Tag Archive | pants

Little boy blue

Here are some more detailed pictures of the suit I made for Konik for Easter. The suit pattern is Butterick 6894 from 2001. I used a cotton bottom weight fabric for both the jacket and the pants. Some might think it’s cruel to make a little boy wear a suit. Let me assure you: there is no “making” here; Konik loves him some suits.


A little twisted and rumply after a morning in church, but hey, he’s 5. It probably looked like this about two minutes after we left the house.

What is this look?!

What is this pose?!

His shirt was also a Butterick, #2164 from the ’60s by the look of the pattern art. A long time ago I had bought this at the thrift store with some other patterns. I hadn’t had a reason to really inspect the contents of this specific pattern envelope until I went to make this little button-up shirt and discovered that the sleeve piece was missing. After consulting lots of tutorials and making lots of drafts, I finally made a sleeve that would work. I wasn’t 100% pleased with it, but it worked ok. Personally, it doesn’t look comfortable, but Konik claims it’s fine. And, considering that he has worn this entire outfit four more times just since Easter, I guess he’s right because 5 year olds aren’t going to wear clothes that bother them.

IMG_7019The tie was another from Vanilla Joy’s pattern that I talked about in my last post. Konik likes that it looks like an Easter egg.

IMG_7021Still my handsome little man.

Cue ZZ Top

‘Cause every girl’s gonna go crazy for my sharp-dressed man.

Yes, I’m finally posting pictures of Konik’s ring bearer outfit! Here’s where I talk about the making of it.

He would like you all to see his van.

Yeah, they look like high waters when he’s sitting down. I added some length to the legs, but it looks like I probably could have been a little more generous. These won’t fit him long. I might add a cuff…

Like this, Maman?

This pose was totally his idea. I was having trouble getting him to stay in one spot because he always wants to come see the picture display on the back of the camera. Problem is, he starts coming to look before I’ve even snapped the shot. So I told him to stand on his car mat. For some reason, he took a knee. Funny dude.

That was supposed to be in my mouth.

He was trying to chew a straw like Axl Rose does at the beginning of the “Welcome to the Jungle” video. Yeah, I know Axl wasn’t the first to chew on a straw, but my kids don’t know that, and they think his every move is cool. So in an attempt to emulate their hero, they pull straws out of my broom. Gross. Besides, what does a straw + suit make? Hick chic? Not that the cabin backdrop really goes, either, but ya get what ya get.

These are not my pants

These are not my pants
Whose pants are these anyways?
These are not my pants
Whose pants are these anyways?
Are these Bobby’s, or Timmy’s, or Billy’s pants, no NOOOO!!!!!
These are not my pants
Are you listening to what I say?

That will make infinitely more sense (well, “sense” may be too strong of a word) if you listen to this song.

Last week, I embarked on my great Pants-Making Journey using Simplicity 2477 (an Inspired by Project Runway design). First time making grown-up pants, first time making a muslin. I was not going to screw up my good fabric. I carefully took all my measurements, just like my book instructed. Then I measured the pattern pieces, just like the book instructed. Astonishingly, it appeared that I would need to make the largest size in the pattern envelope — 20. (A note to non-sewers: Pattern sizes are vastly different than ready-to-wear). This didn’t seem right to me, but you’re supposed to trust the numbers, aren’t you? Isn’t that what measurements are for?

Perhaps not.

You, too, can look like you lost 50 lbs just by sewing pants many sizes too large!

Attempt #2. I dropped down three sizes to a 14 and made another muslin. It was better. Slightly baggy in some {ahem} key areas.

These didn’t fit over my jeans and were much too sheer for a modeling shot. But they look more reasonable, don’t they?

Well… maybe, despite all the measurements I took, I really am the smallest size. That seemed a little implausible, too, but I went ahead and made a muslin in a 12 and, wonder of wonders, it fit! The zipper gapped a little, but I thought, “No problem. I’ll just make that full abdomen adjustment that my book showed me how to do.”

I had run out of sheet for muslins, and, believing to have found the correct fit, it was time to cut out my fabric. At this point, I noticed that the pinstripes were actually two stripes: a white and a blue. The blue was on just one side. If it had flanked the white stripe, I could have folded my fabric in half and cut out two pieces at a time like one normally does. But because of this stripe, I had to lay the fabric out flat and cut out Every. Single. Piece. Twice. It took the better part of a day to accomplish that, making sure that the stripes on the second pieces matched the ones on the first pieces. My back was not happy after that process.

