Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Loes Hinse Cruise Pants w/ a Funky Pocket!

Oops, I am a bit rumpled.

More pictures

For awhile now I've been wanting to reproduce a pocket detail I've seen in boutique ready to wear - a big round funky pocket. For my first attempt, I started with a pant I'd made twice before, Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8712 made from, you guessed it, black ponte. You can see that version in the pictures below.

It was not quite right. The pocket was too big for the pant leg and the pant leg needed to be looser for the pocket. It's wearable, but I'm glad I didn't use special fabric for the first pair.

I searched for a better pant pattern to start with, but it was tricky. Most of my TNT pant patterns have been fairly fitted through the thigh and I needed something looser. The pant that does fit me loosely through the thigh (which is why I use it so often for PJ bottoms) is the Louise Cutting One Seams, but those pants have no side seam. I asked Louise, via Stitcher's Guild, if I could add a seam on the pant, but she recommended against it, so it was back to the drawing board. (It's nice that she monitors the threads on SG that pertain to her patterns and she is very responsive to any questions or issues.)

A friend then reminded me that the Loes Hinse Oxford pant has a nice relaxed fit and a side seam. I spent probably two hours searching, but I could not find my copy of the pattern. I obviously never put it back after using it several months ago. Rats.

In my search for the Oxfords, I came across the Loes Hinse Cruise pant, which is more tapered at the ankle than the Oxford, but the thigh looked like it had a nice relaxed fit. Deciding to try this pattern, I traced off an XL because I was using a woven fabric for this version and I wanted to make sure I could sit down in these comfortably. :)

The fabric I used is a heavyweight, slightly crinkled, homespun cotton. I bought it in Healdsburg at Fabrications after a retreat last March. (Fabrications is a great store that caters mostly to quilters, but does have some nice non-quilting fabric, like Brussels Washer Linen and silk brocades. It's located in charming downtown Healdsburg which has lots of great shopping and restaurants!)

This fabric is the sort of thing you'd want to use if you were making peasant wear for the Renaissance Faire. ;) I really like it.

When cutting out the pants I realized that, even for the Cruise pattern, the pocket was too big. I finally had a D'OH moment and I tilted the bottom of the pocket pattern several inches outward at the side seam to make it smaller, while retaining the opening size at the top of the pocket. I also placed the pocket lower on the leg so it won't be covered by a longer top.

So, here is version #2, with a smaller pocket. :)


  • Brown homespun cotton from Fabrications.
  • Waistband elastic.

Alterations and Modifications:

Many sewists on Stitcher's Guild cite the Cruise Pant as their favorite Loes Hinse pant. This is saying something since there are many ardent fans of her pants patterns (and her designs in general). Her patterns are designed, by and large, for drapey woven fabrics, especially rayons. They work best in drapey fabrics with some "heft" to them, so silk is not always the best choice, unless it is a 4-ply silk, or a silk burnout, or something along those lines with some weight to it. However, the pattern does say it will work with linen and cotton, so I decided to run with it.

Loes's skill is in drafting her patterns so they really work for women, especially women with maturing figures. For example, the Cruise pant has an elastic waist, and it has darts in the back, but not the front. For those of us with fluffy tummies, this is excellent. When I saw the crotch curve on the Cruise pant, especially on the front crotch, I knew I was in good hands. It has a shallow front curve, similar to Burda and very similar to my TNT crotch curve. I decided to use the curve straight from the pattern. (I usually trace my crotch curve onto a pants pattern from the get-go.)

I made no alterations! I cut out the XL, which is larger than I would ordinarily use, but this version uses a woven and I wanted a relaxed fit. If I make this pant again, in a ponte, for example, I would trace off a large or maybe a medium. By the way, her patterns use 3/8" seam allowances, so take note.

