Pattern Review – Sewalong Pajama Pants

The pattern used is an out-of-print Jalie pattern for yoga pants: I managed to delete the image from my iPhoto, but you can see it here on the Flickr Group for the Thanksgiving Pajamas Sewalong.

Sizing: Typical of Jalie, all sizes, from little girls to large ladies are included in this pattern. I made a size T, which is roughly equivalent to a size 12/14 in the big 4.

Fabric Used: Black 11 oz Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics for the main fabric. Blue 11 oz Rayon Jersey (sold out, sorry) for the waistband.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 65/9 needle. Two eyelets in white, 8 inch length of clear elastic, two 18-inch lengths of blue grosgrain ribbon. Standard poly-core thread.

Construction Notes: This pattern is very well drafted. I sewed the legs together, but I didn’t follow Jalie’s instructions for the waistband. Their instructions were more complicated than pajama pants warrant. Instead, I inserted the eyelets, then sewed the casing directly behind the eyelets.
Eyelet and Casing

I sewed ribbon to both ends of the clear elastic and inserted that into the casing.
Ribbon attached to Elastic

Ribbon pulled through eyelets
After pulling it through the eyelets, I folded over the ends of the ribbon and made a narrow hem. Then I folded the waistband and attached it to the casing the same way I Install a Banded Neckline in Knits (Don’t bother with the interfacing. It’s not needed for this.)

Any changes? I raised the waistband by about 2 inches. I don’t like low-rise jammies – it gets cold on winter mornings!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would do it again. If you have this pattern, it’s definitely worth sewing up. It is quite low-rise, which (IMO) dates it a bit. But it is very easy to raise the waistline on it. Here’s a picture of the final pants
Next up - the top!

Conclusion: Now I have to find the pattern for the top. I think it’s up at the studio. Don’t you just hate it when you clean up and can’t find anything?

Happy sewing!

Now What?

Have you ever had one of those days? I’ve had two. In a row. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I can say that one of the problems was of my doing, the rest were not. Give me a gun and a bottle of scotch.

Edited to clarify – the problems didn’t have anything to do with cancer. One was that I inadvertently hurt a friend’s feelings and the others had to do with a supplier to my business. I’m okay, really! Thanks for the concern!

Anyway, now that life is settling back into normal, I need a project to get me through the rest of summer and into transitional. So I think I’ll hop on the Marrakesh Express and make a pair of pants:

I think I’ll make them from this Stretch Linen

I like it because I can wear it now through the cold weather. If we ever get cold weather, that is. I know, the Northeast hasn’t been hit as hard as the rest of the country so I shouldn’t whine, but it’s been that kind of two days.

I also dug this Jalie pattern out of my stash:

I’ve had it in my stash for several years. I think I’m the only person in North America who hasn’t made it yet, so it’s time to get on it. I’m just going to make it from a White Rayon Jersey. I may also make the sleeveless version in a White Silk Jersey (sold out right now, sorry!) that I have in my stash. Those projects should keep me busy and out of trouble for a while, I hope!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Jalie 2682 V-neck Top

Yesterday I mistakenly identified the Jalie pattern I planned to make for my niece. This is the one I really was planning to use. It’s better suited for the fabric. So here you go…

Pattern Description: From Jalie’s website, “Stylish V-neck top, raised neckline at back, with or without sleeves.” I made View A with long sleeves.

Sizing: All sizes are included in the pattern. My niece is a size 6-8 petite, so I made a size T in Jalie’s sizing.

Fabric Used: Fabulously Cozy Cotton Sweater Knit – Heathered Gray from Gorgeous Fabrics. I love this knit. It’s almost got a berber-y feel to it on the face, and the backing is nice and soft in its finish, so you can wear it right next to your skin.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle. Metrosene polyester thread.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were just fine. I had made the sleeveless version of this top for myself a couple of summers ago, so I didn’t really need them. This pattern goes together beautifully.