On the first day of actual sewing, all I managed to do was sew the pockets in. I used leftover fabric from my pajama pants for the lining.


On the second day of sewing, I worked on the fly. For hours. The benefit of making three muslins is that now I knew how to construct a fly, but it’s still a time-consuming, fiddly task. And I wanted this fly to be perfect. And it is!

Rather professional, if I do say so myself.

On the third day of sewing, my true love gave to me my pants were sewn up enough that I could finally try them on. And the side ripped out. Not the seam — the actual fabric tore. I’ve never had this happen before! I bought the fabric years ago and I can’t remember for sure what it is, but I’m pretty sure it is some kind of wool. I could do a fabric test, but I just haven’t. It didn’t smell like polyester when I ironed it; I try to avoid polyester at almost all costs. Brocade is the only other fabric I’ve worked with that frayed worse than this, though. It is kind of a twill weave, and wow, it disintegrated quickly on any cut edge. Because of that, when it ripped at the side, all I could think was how I needed to get out of the pants as swiftly and gently as possible so that I could reinforce those side seams. I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to fit. There may not have been anything I could have done at that point.

I proceeded with the waistband and the belt tabs and boy, was it looking good. These were good pants! Look at how perfectly the stripes line up! That is some über-fine tailoring, right there. Oh yeah!

Stripes as they should be

With everything done but hemming the legs, I went and tried on the pants again.

But we had our pants on
But yo these ain’t my pants
Uh, I get ’em off now—–
Um, tight, oh they so tight

Could I get them on? Yes. I could even zip them. I held the button tab together because I hadn’t put a button on yet and found that provided me with a cute little peekaboo hole that perfectly showcases my belly-button. Awesome. Horrible reality was setting in. Where had I gone wrong? Why are these pants so tight? The fatal mistake was probably that I never bothered to put a waistband on the muslins. But that means that I am at fault. So instead, I’m going to blame the kids. Yes, my kids. They distorted my body into this flabby, mushy belly poochiness. Little ratfinks.

If pants are sewn in the woods, do they make a sound?

So now I have a beautiful pair of pants (sans button or hems because, really, what’s the point?) that I can’t wear unless I do crunches morning, noon, and night. Pretty sure that defeated the entire purpose of this project. I know, I know, every cloud has a silver lining, blah blah blah. Unless I can sew another pair of pants out of that silver lining, you can keep your clouds. I need to redeem myself. Crank out something easy that I know I can do flawlessly to bolster my sewing mojo before tackling another pair of pants. Time to paw through my fabric bin…

The time has come

I own two pairs of jeans and that is the total of all pants that I have. Being poor is awesome. The week before the wedding, one pair of my jeans ripped out at the knee. People tried to convince me that that’s in style, but seriously. I haven’t worn ripped up jeans since high school. If that’s the route I’m going, I may as well steal another flannel shirt out of my dad’s closet to tie around my waist. Think I can single-handedly bring back grunge?

Back in more affluent times, I bought fabric and patterns to make pants. I’ve been putting it off for years because, frankly, it freaks me the heck out. I’ve watched enough Project Runway to be afraid of what Michael Kors calls an “insane crotch.” It would be silly, though, to go buy new pants when I’ve got everything I need right here. {gulp} Except, maybe, skill.

I don’t want to ruin my good fabric so I’m going to do something else I’ve never done before: make a muslin! First time for everything, right? I have an old thrift store sheet that I’m going to use for my first run (or second or…). I have a book that gives fitting tips. I can do this, I can do this, I can… ohhh boy. Guess we’ll find out, won’t we?

As for my ripped jeans, I have a plan for those, too. That will come later! Hopefully not too much later; I need things to wear!

Somebody’s gonna look good

In just a few days, my little brother (little in years, not in stature) is going to get married! He and my soon-to-be sis-in-law asked if Rana & Granota would be flower girls and if Konik would be the ring bearer. Well, of course the girls were thrilled out of their little minds! Princess fantasies abound! I did not have to make flower girl dresses because my four nieces are also going to share the flower girl duties and naturally, they all have to match. A whole little flowery entourage. Unless they’re going relay style in honor of the recently completed Olympics… (S & L, I’ve got an idea for you!) Originally, I wasn’t going to have to sew anything for Konik, either, but the lovely Miss L couldn’t find a tiny suit in his size. So I volunteered to save her some time hunting and set to work sewing.

