first foray into bra-making

Well, I’ve joined the ranks of bra-sewers! I am so intrigued by the fact that making your own bras is a thing, and that regular people can actually do it! I mean, I’ve known for years it is possible, reading the posts and seeing the enviable results of sewers like Lauren, Novita of verypurpleperson, and Norma of orange-lingerie. It just hasn’t felt like it is achievable – until I have now achieved myself. Behold, one Watson bra, and one knock-off.

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First off, I have had tremendous help from reading Lauren’s posts on bra-making. This one breaks down the materials and notions needed, and the two-part post showing step by step how she sewed a Boylston bra is just gold. My Watson experience plus these posts totally gave me the confidence to attempt sewing a bra using a traced pattern with no instructions.

Watson bra
Materials:
 Miliskin fabric, lining, hooks and eyes, plushback elastic (3/8″ and 5/8″), and strap elastic from a Blackbird fabrics kit. Lace fabric remnant from stash, rings and sliders from old, dead bra.
Pattern: Watson bra from Cloth Habit, and Grace panties from OhLulu (love this pattern! Success every time).

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Starting with a Watson bra and a bra-making kit was a very conscious choice on my part to make it easier on myself. The Watson pattern for being a simpler style with a lot of hand-holding, and the kit from Blackbird fabrics so I could skip making by brain hurt from figuring out what to get and where (I just postponed that brain-hurting, since I later decided to try other bra-styles, which needed other kinds of supplies). I actually made two Watson bras, but I’m only showing the one that is wearable. The other ended up in the trash after I salvaged the hooks, eyes, rings and sliders, because really – it was way too small and just not happening. The measurement chart in the pattern put me at a band size 32 and cup size E. I cut a size 3o E (don’t ask me why… mismeasurement?), which as mentioned, was too small. Next attempt I did a size 34 E, which is actually a full two sizes up both in bandwidth, and in cup-size. The fit was much improved. There is some bagginess in the upper part of the cup, which looks like it has to do with shape, or volume distribution, but the cradle part of the cup is fine size-wise.

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A lot of people have mentioned the comfort and relaxed style of the bra. I can totally see that, and I was really swayed and optimistic about the longline style, but I am getting some migrating throughout the day where I keep having to pull the bra down. Something isn’t quite working for me, and to be honest I don’t think I will try to figure it out. I tend to prefer underwire padded bras, or none at all, so a Watson-style bra honestly will get limited wear from me. It was a great project to get started though, to get familiar with the construction methods, the materials, and fiddly nature of sewing bras. For the second version I tried a few things differently than from the pattern, notably sandwiching the side/back portion between the miliskin outer fabric and the stable lining, to get a clean-looking inside. I also cut a couple of strips of the lining, and used them to finish the seams where the cups attach to the cradle. It worked beautifully and makes the insides look all professional and lovely!

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Speaking of professional, I can’t get over how good this next bra looks like on the inside. I mean, look at this!

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Grey balconette bra
Materials:
 Fabric from stash, lining and powernet from Blackbird fabrics kit. Foam from MakeBra in Finland, plush back elastic (5/8″) from B-wear in Sweden, FOE from my stash (originally from SewSassy) hooks, eyes, rings, sliders and strap elastic from an old, dissected bra.
Pattern: Traced from an old Change bra, this one.

My preferred bra style is a padded balconette type bra. Almost all my bras right now are from Change, and I have found two of their styles in particular fit really really well. So – since I’ve read that a lot of people end up tweaking and testing and muslin-ing their bought bra patterns, and even recommend tracing a well-fitting bra, I decided to start at that end. I took apart the most tired of my well-loved bras, and traced and cleaned up the pattern. The underwire came out and got reused, since there wasn’t really anything the matter with it. It is really a lot of fun taking these little pieces of fabric, putting them together, and bam! You’ve engineered underwear!

