Tag Archives: invisible zipper

The My Kind of Staple Skirt

First of all, thank you people all so damn much for your kind comments about my last very form fitting dress! I really appreciate all the love, you people are amazing. I get really weird and nervous about putting those photos on the internets, so thank you. Seriously. You are all way too kind and way too amazing, and thank you for your advice about knit hems and junk in the trunk. Saving all my future makes is what you people do best!

So, you know how Vogue and Marie Claire and Glamour have an article every five minutes about “The Five Staples You Need Right Now” or, “The Ten Pieces You Need For Spring” or “The Only Things You’ll Ever Need To Wear”, like no one is every going to shop again, like fashion as an industry is just going to stop and throw up it’s hands, all, okay, we’re all done. These things do not happen. And yet, the magazines keep selling! I myself buy them! What the hell? So we’ve all heard this mishagas about “staples”, like, THE black pant, THE white shirt, THE floral trench for 5000 dollars (which everyone totally needs, SAID NO ONE EVER). But of course, for convenience and simplicity and just normal day-to-day needs, most people DO have staples, they do have a sort of uniform. And mine is typically woven skirt, knit top, tights, go, especially in this long cold Spring we are having up here in the mid-Atlantic. So it’s obviously in my best interests to make things that correspond with that pattern. Hence this lovely thing I made recently:

RS 1I have, of course, made this before, and pretty damn recently, too. It’s Simplicity 4529, which I have learned from experience needs a non-stretch woven to work. But I think when it works, IT REALLY WORKS. Am I right? Even though the expression on my face above looks like I’m eating glass. I really need to work on my face…

RS 2

Ignore the line of my shirt which you can totally see here, and isn’t this nice? Yes, it’s a bit wrinkled, whatever, I live a life of wrinkles, one must accept such things. The one seam of this 10 dart skirt (10 DARTS! My mind balks each time I consider it, but clearly darts are the key to happiness!) is finished with navy bias tape, which you can see peeking out here at the back vent.

RS 5

More wrinkles, sigh. But I love this skirt! And the three times I’ve worn it thus far, everyone around me has told me they like it, including my bosses at the costume shop , who, like, sew for a living and are the real deal. So I feel pretty darn good about this. How good?

RS 4This good! To be fair, I’m more laughing because my friend Ben, who took these photos, made me crack up. Also, it was so damn cold when we took these. Also, it’s the end of March. Also, it snowed today. SO that’s why I’m making wool flipping pencil skirts at the end of March.

To the sewing! I made no changes except that this one has an invisible zipper not a visible one, which, I mean, I hate invisible zippers, but it’s what I had. I also shortened it by 3 inches or so, which is my standard for this pattern now. This buttery spongy wool I bought last winter at the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet and I got the last remnant on the spool, and I pet it for a full year before I actually made this. But I’m so glad I did! I love this skirt, and, weather being what it is, I will probably get a lot of use out of it before it gets too warm.

RS 3I’m trying to dance to stay warm here because it was seriously cold. But I’m so thrilled Ben took these photos of me, after a bagel brunch celebrating our last leavened product for a while, it’s Passover now, goodbye breadybye!

So how to I feel to have a well-fitting red pencil skirt that I love and is my version of a staple?

RS 6I think you can figure it out.



Filed under Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Rear View Pants

I should start this off by saying that, like many women, I am not overly found of my posterior. I don’t hate it, but it’s not, um, well, it gets noticed. Blame my Puerto Rican father or my love of bread, both probably play a role in keeping my junk in it’s trunk. And, honestly, I work out, I bike and do pilates, I keep everything in it’s place, it just so happens that genetically (and do to my deep seated love of carbohydrates) I will never have the tiny backside of a runway model or ballet dancer. And that’s just life, right?

But because my bottom makes it’s presence felt in a pair of pants, I was a bit concerned about making my own trousers. I mean, let’s get real, here, pants are scary.  Skirts, unless they are of the pencil variety, are easy peasey when it comes to fit, really, espeically when you are a beginner. Measure your waist, gather the fabric and bam, full skirt with a high waist, done, wear that sucker. But pants are more complicated, more terrifying, even. So when the lovely and talented Sarai of everyone’s favorite pattern company released a pants pattern, I was like, what now? and then I was like, awesome! and then I was like, oh, hell. Nevertheless I conquered my fears, grided my loins, measured said loins, because, hell, these are pants here, and jumped into a pair of Colette Patterns’ Clovers. And you know what?

They actually fit! How cool is that?

Ignore the wrinkles, especially around the knees.  This is like the fifth time I’ve worn them, so they have stretched out a little bit.

I, of course, made a muslin before I made these. And when I tried it on? It was perfect. No stretching, no crotch issues, nothing. I have absolutely no idea how that happened, I certainly have far from a perfect body and I’ve never ever ever liked my legs. But whatever stars aligned and miracles of fit and design occured gave me the right shape for the Clover. Of course, it might just be a surpremely awesome and well sized pattern….

A little dance shot. Like you do, shooting in the November chill outside of your work.  Things have been busy lately at work as we gear up for the opening of this play (which is awesome, people, if you are around don’t miss it!) so I had but a few moments to force my kind co-worker Clara to take these photos.

I made only one change to this pattern, which, by the way, has impeccable directions, I now see what all the fuss is about. I also checked out the sew-along on Colleterie, but honestly, everything was so blissfully clear in the pattern that I relied on the sew-along less then I thought I would.

I used view A, the longer option, and I did put in the pockets. I would not do this again. (Who am I kidding, I need no subjective, there is no way I’m not making ten pairs of these glorious pants) The pockets are totally adorable, but completely useless. I cut out a size 6 and needed no grading or anything. No one is more surprised then I. Weirdly enough, I also lengthened the pants by 3 inches. Leah, you might say, are you a crazy-face? (Yes) You are but a short little person, barely 5 foot three! Why would you lengthen? Well, you see, I wanted them to just hit my ankles so I could wear them in the rough Philadelphia winter!

And they do. Though as I look at this I see a stray thread! Horrors!

I used a 98% wool 2% lycra blend I got at fabric.com for 3 dollars a yard, plus a zipper I got in bag of 80 9 inch invisible zippers for 2 dollars. Oh, and Gutterman thread, which my machine likes more then anything else. I followed this online tutorial from Sew Serendipity for how to put in an invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot. The internet seems to be all up in arms about this, so may I just say, I did it, it worked, it wasn’t perfectly perfect, but hell, it was my first time ever trying it and it totally worked for me!

Enjoy jibber jabber, you say, let’s see the Rear View!

There. You’d want to give that a slap or a pinch if it was social acceptable, right?

Yeah. Yeah you would.

You may or may not have noticed that these photos are all juicily saturated with color and edged in black. Well, that’s because I literally just discovered picnik.com and I love it. I want to marry it, and have it’s beautiful digital fee-free babies.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to go celebrate my butt. Feel free to watch me walk away, all well tailored and everything.


Filed under Colette Patterns, Sewing