Posted in sewing

Jalie Gerald Boxer Briefs:Waistband Three Ways and Functional Fly Heaven

One of the first things I ever sewed for my husband were boxer briefs from Jalie 2327. I’ve probably made him a dozen pairs over the last five years. While I liked the pattern and he’s worn them a lot, there were tweaks I needed to make to the original. I found that the pouch was a little too flat. I also thought the pattern worked better with a gusset. And, while I have a large stash of men’s underwear elastic, I know it’s hard for some people to come by. The only complaint though that my husband had is he wanted a functional fly.

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Honestly, I had no idea men actually used the fly, I thought it was purely decorative! I did some reading and found out that not only can it be more convenient for men in the bathroom, the extra layers of fabric help with moisture absorption after they use the toilet. I did ALL this research while on the hunt for boxer briefs with a functional fly and just didn’t find one that worked. Finally, I emailed Jalie’s Emilie on a lark back in December and suggested they make a men’s boxer with a function fly and she said I was going to be very happy with the new collection.

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I’ll be gosh danged if they didn’t have a new brief with not only a new-to-me horizontal fly, but also a gusset, and far more shapely pouch. It was literally every single thing I would have changed about their earlier patterns I got to test this new pattern and it’s now Jordan’s favorite.

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I’ll add here that I have tried another men’s brief on the sewing pattern market that has a functional fly. I used it a few years ago and honestly I hated it. I can’t remember if it had a gusset or not. But, the fit and shaping were horrendous. I never blogged it because if it wasn’t on a model, you couldn’t tell. And, Jordan doesn’t model underwear. But, I think if you go back and look at the pattern envelope for this company you’ll see that it doesn’t fit their models well either.

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I tried stuffing this one with a sock so show how much more shape the pouch has. You’re welcome.

The pattern is drafted to use regular elastic on an encased waistband. But, lookswise, an exposed elastic is my preferred waistband treatment as it looks closest to ready to wear. The only change I made to the pattern was to reduce the rise of the front/back and the shield by 5/8″.

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The star elastic was purchased on our honeymoon in Bruges, Belgium. I tend to buy underwear elastic whenever I see it.

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And the traditional elastic is from Jolee’s outside of Kansas City.

Below I tried it with the as drafted elastic at the top, a Dritz sports elastic in the middle and the exposed elastic waistband last.

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As much as Jordan likes his new briefs, he politely declined to model them for my blog. But, in honor of these shorts and it’s usefulness, we’ve named this year old bodyform Gerald. This bodyform has come in so handy for modeling and evaluating garments. If we ever move out of this house I’m going to get a full size one for myself.

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I LOVE this pattern. I made four pairs for Jordan in short order and will continue to production sew them for him a few times a year. And, someday I may even vary up the fabric. I’m sad to report I’m at the tail end of my Under Armour underwear fabric. It’s so sad! I used to buy it locally. But, the vendor said they got too big and stopped returning his calls. I of course now wish I’d bought it by the bolt when it was available.

Posted in sewing

Unfancy Tobacco Linen Pull On Pants: Burdastyle 4-2011-139

While I’ve made my fair share of pants and jeans in the past, I can’t say they are my favorite to put together. I have a bit of a struggle fitting pants so I tend to avoid them. But, I get extremely desperate for pants each year, try to buy some RTW, get totally demoralized and ignore my need for pants for another 12 mos.

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Well, with a vacation looming last month (it was mah-velous), I knew I needed pants. My thighs touch and in the summer in can be terribly uncomfortable. We were going to be doing plenty of walking and flying. Shorts won’t cut it so pants it is. I settled on making a pull on pair because I didn’t want to invest a lot of time constructing pants that might not fit well. And, if I’m being honest, I hope to lose some winter weight I picked up and won’t have to worry as much about the fit later on.

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For this pair I chose the #139 from the April 2011 Burdastyle. This is a plus size pattern. I’m a 42 at the waist and a solid 50 through my lower thighs. My first two muslins were TERRIBLE.

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At the front I could see it straining across my jutting thighs. There was also not enough clearance for my stomach and the crotch was rightupinthere.

