Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

You guys, I haven’t finished anything since the beginning of June, and it’s been even longer since I had had a major jolt of that “wow, I made that” feeling. These pajama pants are pure love. But wait: pants? That was neither the plan nor the revised plan.

To recap: As part of my Summer of Basics plan, I was making Carolyn pajama shorts in navy linen with black piping, but they were a little too fitted for comfort. They were also so gorgeous in the navy-black combo that I decided I wanted to do them as the pants instead of the shorts, with the intention of wearing them out of the house. So I resolved to make another, simplified pair of the shorts to work out the size, and then would go back to the navy pants.

So. Saturday morning I went into my sewing room and began tracing off the bigger shorts, then realized it would be easier to trace the pants and just make them shorts length, and then I’d have the pants pieces all ready to go (assuming the size was right). My plan to “simplify” things by doing them hemmed instead of with the cuffs was counterintuitive: As I was giving myself a migraine trying to figure out how to rework the side seams and inseam (in matching ways from front to back) to accommodate the wide hem I wanted, I realized that would be so substantially different from the pants that it wouldn’t tell me anything at all about the fit of the pants! So if I wanted this next pair to function as a fit muslin for the navy pants, I would have to make the pants.

Pajama pant perfection (2018 FO-16)

The bad news is: I still don’t have the pajama shorts I really do need right now. The good news is: I do also need pajama pants, and these are fantastic. If I hadn’t sewn them in such pajama-y fabric — translucent, no less — I would 100% wear them out of the house. So now I’m more excited than ever about the navy linen pair.

These are View A, no cuffs, but I like them enough that I might actually go back and add cuffs at some point. Meanwhile, I just turned the hem 3″ and 3″ and sewed it with a medium stitch in case I decide to take it out and do that. And sewed the waistband my usual way. No other mods — the cut and fit is spot on. For the record, these are a straight size 12, just with a wider hem.

And yes, I’m counting these as my first finish for #summerofbasics.

(Worn here with my omnipresent black Adventure tank)

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Revising my Summer of Basics strategy

Revising my Summer of Basics strategy

This is really more of a detour than a pivot or full-on rewrite, but after our discussion about my pj shorts last week — and after going ahead with the first cuff and inserting the elastic — I’m modifying my Summer of Basics plan. (I thought I’d be showing you my finished shorts today, but NOPE!) I’m still making a sweater plus pj top and bottoms, and I’m still making fancy Carolyn pajamas, just in a little bit different order.

The thing about the navy linen pj shorts — especially with that black flat piping in there — is that they are really lovely. And they are also just really too small, even if the linen does give a bit with wear. Because they’re fitted, rather than loose-fitting, the cuff doesn’t lay nicely and it’s quite unflattering. Plus the cuff itself, with the piping involved and the very nice finish it all gets, is a project unto itself. So rather than spend that much more time on the second cuff right now, I’m setting them aside, and following this course of action:

1) As I’m really kicking myself for not having made a muslin of the shorts (I do know better!) (especially for something with this level of construction), I’m going to cut a second pair in the natural/blue stripe fabric above — one of my Imogene+Willie remnants from a few summers ago — which has always struck me as pajama-perfect fabric. I’m going up two sizes, giving it an extra inch or so in the rise (I’m long-waisted and these are a bit low-waisted, which on me winds up being super low-waisted), and also elongating the inseam for a slightly longer hemmed leg as opposed to the cuff and piping. That’ll make it a much quicker sew. (I might also do the waistband my way.) And those will be my SoB pj shorts, which will still be cute and cozy with my sweater when the weather starts to break.

2) I’ve been desperately trying to resist the siren song of the Wiksten Kimono, to concentrate on my pajama plan, but after seeing so many in the #summerofbasics feed I’ve gotten it into my head that an unlined one in another of the I+W fabrics in my stash — the blue/white stripe — would make an excellent little housecoat sort of thing, which might also prove street-worthy. My strategy for resisting this was simply to not buy the pattern, but then Jenny kindly sent it to me, and since this is a very right-now sort of usefulness, and since it will be cute with the striped Carolyn shorts, I’m making this my SoB pj top. I think I have just enough of this fabric left to squeak one out, and I even have a pair of pockets I cut for something else and didn’t use, so I can resort to those for the pockets if need be.

3) Once I know I’ve got the size right on the Carolyn bottoms, I’m going to return to the navy-and-black idea, but do it in pants instead of shorts, and with the addition of back pockets. In this fabric (in my world) these are basically a tuxedo, so there’s a very good chance those will be pants I wear out of the house this fall, and not just pj’s.

4) And then I’ll make the matching Carolyn top to go with them. So the Carolyn combo basically becomes a fall project for me.

