OAL2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

18 Jun

Good morning, everyone! If you are participating in this year’s OAL, you should be rocking and rolling along with both your sewing & knitting projects. As I mentioned in the announcement, I will not be offering full tutorials for sewing the Lander Pants – there is a great sewalong available for free on the True Bias website, should you need the additional support – but I did want to pop in and share an alternate method for sewing the belt loops & attaching the waistband. Even if you are not participating in this year’s OAL, I hope you will find this useful!

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

You’ll want to make your belt loops before you attach the waistband (note that you can also attach the belt loops after the waistband if you prefer! For the sake of simplicity, I am following the pattern directions here). The pattern has you sew a tube that you turn right side out and press flat. This is a great method if you are sewing with a lightweight fabric, but it can be a nightmare to try to turn that skinny tube if you are using a heavier fabric, especially denim. Even my red linen doesn’t like being pulled like that! So here is an alternate method if you are using a thicker fabric, or just hate turning tubes 🙂

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Finish one long edge of the belt loop piece. I used a serger, but you can also sew over the edge with a zigzag stitch, or bind with fabric.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

The pattern is designed for the finished belt loops to be about 1/2″ wide. You may want to trim 1/8″ off the long (unfinished) edge of your piece if you want to maintain that measurement. Otherwise, your belt loops will end up being about 5/8″ wide.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband
OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Starting with the unfinished side, fold the belt loop into thirds with the right sides facing. You will end with the finished edge on top, hiding all raw edges. Be nitpicky here and do your best to get the finished edge right EXACTLY on top of the first fold.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Topstitch along both long sides at 1/8″. This is why it is so important to get the finished edge right on the fold – if you are too close to the center, the stitching line won’t catch it.

And that’s it! This gives the same effect as the turned-tube-belt-loop-, but I find it a lot easier to sew. From here, you can cut your belt loop into 5 pieces and attach them to the top of the pants as instructed.

Now, for the waistband!

If this tutorial seems like deja vu, it’s because I’ve showed it before on my blog! I wanted to show it again for those who missed it the first time, and also to show that it does work for one piece waistbands as well as two piece!

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

On your interfaced waistband piece, fold up one long edge a little bit less than the seam allowance (this pattern is 1/2″, so I folded up my edge at 3/8″) and press.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

This is gonna seem ass-backwards – just bear with me! Attach the waistband to the INSIDE of the pants, with the right side of the waistband facing the wrong side of the pants. Sew all the way around at your normal seam allowance, making sure to leave at least 1/2″ overhang at each end (you can always cut off any excess). You will sew all the way around, from one opening to the other. If your pants have a zipper, make sure that it is unzipped and sew right across the zipper – just go slow so you don’t break your needle on the teeth.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Now you’ll fold the waistband back on itself, with the right sides facing. The side that has been folded and pressed – i.e., the side that was not sewn to the pants) should hang below by about 1/8″-1/16″. This is to ensure that the stitching line you just did will be covered when you turn the waistband right side out.

Now, stitch along the short edge, keeping in line with the center front edge of the pants. It may be helpful to draw a guideline here first with a ruler (which is exactly what I do – no shame here!).

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Trim one of the seam allowance layers in half. Do not trim the corner, keep some seam allowance there.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Now you will turn the waistband right side out! To get a nice, crisp corner, start by sticking your thumb in the waistband up to the corner.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

While your thumb is still in that corner, use your pointer finger to push the seam allowance down to one side (doesn’t matter which side) (Sorry, I don’t have pretty hands haha)

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband
OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Keeping your fingers in that weird pinch, turn the waistband out to the right side.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

You should end up with a nice sharp corner here! You can use a point turner to really push the edge out if you need it to be even sharper 🙂 By holding the seam allowances in place when you turn right side out, this keeps the corner sharp (rather than trying to crap the seam allowances in after the fact). Keeping a bit of fabric in the seam allowances (rather than trimming down aggressively) also adds some structure to that corner, so it doesn’t collapse on itself.

