Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vogue 1059 - Alice + Olivia Trousers Tutorial - and a Question

Well, I am really proud of my first pair of trousers! I'm just so glad I got through them. Maree And Lore, I couldn't have done it without your invaluable tips.

So, here is my guide to sewing trousers. I am no expert, but I certainly learnt some things along the way.

The number one thing I learnt is that it is imperative to make a muslin. Here are the alterations I made from the muslin:
  • First of all, I followed Maree's suggestion to cut the muslin one size larger, but sew with larger seam allowances. I ended up taking the pants in about 2-3 centimetres further in the hip area, directly beneath the yoke. But I did not do this alteration until I had sewn the waistband on - then I could really see where the changes needed to be made. 
  • The second thing I have learnt is that I must have a very long crotch to waist measurement. I ended up cutting the crotch length at three sizes larger!    
  • I also used a slightly longer zipper, and thus increased the length of the pants from the crotch to just before the waist band by approximately 1.5cm. You can see the nice length I have on them side on:

  • I should have trialled welt pockets on the muslin - I really screwed up on the fashion fabric and had to do some pockets a la Rachel - which look fine, but are not welt pockets all the same. 
    Pockets and rear view:

    • Now, the major design alteration I made was to the construction the fly. The pattern called for approximately four different pieces for constructing the fly and fly guard. I just could not get my head around this. I am quite spatially challenged, but this was ridiculous.
    • Then Lore from Sew Red Hot came to the rescue, and pointed me in the direction of this amazing video:

    My goodness, this little 5 minute video saved my life. Thank you Lore! I'm forever in your debt. I watched this video a few times, consulted with my spatially-gifted hubby, and re-drafted the trouser leg to include a fly extension. Here is what the pattern piece looks like now:

    The fly extension probably extends 7cm. I trimmed it after sewing in the zipper. It was sooooo easy!

    Here is what the new improved fly looks like on my trousers (sorry this isn't the greatest photo):

    And here is what they look like on me!!

    Now, it is from this last photo that I have the question. See how coming up from my crotch I have that kinda 'U' shape going on? What could be causing that? Here are my thoughts:

    • Is the crotch seam still not long enough?
    • Or is it too long? Does that area look like it extends too high?
    • Did I not trim enough on the inside seams?
    • Do I need more length on the trouser length before I get to the waistband? 
    • The fabric is relatively heavy - could the fabric be too heavy? It is heavier than my Herringbone, Cue and Veronica Maine suit pants material.
    I don't really notice the 'U' shape when I'm wearing them, but its pretty obvious in the photos! I'd really appreciate your help and any thoughts/tips you might have!

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010


    First of all, the lucky winner of the fabric - Miss Emmi! 

    1. Miss Emmi 2. Karen 3. Marion 4. Original Mischief 5. Lynn 6. Cathi 7. Kelli 8. Bridget 9. Martha 10. Rachel 11. Starz 12. Stickenickan 13. The Celebrated Author 14. Stephanie – New York Drift 15. Nancy 16. pins&needles 17. Khadija 18. Parakeetpie 19. Morgan 20. Kat 21. Hanna 22. Maricou 23. Lipstickvixen 24. Debi 25. Stephanie 26. RavenzTarot 27. Clairegeit 28. Kennis 29. Popababe7 Randomized list generated May 25 2010 at 20:23:24 by Free educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.

    And the lucky winner of the fabric ... Sara!!

    1. Sara 2. Claire Louise Milne 3. Starz 4. Stickenickan 5. Tina 6. Tilly 7. Stella - pitchinwoo 8. Cathi 9. Marion 10. Eleanor 11. Morgan 12. Allison 13. Lore – Sew red hot 14. Kennis 15. Jodi 16. Pattern Junkie 17. Becky Randomized list generated May 25 2010 at 20:27:16 by Free educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.

    Congratulations Miss Emmi and Sara, please email me at with a postal address. I'll be posting them on Thursday when my hubby is around to write your addresses for me - I can't legibly write with my left hand!

    Thank you for all who entered, and stay tuned for my trouser pattern review and tutorial tomorrow night!

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Lovely Vintage Pattern Finds & Only One Day Left to Enter Give Away!

    Yesterday I had the most magical day with Michael and Boo-Dog. We went to Flinder's Beach, near Red Hill - about 1.5 hours drive. It was too cold to swim, but we went for a nice long walk on the beach, and collected some sea shells and bits of glass. We also laughed like crazy at Boo - since she moved to Victoria, she has become a bona-fide swimming dog. She used to hate the water! It is so nice watching her just plonk down in the water of her own accord.