5) Somewhere along the way, I’ll put the second cuff on the navy shorts and find them a nice home …

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Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

It wouldn’t be Summer of Basics if it weren’t wildly inspiring and impossible to pull highlights from! But I’ve declared myself the lone juror this year (note to self: don’t do that again), so choose I must! For July, I’d said I’d be looking for progress and how well you shared it, and I’ve only been able to narrow it down as far as FOUR winners. For more on each of them and what they’re making, click through to their respective Instagram feeds. And truly, the whole #summerofbasics feed is full of people pushing themselves and making great clothes, so please check it out if you aren’t already following along.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

@saltairarts (above)
I mentioned last month that I was really struck by how thoughtful Megan’s choice of garments was — essentially she’s replacing things she has had and loved in the past, knowing they’re sure to be long-lived wardrobe heroes — and since then I’ve also really enjoyed how beautifully she’s documented her projects at each step along the way.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@mkfwilliams
Having become a mother and also recently relocated to Colorado, Meredith is using the challenge to create pieces that suit her new life/style. She’s also a knitter taking on sewing by tackling three sewn pieces in order of progressive complexity, alongside a knitted cardigan. And again, she’s been sharing it all along the way, from the oopses to the hoorays.

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@productbyprocess
Another knitter building up her sewing skills — working through the trial-and-error of bust dart placement and advancing to more challenging things. I’d been noting her projects as they streamed through the feed, and didn’t realize until I clicked to her profile to compile this that she’s Parikha Mehta. Parikha’s blog was a favorite of mine in my first few months as a knitter, and she very soon after stopped blogging to concentrate on photography. So on top of admiring her SoB projects, I’m so thrilled she’s on Instagram and is sharing her makes again!

. . .

Summer of Basics July winners: The WIPs

@rarelyidle
As with so many people in these makealongs — and my favorite thing about doing them — Gabrielle’s tagged posts drew me into her whole feed, and I really enjoyed “getting to know” her, along with seeing what she’s making and how it’s going so far.

Congratulations to the four makers featured above — you’ve each won a Fringe Porter Bin in the color of your choosing.* Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your color choice and your mailing address!

. . .

And for the random blindfold scroll-and-tap winners from July, they are @kleverknitsdesigns, @handwashdryflat and @barbaramaeshaw. The three of you have each won a Fringe canvas tool pouch! Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your mailing address to collect your prize.

August’s winners (prizes TBD) will be all about the three finished garments and how well you’ve shared them. So keep those #summerofbasics posts coming!

*An $85 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.
**A $24 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.

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A short conundrum

A short conundrum

I got to spend a few hours yesterday working on the shorts of my Carolyn Pajamas and now find myself a tiny bit torn over them. They still need the elastic installed in the waistband plus the leg cuffs (and piping) added, and I’m already pretty in love with them — as a garment and a piece of sewing. They’re incredibly nice looking in this navy linen, very likely even street-worthy. The concern is, they fit me perfectly. As in, the way a beautifully tailored pair of pants would fit. But these are loungewear, and I’d rather they were, y’know, roomier. Slouchier. Comfy.

I have PLENTY of this fabric to cut a bigger pair (and the top to go with them), so I’m debating whether to set these aside, start over, and finish these some other time when I’ve found another booty for them to adorn, or spend the time it’ll take to go ahead and finish them on the chance I wind up thinking they’re just fine and dandy. As usual, typing this out has given me the answer: I’ve also been debating the piping — I’m thinking of flat piping (no cord) in black linen for subtle contrast, but I’m not 100% sure about either part of that. So I’ll go ahead and try it on these and see what I think! That’s actually perfect.

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PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: Queue Check July 2018

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Queue Check — July 2018

Queue Check — July 2018

Last week I took the yoke of my Summer of Basics sweater off the needles and put it through the wash before I went any further, since I was still a little bit on the fence about it and wanted to see if the washed fabric would win me over. One of the many joys of this yarn, O-Wool Balance — and why I knit with it so often — is that it’s not superwash (it’s an organic wool-cotton blend) but is machine washable, and I like the fabric better when it’s machine-washed and slightly machine-dried than I do when it’s just soaked and air-dried. It fluffs and softens and melds really beautifully. I definitely liked the yoke better post-wash, but it took adding the folded neckband to really get me excited about having and wearing this sweater. I’m not totally in love with my raglan placement, but I’m hoping it won’t bother me any by the time I separate the body and sleeves. So, y’know, onward! But as slow as this is going, I’m starting to question whether I’ll be done with it by end of August.

[UPDATE: I put a video tutorial for this neckband technique in the @fringesupplyco profile at Instagram.]