Cute stuff!

This super cute little vest was made with help from the tutorial by Ashley at Make It-Love It. For my template, instead of a t-shirt, I used the button-up shirt that Konik would be wearing underneath the vest. And lucky me, I didn’t have to sew that either! We found a tiny white linen Children’s Place shirt for a couple bucks at the thrift store. Woo hoo! The pants I made using the same pattern as I used for his Easter suit. I added a little extra length to the biggest size and it’s a good thing I did! Looks like that will be the last time I can use that pattern.

The fabric is polyester shantung. I hate polyester and try to avoid it whenever possible. But, in this instance, the only alternative is real silk shantung and — in case you’ve missed it — we’re not exactly in the tax bracket that can afford making silk suits for 2 year olds. Sorry, kid. I love ya, but I know what you’d do to it and that, in turn, would make me weep. Not like anyone can fault me. For less than $15, my little man is going to be stylin’.

Real pockets, fake fly.

I can’t let him wear it just yet, though. I would be beside myself is something happened to these clothes before the wedding! Now, if we can just get him convinced to wear his new black dress shoes that go with it…

Live and Learn

Far be it from me to ever lead you to believe that everything I make turns out awesome every time. It’s not “crafting fearlessly” if I’m too cowardly to discuss mistakes or shouldabins. So let’s go back and look at a few of the things I’ve made over the past year and see how they’ve worked out.

The infamous thumb holster

I made two of these last summer to cover Rana’s thumbs in an attempt to keep her from sucking them. First lesson learned: There is a reason why sinew (real or fake) is used to sew leather. The thread repeatedly wore through and I ended up having to repair these several times. The concept was good and actually worked up until the point where Rana “lost” the covers sometime this winter. I recently found one in the bushes outside. heh. And wouldn’t you know it, now it doesn’t fit her anymore. She’s a cagey one.

Little corduroy pants

These pants were among the slew of clothes that I made for Rana at the beginning of the school year (that seems forever ago!). Something was never right about the crotch so they were uncomfortable for her to wear. Fortunately, there was a solution! I took out the crotch seam, whacked the pants off at the knees and made it into a skirt. It was a cute little skirt. Unfortunately, it cramped Rana’s playground style — too hard to climb stuff — so she never wore the skirt. I guess I should just give it to Granota.

Falilla the Fairy

This fairy doll was Granota’s 4th birthday present back in September! She was not met with the excitement that I had anticipated, but after a couple of days Granota fell in love with her and named her Falilla. Falilla looks so pretty here; it’s almost a shame what she looks like now. Granota insisted that I put her hair in a ponytail so that it would be out of the way of her wings. Now Falilla is losing copious amounts of hair. I’m going to try to run a line of fabric glue along the underside of her roots to slow down the balding. It’s a good thing I gave her so much hair to start with. Interestingly enough, Jessie the cowgirl doll that I made for Rana has not had any hair-loss issues. Maybe Falilla needs a fairy hat.

Looks beautiful, not practical

In November, I made each of the girls a new winter coat. These coats, as you can see, are very full. Wonderful for twirling, not wonderful for buckling into car seats. The other problem is that I did not make the center front pieces wide enough — they just barely overlap enough to button. That means it is highly likely that these coats won’t fit the girls next year. In a way, that’s ok, because I am pretty sick of struggling to get everything flattened and mashed down enough to get them buckled into the car. If we lived in Europe and walked or took public everywhere, these coats would be fantastic, but as it is, I’m going to have to use a different pattern this fall.

Not all they’re cracked up to be

March brought my attempt at recycling all the broken crayon bits in my kids’ coloring box. I melted them down in muffin cups and right off the bat I could tell these weren’t going to be as awesome as I had hoped. As you can see, they were already beginning to break after they had cooled. I’m pretty sure that there is not one left whole anymore, which pretty much defeated the whole purpose of melting the little bits together.


Most recently are the new pajama pants I made. I had this ingenious idea to elasticate the cuffs. Y’know, to keep them from riding up and twisting around my knees at night. Well guess what? I didn’t make the pant legs long enough, so once I bent my knees, the cuff rode up and then got stuck right around my calves. Thanks, elastic. The other night it was driving me so nuts, I seriously considered going downstairs and taking it out right then and there at 2 a.m. But since the cabin is basically one giant room, I knew Mr. Gren wouldn’t appreciate me turning on the light; so I just toughed it out the rest of the night. But the elastic is out now! Hopefully it will feel better tonight. I think it was still a good idea, but next time I’ll know to add some extra length in the pant legs.