Construction Notes: Because of the innate bulk of this fabric, I decided not to do it Jalie’s way, which is to use two layers of the fabric in the upper bodice. One layer is the outer shell and the other is the self-facing. Instead, I just used one layer. I cut the front in two pieces instead of one piece on the fold. I sewed up the center seam with a 1/4 inch seam and turned the neckline edge under and stitched it down, as you can see here.

I serged all the other seams, and turned up the hems and finished them with a 1.0mm wide, 3.0mm length zigzag stitch.

Likes/Dislikes: I think this is a cute, casual top. She lives in Montana, and this will be good for wearing to school. I like the lines of the top. As I say, it’s really well drafted. It sewed up in less than an hour, while I was listening to the second half of the Pats/Bills game on the radio (Yay Pats! Sorry Pam)

No dislikes at all.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? You bet to both.

Conclusion: It’s comfortable, cute and a winner. I think she’ll like it! Here are pictures of the front and back. 

Happy sewing!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to…

…the doctor’s office.

Honestly, I’ve spent more time in doctors’ offices in the last two weeks than I ever wanted. You know, when something like this happens, you just have to shrug your shoulders, set your spine and face it with a sense of humor and determination. So for your amusement, here are a few snippets from the last few weeks.

First off, I give you my new theme song, from the Tony Award® winning Broadway musical, “Avenue Q”. The opening song, It Sucks to be Me!

Next up, some snippets of conversations and readouts. You say and see the damnedest things in meetings and reports like these. For instance….

Me: “Jeez honey, I’ve been felt up more in the last week and a half than I have before in my entire life!”
DH: “Boy, if I had only known, I would have changed my major in college and gone to med school!”
*smack!*

Doctor: “You’re not a candidate for Medicine a, but Medicine B is just as effective, maybe more so. The thing is that we’ll have to surgically induce menopause.”
Me: “Okay, so about this surgically induced menopause – can I get a tummy tuck out of the deal?”

Doctor: “It’s spiculated.”
Me: “Oh, that sounds so… kinky!”

From a report: “The patient has a paucity of fat in her abdominal cavity.”
Me: “Well, shit yeah, I’ve worked out 4 days a week for the last 25 years. I better have a paucity of fat, dammit!”

“I’m going to start putting notches in my belt every time some new person fondles me.”

Doctor: “I need to ask you a question.” (gets very earnest look on face)
Me: “Okay”
Doctor: “Is there any possibility at all that you might want to have another baby?”
Me: “Hell no!!!”
(both laugh)

In all seriousness, thank you to everyone for all your kindness, good thoughts, prayers and sweet notes. It’s really touching in a way I can’t describe without kvelling. I’ll take them all; please keep them coming. Everything will be okay, and I’m going to beat this little bastard. In the meantime, life will go on. And speaking of which, I’m going to start on a Jalie top for my niece for Christmas. I had hoped to have it done by now, but as you can imagine, I kinda got sidetracked. I’m making her this Jalie top:

From this Fabulously Cozy Cotton Sweater Knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (natch!)

I think she’ll like it, and it will be super cute on her. Stay tuned and I’ll review it in the next day or two.

Happy sewing!

Mesh Tutorial – Jalie Sweetheart Top

June of 2009 is shaping up to be the least sunny in Boston ever. Seriously, we have had 3 days of sun this month and that is it. I decided that I need to make some sunshine, so I settled on Jalie’s Sweetheart Top made up with Citrus Paisley Mesh from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). I made the short sleeved version this time. I’m not going to review it here, since you can see everything I did in This Review.

Because I was working with a mesh fabric, there were some changes I needed to make it wearable in public. Mesh, by its very nature, is sheer. You can counteract that in several ways: wear a camisole underneath, line it with tricot fabric or take the “Sweet Pea approach”, which is what I did.

A couple of years ago I bought myself a top by Sweet Pea. The top is mesh, and it had some interesting construction details. To solve the sheerness issue in the body of the shirt, they used a double layer of the mesh, with the wrong sides together:

The sleeves, on the other hand, are just a single layer:

This is quite easy to translate to your sewing projects. Cut duplicates of the pattern pieces that you want to cover up sensitive parts, and just singles of the rest. In the case of the Jalie top I cut the front, the back and the yoke pieces twice. I cut the sleeves and the neckbands (which are folded over anyway) just once.

