Bali: Surfing Lessons on Kuta Beach

Jet lag is SO REAL! We got back from Bali on Monday morning and I can honestly say it’s taken me the last five days to recover. I was a zombie in the offie Tuesday and Wednesday and finally started understanding the spoken word again Thursday and Friday.

Oh. Hey. #instatravel #travelgram #bali #indonesia #baliwestin

A photo posted by Renee (@fussbudgit) on Jan 23, 2016 at 6:29am PST


I have a ridiculous amount of things to say and photos to sift through of my trip. Especially the fantastic textile tour and awesome cooking class I took. But, there’s laundry to do, braids to take out and post-snowstorm stuff to manage (you didn’t know? It snowed two feet while I was gone! We need new gutters and some other work on the house thanks to ‘Jonas’).

For now, I will first leave you with photos from my surfing lesson along Kuta Beach. Umm, no one told me surfing was HARD. While I don’t like playing sports, I was always pretty athletic and decent at them (without trying hard) and picked early on for teas. So, I felt like I was athletically inclined. Turns out I AM NOT.  Surfing felt like learning to walk.

These photos pretty much sum up my surfing.

Extreme confidence during the on-land group class (and loving my Jalie Swim Shorts. They asked me to wear their rash guard so it was easier to spot me on the beach/ in the water)


Marked determination (and smug that I can still do a full-body push up)


The painful reality that I can’t stand up on a piece of floating plastic.


After 2.5 hours of lessons, I am happy to report I managed to stand up two times (out of 15 or so attempts)!


And you can see a video clip below


I posted some photos of my trip on my Instagram. And, will be reposting them here with more in-depth explanations before the weekend is over.

Surf’s Up/ Bottom’s Covered: Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts and Burdastyle Rash Guard

While in Bali (one week to go!)  I plan to take two or three surfing lessons (with a likely needed massage in between).  A friend who did Fulbright in Bali warned me to take a rash guard for lessons. After googling ‘rash guard’ I figured out it was just a tee shirt from swim fabric. I was always so confused when I saw people in tee shirts swimming. Turns out they are great for sun protection and you want a rash guard for surfing so your skin doesn’t get roughed up on the surfboard.

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Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the Burdastyle 7/2014 #113  bike dress pattern I used on my  biking honeymoon to the Netherlands. It has the look of a raglan / sporty style. And, is blessedly already altered for me. I say blessedly, because the last thing I wanted was to feel like I had an ace bandage on my bewbs and this was already FBAd. To make it a shirt, I overlapped the skirt portion and the bodice at the waist, and marked off an additional four inches into the skirt. I think for a ‘traditional’ rash guard that also provides full back sun protection, I needed an additional 8 inches.  Mine is a little too short and shows the white waistband I used on my shorts which tends to make it look like a maternity bottom.  But, for a few days of surf lessons and tubing on vacation, this will more than suffice.

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Alterations: I eliminated the center front zipper (don’t think I’ll need the venting) and didn’t have a more ‘sporty’ zip on hand. For the neckline, I skipped the one as drafted by Burda and used the fashion fabric to make my neckband. I needed this top to be a bit snugger than the cycle dress version, so I was just really generous in the sew line vs seam allowance. Oh, and I shortened the sleeves a bit from my dress version.

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I’m wearing a cup sized bikini top from Freya underneath (god bless you Europe and your 34F sized swimwear). I think I could also easily wear  a non-cotton sports bra and be fine too. Other than being a a little too cropped, I’m pretty pleased with this top. I think it’s also a totally legit coverup option too while at the pool or beach. And, being in a Muslim country (ETA: Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is mostly Muslim) and not feeling 100 about my body, I’m more comfortable in this than my two piece.

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I am an unabashed lover of the Jalie  9796, Multi Sport Skort. I made several a few years ago when I biked to work and ran on a semi-annual basis.  When I knew I wanted to take a surfing lesson in Bali, I figured the Jalie 3351 swim shorts would be cute and coordinate nicely with a rash guard.

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I made a size Z at the waist and graded to a BB at the hip. As I’m really measuring for hip measurement at my thighs (where I am widest) I wish I had gone down one more size at the waist, slightly slimmer at the hip and made a sway back adjustment based on my muslin. But, for some reason I ignored it and just plowed on through. For my actual version, I did shorten the crotch length by 1/2 inch — possibly too much?

