Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hudson Pants Galore!

Time for a couple of catch-up posts from the end of 2016. The holidays always seem to get ahead of me and somehow make my time just disappear into thin air!
My little family all together in our Hudson pants PJ's!

I had mentioned that one of the projects that I did was to sew up 7 pairs of True Bias Hudson Pants. They were a perfect style of lounge/PJ pants that I wanted to make up for the family that was getting together for Christmas. If all had gone as planned we would have all been wearing our wonderful checked hudson pants as we opened stocking and gifts Christmas morning!

"Better late than never" read the note that I included with the Hudson pants that were mailed AFTER Christmas to my parents!
Getting everyone to smile and look at the camera at the same time was the hardest part! Blue was so curious as to what we were doing!! 

I choose the True Bias Hudson Pants for several reasons.
  • The come in womens, mens and mini sizes. So we could all match.
  • The style was what I was looking for. Cuffs, pockets, shaped legs, something more that just a straight leg baggy PJ pant.
  • I could have them printed at a copy shop. I detest PDF patterns that have to be taped together. I won't purchase them unless they have a copy shop option.
My experience with purchasing, getting the patterns printed and sewing these pants was an overall positive one! For $18 the local UPS shop right down the block from me printed up 2 copies of the woman's, 2 copies of the men's and 1 copy of the mini's. SO for a total of $46 I had the three patterns and multiple copies. Seeing that this was for Christmas gifts for 7 people I was more than good with that price!

The harder part was picking out fabric for everyone. My first choice was some ridiculously nice knit that went for $19.99 a yard. which would have come to just about $400 with shipping. HECK NO. Not for a pattern that I have never made and not knowing how the fit was going to be and if everyone would like the styling.

The adult pants. Each couple received a different colorway and all contrast fabric was in black knit.

 I choose to go with the buffalo check knits in cotton/spandex and came in several colorways from Girl Charlee fabrics. This came to a much more reasonable price of just under $180 with shipping.There are definite differences when you pay $7.99 for a yard of fabric versus $19.99. I was worried about the quality of the knit. It was perfect for what I wanted! A lightweight cotton knit that you could wear to bed and not get hot or wear around the house and be comfy. It washed and dried beautifully.

Princess Victoria got a color all of her own! I took the photo on my work table so you can see how small these are!These may have been the most technical to put together due to the small size. But, man oh man they are ADORABLE!!
 However, the print was off grain on all the pieces. Some way more than others, I was expecting this because you just don't get the same quality at that price. However, for the pants it hardly matters at all.I made sure to cut everything with the knit on grain and just ignore any pattern matching of the print. This worked great, only if you really study the pants do you start to notice it. However, in the top that I made for myself it is quite noticeable.

Here I am modeling my Hudson pants and Jen Stern The Tee. You can really see how off grain the print is on the gray portion of the top. It is not quite as noticeable on the pants but if you look hard enough you can see it. Like one of those 'magic' posters from the 80's!
The actual patterns are drafted quite well and I had no problem in construction. I made some slight adjustments for differences in height among us and of course the difference in sizes. I also changed the waistband a little bit. SInce these were for PJ's I did not see any reason for putting in the drawstring. Especially since whenever a drawstring comes undone I find them left on my to-do pile to get them restrung! So , no drawstrings on these. I also simplified the entire putting on of the waistband because I was making 7 pairs. I cut out the elastic to the size needed. Butted the ends and zigzagged with a scrap underneath for a flat join. I then marked the quarter marks on the elastic and on the waistband. sandwiched the elastic into the folded over waistband and serged it all on at once! I then did a vertical set of stitches across the waistband at CF, CB and each side seam to hold the elastic in place so it would not turn on itself. This way worked out quite well for me. It is not the easiest way to put in an elastic waistband but it is quick and looks quite good!
Love the details in this pattern!

I really like the pocket details and made my pocket binding, waistband and cuffs in a solid black for contrast. On my own pair I will make some slight adjustments to the pattern. Add to the rise in the front and back. the elastic wants t sit at my waist and is comfortable there but when you look at the pictures you can see that this is causing the fabric to pull in the front and back. Fine for PJ's because I don't even feel it with this light cotton spandex. However if I was to make a pair for outdoor or public use or in a thicker knit I will need to tweak the fit just a bit.

This past weekend my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were over. I declared that Sunday morning was going to be Hudson pant PJ morning and that after breakfast we would be taking a group picture! Everyone said they are comfortable and feel good. My husband will probable wear his once a year, he just does not wear knit pants, sweat pants or anything of that kind. The rest if us will get good use.
Silly family!!

Hopefully my parents are enjoying their pants as well! They got the red buffalo check versions.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Starting out the year with a workshop!

In my sewing world I have started out the New Year on the right foot! I attended a friday evening trunk show and 2 half day workshops on Saturday with Mary Ray. Mary Ray has been sewing and teaching for many years and has quite a varied background. You can read more about her on her website Mary Ray Designs.

The trunk show was wonderfully inspiring and the workshops were filled to capacity. All attendees really enjoyed themselves and left with great samples and many new design ideas fueling our imaginations!