I basted the fronts and backs together just as you do with an underlined pattern piece. Like the Sweet Pea top, I basted them wrong sides together so the right sides face the world and the body. I then proceeded to sew the top together just as the instructions say. There were no other changes. The result is a top that is sunny, but not see through.

The other thing to know about mesh is that it doesn’t run or ravel, so you don’t need to finish the hems on it. Here you can see it in the sleeve and at the bottom:


It makes it a snap to finish! Of course, you do want to finish your seams nicely so they don’t leave thread tails hanging down. Since I used a serger for this project, the way I finished off my seams was by threading the tails back through the stitches using a large-eye needle:
Trim off the excess and you’re ready to go. I’ve done this lots of times and it works great.

It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. You can be darned sure I’ll be wearing my sunny top.
Happy sewing!

Cameras Cameras Everywhere

Yesterday was the Yankee Classic ballroom dance competition. DS the younger was competing for the first time with his partner. In the past, both kids have competed Pro-Am with Tatiana. To add fun to fun, we’ve had a camera crew tailing him (and to a lesser extent, all of us). I’ll have more on that as the airing date gets closer. No pressure, right?

We woke up to a typically beautiful June day in Boston:
You know, we New Englanders are a pretty crusty bunch by nature. But if we seem more crabby than usual? This is what we have woken up to Every. Single. Day in June. WTF? I feel like I’m living in the northwest. But I digress…

We got there at about 9:15, and met up with his partner and her family. We got them ready to go and they were stoked. They took their places on the dance floor for the International Standard division. They were really nervous about this one

Note the big honkin’ camera behind them. No pressure, right? The I.S. Foxtrot was pretty new to them. They had never competed with the International Standard. But they did great! Here they are doing the Foxtrot

and the Waltz
Note the big honkin’ camera in the background. No pressure, right? The last dance was the Tango. Here you see them with the judging panel
The judge in the center is their idol, and Dancing with the Stars pro, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. No pressure, right?

They did great! They took 4 firsts, 1 second and 1 third. Here they are with Max

We had a 4 hour wait until the Latin division. They danced 5 dances this time: Cha Cha, Samba, Paso Doble, Rumba and Jive. Here are a couple of pictures. Cha cha first
Jive was the last dance.
Then there was a long wait between the dances and the awards ceremony

They scored #1 in Paso Doble, with mostly 3rd to 5th place in the rest. But they weren’t disappointed and neither were we. They were up against incredibly stiff competition, and they were in a new, higher division than they had been in before. The good news is that they didn’t come in last in any of the dances. So now they have things to work on, but we’re going to take some time off this summer to let them take a breather.

Poor DS the Elder was such a trooper. He came with us and spent all day cheering on his little brother, and I think I need to do something nice for him. But he was actually pretty proud of his bro, even though he won’t admit it to many people. Here are the kids with Tatiana after all was said and done

Sorry to go on and on like a proud mother, but hey, I am! And what do you think of his pants? Those are the Burdas. I asked him how he liked them once he was done dancing and he said, “They were great!” Now we can kick back and relax a bit.

The next project on my cutting table is Jalie 2794, the Sweetheart Top. I’m making it from this Citrus Paisley Mesh from Gorgeous Fabrics.
I have some tips for working with mesh that I’ll post once I finish the top.

Happy sewing!

Not-Quite Pattern Review – Jalie 2806 v.2

I already made this pattern once before, and you can read that review here. Not much has changed, but I did a couple of things differently.


Fabric used: Rayon Jersey in Warm Pink from Gorgeous Fabrics (natch).

What I did differently this time: Last time I made this top, I folded the gathered extension at center front over the neckline, per the instructions, and sewed it invisibly to the front. This time I just serged it to the neckband and then topstitched to secure it in place.

I also shortened the sleeves.