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On the reverse, not enough room for my protruding seat, a serious need for a swayback adjustment and also, not enough length in the crotch (you can see it pulling it up at the center thigh) By the third muslin on the far right, I was much happier with the fit.

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Here’s my final version of the pants in a tobacco linen. I actually surprisingly really like them. The waistline was originally too tall by a few inches, but I shortened it — which makes the pockets a bit too high on this pair.

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For the waist, I used a 2″ elastic vs the 1.25″ it’s drafted for. I just love wide elastic waistband. I think it looks more finished — especially with topstitching. This is a knit heavy stretch elastic so I cut it just 2″ smaller than my waist measurement and it grew a little less than 1″ after application and topstitching (making it the 1″ smaller than my waist measurement a heavy stretch should be).

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There’s also twill tape in the crotch seams to prevent those from bagging out (because linen stretches).

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You’ll note I skipped the hem band treatment on these pants. I decided I really liked this color and plan to wear them to work this summer. By keeping the bottom of the leg simple I think they are a hair more professional and less likely to be noticed when I wear them several times a week.

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I am thinking about reducing by a 1/4″ the length in the back crotch and shortening the rise another 1/2″. I’d like them to fit around my crotch a hair snugger. But, overall I am REALLY happy and plan to make several more over the summer.

Posted in sewing

Destash Baltimore Recap and Tips For Your Own!

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The first ever Destash Baltimore took place on Sunday and it was epic! I’ve always thought about hosting a regional event that would pull in sewists who have fabric they no longer loved or didn’t fit their lifestyle. I also increasingly heard from our community that we had more fabric and patterns than we knew what to deal with. But, the returns on eBay and Etsy are low but the effort high. What if we had an event where you brought in what wasn’t you anymore but got to look through someone elses stash? You’d bring people together for community and also make sure your fabric went to someone who would love it back.

I was a complete wreck the week before. I was worried no one would like it, there wouldn’t be enough stuff to swap, they wouldn’t like the fabric they got and everyone would blame me for wasting their time. I slept about three hours the night before  wondering why I thought this was a good idea.

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Guess what? It was a TOTAL blast, completely exceeded my expectations and was better than I imagined. I’m a mess and you should ignore me, lol! We had attendees from all over: Virginia, DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was truly a regional event.

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Top is Burdsatyle 5-2010-104

I’ve been asked on Instagram and Pattern Review how to put one of these together and I thought I’d share my planning process along with suggestions from attendees that I received post event. I’m so grateful for the feedback as I’d never done this before.


Above is a great video from Crystal who talked about how the swap worked and shows what she got. This is not for the faint of heart! Literally every piece of fabric she shows I would have taken had I seen it.

I was so busy chatting that I really didn’t really shop until it was all over. And, as we have discussed, I get a little overwhelmed by too much choice and kind of zoned out on shopping. But, thankfully a few volunteers saw fabric that was ‘me’ (i.e. Tina C. with wool jersey) and put is aside for me. Also, after watching this video I think I may need to pitch this tunic (Burdastyle 5-2010 #104) as I easily look four months pregnant (around minute 24:00). I am not.

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Here’s what I took home! Less than I gave 🙂

From the start I figured we could get 50 people if enough word got out.  A week before the event we hit that number with a waiting list. The day of the event I was still getting tags on Instagram about having missed it. That tells me there definitely is a market for a community Destash (or restash as a IG friend called it).

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I personally brought in three blue IKEA bags of patterns, fabric, yarn and a few books. I left with less than I donated and I’m calling that a big win. I knew this event was going to be a be amazing when hand carts of boxes started coming in.

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What to Destash and Swap

Fabric, yarn, books and patterns were the largest categories. We accepted home dec and required a minimum of 1/2″ of garment fabric and a fat quarter of quilting fabric. One suggestion I had was to up the minimum of fabric for garment making because we ended up with a few small pieces that weren’t super useful. Or, to set them in a different category so they weren’t with the bulk of garment fabrics.

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Identify someplace to take leftovers

Prior to the swap I figured out several places in town that would want the leftover material. In Baltimore, we have The Book Thing which is a free bookstore. We are also home to many design schools including Baltimore City Community College, Stevenson University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Baltimore Design School.

I also reached out the Maryland chapter of ASG who ended up taking the fabric and patterns leftover for their own stash sale to raise funds for the organization.

