Friday, July 10, 2020

Fancy Pants Without The Hassle/Wrap Pants Tutorial

I'm going for a record here!!! ;) Three posts in 3 days, unprecedented! 

This past Wednesday, I posted a favorite pair of pants on Instagram, my outfit of the day :) A number of people wanted to know how I made them. They are beyond simple to do.

They are basically a wrap style of pant, somewhat anyway. 

The over panel has ties that hold the panel in place.

In the above picture, I've untied the panels and I am holding them to the side. What you can't see is that there is a panel in the front and in the back.

You get a better picture of the pants in the video below. 

While I enjoy a challenge, I also don't like for things to be anymore complicated than they need to be. I began with this free pajama pant pattern from Martha Stewart. It's really just a good, basic elastic waist pant pattern.  

*The front and back overlay panels on the pants are just 2 rectangles. Nothing more. For the panel width, I measured from the side seam to the midpoint of the opposite leg. 

*For the length of the panels, I measured from the waist to the hemline.

In the picture below, you can see that the panels extends from the elastic foldline to the hem foldline. 

Make 2 ties and attach them to the edge of the rectangle at the waistline. The ties should be approximately 18" long. The ties are the very last thing you will do, so I recommend using a length of ribbon that is basted to the edge of the panel to determine just how much length you will need for your tie. You want enough length to tie a nice bow.  

Like I said, this design is so very easy to do. I had the border print and thought it would be fun, but this looks just as lovely in a solid. There are so many possibilities. You can do a sheer overlay. Maybe use something really special for an evening pant. The fabric that I used is a rayon batik so it has a lovely drape. Silk, light weight cotton, a lovely poly would all work beautifully.

If you give it a go, by all means let me know...and send a picture! I would love to feature your make :)

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Will It Ever Stop?

I would like to introduce you to one of the most talented, high achievers that I know. His name is Chris Kenny. You can read all about him HERE

Chris is an extremely gifted artist, a baritone. He won the top award from the American Opera Society of Chicago this past year. He likes to say, "I yell pretty." Does he ever! 

But, he has another passion, aviation. A wonderful pilot that I have the pleasure of being able to spend time with. Lucky me! 

A few days ago, Chris and I met to do a little flying. Little did I know that he had taken this picture of me, and posted it on Instagram with his own little inscription. There's a story behind the picture.

While Chris and I were getting the plane ready for our flight, a man walked into the hangar, looked at me, literally turned his back to me and started talking to Chris about what he thought was Chris' airplane. Chris quickly jumped in and told him that he was just along for the ride, the plane belongs to her(me). And yet, the man still couldn't turn and address me. I said nothing and just went on with what I was doing. 

When I was a student pilot, I was signed off to take a long trip on my own, part of my requirements. I got my weather briefing, and all looked fine. As I left Chicago, the clouds were no where near as high as I had been told. Looking to the south, it looked like they were building. I felt that I could probably make it to my destination, but would I be able to make it back? So, rather than keep going, I decided to stop at a small airport that has a wonderful little restaurant where I could get a cup of coffee and a bowl of soup. While I was sitting at the counter, an older man came up and sat next to me. He asked if I had flown in. I told him that I had, and that I was a student pilot. I went on to tell him that I was supposed to do a cross country flight, but the cloud deck had come down, so I decided to stop for lunch and try another day. He looked at me and said, "you are going to make a wonderful pilot. You made a decision and you stuck with it." As the conversation went on, I found out that he was none other than Mr. Clow, the owner of the airport, and a highly decorated WWII pilot. At one point he asked me to tell him about the day I soled. I felt a little intimidated telling this decorated pilot my simple little story. He insisted, and I obliged. Once I finished, he said, "the first day that you climbed into that plane and flew by yourself will never be topped by anything else you will ever do in your life. Everything depended on you, everything." He then went on to say, "I want to tell you something. There are a lot of people who feel that a woman has no place in the cockpit of an airplane. But, you do. Whenever someone says something to you, regardless of who they are, hold your head high and know that you worked so very hard to achieve your ratings. No one gave you anything."

Mr. Clow is sadly no longer with us, but his words remain in my heart. There have been so many times that I have felt him sit on my shoulder and whisper those words in my ear. He was in that hangar a few days ago. 