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

Finally, you can pin the remainder of your waistband down and topstitch from the right side, making sure to cover the first stitching line. I like to start at the center back and go all the way around the long rectangle, ending where I started. You can then cover the backstitching with a belt loop 🙂

OAL 2018: Belt Loops & Waistband

And that’s it! I love this method for attaching a waistband, because it ensures you get a beautiful, even topstitch on the outside without having to worry about catching the facing on the inside! It’s just EASY and basically fool-proof! You can also use this method for sewing in the round waistbands, cuffs (buttoned or in the round) and even collar stands.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Completed: Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt

11 Jun

I finished this shirt about 2 months ago but am just now getting around to posting it! I have worn it TONS since finishing, and it’s definitely one of my 2018 Summer Staples.

Linen Kalle Shirt

This is the Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns. I made the dress version in linen last year, and I wore it a LOT, so I was interested to try the shirt for this summer. It’s a basic little collared/buttoned shirt that has plenty of options (exposed or hidden placket, collar or no collar, cropped or long), and I like the nice loose fit paired with the banded kimono sleeves. I always felt so pulled together when wearing the dress, and I figured the shirt would make me feel similarly.

Linen Kalle Shirt

I did make a few changes to the pattern due to fabric amounts & personal preferences. Having sewn a few Closet Case Patterns in my time, I find the cropped version of the tops to be VERY cropped. I measured the length of this top and realized it was going to be too short for me to comfortably wear, so I added an extra 2″ of length, which makes the finished top reach right at the waistband of my pants (the shorts I’m wearing in these photos are just thrifted jeans that I cut off, FYI, but they hit close to the same spot that my Ginger jeans do). I added length to both the front and the back, however, I thought the back looked ridiculously long once it was finished so I chopped that added length back off. The back is still longer than the front, only not as dramatic now.

The other changes I made were due to fabric shortages, as I was working with a very small piece of fabric for this shirt. I had an offcut piece of medium weight white linen that measured out at less than 1.5 yards (I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was definitely less than the suggested 2 yards that the pattern calls for), which I was bound and determined to use. It was just *barely* enough to eek out the main pieces of the shirt, and I did not have enough fabric to cut the facings or the pocket. I made an executive decision to finish the hem with a bias facing (made of an entirely different fabric – cotton lawn to be exact) and leave off the pocket.

I can’t say for certain, but I believe the fabric came from an Elizabeth Suzann sample sale last year (hence the weird size). It’s a nice medium weight linen that feels wonderful and also does not wrinkle as much as the lighter weight linens – it’s actually very similar to the Vivaldi Linen from The Confident Stitch (I think the Vivaldi is slightly softer, but that also may be because I’ve washed it more), if you are looking for a good sub 🙂 (and go back a couple posts to my OAL Announcement for a discount code that’s still good as of this writing :)). This shirt has done really well with traveling especially – the worst wrinkling I get is at the collar, which I usually end up fixing with my flat iron 😛 As you can see, it does rumple a bit but I actually like that.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Sewing up the shirt was easy – I’ve made dozens of these sorts of patterns, so I feel like I can almost do it in my sleep at this point. The seams are flat-felled and there’s lots of satisfying topstitching (albeit white). I realized about halfway through that the shirt really, really needed that pocket – I think it just looks barren without it. But, y’all, I am not exaggerating when I say that I had fumes of fabric leftover after cutting. You’d think I’d be able to squeeze out a pocket – it’s a tiny piece, after all – but I was playing some serious Fabric Tetris as it was and the leftover pieces were miniscule. After thinking on it for a minute, I realized I did have a couple of pieces that were about half the size of a pocket… so, again, I made an executive decision and decided to sew them together to make a full sized piece that I could then cut the pocket out of. To make this look a bit more intentional, I flat-felled the connecting seam. I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with this save; the shirt looks great with the pocket and that flat-felled seam look intentional as fuck amirite.

Hemming was a whole other beast that I had to work my mind through before I came to a solution. I usually just hem my curved woven hems with a bias facing – it creates a beautiful finish with minimal effort – but the way the side seams are curved on this top doesn’t work terribly well with bias, it really needs a facing. Especially when you are connecting that to a flat-felled seam (which would otherwise be hidden under the facing). I ended up hemming the front and back separately, then clipping the side seam and bartacking it down over where the curved side meets. One thing I didn’t consider is that the seam allowance for the hem (due to the facing) is 5/8″, and you sew a bias facing on at 1/4″… so my side seams have extra seam allowance and thus overlap differently than the pattern intended. It’s not a bad thing, but it is different! Something to keep in mind if you decide to omit the facing and use bias instead.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

It looks cool buttoned up all the way, but let’s be real – I won’t wear it like this, like, ever haha

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

The aforementioned side seam with overlapping curves and a bartack!