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The pattern I traced is a fairly classic t-shirt bra, with one vertical seam. It has padded straps, sort of like the Boylston bra, which I really like. Since the straps are set quite wide, it feels like a balconette style, though I think it is a tad more coverage than typical balconette bras. The original had a thin synthetic jersey kind of fabric (I really don’t know my bra fabrics yet) covering the foam cups, and the same fabric for the bridge and cradle. It also has a seam at the narrowest point under the cup, meaning that I would either have grey cups and black bridge and cradle, or grey cup and bridge, and black cradle, or grey everything – layering the thin jersey over the bridge lining and cradle as well as the cups. I thought grey everything would look the least weird, so I went for that! Of course, I didn’t have fold-over elastic (FOE) in grey, so I used the black I had on hand. It made for a pretty sporty look I think.

Construction wise I followed Lauren’s excellent tutorial, as well as checking out my dissected old bra. The Boylston bra doesn’t have FOE, so I had to diverge a little there, in finishing one bra cup seam before attaching the cup, and the other after. The strap elastic is also attached straight down, as opposed to becoming the finishing on the top edge of the cradle, leading to the hooks and eyes. I messed that bit up so it looks less professional in that spot, but the function is still fine.

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I was hoping for a pretty bang-on fit since I copied the pattern from one I knew worked well. At the same time, I’ve seen plenty of people mention that changes in fabric really affects the fit. For a first attempt with a foam cup this bra is pretty damn good, with one area of improvement. While the silhouette from the side is nice and rounded, looking straight down it looks a little pointy. I thought there might be an issue of not enough length from left to right, but I made up a foam muslin after some pattern changes that only seemed to make it worse. My next attempt will be to turn the cup into a three-piece pattern, so volume and curves can be distributed along several seams. Theoretically that should improve things – realistically I am bracing myself for quite some trial and error here! If anyone has experiences they want to share, please do!

For my own sake, I will jot down the changes I’d like to make for the next version. I’m thinking the small remnants I have from this floral Bettine dress would make a fun bra!
– Eliminate the seam directly under the cup, and have one at the side seam instead. That seems more par for the course when I look at other bra patterns.
– Get rid of the tiny dart at center front – I think it’s there to cover the ends of the FOE. I’d rather have a continuous elastic, or a bow to cover up the raw edges.
– Move 3/8″ – 1/2″ from the cup to the band at side seams.
– The slinky jersey has much more stretch than the foam, and since I cut them the same size the jersey is loose. If I cover foam cups with stretchy fabrics I should reduce the pattern for the stretchy fabric with at least 10%.

– Remember to attach the strap elastic to the bottom edge *before* the picot edged elastic. Then do the top edge of the cradle before securing the strap elastic to the top.
– Attach underwire casing before FOE elastic on the front/top edge of cup, to attach casing all the way. Secure ends with zig-zag, cover with FOE.

grey_bra-1A reapeat picture. But I don’t care – I’m proud!

barcelona cabled mustard socks

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One of the first pairs of socks I ever knitted (the second pair, I think?) were these mustard ribbed socks. I made them in the fall of 2007, and probably used them every week – sometimes every day – until they were falling apart beyond repair and I retired them in my pre-move tidying frenzy. They served me so very well, and while visiting Barcelona last October with my teacher-study-friends, a skein of mustard yarn came home with me. It was time for the second generation of mustard socks!

Yarn: Discontinued Greta and the Fibers Socks, fingering weight and hand dyed, color 45
Pattern: “No slouch socks” by Elinor Brown. Ravelry project page here.
Techniques: Knits and purls and tiny cables. Also, kitchener stitch for grafting the toes.

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This yarn smells really, really good. Not strong, just.. fresh and flowery and wooly. Like really good wool-wash. It’s not lofty, and has a lot less give than I would expect from a wool blend. It feels smooth and has some luster, and a density that reminds me of a single ply rather than the 4-ply it is. At the same time the yarn feels sort of hard, I think due to the lack of give, and I ended up knitting quite tightly with high tension. Still, the finished socks don’t have much spring or bounce to them – they almost feel kind of flat.

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The heels were an interesting adventure! I spent more than three months on these socks from start to finish, and a lot of it was procrastinating about how to solve the heel and toe. You see, the pattern I chose – “No Slouch Socks” – assumes you have your own preferred heel and toe solution. The pattern mentions this up front, so I don’t feel deceived, but it was a lot more work on my end when I decided not to go for the easy solutions. I thought the undulating cables and neat rhythm of the ribbing + cables deserved something more than my usual heel flap and plain toe, so I took to researching.