Construction Notes:

  • For my first pair of pocket pants, using Vogue 8712, I cut the hole for the pocket about 4" below the raw edge at the waistline. This placed the pocket too high up and it actually "bumped" into the waistband. For this pair, I cut the pocket hole 9.5" below the raw edge at the waistline. I could have placed it a bit higher, but I wanted the pocket to show, even when I'm wearing a long top.
  • These pants came together so quickly. In one evening I traced the pattern, cut, and sewed the pants entirely, except for the hems. The pockets were the most involved part of the process and they weren't that bad.
  • The pattern allows for a 1.5" hem, and I used a 2.5" hem (approximately) so they were a tad long for me. I usually have to shorten pants patterns, so this is normal.


I am really happy with my pants! I hope to get lots of wear out of these. And, while I love all my black pants and wear them all the time, it's nice to branch out a bit. :)

Pants #1 - Marcy Tilton Vogue 8712

Here you can only see the silhouette of the pant, but I sure like these Marcy pants!

Pants #2 - Loes Hinse Cruise Pant

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Burda 3251 - The "Shuffleboard at 2pm" Tunic

I mentioned in my last post that I've been unfocused lately (mostly distracted by work) and it's affected my sewing. Seriously, what is UP with me? Apparently I am sewing for my alter ego and my alter ego is my grandmother-on-a-cruise. (Though both of my grandmothers passed long ago and neither one ever got anywhere near a cruise ship, but you get my drift...)

This is a long out-of-print Burda, but I really liked the silhouette and I thought it would work for me. Maybe it still would work for me in another fabric. Or a shorter length. Or worn with leggings. This is a fairly fitted top and I liked that. The button front is open below the waist and there are side slits. I like all of the above. Or so I thought.

I started with a size 16 (42) and altered the heck out of it. I usually start with a larger size, often a 20, but this time I decided to use my actual high bust measurement (42") and go from there. I think that did work well and I should do this more often.

The fabric is a pleated rayon that I bought at Yardage Town in San Diego last July. I intended this for a skirt that I drafted a couple years ago. I'm kinda sorry I didn't save it for that project. :/ This fabric is very stretchy (due to the pleating) and very unstable in the selvedge-to-selvedge direction. It also ravels easily and is very wiggly. And, of course, because it's a stripe, I had to match the pesky stripes. (It would be so much easier if I didn't like striped and plaid fabrics so much. :)

Materials and Notions:

  • Pleated striped rayon fabric from Yardage Town in San Diego.
  • Coordinating solid cotton for the facings, from Fabrix.
  • 4 7/8" buttons from Fabrix.
  • Twill tape to stabilize shoulder seams.
  • Fusible tricot interfacing for facings, also from Fabrix.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • This pattern has a dart and it actually pointed to the right place on me! (Wow, that never happens, though using a smaller-than-normal pattern size did raise it up a bit.) The dart was too long and too small, so I did my usual FBA, AFTER chopping the bottom of the pattern off. After the FBA I re-attached the two pieces, so the hip was not modified.
  • I lengthened the sleeves to below elbow length.
  • I shortened the shoulders by 1/2". Usually I have to shorten the shoulders by 1" when I'm using a larger size.

Construction Notes:

  • I stabilized the shoulder seams with twill tape cut to the length of the shoulder seam on the paper pattern.

    Stabilized shoulder seam and contrasting facing.

  • I did not want to use the same pleated fabric for the interfaced facings, so I use a coordinating solid blue fabric. It's a cotton "linen-like" blend. I have enough to make some coordinating pants. :)
  • I used 4 buttons that were larger than what the pattern called for. I found them in the giant button bin at Fabrix where you can buy 100 buttons for $5, but you have to sift through them to find matches. I used four buttons in three different shades of blue. Just for fun. You can see them in the pattern picture below.
  • I matched the stripes as well as possible. It wasn't entirely possible. For example, look at the picture below, where I am twirling. See how the stripe tilts down just below the armscye. This is because of the mammoth 6" bust dart. I matched the stripe at the top of the sleeve, at the CB, below the dart at the side seams, etc.

    Twirling exposes the stripe matching and the effect of the large dart (just below the armscye).

  • After the top was mostly completed, I tweaked the fit and removed even more width from the hip. I have started pinning the bust dart right on my body and, wow, does it improve the fit.

So, what do you think? I will wear this top, I'm sure, and maybe it will grow on me.

