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Rose-pink bloomers or: I go all whimsical again

30 Jun
How to wear your jammies all day long without anyone realising: make rose-pink bloomery-drawersy-thingies out of your fave jammie trouser pattern!
(I should have held the camera above my head to create a halo from the flash and look reeeeeelly silly!)
  • Pattern/company
Butterick 4406
PJ trousers from this pattern
*sigh* This photo was the right way up on my computer. Could you all just turn your heads to look at it? Eventually I will work out how to make these photos better.
Circular ruffle from this pattern:
Kwik Sew 2756
  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Cotton homespun in rose pink. 6mm elastic. Black polyester flower trim
  • Useful info
I showed mum the drawers-thingies before the black flower trim was on it. “Too much!” she cried. “Too much colour and ruffle and not enough … something…” was her, er, useful verdict.
I stuck to my plan and added the black flower trim. Voila, it worked! The trim defined the entire look, and even my mum thought it was ok. *phew*
At first I did a narrow turned hem on the circular ruffle –  turn the edge over once, edgestich it, turn that over and edgestitch it again. But the cotton was just too firm. Even after a good press it looked awful, so I braved the rolled-hem stitch on the overlocker. I’m glad I did as the rolled hem looks 10 times better than the narrow hem. However it come out so neatly when the ruffle was on the bias, which, given it was a circular ruffle, there were patches of bias, and patches of on grain hem edge. Nothing I could do about it, and I’m not sure if anything except fiddling with tension and just good old-fashioned practise will fix that for next time.
If anyone has any suggestions on this, I would love to hear!
I used the double-elastic waistband technique described for the Madeleine Mini Bloomers by Colette. Instead of using one wider width of elastic, you use two rows of narrower elastic. In the Mini Bloomers I had about 6mm between the elastic channels but for these drawers-thingies I ran the channels right next to each other and it worked just as well.
Why did I do this? Well it is more delicate than a big thick slice of elastic, but has the same holding power. A lovely and effective technique.
The original drawer-thingies in rayon cupro were very drapey, flattering even in a wide-legged elastic-waisted, no extra shaping trouser pattern. I was worried the cotton homespun would be too crisp to work well. However the ruffle and trim weighs it down so it sits flatteringly over my hips. Also I have mostly waist-defining tops, which helps. (The one in the piccie isn’t, of course, just to prove the rule!)
  • Inspiration for the garment
I first made a pair of um shorts? Drawers? bloomers? years ago. I have no picture because back then we only had one digital camera that had cost us a fortune and took crap photos. Ahhh, remember the days?
The drawers-thingies started life one cold dry season, (aka what passes for winter here) as full-length pyjama trousers from this pattern,in a delicious mushroom rayon cupro. Soft and flowing. Then the build-up came (aka the hot stinky humid season). I lopped the trousers off just above the knee and added a circular ruffle of  a leftover rayon/cotton fabric with mushroom-coloured roses that matched the cupro exactly.
It needed just a touch of added extra something, so I did a row of simple embroidery just above the ruffle (my sewing machine sadly only does simple embroidery – but I love it anyway!)
They were delicious and perfect and comfortable – after all I was wearing some jammie trousers!
I don’t think I have a photo of them, but if I ever discover on hidden away somewhere I’ll definitely blog about them.
Tragedy struck when they got some bleached spots. The mother of invention came to my rescue. I cut out some roses from the leftover fabric and appliqued them artistically over the bleached spots. and a few other places to make it look deliberate. It turned out very nicely, and saved the day. Well, saved the drawers-thingies, actually.
Ever since I’ve been very fond of this general style of garment. So easy to wear! Soft and swishy and feminine, with all the convenience (and coolness) of shorts.
I’ve made a few from the drawers from Folkwear Edwardian Underthings (click on it to go to the site). I haven’t blogged about the drawers from this pattern. Must do so! But the presumably period-style crotch is not as comfortable for this modern gal as my pyjama pattern which is a bog-standard modern crotch shape, hence I prefer using that.
  • Cost
Fabric: cotton homespun 2m @ $6pm. Half a metre left over for little girl’s dolls dresses… ;-P
Trim: 2m @ $4
Threads and elastic from my stash
Patterns – Jammie pattern – Butterick 4406: third use
Kwik-sew 2756 skirt pattern – 4 skirts already from it and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve used that ruffle pattern piece.
Total: $20
  • Last word

I wore them to my pilates class the other day. The teacher’s reaction was “Oh are we having a fashion show today? They are so beautiful!” Always nice to get random compliments on clothes you’ve sewn! For the record, they work just fine for a pilates class. No binding or catching.

