Experiments In At Home Clothes, A Double Feature

Sometimes funny little ideas fester in my brain, and I put them on a back burner to simmer while I work on more pressing issues.  Occasionally the simmering ideas fizzle away (like my ill-advised crush on jodhpurs), though they usually persist until I call the idea into being.  Most frequently, my funny persistent ideas lead to comfortable (if over-engineered) house-clothes.  By the way, the person who says hourglass shapes can wear anything is full of it.  An outfit with no waist definition adds about ten pounds to my figure.

First, the top:

I made the normal bow-necked woven short-sleeved version, but my interest piqued when I saw the fabric choice for view 1- jersey.  This week I spotted some clearance rack striped viscose and decided to play around.  The front and the entire sleeve are cut as one.  The back connects to the sleeve and has a zipper closure from the back neck.  The side also has a zipper, and the front and back both have double rows of tucks.  I left out the tucks and the zips, as I was more interested in how the seams came together than in messing around with extra sewing.

Check out that underarm gusset.

I thought to make a sort of keyhole back with a button and loop at the top, except the button and loop looked weird.  I can wear this top front to back as well, it has an artsy-slouchy feel.

It was an interesting exercise, but I won’t wear it outside the house and I doubt I’ll play with this pattern again.  Can you spot the front shoulder darts?  I satisfied my curiosity with a minimum outlay of money and time, and it’s comfy enough to be useful.  Had it turned out fan-tab-ulous, I would be making it in a nice fabric.

The Pants– I made them of corduroy, blending my block pants pattern with the pants from my 1930’s beach pajamas.  By the way, I’m thoroughly disgusted to learn that palazzo pants are the “trend” for this summer.  All my pants are made that way.  Blast.

I like them; they’ll serve the office of sweatpants for me in the coming winter months.  I must find the time to slap in some welt pockets or a quickie patch pocket; no pockets is proving incredibly impractical.

The front crotch from my block pattern is so short, I had to take in the original beach pajamas’ inseam by 1.5″.  I lined up the grainlines and played with the two until it seemed right, then I traced off the combination of the two patterns.

By contrast, on the back my crotch seam extended past the original beach pajama crotch and I ended up extending the inseam.

I used gnomes and haircloth (nice and firm with good recovery) for the facings, and Hong Konged the heck out of the seams.  I used a decorative stitch so I could be sure I caught all the raw edges, and because it’s fun.  I laugh every time I drop these pants.  Invisible side zip.

No breaks in the fall!  My photos will be somewhat less incredible than usual because my ecologist husband went off on a research trip again.   Today Lila called the shots in the fading late afternoon sunlight.

Speaking of the husband, I’m working on the pattern draft for his jacket and documenting the process.  He requested a male version of my recent WW2 jacket.

I totally don’t blame him.   I’m entering the jacket in Pattern Review’s Lined Jacket contest.  The contests work best when loads of people vote, so please check it out.  Voting opens soon.  If you think I should win, please vote for me.  I’d love that.

What other crazy ideas are simmering in my head while I lovingly draft a jacket for an absent partner?  Check out my 1950’s Weigel’s dress:

The pattern and fabric came from two work colleagues, I’m itching to get started.

This is the Riverbends top from Anthropologie.  If my draft works, I’ll make this from a delicious slubbed ivory NZ merino.  If my draft doesn’t work, I’ll have another over-engineered house shirt from a crappy slubbed rayon.  Win-win, really.


  1. "the person who says hourglass shapes can wear anything is full of it.  An outfit with no waist definition adds about ten pounds to my figure." – quite right!! I have the same problem. It doesn't help that a lot of clothes seem to be made for straight up-and-down women, who still look skinny with zero-definition garments – it makes it really hard to shop sometimes! That Weigels pattern and the fabric you have planned for it look lovely – looking forward to seeing it!

  2. Once I realized that I can't wear everything (and shouldn't), I started looking much better! I too need lots of waist definition! It says "Please look at the skinny part of me!" Belts are good for this. :)

  3. I wish I could do any kind of waist definition… /sigh.Well, the shirt sure looks comfy, at least.As to the palazzo pants, that reminds me of the time in high school when I ripped the waistband off my Levis, so proud of my originality… then saw the same thing not a month later on, of all things, a Mariah Carey music video. D'oh!I can't wait to see your next couple of projects… they look super, duper fun! :)I'm pretty sure Modern Pattern Design (on the vintagesewing.info site) has instructions for drafting zig-zags with gathers like that Anthropologie shirt… (But then you probably know that already ;) )

  4. "Gnomes and haircloth"?! Fabulous! That would have been my post title!I actually really like the stripey top – does it work tucked in to a high waisted skirt or trousers?That Weigel pattern scares me – so beautiful but complicated. Good luck with that one!

  5. That gnome fabric is never going to stop making me laugh! Love that you faced the inside of your pants with them!I like the striped shirt, especially the contrasting gusset. Looks like a comfy shirt.

  6. Marie-Christine, I checked out vogue 2787 and it's similar, just in dress form and intended for a woven… Roobeedoo, *slaps forehead* I wasn't on the ball last night!Tanit-Isis- That sucks! I remember similar things happening to me, and I'd feel individual and creative and then see other people had done the same thing. Is Modern Pattern Design the Pepin book? I'm too lazy to look, but that's where I'm taking the draft. Except I think I'll pleat instead of gather. Do the sides of that shirt look rouched to you??

  7. Ah, I so can relate.Trends – it's like my newly-found love for floppy hats. Same with long skirts. I fell in love with long skirts and now they're "in". (Although the kind that's "in" is more skinny than the kind I like.) My sewing skills haven't reached the trouser stage yet, so what happened to you could not happen to me. I guess at the point when I finally make a pair it will, and slight boot-cuts will be in again… :DAnd corduroy lounging pants. An old pair of mine serves the same purpose now, so I totally understand you. Your pair is lovely (and cleverly made from two patterns!), and the gnome fabric… well, that's one of the advantages of home-sewing, right? You can have fun inside. :-)The same here with hourglass. I guess I'm more or less an houglass now and yes, I do need some kind of waist definition. But the top you made is too lovely to pass up as a failure in that area – so wear it proudly. I love the unusual construction.Plus, belated congratulations on the jacket. It's fantastic. The colour, the fabric, the cut, it all works so well together. I guess I'd need one of those myself… And good luck in the contest. I did not finish my lined jacket in time, but I'll try to remember and vote for you!

  8. Pingback: Wins and Fails in Winter Sewing « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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