Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Brooklyn pants not in a church basement

I am having another shot at shots of the Brooklyn pants.

I realize that the down in the church basement shots of my last post were not particularly edifying, so I had some more pictures taken. One in the front yard at home in Halifax and the other one in my mom's porch in Winnipeg.

These knit pants are obviously ideal for traveling.

I love them, something you probably were not able to do when you saw the original dark shots. They are super comfortable. I like the stylish new leg shape. Excellent pockets, trim waist, and to tell you the truth that slightly lower crotch is really comfortable. The only construction change I made was to flatten the elastic for about 8 " at centre front in the waistband casing and sew a vertical seam up either end to make sure there were not discernible gathers over my belly.

Suffice it to say that my 18 year old niece has asked me to make a pair for her - I went out and just got fabric to do that today in fact. 18 year olds generally do not want to dress exactly like me, which might surprise you.

So here are some updated shots. I am wearing them with a bamboo knit Marie-Claude top from Jalie, more on that pattern later.

In the meantime lets give these pants another chance:



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review of the Brooklyn knit pant

I made these a week ago and just got around to writing my review.

I wore them to a sewing group meeting tonight and Tori LeBlanc was kind enough to take the pictures. Of course the pants are in a lovely dark navy cotton/rayon/lycra ponte and so you can't really see a thing but that won't stop me from giving my review.

Which is a thumbs up.

Here is the pattern info from Stylearc and the picture:

Opt for a luxe track pant style for a relaxed weekend. Knit pants have become a fashion favourite guaranteeing a warm casual day time look that’s both versatile and chic. The forward side seam creates a slimming silhouette along with the angles pockets.

It is really important to note the words relaxed and track pant in this description.

These pants have a full back leg (this is why the side seam is to the front I think) and a lower than normal crotch. They also have a full on high waistband which actually makes them even more comfortable. I have a vague sense of having worn this style years ago - the high wasitband, full thigh, tapered leg. 

Something new to get used to again and the lower-than-we- are-used-to crotch was noted by my sewing group.

As the person inside these pants I think I liked them best in the room and will be on a search now for more fabric to make them in. 

I did not add the back pockets but did sew the side pockets of course that are neat, topstitched, and quite deep and therefore useful.

Enough rambling, here are some shots. 

Listen I know I did not style these at all well. Of course they are short because they are supposed to be worn with bare legs but May in Nova Scotia today was like November and so I put on socks. So shoot me, it was too cold and I was too far out the door to go back and put on boots.

You can pretty much not see anything here except I hope the general leg shape, a little loose in the thigh and tapered into the calves. I made size 12 without any alteration and given that I am tall I really was surprised how high the waist went, about where my hands are in this picture.

Another shot verifying the inappropriateness of my socks. I do trust your imagination on this one.

OK this side shot probably makes clear how the back leg is full, these are upscale track pants cut for comfort and give you a better idea of the length

More of the same, note I have what in some circles are described as athletic calves so they show. The wrinkles don't worry me given the fullness of the leg design, the knit fabric, and that basically these are sweats.

These are great kicking around pants with good pockets, not much bulk at the waist, which is comfortably positioned, and a fairly modern leg and length.

I really love how they feel on and am so grateful to Stylearc for continuing to draft interesting and different pants patterns. I wear a lot of pants with this life and its nice to mix it up a bit. A long way from the time when we all thought all we needed was one pants pattern to make over and over again. Since Stylearc crotch shapes seem to fit me and for some reason so many other women so well I can experiment with different ideas in pants and I do like that.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Life's busy

I will be posting a proper pattern review soon of Stylearc's Brooklyn pants, but in the meantime, here's a quick podcast on creativity.

When I have a moment I promise to get these on iTunes,

Enjoy the weekend.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A podcast test experiment

Hi folks let's test out a new and easier way for me to podcast. Let me know if this works for you and if you think some of these informal while I sew podcasts might be of any interest.


Here we go

Sewing on the edge's May 1 podcast 

Thanks.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rethinking clothes

Hi folks. 

Thanks so much for your responses to the Violet knit jacket. And my apologies to a few people who left wonderful comments that got spam filed and deleted after I read them because I clicked the wrong button by mistake.

You all gave me so much to think about. I am pretty sure I just write this blog just so I can have the pleasure of communicating with you and for the chance to read your interesting comments.

I am going to make another version of that jacket, starting with using a lighter fabric, a ponte, and raising the pockets 1 1/2". Either I have short arms or they have really long ones at Stylearc.

As you all know I have been deep in sewing garments for my book, quirky little units, that you will see when the book is released May 2018. Yes it take time.

But enough of that.

Doing the sewing I am supposed to do as opposed to randomly as I usually operate created a back log in me. So yesterday I went into obsessive mode, something my family specializes in, and cut all day.

I am going to put all these pieces in a laundry basket, set up my machines, and do drive by sewing during the week to see what comes out of this pile:



Some of this stuff is continuing experiments, some stuff I need:


  • one Violet jacket 2.0
  • Two cardigans, both different Jalies
  • Two pairs of Margaret narrow pants from Stylearc
  • Two pairs of Brooklyn knit pants Stylearc and a new pattern/experiment
  • Six Jalie T shirts
  • Two dresses, both Adeles from Stylearc, one knit one woven ( a cocoon shape and again an out there experiment)
This is of course entirely delusional as an intention but what else is new? I am going to Winnipeg on May 21, start teaching an online creative non-fiction course on May 9th, probably have some book edits coming my way. I also have a ton of appointments, meetings, some political commentary on the radio to do because we should be starting a provincial election today, and much babysitting - including three days with the three kids while my SIL and daughter stage a well-deserved break.