Wandering round in jammie trousers is a very comfortable way of spending the day. Highly recommended!

Style 1961 vintage shorty-shorts and 3/4 trousers

7 Mar
  • Shortyshorts
And 3/4 trousers
  • From Style 1961, printed 1977, which makes it a year younger than I am. I figure that makes us both vintage, right?
  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Shortyshorts – cotton-lycra poplin remnant. 3/4 trousers ribstop cotton
1 invisible zip each
  • Inspiration for the garments
I do a lot of walking and bike-riding and just needed new shorts. I used to have a pattern for shorts like these, years ago, but it never really fit well in the crotch, so I TOADed it long ago. This was back in the days were I knew how to sew but not fit. I found this pattern amongst a large haul of patterns around my own age, and around my own size, in an op-shop. (Awesome! One happy op-shop/sewer that day!!!) And decided to give it a go.
Discovering the shorts fit all over and especially nicely in the crotch – and the hips and waist (I have a small waist compared to hips so it is usually a real pain to fit things that go right to my waist. Much easier to fit slightly lower rise shorts/trousers), without needed any alterations (omigod, so perfect. What a find those patterns were! Whoever sent them off to the op-shop, thankyou thankyou thankyou!) I took the bermuda shorts pattern and compared crotches to ascertain they were the same. I then got measurements of leg length and width from a pair of rtw gaucho pants (from an op-shop, of course ;-P) that look very nice on me, and used them to draft the longer length of legs.
  • Useful info
The waist-hip ratio was more than modern patterns seem to be. ie smaller waist to bigger hips.
A valuable invisible zip lesson:
I made another pair of 3/4 trousers (not pictured) in a chocolate brown ribstop, and the fabric tore near the invisible zip, at the base. After inspecting I realised I hadn’t lined up the seam below the invisible zip too well. It had a wider seam allowance than the zip, which put stress on the point between zip stitching and the beginning of the seam. I was able to stick some mending tape on the little tear, and set the zip back in with a wider seam allowance – and it still fit. YAY!
  • Cost
Pattern – op-shop: 20c
Fabric: stash remnants = $0
Invisible zip = $2.50
Thread – stash = $0
This is the point where I think “Oh no, what if I’ve added it up wrong, I will look like a right dill!!!”
But I will bravely put a figure out there anyway, and hope it is right 😛
Total= $2.70
Purple trousers:
Fabric – ribstop cotton 1.5m @ $2pm = $3
Invisible zip – $2.50
Thread – $2
Total = $7.50
Brown trousers:
Fabric – ribstop cotton 1.5m @ $2pm = $3
Invisible zip – $2.50
Thread – stash = $0
Total = $5.50
Total for three garments:
  • Last word

The pattern pretty much overnight became a highly treasured TNT pattern. I traced off the shortyshorts pattern and the gaucho-pants version of it onto pattern trace so I can reuse to my heart’s content, while having the original to refer to if I want to do another version.

I totally ❤ that cotton ribstop. It is a lovely weight, it has a body that suits trousers and skirts well, but is actually very light, and cool. It is rather stretchy though! But after all those years of cotton-lycra, I am kinda used to stretchy clothing 🙂

And yes, it seriously is $2 per metre. I keep wanting to buy more – there is this lovely lovely sort of “rose beige” colour ribstop at Spotlight….

Blue linen shorts – self-drafted (sort of)

16 May

FINALLY got my motherfashion photographer, a sunny day, and the blue linen shorts I finished in early February

together. Here is the result. Sorry, no back view. I was lucky my fashion photographer had the patience to take these ones!

Blue linen shorts front
Blue linen shorts side view

While working on getting the fit as good as I could, I worked out the back crotch length was just too short. (could explain a lot of fitting issues with trousers/shorts to this point) So I stuck a yoke in to make up the extra. I realised it is very similar to jeans back yokes. I had already lengthened the back crotch quite a lot on the pattern I drafted using my measurements and crotch shape. When laying the pattern on the fabric, to keep the legs on the straight grain meant the back crotch seam came up really high, using a lot of fabric. Then I had to add some more!
I do wonder, having seen this, how much the yoke characteristic of jeans has to do with commercial layouts being designed to use the fabric as efficiently as possible?

Wagh! The pockets gape 😦 I ended up simply sewing the opening down at top and bottom, leaving a smaller space for my hands. Worked fine. I suppose to eliminate it it would need a lining across from the side seam to centre front, but that is just another layer of fabric to make the shorts hotter to wear.
All that was left of the blue linen fabric after making these shorts!
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