Lander Pant in Japanese Cotton/Linen

I bought this Japanese cotton/linen lightweight canvas back in April from Stonemountain (now sadly sold out) and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make with it. A simple sheath dress seemed like the obvious choice, but I felt like this amazing print had more potential. I played around with the idea of a two-piece setacular with a mini skirt and crop top, but again it didn’t feel quite right to me. Then one day I was going through my stash and I held up the panel to evaluate it again and it hit me: pants! I posted about my revelation on Instagram and got some well-meaning replies that maybe I should make a sheath dress, but I was determined to make some crazy pants. And then a couple months later (my sewing queue is long and slow-moving), True Bias released the Lander Pant and it was like the stars aligned.

My Refashioners 2017 project was my first run with this pattern and of course I used a fabric that Kelli probably did not intend for the Landers to be made in (silk!). This Kokka fabric is closer to what the pattern recommends, though it’s still slightly lightweight. I was super fussy about my cutting in order to a) try to get things lined up across seams and b) not have a big red cloud right on my ass. It was tricky and I ended up having to piece the waistband, but that’s no big deal.

You may have noticed that I didn’t include the patch pockets on the front. This is partially because trying to pattern match those would have been a pain, and also because I wanted a sleeker look in the front. I created these little (actually a bit too little) pockets in the waistband seam. Can I call them welt pockets? All I know is that I wanted them to resemble Kamm pants a bit and I think I accomplished that! (At least with the pockets, ha.) I also left off the belt loops to keep with that sleeker look.

Love that accidental airplane fly (get it?)

Kelli is an amazing pattern drafter and the proportions of the Lander Pant are absolutely spot on. I graded from a 6 in the waist to a 10 in the hips and kept the length as drafted for the cropped pant. I was worried about the back pockets being too big and square, but I think they look pretty great actually. The only issue I have is that the waistband is totally straight, so I have some gaping in the back and sides. I should have caught this before cutting and next time I’ll draft a curved waistband.

Other things to note: I used a dark green thread for topstitching and the jeans buttons came from Stonemountain (they’re the brass ones here). For construction seams I used light grey thread, which seems to work for most of the colors in the print.

Let’s talk about this print for a second, because it’s kind of the star of the show. It’s called “Cinema,” which I don’t really get because there’s nothing movie-related in it. There’s an airport, a beach, and a carnival, but no movie theater. Go figure. I love the colors in this fabric, from the dark green night sky to the pale pink sand. There are actually daytime and greyscale versions as well, but I prefer this one. I find the illustration style so playful and charming, and I usually don’t like any prints with human figures.

In looking up this fabric just now I learned that the original art was created through Chigiri-e, which is a Japanese papercraft that traditionally used hand-dyed washi paper. Wow!

I think these Lander Pants might be my favorite make this year. Though I’ve never made or worn anything like this before, they feel completely me. I feel like sewing has really expanded my capacity to wear bright colors and prints. I actually don’t remember the last time I made something solid black (my Kochi Kimono doesn’t count because it’s two-toned) and this is the most fun my closet has ever been. I fully encourage everyone to try making a pair of wild pants, whether they’re fancy (velvet?!) or just kind of silly (grass pants!). Go for it!

I have plans for at least one more pair of Lander Pants in the nearish future and probably also some pattern hacking/mashing with the Lander as a base. It’s just an excellent, excellent pattern with tons of potential.

Perfect fit on the booty!

Refashioners 2017: Suits You / Two-Piece Silk Setacular

When Portia Lawrie first announced this year’s Refashioners challenge, I wasn’t planning on joining in. But then the blogger posts started popping up and there were so many beautiful and creative makes like Toya’s and Allie’s that I couldn’t help but be inspired. (Portia is sneakily smart about how the challenge rolls out I think!) It was Beth’s gorgeous shift dress that really got me thinking that I wanted to give the whole Refashioners thing a try.

Initially I had a plan for a cool wrap skirt with D-rings and some kind of fitted top or jacket—but of course all that went out the window when I went to actually find a suit. I really wanted a wool suit in a somewhat unusual color or pattern, but everything I found was grey, black, or too small to use. I checked out the women’s suits and found a much bigger range of colors, but it was really difficult to find a full suit set. I was ready to give up and decided to give it a last look, but then I found this 100% silk large skirt suit with shell buttons. I absolutely love sueded silk and shell buttons are my number one favorite buttons, so it was meant to be! But the skirt was a wrap skirt—great for the amount of fabric, but not great for my plans. I didn’t want to make a wrap skirt that came from a wrap skirt, so I needed a new idea.

