The long (face) and the shorts of it.

Hello!

Two blog posts in a week. I’m on FYAH! Today’s post is about some fancy pants shorts I made for my dear husband. I thought that these were the least I could do to thank him for putting up with me commandeering half the lounge with all my sewing contraptions and fabrics (we haven’t been able to have a dinner party for months) and also for taking all my blog photos. He is a colourful man who cycles a lot and so Ikea was the obvious choice for a hard wearing (furnishing) and cheery fabric! We got a corker, but it’s so corking I didn’t want to chop it up to make some shorts before I had practiced making some. So far the nearest thing to trousers/shorts/things to wear on the legs I have made are pyjamas and my plan was to make the super trendy and rather advanced Thread Theory Jedediahs. So I needed a practice. And lo! the rather stylish but extremely cheap navy blue linen blend something or other was used. I can’t remember where it was from, but it was a bargain. Maybe Regency Rags? God I love Regency Rags. Everything is so cheap, and good quality and comes so quickly.

Anyway……..

SHORTS

SHORTS

My husband is the least willing model ever. I’ve seen quite a few pictures of bloggers’ boyfriends and husbands modelling things made for them looking a bit uneasy or stiff. But THIS is the best I could do and I really think takes the biscuit….

Such sadness

Such sadness

The shorts are a bit scrumpled because he has been wearing them all the time and they are linen, so here are a couple of pictures of them on a less unwilling model: a clothes hanger.

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I learnt SO MUCH in making these and though my top stitching is a little wobbly to say the least (excellent choice to use white thread on navy for my first attempt at decorative top stitching. So visible!) and I put the button hole in vertically instead of horizontally, but apart from that, I think they are pretty triumphant. I’m thrilled with them. I learnt how to make a proper waistband, bind my seams, do a zip fly, do top stitching, flat fell seams and make proper slash pockets. And they have a cute contrast pocket bag. Look!

So pretty

So pretty

I found the pattern instructions in the booklet a bit hard to follow. There aren’t that many diagrams and I am just not sure I liked the way things were explained. HOWEVER there is an absolutely awesome sewalong on the Thread Theory website. These instructions are brilliant, comprehensive, friendly, there’s loads of photos and even a video with Morgan being super shy and nervous which is really helpful to show how to do a zip fly which I was scared about until I did.

The pattern is also just COOL. The shorts are a very stylish shape and look awesome with the turn ups and bound seams. The opportunities for doing fancy top stitching on the pockets are endless though I like the off centre mountain ranges they give you a pattern for.

BUM

BUM

You wouldn’t believe it, but Robin is very happy with his shorts and I am assured they are very comfy for cycling in. They also haven’t fallen apart, which I am delighted about as Robin cycles a LOT. The Jedediahs are awesome, and I would urge anyone who knows a man of any kind to make some because they are so fun. I also wonder whether girls could wear them, because they actually have quite a feminine shape with room for thighs. Has anyone tried?? I really enjoyed all the little details and different activities and tasks in making them. I’m already looking forward to making the second jazzy pair, and as you can see, so is Robin, the little ray of sunshine that he is….

Such a natural. Really selling those shorts...

Such a natural. Really selling those shorts…

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Against real beauty

My first ever reblog and it’s a good one.

Stickler.

this gets pretty communist #sorrynotsorry this post gets pretty communist #sorrynotsorry

Here are some things I would like advertisers to stop doing:

  • Showing me a flawless 18-year-old butt in a $5 pair of panties and tell me its empowering because it’s not Photoshopped.
  •  Asking me to choose “beautiful” or “average” and then explain my choice.
  • Telling me what physical features “real women” do or do not have.
  • Showing me a picture of a woman who is radical only for being comfortable with herself and expect a gold star for progressive thinking.
  • Using the word “real” to sell me underwear or soap or goddamn douche.
There’s actually very little difference between a lingerie ad featuring the Victoria’s Secret angels and a body wash ad using pictures of some perfectly lit women who have cRaZy things like a little belly flab or freckles and yet dare to say they’re beautiful. Why? Because the link between aesthetics and value survives. (Nothing new under the…

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Anna goes to Camden and Hastings

Hello!