Meanwhile, I finally started the cutting for my other two SoB projects. To recap: Those are supposed to be some sort of eyelet-y version of the Tessuti Alice top plus a set of Carolyn Pajamas. That’s technically four things, if I make both the top and bottoms of the pj’s, and my thinking has been that I’d concentrate on the top, and if I got to the bottoms they’d be a bonus. At this point, I’m starting with the bottoms, since a little pair of pj shorts like that for when I’m at home is one of my biggest wants right now — and I’m counting them! They’re all cut and ready for the sewing part, which I should be able to finish before July is out, which leaves all of August to see what else I can finish.

Even if you’re not actively participating in SoB, I encourage you to follow along with the #summerofbasics feed. So much great stuff happening. And if you are participating, make sure to post a progress update! I’ll be choosing July winners in just over a week.

Related: How to improvise a top-down sweater and How I do folded neckbands

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Popular patterns and “late” starts for the Summer of Basics

Popular patterns and "late" starts for the Summer of Basics

Somehow it’s already the dead center of Summer of Basics and I’ve only barely begun! I’m not even to the end of the yoke on my sweater (so slow going for some reason) and haven’t so much as traced off the patterns for my other two intended projects. My house has been in total chaos due to a bathroom renovation that went on way longer than expected, but I’ve now reclaimed my sewing room (and my sanity) and I’m not the least bit concerned! There’s still plenty of time. Which obviously also means I don’t think it’s too late for you to join in, if you haven’t yet and are feeling the urge. There are still new plans posted to the #summerofbasics feed on a regular basis — so come on in, the water is lovely and we’re having a wonderful time.

Last year I did a big roundup of popular patterns, and we’re seeing a lot of the same ones this year, with good reason — lots of Odgen Camis, Willow Tanks, Kalle Shirtdresses and Cline pullovers in particular. So I thought I’d take a minute to note a couple of patterns that have come out in the meantime that are also proving popular and/or that you might like to consider:

TOP: Wiksten Kimono by Jenny Gordy is probably the most frequently recurring pattern in the feed, although I haven’t made a scientific study of it. The newly released pattern includes a variety of proportions, and it lends itself to fabrics for all seasons, so the possibilities are endless.

MIDDLE: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen are the classic super-high-waisted flares that have made a raging comeback in the past few years, also with a shorts option. Jenny Trousers and Overall by Closet Case Patterns are a super-cute overalls riff on the same style, also with pants and shorts options. And the more retro-stylin’ Lander Pants are showing up in all sorts of fantastic variations.

BOTTOM: Uniform Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge has been modified and updated from the original version, multiple varieties of which are showing up in the feed.

How’s your SoB going so far? Are you still mulling? Need more advice? Encouragement? We’re all here for you—

For more pattern suggestions, definitely check out this big roundup, as well as the #summerofbasics feed!

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Summer of Basics June highlight: The planners

Summer of Basics June winners: The planners

Being away for so much of the first month of Summer of Basics was SO HARD, but I’ve also really enjoyed submersing myself in the Instagram feed over the past few days and getting caught up. There have already been so many amazing statements and contributions, plans, and even finished garments! As always, you’ve made it hard to narrow it down to just a few to feature here. For example, I was struck by the thoughtfulness of @saltairarts’s chosen three, the motivation behind @ephie_jg’s participation, @bookishnathalie’s decision to not overthink it, just let it happen. (“That in itself is enough of a challenge for a control freak like me.”) Among so many others! But I’ve settled on the following THREE as the June prizes winners (in no particular order):

TOP: @thestoryclubpdx
TSC had a nice, ambitious plan to stretch her skills in three directions: hacking a sewing pattern, doing some natural dyeing, and knitting her first adult-sized sweater for herself. Then she made a very sage and clear-eyed decision about that sweater.

BOTTOM LEFT: @moorejamknits
I loved what JM had to say about coming from a long line of black women who knitted (about that not being an anomaly!), and how her SoB 3 picks have been influenced by the women who handed down their skills — and their garments — to her.

BOTTOM RIGHT: @anelementallife
Sara, a school teacher, talked about how and why summer break is a struggle for her, and how she’s using SoB to lend some structure to her time off, while also filling some gaps in her closet.

Congratulations, you three! In addition to the magnificent plans you’ve embarked on, you’ve each won a full set of Fringe Supply Co. notebooks: 1 large notebook, 1 pocket notepad, and 1 leather-covered memo book, each in the color of your choosing.* Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your choices and your mailing address!

And three more participants have each won 1 leather-covered memo book** in the color of their choice, via the random blindfolded scroll-and-tap method: @kerknits, @weliketosew and @ebbandsew. Please email contact@fringesupplyco.com with your color choice and your mailing address!

July’s winners (prizes TBD) will be all about works in progress, the actual progress made, and how you share about it. So keep those #summerofbasics posts coming!

*A $70 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.
**A $32 value. No substitutions and cannot be redeemed for cash.