A Basic, But Unfortunate, Mistake

After a very slow start to the Summer of Basics and a blink-and-you-miss-it June, I was delighted to find myself with some free time to sew this past weekend and dive into my projects. It didn’t quite work out as planned.

To the Minttu. The first part – the main tank top – sews up beautifully; it’s a very satisfying beginning. My complications started with the facing and interfacing, even after watching a fantastic tutorial.

I fused the interfacing to the facing pieces, sewed them together, and started to attach the facing to the main tank. The neck hole was good – a promising sign! Excellent. The first armhole was not; I sewed part of the wrong sides together. It happens, and that’s what a trusty stitch ripper is for. Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 5.30.48 PM

This pin was truly made for me.

Take two: I figured out how to attach the pieces correctly, but noticed that the facing armhole wasn’t lining up with my tank armhole. In fact, it was smaller. I checked the pattern; no issues there. I kept on, and the result was disheartening.

I had forgotten to preshrink my interfacing, and as you can probably guess, it gradually pulled in my facing pieces, and bunched the beautiful, clean seams I was expecting. While the bottom of the tank fit perfectly, the top was too small and lumpy. I ripped into the stitches again, hoping to salvage the tank, but the stretch stitches (aka my new nemesis stitch) weren’t playing nice with the knit fabric and it turned into a bit of a mess. And then I started getting holes in the material.

After some choice words, I took a break and decided to cut my losses and order new material. Better to start from scratch, and I can always use the current tank for something else. And I even managed to find some positives:

  • It’s a good reminder not to rush a project. And maybe read all the instructions first.
  • More opportunities to practice is a Very Good Thing.
  • I can avoid this screw up:


(Even though I wouldn’t be able to see it, how irksome to know that there’s a sliver of paper stuck between the interfacing and fabric.)

While I wait for my new fabric, I decided to start cutting the pattern and fabric for the Farrow dress. This is a welcome change! I roll on with a little spring in my step, until I notice that the pattern also calls for interfacing. ‎




I like to research things just enough to feel like I have a handle on it and then I dive in and usually wing it with confidence that whatever I am doing will work out. Generally, I need to be able to do something well enough. I try to embrace mistakes and nothing I ever make or do will be perfect, because perfect is boring and who is ever going to notice? The person who does notice is also boring. I said it.

But these pants. I am spending a lot of time and energy on these pants. I am determined to make pants that fit and are flattering and comfortable and that I will actually wear. Somehow in the course of my internet research, I came across a blog that mentioned Fake Camel Toe which linked to a site with information on how to fix FCT. I gasped and tried on my practice pantaloons. I had FCT! the loose, bagging fabric at the front crotch gave the illusion on camel toe. Now that I had seen it, I couldn’t unsee it. Since I was creating a new pattern template to incorporate the backside adjustment, I figured I might as well adjust the front too. Armed with a ruler and a vague sense that it should work, I trimmed the front crotch seam as instructed by the Fashion Incubator post and raise the backside as instructed by 100 acts of sewing. I also decided to add pockets based on Sew Over It’s instructions. Here’s what I learned: eyeballing pocket placement is never a good idea.

At this point, I was honestly starting to loose track of all the changes I had made to the pattern. There were so many pieces of tissue paper lying around I was getting confused. Here’s what I did:

  • raised the waist 2 inches
  • added a backside adjustment
  • trimmed the front crotch seam to reduce the FCT
  • lengthened the leg
  • tapered the leg
  • added pockets

The second pair of pantaloons were good. The pockets are ridiculous and add way too much bulk to my thighs but overall the pants were good. Emboldened, I cut my black linen. And just over an hour later, I had a fantastic pair of linen pants. I am happy.


#summerofbasics #owynpants #frankenpants




As a newish sewist, I’ve learned that I adore planning projects, researching and ranking patterns to sew, and shopping and stockpiling fabric – really, I have an almost overwhelming amount of fabric right now. And luckily, I also love sewing my favourite patterns, exchanging ideas, and talking about what I’m doing, especially with Ange.

But when it comes to starting a project that is just outside my comfort zone, I pause. And during that pause, I become distracted. Suddenly, I remember that this is the week I was planning on organizing my pantry. Something comes up at work. Then I notice that I never did finish weeding in the backyard, and I should get started on that, but first, I need a new garden hose. Oh, there’s another hornet’s nest. That’s not a fun job at all, so maybe I can take care of it later. I mean, do we really need to get rid of a new hornet’s nest right this minute? (Actually, yeah we do, because that’s one thing you don’t want to forget.) And so it goes.

