1 for you, 50 for me...


Here in the U.S., tomorrow is our Thanksgiving holiday (as I write this, at least) - the holiday that really starts off the whole holiday season with a bang (or at least with turkey and naps).  I always feel like this time of year we're supposed to reflect on all the things we're grateful for - sort of like a period of meditation before the expected New Years Resolution phase begins.  Honestly I always felt like the whole thing was a bit too... I don't know... Hallmark-y for me. But I do believe, wholeheartedly, in gratitude.  And there is not one thing, and not one soul on this earth that I am more grateful for than this guy right here.


I could ramble on about all the things I love about my husband (actually, I couldn't, because when it comes to matters of the heart I get a tad bit... what's the word... verklempt) but really, it goes without saying.  So instead I'm just going to skate over that bit, and get right to brass tacks.


See... Nick asked me to make him pants. Now if your husband asks you to make him pants, what do you do? You might look him straight in the eye, smile, and say, "Of course, Peaches! Just as soon as I finish whatever it is I'm doing right now" And then once you actually finish whatever you're doing right then, you put your selfish-sewing queue on hold and make your husband/wife/gf/bf/partner/whatever a damn pair of pants!! If this scenario describes you, then I say shove it well done you! Now why don't you go over there where I can't see you, mmmkay??

When Nick asked me to make him pants the first 5 times I pretended I didn't hear him. Then the next 15 times I promised he'd have them for his birthday. In June. Once his birthday came and went, and he was still asking, I just put it out there in some nebulous place of "yeaahhhh, I'll do that.... someday." Finally, it took him becoming quite distraught about the fact that his pants wardrobe is slowly dwindling and I promised to make him pants and do I want him to keep wearing the same pair of green shorts for the rest of his life? for me to hold up my end of the bargain. So almost a year later, I looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and said "Of course, Peaches! Just as soon as I finish whatever I'm doing right now." And once I finished whatever I was doing right then, I actually made him pants. Just kidding. I don't call Nick "Peaches"...


Part of the hold up is to be blamed on the utterly dismal state of men's sewing patterns. I mean... gross you guys.  And because of this, Nick really wanted me to copy a pair of existing Banana Republic trousers that he owns, and, well... that just sounded hard. Not impossible, but like more work, time, and money than I was willing to put into something I wasn't even sure if he would like. Well thank goodness that in the yawning stretch of time from when he first started asking until now I became introduced to Thread Theory via the blog world.  I think all of us ladies who occasionally sew for men (and I'm sure some real live men, too) were rejoicing once we came upon these patterns.  Thank the heavens! Men's sewing patterns that look contemporary, yet classic, and aren't pajama pants! 

Please excuse the ridiculous amount of dog hair on these... this fabric is seriously like a magnet!
So I decided to make the Jedediah Pants for Nick, which are an interesting design - somewhere between a classic trouser, with the side-slash pockets and waistband finishing - and a jean, with their patch pockets, back yoke, and flat-felled seams.  This made them a perfect pattern to start with, because they will be easy to adapt to a more traditional trouser (just add back welt pockets and convert the yoke to darts) or a jean (just add a curved front pocket).

Nick wasn't sure, from the pictures, if the cut of the pants would suit him, so we decided to have this first pair be more like a 'wearable muslin'.  I made them in a size 38 (my husband is a big man) out of some cheap khaki twill I bought from JoAnne's, which wrinkles like mad and collects animal hair like it's its job.  


Now, those of you that have been hanging around here for awhile know that this is not my first time at the pants-sewing-rodeo.  But even though I'm pretty familiar with pants construction at this point, any time I work with a new pattern I like to follow their instructions.  The instructions for these pants were a little different than what I was used to, but overall nothing major.  They tell you to do things in a certain order that I found a bit awkward, and I'll probably do it the way I'm comfortable with in the future.  The only place I really hit a roadblock was with the fly.  No matter how many times I sew a zip fly I still need to follow instructions, and I have to say, the instructions for sewing the zip fly on the Jedediah Pants made no sense. Perhaps this was user error (or incompetence), but nevertheless I fussed and fought and couldn't make it work.  In the end I resorted to Grainline's zip-fly tutorial which I've used in the past and I feel like it gives a great result. Actually, I think from here on out I'm just going to stop second guessing and always use Grainline's method, because I just know it's going to work.


As for the finished product? Well, aside from the fabric, I think we both feel like it's not too bad. It's a little bit big in the waist (my fault, I was being overly cautious and gave an extra half inch at the CB seam. you can see how they're bunching up underneath his belt in these pictures) and Nick feels like the rise is a bit lower than what he's used to.  We also think that the back yoke is a little large, and it makes the back patch pockets sit a little awkwardly low (on him).  I still think I'll use this pattern again to make him another pair of pants, making a few of these minor adjustments along the way. If he's lucky, he just might get a pair of jeans sooner rather than later (I mean... while I'm on a roll here...)


Nick is incredibly camera-shy (most of the pictures I have of him are just a blur as he dashes out of frame) so getting him to pose for these pictures was a bit of a project! In the end, he was an awesomely good sport about it, even, perhaps, getting into it just a tiny bit. I like to think of the pose above as his "Jcrew-catalogue-man" pose.