While Chris and I were out flying, I asked if he had noticed what happened. In that big booming voice of his he said, "how could I have missed it?" Then he told me that when he came back from the restroom, and saw me working away as I do, he took a picture and posted it to Instagram. When we landed, he showed me the picture. I had to smile.

Sadly, there will always be people who think that because of your gender, your race, your age, and so many other crazy reasons, that someone doesn't belong where they are. I've learned that I am not going to change their mind. But, what I can do is live my best life, and do my best to show who I am.

A few years ago I got into an argument with a priest about going for ashes on Ash Wednesday. I told him that there was nothing he could say to convince me to go. I told him that if others don't know who I am the other 364 days a year, then me walking around like a martyr on Ash Wednesday makes me a hypocrite. He had to agree. 

None of us can be perfect, but we can be a light in the world, shining brightly through our words and through our actions.       

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A Challenge Worth Pursuing

Well, once again, missing in action. I could easily say that I have been too busy, but the truth of the matter is that I can always find time. Yes, I'm still working on my friend's estate, which takes up a lot of my time. Thankfully, the biggest jobs will soon be over. I sold her house(SO HAPPY!!!), but now there's the issue of the furniture, and clearing it out for the new owner. I have just a little over a month to make it all happen. I'm determined ;)

I love setting goals for myself. But, like most, some get accomplished, and then others languish. Last year, I set a goal to read the Bible from cover to cover. No studying, just read it as a book. It was something I have always wanted to do. I found a guide online that I could print out. It prompted me with how many chapters I should read each day, and I could mark off my progress. It was great for keeping me on track. While I learned a lot, and discovered things I had never known, the greatest gift was the accomplished dream. I did it!!! And what I have found a little strange is that it gave me a tremendous sense of confidence in what I am capable of doing. A little secret to the success was having that daily reminder. Since I write each and every morning, I kept my goal sheet in my notebook. So, when I opened my notebook to write, there was my sheet reminding me that I had chapters to read. 

I had another goal last year that did not get accomplished. It may seem quite silly, but I wanted to do a year...a complete year of a me made wardrobe. I broke my arm, and I just seemed to lose steam in regards to that goal. When this year rolled around, I thought of it once again, but just didn't move forward. Then, participating in Me Made May this year reignited the desire to make this goal happen. But, I think that I allowed all that is going on to stifle me. I'm so very fortunate to have a friend that I talk to every week. We use our time to encourage each other. Since we begin the year by sharing our goals, it's easy to help each other stay on track. But, this goal I had not shared, and yet it somehow came up in our conversation. She strongly encouraged me to go for it. Her words played on my mind until I finally gave in!

I decided to give myself a running start, by beginning June 22. My friend had encouraged me to begin July 1st. So...here goes!!!  

Anytime that I want to feel a little floaty and free, these are my go to pants. My own design.

Another piece that just floats about the body is this super simple little skirt. It's just a rectangle that has an elastic waist. The outer skirt is gathered and twisted into the underskirt. I think this one needs a tutorial as it's so easy to do, and yet looks special. I actually took Berkley for a hike in this skirt!!!

On June 24th, we met friends at a wonderful Irish bistro here in Chicago, Chief O'Neil's. They have an amazing outdoor garden. It was the first time I've been to a restaurant to eat since March 14th. I was beside myself with excitement! Like, ball gown excited ;) But, I opted for this self-drafted dress.

The following day, I had a number of errands to run, so I slipped on the ruffle skirt, and shimmied through my day. You can find the tutorial on the skirt HERE.   

I made these pants a few years ago. For some reason I had left them in my laundry room. Decided to give them a go, and I am so happy that I did. The pattern is from Colette Patterns, the Clover Pants. I lengthened mine, and added a cuff. I paired the pants with a basic purchased tee.  

The top I'm wearing was made with scraps. I had the ruffled fabric and the matching knit left over, and felt that it was enough to possibly make a top. It worked! The pants are the Barb Pants from Style Arc Patterns

The next day, I was out at the airport. I wore another pair of Barb Pants, and a stylized tee. This is another piece that I should do a tutorial on. It has an inset of chiffon down the back making it another fun, floaty piece :)

The following day was June 29th, and I had to be up and out quite early, so I pulled on a pair of linen pants with a gathered leg and a Helen's Closet Elliot Tee.  

