Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Foray Into Pants-making...& a (Mini) Me Made Week

Hello again! You find me a very happy camper this week - it's about 15 degrees cooler than this time last week. Plus, we've had three days of rain - deliciously heavy soaking rain! My garden is no longer whimpering reproachfully at me every time I leave the house. The first evening I just sat out on the doorstep glorying in it all.  What matters it that the weather forecast says it'll be back in the thirties by the end of the weekend - this week has been a reminder that Autumn is on its way! And has made me think of the start of one of my favourite poems:

September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fireplace.

Never mind that seasons/months are reversed here; I relate!  And it's just occurred to me how much of my recent fabrics buys have been wintry ones - subconscious wishful thinking, evidently...

On to projects. I've decided it's ridiculous to be intimidated by making pants for myself. If I can make them for other people, I can make them for myself. So I thought I'd start out with a relatively easy pattern - Style Arc's Leah Pant. (Plus, I can't go past a good pair of wide leg pants...) Here 'tis:

This was my first time using any of Style Arc's patterns, but it won't be the last! Their byline is "fashionable sewing patterns that fit"....and they really do! This pair was sewn as is, with no alterations (I wanted to see how dependable their sizing is), and they fit better than most RTW I've bought. AND, Husband said "they look great", which he has never before said in relation to anything beige.

 If I was being particularly fussy, I think on the next pair I make (oh yes, there will be a next...) I'll take in the back waist measurement ever so slightly. Judging by the photos, the hem could also come up a couple of centimetres, although frankly I'm happy to take any extra leg length I can get. 

So all in all, I'm very happy with both my first pants and my first Style Arc experience. Which is just as well, since I've got five more of their patterns sitting in the queue. 

That leads me to another accomplishment of sorts. I've read up on some of the Me Made May posts and links from So Zo, and had been feeling a bit wistful - the handful of me-made items in my wardrobe are mostly summery ones, and while accessorising can do wonders, there's a point where a summer dress just looks (and feels) wrong in Almost-Winter. Zoe also stresses that Me Made May should not involve any panic sewing. Which it would, in my case. So I figured it'd have to be a 2014 challenge for me. 

BUT, then I was asked to work four days this week instead of the usual two, and it occurred to me that I could have a mini Me Made Week now instead. So I did. Out came the Sari Dress, the Head vs Heart Skirt, a red, vaguely 50s inspired dress I made last year, and these pants. It's funny, but I've always been genuinely nervous wearing out of the house anything I've made myself. Someone might see. (Why is it, incidentally, that we're so forgiving of badly fitting RTW and so hyper-critical of tiny -  imagined? - flaws in our own-sewn things? Or is that just me?). But I think this week really helped to overcome those nerves! I'm actually looking forward to the chance to wear my own things now. And it felt really good to be complimented on something I'd put thought, time and effort into. So even though it wasn't technically following the "rules", it's accomplished something pretty great for me. Thanks, Zoe!

And finally, I had some exciting sewing news this week; I've been asked to help sew some costumes for a local production of The King & I. My husband and daughter are both in the cast (v. exciting!), so I'd put my name down to help out but hadn't heard anything for a few months. But it's official - I'm sewing the King's costumes! Can't wait - I adore costume-making...

Have you got any projects on the go that make your heart skip at the moment? Or have you conquered any sewing-related fears lately? I love hearing about other people's sewing adventures :)

Have a wonderful week :) 


  1. Those trousers look terrific on you! I haven't bought any of the StyleArc patterns yet, so really pleased to hear they worked well for you. I have had my eye on a few of them, so perhaps I'll take the plunge!

    1. Thanks! Definitely take the plunge; they're gorgeous patterns :)

  2. They do look brilliant. I have never sewn any trousers/pants. They are on my list of things to do in 2013. I wonder if I'll ever get to them!? Also I've not heard of Style Arc before either, so off to have a browse there!

    Well done on your mini me made week! I'm glad you got loads of compliments. That really boosts the confidence, doesn't it?

    1. It really does... Style Arc is wonderful - enjoy the browsing! My wish list just keeps on growing :)

  3. Danielle, massive congrats on your Mini-Me-Made week!!! I'm SOOOO pleased that it has made you feel more comfortable and positive whilst wearing your lovely self-made garments, and I'm thoroughly chuffed that my challenges helped inspire you decision to challenge yourself in this way. Your new trousers look fabulous!!!!! You could make them in different colours/fabric weights and they'd I'm sure each pair would look totally unique, seeing as it's such a classic style. Happy sewing, talented lady! Zoe xxx

    1. Thank you so much!! Your Me Made challenges are such an inspired idea. And it was actually another post of yours that kickstarted my goal to give up RTW and start sewing/refashioning my wardrobe from then on. I'd read Lucy Siegle's To Die For and was determined to make a genuine change, but wasn't sure whether going "cold turkey" was actually feasible. I read what you wrote and realised it wasn't far-fetched at all - it was eminently achievable! And what's more, plenty of other people were already doing it! So THANK YOU!! I'm loving this "new" way of doing things :) oxo

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