Likes/Dislikes: I really like this pattern, but I don’t like it as well in this fabric. I think it’s because of the solid. The first iteration I made was a cool print, and I think that the print blends the gathered extension and looks better than the solid rayon jersey. On me, the bubble from the extension brings to mind that classic (albeit very minor) character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six. The print masks that effect. But the pattern went together beautifully, and I do recommend it. Really.

Conclusion: A great pattern, but not my favorite fabric/pattern combo. I think with solid jerseys I’ll stick with plainer necklines.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Jalie 2910 Faux Wrap Top


While I wait to get my Marfys, I decided to make a top from one of Jalie’s new patterns. I bought all four when they became available last month.

Pattern Description: From Jalie’s website, “Women’s knit tops with forward shoulder seam, banded surplice neckline, sleeveless or with three-quarter sleeve. View A has a neckband that goes all around. View B has a mandarin collar and banded front neckline.” I made the sleeveless version of View A.

Sizing: Every last one. I made a V

Fabric Used: Cotton blend jersey that I bought when I was in New York last. I used Wide Silk Jersey in Tangerine for the contrast neckband.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch needle 75/11. Tricot knit interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply to stabilize the shoulders, Steam-a-Seam (yes Karla, Steam-a-Seam) on the front only, Mettler thread.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes. One thing to note about this pattern is that it is LONG. I hemmed it the recommended 3/4″, and it is down below my hips. I’m not especially shortwaisted, but I’m not longwaisted by any means. I think I’ll take about 2 inches off and re-hem.

How were the instructions? I took a cursory look but I really didn’t need them. this is a very well drafted pattern, and it goes together beautifully. The instructions are quite adequate if you do use them.

Construction Notes: My kids were playing with my camera and set it to manual focus, and I didn’t realize it until too late, so I didn’t get a picture of how I used Steam-a-Seam. The front has two identical pieces overlaid on one another. You then turn the hems together and stitch them as one. To keep them from shifting, I used Steam-a-Seam between the two layers. After applying it, they were a cinch to turn and sew as one. I also used 3/8″ strips of interfacing in the shoulder seams of the back to stabilize them.

One thing to note about this top is that it’s clearly drafted as a sleeved top. You use the same pieces for both the sleeved and the sleeveless versions. As with other tops that are drafted this way, I found that if you make the sleeveless version and you have any bit of a bust, you must add a bust dart. I didn’t need a FBA, and I suspect if I had made up the sleeves the problem would not be so obvious. But without the sleeves, there is a gap at the front of the armhole. A dart took care of it, and I’ll adjust the pattern to remove the excess for future versions.

Any changes? Just those noted above

Likes/Dislikes: I like the wrap effect. It’s a cute pattern that will be great for summer. The only thing I don’t really like is the length, and that’s easy to fix.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes!

Conclusion: A great basic top that will be a staple in my wardrobe, I’m sure! Here’s a picture on Shelley.

BTW, you’ll notice my wrap overlay goes from the left shoulder to the right hip. Yeah – that was intentional. Riiiiight…
Happy sewing!

Weekend Recap and an Expo Lament


I hope you all had a great weekend! I didn’t get any sewing done, because I spent Saturday working as an Ambassador at the Sewing and Craft Expo in Worcester, MA. Then Sunday we decided to take the kids to Newport RI and spend the day.

I have to tell you, I was really saddened by the state of the Sewing and Craft Expo. Considering that sewing seems to be undergoing a resurgence, it was so disappointing to see what is going on at the Expo. Mind you, I only had a day there, so perhaps there were things that I missed, but I don’t think so. There were far fewer vendors there this year than in years past. And there was a lot of non-sewing stuff (massagers, basement finishing). On the plus side, I did get to meet Jennifer Stern of J. Stern Designs. She is delightful, and she gave me a gift of her latest patterns. I’ll be reviewing them (with all appropriate disclaimers) soon, I hope.

I was the ambassador, which translates roughly into “ticket taker and classroom assistant” for three classes. One class was taught by Peggy Sagers. I love Peggy. She’s no-nonsense, opinionated and outspoken. Hmmmm – who does she remind me of? Her class was about debunking common sewing myths. While I didn’t agree with everything she said, I certainly agreed with most of it.

