Sunday, May 26, 2013

Parsley Pants: PASS

My kid is growing like long, skinny, weed. Two days before his school concert, I realized ALL of his pants were too short in the legs, too big in the waist, and sporting holes and/or dirt stains. As this wasn't a production of Annie or Oliver Twist, we needed new pants, fast.

Enter Made-By-Rae's Parsley Pants. I'd been eagerly eying this pattern, which claims to be both easy and spiffy. Rae delivers the goods. The download includes the pattern in sizes 2-10 and suggestions for several variations, all with easy-to-follow instructions, clear illustrations, and valuable tips on construction.

For the concert pants, I used pink denim out of my stash. (It is not quality stuff. Perfect for the short, hard, life of kid's pants.) I added front pockets, pin tucks, and this ridiculous homemade contrast piping. The combination looks like it came straight off a 70s lounge singer, or perhaps Super Fly. My son absolutely loves them. Finished just in time for concert day...and completely filthy by the time the concert started. (Sigh.)

Knowing the pink pants wouldn't hold up long, I made up another pair in a lightweight red denim. (Yes, I made my son red trousers.)  This time I left out the pin tucks, remembered to lengthen the legs, and used a larger pocket. My son says they seem a bit snug, which I think means they'll stay up when he runs. If needed, I can pick apart the waist seam and adjust the elastic to make more room. But with such a nice finish on the inside (if I do say so myself), I'm hoping I don't have to. Maybe I'll learn how to work with button elastic for his next pair. With as fast as this kid sprouts, I'm sure there'll be many more Parsley Pants to come.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ram Button-Down: PASS

We're getting closer to the long sleeved shirt my son requested in pink and purple stripes, just in time for the return of winter (seriously, snow on Mother's Day!?). For test shirt number two of Burda magazine 9/2008 number 142, I used a printed cotton/poly from my stash. I think it's the same vintage of Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram. It has that "heart of the country" vibe, anyway.

This is three sizes larger than the stars and stripes (fail) version and my son says the fit is just right. I decided to spend quality time with my old-school edition of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing to figure out the sleeve vent binding. Burda's text-only instructions are a bit cryptic. I faked it last time. This version's bindings are constructed correctly, if not precisely.

The contrast binding on the front is another story. No amount of reading and YouTube videos has made proper application understandable to me. I think I've got a good approximation here, but something is off. As you may know, I'm geometry impaired.

Instead of a wrap-up paragraph, I'm going to leave you with more cute pictures of my goofy son. Yes, it's a cop-out. But so is putting two versions of the same song on your album, and it didn't hurt McCartney. (Oh, snap!)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Refashioned Prairie Skirt: PASS

I put the "or altered" clause in my Me Made May pledge with this skirt in mind. After years in the refashion pile, waiting until June seemed suddenly too long.

I bought this skirt at a yard sale four years ago and have been mulling over its future ever since. I loved the pinkish beige color and the tiers of ruffles. But dang if it wasn't too small in the waist. What to do? Make it a billowing strapless dress? Insert a contrasting panel? Neither seemed right. The skirt sat through summer after summer in my closet.

Recently, I had a "duh!" moment. As in, "Duh! Just pick out the zipper, sew up the back, and insert an elastic waistband." Twenty minutes later, I had a new zipper in my collection and a skirt I can actually wear. It's delightfully swishy, perfect for beer-and-hammock evenings.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Announcements: Me Made May '13


Hooray for May! May is one of my favorite months. It means we've spent another fun year in our house, students are moving out leaving all sorts of treasures behind, Ann Arbor is holding its annual Commuter Challenge, and (more relevant here) Zoe is hosting Me Made May!

Every May I secretly strive to wear more of my handmade clothing while admiring the efforts of the folks who post their daily handmade wardrobe pics online. This year I'm taking it out of my closet and into the real (virtual) sewing world with an official statement of participation. (Of course, it may not count because I missed the signup deadline. Yes, I left it until the end of April to sign up. Yes, I got sick and didn't use a computer until May 2. Oh, well.)
I, Vanessa of pass/fail sewing, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavor to wear at least one item I've made or altered each day for the duration of May 2013. I will also challenge myself with projects that build my skills, attack my stash, and generally scare the crap out of me for attempting them.
Let the fun begin!