It was a hot, sweaty kind of  a day, so once I got home, I jumped in the shower, and changed my clothes. I made this fruit dress quite a few years ago, but just keep pulling it out every summer. It's cotton, so it washes well. By the way, I never put it in the dryer, and I think that is what has saved the fabric. A sheath dress is so perfect for summer. This one reminds me a little of a Lilly Pulitzer piece.

June 30th, the last day of my gearing up. It was hot, so I pulled on my Closet Case Patterns Amy Jumpsuit. The fabric was a gift from Becky of Trial Balloons. If you have not checked out her blog, by all means, do!!! She will truly inspire you.  

I kicked of July with a pair of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files. I will never buy another pair of jeans. I LOVE this pattern. The tee I'm wearing is from iCandy Handmade, the summer tee. I modified it a bit, but just at the hem. It's a free pattern by the way :)    

My second day of July was spent in a pair of border print pants and another self-drafted top. I started doing videos as I think it's nice to see how the clothes move. The top is yet another piece that deserves a tutorial. It's easy to make, and easy to wear. A winning combination in my book.

The following day was spent in a pair of Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes. Such a fun pattern. I love that you have the ease of a pant and the look of skirt. The top is another self-drafted piece.

On July 4th, I went kayaking for the first time this summer. It felt so very good to be in the water. After I came back home, I just wanted to be in something nice, but easy. This sarong style skirt fit the bill!

I miss Sunday's being Sunday. I miss going to church. It would be easy to just wear my pajamas all day, but I like to get dressed just as if I am going out. I did not wear those pumps all day! But, just like Sundays, I miss wearing my heels. It was fun to have them on for a while. The dress is the Magic Bias Dress from Fashion in Harmony. I love this dress!!! 

On Monday, I was back out at the airport. I wanted to wear this pair of cargo pants that I made last summer. I usually wear the long sleeve Molly Tee from Pattern Union with the pants, but I knew I would burn up. Thankfully, I had enough scraps to make a short sleeve version. You can see the post I did on the pants HERE.

I did a video of the dress I wore yesterday, and I'm having a problem with downloading it, so it will come in my next post. So far, so good! I'm a full week into my 1 year challenge. 

As we all are too aware of, things can happen that truly throw us off track. But, this is something I really want to accomplish. It feels a bit like a journey, a journey that is going to teach me so much. 

I am using Instagram as my daily reminder of my goal, as I post my outfit there, and keep myself on track. But, if you are not on Instagram, my plan is to do a weekly round up here on the blog. And who knows, maybe I'll inspire a few of you as well :)

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Shimmy Skirt Fabric and How To/Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

It's a rainy day in Chicago, but I am grateful. My grass looks wonderful, and gardens all around are a joy to see. I had hoped to fly today, but...another day.

I posted this skirt on Instagram yesterday and a number of people asked about the fabric and how it was done. Beyond simple!!! I didn't think about it, but it actually qualifies as a Fabulous Free Pattern Friday (remember those?) piece as it's just 2 rectangles. 

I did this super short video to show how the skirt moves when I walk. It's a little exaggerated as do not shake like that when I walk. At least I hope not ;) 

Below is the exact same type of fabric. You've seen it a million times I'm sure. I've placed it on the form just as you would see it on a bolt in a store. The grainline is running vertically. Sewn vertically, it's cute, can make a fun little dress, skirt or top.  

But, when it's turned so that the crosswise grain is vertical, it takes on a completely different look. The skirt I am wearing in the video has ruffles that are a gradation of white to dark gray, so a little more interesting than just the dark gray and the black of the fabric below. This works as the fabric has the same stretch on the straight of grain as well as the crosswise grain.

To make the skirt, I purchased just enough to fit across the front of my body, I think I bought about 5/8 of a yard. The fabric was cut in half, giving me a front and a back. I used the two selvedge edges for the hems, so no need to finish off a hem. All in all, the skirt took no more than an hour to put together. 

Rather than roll the top edge for an elastic casing, which would have been bulky around the waist, I used a 2" wide decorative elastic. I really like this elastic as it has a small ruffled edge.

