Tag Archives: For Tyo

Lots of little leggings

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Jalie 2920 Leggings

Jalie 2920 is getting a lot of love around here. Maybe because a pattern with just one piece is about my speed these days. Stylish helpfully traced the sizes for her girls out, so when I had a smidgeon of downtime I found myself cranking out a couple. If I spent half an hour on either of these I’d be surprised. I feel a bit bad because I probably should’ve left the fabric for Stylish to practice on… but there’s enough left to make a couple more pairs, anyway.

I’m a little bit perplexed with this pattern, though. I get that it’s designed to stretch in length as well as width, and for snug, extra-stretchy fabrics… ¬† well, I dunno. This purple is NOT such a fabric. I mean, it’s a pretty nice, beefy knit. The amount of stretch is good. But it’s definitely not a four-way stretch. When tracing, I had Stylish give lots of extra room in the leg length, to compensate for this. I used the longest lengths here, and I’m glad I did. The Waif’s are a little long, but she seems to grow up rather than out, so that’s probably a good thing, and Fyon’s are spot on. And that’s five or six extra inches beyond the pattern’s “proper” lengths. Well, the length dictated by their heights, anyway. The Waif’s pair are a size 2(F), lengthened to the five length and then beyond. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her in a pair of pants that wasn’t way loose and baggy on her.

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The Waif, Tyo, and Fyon in their new leggings

This was after I had attempted to make myself another set of leggings from some luverly denim-look knit I’ve been sitting on and petting since I acquired it around New Year’s. The whole bolt at my local Fabricland recently got marked down to half price and I’m having a hard time not rushing in and buying up the whole damn thing. I used the same Jalie 2920 as for my black leggings. However, peeps, this is where those stretch gauges on the patterns become important. This stuff is stretchy, but not leggings-type stretchy. Length was not an issue, but while I could wriggle into them, well, um, let’s just say that it was putting undue stress on the fabric. D’oh.

Fortunately, as with the fleece pants, I have a suitable candidate with a derriere just a little bit smaller than my own handy in the house, so Tyo now has her first pair of jeggings. I guess I had better enjoy that while it lasts… we just had to buy her a whole new crop of skinny jeans, as the ones she got in September are getting too snug. (This is why I don’t make her jeans very often any more). The time until her hips surpass mine may be measured in months rather than years at this point. Oh, you cursed curvaceous pears.

I guess I just need to get some more denim-look knit for myself. /sniffle.

Anyone else addicted to deadly simple projects? I swear I’ll do something actually interesting one of these days…

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Fleece Pants: A Family Odyssey

Episode 1: Failure
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Those of you who follow me Twitter or Instagram may have caught the odd hint of one of the winter obsessions Chez Isis this year—fleece pants. The perfect antidote to a Saskabush winter, especially for people who spent the last five years in balmy southern Alberta. And yet, and yet, they have remained curiously absent from the blog. Unforgivable, no? I agree. I kept waiting to get them ALL DONE, and do a great big family fleece pants post.

I have come to the conclusion that if I do that, I may still be waiting come next winter. So, here I go with one installment at a time.

Dredging deep, deep into my memory, may I present my first attempt at making fleece pants? A veritable antique by blog standards, stitched in the fall of 2012.

I used the pattern for the Jalie 3022 yoga pants, of Pink Suit fame (or infamy), with the same alterations to length and rise I had had success with in the pink pants. Fleece is really a nice fabric to work with—bulky, but not slippery, and with enough stretch to make the fit forgiving, right?

Well, I had double-checked the stretch requirement on the pattern envelope, and the fleece matched it, but I neglected to think about one startlingly important aspect, the difference between “two way” stretch and “four way” stretch.* In particular, this pattern needs something that stretches both in width AND length.

The fleece stretches in width, but when it does so it loses length.

As it turns out, a lot of length.