So there you have it. A little rundown of some of my not-so-perfect projects. It’s all a learning process, isn’t it?

We be jammin’

Pa-jammin’, that is. I don’t have a reggae bone in my body and don’t pretend to (unlike Sting, who apparently thinks he’s a Jamaican reincarnated. Never understood him).

Earlier this month, Karen at Did You Make That? proposed to host a pyjama party sew-along and I thought, “Hey! I can do that!” Not taxing at all and was actually something I needed to do. Why not make it fun in the process? Karen broke everything down one step at a time, which was a good reminder to me that I don’t necessarily need to finish all my sewing projects in one fell swoop.

French seams and a ribbon tag for the back

I chose a lightweight aqua cotton because it seemed like it would be nice for the spring/summer. I did have a passing horror of looking like I was wearing scrubs (which I understand to be quite comfortable, so I have nothing against you if you do wear scrubs to bed). I was hoping for a look a little less… utilitarian. I did a couple of things to counteract that. After much debate, I decided to gather the ankles with elastic rather than just a plain hem. One thing I’ve found with my current pajama pants is that they have a tendency to ride up and twist around my knees while I’m sleeping. I’m hoping that the gathered hem on this new pair will keep everything where it’s supposed to be!

Staying power

The other thing I did was to embroider cherry blossoms on one leg. When I first had the idea to embroider a design, I thought I’d flip through one of my two iron-on transfer books. That would have been great except… apparently they are in a box that I did not bring to the cabin. {sigh} Plan B. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I recalled seeing something about using tissue paper to transfer a design onto fabric. A little searching on the ol’ Internet and I found a nice tutorial on thread tracing . It’s definitely not a quick process, but it does the trick. First I had to print a line drawing (from free clip-art. No royalties theft here) and then trace it onto tissue paper. After that, I pinned the tissue paper to the fabric and took long stitches with sewing thread directly over the lines of the picture into the fabric.

Probably most people would have done this before sewing the pants together.

I took a tip from one of the commenters on the original tutorial to dampen the tissue paper before removing it. Let me just clarify that dampen is all you need to do. I inadvertently soaked my tissue paper, which made it disintegrate all over the place and curiously, dyed the tracing thread with the ink I used on the paper. So much for blending in.

Thread traced and remaining tissue paper particles

Then, using my rudimentary embroidering skills, I floundered through stem stitches, backstitches, chain stitches and fly stitches. I’m not sure they really evoke cherry blossoms, but at least it did turn out to be recognizably floral. Once the embroidery was done, I ironed a bit of fusible interfacing on the back to keep all the little bumps from scratching my leg while I sleep. I finished that up Friday (whew! Just in time!) and then commissioned Mr. Gren to take photos of me modeling my new pajamas.

Sakura! Maybe?

As part of the Pyjama Party, Karen requested that we all share a bit about the book currently on our nightstand (or, on the floor next to my nightstand, in my case, because my nightstand is otherwise occupied). First, my very best Vanna White to show you the new book I picked up at the dollar store the other day, Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan.

Would you like to buy a vowel?

I’m always a little suspicious of the books at the dollar store (Why are they here? How come they didn’t sell at their original location? Is the writer a hack?). I’ve been burned a couple of times (so I guess that puts me $2 out), but I thought I’d go ahead and take a chance again. For one thing, even though I’ve never read any of Amy Tan’s work, I at least know a bit about her. Secondly, a hardcover book for a buck? Even if it does turn out to be crap, I could probably use it for something crafty.

Why yes, I do sleep mere inches from death. Or at least broken bones.

I haven’t been able to do much bedtime reading this week since Mr. Gren has been working a goofy schedule and has had to go to bed earlier than I like. I did manage to read the introduction the other morning before the kids started fighting and continued on into the first chapter while Mr. Gren played photographer. So far it seems to be an intriguing book. It’s told from a dead woman’s perspective and memory of mysterious events; right now we’re attending her funeral. A little morose for bedtime reading and I have to admit this is a departure from my usual historical novels. But hey, it’s good to branch out, at the very least to confirm what you do like. I haven’t written off Ms. Tan yet, though! Has anyone else read this book? Looks like it was published in 2005.

A maman is never alone.

