Amber Trousers!

Pattern

I am so happy to be reviewing this awesome pattern by Paprika Patterns. It is actually a piece I needed for my wardrobe: a non-fitted pair of paints, for the hot summer. I already had the fabric, and planned on a different simpler pattern but I was happy for the challenge.

I meant to print the print-shop version and I editP1030662ed it with Illustrator to include only size 6 and to save some paper as I was told by an employee in the shop that they use a 105 cm wide paper. So I took the bus, got there, all proud of myself, just to discover they run out of that width. I came home defeated with the A4 version…

My natural waist is 32.5’’ and my hips are 42.5’’ so I chose size 6 and printed it from the 1-7 block. However, my waist is actually 28’’ and I probably needed a size 4 or 5. Yes, I should have made a muslin, I know that now.  But since I got the pattern on Friday morning I stressed myself to finish by Saturday evening and I skipped that important part. Big mistake.  Don’t skip it, and at least fit the yoke. I spent too much time fitting and adjusting the trousers and lost some its shape and parts of the pockets. Conveniently  enough, I printed all sizes and not only size 6 as I planned, and the smaller sizes all contained within the larger ones, so I can just cut it from pattern 6.

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Other than that part, everything went really smooth. The instructions are clear and indicated exactly where to baste and understitch – I like it that I don’t have to guess or google those small details. Trousers construction can be tricky, but the Amber comes with great illustrations. I would only add pattern piece numbering to them, for even better comprehension. The pattern is great for advanced beginners, as it does not require high sewing level and can teach you some new skills if it is your first time tackling trousers. I for example finally realized how to add the invisible zipper to trousers with a yoke or waistband!

The pattern has some nice details, as the pleats and simple pockets. As advertised (in the instruction) the V-shaped yoke actually does gives a smooth tummy, a problem I encountered with callouts. I was not sure about that feature at first, but it is actually really nice. This pattern also looks great from the back!

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I can’t wait to make this pattern again, now that I’m older and wiser, and will probably make the muslin pretty soon.

I have received the pattern for free in return for my honest review. I was not compensated  by any other means.

So I’ve been sewing a lot…

Pattern

but just didn’t have the time to blog, and mainly taking pictures.

I finally got a Seamwork subscription, and already tried:  Lisbon ( I think I got the bias cutting all wrong, the back was huge!),  Camden (didn’t get the lining and face to be just right, and I still need to hem and add buttons…),  Wembley (use one of the two every day!) and the  Mesa tunic dress (my new uniform. Well, it was, until it got too hot). I also got the Brooklyn but didn’t get to try yet.

The Mesa is great (made 4 in a month!), but I had to merge a size S, XS and L together to make it fit right. I also made  all of them 1” to 2” longer, and in some case also made the sleeves longer. My favourite it the black version, where I added the  Renfrew top‘s great collar! it is the great hack , combining two great patterns.

Now, it is time for summer planning. The summer in Israel is just around the corner (already had really hot days) and I need to work-appropriate  clothes. Should add: work clothing in Israel, especially where I work, is VERY casual. So it has to be heat and humidity friendly, light, comfortable, and easy to wash… and to match with my other clothes.

I used light viscose and a dressed-hack of my favourite pattern, the Belcarra blouse, to make 3 summer dresses.

 

I also made a  denim sleeveless  Sandra dress, by Salme Patterns. The fabric choice was inspired by Colette’s Phoebe

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Sleeveless Denim Sandra Dress

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Goodbye Davis!

Pattern

This is my last post from Davis CA before I head back to Israel after 3 years. I still need to sell my sewing machine and I am not happy about it.

I finished another pair of pants (McCall’s M9113) that I am happy about, with a super colorful flower prints. This time I added back pockets, based on the Granville ones. They are always fun to make.

I also made this light pink knit dress (McCall’s M9116). I cut a size 14 and 18, and it was huge! I eventually almost completely just modified it, which was easy, given it is knit…I tried to iron a hemming tape, but it ended up all wrong and I just wanted to be done with this dress. It was supposed to be simple, but due to errors I made and the sizing issue was a little too much work for such a simple project. The gathering in the back is cute, but I am not a fan of the shoulders gathering. Also, the collar  looks a little off, and I prefer the Renfrew collar.

Très facile pants

Pattern

So I took time off from the Thurlow trousers and tried the ‘Très facile’ Simplicity M9113. It started from a visit to Walmart, that ended up with a few patterns and some interesting prints that I couldn’t resist. The result: comfortable and useful pants that I will probably use for work again and again, and a pattern that I will use forever.

I’ve cut a size 18, and then adjusted it a lot in the waist and side seam, and added darts in the back. It was much easier than trying to fit the tissue ahead of time. Already have the fabric for the next one, but will add pockets! I should make some Renfrew tops to go along with it!

Let’s get to the button of this – the button down shirt: Granville

Pattern

Oh, how I love the Granville. It fit great, no alteration needed.

The first one was a long sleeve version, with tons of errors around the collar stand and the cuffs. The second and forth are sleeveless, that fit the summer in Davis, (and in Israel) and I wear the, all the time. The second have mid length sleeves that end with simple cuffs. It also doesn’t have a collar, just the stand.

made the last 3 from simple and classic shirting fabric from Joann, which makes them suitable for the washer and dryer. However, it means that I should finish the seam better since it didn’t really survive. Since the pattern is so good, next time I will try a French seam. Also, it will be fun to try with floral prints. Finally, I need to practice the collar stand positioning to get it right.

