So boring, amirite! But so useful, and really necessary when you’re trying to go RTW free (I’m about 11 months in. I would have broken it recently, had a certain shop sold jeans in my size). Contrary to what you’d think if you looked in my wardrobe, I do actually really like wearing casual outfits – tshirts and pants. Unfortunately I only have ONE pair of pants (it’s reeeaally hard to find pants that fit me) and they are polka dot. So they don’t go with many outfits. I am going to change the no-pants thing soon, just waiting for the pattern to arrive 🙂

In the meantime, I decided to make a super-boring-but-versatile black t-shirt. Yawn, I know – but I have ONE black t-shirt (one of the 3 black items I have) and I wear it quite a lot – it’s becoming grossly pilled. And I’m sure you all know how much one needs at least one black t-shirt.

ImageI used the Deer & Doe pattern, plantain. Dang, this is a good pattern for a pear – this is size 44 graded to a 46 in the hips, and it’s perfect: a slumpy/loose t-shirt that doesn’t cling (or wouldn’t if the fabric was less drapey) but is still shaped/flattering. I love the deep scoop neck and that it’s a free pattern.

ImageThe fabric is an absolute dream in viscose jersey. I spent about 20 minutes in the fabric store stroking two different bolts of black jersey, trying to decide which was more lush and which would be better in a t-shirt. It’s not uncommon to see me in the fabric store, stroking bolts of fabric.


The whole thing didn’t take very long either, only a couple of hours which includes taping and tracing the pattern. I overlocked all the seams and top-stitched with a twin needle. I had to loosen the bobbin tension because there was a wee mountain forming in the middle – something else happened to the bobbin thread though (maybe I loosened too much) so it doesn’t want to stretch quite as much as it should.

Just so it wasn’t 100% boring, I top-stitched with blue thread rather than invisible black. This caused Mr. Guy to ask if the t-shirt was “sportswear”, but I quite like it.

ImageYou all know by now that I like to give my clothes a bit o’ sparkle.


The top worked so well that I thought “hey, this pattern is PERFECT to make a cardigan”. I bought some navy merino a month or so ago with the thoughts of making a cardigan, but have been waiting until I had the motivation to alter an existing t-shirt pattern.

All I did was add 2cm to the CB to give it a bit more ease, and added 6cm to the centre front (which wasn’t cut on the fold), so when I folded it back it made a 3cm button placket, which I interfaced. I also lengthened the binding by a couple of cm, and was able to enclose it all nicely at the top of the button placket.

Construction wise it worked well, but it didn’t quite end up how I had envisioned. I asked Mum if she wanted it, and even though I now look at the photos and thing “it isn’t so bad”, I think it will be better on her, and no take backs, right?ImageI think it’s just something to do with the scoop neck. The look in the above photo is actually exactly what I wanted; a drapey cardigan that just fell from the shoulders, and that’s what I had in mine when I picked the fabric. Unfortunately I kind of forgot that when I was making it, and I was looking at four square wall’s ponte renfrew cardigan, and had it in my mind that the fabric would hold the shape I was sewing crisply. Had I remembered, I would have just altered the way I sewed the front (particularly the neck/placket corner).

Instead, this is what it would look like it was done up:


Odd. And don’t try and tell me otherwise! It’s much nicer undone.


And of course it’s not a total disaster – Mum loved this fabric when she was up, and was trying to think of something I could make her out of it. I just hope it suits her!


PatternDeer & Doe Plantain, free

Fabric – Black viscose knit, $24, and French navy merino knit, 1.5m at $34/m and 30% off = ~$36

Notions: Thread and interfacing from stash

Total: $24 and $36