Delays, and the rain

So, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to add more posts on any projects any time lately.

Between weather conditions ranging from ‘the shed entrance is flooded and I can’t get to it’ to ‘the shed is now a really bad sauna’, said unlined and uninsulated shed that can’t be remedied (thanks to a combination of rental laws and a hostile agent), more discouragement in my job hunt and my efforts to sell some jewelry made from old supplies, and a time of year that has never been easy emotionally for me (and has only gotten worse over the last couple of years) I’ve found myself incredibly burnt-out on most pursuits. But especially sewing of late.

It’s something that I don’t talk widely about. It’s not like I want this to be a ‘good vibes only’ space – but I try to keep this from turning into a digital diary of woe, because I don’t feel like that makes for good reading. I try to keep it focused on what I’m doing, but… that gets hard when I’m not really doing anything that I think is interesting enough to post about. When I’m burnt out like this, I can’t even bring myself to do much reading or watching around the topics – and I never did much of that to begin with.

So, I’m calling a hiatus for now, until either the weather becomes more tolerable, or these end-of-year blues break. I’m not gone forever, just… resting and waiting for something to change.

Limestone Set review

I know, I know, I promised the pants… in the time between now and the last post though, I’ve gone ahead and made the new(ish) Sew Liberated Limestone tank top and leggings set, as well as a half-placket shirt (I’ll post about that seperately since that was a test).

The Limestone tank top is really more like a crop top than anything else. The leggings can also be cut down to 3/4 length, or to two lengths of shorts, and come with a gusseted crotch for improved movement, as well as trademark generous pockets.

And I mean generous – I use a CAT S52 smartphone, measuring 15.5cm by 7.5cm and it fits securely with room to spare. The pocket sits a little bit low on the leg, which might be a problem for some, but there’s no reason you can’t attach the pocket higher once you’re more familiar with the pattern.

But… my entire stash for this high-waisted trend to just. End. Already. A wide waistband does not automatic comfort make, not if it’s ultimately too tight – and adding the waist elastic as recommended in the instructions unfortunately rather does, especially as it’s so narrow. A wider 5cm waistband elastic would be better, but ultimately still too tight to be comfortable for me. I ended up compromising by cutting the waistband’s width down by half (bringing its highest point down to just above my hipbones) and then trimming its length back to fit snugly, and using it to case a wide elastic to help everything stay put. (A drawstring probably wouldn’t go amiss either since I actually use the pockets.)

I also had to trim roughly 2cm of width out of just the very top section, to remove some slightly odd bagging/pouching below the waistband. That could have been a cutting error though. But, after these modifications, I think I have my new go-to leggings! I made them in a 95% cotton, 5% elastane jersey, with approximately 40% stretch in both directions.

The Limestone crop top, on the other hand… readers and sewists of more than a B or C cup will know my pain. It’s just not going to fit. Even in a super high stretch fabric, it would never fit nicely. I had to omit the elastic due to discomfort, which means that the top gapes terribly at the hem. Reshaping it to fit snugly would make it impossible to get over my shoulders; I’ve compromised on my toile with a drawstring for now, but the only solution I can see is adding a side closure with snaps or something if I wanted a very snug fit.

But, I’m not into crop tops – I was more interested in making it to see if it might serve as a replacement for the Stasia tank for my go-to singlet/tank pattern. It’s somewhat simpler – there are no finishing bands on the armhole or neckline, just a standard hem. The downside though is that the Limestone has a much deeper armhole, so it doesn’t provide the shielding from sweat and BO that the Stasia does in that department (particularly if the armhole bands are cut a little bit wider. My Stasia tanks and T-shirts have served as under-binder and even under-bra tops, as well as a lighter under-layer to prevent skin contact with outer layers that I don’t want to have to wash too often, but I don’t think a Limestone tank would do the same. With that being said, I’m going to do a closer comparison of the two and see if I can’t adjust the Stasia’s neckline to be a hem rather than a band, purely to save on fabric mind you.

I was able to take the Limestone tank from traced pattern to finished in just over 3.5 hours. The leggings would have taken roughly 4-5 hours total, owing to being a more complex garment and taking a bit more pressing to finish nicely.