There is something called a Welsh heel, which sounded interesting to me. I’m pretty sure that is not what I ended up knitting, but it inspired me to try decreasing and increasing in a different way. All the details or on my ravelry project page – I  won’t even try to make sense of it here. It made sense to me in the moment, and now almost a year later, I’m baffled. I really like the diagonal lines though, and the making of stitches along a “back seam”.

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The toe was equally an experiment, as I wanted to continue the pattern all the way. The first few pictures also sort of show that I did a really narrow saddle of 6 stitches across the front of the toe. I remembered using the technique on the Seamless hybrid sweaters I’ve made, and it worked reasonably well. Very fiddly! The toe area is a little looser than I’d like. I could (should?) have done down a needle size and ended up with a stiffer fabric, but I think this kind of yarn just won’t plump up regardless.

Like the first pair, I’ve had these socks in pretty constant rotation. They are pretty! The good thing about them being so thin is that I can wear them with a lot of my booties, like the ones (well, the one) in my previous post. These socks have also brightened up my post-surgery plastic sandal wearing days, and are peeking out from the hiking boots I wear every day now – still the only decent outdoor shoes my swollen toe can fit into.

While I am practicing patience regarding the shoe situation, the remainder of this pretty-colored, lovely-smelling yarn is being made up into gorgeous colorwork mittens in this pattern, paired with some scrumptious brown alpaca. I am most definitely getting enjoyment out of my souvenir skein!

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chicago cowl

I guess I’m continuing the trend of city names and travel themes in recent blog post titles! My previous post was about the Sydney jacket (of which I have one more cut out of charcoal wool felt, ready to get assembled, yey!), and now the cowl I knit from the souvenir yarn I treated myself to this summer, visiting Chicago.

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Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo yarn, sports weight and hand dyed, color 048 Glitter
Pattern: None. Ravelry project page here.
Techniques: Knits and purls

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As cliched as it is, I have to start with mentioning that the weather here has been *amazing* lately. We’ve had weeks and weeks of almost all sunshine and blue skies, and for a city that might just out-rain Seattle, that should be saying something! It also meant I could take advantage today of my mid-day stroll to the university campus for an essay feedback meeting, and take some pictures in the university museum garden. I absolutely love that this garden is in my neighbourhood, and I absolutely love walking through it every chance I get!

If you’re wondering what the deal with the singular shoe is, I had toe surgery a few days ago. Scheduled, and successful, and now recovering nicely. It also explains why I’m not at work in the middle of a Wednesday! I’ll be clunking along with the open sandal for a few weeks, and I’m taking the opportunity to show off some gems from my knitted sock collection. These are the socks I knit with souvenir yarn from my Barcelona-trip last year, which is probably a good project to share next. Oh, and my souvenir knits match. I guess I’m consistent! :)

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chicago_cowl-9The cowl kind of matches my eyes!

The cowl is simple enough – about 90 or 100 stitches, knit in the round, until I ran out of yarn. I really wanted a slightly narrower cowl that would stay closer to my neck, but I did not like the pooling that happened at around 65-70 stitches, so I went back to a larger circumference. And man, do I love the color. The variation of the greenish-yellow burnished gold layers so beautifully that I want to climb up into a tree with the changing leaves and be one with the tree. Or something like it. The color is just the best! (and…. not a stranger to the blog. I have so many projects with this mustardy color, not to mention the very header of the blog!)

As for the stitch pattern I think it is some variation on a brioche stitch (though I’m not quite sure what a brioche stich even is, so don’t hold me to this!). When knit flat every wrong side is knit, so purl bumps appear on the right side. Then the right side is done with alternately knitting a stitch and knitting into the stitch below. For the cowls knitted in the round I’ve purled every other row to achieve the same purl bumps on the right side.

I’ve used the same stitch pattern in this yellow cowl, the sweater I made in fashion school, and while not entirely the same, this honey cowl (now lost! Sad face.) used a similar slip/skew construction that breaks up color variation in a fun way. It’s pretty stunning in plain yarn too – I just finished some unselfish knitting, making a sweater where the whole back is in this squishy yummy pattern. I look forward to sharing some better pictures than the cell phone ones on the ravelry page, but all in good time.

