Sewing pants or the infamous Landers

Lander pants oh Lander pants why did it take so long to try you out? I don’t know what my initial hesitation was. It was probably the button fly, I was nervous about putting in those exposed buttons, but really it seems now they were easier than a zipper. The Lander pants are a sewing pattern by True Bias and had a moment of fame in the sewing corner of Instagram with the hashtag #landerpantsdance. People were so excited by them they danced in their finished pants with glee. 

Lauren wearing green denim Lander Pants with a black Blondie tank top standing on a entry landing with hands on hips.
The fresh off the sewing machine length.

I ALWAYS have to do some alterations to sewing patterns. Would this pattern be any different? Doubtful. So I thought. These are wide leg trousers with large pockets on front and back so they do take up quite a bit of yardage. I found the perfect colors for shorts and pants versions, I made the shorts at a sewing retreat. It wasn’t love at first sight.

I get worried about trying to sew patterns that a large group of people have success with, my body while the statistical average, isn’t the body most patterns are designed for.

You see I have what they call in the medical biz a “shelf”, growing up it was called “spare tire”, “tummy pouche” or my favorite now that I’m a mom “mom belly”. I can’t remember a time not having it. So when I wear high waisted flat front pants the front fly area is more curvy. Not really a complaint just a statement of fact. So if I want these pants to have a flat’ish plane to rest on I have to add power mesh in the construction phase (I didn’t) or wear foundation underwear. 

Group photo of Craftcation Ambassadors smiling faces with palm trees in the back ground.
Wearing my pants at Craftcation 19 as a Craftcation Ambassador

So back to the lander pants they are a surprisingly fast sew, there are not as many pieces as a traditional jean but it has many similar styling features. My only trip ups were the grain line of the back pockets, then when I ran out of fabric and had to piece together my waistband, but you won’t make those mistakes. After adding all the pockets to the back and front you are instructed to baste the side seams, this is where it gets a bit magical. They actually almost fit! I didn’t have to add to the generous seam allowance to make them my size. After making the shorts and grading out two sizes, I had rolled the dice and cut out the largest option even though it measured two sizes too small. I had to take out the half inch seam and instead did a little over a quarter, but they fit! I also had to adjust the back darts in a bit more to remove my usual back gap, gotta love a big round booty.

Mirror selfie of green button fly pants and hot pink velvet tank top with one hand in pocket and one holding up a cell phone.
Change in length to high waters, with my hand dyed silk rayon Springfield top

I am going to do better next time and make note of the knee and thigh length to make sure I have that shortened for my 5’4” frame, and I think I am going to try adding some height to the front waist band to see if I can’t get a high waisted look like I want. These and other pants are a bit tricky because there is such a change in size from my natural waist to hip measurement and there is no where to hide that transition like there is with gathered waistbands, belting or stretch fabrics. There are some styles that just work right from the word go and some that need more alteration and tweaking. Amazingly these pants work for many and they are in heavy rotation, still a ways to go for larger sizes in patterns but it was thrilling to have a pair of pants made up so quickly.

May your bobbin always be full signature sign off

Sewing for kids: The Marieke Playsuit

I recently acquired a new indie sewing pattern from France, the Marieke Jumpsuit from At ikatee there are lovely makes for kids and women. I rarely sew for my kids anymore. They are such opinionated little style makers that it’s hard to give them what they want when they want it. Sometimes they just want something in a fabric I’m not a fan of and that makes it harder for me to say yes. I know that might make me a fabric snob, but I know that a printed quilting cotton in just an “ok” substrate isn’t going to be as comfortable as a double gauze. They don’t know what substrate means or proper hand, so bit by bit I try to teach them, and bite my tongue when the dig their stylish heels in.

Image of young child in a floral jumpsuit with lime green pocket and shoulder ruffles in front of a blue green cabinet.

This jumpsuit was my idea, not something the little one picked out. I saw how cute all the variations were and just thought it would be a great summer make for all our outings. I printed out a size seven and pulled out fabrics from my stash that could make a wearable muslin, knowing she requested another fabric. I made a few adjustments, a tiny bit more room in the belly and bum but that was it. I think it’s quite stylish as a first run. It would be so lovely in a double gauze or with some color blocking in the bodice top and bottoms.

Image of a young child looking over her shoulder with a floral jumpsuit with a lime green waist band and shoulder ruffle standing in font of a blue green cabinet doors.

