Sunday, August 30, 2015

Prefontaine Shorts: PASS


I sew mostly work clothes, so my off-duty wardrobe is often lacking. Case in point: having only one pair of shorts. (Those cutoffs are too hot to wear on sweltering days, no matter how short I roll them.) Last year I purchased the Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts pattern so I could make a more lightweight pair.

And here they are, 12 months later, my second pair of shorts! The delay has nothing to do with the pattern itself, which is very well explained and easy to sew. I particularly liked being walked through the process of making and applying knit binding (cut from t-shirts or jersey fabric).

The only thing that stumped me was choosing a size. Prefontaine Shorts sizes are based on finished garment measurements. This allows you to choose a size based on the fabric you're using and how you prefer your shorts to fit. The standard advice is to use the size closest to your hip measurement. But I had questions. Would a mere 1/2 inch be enough ease? Would I need to alter the crotch? Would the 5-inch inseam look dowdy? Would the low waistband give me muffin top? Following Sara of Sew Sweetness's lead, I made a quick muslin to find out. 

SO GLAD I DID. I dropped the crotch seam by an inch. After that, the shorts fit just right. The ease was perfect and the inseam, now just three inches, looked fine. The sport elastic feels like a dream and doesn't bind, even with a slightly lower rise than called for in the pattern. (I used 1.5 inch sport elastic instead of the 1.25 inch elastic that's called for.) I goofed and cut two back pocket slits before I realized I should have cut just one. But, hey, more pockets! 


These are made from a yard of lightweight quilting cotton from a friend. The binding is a lightweight jersey from a pile of fabric I bought during my last trip to the discount fabric outlet. Next time I'd use a heavier jersey to give the hems more weight.

I finished these up just in time for our end-of-summer camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes. They were perfect for hiking, biking, and lounging on the beach. And did I mention all the pockets? Love them!


If it weren't the last hot week of the year, I'd be tempted to make a more cleanly styled, or dressy looking looking pair. Better put it on my calendar for early next summer.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Tumbling Block Coasters: PASS


Do you ever see a tutorial or pattern and are immediately struck with an urgent and insistent need to make it? Even if you don't really need the final result? Purl Soho's simply lovely tumbling block coasters were it for me. They take a traditional quilt block pattern and give it a modern look. And they're made from 100% wool felt, a material I was eager to try.

Too bad we don't use coasters.

But desire is a sneaky thing. It knows I love weddings and gift giving and that, oh look, here is a wedding on the calendar for August. I hit up Etsy for some wool felt scraps and started scheming.

The original pattern calls for each coaster to be a single diamond, which can be arranged to form a tumbling block trivet. But I wanted smaller diamonds that would form a coaster-sized tumbling block. After puzzling over math and Adobe for an embarrassingly long time, my illustrator husband intervened. "It's just a hexagon," he said. Followed by, "This is gonna blow your mind!" Within seconds he had produced a template. (Which you can download here. You're welcome!)



Tell you what, wool felt ain't cheap. Even when you use 3mm instead of the 5mm called for by Purl Soho. I traced the diamond pattern tightly to use every inch of that stuff.


I sewed a practice set using thin polyester felt I had on hand. No way was I going to screw up my felted gold wool. I love the color combo on these.



With careful cutting, these come together very easily. (I was able to trim off the occasional wonky corner that didn't match up.) When I was finished, I wrapped them up with a delicious bottle of gin and headed to the wedding.


Will the coasters get any use? Maybe, maybe not. But they go well with gin and the new glassware the happy couple received from their registry, so I'm counting this a success!