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Finally, a picture of a small piece of the lovely museum garden. I’m so glad I get to walk through parks every day on my way to work, or school, or downtown!

Anyone else playing camouflage with the pretty fall leaves nowadays?

sydney jacket in bergen

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Fabric: About 1.3 meters of boiled woven wool, 1.5 meters wide. I was gifted the fabric some years ago by a sweet fellow sewist, and I’m so glad to finally have found the right project for this dusty colored wool.
Pattern: Sydney jacket, from Tessuti fabrics.
Techniques: topstitching.

sydney_jacket-1Feeling just a *bit* awkward posing with my tripod, on the street in my neighbourhood this past extremely windy Sunday afternoon. Yep, just me and the brunch crowd hanging around!

Oh, man – I love this jacket. It’s maybe not the most year-round kind of jacket, but damn, I feel stylish in this! I’m not quite sure what to say that hasn’t already been mentioned by the many, many bloggers who have made this jacket already since the release last year. I will try. I mean, words usually have to be dragged out of me, so I hope you all are aware of what sort of sacrifice this is for me. (I kid. I have so many words inside me. Just in general I mean.)

sydney_jacket-2I was too impatient to steam the jacket before wearing it out!

The construction is, as noted many places, a little different, but in a fun way. The seams are all overlapped and topstitched down. I ended up doing double rows of stitches just to make the seams more secure, plus I think it looks nice. Starting a Saturday morning in a mad dash of inspiration, I was not about to leave the house to buy me some fabric-matching thread, so I made do with what I had. I chose a warm sable kind of color, which I think went well with the dusty rosy mauve of the wool. It certainly does not match, but it’s not exactly a contrast color either – it just gives a bit of dimension!

This was not a difficult jacket to make. I spent three leisurely hours (including some unpicking and a snack break) one morning after realizing this fabric in my stash was a perfect fit for the pattern I assembled and cut the previous night. I was on my way to pull out a thicker grey felted wool when this softer boiled wool just sang out for my attention. What could I do but obey? Based on other bloggers notes about the roominess I decided to cut the petite size, with the added 1 cm length of the size small. I’m happy with the ease I have in the finished jacket – I certainly wouldn’t want it any larger (I’m 5’4″/164 cm for reference). I have to say… as soon as I put it on I knew that grey felted wool is coming out after all. I want another one! So cozy and warm! I mean, it won’t really hold up to cold days or superwindy days, but I most definitely felt the added warmth of wearing this jacket!

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I can’t get over how pulled together, slightly artistic and cool I felt wearing this. I’m not even sure I know what I think this word means, but I felt chic damnit. There. I said it. Now – go make yourself one of these. I’ll be back soon with some knits I’ve finished, in my favorite color ever. Oh, the suspense! 😉

portside travel set for international travels

Well, really for any kinds of travels – I used it this weekend for a sleepover and a trip to a cabin, and last week going to the gym. But I *made* it for my epic sailing adventure to Belfast last summer!

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Oh the sheer joy and slight terror on my face! I was so excited, and rightly so – the sailing trip was a wonderful experience. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a training vessel based in Bergen, with both permanent crew, trainees that spend a couple of years on board, cadets from the military academy that join on the 2-month cross-Atlantic sail each fall, and shorter trips that we mere mortals can pay to go on. It’s work though – two shifts of four hours each every day, where we haul sails, maintain the ship, keep lookout, and steer. And sleep in hammocks, which was… the best. Ever. We were told to avoid packing in suitcases, since space was limited and the lockers narrow. It seemed like a great opportunity to make a Portside travel set!

Fabric: 1-ish meter each of dark navy twill from somewhere in London (bought for a Robson coat), a water-repellent fabric called Dralon from Stoff & Stil (I think it’s the right color, but it might be creme instead of light grey), and lined with some polyester crepe-satin-twill (totally the official description) from my stash, bought on sale at Vogue in Evanston, IL several years ago.
Pattern: Portside travel set, from Grainline Studio.
Techniques: lining, convex curves, zippers, topstitching, webbing.

