the fleeting, ephemeral pants. & a killer coat.

So, do you like these pants?



Wood-Chopping Pants
That’s great, because if you do, you can have them. They took me a few hours to make, using scraps, thrift store seam binding, and a pair of Ralph’s old pants.* About six hours into his first wearing The Boy decided to wash his hands with a bleach / soap spray bottle and now the pants are “distressed” on one side with several reddish bleach spots.

Size 110 cm, up for grabs.

Just so you know, this is Classic Nels. What can you do?

Sunday at JoAnn’s I purchased 13 yards of fabric and some matching thread. The total: $92. I am falling in love with my little White serger (purchased for $100 + shipping on eBay):

13 Yards ($90)
In this case, I serged the ends of the 13 yards I’d purchased. This means I can wash these lengths of fabric and the threads won’t come out, knot, wrinkle the fabric, and in general make a mess.

Pocket On Bias
Nels’ coat from last year is wearing out. I’m making a new one, a blazer of sorts (Burda 9671). The project gives meaning to the phrase “clothing construction”. I cut out a total of 41 pieces of fabric: this includes the shell fabric, full underlining (a wool blend for the coat body, a simple cotton for the sleeves), and lining; all this plus nine pieces of interfacing. I basted the shell, underlining, and interfacings then serge-finished all these pieces:

Construction Of A Coat
Thank you again, serger! Taking all this time to properly prepare the coat is making sewing a joy. Updated project photos will be found here and in this Flickr tagset.

* I’ve made them before, several times.

a coat for the alley cat

I sew a lot; I photograph my sewing far less. This has mostly to do with our lack of a digital camera. It’s something that bugs me; to work so hard to sew or knit and have no record of the many things I’ve created.

Alleyway, Shel Silverstein
I finished Sophie’s winter coat; Nels is now wearing the one she outgrew.

Collar Detail
I “Edward-Scissorhands” it up a bit, changing the collar from its original rounded shape.

Strike A Pose
Sophie poses.

The best thing about this coat is she loves it; wearing it every day and calling it her “pretty coat”.

The original patterns from the mag:

consumerism at last!

Today I spent a bit of time in the morning taking my corset in – 1/8″ over eight seams. Easy and fun! I talked with my parents downstairs while taking out the erroneous seams. I am just WANTING to keep sewing on it but – I have a family and stuff that also needs me.

Then – the event of the day, a roadtrip to Olympia with my family. We hit Joann’s and then CanvasWorks, my mom stopping at Bayside Quilter’s. Despite fabric temptation that sometimes feels like a once-a-year visit to a whorehouse, I only bought one bit of yardage on impulse (seen below with the lace beading and ribbon for my corset top):

Trip to Joann's!
Will I ever grow out of poison green? Why would I want to?

I will be dyeing the lace beading to a slightly-darker rose pink, I think. I also think I’ll use Dylon but am open to suggestions.

The rest of the shopping focussed on the yardage and notions for my brother’s Portland coat.

Project Billy's Portland Coat!
I am thrilled he actually wants a coat from me; in the past the little grub has tried to talk me out of sewing for him, period. Today he turned into rather an exacting customer regarding fabrics. This was actually great for me; anything worth sewing is worth sewing the way you want it. I am glad he cares enough to participate and I hope he enjoys watching how lengths of fabric become sturdy, well-loved garments.

All that remains to start on the coat are buttons: we found some nice ones at CanvasWorks but ultimately he leaned toward cloth-covered, which I think is a great idea. I’ll have to scout online to find some along with the Dylon and an embroidered cord fabric for a friend sewing for her daughter.

I’m happiest when kept busy sewing, being with family and friends, and writing. And I’m getting enough of all, lately.

Yes, I made my first pair of assless chaps!

OK, this is an inside joke in my household (yes, I know chaps are assless). These beauties were an entry for the Instructables / Etsy SewUseful contest (Instructables is having server timeouts – as soon as I’m able to, I will link to the tutorial posted there).