Pattern Giveaway and Miscellaneous


I want to thank all of you for your comments on my purse and the dress from my last post. I really I appreciate all of your points of view, though the dress certainly had folks on both side of the fence. :)

I had 35 comments on the Hobo Bag post, so I plugged in 1-35 into the random number generator. I figured if the chosen number belonged to someone who did not want the pattern, I would just try again. The number 7 came up, which is Martha from SG! Martha, it was not clear from your comment if you wanted the pattern. If not, let me know and I'll generate a new number.

Last week was another very intense work week, including a couple of 12-hour days. It was draining and no sewing happened, but I did sew this weekend. I just finished a top and will blog about it shortly. Lately I have been rather unfocused, and my sewing has suffered for it. This top is no exception, I think. Oh well, at least it fits well. ;)

Oh, the picture up top is from Me-Made-June. I missed photographing a number of days during the week, but was wearing (self made) jammies on those days anyway and was glued to the sofa, working. The challenge is to wear self made every day for the month of June, which I have done. Luckily the challenge does not include taking a picture every day - that is optional. :) This picture is from Friday, when we were challenged to take a pic with a loved one. I was home alone, but went to the mall at 9am to get a picture with my daughter's poster. Sheesh, the embarrassment, me and my tripod. I had to take a lot of pictures to get one that was halfway decent. :)

Off to write another post!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vogue 8726 - Mother-of-the-Graduate Dress

I am not a dress girl. Let's establish that fact up front. :)

I made a dress last October. It was a black and white Sandra Betzina dress. I have never worn it once, though I do like it. A week ago I asked my daughter, who graduated from high school today, if it would be a good dress to wear for her graduation. She replied that she'd rather see me in something with color.

Rats. Why did I ask her, anyway? :)

I took this as a challenge. I decided to make a dress with some color. I quickly went through the Vogue, Butterick, and McCalls offerings. I clicked on parts of the pattern catalog that were totally unfamiliar to me.


I came up with this Vogue pattern. I liked the side panels, but there was much I knew I would have to alter.

I bought the pattern and fabric on sale at JoAnns. I rarely go to JoAnns, but I was under a time crunch. Did you know that, according to the unfriendly sales associates at this particular JoAnns, that they have removed all mirrors from all JoAnns? It is (so they told me) a corporate-wide edict. If true, that tells me that JoAnns has really decided they are done with garment sewists.

But I did buy a colorful, wild print, even though I was unable to hold it against my body to see if I liked the print/color on me.


  • Sweater knit from JoAnns.
  • Black poly/lycra knit used for contrast bindings.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • The pattern drawing is misleading.

    Note how it shows that the insets land on the waistline. This is not accurate. It's hard to see the details of the finished dress on the envelope, because it's black, but the insets actually land on the model above the waist.

    I lightened these photos and added arrows pointing to the top of the inset seam. It is definitely above the model's waist, not at her waist.

    When I held the pattern tissue to my body, the insets landed on my bust, not below it. This is not a good look for me. The first alteration I made was to slash the pattern, both front and back, between the armscye and bust dart (about an inch below the armscye) and added 2". This lowered the inset and the bust dart.

    The back bodice, lowered, and the back neck, raised.

  • After lowering the entire bodice, I sliced the front pattern horizontally, about an inch above the inset. I then did the FBA just on the upper portion, as I did not want to add width to the lower portion. I then merged the upper and lower portions together.

    The pattern piece is upside down, but the bodice has been lowered, then the lower part has been sliced off and the FBA added. Finally, the upper and lower portions were merged back together. This is how I do an FBA without adding width to the part of the garment where I don't need it.