I suggest you have them pick up leftovers after the event. While most everything was taken, we had A LOT leftover. Thankfully, four volunteers helped haul it to ASG’s holding space.

Marketing

You HAVE to design a visually arresting and easily shareable invitation graphic. Period. I used a free app on my phone called Canva. It made it super easy to create the Save the Date, Invitation, header for the Eventbrite and labels.

Event Flyee

I just did a public Eventbrite, posted on Pattern Review, my Instagram, and my personal Facebook. I wanted to do a Facebook event but I needed a business account / page to do so. Same with a sponsored post on Insta. I did ask people to repost and share their #DestashBaltimore plans to help get the word out. It was also fun to see what people were bringing. I suggest picking a registration day and starting to post a few weeks before. I also emailed every person I knew of in Baltimore and Maryland to let them know it was coming. Reach out to your local ASG and ask if they will post the message too. I didn’t reach out to my local fabric shops. But, it certainly doesn’t hurt to contact them too.

Hashtag

Get a hashtag. I did #DestashBaltimore and was consistent from the save the date, to the invite to my own individual posts. It makes it easier for people to find information and it’s been fun seeing photos now on Instagram!

Ticketing

I used Eventbrite because I honestly didn’t and can’t deal with a lot of emails. I’d have lost track of who was coming to what. An Eventbrite site also allowed me to have maps, an FAQ and an easy link to share with people. Next year I’ll pay a little more for the platform and allow people to enter their Instagram or blog names so I can include it on their nametags.

Volunteers

This whole thing would have been a massive FAIL without volunteers. We ended up with about 11 and probably could have used 15. Several of my non-sewing friends asked on their own if they could help too. I’m endlessly grateful for the emails, texts and DMs offering help. Honestly, when I started I didn’t even consider volunteers!

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Swap Set Up

Volunteers helped set up and break down the room, staffed the registration table and also accepted all the stuff that came in and placed it on the correctly labeled table. I originally thought about having people come in and put fabric out themselves. But, reversed myself and used volunteers when I realized how chaotic it could be.

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Fabric sorting, keeping counts, labeling

I designed labels for the donors to use that would say how much fabric they had, the width and the content. It’s a massive PITA when you have 30 or 50 pieces of fabric. But, it made ‘shopping’ donations much easier. It also helped volunteers get fabric to the correct table.

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I asked all donors to keep track of the number of items they were donation. Each ‘thing’ donated was a unit.

Based on the number of units you donated, we split them into three groups (the most number of units were in group one, etc) for the shopping.

Swap It Like It’s Hot

After splitting into three groups we allowed each group seven minutes to browse the labeled tables. We labeled the tables by type of fabric (knits, coatings, suiting, bottom weight, home dec, silky, etc). They could take one item in that seven minutes and get a lay of the land. After each group went though, we invited everyone to start shopping.

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I heard great feedback on this. You were able to get your hands on something that really intrigued you. But, also didn’t run the risk of someone ahead of you hogging all the good fabric.

It was also kind of fun to hear who donated the most items!

FAQs

Write one. Here’s the one I wrote:


 

Whew. I’m still processing the excellent feedback I received. Of the say 60 people attending about ten people reached back out with their thoughts. And, I agree with their suggestions!

  1. After donation drop off while there’s about an hour of milling around before the actual swap, there should be some ice breakers. Not everyone knows everyone else, not everyone is online and some people are shy. Suggestions were ice breakers, maybe a handmade Q&A fashion show or food while folks milled about. I think this is a great idea and what I’ll do next time.
  2. Prelabel large boxes for pattern donations. There were an insane number of patterns that came in. I don’t know why I was surprised since I donated 30 myself. Martha and Dei were smart enough to start labeling those boxes as they came in and sorted the patterns into appropriate categories including bottoms, tops, dresses, outerwear, wardrobe, kids, men’s and sleepwear.

That’s the Destash! What this event tells me is we crave community and that our community is awesome. I do plan to do this again. But, every other year. It takes a lot of planning from my end and of the Destashers! So, Spring 2020 it is!

Last thoughts an advice… get a space bigger than you think you need, make sure you have tables, and be prepared for ah-mazing.