Linen Kalle Shirt

My cool little pocket 😀

Linen Kalle Shirt

I think that’s all for this little shirt! I’m surprised at how much I love wearing it – it’s been in regular rotation since I’ve finished, as it’s light and airy in the heat but still looks very pulled together – and I get loads of compliments on it. I’d love to make another in a different color or even a patterned fabric, once I find something suitable. Making collared shirts is so much fun!

Tutorial: Adjusting Crotch Depth (OAL2018)

5 Jun

Good morning, everyone!

In light of the official start to the OAL2018, I wanted to share a little tutorial for a very common pants adjustment – adjusting crotch depth. Even if you are not participating in the OAL, I hope you will find this useful! As I mentioned, this is a very common adjustment (at least half of my students in every Sew Your Own Jeans workshop that I teach ends up needing to make this adjustment!) that is a lot easier than it sounds.

This is the only pants-fitting post I’ll be doing for this OAL – most other adjustments can be done after the pants are basted at the side seams. If you have more pants-fitting needs, I absolutely recommend getting a copy of Pants for Real People (which is where the image below is from) – it is a fantastic resource that is full of valuable information and my top reference book when I’m fitting pants! Another post to check out is the Common Fitting Adjustments in the Lander Sewalong!

Common Pants Fit Adjustments – From Pants for Real People

So what does it mean to adjust crotch depth? The depth (versus the length, which runs from front waist to back waist) is the distance from your waist to the bottom of your crotch – i.e., the determining factor between a drop crotch and cameltoe. If you’ve ever had a wedgie, your depth is too short. Pants crotch hanging WAY lower than your actual crotch? Your depth is too long.

Since we are all special little sewing snowflakes (sewflakes?), all of our bodies are different – even in ways that aren’t super visible. Which means that not every single pants draft is going to fit every single person flawlessly – it’s just not possible. Personally, I have found that I have a slightly shorter crotch depth and generally need to make this adjustment with nearly every single pair of pants I sew. It’s not a hard adjustment to make, but if you’ve never seen is done before, it can be a little difficult to wrap your head around. Hopefully this tutorial will give you some insight on how to do it!

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

First, you’ll want to make a muslin of your pants (or at the very least – a shorts version of the pants). Sew the front and back as instructed. You don’t need to include the whole fly setup (unless you want to practice sewing it!) or waistband (unless you anticipate needing to change it to a curved waistband). Pin the fly shut and move around a bit. Don’t freak out over wrinkles – muslin wrinkles like crazy (mine are extra bad because I pulled these out of my rag pile, true story) and doesn’t have as much “give” as your regular fabric. Feel where the crotch is in relation to your body – is it hanging too low and causing extra folds due to excess length? Is it all up in your business and giving you cameltoe?

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

For a low-hanging crotch, pinch out the excess somewhere along the depth and pin it until it feels right. DO NOT OVERPIN – you don’t want to give yourself cameltoe (learn from my mistakes, people). Walk around, make sure you can sit, and let them settle a little. Likely, you won’t need to make a massive adjustment here – between 1/4″ – 1/2″ is most common. Little tiny fractions make a big difference when it comes to fit!

If your problem is the opposite and you need to add length, the easiest way to do this is to slice across the front of the pants and insert a strip of fabric (I just pin this, although you can sew it in, too). Pull down the bottom portion until the crotch feels like it is in the correct spot, then pin to the fabric strip.

I realize you likely cannot see a difference between those two photos (I mean… I definitely can’t haha). Like I said – it’s a small adjustment, and not always visible. But you can feel it!

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

Check the back to be sure there aren’t any depth adjustments needed. I’d say that maybe 1 out of every 15-20 students of mine need to actually adjust the back – it’s usually all in the front. If you do need to adjust the back, do so the same way you adjusted the front. Mine looks fine, so I left it as is.