I have no idea why this picture came out so fuzzy, but I think you can see what it is. I had a small piece of this ruffled fabric leftover from a project. Not enough to do much with, but rather than pitch it, I added it to the bottom of a t-shirt. I didn't have enough of the solid blue to make a t-shirt that would be the length that I would like, but the 2 combined, SCORE!!! I love wearing this with white pants. The pattern that I used for the t-shirt is the Molly Tee from Pattern Union. There was absolutely no fabric left for sleeves, so I just made a binding, and called it a day.    

I've not posted my thoughts on this year's Me Made May journey, or a little dream that I have, hint, hint ;) More on both in an upcoming post. But I will say this, maybe it's because we've all been couped up, not really sure, but what really came forward for me this year is that I want to truly enjoy what I choose to wear each and everyday. The shimmy skirt, and the ruffle edged top both fit that criteria, at least for me :)
Pull something fun out of your closet and celebrate the day!

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

An Embroidered Journey

I think I need to ask all of you to be my design consultants on a permanent basis!!! Wow!!!, did you ever come up with some fabulous ideas for my embroidered tree. Becky of Trial Balloons sent me some wonderful inspiration photos that she found on Pinterest. Not that any of the ideas should be used exactly as they are, but as a jumping off point.  

I love the patch of pieces and the embroidery in this skirt.

This is a little too much patchwork for me, but here again, I love the stitching and the mix of pieces.

Another mix of fabrics that really create an interesting garment.

Same idea, but a little bit of a different silhouette. It's anchored with the solid sleeves, and a solid back. This would be a great way to use some scraps. Take note that just 3 prints were used.

I absolutely fell in love with these embroidered pieces. 

Both are from a wonderful artist, Tessa Perlow. You can see more of her work HERE in her Etsy Shop.

Stephanie sent me these fabulous photos. I LOVE this jacket!!! 

So many of you talked about a kimono style jacket. With all of this running through my head, I thought of a summer kimono that I have. I think this is it!

You can see that the tree is rather large, and the linen has yellowed with time. But, I can get that out without a problem. 

So, I think I will use some of this fabric, but blend it with a solid, lightweight linen. With the solid linen, I can embroider flowers to look as though they have fallen from the tree. And then pick up something on the cuffs and collar. This is a piece that will evolve as I go. And...it will not be something I do quickly, which is fine.

My first step will be to finish doing the embroidery on the tree. Once the embroidery has been completed, I'll start the soaking process to remove the yellow. Then I'll start working on putting the jacket together. Anyway, however it goes, I think it's going to be a fun little journey!

Thanks so very much for all of your messages. It was great to hear from you. How lucky am I to have so many incredibly creative people popping in to see what I do?!!  

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Help! I Would Like Some Creative Input

Something that I have learned over the past 6 weeks is that we show people the person we want them to see. We share what we are capable of sharing. In my being given the gift of handling my friend's estate, the person that I thought I knew became richer and deeper, and at times, quite surprising. I discovered hurts, losses, and disappointments that she had buried, at least to others. Things that absolutely broke my heart, and gave me tremendous insight into why she did things, and reacted to things as she did. Then one day, I opened a storage closet and found something that I had no idea that she had ever enjoyed doing, crewel embroidery projects. 

She had a number of kits that had never been started. Sound familiar? ;) But, there was one that was virtually finished.      

The stitch work is absolutely beautiful! All that needs to be done to complete the project are a ton of French knots. I love doing French knots!!! So, I decided to keep the project and finish it. It was meant to be a pillow, but I thought a bag would be lots of fun.

The other project that I decided to keep and finish was this tree in bloom. For some reason it just spoke to me. It spoke to me, but didn't tell me what it wants to be. I don't want to finish it as a pillow, I would like to use it in a garment. A skirt, a jacket, a dress??? I just don't know.  

The piece is on a lovely piece of linen, something that I think I can fairly easily match. If not match, at least tea dye to match. 

So, I would love and appreciate some creative feedback. I've looked on Pinterest to no avail. I know that some of you have a difficult time posting comments. But if you have an idea, or some thoughts, please send an email, sewbussted@yahoo.com I would truly love to hear what you think!

Thanks so much!!!