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I actually managed to only finish the duffle bag before the trip (last-minute too – if I remember correctly I was sewing in the lining the morning of departure!). After the trip I had other projects that took up my time, so it wasn’t until early this spring that I picked it up again. I made a few changes to the pattern. First up, I used lining in more places than the pattern calls for, like to finish the outside pockets, and inside the pouch. To accommodate the length of zippers I bought, and also because I like the look of the tabs between the zipper and the side seams, I added an inch of width to each of the travel set pieces. Only – I forgot I had done so when I had to recut the bottom for the dopp kitt, so it is a bit misshapen. Haha!

Buying notions was a bit of a headache for someone who ends up researching different options to no end, and due to time constraints I didn’t use all of it for this bag. I want to list it here for future reference though. The black zippers with antique brass teeth that I did use came from Etsy shop zipperstop, whom I’ve bought from before and has a mind-numbing number of zippers available. They also do custom stuff (these were custom length), and have been quick, with good customer service. I also ordered some grey donut style pull, also antique brass, from zipstop, which look very nice. From 3DAN I bought the hardware (1 ¼ inch gunmetal D-rings and 1 ¼ inch gunmetal swivel snap hooks) and webbing (heavy weight nylon in deep grey – oh how I agonized over color choice, there were so many to choose from, and computer screens can’t be relied on to show nuanced differences in cool vs warm grey tones!). I ended up using none of the webbing or hardware – it took too long (which really means, I was too late in ordering!), so I raided a bag I was throwing out for the hardware, and used the webbing available at Stoff & stil, a rather stiff and cheap feeling gros grain in grey (ugh, more color choices! Should the webbing match, or contrast? Perfect match, or just “go”?). Now at least I have everything at the ready for the next bag, and I can use the much nicer feeling nylon webbing – it’s more finely woven, smoother, and reminds me of seatbelt material.

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Sewing the bag, the dopp kit and the pouch is pretty straight forward, but a bit fiddly at times. Sewing the bottom in and pivoting at the corners, and topstitching afterwards benefits from a lot of precision, a good dose of dexterity, and a fair amount of patience. Even with all of those some of my sewing was less even, but the pattern is forgiving enough that it still looks *really good*. I’m pleased to no end with these, especially after the addition of an old brown leather luggage tag I found at my dad’s house, and matching brown leather pull tabs.

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I know some people have mentioned the d-ring installation as tricky, and I found this arm sling tutorial helpful in making things less confusing. I’ve used this bag quite a lot since finishing it, and I’m so thrilled that I made a piece of luggage I can use and looks so… real! I’m anticipating getting a lot of use out of the two other pieces too now – the dopp kitt is currently holding a knitting project, and is the perfect size for a baby sweater in progress. Size wise the duffel bag suits a weekend-length trip. I’m sure I could get a weeks worth of stuff in there if I only brought the most necessary, but the weight of the bag is actually was stops me before the volume. In fact, for the next one I might try attaching the carrying straps further down on the bag, so I could wear it on my back. On this one the straps are attached too close to use it that way. I’m thinking also an inside pocket or two could be practical. Clearly I’m planning on making more. I think they would make really nice gifts, for example!

And finally, one more picture of me boarding the ship because I loved the trip and I’m very proud that I traveled in style, and ended up climbing up the rope ladder level to the flag during the course of the trip. Ship ahoy!

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a tale of two city pants

Did I make the jumpsuit Gillian dared me to make? I did not. Did I make pants a while ago and pair them with a new top I just finished? I did. (Did I binge-watch Elementary and now have Sherlock’s voice in my head? I did. Did I also just write a 1200-word count post? I did.)

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Fabric: 1 meter of printed viscose from Stoff & Stil.
Pattern: Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns, modified size EU38.
Techniques: Overlocking, gusset, understitching, elastic waist.