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

Now take your muslin off, and measure the distance from pin to fold – or the additional length added by the strip of fabric. If you are only adjusting the front, then only measure at center front. If you are adjusting front + back, measure at the side as well as the center front and center back. This is how much you need to either add or remove from the depth.

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

Now how to translate this to your pattern? Easy! Your pattern piece should have a lengthen/shorten line that cuts across the fly (if it doesn’t – first of all, SHAME ON THAT PATTERNMAKER, but second, it’s easy to just add it somewhere in that general area nbd). If you are only shortening the front crotch, you will cut along that line from center front *just* to the side seam. Do not cut through the side seam – you want to leave a hinge. If you are also adjusting the back, cut straight across from edge to edge.

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

To lengthen, spread the pieces apart until the center front matches the measurement you took, and then fill the gap with paper and tape closed. If you are only lengthening the front, it should fade to nothing at the side seam.

OAL2018: Shorten Front Crotch

To shorten, overlap the pieces until the center front is overlapped by the amount you measured. Again, if you are only adjusting the front, it should fade to nothing at the side seams/hinge.

If you need to adjust all the way around to the back, you’ll want to walk your pattern pieces to make sure that the side seams still match after making your adjustment.

Finally, redraw any wonky links or curves (such as the crotch curve if you overlapped – just smooth the curve) and straighten the grainline if necessary. You will also want to shorten or length your fly pieces (shield, facing, etc) the same amount so that they match up when you sew them together. I strongly advise making another muslin as this point to be sure that they changes didn’t wonk something up. You do you, though!

And that’s it! Like I said, a really easy adjustment that can make a world of difference in how your pants fit and feel. This is definitely the most common adjustment I see in my Sew Your Own Jeans workshops, so I wanted to share it here too!

Completed: Black Merino Wool Joni Dress

31 May

Well, I definitely made a wool dress and here are photos of me modeling it in 90 degree heat.

Merino Joni Dress

To be somewhat gentle on myself, I started (and finished) this dress when there was still a bit of a chill in the air. I didn’t think to take photos until the other day, and even by 8AM it was solidly hot and humid outside. Case in point: I curled my hair about 15 minutes prior. Can you tell? Nope!

This isn’t even my worst offense when it comes to seasonally-inappropriate garments… I still have a (truly fabulous) coat that hasn’t made it’s rounds yet. I even took photos, but I just looked at them and am pretty sure they need to be retaken. But probably not until next year because LOOOOL Y’ALL IT BE HOT OUTSIDE.

Merino Joni Dress

Anyway, I posted a dress so I’ll talk about the dress! This is the Joni Dress from the new Tilly & the Buttons book, Stretch! – it is also the same dress Tilly is wearing on the cover. While the twisty front looks complicated (I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t feel a LITTLE intimidated to start sewing it! We all get our weird cold feet sewing hang-ups from time to time!), it is deceptively simple! This is a book designed to introduce beginner sewists to working with knits, after all!

Anyway, what I liked about this dress – other than that twisty goodness – was the fitted shape with the swirly skirt. I have seen a lot of knit patterns with the twisted detail (JFC how many more times am I gonna say twist in this post I’m so sorry), but not many with the very fitted look in conjunction. I like, I like!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

As I said, sewing this dress up was pretty easy. There’s a little bit of stay-stitching, a clever twist (sorry), and then your basic knit fabric sewing construction. The waist has a length of elastic sewn to it to keep the skirt from drooping over time, which is a feature I always appreciate in a knit dress. The neckline is finished with a self fabric facing, which gets topstitched down. I used a serger to sew most of the dress, except that facing part – the first time I tried that, it was too damn bulky! So I seam ripped it out and started over, using a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch to attach the pieces. This made for a much smoother and less bulky finish. Other than that, really straightforward for the most part. I added the little elastic runching to the sleeves (a hack option outlined in the book) and let the skirt hang for a couple of days before hemming, which I used my coverstitch to do. Oh, and I made a size 2 with no other fit adjustments (including length).