Overall, the leggings are a welcome change from my old leggings pattern – the Papercut Ooh La leggings might offer more options for shaping, but the complex seaming made it difficult to add pockets or other features and ultimately weakened the ones that I made to where all of them require repair now around several of the seam junctions. The Limestone crop top disappointed a little, but not in ways that were at all unexpected.

The shop is live!

The shop over at my Ko-Fi page is now live, with a selection of gemstone bracelets. More will be added as I finish them, and if there’s sufficient interest to fund it, I might consider making some more – it’ll take time for supplies to arrive from the US though. (I found the supplier who supplies most of the dedicated jewelry shops here, and it turns out that even accounting for international shipping and conversion rates, at the time it was still cheaper to buy directly plus I got a much better selection. I’m sure nothing has changed there.)

One of my bracelets – this one is gold sheen obsidian, on black nylon cord, with gold spacers and findings, photographed on grey fabric. I knot between the beads, to better protect them from rubbing on each other and improve security in the unlikely event of cord breakage. Yes, I know that traditionally the knots are much more hidden, but I never quite got the trick of that and I feel like this helps make the stringing material a feature of the piece too.

I’ll eventually have some other items there – some arrowhead pendants and flat coin bead bracelets (or earrings, depends on how I’m feeling about either) as well as rings and earrings made from the leftover round beads. You’ll just have to wait and see what ends up in the shop.

Something old…

So, while I wait out both the highly variable weather, the ongoing discomfort of trying to sew in an unlined shed, and another bout of burnout, I decided to revive an older hobby of mine to pass the time and maybe help a bit more with finances – making jewelry.

I did buy a ton of supplies, but the difficulty of trying to find the time (and equipment, and insurance, and so on) to sell it at markets meant that I didn’t end up doing a whole lot with it. So I still had a whole box of supplies, sitting in the bottom of an old rolling case.

It’s something I can do indoors, that doesn’t require a lot of space, and thanks to some updates to Ko-Fi since last I used it I have a much easier avenue for selling it.

You might have noticed that Ko-Fi button showing up in the site footer now – I added it a few days ago.

So… watch this space, I suppose.

Pants!: Part 1

Remember the struggle I had with the Lazo trousers for my formal outfit? I’m tackling the pattern again… sort of.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stay with my formal study long enough to learn how to make a pants block, and it was always going to be a two-person job. I haven’t had an opportunity to find any other way to learn that skill either. So, my new approach has involved using a pair of pants that fit me well, and deconstructing them to get the shaping right.

These are the pants, from a line sold by Target – I struggled to get a good photo, but you can sort of see them in the photos on my formalwear post. Deconstructing them was relatively easy, save for some difficult spots around the zipper and belt loops. Once I had one front leg and one back leg, I pressed each flat, and carefully traced their shape out onto pattern paper. From measurement, there was a 1cm seam allowance.

I then added 0.5cm to the front side seams just through the top, because I do find the pants to be a smidge tight in the front, and I adjusted the waistline contour a bit more by raising the center back 1cm, and dropping the center front 1cm, then re-tracing the curve. Using measurements taken while wearing the pants, I also marked in my full hip, knee, where my boots start, and ankle. This way, I can use the result as a base for other pants, and adjust them much more readily.

Tracing the back darts did prove very tricky, and I did need to very carefully remove the front slash pocket and its facings, to trace these off separately. The waistband is contoured, but since I’ve changed the curvature of the top of the pants, I needed to re-create the waistband. Really wanted to do it as a fold-over, but alas, that doesn’t work with contoured waistbands.

I’ll be toiling this directly in some calico, and then working out adjustments to style them along the lines of the Thread Theory Lazo pants, but not as high-waisted (I’m not a fan of high-waisted pants for many reasons) and with a couple of other minor adjustments.

I have three further variations planned:

  • Removing the belt loops and adjusting the waistband for a cased drawstring, adding two bellows pockets to the thigh, adding a pleat across the front of the knee, shortening to 1.5cm below where my boots start and adding a cuff in cotton jersey to replicate what I wanted to do with the Vikisews James joggers pattern.
  • Removing the belt loops and adjusting the waistband for a cased drawstring, removing the zipper and changing to a button fly, adding a little more ease for a relaxed fit, and straightening the leg from the knee down, to replicate the Thread Theory Eastwood sweatpants.
  • Transposing the entire pattern sans waistband and pockets over to the Merchant & Mills Thelma jumpsuit pattern, so the pants part of that actually fits.