    But - onto the sewing! I have a few more pattern purchases to share with you. Scouring etsy and opp shops for patterns is one of the only things keeping me sane at the moment. 

    I bought this one on etsy - Simplicity 4255 from the 1950s. I have wanted this pattern soooo badly since seeing Tilly's Awesome Green Version. I have been checking etsy and ebay regularly for this little baby, and I'm so glad I found it. I want to make mine in green too and wear it with a black pencil skirt. I also want to make the pants but am unsure the style will suit me. What do you think?

    The next ones I bought from an opp shop today on the way back from getting my x-rays. I never find nice patterns in opp shops, so I am incredibly stoked. I got all six for $11. These first two are my favourites:

    Simplicity 4920 - c1961
    Simplicity 6170 - c1965

    Butterick 5355 - c1970s/1980s?
    Butterick 3046 - c1960s - I'm not pregnant, but how super cute is the maternity one? I reckon I can wear this when not pregnant.

    Simplicity 6851 - c1980s?
    Butterick 5031 - c2007 - These last two aren't so vintage, but cute anyway, and were 50 cents each.

    On Wednesday I'll be posting my pants! And a tutorial on how to amend a trousers pattern to make fly-sewing sooooo much easier.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Give Aways! 4m of Fabric and a 1949 Pattern

    As promised - here is the giveaway!

    I am doing two separate ones:

    4m of this lovely medium-weight 100% cotton:

    The colour in the photo is pretty much true to colour. It would be great for skirts and dresses. It might be too stiff for a blouse though. 

    The second giveaway is this pattern - Simplicity 3075 from 1949. I just saw it for sale for $35!!!! It is complete, and in good vintage condition.

    Now, here are my give away rules:

    1. To enter, you must become a follower of my blog, and leave a comment to this post. If you already are, just remind me in your comment :-)
    2. Make sure your name/blogging identity is visible.
    3. You can enter for either the fabric or the pattern, and must specify which you'd like in your comment.
    4. If you want to enter both, feel free, but leave me two separate comments (one for each). This will be easier for me with my broken wrist (I promise there is a rationale behind that).
    5. I'll post anywhere in the world - it'll just be via slow mail.
    6. The entries will close on Tuesday night at 8pm, my time.
    7. Good luck!
    Let me know if you've got any questions.

    I'm personally waiting for the Colette Patterns sale to start - check out the Colette Patterns blog if you're interested - you have to become a newsletter subscriber to take advantage of the sale.


    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Some Future Planning: Pattern Purchases and Creating a To-Do List

    Hi everyone! Thanks everyone for your lovely well wishes - I have actually been too tired to miss sewing yet, but I have only had my cast on for a week.

    I've had a crazy time since breaking my scaphoid. I went back to work Monday, but then today (Wed) the Injury Management Consultant informed me I was not legally allowed at work until my medical cert had expired and I got a statement saying I was fit to go back to work. Woops! So I'm off work until next thursday. Its probably for the best - I'm still sore and learning to cope with no right hand.

    So, to occupy myself, I thought I would do two things:

    1. Show you the two new patterns I bought on etsy; and
    2. Put together a list of 10 things I'd like to sew next - with your help.
    So, first of all - drum roll please - my two new patterns!!!!!

    First of all, a lovely little princess-seam dress with sleeves:

    How cute is it? I am thinking it would be a good versatile dress - for work and play, depending on the fabric. I am considering making it up in the lovely spotty cotton I bought to make the dress for the wedding. I think I'd wear this dress a lot more so it would be better to use the fabric for something that would get more use. What do you think?

    Now, number two:

    I love this one, and it was only $5. The seller says it is from the 40s, but I am wondering if it is from the 30s? Pattern dating experts, help me out here. 

    What sort of fabric should I make this from? Plain/floral/patterned? Cotton? I need help!!

    Now onto my list of 10 things to make. Please feel free to comment about whether you think a particular type of garment is needed more or less. I do know I have a serious penchant for dresses.

    So, here are my ideas at the moment:

    • The two patterns above.
    • Another pair of trousers, in black linen (I promise the pant pattern post is coming soon)
    •  Simplicity 2501, View C, but with a rounded collar. I'm thinking a b&w polka dot. What do you think?

