The Details: How to sew a kangaroo pocket

The Details: How to sew a kangaroo pocket

I’ve had a number of people ask for the details on how I made the kangaroo pocket on my recent Fen mods: tunic and dress variations. Following is how I do it — and since I’m not a sewing professional, there may be people with even better advice in the comments on this. You can of course adjust the numbers to your liking, but my measurements result in a generously sized pocket 14″ wide and 8″ tall. You’ll want to make and attach the pocket to your garment front piece before sewing the rest of the garment together.

MAKE THE PATTERN PIECE

Using tracing paper or butcher paper or whatever you’ve got, draw a rectangle 15″ wide by 9″ tall.

On the right edge, measure 3.5″ up from the bottom right corner and make a mark. On the top edge, measure in 3.25″ from the upper right corner and make a mark. Draw a line between those two marks for your slant pocket edge. Repeat on the left side. Cut that out and you have your pattern piece, with .5″ seam allowance included.

CUT AND PREPARE THE POCKET

Matching the grainline for your garment front piece, cut your pocket piece(s) out of your fabric. If you’re using lightweight fabric, like my linen, you may want to cut two identical pocket pieces and make it a double thickness. For sweatshirt knits or heavier woven fabrics, a single layer will suffice. Either way, you can zigzag or pink the edges if you like.

For a single layer pocket, press all of the edges under at .5″, then for the slant pocket edges (which will remain unattached), press the raw edge under another .25″; top-stitch along the slant edges, starting and stopping just shy of the corners.

For a double layer pocket, with right sides together and using a .5″ seam allowance, stitch the two pieces together along all but the long bottom edge. Clip the corners, turn the pocket right side out, and form and press carefully into shape. Fold the bottom edges inward and press; pin together if needed. Top-stich along the slant edges, starting and stopping just shy of the corners.

ATTACH THE POCKET

Mark the center of both your garment front piece and your pocket — I just fold them each in half and press at the appropriate spot, then line up the creases to center the pocket on the garment. Pin the pocket in place, being careful to keep the bottom and top edges parallel to your hem (i.e., perpendicular to the grainline).

First, stitch across the top of the pocket, starting and stopping at the rows of stitching you’ve done across the slant edges. Then starting at the lower slant corner on one side, sew down the side, along the bottom, and back up the other side.

Give it a good press, and carry on assembling the rest of your garment!

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PREVIOUSLY in The Details (sewing): How I sew elastic waistbands

This is summer me.

This outfit feels like a tiny personal triumph, so there are two quick things I want to tell you about it:

1) I’ve wandered onto the warm side of the color wheel for the first time in years, and it feels surprisingly great. This is the plum-colored tee I scored at Elizabeth Suzann’s sample sale in December (from their erstwhile Alabama Chanin collab), paired with this weekend’s rendition of my go-to modified Robbie Pants, this time in “Pomelo” linen from Merchant & Mills. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten a pomelo so can’t say for sure how accurate it is, but I would have named this color after an heirloom tomato — it’s exactly that sort of barely pinkish red. Together, these garments are the accomplishment of a goal: a summer-appropriate outfit that feels like me. In fact, I don’t remember the last time an outfit made me feel this satisfied. (And yet I couldn’t be bothered to do better than a mirror selfie!)

2) I’ve gone up one size in the pants. All of the canvas and denim versions I’ve made were size Small (with some very slight tweaks), based on my wish for there to be as little gathering as possible at the elastic waist. So I chose the size that would just barely slip on over my hips with the elastic fully stretched. After I made them in linen for the first time, by contrast, I was vaguely wishing the fabric had more of an opportunity to swish and drape. This red pair is a Medium and I am in absolute love with the fit. There’s not a huge difference in the sizing, but just enough to transform the way they feel and move.

I might be getting this summer dressing thing figured out. Only took me six summers …

p.s. One of the things I’m loving about making these pants out of assorted 60″-wide linens is they take less than a yard and a half of fabric!