The instructions were very well written and it works up pretty fast. The waistband in the contrast chartreuse is actually a tube the elastic is fed through and could even be a drawstring if you add button holes. I love how easy it is to assemble and not fiddly like folding over and stitching in the ditch. Sleeveless with a ruffle was cute and it would be just as cute without. I just realized I could make a version with my pink pearl snaps that didn’t work for my Harrison button down a year or two ago. YAY!

Up next is to make it in a black and pink plaid with cute skulls, she is so my kid.

Close up image of a front button placket with bubble machine embroidery stitches and lime green waistband
May your bobbin always be full signature sign off

Look I made a Blazer! You could too.

I’m not an early adopter of sewing patterns, sometimes it situational and I just have too many other sewing projects lined up and sometimes it’s a “wait and see” (see my Lander pants post up next for more lagging behind the crowd). The blazer from the Mimi G Style collection with Simplicity was no different. I have shopped her sewing patterns for some time and while many of my pattern dollars have gone to indie designers lately, I like the fresh style she is bringing to one of the big pattern companies. I try to take the opportunity to meet the designer behind the patterns whenever possible, sometimes I gain new insight to why they designed something that way and other times it’s just good to talk shop with someone who gets it. Meeting Mimi at the Simplicity 90th anniversary celebration in LA was wonderful evening of talking shop with her and a few other sewing folks I enjoy following on Instagram. Introductions were easier thanks to our mutual admiration of each others Instagram accounts but it’s always nerve wreaking to go to an event solo and meet people. Truly her business savvy is awe inspiring, and her pattern designs are body loving rather than body hiding. That is something I will always get behind.

If you live in a warm climate this is a great piece with the look of a blazer without the thermal layers.

woman wearing a blue blazer from a sewing pattern in linen standing in a living room

Blazers are intimidating, they are that fine tailored garment that always seems to elevate a wardrobe. It seems hard because it has so many parts and layers, but what happens when you remove some layers and add in new details? Does this make adding a tailored look to your wardrobe within reach? Could it be that you can make this without all the training of Saville Row? The Simplicity 1167 is a sports wear blazer, tank and pants or shorts from the Mimi G Style collection. It had been in my pattern stash for some time. On the surface it had that seeming hard to attain silhouette of padded shoulders and flap pockets but once you dive into the pattern you find that there are some layers and pieces that have been removed to make this a new shape and quick sew. The body of the blazer isn’t lined but there is lining in the sleeves that attach to the partial lining in the shoulders and front collar.

I was participating in a group sewing contest where we all let others choose from three patterns in our stash and fabrics in our stash for us to make something with varying degrees of experience, difficulty and ingenuity. This was a pattern I had in my collection for a few years but hadn’t attempted, why probably in all honesty fear of failure but the last two years have been jam packed. The cornflour blue linen fabric was a find from a local estate sale, one of the many benefits of living in and around Los Angeles is there is no shortage of fabrics.

Woman sitting in a living room wearing a blue blazer with embroidered shoulders

Our competition scored us on many levels and since I had a few points for a new to me pattern but no other points I decided to try and score with some embellishment. I was looking for decoration and almost shoulder epaulets but being constrained with time I kept it kind of abstract and textural. I had recently learned to create French Knots at Craftaction in a class with Robert Mahar and thought dots and dashes would be a great place to start.

I would have loved some tigers draped on my shoulders but maybe next time.

I made a full bust adjustment as I am a DD and most Big Four (Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls and Butterick) draft for a B. I also added for full biceps because I hate tight sleeves. I traced out the front and back pieces in chalk and left a few inches around so that I could hoop the linen with a cotton batiste backing. I chose a color palette that remind me of the seventies and began stitching dashes and dots (french knots). Since I was free forming it I had to stop and start and look at the pieces to keep the colors and design balanced. I was inspired by the Game of Thrones embroidery but didn’t have the skill or time those works of art need. I was happy with the end result and could have probably kept embroidering if there hadn’t been a due date.

I only ran into an issue on the inset detail on the front collar but there are great Mimi G tutorials for it and those helped. I just fumbled it and couldn’t quite recover (I hope I’m the only one who notices). The sleeve lining is my favorite because it hems the cuff so quickly and I dislike hemming sleeves SO much. I had a single brass button that looked like a yarn knot from one of my thrifting trips that completed the look quite nicely. Even though I’m not a fan of lose facings (I always stitch them down) the lack of lining does make this breezy item. I look forward to making another maybe with a matching short.