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

A little chat about the fabric now: wool, huh? Yeah baby THIS IS MERINO WOOL! Or, specifically, merino/bamboo jersey – and it is DREAMY. I found it on the Mood Fabrics website, which has delighted to me to no end. You may or may not know my love for merino – it’s been a hot minute since I had my hands on a piece to sew up. I love merino for it’s warmth and breathability, that it’s anti-microbial, and machine washable. It is my dream fabric and I’d probably use it for nearly every knit I make (at least in the winter), but unfortunately it can be a bit cost-prohibitive. The stuff I found at Mood Fabrics is still a little high at $30/yard, however, it’s here in the US so at least there are no international shipping fees to deal with (in the past, most of my merino came from New Zealand!). There’s not a huge color selection available on their website at the moment, but, y’all know I dress like a tragic goth in the winter so black is totally fine with me!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

This merino is pretty lightweight, with a lovely drape and a nice soft hand. Mood’s website says that it is slightly translucent, but idk I’m wearing this with some pretty neon undergarments and you can’t see through shit – so take that as you will. It was very easy to work with – reasonably stable (as much as 4 way stretch jersey knits can be, anyway) and it did not curl when I cut it. I only had a chance to wear this dress twice before it got too hot, but I look forward to snuggling back up in it again when the weather allows! It is super comfortable and I think it looks pretty good!

Merino Joni Dress

Here’s a terribly overblown photo so you can see a little more detail.

Merino Joni Dress

That’s all for this dress! I’ve love to have a summer version – maybe made up in a patterned (or striped!) knit – but I’m trying to be realistic about how many clothes I truly *need* in my closet. So we’ll see if that actually happens or not. And, as a side note – yes, I got bangs again! Felt tired of looking at my face and decided to change up my look 🙂

** Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!

Announcing the 2018 OAL!

15 May

By popular demand, we’re back for another year!

Yes! The Outfit Along is back, and this year we are turning five! (whaaat!)

I’m teaming up with knit designer extraordinaire, Andi Satterlund, to host a combination knit-along and sew-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting (or crocheting, if that’s more your thing) a garment. This is a great opportunity to fill your wardrobe with more beautiful handmade pieces, and we’ll have two official patterns that will have additional blog support, should you need it.

The official sewing pattern will be the Lander Pants by True Bias, and the official knitting pattern will be Andi’s newest design, Waters. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern, so we can all sew and knit along together. If you don’t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit you’ll actually wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. You’re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills – after all, you’ll be the one wearing it 🙂 Make a knitted skirt and sewn top, make a dress and cardigan – doesn’t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit 🙂

You can read all the relevant details over at Untangling Knots – as well as a FAQ for common questions – but in a nutshell:

– We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2018.
– The deadline for completion is July 31, 2018, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
– There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline – PRIZES!!! We will be drawing 3 winners this year, and each winner will receive a $50 voucher to use at Indie Stitches, a $25 voucher to use at The Confident Stitch, and 4 patterns of their choice from the Untangling Knots Ravelry store.
– To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2018 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

So, now that’s out of the way – let’s talk about the patterns!

The official knitting pattern, Waters, is one I’m really excited about! Light and easy, uncomplicated and fuss-free, this linen pullover is the perfect garment to ease you toward the hot months of summer (or layer into the early cool months if you’re in another hemisphere!). The retro-style top features a high front neckline with a deep scooped back, classic skinny stripes (which can easily be customized if you prefer a different stripe option), and loads of relaxing stockinette. The pullover is knit seamlessly from the top down (editor’s note: upon proofreading, I originally had this written as “top dog” lolwut ok carry on), so there are very few purl stitches and even less seaming (aka: no seaming. Yay!). The yarn is Quince + Co Sparrow, which is a fingering weight linen yarn, and the fit should have 0-3 inches of positive ease – making this top super comfortable and cool to wear in the heat of summer.

If Waters looks vaguely familiar, that’s because it is! I love my Zinone from 2016’s OAL and wear it all the time – but reversed, with the lace in the front and the scoop in the back. Andi took a note from this riff and designed Waters to fit the same way, and at my suggestion we are using the same linen yarn because Y’ALL I LOVE THIS YARN. It’s a great price, knits up fast, and you can wash and dry it in the machines (which makes it even softer!). My zinone gets a lot of wear and I’m thrilled to have another linen knit to add to my wardrobe!