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Enough length that the vertical seams, which were beautifully smooth when I topstitched them, bubbled out like crazy. The length which had been more than adequate on the pink fabric (I cut off two inches of the four I had added) became inadequate even for hemming. But most disastrously, the rise, which ended up perfect (after tweaking) on the Pink Pants, became somewhere between risque and just plain indecent. And if it’s too low for me, dear readers, well, it’s too low to show you. ūüėČ

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Which is not to say I didn’t wear them. Oh, no. Many a dark and icy winter morning was softened by reaching for my fleece pants. Long shirts and oversized sweaters compensated for the problematic rise, and they were particularly perfect for walking the kids to their bus stop, which has to be one of the most grueling treks of the Canadian prairie winter.

But finally, I had to admit that they really weren’t adequate. It would make much more sense to make myself another, larger pair. And, well…

They fit Tyo perfectly.

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All the photos in this post, as you have probably noticed, are of the pants on Tyo.

Coming soon: Episode 2, the Sister-in-Law Edition.

*And I’ve seen this defined differently in different places, so, in the absence of a Central Fabric-Describing Authority, I’m going with what is convenient for this particular post.

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Hallowe’en Roundup

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Actual Hallowe’en photo

Okay, why is it so hard to get good Hallowe’en photos? every year I vow that I will, and every year I end up with a couple of fuzzy shots of kids running away to the next house while trick-or-treating. >_<

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The best actual Hallowe’en picture.

Anyway, I’d say the Steampunk costumes were a success, at least as costumes. As costumes for Hallowe’en in Saskatchewan… not so much. I think the last several years in balmy southern Alberta kind of messed with my head in the Hallowe’en-costume-planning department. Note To Tanit: Saskatchewan Hallowe’en costumes should be: showing NO skin, ideally can cover a snow suit. Scarves are a bonus.

It took me the better part of a month to work up the energy to wrangle the girls back into costume (and makeup), and at this point I’m really too tired of all of it to do much introspection. Which is too bad, because there’s probably a fair bit left to say, if only about the jackets.

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Yes, so late the Christmas tree is already up.
(Note—I didn’t put the tree up.)

OK, I know you pretty much saw that one already. Anyway, prepare for pretty much a photo essay, with minimal commentary.

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Tyo, giving me crap for taking the photos so late.

Pocket watches were an important elements of the costumes.

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A long-awaited closeup of Syo’s hat

I must confess, I think Syo’s hat with the painted holly berries actually crosses the seasons nicely.

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Syo’s pocketwatch. All pocketwatches courtesy of my mother. (Without whom these costumes really wouldn’t have happened, I think.)

The tailcoats were adapted from the much-maligned McCall’s 5312. ¬†Originally Syo didn’t want one, but it turned out the size 10 was too small for Tyo, and Syo consented to wear it (thankfully, as she would’ve been even colder than she was already without it). She’s been wearing it at least weekly since, so I think that’s a win.

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Tailcoat and monocle.

Syo requested an internal pocket for her pocketwatch. Tyo didn’t, but I should’ve included one anyway. Oops.

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Internal pocketwatch pocket.

Syo’s monocle actually turned out really cool (and had an actual magnifying lens, too). It’s made from an old earring and some kind of jeweller’s loupe. Unfortunately it spent the entire actual Hallowe’en tucked in a pocket with the pocketwatch.

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Syo with monocle

I had a lot of fun painting the jackets with black, brown, and silver. Why? Well, mostly because. Also, it was fun. I lined the jackets with this fun printed quilted lining fabric I picked up at Value Village on a whim sometime last spring—it was one of those things I really wasn’t sure I should ever have bought, since it’s right on the border between awesome (a cool print) and horrible (quilted lining is one of those things I generally loathe). However, it really came into its own here, I think—giving body to the ¬†wimpy suiting fabric I was using for the shells, and adding much-needed warmth. Seriously, I can’t believe how long my kids wore these outside. It was -7C, -14C with the wind chill, and we were out for almost three hours, with only a couple of warm-up stops.

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Jackets. Also, I want to eat your brains. But your hat first.

My mom offloaded generously gave us a bag of old stenciling supplies a week or two before Hallowe’en, including a lovely, delicate rose stencil. I couldn’t resist adding it to the coats in a couple of places. I just used the same acrylic paint I used on the rest of the coats. I don’t particularly expect a lot from this down the road, but it served the purpose at the time.