  • The pattern is designed for wovens, but I made it out of a knit. I eliminated the back zipper.
  • The pattern has no pieces for facings, as it is intended to be completely lined. I omitted the lining and finished the neckline with a narrow contrast knit binding in black. I didn't follow this technique exactly, but here is an excellent video on a neckline binding by Threads magazine, featuring Sarah Veblen.
  • To echo the neckline binding, I put flat piping on the side panel seams.
  • I lengthened the cap sleeves to below elbow length. I finished them with the contrast binding.
  • I topstitched all seams.
  • At the end, during the fitting, I raised the bodice by re-sewing the shoulder seams one inch further down. I think that my original alterations were fine, per se, but the knit was stretchy and a bit heavy, so it hung lower.
  • I sewed the bust darts and upper side seams towards the very end, so I could pin them right on the body.
  • I narrowed the shoulder about 3/4".
  • I made the longer length on the pattern and just did a 1" hem. It's pretty long, and I'm not sure if it's the most flattering length. If I wear this dress again, I can always shorten it further.

Notice how I show the dress with a wrap. This is because I do not think it is a flattering dress on me, even though it fits me pretty well. Is this because of the wild print? The silhouette? The fabric? I'm not sure, but I did wear it, with the wrap. Later today, when the same daughter had a ballet performance, I wore my black and white Sandra Betzina dress. I just think it's a more flattering dress, though I wore the same wrap with it.

Ready for the ballet, though I should have photographed it with the same wrap.

The best shot I could get of the dress, sans wrap.

Pic taken when I got home from the graduation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vogue 8741 - Marcy Tilton Hobo Bag & Pattern Giveaway!

More pictures

Pattern Giveaway!

I rarely sew purses. I always think I will, but I don't.

I purchased this fabric a couple years ago from Fabrix. I love this fabric and would have bought yards of it (at $3 a yard), but only one yard remained. It is a woven rayon blend (I think) that has been embossed with a leather texture. It is very easy to cut out and sew - it's nothing like a pleather - and it has a great look and feel.

I decided it should be a purse and, finally, it is.

The pattern calls for a fashion fabric and two contrast fabrics. The difference between View C and View D is in how the contrast fabrics are used. This bag is reversible. This fact is not made obvious on the website or on the pattern - you would only know this when reading the instructions. I think this is unfortunate and it's a side effect of the minimal description Vogue now provides for each pattern.

The purse is reversible, but it's wonderfulness doesn't stop there. It features compartments and a zippered pocket. If you like purses with lots of different places to put things, this one is for you. I used one contrast fabric, not two. If you choose to use different fabrics for contrast 1 and contrast 2, it would be much easier to find things in your purse, based on the different fabrics/colors, but I am happy with my single contrast. :)

This purse is, essentially, a purse within a purse. It has four layers: the outside, the lining, the inset, and the inset lining. Sometimes the bag is sewn to the lining, and sometimes the lining is sewn to the inset lining. This creates the inner compartments that makes this bag so useful.

My inside fabric is a waterproof print that I purchased long ago at Fabrix. I bought this fabric to use as bias trim on another project, but I ended up not using it and it sat in my "donate" pile (because I had no real use for one yard of a waterproof fabric) until I realized that it matched the outside fabric perfectly. I used it for both contrast 1 and contrast 2.

By the way, I don't plan to use this purse as a reversible purse, but if it were pouring rain, I might!

Materials & Notions:

  • Textured (embossed) brandy-colored rayon blend, from Fabrix.
  • Pellon fleece, to underline the outside fabric. This is optional, but it made my fabric look even more like leather. I did not use fusible fleece, but I don't see why that would not work.
  • Dritz Spray adhesive, for adhering the fleece to the outer fabric. (Or a similar brand, but this is what I had in my sewing closet.)
  • Waterproof chartreuse fabric, with a monochromatic tropical print, from Fabrix.
  • 7" zipper. I used a decorative zipper.
  • Thread. I purchased regular thread to match the outside fabric, and the lining fabric, and top-stitching thread for the outside fabric. Or so I thought. When I got home, the "top-stitching" thread was 100% cotton thread (oops), so I used regular thread for the top-stitching. But top-stitching thread would have been nice. :)
  • A tool for turning a narrow bias tube. I used my favorite technique which requires a bobby pin.
  • Fray Block. This is optional, but I used it on the end of each knotted, bias fabric tie.
  • A Dritz tool for making 1" bias tape and a safety pin to pin the tape to the ironing board as you create it. You can make the bias tape in any method you prefer, but this tool worked well for all the yards of bias that this purse requires.
  • Sewing pins!! I mention this only because I bent many pins on this project. When pinning the final layer onto the base layer, there are 16 layers of fabric, including the pleats on four layers, the two base layers, and the fleece layer throughout. Many of my glass head silk pins bit the dust during this process.
  • Sewing machine needles! For most of this project I used a single MicroTek needle (by Schmetz). This worked well, until near the end when it was trying to go through many layers and it shattered. I finished the project with a jeans needle.