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Linen pants! Plus Fen tunic, take two

Elsewhere

This has been a distressing week in the US (one of far too many of its kind), and you know I feel so strongly that every one of us needs to be informed and engaged and to work for peace. (Boy have my thoughts on how advanced these past three years.) But we also have to take care of ourselves and keep up our strength, which means being present with the people we love and also allowing ourselves to disappear into our knitting or sewing for a minute, to catch our breath and boldly face the world again.

I’ve got a mixed bag of links for you today, for your edification and/or enjoyment; I’ll see you back here on the other side of what I hope will be a comparatively peaceful weekend—

— Squam’s diversity-and-inclusion panel from last month has since been posted online. It’s long, so maybe watch it in chunks if you need to, but I hope you’ll watch

— I love every word of this interview with Oaxacan weaver and natural dyer Porfirio Gutiérrez: No one told us we were artists (via)

— Podcast eps I’m eager to listen to: The Dressed interview with Joy Bivins on the history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and the debut of Ceci Knits the World

— I’m in MDK’s debt for linking to Lorilee Beltman’s brilliant video about how to memorize the Kitchener Stitch — I always have to remind myself which way it goes and will never need to again!

— … and also for asking Jillian Moreno the question I’ve always wanted to ask someone: the difference between fingering-weight yarn and sock yarn

— Remember that wrapped hoop earring tutorial? Anne updated it on her own blog — and look at this lovely espadrille project

Why the American shoe disappeared, and why it’s so hard to bring it back

— and totally fascinating use of a sock blank

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On an unrelated note, I want to acknowledge the loss of Toni Morrison this week, which feels especially sharp within this particular news cycle. I don’t really even have the words for it, but I loved this passage by Tracy K. Smith from one of the many NYT tributes I’ve read in the past few days:

“… the living monument of Ms. Morrison’s body of work assures me that the language of peace, justice, safety and stability must enter our imagination as they always have — not through the language of policy, but via our willingness to regard one another as worthy of attention and love. Such ideas must be sat with, moved through, married to our vocabularies for love, desire, loss, resentment, remembering, healing and hope. And those vocabularies are the primary terrain of the artist.”

I’ve been saying lately it’s been too long since I’ve read any of her novels. Time to dig back in …

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New Favorites: Little hugs

New Favorites: Little sweaters

I don’t know whether it’s the back-to-school air or wanting to “hug” the ones I love, but I’m preoccupied with the notion of knitting more little sweaters to send off to small humans of various sizes. These two patterns (one new, the other a longstanding fave) top my list for being both timeless and gender-neutral, all the better for future hand-me-downs —

TOP: Willard Mini by Alicia Plummer is a sporty little drawstring funnel neck I’d love to have in my own closet

BOTTOM: Arlo by Michele Wang is the one I wanted in my size at the time (and then along came Bellows) but now want to make in miniature

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Puzzle wrap

Linen pants! Plus Fen tunic, take two

Linen pants! Plus Fen tunic, take two

This weekend I sewed myself a pair of linen pants, and I was so excited Monday morning to have two whole pairs of seasonally appropriate pants to choose from that I was asking myself why on earth it took me so long to make such a thing?! They’re the same modified Robbie pants I’ve made several times before (always in heavy canvas or denim), and then I remembered, oh right, that was the hold-up. I’ve made several pairs of pants, and I have this shirt shortage, so I forbade myself to make any more pants till I solved the other problem. Meanwhile, I’ve suffered through jeans and canvas pants all summer for several years running! While somehow not even solving the shirt problem.

Well. Now I have linen pants (bonus: that aren’t black!) and will be making a couple more as quickly as possible.

I also finished off another variation on the Fen mods I’ve been working on, another top, and this one is black. It’s a test run for the follow-up to my yellow Fen dress — I wanted to try out a few tweaks first and have quite a lot of black linen in my stash, bought at Elizabeth Suzann’s garage sale a couple years ago for $2/lb. While it’s a test for a dress, I didn’t want a black dress, plus, y’know, the aforementioned shirt problem, so now I have another linen top as well! And it cost me under a dollar to make. For this one, I sized down to an 18 in the shoulders and sleeve, blending that into the size 20 body and hemming it at hip length. You’ll have to take my word for all this since it’s impossible to see, but in addition to a single breast pocket, it has the same 5″ center-back pleat as ol’ yella, along with an 11″ center-front pleat, and I think this combo is going to make a most excellent dress. I have fabric washed and ready.