Anyway, I’m not saying that you need to knit the official OAL pattern this year… but you should really, really, really consider it. Plus, it’ll be 20% off until the OAL begins on June 1st when you you checkout on Ravelry using the coupon code OAL2018 – so yes, get you that discount!

The official sewing pattern, the Lander Pants, is already a beloved darling in the sewing community, and for good reason! The pattern features a super high waist, button fly (or optional zipper fly if you hate buttons!), and generous patch pockets on both front & back. The legs have a wide, straight fit, and three length options – full length, ankle length, or shorts.

I’ve already made a couple pairs of cropped Landers – the red linen ones I shared here on my blog last month (and, um, spoiler: my shorts will also be red linen LOL), and a pair of navy twill tencel ones that have yet to make an appearance. I LOVE this pattern and can personally vouch that it works great with my Zinone sweater, and am excited to pair it with the new Waters top!

Same as with last year’s OAL, I will not be doing a series of super in-depth tutorials of making this pattern from start to finish. I will, however, be posting project updates and my own personal tips for making this pattern! There is a full sewalong here on the True Bias blog if you need the extra help, though!

Again, if the Landers ain’t your thing – you don’t have to commit! The OAL is about what YOU want to wear, and you can absolutely choose a different pattern! 🙂 Another option we considered for this OAL was the Ginger Jeans. The new Jenny pattern from Closet Case Patterns would also be a great match for this sweater. And, of course, there are always skirts!

Should you need to pick up some fabric, our fabric sponsor, The Confident Stitch, has generously given us a discount code! Use the code OAL2018, and receive 15% off your entire order through June 15.

As always, you can spread the word by using the hashtag #OAL2018 or use this fancy badge. And don’t forget to join the OAL2018 discussion thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, for all your OAL chatting needs (and please tag me directly if you have a question, because sometimes I personally have a hard time with keeping up with all the action that happens in that thread ;)). Questions? Be sure to read the FAQ on Andi’s official announcement post in case it’s already been covered, but if not… ask away! 🙂 And don’t forget to use the OAL2018 discount code for 20% off the Waters knitting pattern + 15% of at The Confident Stitch!

YAY I’m so excited! Who is joining in this year? 😀

Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

1 May

Here we have a tale of fabric bought wrong, then made right. Gather round, my children.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I bought this french terry from Mood Fabrics on a whim back in September. I usually swatch fabrics before ordering online – even with my knowledge of fabric and fibers, you can still be surprised by texture, hand, and color – but sometimes I get a little wild and order shit blindly. It usually works out fine, but every now and then it can backfire. Guess what happened here.

So, the french terry – it’s a glazed french terry from Helmut Lang (since sold out, yo’re welcome), which I figured would be great because 1. Helmut Lang is always expensive; and 2. It’s fucking french terry, how could you go wrong?

This, this is how you go wrong. This is one of the weirdest fabrics I’ve ever received from Mood. It was stiff and kind of scratchy, remarkably similar to how your bath towel feels when you dry it on a clothesline. I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I was really disappointed that I wasted part of my allowance buying it, because I absolutely hated it. The color was nice, but color doesn’t mean anything if the fabric itself scratches you when you touch it.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I did try washing the fabric multiple times to see if perhaps there was a sizing on it (or if the glaze has something to do with it?) that would be removed and thus soften it – but no matter what I did (hot water, cold water, different detergents, high dryer heat, etc), it didn’t change the hand of the fabric. I stuck it on my shelf and tried to figure out if there was something I could do with it. I don’t back down from a challenge, but sometimes I have to roll a problem around in my head for a minute before I come up with a solution.