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Painted jacket: ruffle trim and stenciled rose.

I think that’s about enough. I added length to the sleeves of the coats, and the tails, of course. I think I didn’t get the button positioning quite right, as the lapels (which I interfaced) rolled nicely but sat better before I put the buttons on.

And now, on to more recent things. I have a backlog building up, as those (few) of you following on twitter or instagram probably know already…

Of course, none of it’s been for me. *pout*

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Hallowe’en Spotlight: High Waisted Shorts

I know. This post (and the next, where I will finish up the whole Hallowe’en costume craziness) are late. Late late late. Late enough that some organized person (not me) has the freakin’ Christmas tree up. This is the post where I tell you about one more bit of Tyo’s Hallowe’en costume: her high-waisted shorts.

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Way back when, when Hallowe’en was just a misty possibility on the horizon, I doodled a costume sketch for Tyo. It included, as a bit of whimsy, a feature completely and utterly alien to children of her generation—high waisted shorts.

As an avid adopter of the low rise myself, I know for a fact Tyo’s never worn anything (pants, shorts, skirts) as high as even her bellybutton, ever, in her life. But there I was, offering to make Tyo her very first pair of high-waisted anything, ever.

Despite my doodling, I was hesitant. They won’t open like jeans you’re used to, I pointed out.

They will feel different.

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She assured me it would be fine.

I went through a lot of different thought processes—even started to draft out a pattern using Pepin. Then, when I found Butterick 7759 in a vintage size 12 (33″ hips, within an inch of Tyo’s these days), it seemed like fate.

Butterick 7759

Well, I can’t say I’d call it fate. I’m not really super-duper-enthused with Butterick 7759. Although it clearly is supposed to rise about an inch above the waist, there’s no flare-out above the waist to accomodate what (I would think) most people’s bodies do. But my biggest quibble is the shaping of the crotch—back and front are almost identical, and there’s not a whole lot of “space” created. After comparing with the fit of McCall’s 5312 (Yes, I actually used that pattern as a fit comparison!?!), I added a crotch length extension. I considered adding my usual rear rise wedge as well, but figured there would be plenty of height in the rise anyway, since the pattern was probably drafted for someone rather taller than Tyo (who hasn’t cracked five feet yet, although she’s getting perilously close.)

Pattern pieces

So, aside from my small pattern mod, and adding the points at the front, I sewed them up as is except for the back darts. In hindsight I might’ve skipped the front darts and saved myself some headaches—they make the front of the shorts a bit poofy, which Tyo was not really a fan of.

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I assume there actually is a person out there with a figure suited to front darts. I just haven’t met them yet. Or maybe that’s how pants/shorts like this are supposed to fit, all poofy in front? How the hell would I know—I haven’t worn anything but stretch denim voluntarily since I discovered the stuff.

This is an actual photo taken Hallowe’en morning before school. Shorts. With snow pants.

When I first started fitting the shorts, Tyo was suddenly very sceptical of the high-waisted fit, and I was very close to tearing her head off. Fortunately for her (and for my continued jail-free existence), once I had the zipper in and they actually stayed up, she really, really liked it. The only hitch came with me adding in my own (made up, half-ass) facing. I had incorporated some above-waist flare when I made the custom-fit back darts, but when I was measuring the facing against the shorts themselves, that flare kind of folded itself up. So the facing rectangle wound up slightly shorter than the shorts had been. It eased in all right and doesn’t really show, but the waist/rib section is a bit more snug. Most of the time she wore it, the zipper was down about one or two inches. Which actually looks pretty cute, but fit, it is not.

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All in all? I don’t know if she’s a high-waisted convert (although my 15 year old niece was asking about shorts “to her waist, to tuck things into,” so you know the times they are a-changin’) but it was certainly an interesting exercise outside both our comfort zones. And the results were pretty darn cute. Even if I do still have a long way to go in fitting what we’ve affectionately dubbed the Gigi booty. (After the paternal grandmother to whom we can trace this particular figure in my husband’s family)

Also, anyone remember when Tyo looked like this? What the heck happened to my baby?

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Next Size Up II

Jeans. She has them.