Oh and yesterday my youngest son asked me to make him a dress shirt with windmill patterned fabric on it (found some at Spoonflower) before he goes to a wind conference in a few weeks.

I am pretty sure that the fact I have so much coming up is exactly why I took the time to cut yesterday.

In one sentence : I sew to feel like myself.

And the busier life gets the more I need that.

On another random note I have long held a theory no one has asked to hear, that fashion has often diverted us to "classics" that are in reality men type clothes. You know button up shirts, blazers, tailored pants.

This forgets, I think, dresses. These women devised to suit us, clothes of our culture. I am picking up, and have written before, about a less tight and revealing backlash in clothing coming from younger women (my daughter like the Violet jacket) and this is redefining the dress.

On that note I was interested to read this morning about sport dresses from this company

I am struck that this look would have been completely absent in the sportswear scene a few years ago.   

I would be interested in what you think of this trend, which seems to me to be very wide range of body type approach. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Violet knit jacket by Stylearc

O.K. there is a back story on this. Several in fact.

First it has to do with policy.

I have sort of a policy to try new profiles and shapes every season that are out of my comfort zone. Of course this produces a lot of should have known better garments, but it also has on occasion, useful occasion, helped me move ahead. Which when the alternative is to move behind is a good thing.

So this is what happened.

I have been noticing a general enlargement of shapes recently, as the fashion pendulum swings back from skin tight, and thought I should try some looser garments. In the past these outlines have not been good for me. I remember once trying on a bunch of Sewing Workshop garments at a booth at a sewing show and having the nice lady in the booth sort of agree that I looked more like a flagpole in a flag than a chic person.

However I have been thinking.

The end of May I am going to be doing some flying. To see my mom in Winnipeg and then on the Sn Francisco. What to wear on the plane and in spring is hard so I got the idea to try to make one of the Violet Knit Jackets from Stylearc, because it had that go over everything feel and was, back to where I started, completely outside my comfort zone.

However I didn't have any knit that was a coordinating colour in a weight I considered jacket weight.

About the same time I was pondering this serious issue I went to a sewing guild meeting where one of the women always seems to be snagging great yardage at Value Village (yes Lorna this is you). I however do not find anything good the odd times I have been there - strictly mauve polyester twill.

But then last week I was at VV trying to find a new heavy dish for Daisy since I dropped the last one. On a whim I cruised by the material rack and there it was, wool double knit written down to "as is" for $3.00 owing to a certain history with moths in someone's basement I am sure.

Well, I thought, why not? I can make a non wearable muslin in case I look like a flagpole with a wool double-knit flag. So I bought it, much to the amazement of the lady standing behind me in the line up.

At home I washed and hung it all out to dry and then marked numerous holes with tape so I could assess the situation. (Be assured I had a whole list of much more important life business to be taking care of when I was doing this instead).

This is what I was working with and this is how I had to lay it all out:



Pretty nutty I know and BTW I did press the fabric before I really cut out, these were practice photos.

Of course I didn't have enough fabric to cut the fronts double, as the pattern suggested, although I did cut out the bottoms double, which might have been too heavy in this wool knit. If you are sewing this pattern up yourself you might feel happier with something lighter like a ponte because the fronts and bottoms are doubled anyway.

To finish the single layer front edges I got out some ancient wooly nylon left over from some self-delusional Christmas project and did a 3 thread overlock with the stitches set a bit closer than normal, about a 2.

Here is what that looked like:



And here is the whole thing on me:





Now over to you.

Because this is so much not what I regularly wear I am wondering what you think. 

I can certainly see the utility of a jacket like this but if you think I look like a knucklehead you should probably tell me. 

Otherwise Air Canada here I come.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sewing as a character building exercise

Today my friend Trudy and I had one of our all to infrequent sewing days together.

Trudy made a great knit top and then we both moved on to projects that were unfamiliar to a pair of garment sewers like ourselves. I worked on bags, which meant unfamiliar shapes, and Trudy tried to figure out some stuffy toys for her granddaughter.

My efforts in particular were of the one step forward two steps back variety. The reasons for this were 1) I talked the whole time, once again demonstrating that Babs can't talk and read instructions at the same time 2) I have sewn so much, but not bags, that I skimmed the instructions with the assumption I knew what to do, when in fact I did not and should have been reading every word with full attention (see point 1).

However I didn't give up and improvised a series of fixes on the time honoured principle that most folks would think those extra seams were supposed to be there, and Trudy, being my friend, was wise enough to tell me that no one would notice.

The persisting, which women as we know do, made me think of the things sewing had taught me about lasting through life. In fact Trudy and I discussed various challenging times in the past that we worked our way through, probably because of the way sewing had toughened us up.

To summarize a highly intelligent discussion I think sewing has taught me these life skills:


  • There is no point in freaking out. Cry all you want but that sleeve is still going to be in the wrong armhole anyway. You might as well pick up the seam ripper and get going.
  • O.K. you blew it. Move past that quickly and get onto all possible salvage fixing operations. After all nothing erases a mistake like a good recovery. Or a few extra seams.
  • Sometimes you make a wrong decision but beating yourself up won't transform it into a good decision. Get it out of your sight and think of the next thing. That's what garbage pick-up days are for.
  • It's alright to say you are tired and to take some time out. It will be better in the morning than it will be in the extra half hour you keeping pushing on tonight. As a matter of fact sometimes the  greatest progress is made when you stop pushing so hard.
  • There is always the next one and it may be great. Your bounce back matters. Do enough of it and you will get pretty resilient.
  • It's only clothes. Don't take it all so seriously. Even the serious things in life can be lightened if you ease up.
Now over to you.

What has sewing taught you about life?