During this time, I was sent an advance copy of Tilly’s newest book, Stretch! (hello, hi, that’s an affiliate link). I love most of the patterns and projects in that book, and the one that really stuck out the most to me was the Stella Hoodie pattern. I am not a huge fan of the athleisure trend, so the joggers were a bit lost on me (it’s fine if you wear them, but those are PJs are far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wear PJs in public), but I looooooved the pictures of the hoodie lengthened into a dress! I thought my weird french terry might work with that pattern – and, at the very least, it would probably function great as a swimsuit coverup.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I made the size 2 of this, based on my measurements and the suggested size from the book. I don’t remember how much length I added, whatever the book suggested (probably 8″ or 10″ – and then I cut some of it off when it came time for hemming). I did simplify mine a bit from the book – rather than line the hood and the pocket, I just turned under the seam allowances and stitched them down. The whole thing was sewn on my serger, other than the button holes (which my machine had no problem sewing, although I did back them with a little piece of fusible interfacing first), and the hems were done on my coverstitch machine. This fabric was very, very, very easy to work with – stable, not at all shifty of curly, and only shed a little bit when cut. It pressed nicely, which was great for getting those sharp hems.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I originally envisioned a black drawstring for the hood, but red was all I had on hand. I actually like it! It’s a nice little sporty pop of color. God, I sound annoying.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

If you’re curious about my leggings – they are the Virginia leggings, made ages ago (in 2015, I think). My fabric is a wool knit from Paron in NYC. And those white lines are mock flatlocking done with my serger (where you sew the two layers together and pull them apart, or whatever it says to do in the instruction book I honestly I don’t remember haha) – which I 100% did because I didn’t have enough yardage to cut full length legs, so they had to be pieced. I added additional piecing so it would look intentional. It actually, in retrospect, looks kind of stupid, but honestly I usually wear these as long underwear so whatever I don’t care.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

So that’s about it for this little dress! I actually quite like how it turned out – despite being apprehensive up until the very last minute of hemming. It’s cute and sporty and I feel cute in it. I think it will make for a good swimsuit coverup – but it also works as a cute little dress. As much as I didn’t like the fabric when receiving it, it works really well for this garment since it hold its structured shape. And since the garment is not close-fitting, the fabric isn’t scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. A very pleasant surprise!

In other news, if you’re still holding out for a good french terry, may I recommend this french terry from Mood Fabrics. I got a few yards of this and it is GREAT – super soft, super stretchy, super drapey, super bamboo (yas bamboo). Plus it comes in tons of colors!

**Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I also received the Stretch! book from Tilly & the Buttons as a gift, but was under no obligation to post a project from it (I just really like the book!). All opinions, as always, are my own!

Completed: Red Linen Lander Pants

20 Apr

Well, y’all, it’s official – I’ve given up on sewing any more cold weather clothes for this season (although I still have a coat project that I haven’t shared – yet!! Keep an eye out for that one; I promise it’s worth the wait!!). It may still be spring here with some seriously flip-flopping temperatures, but I’m planning for the heat that I now is coming!

Red Linen Lander Pants

First up, some new pants! Yah, I have ENOUGH pants, we are all aware of that – seriously, my pants drawer is a bit much! – but most of what I have are jeans and skinny pants, better suited for cooler weather. When it’s warm outside, I need some space between my legs and my pants so that I can catch that breeze! I have a great pair of linen Florence pants from Elizabeth Suzann, which I love but could use some improvements to better match my needs (pockets + a flat non-elastic waist, plus a sliiiiightly lighter weight linen). I do love the shape of those Florence pants, though – the wide leg is perfect for a warm-but-not-quite-warm-enough-for-shorts day, the cropped length looks great with both flats and heels, and the high waist means I can wear them with cropped shirts.

With these changes in mind, I find the Lander pants from True Bias fits all those needs. I still have the high waist, cropped length, and wide leg, but with a slimmer fit through the thigh, a flat waistband (no elastic!) and pockets. I’m not the sort of person who thinks pockets should be in EVERYTHING, but I do like them in my pants! And while I respect that a slim pant can’t always have a pocket without adding additional bulk, this pattern does a fine job of giving me a place to stash my stuff without ruining the sleek style lines.