Tyo’s replacement capris are finished. Or is that Bermudas? My shorts terminology is lacking. Can I blame being Canadian? The Patrones magazine calls them “pirata,” which I think is totally awesome.

They are pretty standard jeans-styled capris, with a few additional details.

Rear view

Funky, asymmetrical pockets are part of the original pattern (I left off the flaps this time. Not even for lack of fabric—I made them, but didn’t put them on. I don’t really like their shape.) I should’ve piped the pocket edges, although getting the piping crisp around all those corners would not have been fun. As it is, you can barely see the pockets are there. Hmm. I do like the piped yoke—I should’ve piped the waistband, too.

I had better not dwell on the missed piping opportunities. That way lies madness. I added one of those weird, pointless straps between back pocket and side-seam, at Tyo’s request.

I’m too cool.

And then managed to photograph her only from the other side.

Luv

Damn she is cool.

I love who I am.

Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be discussing construction, not just posting pictures of my cool kid.

Inside front—pockets, fly construction, buttonhole elastic, bound-edge waistband.

My fly interiors are not generally things of great beauty, and this one isn’t, either, although it’s one of my better ones. I won’t get into how many needles I broke as soon as I started trying to do zig-zags—bar tacks, buttonholes, attaching the belt loops. There was much howling and unpcking. I HATE unpicking bar-tacks. It got better when I ran out of topstitching thread and just used regular blue thread. I may do that for all bar tacks/dense zig-zags in the future. The buttonhole elastics emerge from gaps in the seams where I had to piece the waistband.

Drawstrings

I added buttonholes on the outside before stitching the hems, to run the drawstrings (aka shoelaces) through. Back when I made the first pair of camo capris, I bought a metre or so of narrow black twill-tape for the drawstrings. I couldn’t find it when I finished that project, so wound up using shoe-laces instead. It’s kicked around on and off since then, (notably being used in this project) but again today I couldn’t find it. I did, however, find more shoelaces. (And I can never, ever find shoelaces when my shoes need them…)

Front closeup

Can you see that I screwed up the cutting played with the grain on the front pockets? No? Maybe just as well.

Pattern alterations.

Remember my pattern alterations?

Back view

Ok, here’s how they wound up looking. (If you can see through the print, which you probably can’t.) Rear rise is good—not any too high, could probably have gone a little higher, but coverage is maintained even when she squats down. Yay! Yoke curve-in is good but could’ve been more extreme—there’s still plenty of extra ease at the waistband that isn’t there at the hips. There is still some slight wedgification happening—not enough to be uncomfortable (yet) but I can tell that the crotch curve is not perfect for her. Presumably scooping is in order? I’m really not sufficiently enamoured of this pattern to bother, but Tyo may be, in which case I’ll keep it in mind if we end up at Pair #3.

Whew!

Ok, I’m done. And apologies to Claire for not doing a full-camo photo shoot with the vest. We snapped these pictures in about five minutes just before bedtime.

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Next Size Up

Patrones Ni√Īos

Nigh on a year ago, I made Tyo a set of camo capris. The pattern is from this issue of Patrones Ni√Īos, which I got from Her Selfishness back in the day. And Tyo was thrilled, with one exception—the rise at the rear was very low, and tended to give her a wedgie.

The pattern of choice (#12)

Unfortunately, while the capris technically still fit—as in, the width of the hips is still sufficient to go around her hips—the low-riding wedginess has reached a point where she doesn’t really find the first pair wearable anymore. So, a while back, I snooped around my local Fabricland and grabbed some lightweight, vaguely camo-esque twill fabric in a shades-of-blue print, to make a replacement pair. I bought two metres, more than enough to make the new pair plus another later when she grew out of it.

Then I went and made fishing vests out of the stuff.

Oops.

Needless to say, Tyo was not completely thrilled. So this past weekend, whilst she was off camping in the mountains with a friend, I pulled out the scant remainder (just over half a metre) and did my best to eke out the next size up on the capris.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to the issue of fabric availability, there was the issue of fit. I traced off the size 12 (the first version having been the size 10), but this time I made a few tweaks:

Pattern alterations.

