I’m gonna start things out kind of slow, meaning one piece at a time, because when my husband saw this new pajama top and pants he said, “Hmm. Looks a little Clinton-esque” and when I gave him my what-are-you-talking-about look, he said, “You know, the whole pantsuit thing.” And then I got it…the lounge pants paired with the lounge tank is a bit, ah, overwhelming in a 2008 Hillary Clinton kind of way.
Truth is, he might just be right but I don’t care. I have been dreaming up this particular lounge-wear hack-a-thon for a long time and at the tail end of Selfish Sewing Week I managed to sneak in some time and make it. And, it feels like I’m wearing a goddamn cloud. I mean, it’s downright amazing.
But like I said, one thing at a time. First, the top. This tank is a Wiksten tank pattern but I hacked it by mixing knits with woven fabric. The back of the shirt is a lightweight knit fabric (the same as the pocket fabric) and the front is a voile called Mojave Illuminated from Art Gallery fabric. Both fabrics are super soft and light. I also put a small pleat at the front of the shirt and raised the neckline by a little more than an inch because the original pattern design is too low-cut for me.
The pants are also a hack and also in the same voile fabric (hence the whole pantsuit, Hillary Clinton thing).
To make them I took a pajama pant pattern I have, Taylor Made PJ Pants, which happen to be the pajama pant pattern I use for my class at Rock Paper Scissors. I dropped down the waist by 2.5 inches, widened and lengthened the legs and substituted a regular elastic waist for this strip of knit ribbing (I cut a 12″ wide strip of knit ribbing as it measured around my waist, folded it in half lengthwise and attached it by stretching it to matching the top of the pj pants). And, that, my dear friends, is how I invented the most amazingly comfortable lounge pants ever!
I love, love, love these lounge-y, pajama-y pants. I wish I could live in them. I have been, as a matter of fact, sleeping in them since Sunday. Look at the lovely, wrinkly comfort heaven created by these loungers! I know your legs are jealous.
Put these two together and it is pure magic, of a sort. I will be honest, before I made this particular outfit I had conjured in my mind the kind of outfit that a fancy lady would wear on a cruise. You know; a scotch in one hand, the wind blowing my hair and my life of relaxation and time at sea up ahead.
Put together, however, these two are a little crazy town. But comfortable as heck and in a good way crazy town. As an aside, have you hacked a pattern lately? What did you do? I have a growing interest in trying to hack a bunch of my patterns and just make them really work for me! Like Hillary Clinton on a cruise ship work for me.
Yes, I did. I made three of the same top. Three versions of The Parisian Top from Pattern Anthology. I’m taking the whole Selfish Sewing Week thing quite seriously this time around. But, ah, this is probably no big surprise because It’s really not news that I love sewing clothes for myself.
I just fell in love with the pattern, I’ve been eyeing it for a long time so when Rachael asked me if I would be a featured maker and try the pattern for SSW, I jumped at the chance and I made it count. I honestly considered making seven versions…one for each day of the week but I remembered how some of my non-sewing friends look at me when I’ve had too many glasses of wine and start talking about BIG PLANS for what I’m going to sew (All the Quilts! Every Single Dress! Shirts for Every Day of the Week! You get the idea). Sometimes I go too far. Three seemed a safer, saner bet, which is kind of funny considering it’s obviously overboard.
Phew, before I go way off topic. Here are the details, this pattern comes together really beautifully. It fits like a dream and is exactly the kind of everyday top I am looking for. It’s playful without looking overdone, as comfortable as a regular tee shirt but more interesting…as my friend Kristen calls it, an elevated basic. It’s absolutely perfect for regular weekend adventures, picking the kids up from school, all that normal life stuff that can sometimes drag me down and convince me it’s ok to wear yoga pants all day long. It’s all about the elevated basics to beat the everyday blahs. This top is top of my list. I had a little trouble fitting the collar to the neckline but it’s just a slow process that involves a bit of stretching. If I could change one thing I might take out a bit of the poof in the sleeves, which I will do when I make more (I’m just being honest). The purple knit is and up cycle from the thrift store, used to be a bed sheet of all things. It seems a perfectly normal heather jersey knit and I got tons of it for about $5. The collar is a scrumptious Liberty of London. It’s the perfect use of such special fabric, just a pop of it and I hardly had to use any at all.
For this grey top, I used Cotton + Steel from Rock Paper Scissors and laguna knit in Pepper for the body.
I added a simple, nifty little cuff to this one by eliminating the armband and using the collar fabric for an open cuff and then twin needle stitching the whole hem of the arm.
For some reason, maybe the stretchiness of this laguna knit (?), a little bit of it wants to pop up out of place on the collar. I clipped it and it is better but I still have to kind of check it and arrange it when I put the top on.
The third top is all knit fabric and it’s the softest, happiest knit. The stripes are from Riley Blake, I believe, from Hawthorne Threads.
I’m really hoping to sneak in more Selfish Sewing this week, I want to fill my closet with some elevated basics this fall. I don’t want to make any grand plans just yet, but it has been on my mind just how nice it would be to have the perfect handmade thing to wear for every single occasion.