Well, coming back to the theme of gratitude, I want to say thank you to all of you, dear readers, fellow sewing bloggers, friends, and (especially) family, for stopping by every now and then, for all your words of encouragement and praise, for letting me be a part of this awesome, supportive community, and for continually inspiring and teaching me, day after day, month after month, and year after year.  If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a lovely, holiday, and if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving, happy Thursday!



roseate spoonbill


I can't say I've ever had a particular affinity for birds. Growing up, the only birds I could actually identify were Canadian Geese, of which there were an abundance of.  I also got pretty good at identifying goose poop... of which there was also an abundance of... Which is why it's pretty remarkable that these days I'm able to recall the names of a lot of our feathered friends that I see about.  Galveston has some pretty spectacular birding, and I guess it's the sort of thing that just rubs off after spending time in a place.  But of all the birds I see about, there's really only one that I get super excited about when I spot it, and that's the Roseate Spoonbill.

I remember the first time I saw a Roseate Spoonbill I was driving across the causeway that connects the island to mainland Texas, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this flash of pink in the sky.  It was shortly after we had moved to Galveston and I remember coming home and saying to my husband (not totally sure if I had imagined the whole thing or not) "Nick, I think there are pink birds here..." He, of course, already knew about the pink birds, being much more... well... just generally better informed about these things than I am.  To me, living in a place with such technicolor fowl flapping about, makes me feel like I'm in the most exotic place in the world, even if it is just costal Texas.


So why am I waxing romantic about pink birds today? I swear there's a reason, and that reason does indeed tie into one of my two newest makes. So let me introduce you to...

My second Archer, made up in a silk crepe de chine.  This silk started it's life as plain white, and I was truly this close to leaving it white, because there is something pretty classic about a white, silk, button-up shirt, is there not? But I felt like maybe I could love it a little bit more if it was, I don't know, a little pinker.  So I dyed it.  Easy peasy.  Just a one step, good ol' fashioned, dunk-it-in-a-bucket-and-swish-it-around dye job. I mixed just the teensiest amounts of chocolate brown and coral pink dye (both from Dharma) to get the color I was aiming for.  And the color on my mind, my inspiration, was the pale shade of rose that the Roseate Spoonbill displays on it's soft, downy feathers.  See? Told you I had a point with all that bird nonsense!!


As this is my second time making Grainline's Archer, I won't go into too many details here (to read about my first Archer, go here). And while I wear my first Archer a ton (like, multiple times a week, sometimes) I did make some changes to the pattern this time around to get the fit closer to how I like my button-ups.  I've been very jealous of the fit on all of Andrea's Archers, and so decided to take a page out of her book and decrease some of the width through the shoulders (I used this tutorial) and take in the side seams a bit at the waist for a more feminine shape.  The changes were subtle (only half an inch at the shoulders and about an inch at the waist) and I think my finished shirt keeps some of the 'boyfriend' vibe that I love so much about this pattern, while making it just a bit more flattering on my body.  Score. 


Sewing this was also one of those experiences that sewists simply live for.  Everything came together absolutely gorgeously, the silk pressed beautifully, and because this shirt has so many sweet little details on it, it was one of those makes where you can actually see that you've made progress with your technique.  Very satisfying indeed.


I also made up Tessuti's Suzy Pants pattern in this navy and white patterned silk crepe that I scored while in NYC.  I can't remember the name of the store, because I was in such a post-blogger-meetup euphoria that I wasn't really paying attention, but I do remember that I spotted it and immediately thought, "Suzy Pants".  I've been obsessed with Kelli's Suzy's since she posted them, and felt like they would make the perfect transition pants for fall.

I had already made one of Tessuti's patterns (here) and found them to be perfectly delightful to sew with.  I think much like Kelli, I was drawn to the Suzy pattern because they closely resemble a lot of the pleated, lightweight trousers that I've been seeing a lot from ready-to-wear lines.  While I probably could have done the work and converted my beloved Built By Wendy pants pattern to this style, it was much much easier to just download the Suzy pattern! I made these in a size XS, based off of my measurements and the finished garment measurements, and the fit was just what I was hoping for, loose, but not baggy. I also took a page from Kelli's book and made my Suzy's with a flat-front waistband and just elastic in the back.  I tapered the leg towards the ankle, and cropped the length, as well. I always think a tapered leg looks most stylish when it's cropped, plus, now they're the perfect length to wear with my fall/winter staples - my black booties! 


I made these a few weeks ago, now (they go together super quickly) and have worn them at least twice a week since (and sometimes I change into them when I get home from work, because they are just that comfortable). So I guess that is testament to how much I love them? My husband kind of chuckles at me when I wear them and refers to them (fondly I'm sure...) as my fancy Zubaz pants.  I mean... I guess they do sort of have a '90's Mom' vibe (maybe in a cool way???) but definitely not a bad 90's pants vibe... right?? Right???


Man, taking blog photos is just always awkward, right? Today the weirdos were in particularly rare form (or am I the weirdo in this scenario... so hard to tell...) While I was darting back and forth between my posing and adjusting the camera I noticed that there was some old dude in a BATHROBE standing on his porch watching me!! Just, like, leaning up against the post, giving me an eye-full of his silvery chest rug.  So I say, "Hey there" and kind of wave, and dude just growls at me in the thickest Russian accent, "Are you Russian?? You look like you could be Russian..."  Um. Huh? So I smile and say, "No, I'm not Russian"... And my man just keeps on standing there, smiling and staring!! Thus, the incredibly uncomfortable look on my face in that second-to-last picture! So finally I ask if I'm bothering him, and he says 'no' and goes back inside (to continue to creep at me behind his lace curtains...) but not without leaving a strong whiff of heebie-jeebies in his wake! Granted, I was taking pictures on the sidewalk right in front of his house, so, yeah... not really sure who's the bigger weirdo in this scenario... I mean, I did just shame a dude off his own porch so I could take pictures for my sewing blog on his private property.... Like, clearly  the robed Russian is the weirdo... right? Right...?