  1. I extended the back crotch to the line of the next size up at the inseam, tapering to nothing along the leg. Hopefully this helps with the wedginess.
  2. I added a generous (2 cm) wedge along the CB curve. I’ve had good luck with these wedges in the past, but I’ve never done one this big. Hopefully this helps with the rear rise issue.
  3. I took not one, not two, but three tucks in the yoke pattern, to help it curve in at the top. I will also be using buttonhole elastic in the waistband, but this will help reduce the excess of fabric above her well-rounded butt.

Due to my vest-making enterprises, it was an extremely tight fit on the remaining fabric. There is selvedge in seam-allowances, and the waistband is in three pieces. Actually, that worked out really well because instead of making buttonholes for my buttonhole elastic, I just left a small gap in the piecing seam for the elastic to thread through. I predict this will be a win. I hope. With any luck. I’ve also added a small amount of piping (piping a random gift courtesy of Claire of Sew, Incidentally, some time ago—Thank you, Claire!), since I find that camo-type prints really make it hard to see the jeans details. Gee, camo making something hard to see!

Not finished.

Of course, I also spent most of my “free time” this past week and weekend madly cleaning house so that the landlady could start showing it, and then avoiding being in the house so as to not mess it up again. So I can’t tell you if my alterations were successful or not, as the new capris are still a goodly ways off being finished. But here’s hoping!

(and thank you, everyone, for the kind words on my last little post. ūüôā )

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Second verse, same as the first!

A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

I’m about 95% sure I’ve used that as a post title before.

Yet it works, so very, very well.

Tyo’s fishing vest is finished. I was able to avoid some of my mistakes from the first time around, and instead make a whole new crop. I’d say overall, I did not improve significantly. Although I think all the practice with cargo pockets has helped some in that department. And some of the mistakes were the ones I have to make in order to learn why X shortcut was a bad idea. Yes, I tend to have to learn things the hard way. Especially with sewing.

Whaddaya lookin’ at?

The details are all the same as this post, the only difference being I had snaps and D-rings this time, so there are two snaps and a D-ring at the nape of the neck, which is apparently a handy place to hang your little fishing net from. To fit Syo I graded the basic vest pieces up, increasing width by about 4 cm around and length by about 1 cm. I interfaced all the vest body, instead of just the back yoke, this time, which will hopefully add to the vest’s sturdiness (it’s a very lightweight denim), but necessitated some extra pocket linings that I forgot to incorporate properly and had to engineer into place rather late in the construction process. Oops.

Back view

Here’s the only shot you can see the D-ring at the back of the neck.

My girl.

Here’s some random poses.

This one was supposed to show the pockets better.

I’m really far too bored by this whole project to go into the annoying details. If you have something specific you’re dying to know, feel free to ask in the comments and I promise I’ll answer.

And now, on to bigger, better things! (and a fly fishing rod case. Ulp.)

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A dress for the boredom

A dress for roasting marshmallows

My kids have been done school for just over a week, although they’ve only really been home for the last two days, since we went Home for Canada Day (July 1, just for reference). Nonetheless, last night Tyo was moping around as only a near-teenager can. “Dad and Syo are out fishing, Grandpa’s watching TV, and you’re sewing! There’s nothing to do!”

This is actually wonderful.

“So, does this mean you don’t want to be homeschooled after all?”

Since the main thing coming out of her mouth for the last three months  of school has been requests to be homeschooled.

“NO! I don’t get to see any of my friends!”

Somewhere, choirs of angels broke into hallelujah chorus.

Anyway, it appeared that the only thing that could possibly alleviate boredom at eight o’clock on a Friday night was sewing with me, or rather, me sewing while she sang me her most recent song.

Front view

The fabric she selected was one of the slinky knits that I can’t seem to resist. I love buying them. I love wearing them. I just don’t. love. sewing. them. This particular knit threw itself at me on the Fabricland Canada Day sale (which took place several days early) when even the clearance racks were fifty percent off. I have a hard time resisting $1.50/m fabric. Fortunately, I bought three metres, so even with this dress for her, there’s still plenty left over.

ANYWAY.