The shorts have built in, full-coverage briefs, which I made out of white (with the knowledge that in MILLION years I wouldn’t need the fabric to make a white swimsuit). The waistband uses elastic inside unlike the skort. So, it seems a bit more secure in the water (drag, water weight)

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Usually in shorts I get chub rub with the inner thigh riding up. I don’t have that problem with these. While I like the pockets, I can’t see myself using them for swimming. I suspect things would come out. But, as running shorts, those pockets are legit.  I would also make these minus the briefs as athletic coverups for poolside activities. I think this pattern is a real winner.  Together with the rash guard, I felt appropriate for a Muslim country,  good for water sport activities and doesn’t feel like I had on my mother’s skirted swimsuit from the mid 80s (it was HIDEOUS). Lord have mercy. I just realized I AM my mother’s 1980s age!! Sigh.

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I found myself looking at more swimsuit fabric online when I was done with this outfit. Then I remembered I’ve had this Roxy fabric for at LEAST five years.  My stash runneth over because I still have red, black and some gold swim fabric! That said, a good reason to keep a stash. You can have everything you need when you want it!

PS: We had a “Latkes and Rum Punch” holiday party back in December and my tripod got swept up in the CLEAN EVERYTHING movement. So, selfie stick and cell phone camera are at work here.


Bali, Cosmo Dress and A Little Knittin’

I’m heading to Bali, Indonesia with a friend in less than two weeks. She’s going to Nusa Dua for work. I’m along for the ride and paid-for hotel room. Jordan will be in trial so I think he’s relieved I’ll be out of his hair.  Among the activities I’ve planned for myself, I’m most excited about an all day textile tour. Bali is home to batik, ikat and what we know as Dutch Wax Prints.

Balinese Songket

It’ll probably rain most of the time I’m there. But, as long as I don’t get malaria or Hep A, I can’t say that I care.

I have a few things I’d like to sew before the trip (rash guard, swim skirt, rain bonnet). But, let’s face it. I’m not sewing much of anything these days. So, I won’t bore you with my whimsical ideas and will *maybe* have something to show from exotic locales when I’m home.

Any Bali tips for me? I’m going to take a cooking class, a surfing class and a spa day. We’ll also be doing some biking when she’s done working at the end of the trip. Any fabric store I won’t be able to resist? Tips on bargaining and what I should pay? Give me all the tips, please.

An Australian in my office told me to not act like a Bogan. That was his big tip <– If this is an offensive phrase, please tell me *now*.

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In other sewing news, my most made pattern, the OOP Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan dress is going to have a limited  100 pattern reprint.  You may recall that I have the silk jersey pre-treated and waiting for me to make this for the fourth? Fifth time? Reasons I love this pattern: minimal if any FBA needed, defined waist, great neckline for me… it’s the ultimate dress for an hourglass.

I’m pretty obsessed with knitting you guys. I’m working on a University of Michigan themed scarf for Jordan. And by working on it, I mean I’ve finally figured out the design, how to make fair isle and when to change colors on my machine  :-)  Here’s a photo of the swatch I worked up.  I won’t be able to look at this again until I get back from Indonesia. And, if that’s anything like my trip to Egypt or China, I’ll need a week or more to recover from aggressive food poisoning and jet lag :-)


Rayures Scarf and Craftsy Machine Knitting Class

Remember the thrill of your first sewn project? It’s been a good 25 years since I’ve felt that. But, with the completion of four scarves on my knitting machine, I’m feeling that same level of excitement.

I spent Thanksgiving this year with my inlaws on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hanukkah is next week so they decided we’d all exchange gifts early while everyone was together. All this is at the expense of Jordan. Because, he’s not getting squat until Christmas. I need those extra three weeks!

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This year I decided to knit all the women in his family Amy Miller’s Rayures Scarf. It’s a hand knit scarf pattern of simple stripes, made up in the round in stockinette. Since stockinette is almost all I can manage on my machine, I thought it would be the perfect project. While a great project, the scarves themselves are rife with mistakes (too may rows mostly and horrible grafting). But, I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

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I ended up making four for Jordan’s two aunts, grandmother and mom. All were basically neutral with some pops of color depending on the relative. I’ve posted my Ravelry notes for the project. And, in even writing up my notes realized I don’t even know the language of knitting. Because I’m a beginner and super prone to mistakes (and ‘good’ yarn is expensive), I stuck with an acrylic / nylon yarn from Michaels called ‘Woolike’ by Loops and Threads. It was GREAT for my standard gauge machine and very affordable — especially when on sale and ordered online.