Construction Notes:

  • This pattern uses 1/2" seam allowances. It is easy to miss this fact.
  • This purse confused me at first, so let me explain how it works. It is made from 4 layers: the outer layer, the lining, the inset, and the inset lining. The inset and the inset lining are used to create compartments, so the purse has the inside bucket, and two compartments on either side. In the innermost layer (called the inset), there is a zippered pocket. There are self ties to keep it closed and the purse is reversible; if you turn it inside out the zippered pocket will be on the outside. This is a large purse.
  • I made the 1/2" opening for the zipper in the inset as directed. At first I planned to use a standard zipper. But after the opening was completed, I noticed a decorative zipper in my stash and decided to use that.

    The standard zipper opening is too wide for the decorative zipper, which was an afterthought.

    The 1/2" opening was too wide for this zipper, so I added a strip to narrow the opening - I could have added a strip to each side of the opening, but decided to put it on the top only, so the raw edges would be absorbed into the top of the pocket. When applying the zipper, I folded the ends under, at both ends of the zipper, and top-stitched it to the pocket. The rest of the pocket was constructed normally.

    The narrow strip added to the top of the pocket.

    The completed zipper. This is the first time I remembered to use one of my new fabric labels!

  • In step 8 of the pattern instructions, you put the lining layer together with the inset lining layer, right sides together, and baste the lower edges together. From here until step 20, these are treated as a single layer. In step 9, you stitch them together, in the ditch of the lining seams, to form a pocket. It was not clear from the directions whether you should do this on both sides of the purse. In the end, I did do it on both sides, because I decided that the compartment would be very large if I didn't. But I don't think it matters that much, so do what you think is best.
  • I found some of the construction steps confusing. Therefore, I took pictures as I went. Hopefully these pics will help clarify the steps for anyone else who might also find them confusing. The numbers of the steps correlate to the numbers on the pattern instructions.
    • Step 16: The bag has been pleated and pinned to the base. I was concerned that the pleating would be difficult, but the instructions recommend that you not obsess over this and I agree. It's actually fun. Also, the instructions state that the size and spacing of the pleats will depend on the fabric. I found this to be very true, as the outer layer/batting pleats were a very different size than the pleats in the lining fabric.

    • Step 17: The bag lining/inset lining (the two layers are basted together at the hem as one layer) have been pleated and pinned to the base, on top of the outside layer.

    • Step 18: The lining for the base has been pinned, wrong sides together, to the base. After each step, I machine stitch that layer.

    • Step 19: The inset, which contains the zippered pocket, has been pinned to the base. After this is sewn, the inset is pulled up over the rest of the purse and all four layers are now attached.

  • A pattern piece is included to create the ties that can be used to hold the purse closed. At first I followed the directions to turn the raw edges under to make the ties. But this created very chunky (approx 1/2" wide) ties. I hate chunky ties, so instead I created a 1/4" tube from each piece of bias. I trimmed the edge of the sewn seam and used a bobby pin to turn the tubes inside out. I tied a knot in the end of each tie, as directed, and finished with a dot of Fray Block. This isn't strictly necessary, since the tie was bias, but I prefer to use a dot of Fray Block.
  • I found an error in the pattern. A pattern piece is included to create a continuous bias strip. You cut one of this pattern piece. However, it does not create nearly enough bias. Bias trim is attached to the top of the purse, which has 4 edges. There are another 4 edges on the inside layer, for a total of 8 edges. Finally, you cut four 10.5" strips from the same bias strip for the purse handles. There was only enough bias to finish 7 edges of the purse plus one 10.5" purse handle. I had to create another 40" or so of bias to complete the purse.