I have two ideas of programs in 2019 that I look forward to sharing. In the meantime, I’m legit still recovering.

Posted in sewing

A Modified Cashmerette Montrose Top

Before we begin, my apologies for the poor quality of the photos. I loaned my SLR to a friend traveling with her family and my Pentax point and shoot with remote control stopped working a few months ago. I’m using a borrowed point and shoot camera on a timer and it focused on everything behind me in all 200 photos I took. These were the least offensive of them.

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A few months ago a busty student asked me about making the Grainline Scout Tee — a woven tee shirt. I told her if she hated darts and her breasts then go right ahead. A week later Chasmerette released the Montrose Top — a woven tee shirt with darts that can accommodate up to an H cup. Clearly, I spoke this into existence.  And, I’m so glad I did!

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I made up my version in a lovely woven vintage Japanese print gifted to me over ten years ago from Sue V. in Los Angeles. Her Japanese – American neighbor was having a yard sale and she posted a few yards for me. This fabric has been waiting for just the right project and this was it. The simple garment shape really allows the print to shine. After posting on Instagram I learned the prints aren’t balls of yarn, but Japanese temari balls.

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For my version, I sewed a 14G/H, modified the sleeve to a bell shape and added a 2″ exposed facing at the neckline. Since I made this two months ago, I’ve sewn with a few more Cashmerette patterns and find my sizing with a 43″ full bust is best in a 14E/F.

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2″ exposed facing

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This is also the pattern where I learned I need to make a full seat and additional swayback adjustment in Cashmerette patterns. A swayback alone would take care of the folds at my waistline. But, it wouldn’t help the hem from getting caught on my protruding seat. That requires more length and some width at the back hip.

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I finished my insides with French seams. When combined with this facing treatment the inside is almost as beautiful as the outside.

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While this pattern is very basic, it throws open the door of woven shirt possibilities. It’s a good base for adding design touches where a lot of the hard work is done for you in the bodice department. I can’t wait to play around with it some more.

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Posted in sewing

Summer Dress Ready: Cashmerette Webster Top / Dress

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If you don’t recognize my glasses that’s because they are my progressive lens. I’ve had them for two years and finally broke down and started wearing more often because I enjoy being able to actually see 😭

It feels like a minute since I made a fun summer dress. I spent last year making jeans, tee shirts and outerwear. But, this year I needed something light for our summer vacation to California. I made the Webster Top first and really honestly fell in love with it. I immediately cut out the dress version in a butterfly rayon from Cotton + Steel. I love prints. I love butterflies. Well, I probably don’t like real life butterflies because they are bugs. But, I love them rendered in fabric (when they aren’t too lifelike).

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As stated in my Webster Top review, I didn’t pay for the pattern. I picked to up back in February when I was visiting Cashmertte enterprises. All opinions are my own. And, if my house were to catch on fire I would replace this pattern in a heartbeat.

I’m really happy to have a flowy summer dress where my bra straps don’t show! I love love love the neckline. The V is deep but doesn’t show cleavage. It’s beautifully flattering.

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I did make some alterations for fit for my body. But, since they are the same as I made for the Webster Top, I’m putting alterations at the end of this post. The only thing different is I shortened my skirt by 1.5″ so it would hit just above the knee.

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For sure this my new go to summer dress pattern. It really might be an unsung hero in the Cashmerette lineup.


Alertations

There is some video of it all (for the time being) on my Instagram page. If you go to my profile, under my name there’s a bubble that says “Webster Fit” or use the l

  1. The front shoulder seam were rolling forward on me. So, I lengthened the front between the shoulder and bust by 1″ and shortened the back the same amount.
  2. 1/2″ swayback adjustment. These patterns have a sway back. I just need more
  3. Protruding seat adjustment. This added some length over my bum at center back and some width at the back side seam only.
  4. 1/4″ sloping shoulder adjustment (for a total of 1/2″)
  5. This pattern is a very loose casual fit. So, I used the 14 E/F which matches my full bust measurement of 43 and graded to a 12 in the waist / hip area.
  6. The skirts was a little long on me so I shortened the hem band by 1.5″. I like a skirt that hits right above my knee.

I like that this pattern has an all-in-one-facing. That means no flipping out.