“What? You sewed it?” – My first knit shirt

Pattern

I wasn’t planning to sew with knit. I was very happy with woven fabrics. But then a friend brought me her moms’ leftovers. It included about 2 yards of viscose knit with small flowers. It was time. I got the Renfrew top and made a combination between the views, as I made it with the short sleeves and with the collar. I’m very happy of the collar, there is something comforting about it and it fits even for the summer.  It also gives it a unique look, though I plan to make this pattern as a simple T as well.

I first made it with fabric I got at the thrift shop here in Davis. Though it is a little too warm for the summer. However, the second version, from the viscose knit, is (almost) PERFECT. It is a little too big, but I’m not sure if changed after wearing and washing or was it too big to begin with. The best part: My husband is gone a lot for work. When he was home I wore the Renfrew in the morning and asked “what do you think of my new shirt”. I don’t know I did that, he usually doesn’t care much. But he was truly surprised and asked: “what? You sewed it?” It was so much easier to get it look “right” with a knit.

My never ending battle Part 1 with the Thurlow trousers. Part 1 – (part 2 is still in work)

Pattern

So after a few shirts, a jacket, and some dresses, I figured, well, why not making pants? It is after all the one thing that I REALY need to make for myself, as it is painful to go shopping for them. I’m almost never happy with what I find, and when I do, it is expensive (and then I get bleach stains on them, never mind). I

couldn’t make up my mind between the Thurlow and the Juniper. I chose with my heart and got the Sewholic pattern.

As I’m a stubborn rookie, I didn’t make a muslin, I just used super cheap fabric I found at a thrift store. But I spend too much time on the back pockets (spending some quality time with LLadybird) but the pants were far from wearable. I looked online, and the solution seemed simple – the crouch is too low. I was happy to alter the pattern and start again. But still no good. And then again. And again. 5 times I made it. The fifth pattern was so remote from the original…and almost wearable, and from such a cute fabric combination, that also matched the jacket, that I planned to wear for a conference …. but then I realized:

  • I can’t wear it to the conference, it is not good enough.
  • I should have altered those front pockets.
  • I should make muslin; no more spending time on back pockets (but I got really good at it!)
  • I should buy that book that everyone recommend ‘pants for real people’.

So I got the Pants for Real People, and before I even started, I learned the most exciting thing: I can (and should) iron the original tissue pattern! Wow. I never did that before. I usually I don’t cut my tissue patterns, but instead I copy the right size to a wax paper. This time I used parchment paper instead since I had a wider toll wider, and I can iron it (love it, ironing the pattern is so much fun).  Also, I found it refreshing that this book uses actual REAL people. I wish pattern designers will do it more often (yes, Colette, even you can improve).

Real people rock!

Real people rock!

I also thought “I should probably check the sizing table again”. And guess what, I’m an idiot.  My first 5 attempts were all with the wrong size! I cut an 8 instead of a 12. The only reason some of them were close-to-wearable is that I altered them so much. OK. I am a 12 and I can deal with it! So I copied and cut the size 12 pattern carefully. But when I tried the “tissue fitting” method, using the back, right front, waistbands and front pockets, I wasn’t so sure anymore. My beautiful copy of the pattern is all wrinkly right now, and I think I will need to add some extra fabric to the side seam, that will probably change everything else. I’m panicking! it will never happen!Here is the plan right now is:

  • Practice pants alternation with two old pairs that need some work anyway. As we Israelis say, “hard training, easy battle“ (it have no real grammar in Hebrew as well!)
  • To get a helper! This will not work if I try to fit myself on my own. (I should have taken a video of myself trying the tissue fit, alone, amusing).
  • To get some cheap fabric to make a muslin. Preferably plaid. Preferably an actual grid.
  • Make THE most perfect Thurlow trousers ever. And then duplicate at least 10 times, before I even consider another pant pattern.
  • Copy the altered and proven pattern.
  • Document the whole process (I saved 3 out of my 5 attempts for your amusement).

In the beginning, there was the Belcarra blouse

Pattern

After sewing a few pillow cases and a skirt without patterns, and after running into Sewaholic patterns on my google search a few times (in the beginning I thought ‘that is a stupid name- how can one be addicted to sewing?’ That was naïve…now I know it is a brilliant title!) and I loved it all. Didn’t read any reviews, didn’t even check the level or anything, just ordered a Belcarra Blouse. When it got here (printed), I had no idea what to do and how to transfer the pattern. First thing I cut it! Don’t worry, not on the sizing lines, but I just separated the parts(never again!). But now what? how do I keep the pattern and transfer it to the fabric? Then it came to me (I think some googling was involved)- wax paper. It is cheap, and it is transparent! I copied size 8 (or maybe even 10) and sewed it on a lovely but unsuitable fabric I got in a quilting shop (I didn’t know what I was doing, ok?) a few more darts later (it was huge and looked like a sack) I was happy! I even wore it to a presentation I was giving in front of a bunch of engineers! And no one knew it was my own work. I was proud with my little secret…

Belcarra group picture

Eight out of nine Belcarra blouse!

Now, after Nine Blecarras  (one for Mom, the only C view),  and changing to  a size 6 I still have a few issues with it, but mainly because I am getting sloppy.

Now just the doted Belcarras!

And now just the polka dot Belcarras!

The neckline is too stiff and looks weird sometimes, and I sometimes get the sleeves to clutter under my arm. But it will always be a favorite!