The other two classes were more craft oriented. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to cast a gimlet eye at “craft” and many of the purveyors thereof. So it was an interesting lesson in self-restraint to sit through these classes. One was about machine embroidery. I know many of you love it, but I find machine embroidery to be a complete waste of thread. Sorry. That’s how I feel. The other class was about easy embellishment techniques. Okay – “easy” and “embellishment techniques” do not belong in the same sentence in my universe. If you are going to embellish something, it should be spectacular. Needle felting, fabric paints and cutesy appliqué? Sorry, not my bag. Don’t get offended. I’m just saying it isn’t for me. I feel the same way about free jazz, NASCAR and body piercings. I’d never tell someone else not to partake, but I school my facial expressions to keep them very bland, and make my grocery list in my head the entire time.

What I did enjoy about these classes was the unbridled enthusiasm of both the instructors. They brought the same sense of joy to their seminars that I try to bring to my garment sewing classes. And that’s what you’re paying for, right? The expertise and enthusiasm of the teacher. That was what kept me from running screaming from the room when they pulled out the refashioned, embroidered sweatshirts. Those have no place in ANY universe. Ever.

Sunday was fun. We packed the kids up early and headed to Newport, RI to spend the day. If you haven’t been to Newport and get the chance, I really recommend it. At the turn of the last century, it was the summer playground for the robber barons and New York society. My sons had never been there. We wanted to go to see the Doris Duke exhibit, Shop Like an Heiress at Rough Point, her Newport estate. Unfortunately, the estate was closed for a private event, so we went to Rosecliff instead. Rosecliff is most famous for being used as a setting for the 1974 Robert Redford film, “The Great Gatsby”. It was simply stunning. I had been there as a kid, but not in recent years. We picked a lovely day to visit. After taking the tour of the mansion, we went walking along the Cliff Walk, then headed into town for lunch and puttering about. Newport is built on a beautiful sheltered harbor, and the weather was warm enough that we didn’t need our jackets. On the way home, we stopped for dinner at Phyllis’ house. Most excellent salmon, Phyllis!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend. I’m waiting for my Marfys, so I am going to start working on the new Jalie Faux Wrap Top. It’s all cut out. I’ll review it once I have it finished.

Parting Shot: The boys and me at Rosecliff. I think it’s time to change my hair color. Stay tuned for that one…

Oh and see the handbag? It’s an Emmett McCarthy.

Happy sewing!

Ugh!

Here’s what we woke up to today.

I don’t complain too much about the weather, because it doesn’t do any good. But I have to admit, I am sick to death of winter right now. The kids had today off from school anyway (staff development day), so it doesn’t affect them. But it does affect everything else. Ugh indeed.

But on happier notes, today is DH’s birthday. Happy birthday darling!!! To celebrate, we went out to a local steakhouse with the boys last night. OMG, I think I ate way too much, but it was so good. The boys split a steak. DH and I should have split a steak, but we didn’t, so we have lots of leftovers for lunch today. Though I have to admit, I’m still really full and can’t even contemplate eating anything more.

The snow seems to have lifted for the time being, so it’s time to contemplate shoveling before the next bands come through. Maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee first.

Oh, want to see what I got? I have been jonesing for a full body dress form since I saw Laura Bennett’s. So to celebrate DH’s birthday (any port in a storm), I put in an offer for one from the same eBay seller where Sewing Diva Phyllis got hers.

Now I have to figure out where I’m going to put it.

Since I’m so tired of winter, and since I won’t have the pattern to complete my Burda jumper/KS turtleneck until Thursday, I think I’m going to cut out and make a bunch of tee shirts. I have 1-yard lengths of rayon jerseys in several easter-egg colors that I used for a presentation at the Boston Fashion Meetup. I think I’ll toss them in the washer, then make them up into J.Stern and Jalie tees. I am working on a Project Runway top from Simplicity that I’ll review later (not impressed). But that’s black and silver and I need some color to alleviate the winter blahs.

Well, coffee is done; it’s time to get dressed and start shoveling.

Stay warm and happy sewing!