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Knitting these SUPER simple scarves felt like the most massive accomplishment! I was able to change colors, I learned how to graft the edges closed, I learned how to close a seam (this hand knitting pattern knits in the round. But, I haven’t learned how to do that yet on my machine so I knit it flat).  I learned by trial and error how to get my knitting back on the machine if it fell off. I admit though, I still don’t know how to fix a dropped stitch. But, I’ll work on it :-)

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We are with my family next year, and I have four aunts on my mom’s side. So, I’ll be knitting something for them. Maybe by then I’ll be able to make up matching hats too!

Knitting itself was probably about 45 minutes for each scarf. But, finishing by hand was easily another two hours for me. I am super super slow with hand techniques. And, I spent a lot of time googling ‘kitchener’ ‘grafting’ and ‘seaming’.

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Any who. I haven’t taken an in-person machine knitting class in several months due to my work and life schedule. But, I have been watching bits and pieces of Susan Guaglimi’s machine knitting class on Craftsy. And, it absolutely gave me the confidence to tackle this.

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The class walks you through the basics of your machine, getting started knitting, understanding how the machine works, changing colors, short rowing, increases and decreases, making patterns / design manually and knitting your first project: a baby sweater. While I haven’t finished the course yet, I have nothing but extremely positive things to say.

If you have a machine, I highly recommend you take the course. If you don’t have a machine but are curious about how they work, this really shows you. And, don’t worry about the kind of machine you have. She uses a plastic bed mid-gauge and 80 percent translates easily to my metal bed machine.

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I can’t wait to make my own scarf!

Public Service Announcement: Cheap PDF Printing in Baltimore

We interrupt this two-month blog break to bring you a public service announcement.

SpecPrint in in Lutherville-Timonium (Baltimore County) will print PDF patterns for .36 cents a square foot. Kinko’s charges $2. I had four different Copy Shop size patterns printed for less than $5. Before Spec Print, I paid $22 to print *one* PDF pattern! In addition to the cost of the pattern!


7 W Aylesbury Rd
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 561-9600

If you’re not in Baltimore, try looking for a place that does Real Estate, landscaping, architectural prints.

Now, I just need StyleArc to start selling ‘copy shop’ versions…

Revisiting Jalie 2908: Women’s Stretch Jeans (and Fly Template Winner)

I almost forgot about the Stitch Along Fly Front Guide!  The winner is JenL! I’ll email you for your mailing address.

I’ve been getting a lot of wear from my two-tone Closet Case Ginger jeans. I probably wear my pair three times a week at least. But, the underbutt wrinkles were making me sad.  Based on how much I like having hand crafted denim, I decided to revisit the Jalie 2908 Women’s Stretch Jeans of yesteryear. I really loved how the Jalie 2908 made my butt look. I just hated the front.

When I first made them in 2009, I sewed a size W. This time, I sewed a size BB based on my measurements. Well, first I sewed a size Z and felt like a sausage in a meat packing factory. Then, I went up two sizes to my *actual* measurements and made a BB.

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So, overall, I’m pretty happy with the Jalie 2908. I think I have fewer under butt wrinkles than I did with the Ginger jeans and that’s a great place to start.

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Alterations / Changes

I slimmed down the bootcut to something akin to a very slight flare. I can’t say I used any fancy metric to do this.

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Tapered the yoke to make a swayback adjustment and drafted a countour waistband from the included straight waistband. I will say on the first size that was too small, I used the Ginger Jeans waistband and it was beautiful.  At three inches, the Jalie waistband is most def too wide for my taste. For my next version, I’ve curved it a bit more and reduced the width for a 1.5 inches finished width.

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This is a Marc Jacobs denim from Mood . I kept thinking this fabric would be too light for jeans. But, I’m an idiot because it’s perfect.  The recovery in them is AMAZING. I’ve had them on all day and they haven’t really bagged out.  I bought enough to make four pairs from this cut. But, I’ll only get two as I made one too small and managed to miscut a LOT. I really need to not sew after 10 p.m.

Here are my changes for my next version:
I’m going to shorten the front crotch length. I have that unattractive fold of fabric at the crotch. I took a little fish eye dart to the finished jeans to see how it would look and the fold went away completely. I figured this out from Marji’s comment on my post six years ago!