Be sure to pop around the internets and see all the inspired SSW making (also, be sure to enter the giveaway on Rachael’s site, it’s amazing!):
The Crafty Kitty
the quirky peach
a happy stitch
sew a straight line
Our Chez Nous
groovy baby and mama
you & mie
sew Amy sew
A Quilter’s Table
Diary of a Chainstitcher
Sing All You Want
Cookin’ and Craftin’
Behind the Hedgerow
The Charming Needle
Hello friends! It is Monday, time for a cup of tea and a little conversation. My beautiful, lively, creative friend Jane who writes at the blog Buzzmills has invited me to join in a blog hop and that means it is my turn to answer some questions about myself and this here blog. I was really thrilled Jane asked me to participate because while I regularly ponder, read and explore concepts of creativity and the reasons why I do what I do, I don’t write about it very much. Jane has always been an inspirational, thought-provoking character and she and I often joke we wish we were neighbors. She is joking; I’m not…I really want to be her neighbor.
Besides connecting with a virtual neighbor, there is so much to say about why I do what I do and I’m hoping some of it will resonate with you.
So here goes:
Why do I write?
The very first thing that comes to mind is connection. Because I am mainly a sewist, much of what I do is visual and really doesn’t require too many words to make my point. I could post (and probably have) photos of what I make with basic pattern and fabric information. Of course, just a picture and the detes wouldn’t get across the main thing I am hoping to communicate and that would be just how ‘real’ the making process can be. It’s so exciting when it does go well! Not everything works out as planned, however. I’m very good friends with my seam ripper and I’m still bribing my kids with M&M’s for every photo shoot. Every single one. They don’t line up like adorable angels to get their pictures taken in the mama-made clothes I make them, just doesn’t happen.
I sometimes worry about the perfect images on Pinterest and other places on-line that make a regular mama like me feel inadequate.
“How come my kids don’t jump up, put on their ruffle-butt bloomers, grab an antique suitcase and wait at the door for the perfect photo shoot? What am I doing wrong?”
Maybe that is how it happens with you and, if so, good on you! But, if it all looks perfect out there it can make right here look kind of shabby. And, that just won’t do. In our world, it’s all about bribing with M&Ms; finding the camaraderie and fun in a difficult and messy project or photoshoot. It’s about the real life and how good it feels to live and embrace it. I want to connect around the joy, accessibility, humor and love of sewing and making things.
The have-it-all-keep-up-pre-fab world is everywhere around us and an honest, open view on what it means to make things is my breath of fresh air and rejection of that, as simple as it may seem. Simple is revolutionary, sometimes.
What am I working on?
Oh, what am I NOT working on. My lists are so long and so varied. I’m really excited that it is Selfish Sewing Week because I’ve fallen in love with sewing clothes for myself. I’m also looking forward to a great season of teaching sewing classes at Rock Paper Scissors. And, I’m so proud because I recently re-designed my sewing patterns on Etsy and am excited to release a whole new one, a Messenger Bag, in a few weeks. On top of all of that, I’ve got big plans for undertaking a major pattern-hacking experiment, deeper exploration of color and pattern design as well as prepping to sell things at winter holiday markets. The end of the year is always really busy in the best possible way.
How do I differ from others of my genre?
This is the hardest question for me to answer. I can’t say that I even know what my genre is, exactly. I like to sew everything from my clothes, kids clothes, quilts, stuffed animals and home items; I make and do things with my kids; I experiment with healthy food; and try to stay true to myself as a mama.
Some of the time I get to write that all down. Is that a genre? If so, I probably differ from others just based on my level of confusion. (*smile*)
How does my writing process work?
First and foremost, I procrastinate. Seriously. It’s part of the process at this point. In fact, before writing this I switched out a load of laundry, made a coffee, ate two cheese sticks ( I love cheese sticks, they sustain me), scared a squirrel away from the window and updated my to-do list. I like to be productive with my procrastination time and let little thoughts germinate in my brain the whole time. It actually kind of works. In between procrastinating, I write little bits down and then toggle between finding pictures and more writing. Sometimes a unifying thread emerges and sometimes there isn’t one. I’m not too strict with myself, I let it be what it wants to be. I’m a pretty slow writer but when it’s done, it’s done. I don’t really worry about perfection.
And on that note, I’m handing the blog hop over to two people that live near me, that I get to see regularly and that keep me constantly inspired:
Melanie from MelInTheAttic gets off easy because when I asked her to participate, she told me she already was! How about that? Read her post here. Mel is an accomplished quilter with an eye for color and design that constantly amazes me. She designs pattern for Cloud fabrics and teaches inspired, sparkling classes at Rock Paper Scissors in North Jersey. She is also a constant companion of mine in the journey toward a creative life.
Jennifer is the brains and energy behind Sewplicity, where she not only specializes in making amazing high chair covers for fabric and design lovers across the country but also finds the time to embrace healthy food habits and inspired sewing projects all her own.
Um. Tough guy up there got two new zippy jackets! School still hasn’t started around here (!!) so these will be perfect for back to school. The pattern is part of Perfect Pattern Parcel #4 and it’s from Blank Slate Patterns. I couldn’t resist a ton of adorable pictures because, well, two sweatshirts need twice as many pictures! You know. (I know you think I’m neglecting C but he’s losing interest in my mama-mades, except for this. Despite his lack of interest, however, I am hoping to make him some zippy jackets, too. Probably around Kid’s Clothes Week. So, don’t fret. He’s fine.)
Back to this little zippy jacket! Oh, how I love it. It fits J just right and is so snuggly soft. (more…)