    • Now, this one is a bit daring -- Colette Pattern's Lady Grey. Do you think I'm up to it? It is rated 'advanced'. I just love this coat. The Cupcake Goddess made this and incited serious coat lust in me with her version. 

    • I also want to sew another Jenny pencil skirt, but in a black wool. 
    So, that makes six garments. Suggestions, please! I'm not really after 'party' dresses at the moment, and am willing to expand my pattern collection some. Maybe a shirt dress if anyone can recommend a good pattern?

    Stay tuned too, I have a give away coming up soon!

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    A Seamstress' Worst Nightmare: A Broken Arm

    Well folks, my health woes have just been bumped up a step - I've broken my right wrist.

    Yep, I'm in a cast for six weeks, minimum. I've broken my scafoid, which my brother-in-law who is an orthopedic surgeon, tells me is particularly bad as it can need surgery if not healed correctly.

    So, how did I manage to break my wrist at the tender age of 29? Boxing. Yup, I decided some time ago that I would like to do boxing, in a proper boxing gym. What possessed me to want to do such a thing? Boxing is great fun. Its stress-relieving. And its fantastic for fitness. But, as I've discovered, its also great for causing significant injury.

    I broke it because the gym did not strap my wrists, or tell me what can happen if you don't strap them. And, to make matters worse, when I told the instructor my wrist was sore, he told me it was probably muscle soreness, and urged me on. When I got home that night, I couldn't really use my hand, but wrote it off as muscle pain. Woke up in the morning, really couldn't use it, but went into work. It was bruised and aching, but I kind of managed to make a few notes. About 11am, my boss noticed  I wasn't using it (It was kind of obvious as I am right-handed) and I was driven to the emergency room.

    No sewing for me for at least six weeks. Queue in significant feelings of depression.

    I had such high hopes. This dress in this fabric to wear to my sister-in-law's wedding:

    I don't know what I'll wear to the wedding now.

    I was also in the process of making another beignet - in black cotton sateen.

    I sew most days a week - it is going to drive me mental.

    I'm going to play catch up with the pants I've made and my red roobois, so I have a few blog posts up my cast, but mostly I'll be living vicariously through you all!

    Or, maybe I'll follow the lead of lovely bloggers like Jorth and have my lovely hubby do some guest posting about titillating topics like nonlinear Gauusian optical physics.

    What do you think?

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Getting in Touch with my Roots: Naomi Wolf

    Well, some time ago I received the Kreativ Bloggers Award, and posted - as part of the 7 things you may not have known about me - my professional background as a feminist criminologist specialising in sexual assault.

    These days I work as a researcher for a state police service. While not quite as hard-core patriarchal as they once were, police services are not known for their feminist sentiments.

    I still retain closeness to feminist work: applying the principles in my own work, working on projects regarding sexual assault survivors and the legal system, and remaining active in the sexual assault sector. But I was particularly pleased when a ex-colleague from the sexual assault research centre I worked at before the police service messaged me to let me know Naomi Wolf will be speaking in town this week!

    I think this is quite serendipitous. Since moving to Melbourne, I've gained some weight, and have not been feeling my most attractive. I think I need a healthy dose of feminist realism regarding body image. I do ascribe too much to beauty ideals marketed via the mass media. Oddly enough, I care more about how other women perceive me, rather than men. I've also just finished reading The Women's Room for the first time.

    Naomi Wolf's talk is also of great interest to me, as some of my fave bloggers discuss the relationship between vintage clothing and feminist ideals. I've never really thought about this link comprehensively before -- which is quite odd, as my view of the world (for both professional and personal purposes) is via an examination of constructions of gender and how that prescribes women's lives.

    I've thought about how modern clothing prescribes women's experiences. For example, an age-old rape myth is that women wearing short skirts and skimpy tops are blameworthy for their own victimisation. Or, how music video girls are always scantily clad and dancing in overtly sexual ways. And I've thought about the 70s styles of loose clothing that was somewhat asexual in nature, and the abandonment of the bra. But I've never really thought about the 30s, 40s and 50s (my favourite vintage eras) and how these styles may be linked to stereotypes regarding women.

    Maybe Naomi Wolfe will help me in these thoughts.

    What are your views on feminism and vintage clothing styles? Has it ever entered your consciousness? Does it influence which era's styles you will sew or wear? What about sewing and feminism? What are your thoughts?

    PS - I'm cutting out the pants muslin tonight. Was in sunny Queensland over the weekend, so got no sewing done at all!