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Make an ‘Inward Knee Rotation’ / ‘Knock Knee’ adjustment. I’m using the Sandra Bettina method from her book Fast Fit. There are several ways to make this alteration. I’m only doing 1/2 inch as I have NO idea how this will all turn out.  Hopefully give me more fabric length at the inseam and reduce those knee winkles. See how they are pulling up at the inseam? I talked about this with Mrs. Mole at Fit For A Queen.

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I’ll also curve the waistband a bit more at CB (it gapes a smidge) and reduce waistband width.

After my next pair (which are 75 percent sewn and from the same material), I’ll evaluate (and post here) and consider making the forward/ muscular thigh adjustment. I really prefer to make one alteration at a time so I can see what happens.

So, here’s what I concluded for myself between the Gingers and the Jalies. For my body, I like the front of the Gingers and the back of the Jalies. Jalie pocket placement for my butt are perfect.  The Ginger waistband is great,  the sillouhette (skinny) preferred and the instructions overall are fabulous. But, since my rear view is what I care most about, and the things I like from the Ginger are easier to transfer to the Jalie, I’m going with Jalie 2908 as my jeans pattern.

Pucci-like Panel Print Tunic: Burda 5-2010-104

I never really know what to do with panel prints. I think they would make great boxy tops. But, then I look like a billboard of fabric without some darts and waist definition in my life.  Enter, a remake of Burda 5-2010-104. I made this a good three months ago, but just never got a chance to take photos.
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Look, I know I complained about this looking maternity when I made it last summer, but I wore it a TON. So much in fact that I’ve worn it out. Still, I decided to sew it again using a stretch silk charmeuse panel print I purchased in China five years ago. I purchased three panels while there for about $15 total. I LOVE the colors of this top. It’s so summery and the blue is calming. That said, I think silk makes me sweat. Is that possible? Shouldn’t it breathe beautifully?

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I did a few things a little differently with this version.

  • I made a much bigger FBA adding another 1/2 inch in width and length for a total of 1.5 inches. Last time, I didn’t think my bust fit fully in the right spot.
  • I added a few more inches in length to the hem. Not enough to make a dress (I don’t really want a thin, white silk dress). But, long enough that it’s a little more flattering to my legs and still wearable with skinny jeans.
  • Took up the v-neck an inch or so. The bridge of my bra was always showing. I kind of didn’t care. But, fully recognize it’s tacky and I should care a *little* more.

I’m happy to report that the drapier charmeuse seems to have less of the maternity vibe too. I mean, as ‘less’ as a flowey, empire waist, ruched top can look…

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Now, I tried my best to match prints with this tunic. But, for the love of all that’s good, I just didn’t have enough fabric to do it well. Hard to explain without photos, but the circles aren’t balanced. So, I could get half of everything matched but not the other half.

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Plus, I managed to put two scoops right on my butt. I worked so hard to avoid this look on my bewbs that I managed to put two cheeks on my cheeks.

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Oh well!

I’m pretty pleased with this silky beauty. In large part because reading about my shopping in China brought back such good memories! Imagine, someone I’ve never met offers to take me shopping in a foreign country. That experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.

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I’m totally casual at work these days. And, I’m starting to like wearing jeans daily. But, I want to look a step above basic tees whenever possible. These jeans though. They are the PITS. You can see how worn they are at the inner thigh and knee. These are barely a year old. It’s okay. I’m still working on my jeans muslin. And, once I get it right, I’m going to make One Million Pairs.

Finally, remember a few months ago I was my friend’s photo assistant at a wedding in the Catskills? Well, the wedding photos are now up on her blog. Please have a look! I had an amazing time and bawled my eyes out multiple times during the ceremony. And, Jen was kind enough to include a couple of pictures I took too.  Jen and I were journalism students together in college. She was a brilliant reporter and now an incredible photographer.

This ‘Stitch Along Fly Front Guide’ Could Be Yours

Over the weekend, I posted on Instagram about using my ‘Stitch Along Fly Front Guides’ by Dritz. I think I bought mine in college. I didn’t realize they’d gone out of production until I did a search for them online.  I’m too lazy to type out how they work. Luckily, Debbie Cooke has a great explanation here.

Imagine my jealousy when Lisa told me there was a straight stitch version of them too!

Well, thanks to The Gooogle, I did find one set of the fly front guides for sale, pre owned. And, as much as I like to hoard, I REALLY like notions and want everyone as obsessed with them as me. I wish someone more creative and organized than me would put together a Notions November photohop on Instagram. I’d love to see all the fun and interesting notions that are out there. I have a bunch that I keep saying I’m going to post about and then just don’t.