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Monday, June 22, 2020

If Only

A very happy Good Morning!!! It feels good to be back :)

The last 2 months have been especially difficult. A friend of mine fell in early March and broke her arm requiring surgery. Since she lived alone, rather than going home after the surgery, she went to a rehad facility to recuperate, and have therapy. While she was there, she developed pneumonia, but not COVID. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. Fluid was removed from her lungs, and in the fluid they found cancer cells. Upon further examination, it was discovered that she had lung cancer and that it had spread throughout her body, and into her brain. Two and a half weeks later, she left this world. 

A few years ago, my friend asked if I would be the executor of her estate. My reply was, "of course." Due to the virus, my husband and I remained in Colorado, tucked away in a small mountain town where there was virtually no threat of transmission, and life was much saner than here in Chicago. My friend and I talked on the phone until she could talk no more. I was surprised by how beautifully she accepted the fact that her life here on earth had come to an end. 

By the time I returned to Chicago, she was gone, and my work began. I have never dismantled a person's entire life. When my grandmother died, I helped a bit, but my uncle was in charge of all the details. So this was a very new, and overwhelming situation for me. Factor in COVID, and it truly became overwhelming.

When I first walked into her house, it all felt so very sad. It was eerily quiet, as if the house knew that its keeper was gone. I had no idea of where to begin. After I took a few minutes to regain my composure, I decided that the easiest place to start was with her clothes. Because of the virus, I couldn't have a garage sale, so I emptied out her closets and drawers, and began bagging everything up for charity. At that point, nothing was open in Illinois, but I had heard that Wisconsin had opened. Sure enough, Goodwill was taking donations. I packed the van with 15 very large bags of shoes and clothes. And so began my next 5 weeks of sorting and packing. 

There have been been moments where I've felt that I just couldn't do this. One morning I actually came downstairs after another night of no sleep, and told my husband that I just couldn't do this. The lawyer was pushing me to get the house on the market as soon as possible. The real estate agent wanted me to stage the house as it would show better. There was just so very much to go through. On one particular day, I opened a cabinet that was filled with hundreds of pictures. She had taken some wonderful trips. She had gone to Yellowstone to view the wolves, to Alaska to see grizzly bears and whales, to Peru, New Zealand, and more. So many pictures of all that she had experienced. As I sat there with pictures pouring into my lap, I began to cry. There was no one who would want the pictures, and so there was nothing that I could do but throw them away. I felt as though I was throwing her life away. Then a small miracle happened. I felt a voice in my head tell me that these were her memories. When we die, we cannot take our things with us, but what we do get to keep are our memories. She has all of this with her. This is just the physical reminder of her memories. It's okay, throw them away. 

The house was turned over to the real estate agent last Wednesday. I was a nervous wreak. Would what I had done be enough? My reward came over the weekend. There was an open house this past Saturday. A bidding war ensued, and the house went for considerably more than the asking price. The realtor told me that everyone commented on how lovely the home looked, and could see that it had been put together with love. Yes, it had :) 

There's still a tremendous amount of work to do, but not the day in and day out of spending such long hours of sorting and cleaning. 

While the open house was happening, I went out to spend some time with my mom. She has been telling me for quite some time that she would like me to go through old family pictures. There have been visits where I've asked. "what about now?" This past weekend she was finally ready. 

So many memories. Pictures of my grandparents, my great-grandparents, wonderful times, and then pictures that bring back memories that I would rather forget.

As my mother and I sorted, I came across this picture of my great-grandmother and my mother's 1st cousin.

Such a precious child. She was the only child of my great aunt. My great-grandmother is standing by the headstone monument of her son who died in WWII. Little did she know in that moment that in a few short years she would be back to lay this sweet child to rest.

When tragedy happens, we are shocked, and yet, we all know that tragedy is a part of life, but a part that is virtually impossible to accept. So often we say, "if only I had known, if only I had done more, if only I had reacted differently, if only, if only, if only..." We want to think that somehow we have power over this life. In a way, we do. The power that we do have is in how we react. Take our tragedies, learn from them, and be all the more aware of the blessing that our lives are. Become more aware of the blessing that we can be to those we love, to those with whom we come in contact. When we take the time to show our love, it is an act that we will never regret.

This may not apply, but it spoke to me, and I hope that it will to you as well.


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