So there you have it! The results of my first sew-along! Thanks, Karen, for the fun idea! I’m looking forward to seeing all the other swanky new jammies out there today.

Summer Jam!

It’s only (barely) spring, but we’ve still got to think ahead a little bit, right? The nights are not quite as frigid as they have been and I’ve been noticing that my flannel pajama pants are just a weensy bit too warm these days. I love my flannel pants. I made them in November 2010 and they go down in history as the first — and only — pair of pants I’ve ever made for myself because I am a big chicken and scared of making pants that should actually fit I’m waiting until I have time to make a muslin. They’re so soft and comfy and… faded. And not at all flattering (I know, they are pajamas, but still).

Taking a picture of your own legs is really awkward. Try it.

They’ve still got plenty of wear left in them, but, what with the weather warming and the desire to escort frump out of my life, I’ve been thinking that I need a new pair. Probably a pair that won’t have a crotch hanging halfway to my knees. Unless I’m going for harem pants, in which case… hm, that could be kind of exotically cool. Maybe? We’ll see. Losing my train of thought here. Oh right! Summer pajamas. Need them.

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs Did You Make That? and Karen proposed the idea of a pajama sew-along. Well, how about that timing! I’ve kinda been wanting to join some kind of craft-along and here’s a great opportunity. Check out my fancy little sewalong button on the right! Swanky!

This is the pattern I used for the green pair.

Watch out; I think she bites. (McCall's 5248)

It served me well enough the first time. I am debating, though, whether to go with the pants again in a more lightweight fabric or maybe the nightgown. Sometimes my shoulders get cold, so I don’t know. At the risk of impropriety, does anyone else have any pajama-related opinions? I will say, that if I do end up making the nightgown, I am not going to model it here. 😉 Oh, I’ll take pictures; just not with me in it!

The other debate I’m having with myself, is how to add a little more glamor to my life. When I’m lounging around in my pajamas I want to feel like this:

Maybe I need more feathers in my life.

Not this (which is often how I feel):

Right down to the red nose and frizzy hair

There’s just that tricky point of practicality. I’d be much more reluctant to make breakfast in satin and feathers. Might have to save that one for later. Anyways, I’m supposed to turn out a pair of p.j.’s by 28th April, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite Summer Jams.


In honor of Labor Day, I’ve locked myself in my sewing room for the past several days, busting out as many back-to-school clothes for Rana as I could. She started 1st grade on the 1st. You may wonder why I waited until the last minute and the reason is because we were waiting to see which school she would end up going to. One requires uniforms, the other does not. The uniformed school would not know whether there was a place for her until the week of the first day of school. So see —  this time my flurry of activity was not due to procrastination. And it really was a sweatshop up there: that room has no windows and if I turn on a fan it 1) will blow all my pattern pieces everywhere and 2) blow the electrical circuit. Even having the iron on at the same time as the AC is dicey. So I just swelter and come out for air every now and then.

Here is a catalog of what I accomplished between Thursday and Saturday:

These are a fine wale corduroy with elastic waist and patch pockets on the rear end. They gave me a little bit of trouble in the rise. When Rana first tried them on, she said, “Hey, these are Jasmine pants!” I was thinking more along the lines of Hammer pants, but it was the same basic silhouette. We got the crotch raised and the bagginess taken out of the legs so now she won’t look like a miniature Persian rapper.

This is a wrap-around jumper made from embroidered twill. It’s a nice weight for autumn/winter and looks nice and crisp for school. I used my machine’s lone decorative stitch for the hem and was pretty happy with how it turned out.

This little blouse came from a 90s pattern with funky patchwork and an exuberant collar. I scaled the collar width down by half so now it looks like a sweet scalloped flower instead of a clown suit. I also added elastic to the sleeves and topstitched the button placket and collar to give it a little more visual interest. It also helps it look less homemade.

These pants are in a black brushed twill. The outside is really soft! The pattern called for the appliques and cuffs, but I had to change the cuff design to accommodate my one-way print of tiny hearts. I designed the pockets myself.

I’m about halfway through making another little blouse, this time in blue and with a regular Peter Pan collar, but I’ve set that aside temporarily to churn out a few items to build up my inventory for my near-future etsy store! I’m excited about getting it all together and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s up and running. The plan is to take photos of everything this week and then hopefully have it live next week.

My time is up down here. The sweatshop is calling. And, if you really do have a job, be grateful.