Red Linen Lander Pants

Pattern in hand, the next task was to find a good linen that fit my needs and preferences. I wanted something with a lighter medium weight – not as heavy as the Florence pants (they can get a bit warm when humidity rises), but with enough heft to still look ok as a bottom weight and not be as prone to wrinkles as a light weight. Not to mention, color is important! My Florences are navy, so I wanted to try for a different color (as much as I love navy, I don’t need two pairs of navy linen pants!). I reached out to my friends at The Confident Stitch for some ideas and swatches, and y’all, did they deliver! I decided to go with the Vivaldi Linen in red, which was exactly the weight + color I was hoping for (Vivaldi linen also comes in other colors – royal blue and taupe – if red ain’t your thing! They also have a great Brussels Washer Linen from Robert Kaufman that I considered, but ultimate decided it was a hair too light for the pants look I was going for).

I washed + dried my linen 3 times to get as much shrinkage out before cutting (I have been told this also helps with preventing wrinkles, which I can’t say for sure if that’s true, but this linen hasn’t been very prone to wrinkling!), using hot water and high heat. While the color did not bleed, it did turn my dryer lint bright red which sometimes got on my clothes (I just brushed it off, it didn’t stain anything. But it did make for a delightful dryer discovery). This Vivaldi linen was absolutely lovely to work with – it pressed and sewed without any trouble, had minimal fraying (I used my serger to finish all seams to further cut down on fray potential) and I didn’t have any issues with it shifting around during cutting. Just a great experience overall!

Red Linen Lander Pants

Red Linen Lander Pants

Before sewing up my pants, I made a muslin of the shorts version to see if I had any fitting adjustments to make. Based on my measurements, I started with a size 2 but they were pretty tight. Letting out the side seams about 1/2″ (the pattern includes 1″ seam allowance at the side seams for fitting) gave me a much better fit. I also took out about 1/4″ in the length of the crotch, fading to nothing at the side seams.

For the pair in red linen, I went up to a size 4. The overall width of the legs and length of the crotch is good, however, the center back needed to be taken in quite a bit to account for my hip to waist ratio (I think this pattern is cut for a more straight figure). This is an EASY adjustment to make; you just try on the pants before you add the waistband and take in the center back as needed for a closer fit. I took out an extra 3/4″, but honestly could have stood to remove more (I didn’t want to risk making them too tight at the waist – which I am guilty of doing, like, often, so I’m wearing them with a belt to cinch them in a little more). I almost removed another 1/4″ from the side seams, because my linen has more give than the muslin.

I cut the pockets for the size 4, but I think they are too big for my frame, especially after taking in that center back. There are two back pocket sizes for this pattern – a small pocket (sizes 0 & 2) and a slightly larger size (4 and up). In retrospect, I should have cut the smaller sizes, which I will do for the next pair. I just think they are slightly too big and a little overwhelming on me.

Finally, the length is the exact length called for in the pattern for the cropped version. I am a hair under 5’3″ so I wasn’t sure if they would be too long on me. I actually think they could stand to be shortened maybe 1″, but several people told me they are the perfect length (to me, they look almost like they accidentally shrank in the wash!). I am not going to mess with this pair, but next pair I may shorten them just a bit.

Red Linen Lander Pants

Construction-wise, this pattern is great. I’ve made DOZENS of pants at this point, so I’m not exactly a n00b to this, though. I had no problem following along for the steps, including the button fly. One thing I would change for the next pair is to interface the fly shield because it can definitely use that support, especially when sewn up with a linen.

Lander pants in red linen

Lander pants in red linen

Lander pants in red linen

What else? I used bemberg rayon (a scrap in my stash) to line the front pockets, and the buttons are from my local fabric store, Textile Fabrics. Took me foreeeeever to find a perfect matching red but I’m so glad I did! As a side note, these flat photos were taken after wearing the pants around for a full day, so you can see exactly how much the linen wrinkles (i.e., not much at all!).

Red Linen Lander Pants

So I think that’s all for this post + project! I’ve already worn these pants several times (as the weather allows) and have really loved that they provide a little warmth and coverage while still being light and breathable when the sun starts getting crazy. The high waist works great with a lot of my crop tops, which I’m excited to bust out!

Big thanks to The Confident Stitch for sponsoring this post and making my red linen pants dreams come true! As a side note, the links used in this post are affiliate links and will net me a percentage of any purchases you make through that site if you click the link (which in turn gets dumped directly back into my FABRIC FUND amirite woohoo). Thank you for supporting my blog, y’all!