Monthly Archives: August 2009


Jack and I are officially on vacation.  I am wearing my pants on the flight today so we’ll see how they after a full day of traveling.  Wish me luck on surviving a 6 hour flight with a toddler.

I am sans blackberry until I start my new job next week, so I am going to be unplugged this week.  I haven’t been this unconnected since the early 90’s.  I might go into withdrawal.  My parents have a computer, but we’re visiting, so it wouldn’t be nice to be on their computer the whole time, now would it. 

Anyway, I will catch up with all of you when I return.  I’ve heard the withdrawals from the sewing world are brutal.  I hope I survive.

Have a great sewing week!


My first pair of pants!

But not the last. They’re not perfect, but I will still wear them proudly, this weekend as a matter of fact.  Since my last post on the capris, I attached and topstitched the waistband, hemmed the pant legs, hand sewed the crotch seam below the zipper closed and hand stitched the closures on.  I am so proud of these pants.  It was a long journey, but so worth it.  I see many pants in my future!  Here are some pictures (I’m not sure why the quality isn’t great again, sorry!)…

front capri hemmed

rear capri hemmed

hem on pant leg

I folded the hem twice and stitched the hem. 

stitch in the ditch waistband

I topstitched the waistband and you can see my stitch in the ditch stitches right below the waistband where I attached the waistband facing. 

suit closures

I added two suit closure type hooks and eyes.  Thea taught me how to correctly sew them on:

  • Make 3-4 stitches per “hole”
  • slip needle between the facing and waistband to the next hole so your stitch doesn’t show on the facing or the front
  • when finished stitching to waistband, make a loop with the final stitch, pass the needle through twice, and pull taut.  Then slip needle between the facing and waistband again about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch and out.  Cut the thread and you’re all done!!!

It looked way more professional than when I stitched the hook and eye to my niece’s blouse.

The next picture shows some puckering when I attached the waistband to the pant.  😦

waistband mistakes


Things I learned on this project:

  • How to hand sew hooks and eyes properly
  • How to stitch in the ditch (maybe I’ll do a tutorial for the other beginners out there soon)
  • sewing with wovens is not as forgiving as with knits, every mistake shows.
  • order of construction matters! (I was going to add pockets, but didn’t know you had to add them before sewing the legs together.  Oops!)
  • It pays to make a muslin for pants and to muslin again for fit.
  • Why invisible zippers don’t look good in the front of pants.  (I should have bought a regular zipper)
  • I need to make more pants to perfect my sewing skills. 

Overall, I am quite pleased with my first pants.  I don’t think they come off as “loving hands at home”, but they’re not perfect either.  I will definitely be making some more.  Maybe shorts too!

I am taking a vacation next week with Jack to visit my parents and start a new job after that, so sewing might be a bit scarce for awhile.  I hope you’ll still be here when I get back.  😉

Until then, I wish you all happy sewing!  Oh and don’t forget to visit the Trench Sew Along and see what’s cooking there!  I picked out my pattern and bought my fabric today.

Just popping in to say…

I hemmed my suit pants today by hand.  It’s been bugging me that my brown suit pants’ hem was coming apart the last few weeks.  Ordinarily, I would send it to the cleaners to have the tailor there fix it.  But now that I know how to sew hems by hand, that would just be silly wouldn’t it? 

It’s such an ordinary thing, hemming pants, but I found it so empowering that I knew how to do it so professionally.  I am quite proud of myself I have to say.  I love this new interest of mine.  I love making things and then being able to wear them.  LOVE. IT.

Anyway, I just had to share my simple pleasure.

Stay tuned for the final post on my navy capris tomorrow.

Happy hemming!

Trench Sew Along Update

Trench Coat Sew Along button 

Things are starting to percolate at the Trench Sew Along!  We have a few new members and some have already introduced themselves/started discussions on the planning process.  We’ve been posting different pattern ideas (I posted more today).  There are some fellow newbie sewists, so don’t be afraid to join thinking your sewing chops aren’t up to snuff.  We’re all jumping off into the deep end on this one.  We will learn so much from this project and it will serve to push us to another level of sewing while demystifying some techniques.  Don’t be afraid of messing up.  I hate making mistakes myself, but the main thing I’ve learned on my sewing journey is that mistakes are how you learn.  Besides, that’s what the muslin is for, right?! 

Big Trench Sew Along News:  I’ve lined up a guest blogger who’s been “in the trenches” before.  She will share her experience and give us tips on how to make our very first trench coat. 

Show everyone you’re participating in the Trench Sew Along and use our sew along button/widget.  Grab the picture above and use the following html code: <a href=””><img src=”” style=”margin-left:20px;” height=”160px” width=”160px” /></a>

Please join us!

For realsies…

I have the bare bones set up for the Trench-Sew-Along.  Check out the blog site.  We are still in our infancy, still working out the kinks.  I still have to upload the header image and start populating the links.  There’s plenty of time to sign up if you’re interested.  Just leave me a comment on either blog and we’ll get you started. 