Finally, I focus, decide to start my Minttu top, and assemble the pattern, but look who I find? It’s hard to fault him, given that the papers are temptingly on the floor.


Taking the next step can be hard. For the most part, I’m already happy with my current skills (although I would like to be better with said skills), and that happiness is the main reason why I never seem to move past a certain level in anything I do, and I stay a dilettante. There’s nothing intimidating in my new pattern. Sure, I’ll be using interfacing for the first time, but that’s going to be a Very Good Thing to learn. I can find lots of helpful tutorials. And I really do want to go beyond and build my skills, techniques, and wardrobe.

So this week will be better. Unless I find another hornet’s nest.

Practice pantaloons

I had some time on the weekend to make a muslin pair of Owyn pants. My mom, from whom I inherited my crafty and hoarding tendencies, dug into her stash and gave me some red quilting cotton–fabric that she’s likely had for 30 years. Some other things I’ve inherited from my mom are a warped sense of my actual size and thick thighs. So the muslin was essential to get a realistic idea of fit before cutting into my linen.

I’ve been reading everything I can find by women who have made the pants and applied what I’d learned to my traced pattern. I raised the waist by two inches, lengthen the leg by an inch (I’m 5’4″ and not really into cropped pants), and tapered the leg two sizes. It was at this point that my mom arrived, looked at my traced patterned, and pronounced it too big. We measured from the crotch to the hip on the pattern and then on me and I agreed to go down one size. I re-traced the pattern and tapered the leg to the smallest size.



Excuse the lack of ironing, I was anxious to try them on and then didn’t take them off until it was time for bed. I used a 1.5 inch elastic because that’s what I had and it makes the waist extremely comfortable and feels less like the elastic will twist.

My initial feel was that they were too small in the hips and I am waffling on that (see first paragraph) plus I was distracted by how short they are in the back. Squatting to pull clothes out of the dryer revealed quite a lot of my backside. Sitting down would pose similar problems. I found a backside adjustment tutorial on 100 acts of sewing so I will give that a go next using the leftover red fabric. I may add a half inch to the hips. And then hopefully I’ll be ready to make my linen pants.

Two other things I read about that I may try: add interfacing to stabilize the front and adjusting the front crotch to reduce bagging. Both need some research.

Initial pattern impression: the pattern is simple to make and the pants are comfortable. I’m putting in extra work to adjust the fit because I’m trying to add items to my wardrobe that fit me and that I will actually wear. These are my first pair of pants so maybe all pants will require the same level of tweaking to achieve fit.

Bring on the basics

Since getting serious about sewing late last year, I’ve been making t-shirts and tank tops to fill some wardrobe gaps and replace worn out ready to wear (RTW) items in my closet.  I’m inspired by Karen Templer, of Fringe Association, and her approach to making; I want to make items that I’ll actually wear, that fit my lifestyle and aesthetic, and I want to make items thoughtfully. When Karen introduced the Summer of Basics it was the perfect opportunity to asses what else I needed and how I could push myself to try new garments.

I plan to make Lotta Jansdotter‘s Owyn Pants from Everyday Style in black linen.

Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts, probably in Chambray.

Undecided at the moment but woven and with short sleeves. My mom gave me a stack of fabric from her stash that provide some possibilities. There’s some cream silk noil that I want to dye indigo and a creamy linen. I’ll see how the dying goes before I make a firm decision on the top.

First up: Owyn!


Getting Started With the Summer of Basics

It’s serendipitous that we’re starting this blog in time for the Summer of Basics Make-Along!

I have a lengthy list of patterns I love, and intend to one day make and write about, but since the purpose of this challenge is supplement our wardrobes with basics (or items that are basic for us), I’ve decided to make the following clothes:
  • Minttu Swing Top. This top looks so fun! I live in tank tops during the summer, and layered under cardigans when it’s cooler. I’m going to pick a patterned material because I’m more of a “plain fabric” girl, and a smaller, patterned piece is perfect for dipping my toe into something new.
  • Hollyburn skirt. This skirt is adorable and I love the different options. I’m likely going with View B, in a plain material, because let’s not get crazy with patterns right away.
  • Farrow dress. I’ve had this pattern for months, and while I would have made it without a make-along, this is the perfect push to do it. Maybe even in a patterned material! I’m going to make View A, and save the sleeves for a winter/fall dress. And it has pockets, which is one of my favourite details with dresses.
First up: Minttu!


Meg and I have been obsessively sewing for about six months and our BBM chat was getting a bit out of hand as we filled each other in on our latest plans or finished garment. We decided we needed a blog to keep track of everything. Riveting stuff!