Last year I found myself getting more adventurous with both patterned fabrics and silhouettes in clothes – I think as part of a post-break-up shake-up. I wore a patterned strapless jumpsuit, and absolutely loved it! The Hudson pants by True Bias was making its rounds, and I was keen to try the city pants style too. (Is it called city pants? Ok, google says yes.) Since the Hudson pants is for knits and I had a cool viscose woven I thought would be perfect for city-like pants, I went for the Alexandria pants pattern by Named patterns instead. Ugh. Sorry – my gut reaction mentioning that pattern is not a good one! I’ll go into details, but basically… the pattern irritated me. Irritates me.

I love the detail of the pocket sort of hiding in a pleat, and I think the pants look really good on their model, and I’d love to make it up in a black silk crepe I have, and I think it would make some really sleek dressy pants. I just know have a decent amount of fit issues to overcome first, which does not fill me with joy!

citypants (3)I took all these pictures practically in someones yard – it was inside the fenced area of an apartment building. Did I feel awkward? Yes. Am I really glad nobody living in the building went in or came out while I was taking pictures? Oh, really yes.

One of the most irritating things first – the pdf pattern. It has I think 1 cm seam allowance included, which I like (I’m solidly in the included seam allowance camp!), but apparently only on the pdf pattern? Does that mean the printed pattern does not include seam allowance? Huh. Anyways, They have separate files for separate size bundles, with sizes EU36 and EU38 together. You’d think that could get annoying if you wanted to grade between sizes beyond those two, but wait! You can’t grade between the two sizes given in the same file anyways! The two sizes aren’t nested you see, but offset. I can’t understand the point of doing it this way, I really can’t. I’m having a hard time keeping my irritation at bay here, and as much as I like the design I don’t like that the pattern is set up differently than what has become the standard. I don’t mind just because it’s different from what I’m used to, but because it’s different with no added benefit, but actually reduced usability!

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Ok. Deep breath. Back to the facts: I cut a straight size EU38, since my hip width indicated this size. They do have a table showing finished measurements, and I really only looked at how finished waist measurement was 0,5 cm larger than my hip width, so I figured 38 would be the right size, though I usually take a smaller size. Should have listened to my gut!

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I think the line drawing is super cute, and those were the proportions I was aiming for. Several problems with that. First, the waist is actually larger than is listed. Measuring the waistband piece I got to 100 cm (not including the seam allowance) instead of the 96,5 listed. Yeah, not a huge difference, but still. I definitely had lots of extra room pulling the pants over my hips, while according to the chart I should only have that half centimetre of wiggle room. Also, I didn’t check the finished hip measurement, which is 110 cm. That fits what I measured my pants to be (flat), but for personal preference I’m more comfortable with a less baggy fit through the hips and crotch.

Speaking of crotch, I felt like there was quite a bit of extra room there. The pleats add volume of course, but the crotch is lower than I would like. In addition, I had a bit of a hard time finding a place the pants sit comfortably, and I keep wanting to pull the front up to flatten out the extra room. I’m thinking that the pants are drafted to sit much higher than I prefer, or for a taller person.

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One thing the line drawing doesn’t show accurately, is that the gathers from the elastic is distributed throughout. I think a flatter front is much more flattering, so I would distribute the gathers more towards the back. That seems to make sense with the side seams too, they were pulling towards the front when I distributed the gathers evenly. If I go ahead and make a muslin I would lower the center front so there is more of a difference front to back. The back piece seems very roomy – especially compared to another very similar pants pattern I’ve picked up. And the side seams are shaped oddly where they meet the waist – look how they bulge out!

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Those were some random thoughts I wrote down while I was in the process of making them. After finishing, save hemming, I decided the pants were roomier than I wanted. I went ahead and shaved off a chunk along the inseam, ending up making the thighs too tight and creating a nice little prominent tent when I sat down. Ugh. At this point I was so annoyed with the pants that I didn’t want to figure out how to save them. Until a year later when I went through my UFO’s and decided it was worth a try.

I ended up adding gusset-shapes to raise the crotch point and make more room across the thighs. Haha! Look at the patchwork of pieces! Sorry for the wrinkles – the fabric does wrinkle quite easily. I made elasticized cuffs instead of just hemming. I can’t quite decide if I think these look like pajama pants or not, but so far I’ve enjoyed wearing them! (despite my griping – it’s not my most successful make, but it’s fine). I do like how the waist is done with several channels and elastic – it’s a detail that brings it all up a notch I think.