My goal is to sew one garment per week for the next few weeks, catching my closet up with my seasonal needs while I’ve got this burst of sewing mojo working for me and a solid plan to follow. So it’s full speed ahead at the moment!

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Linen Fen dress, take one

Queue Check — Midsummer 2019

Queue Check — Midsummer 2019

I know some of you are thinking “midsummer?!” We’re moments away from kids going back to school; there was a football game last night; the stores are already putting out their pumpkin-flavored-everything displays. But I still have a good 2.5 months of heat to deal with and can’t afford to start dreaming of fall. Although — even as I tell myself it’s ok to make clothes that don’t work in every season, that that’s the only way to really address clothes for hot weather — I can’t help thinking about how the things I make now will both travel and transition. That’s what I’m loving so much about the color palette I shared yesterday, which is also reflected above: It’s a palette for all seasons. And with the focus on garments with sleeves, I’m dealing with those in-between times I truly am unequipped for.

The only thing that’s happened to my toffee cable sweater since late June is I finished the first sleeve and cuff. I hope to knit the other sleeve this weekend and get back to the body, wrapping it up soon, because I need to get serious about my fall travel project. You can see I’ve got that skein of green wool-mohair out again, and can’t stop petting it. I’ve decided the very simple everyday stockinette pullover I’ve been planning to knit in navy will be preempted by a cheerful green version, and this Andorra is the precise shade of green I want. Sadly, it’s a warmer blend than I should really knit it in, so I’m pondering that while I finish the toffee sweater.

Meanwhile, I’m all about Linen Quest 2019, as seen in the sketches above — dresses plus mix-and-match separates on the horizon. Sketches 1 and 7 are the Fen dress and tunic mods and I’ve posted in the past week, and sketch 2 is the next variation I’m after. Even more caftany. (Likely making that this weekend!) Sketches 3 and 6, shirtdress and shirt, are slight mods on Liesl Gibson’s Gallery tunic/dress that I’ve sewn and loved before. Sketch 4 is my Hemlock mod from a few years ago, the wool gauze that got away, and I don’t know why I never thought to make it in linen. Sketch 5 is a tweaked Scout tee — a pattern I’ve had for some time and have yet to sew. I want to shape it like the rust one on yesterday’s mood board. And the last two are my pleat-neck tee idea and my beloved modified Robbie pants I’ve made a handful of times but all in heavy fabrics. Time for some linen!

It feels good to have a plan, and to have dusted off my machine. We’ll see what I can accomplish before it wants to go back into hibernation again.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend! I’d love to hear what you’re up to —

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: June 2019

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

Wardrobe Planning: Latter 2019 (mood/palette)

So how does a color-shy minimalist like me factor in significant color, as I’m itching to do? That’s what I’m trying to figure out as I pause for the first time this year to think about what I have and what I want/need to make between now and the year-end. As I alluded to before and will talk more about, I’m focused on the most potent needs right now: a Venn diagram of sleeves, dresses and linen, plus addressing the imbalance in my stack of pants, which are almost entirely heavy cotton/canvas and next to no linen or summer-weight anything.

The challenge of working with linen is it means mostly solids. It’s like a box of crayons. And whereas I have no problem combining solid neutrals (and the occasional stripe), it’s taken some thinking to figure out how to work with crayons in a way that still feels like me. I’ve determined that the secret lies in the specifics of the palette and in combining colors in offbeat ways. What got emphasized when I went to put this into a 2019 Mood board was that it also means tonal dressing, maybe even more than mix-and-mismatch, which again I totally get! I’m just used to doing it with neutrals. But now that I’m seeing it that way, it seems like a no-brainer.

What it comes down to in terms of the palette is augmenting my existing blues and camels and stripes with rusty-pinky-melon tones, yellow, and a hit of spearmint green.

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Me-Made May data