Anywho, I have an extra set of these coming my way and I’d love to give them away. I’d offer them to Trena, but she’s made like two fly fronts in 20 years of sewing.

Giveaway good outside of the US because, I like to travel and these are only a few ounces.

To enter: post a photo link to a fly front you’ve sewn. Link can be anywhere the photo is hosted. Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Entries welcome until Friday, August 28th. Random number generator, blah, blah, blah.

Ginger Jeans Muslin #2

I didn’t think it would take me another month before I worked on my second muslin for the Ginger Jeans. I’ve been taking weekly machine knitting lessons and practicing what I learn during the week. So, that’s taken up all my free crafting time. To recap, I’m working on a muslin for Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, high waist, skinny view.

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I wanted to try one alteration at a time for these jeans as I was worried about doing too many at once and not nailing down the fit issues. For reference, I’m sewing a size 16. For this version, I:

  • Made the suggested full thigh adjustment featured here on The Sewing Divas blog.
  • Took two inches out of the yoke
  • Took three inches from the waistband at center back.
  • Shortened the leg at the knee by three inches. I’m going to add another inch back in.
  • I also ended up taking about 1/4 inch out on each lower hip — just below the pocket bags after sewing.

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The fabric is a mix of stretch denims I picked up a few weeks ago. They didn’t have enough of any one fabric for me to get a full pair of jeans. But, I liked the quality (nice and hefty. the way jeans used to be) and the price and decided it was fine to mix and match like for a muslin. The instructions for the pattern are really good and the sew along is very very helpful.

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My back pockets should be closer together. But, I think they are evenly spaced,so score! Sadly, photos don’t lie and I think my first muslin without the forward thigh adjustment looked better. Here, I’ve got mom butt. I asked Jordan what he thought and all he noticed were the back wrinkles.

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I see folds all along the inside of my leg in sort of an X shape. I think calls for a full inner thigh / knock knee adjustment. I also don’t like how these shape under my butt either. But, that could be middle age approaching. That said, I usually really like how I look in jeans. So, in keeping it 100, I admit these aren’t working– yet.

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lightened so you could see the wrinkles in shadow

** Edited to add side seam photos

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So, I’m going to still wear these because I have no more hole-free RTW jeans left in my drawers. I’m going to make these up again without changing the front leg and give the knock knee adjustment a try. I do really like the front. I think I have a little extra fabric between the abdomen and the crotch point. I like to think I need a flat abdomen adjustment. But, probably not as my abdomen is most def not flat.

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Ginger Jeans Muslin #1

Thank you for all the helpful feedback and thoughts on the crotch curve for my Ginger jeans. Unfortunately, a full Saturday prevented my from watching the Peggy Sayer’s workshop live. But, i do plan to watch it this week.

Sunday, I worked on my first muslin. I decided to make zero alterations to the pattern just so I could see what I was working with. For this version, I used a khaki denim with stretch from my stash. I think it’s from Joanns a few years ago.

Also, the photo quality isn’t that great. When you ask someone (Jordan) to take photos of your butt, they take it quite literally.

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Let me say that when I put the muslin on initially, I was immediately pleased. I really like the way my thighs look from the front (not like saddlebags). And, there is no weird pulling at the crotch. Plus, the side seams hang straight on me. The front knee wrinkles came after I bent down in these. This fabric has quite a bit of stretch. So, while I would actually want my jeans a hair snugger, my real fabric has less stretch than this. So, I don’t want to play around with the size too much.

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From the side, I think I have some good lift. But, my need for a swayback adjustment is obvious. And, I may need to go down a size in the waist as I made a straight 16.

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From the back, I also still think I’m winning in the rear department. But, I do have some wrinkles around my bum.  The wrinkles at my knees  went away when I rolled up the pants another roll. They are long for me. If I tried these on in the store, I would think they were pretty good. But, because we sew, we can do a little better, right? The question is, are these bad wrinkles under my butt or wearing ease from wearing a slim cut garment.If I had to guess, I think it’s a slight protruding seat issue.  I FaceTimed Trena and we think the undercut wrinkles are wearing ease. But, again, totally open to suggestions!

So, I’m going to make a big swayback adjustment, small protruding seat alteration and go down one size in the waist. Luckily, I have a different cut of khaki with stretch to make these up in.

Whew. Again, overall I’m really pretty happy. I wish I’d done the swayback adjustment before making these. They might have been wearable! Feel free to tell me what you think. You won’t hurt my feelings :-)