Obligatory racerback shot

For the pattern, we just used the ubiquitous racerback tank pattern, Y1201 from Young Image Magazine (which was a dress pattern, originally). I added what I thought would be enough length to take it to her knees, and a bit of width over the hips because, well, Tyo, and more-or-less happily went to work.

Now, the four previous times I’ve made this pattern, I’ve used a rib-knit. What I hadn’t really grasped on was how much rib knits grow. I mean, my brain knows it, but I didn’t really understand it. This was an easy-fitting tank when stitched in a rib-knit—close fitted but not exactly skintight.

In this slinky knit it’s, ah, pretty tight. Note to self. Also, next time add more to the butt. Tyo is not one of those children who can wear a skirt whose back and front are cut the same.

Because I don’t trust these slinky knits as far as I can stretch them (which is pretty far, actually), I used clear elastic inside the binding on the neck and arm-holes. I didn’t stretch it quite enough on the neck, which is a bit wavy, and then stretched it a little too much on the arm openings, so they’re a bit snugged up. It seems pretty much ok when worn, however. I should really look into elastic and/or binding attachments for my machine…

Back view

I had measured Tyo from shoulder to knee to get the length, thinking I might have to trim some off as the fabric sagged under its own weight. But I forgot/neglected that four-way stretches will lose length as they are stretched sideways, so it’s actually an inch or two above her knees. Not horrendously mini, but a bit shorter than planned. It rides up a bit in back, but I’m not sure if that’s because it needs extra length, or more width so it doesn’t get caught up on her posterior. Probably both.

We left the bottom unhemmed, as I’m congenitally unable to get a nice hem in these thin knits so it would flow nicely.

I was a little worried about how sheer the white base fabric might be, but it doesn’t seem to be horribly bad.

Stretch!

OK, actually I’m really jealous. I love this fabric, and really want my own garment out of it. I’m thinking flowy maxi-dress.

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My baby

Those of you who come here just for the sewing, feel free to skip this one. I’m taking a moment to mush out.

Tyo

Dear Tyo,

When you were born, I looked at you and was overwhelmed by how much love there must be in the world, if every mother feels this much looking at her baby for the first time. I was young, and scared, and excited, and uncertain of just about everything,  but my love for you was instant and immense and unremitting, and being your mother has been, and continues to be, the most exhilarating adventure of my life.

Today, you graduated from grade six. In a few weeks you’ll be twelve. You’re not yet a woman, but the shape of your childhood is changing, and everything about you hints at the changes that are coming. You amaze me, challenge me, and drive me nuts every single day, and the privilege of watching you grow is the most amazing gift you could ever have given me. You are strong and confident, passionate and compassionate, vulnerable and astounding. I know you’re going to have to work hard in life—as you already do—to overcome your particular challenges, but I also know that you have the will, determination and, yes, the charisma, to do just that. You are already becoming ¬†the person you dream of. And I can’t tell you how excited I am that I am privileged to watch you, be there for you, and probably even get in your way from time to time, on this journey.

I love you to the moon.

I know you’re sad to be leaving your school and moving away from so many friends—and you have wonderful friends—but I am so excited for the things that you are doing, the person you are becoming, and the adventure that lies ahead. I know that wherever you go, whatever you do, you will shine like a beacon. You are one of those people who lights up a room, whose smile gets under the skin, who inspires us just by breathing, and if you choose, I know you’ll change the world, just as you’ve already changed all of us who know you.

As the story says, I love you to the moon

and back.

***

Ok, I’m going to go blow my nose now. I’ll be back with some sewing stuff later…

PS, if anyone asks, I’m blaming this whole post on K-Line.

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An Odyssey in Denim

Inspiration

Inspiration

Back in the late nineties, I was a high-school student exuberantly indulging in exploring my own style, limited only by my budget and what I could find at the thrift store. I had settled, somewhat reluctantly, on Levi’s button-fly 501s for jeans—they were a decently close fit, didn’t have the hugest saddlebags at the hips, and were comfy. They had one major drawback, however—the waist was quite high and, me being as rectangular back then as I am now, rather snug.