Here’s what I’m thinking of in terms of schedule:

  • August 14 — September 15:  Pick out pattern, trench coat research, fabric/notions gathering
  • September 16 — October 15:  Work on trench coat, commiserate, learn and don’t give up
  • October 16th or soon thereafter:  Wear trench coat bursting with pride and wonder.

Again, this is a work in progress.  If things take longer, they take longer.  No one’s going to get in trouble for not finishing or at all.  This is supposed to be something we enjoy, something from which we learn.  I want it to be as stress-free as possible.   Most likely, mine won’t be finished by October 15th since you all know by now how s.l.o.w. I sew.  But here’s to hoping!

Right now, I am considering McCalls 5525. 


BUT, it’s double breasted and I really wanted a raglan sleeve, single-breasted coat.  I am coming up empty handed on my search so far.  If any of you can point me to a pattern like that, please point away.  I am trying to steer clear of Burda patterns right now as I am already direction challenged and their directions, from what I hear, are a nightmare.  I love their designs, but want to improve my sewing chops a whole lot more before I try their patterns.

In other sewing news, I made some progress on my capri pants, but did not yet take any pictures.  I won’t be able to work on them again until Friday, but hopefully I will wear them this weekend.  I LOVE wearing something I’ve made; there is nothing better than that feeling.  I hope it never gets old. 

Happy sewing!

Need some fitting advice…

So I sewed up the legs of my capri pants yesterday.  I took care to press all my stitching at every stage.  For the other beginners out there: that means to sew a seam, press the stitches to set the seam, then press the seam open.  That makes for a more professional look and less “loving hands at home” look.  My planned order of construction was:

1. sew outside seam of pant leg from top going down.
2. sew inside seam of pant leg from top going down.
3. repeat for second leg
4. sew crotch seam from front of pant starting at zipper bottom towards back
5. sew zipper into pants
6. sew hip bands together for outside and facing
7. sew hipband facing to outside
8. sew outside hipband to pant
9. sew facing to interior of pant.


I made through step 4 and then tried them on.  Here are the results so far…


Front view navy capris without waistband


Back view navy capris without waistband


Apologies for the crappy pictures, not sure what happened here.  I am rather pleased with the front, but a bit perplexed with the back.  The seat (butt) looks fine in back, but the there are a lot of drag lines down the legs. What does that mean?  Do I need more room down both of the legs, i.e., wider?


Please let me know what you think.  I have my at home sewing lesson tonight with Thea, I will ask her, but I don’t recall the muslin being so “wrinkly” in back and I used the muslin as my pattern.  Also, the front pant leg was shorter than the back pant leg on both sides, but that might have been an error on my part while cutting or when I measured for the capri pant length on muslin.  I don’t think it will be a big deal; I’ll just use my rotary cutter to even it out.


Trench Sew Along Update:  So we have some interest in starting up the Trench Sew Along.  I will post details tomorrow.  I think we’ll have our own blog, but need to set it up still.  If you’re interested in joining, please let me know in the comments of this post or the last one and I will add you as an author to the Trench Sew Along blog.  I’m so excited!!!

I can’t believe I’m about to do this — A Trench-Sew-Along

But, I am starting a Trench-Sew-Along.  Yep, you read it correctly.  Me, Elizabeth of the sleeve sewn inside out dress is starting a trench-sew-along.  In comments on my Burberry Trench Coat post, Kerry and Sara both suggested that we start a trench coat sew along together and I laughed and laughed.  Especially since my exposé Burberry trench post was posted right after the Sleeve Debacle.  I thought for sure that inserting a sleeve on inside out would automatically kick me out of the sewing club, not launch me into the coat-making stratosphere.  Apparently that was just hazing or some kind of sewing rite of passage. 

I’ve never hosted a sew along, so I don’t know how this works exactly.  If anyone is interested in joining, please let me know in the comments of this post.  And while you’re at it, give me some direction on how to host this kind of thing.  Should I start another blog with multiple authors so that everyone can post their progress?  Does that sound right?  My only caveat: I sew slow.  Very slow.  I overthink every decision.  So if you think I will be done with this trench coat before the first snow, you will be sorely disappointed.  Hmm… end date.  Not sure about that one.  This might be an evolving sew along with everyone’s input into shaping it. 

Here’s my starting point.  I have no pattern in mind, no fabric, no lining, and no notions.  I am thinking that a raglan sleeve coat might be the easiest to start with and nothing too fitted.  I definitely want a self fabric belt.  It has to be lined and have two pockets (not welted though).  An interior pocket would be nice too.  Does that sound doable for a beginner?  Am I nuts?  Out of mind? 

I’m going to borrow Summerset’s parting shot.  Here’s a pic of my stretch navy cotton all cut out and ready to be sewn up tonight and tomorrow night.  Could it be that I will have a pair of capri pants to wear this weekend?  Stay tuned to find out.  🙂

navy stretch fabric cut

Happy sewing!  And don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you would like to join the Trench Along.