Bike Chaps Deployed
Now you see ’em…

Bike Chaps Stealth Mode
Now you don’t! How about the “stealth mode”?

I made a pocket to hold an iPod shuffle – on the right side, sorry southpaws. I love sewing patch pockets. Other pockets, not so much.

I think this was actually the last project I successfully sewed on my old Singer – it’s top and bottom tension assemblies are sad and I can’t make them work. I need to get it into a shop.

Belt Of Bike Chaps
Messing about with waist strap length. Webbing is easy to sew. I did a three-sectioned strap for waist, thighs, and knees, that included elastic as the middle section of the strap. They are comfy and won’t come loose.

So, silly as this is, there is actually an Etsy listing for this item and it is for sale (it was a requirement for the contest). So now I have an Etsy shop. As if I want to start selling anything! But… my shop looks empty. So I’m thinking it over… I’m not going to be another tote bag / cloth pad / caddy-of-some-sort artiste, we have enough far more talented and inspired in those venues than I.

coats ‘n’ more coats, in the 75 degree weather

Front-pocket Assembled - Almost
Today I joined the lining and underlining for Ottobre 05/06 #10. I also marked the pattern pieces and assembled the pocket. I am currently fretting over the pocket flap and hood trim, which instead of a cotton fur knit (P.S. Ottobre, *where* do you get these fabrics?) is a fleece. I don’t think the fleece looks all that good as a trim although with regards to the above pocket flap I know trimming seam allowances, pressing, and topstitching will improve matters.

Shout-out to Gutterman’s topstitching thread which really does look nice on this twill.

In other news, today was my brother’s birthday. I made him a CD, my daughter drew him a fabulous card, and I created him a Custom Order Form for what I’m calling his Portland Coat – as he’s moving soon. Here’s what he got in his card (click to enlarge):

To my surprise, he actually assented to filling this out with me which included me discussing technique and measuring him at his shoulders, arms, chest, waist, and hips (tee hee!).

Although I can’t afford to buy fabric right now (or rather I can… but my gas heat has been turned off for a week and perhaps I should pay that bill instead!) this project will be the next fabric purchase I make – along with that for my Vietnamese Ao Dai.

"a booster seat? hot dog!"

While I wait for the remainder of my corset hardware to arrive in the mail, I’m making my 3-year old Nels a coat. I know, odd considering this weather, eh? The thing is, with my Wardrobe Refashion commitment I have to think a bit ahead on the family’s raingear – especially since I live in about the rainiest damn place, ever.

And before I get to my sewing work – speaking of my Wardrobe Refashion project, I made a little tool to track what clothes I need to sew and what I’ve finished.

Download a blank template here: [ pdf ] (2 pages)

So on to today’s work. Last fall I fell in love with this zip-back parka:

(shoutout to Ottobre Design, my favorite Euro pattern mag. For $40 a year I get more patterns than I could ever hope to sew – in all sizes for children and women.)

I’ve always loved zip-back coats because they are cute as hell and, well, that’s a good enough reason, eh? I also could just picture Nels’ little gnome-face poking out of this hood and him using the front pocket to carry things – his favorite pastime is foraging on our many walks.

Nels' Raincoat Fabrics, Up Close
Here are the fabrics I’m using – from left to right, a yummy Malden Mills fleece (color “chili”, 100 wt), a super-soft Alexander Henry bullfighter’s cotton, and an awesome, supple middleweight twill that is also weatherproofed (but you wouldn’t know it to feel it). The coat will be lined with the bullfighting print which is underlined by fleece.

Cutting, Rotary Style
Cutting. A rotary mat and equipment make for fast cutting. I don’t pin since my tracing medium is cloth-like (and slightly “sticks”) and because I’m rather experienced and find I don’t need it.

27 pieces total
It takes 27 cut pieces to make this coat! Just something to think about the next time you want to say, “Oh, you should MAKE THOSE and SELL THEM!” Because if I did *that* in any quantity, I’d find no time for anything else, let alone sewing my children’s winter gear.