Please pop over to the Sew Chicago blog to read my detailed post about this enjoyable workshop!

Here are a couple of pictures to whet your appetite!

Me, sewing away on a Juki industrial machine.

Samples from the morning workshop above and the afternoon workshop below.

Mary Ray showing off a quilted jacket with tucks inserted on the sleeves.

Wendy and I showing off masterfully mitered corners!

Linda and I enjoying a fun day together!
Class photo from the afternoon workshop

Don't forget to head on over to to the Sew Chicago blog to read my detailed post about this enjoyable workshop!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Welcome 2017! Making resolutions, setting goals, voicing my intentions!

I have spent time this first week of January reviewing and reflecting upon 2016. Initially I was separating out sewing from the rest of my life. I was looking at everything in separate 'buckets'. Sewing, home life, work, health, friends and so on and I was trying to figure out how I could make changes to each of those area. However, I was getting frustrated and was having a hard time working it all out. Well, I put my thoughts aside and just went about my day and then out of nowhere it hit me! While I can make small goals and direct changes in each of these areas they really can't be separated out. All of these things make up my life and are intricately intertwined!

I decided to take a couple days and really reflect on my life as a whole and how each of these areas work together and how changes to each area really affect each other. I know... sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

First off- what to actually call this? I'm not hip on the 'New Year's Resolutions' term, sounds so cliche. Yet, isn't that what I am actually doing? What many of us do at this time of the year? So other ways to describe this could be 'setting goals' or 'voicing my intentions'. I'm going with setting goals! I like that the best for some reason. 

Moving on, I was able to pick the most important parts of my life that I want to concentrate on.
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Family time
  • Friend time
  • Sewing andesigning
  • Work
Out of these 6 items the only one that I can really pull away and put in a separate bucket is work. Like quite a few of us I work so that I can help support my family and my sewing habit ;) I can't really change my work, I like what I do and that's that. The only way that work really affects the rest of the list is both time and clothing. Since I like to sew my own clothing this influences the items that I design and sew.

The rest of the list, physical and mental health, family and friend time and sewing and designing, are all intertwined. 
For example my goals in Mental Health include:
  1. Daily meditation- helps clear my mind and allows me better focus and well being.
  2. Daily time to read- these can be fictional novels, biographies, non-fiction, perusing designer books, etc.
Both of these goals affect all areas of my life. Stuck and frustrated with my sewing and design work the benefits of meditation are huge. The reading time also allows me time to read up on designers and get inspiration.

So here are my specific goals in each area.

Physical Health:
  1. Maintain my medications and diet and working closely with physicians. everyday
  2. Work on strengthening my body with both aerobic and strength exercises. 4 x week.

Mental Health:
  1.  Meditation- helps clear my mind and allows me better focus and well being.- daily- minimum of 10 mins
  2. Reading time- these can be fictional novels, biographies, nonfiction, perusing designer books, etc- Daily

Family Time:
  1. Time spent together with my little family: My husband and I, My daughter, Son-in-law and our granddaughter. Planned family activities Monthly. Plus plenty of non-planned time together. My family is the most important part of my life.

Friend Time:
  1. Don't neglect my friends! My pancreas issues have caused me to miss time with my friends this past year. Those activities are the ones that are sacrificed the most when I am not feeling well. My friends have been amazing and supportive and I want to make sure they know that I appreciate them. Ongoing clubs- Sew Chicago ASG Neighborhood group meetings, Book club, Haute Couture Club of Chicago. One on One time :)

Now for the super fun part!
Sewing and Designing: My goals this year are twofold. There are some very specific goals and then some more open goals that are to be reevaluated on an ongoing basis. 7 goals may seem like a lot but in reality it is not. Many of these are just re enforcements of what I have already been doing and some of these cross over into other areas like mental health and time with friends.The hands down hardest one for me to do will be the first one. YIKES!!! I love buying fabric!! 

  1. Shop exclusively from my well curated fabric collection! Only purchase fabrics that are needed such as lining materials, interfacing, etc. OR when on a special trip. For example- Sewcial weekend in February includes a trip to Habermans. In this case be VERY selective in purchases.
  2. Establish a set of master patterns. Skirts, knit tops, woven tops, jacket, knit and woven pants, knit and woven dresses and outerwear.
  3. Do my designing off of my master patterns. Including flat pattern drafting and draping
  4. Continue to grow and push myself to become better with both designing and construction via mentorship with Sarah Veblen. Goal is to do 2- Four month mentorship sessions this year.
  5. Work on my sketching to help to use this to better solidify my sewing plans. Ongoing process, try for 2-3 good sketching sessions per week.
  6. Take inventory of my entire wardrobe to find the 'holes' and fill them. This process takes a couple hours. I have to take all my clothes out, try them on, see what fits, what I still like and then move forward. Try to have this done by end of January.
  7. Continue blogging and documenting my journey.  

I plan to 'check in' on myself and how I am doing with my goals every quarter. I don't plan on being judgemental to myself just to see how things are moving along!

Happy Sewing!!