Yes, this was the beginning of my quest for the low-rise jeans. At the time, at least in my backwater corner of North America, stretch-denim was unknown, and waistbands still hovered just below the navel. 80s-tight was out, but I was so done with oversize-grunge, and the 70s revival was only just beginning.

One day in gr. 12, probably during Creative Writing class, I had a brainwave. If I removed the waistband from my Levi’s, they would be lower-rise, the waist would no longer be uncomfortably tight, AND it would be a cool inversion of the omnipresent cutoff denim shorts everyone wore. And because of the button-fly, they would still stay closed.

I have rarely been so pleased with myself for any fashion innovation. I wore my reverse-cutoffs proudly. With crop-tops, of course, to maximize the amount of tummy-tan. (I tried to find a lingering crop-top to pose in, for posterity’s sake. Apparently the last of them have been purged from my wardrobe, although it occurs to me that I do still have one cropped boho gypsy blouse in the basement that I bought when I was 14…)

Mariah’s cut-off jeans

A few weeks later, I first saw this Mariah Carey video* (also a nifty article about the waistbandless-jeans phenomenon, which I have to say, in my area, was a phenomenon consisting of me and only me). I don’t think I can properly convey how crushed/angry/amused I was, to have been scooped on my fashion innovation. This did not, however, stop me from wearing my very first low-rises proudly. Two or three different pairs got the treatment.

Anyway, fast forward a year or two, and one of my pairs of hacked-up Levi’s was on its last legs. I had moved on to other jeans styles at that point—notably vintage Wranglers—but I wanted to give my “innovation” one last hurrah. So I hit upon the idea of having a plethora of friends sign, draw, and write all over them. Sometimes while I was wearing them, mostly not.

Anyway, having created this unique piece of apparel, I realized I couldn’t really wear the (rather tattered) jeans anymore. I hadn’t heard of the idea of setting Sharpie marker with an iron, and after the first or second wash the text was showing significant signs of fading. So I retired them, and proceeded to cart them around with me in the “sentimental” box over every move (and there were a lot of them) of the next dozen years.

Sometime this past winter, Tyo found them.

Fortunately for me, she’s not quite big enough to steal my jeans yet. But she did like the idea. As she and her classmates are graduating to middle school this year, and we’re moving away, so naturally she’s been feeling sentimental all around and wanting a way to commemorate her class. Not long after finding my jeans, she hit upon her solution—a messenger-bag, made out of old jeans, that she could take to school and have everyone sign.

Stitching the bag.

Now, ever since I saw these jeans of Yoshimi’s (back when I was brand-spanking-new to the world of blogging) I’ve been hoarding old jeans in the hopes of someday making my own pair. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but the old pairs finally got put to use for this project, so I feel less guilty about the hoarding. Three pairs of my husband’s old pants (two jeans and one pair of khakis, if anyone cares) went into the making of these, plus the strap which was made from the cutoff legs of a pair of Tyo’s jeans which recently became shorts.

The bag

We made the main part of the bag from the butts—lots of extra pockets this way. The flap was from a leg area, the patch having been in use on the jeans. Tyo did the majority of the stitching, although I did a bit of additional patching as necessary, and the final stitching around the top of the bag, which was through the lining plus jeans waistband and belt-loops—pretty heavy-duty with some major changes in thickness. The featherweight handled it like a champ, although I still prefer to hand-wheel the really thick parts. I did a bit of re-stitching around the crotch to get them to lie flatter (the same thing you’d do if converting a pair of jeans into a skirt), and Tyo stitched across the bottom corners to give it a bit more of a 3D shape. And an interesting cutout in the corner of the flap. Just because.

Bag, open.

And Tyo took it away to school with a big, fat sharpie. Apparently her replacement teacher (who has been the source of much angst the last few months) was not impressed. Ah, well.

Happy Tyo

Tyo, at least, is happy.

Now I just have to manage to iron all that sharpie.

*This is one of those Lessons On the Fallibility of Memory. I would swear that I cut my waistbands off in Gr. 12, and saw the video shortly thereafter. I graduated high school in June 1998; the video apparently came out in 1999. Am I transposing my brainwave earlier? Or was the gap between my waistbandless jeans and Mariah’s longer than I remember? Who knows…

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