I’ve made some frocks! I finally got round to making the legendary By Hand London Anna dress and did some serious experimenting with pattern grading. I think I had to add about 8 inches on to the bust, waist and hips of the largest size (sigh) and I lengthened the bodice two inches on the second one I made. It must be said this was not entirely successful. Pattern grading is something I am really going to have to get my head round as being 5 foot 10 and large all over, I’m very often bigger than the biggest size in the the indie labels and well, I WANT TO WEAR COOL THINGS DAMMIT.

In a cool thing

In a cool thing

I know that pretty much everyone has to make adjustments to their patterns, but it’s annoying to have to both grade and adjust, and not really be sure how those two things relate. As a beginner I find it hard to know if I have graded every piece correctly and then if I make adjustments on top of that, I often lose track of if what I am creating is anything like the original pattern. However, nuff moaning. These two dresses aren’t perfect, but they still look like Anna dresses don’t they?

Hooray, I'm by the seaside!

Hooray, I’m by the seaside!

I made the nautical print one first in a very cheap polycotton from Chawla’s . As is often the way, I think I like my wearable muslin more than my actual dress. It’s a bit tight round the tummy and bunches up round the bust but it looks awesome, huh? Here I am wearing it for my Dad’s 64th birthday lunch in Camden.

Me and Pops

Me and Pops

I graded up the bodice really well I think, but didn’t add quite enough to each of the pieces of the seven gore skirt, so the skirt was to small to attach to the bodice. Being the idiot that I am, I didn’t unpick and re sew the skirt pieces  with a small seam allowance, but instead took in the waist with some random extra darts. The joys of a busy fabric and under bust pleats mean I can kind of get away with such amateurishness. Well, that and being an amateur!

Bodge darts

Bodge darts

This did however make it too tight, so the bodice rides up constantly. And I can’t breathe so well when it’s pulled down. And I need to pull it down as the bodice is too short anyway. It generally looks kind of empire line when I wear it hitched up under my boobs. But it’s lovely, I love the shape and IT’S MY FIRST EVER FULLY LINED DRESS! I’m so proud. It’s lined with a lovely light cotton batiste which was way more expensive than the ‘fashion fabric’ but means it’s cool, breathable and not see through. I’m happy.

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The second Anna is also nice, but I’m not actually sure it’s as flattering as my ill fitting cheapo first attempt. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t also function as a corset! This one is made with a lovely poly crepe de chine from Croft Mill. When I say lovely, I mean it looks lovely but frays and presses like a bugger. It was quite hard to work with, but I french seamed everything and it turned out ok, if you don’t look at the shiny bits where I ironed it without a press cloth.  This was unlined with an annoying facing (are facings ever not annoying?!) that was very hard to press properly but that is not the fault of the pattern. I think I just hate facings and want to line everything. I graded up the skirt pieces a bit more (but still not quite enough as the bodice bags out a bit over the waist seam) and added a couple of inches to the bodice length which is much more suitable, but maybe I like the empire line look? Anyway, here it is.

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I think I could do with lowering the under boob pleats half an inch and taking the hem up a good inch or two, but it’s pretty much there. I just need to add about another half inch over the skirt pieces (ah, tiny maths fractions) and I have a workable me sized Anna pattern. I love it as much as everyone else does and I think I will make a lot of these dresses. Next up is a teal maxi dress rayon version. I just hope the fabric is a bit less clingy in the breeze!

 

Not such a winning look

Not such a winning look

I’m very sad that I finally got round to making my first By Hand pattern just as the wonderful women announced they could no longer afford to run their business full time. I was so saddened and shocked by this news, as I thought that if anyone could do it, they certainly could. Their patterns are so fantastic but it’s tough out there, even for the most talented, creative and entrepreneurial. I am really pleased that they are going to continue releasing PDF patterns (inappropriately timed request: please extend your size range a few inches!) and will look forward to their latest designs.  This really is as brilliant a pattern as everyone says, and was a good pattern to practice grading on. It’s simple, chic and stylish and easy to adapt. I’m looking forward to shamelessly copying gorgeous Idle Fancy and making one with a gathered skirt in future.

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don't they?

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don’t they?

So which version do you prefer? Have you graded up any patterns? Will I ever be rigorous and accurate enough to do it properly? Or shall I bodge always?!