The original suit. Please excuse my weird face!

Around this time I started watching The Deuce on HBO, which is about pimps, sex workers, and pornography in 1970s New York. It’s a great show for many reasons, but I absolutely love the costume design. I was really intrigued by the tiny button-up shorts that Maggie Gyllenhaal often wears, so I did some Etsy searching and found several examples of these shorts (or hot pants, really). To round off the 70s-inspired look I decided to pair my shorts with a blousey off-shoulder crop top.

To make the shorts I started with the Lander Pant/Shorts pattern by True Bias. Right away I eliminated the waistband, increased the rise to make up for it, and drafted facing pieces for the two fronts and the back. I tried to figure out a way I could combine the fly and front waistband facings, but it was too much of a puzzle for me at the time. I also shortened the hem by an inch and a half and graded from an 6 in the waist to a 10 in the hips.

I knew that I wanted to use the entire skirt to get the blousiest top possible, so I was left with the jacket for the shorts. A nice thing is that the jacket fronts were mirror images, so I was able to get everything to fit and match each other. The princess seaming on the back of the jacket ended up on my butt, which is a detail I actually like.

Probably unpicking everything took the same amount of time as sewing it back together. What took the longest was getting all that interfacing off the front of the jacket! When I got down to sewing the shorts came together really nicely and the top was a breeze. Everything fit pretty much exactly how I wanted it to, which was lucky because I didn’t do a muslin (oops). I trusted Kelli’s drafting on the Lander Pant and I’m really excited to make them in a more traditional fabric. (and by that I mean an actual bottomweight…I’m going to make them in a crazy Japanese panel print, of course)

I’m super super happy with how this came out! I feel like I challenged myself with the fabric and pattern choice (I had never sewn a fly front before!), but I think it all worked out beautifully. I’m sad that it’s now pretty cold (last week it was 85°, boo) and I can’t wear the shorts out, but I wore the top to work today and felt super cute. I know that both will be a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

In the end, the only parts that didn’t come from the original suit were thread and a little bit of interfacing. I still have all the nylon lining left over, a few buttons, and the shoulder pads, but no useable silk pieces are left from the suit. Not bad, right?

What do you think of refashioning and the Refashioners challenge? I used to be a huge thrift store shopper but since sewing I haven’t been doing any clothes shopping (shoes are another story…). I had a lot of fun with this project, but I think I need to work through more of my stash before I start combing thrift stores for more fabric!


A Handy Ogden Cami in Designer Silk

A couple of days ago on Instagram I posted about my personal style and I said that I stick to neutral colors. I’m sorry, but I lied. Or at least wasn’t entirely truthful, because I have one exception to my usual palette: printed silk. I’m not interested in cotton prints at all, but I can’t resist a unique print on beautiful silk. And judging by this Ogden Cami and my recent Mood Fabrics buys, it seems like pink is a favorite. Who even am I?

This silk was found at Stonemountain and Daughter, of course. They also had another colorway in green and yellow, if I’m remembering correctly, but this pink and blue is much cheerier. It’s actually a designer end by Opening Ceremony! They made it into a teensy little wrap skirt. (Which of course costs like $450.)

At the time it was the most expensive fabric I had ever purchased, so I only got a yard. Just enough for an Ogden with some tiny scraps leftover that may work their way into some underwear.

I made a semi-wearable muslin in rayon and found that the pattern ran rather large. I think I could have sized down more, but I like how flowy it is. I also didn’t like the boob flap thing in the original pattern, so I fully lined it in more silk. The construction is really nice and the lining helps get a good v-neck point.

I feel pretty special whenever I wear this and it’s one of my go-to “fancy” tops. It looks great peeking out beneath a jacket or layered over a long-sleeve shirt.

The back isn’t super bra-friendly, but I don’t worry about that too much (I’m a tramp, I know). I should probably sew a little ribbon or something in the back so that I’m not always trying to figure out which way is which when I go to wear it. I usually go by the designer mark (the letters OC in a circle) directly in the middle in the front.

I made this top back in October or November and I’m excited to make more for the summer. I have one cut out in (surprise) that pink jaguar print silk I got from Mood. I sized down a bit, so we’ll see how that changes up the look.