Conclusion: I really like this purse! The only disadvantage is that it is quite large. I didn't realize from the photo on the envelope that it would be this large. I will save it for those occasions when one needs an extra large bag. With all of the compartments, it would make a good travel bag.

More pictures:

Because this pattern hasn't yet been reviewed, and because there is a lot going on in the purse, I attempted to document it fairly thoroughly.

Hanging on a hook. See the lovely texture of the fabric.

If you look carefully, you can see the tie closure.

Reversed. I don't plan to use it this way.

The ties, up close. You can also see the various compartments.


The straps, up close.

It's big!

The End. ;)

Pattern Giveaway!

I was given a copy of this pattern, but had already purchased it, so I have an extra. If you would like it, please leave a comment. I sympathize with folks outside of the country who can only purchase these patterns at full price, or with extreme shipping, so this is definitely open to you, too. I will draw names in a week or so.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Alive! Status Upate


Channeling Judy Jetson

I have received a few emails asking if I'm ok. It's so nice that there is concern about me, but I am ok! I have not been blogging as much, because I have not been sewing as much. Partly because I was traveling and returned home to drama. Though things have settled down in that department, my work continues to be very intense.

But here is what I am up to (sewing wise, at least mostly):

  • I have a Marcy Tilton purse almost finished. Truly, I should have finished it last night, but instead I worked on a long blog entry about it. I just need to finish a tiny bit of hand sewing and then take a few more pictures. Look for that in the next day or two. I'm also doing a related pattern giveaway. :)

  • I have made several pair of pj bottoms! OK, not exciting stuff, hence no blogging. But I may do a mass blog when I finish a few more pair. ;)

  • I took my friend Renee out for some snoop shopping for her birthday last month. I got very inspired and I copied a pocket onto a Marcy Tilton pant. The pocket was great, but the pant wasn't the perfect pattern for it. I want to try again, but haven't gotten back to it.

  • I am participating in Me-Made-June! I don't generally post the outfits I wear daily to my blog, but you can follow my Me-Made-June 2011 Flickr Set and the Group Flickr Set. The picture above was from last Friday. Claudine had the fun idea of doing a common pose each Friday for the month of June. Last Friday's pose was twirling - one of my favorites. She is taking votes for this coming Friday's pose, but I do hope it is NOT in a grocery store as I don't think they'd welcome my tripod in there. :)

  • DD1's high school graduation is this coming Saturday at 11am. I was thinking I'd go outside my comfort zone and wear a dress. I only have one dress and it's black and white. When I asked her opinion (oh, why did I ask? :) ) she expressed the thought that I should wear something more colorful. Hmmm.... So, I bought a dress pattern and some fabric. Not sure I can get it made by Saturday morning, but stay tuned.

  • I attended a BABES meeting. BABES is the local group that was organized originally through Pattern Review. It was an excellent meeting, full of laughs, food, and fabric swapping. I took my Chado Ralph Rucci duster/dress, which I said I wouldn't bring to a sewing meeting, but everyone was very tolerant of the wonky inside and many people enjoyed trying it on. What a great group!

  • I attended the amazing Pulp Fashion show at the Legion of Honor. Wow, what an amazing exhibit. I enjoyed it even more than the Balenciaga exhibit at the De Young. I went with three sewing friends and we were dressed to the nines (seriously, I was the schlumpadinka next to these ladies.) Afterwards we had a great Burmese lunch and I ran an errand while they went shopping at Fabrix and Satin Moon. I was heading home after my errand, and I sideswiped a parked, brand new Porche SUV. sigh

  • Last week had some big events for work, including an all hands meeting that required commuting. Commuting is so tiring! I do not know how people do that every day. Then, last Thursday, we had a very fun team building event in the north beach neighborhood of San Francisco. It was a high-tech scavenger hunt run by It was fun, but so tiring! :)

  • I haven't been feeling great lately, so I joined Weight Watchers. I know a bit of healthy living is the antidote.

So, that's what I've been up to! Thanks so much for your comments, feedback, and concern. I really appreciate all of you!