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citypants (10)Snazzy greenish yellow silk lining for the pockets!

I do really like how combined with my OAL-top (I’ll post more when I have the whole outfit together!) it totally looks like a jumpsuit. I like jumpsuits!

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Ahhh… And like this post isn’t wordy enough. The second pants I’m referring to in my punny post title is the one below. It’s from Stoff og stil, pattern number 20028, decommissioned it looks like. It is, like the Alexandria pants, a city pant with pockets partly covered by a pleat, and tapered leg. This one was drafted for a jersey fabric though, and fits much better (I’m sure the fabric is part of the reason). I started sewing these two pants at the same time, and while one sat unfinished on a shelf for a long time, this one has seen weekly wear since being finished. It was interesting to compare the shape of the pattern pieces while working on the two pants, and as with previous experiences with Stoff og stil the drafting has been quite good. I see they now have a UK website too, how exciting! I’ve grown up with their stores and catalogues, and it’s awesome to see how much more on trend they’ve managed to become the last handful of years.

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surprise! it’s a jersey dress with zippered pockets.

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I usually have some sort of name for the projects I work on – what I refer to the garment in my head as I’m sewing it, or even what I plan for the blog post title to be, once it’s finished. For this project, I’ve drawn a complete blank. It’s a grey jersey shift dress and it has zippered pockets (same one seen in my UFO-round-up). And that’s it! But that is ok – I feel strongly that this is one my current, quite basic uniform dresses. During college in Chicago I wore alot of skirts+cardigans+belts-combos, and the first few years back in Bergen it was tweaked to dress+cardigans+belts. Cardigans are still very present in my wardrobe, but the dress-style has shifted (ha!) to a straighter shift silhouette with none of the waist definition I’ve done for years. Subtle changes I guess!

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I currently have four jersey dresses I wear a lot, three of them I made, and the last is a store-bought dress very similar to this one. I have the mint ruched dress from last fall, the Ikat Hemlock dress from last spring, this grey one that is the point of this post, and for good measure I’ll mention this first midnight blue jersey fitted dress since it was the one to start this streak of jersey dresses, and because it also has the zippered pockets.

Fabric: 1,5 meters-ish of heathered grey courtelle jersey from Stoff & Stil.
Pattern: Hacked, based on this dress pattern from (yet again) Stoff & Stil.
Techniques: Overlocking, binding, gusset, zippered welt pockets.

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This dress pattern is really one that keeps giving! I think this is my first tried-and-true pattern, since I don’t usually make multiples. But since I’ve now really tweaked the fit to suit my body and the fabrics I like using, it’s reliable and quick to use. You know, except when I decide to change stuff, and totally make a mess of it all – like with this dress. My intention was a looser shift style dress without a waistseam, so I butted the skirt and bodice pattern pieces next to eachother, and then added what seemed to me an appropriate amount of ease. I really missed the mark there – I tried it on after sewing up the side seams and it was sausage casing tight! To make the addition of a gusset in each side seam look a little more intentional I cut it on the crossgrain.

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Having learned from the midnight blue ponte dress, I didn’t even attempt sewing in the zippers by machine, but topstitched around the opening and handsewed in the zipper using backstitch to securely attach it. The pocketing is a nice woven viscose I’ve also used for a pair of pants I recently finished, and I like that it’s matches in color, but is patterned. I’ve noticed that the pockets pull down a bit when I fill them with stuff, which doesn’t happen with the other dress. I’m thinking the waistseam anchors and supports the weight in a way that is less noticeable – you know, it wasn’t a mistake, it is a design feature! 😉

grey_jersey_zippered_pockets (8)Pocketing fabric in a watercolor-like printed viscose. Also, disappointingly, a little pilling despite not having been worn that many times!

So yeah, I don’t have much more to say about the dress. Despite not gushing about it, I do like it very much – I’ve used it at least once a week since finishing it! (I also love the proper summer weather we’ve been granted here in Bergen, and the awesome park that is a stone throw from my apartment. <3 Expect to see more corners from the park in future posts!)

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