Remnants and Bargains

Just so you don't get the idea that I have completely fallen off the planet into the 'backpack twilight zone'......

...I have finished a couple of other projects....OK...so one of the other projects is a bag!  I guess I just can't help myself.

I was at the lake house and didn't have much in the way of projects, but I did have a couple of remnant pieces that I had picked up just because they looked like they should be together in something.  The something turned out to be a tote bag. 

...am I right?  The fabrics really do need to be together....and of course, I didn't have enough of either one to make the lining so I decided to have some fun....

I love the hot pink on the inside!  I used bias cut strips of a coordinating linen to make the straps and put some rivets at the pressure points to make them stronger.  Right now it is on probation as my knitting bag...we'll see...

Speaking of knitting 😉...We have a lovely Fiber Festival here the middle weekend of August and I get all inspired.   I figure I better finish the old projects before the shiny new ones suck up all the attention!  So sometime around the middle of August, I usually haul out the knitting projects that I started in the wintery months that got put aside for the summer.  I make one last stab at finishing them in time for the next round of wintery months.  If they don't make it, I figure I better just frog 'em and start again.

This year's UFO was an amazing alpaca cardigan that just needed one more sleeve...technically it still isn't finished, but I figure putting snaps on isn't technically knitting, so I'm counting it!  (I have yet to get a picture of it so that will have to wait as well.)  BUT...feeling all righteous about a finished project, I dove into another one right away....feeling even more righteous, because I was using stashed yarn!

My cardigan was a rather large project on small needles, I wanted an easy, fast, instant gratification type project.  Nothing that was going to hang around for too long.  Big yarn on big needles!!!!! 

I'm sure the yarn that I pulled out came from the sale basket in a darling little yarn shoppe somewhere, but heck if I can remember.  I'm making this assumption based on the red lines through the original prices and new, lower prices written in the same red ink, AND the fact that there were three colors of said bargain yarn, none of which was enough for a sweater.   The yarn was however, BIG.  And really soft and cozy.  A blend of wool, silk and cashmere, yum!  I watched a You Tube about "jogless color changing" and started knitting....I really didn't have much of a plan.  I just kept making decisions when I would run out of yarn...I am rather fond of the result!

Having finished a UFO and used up a wad of my stash yarn, I felt quite justified in loading up at the fiber festival!  ...and I made sure I will have enough to make a whole sweater this time!


Look Out! I'm Packing!

I recovered from "The Month of Pants" just in time to start on "The Month of Backpacks!" 

You may remember back sometime in the spring I made myself...yet, another travel pack. (read about HERE.)  It was part of my never ending search for the perfect backpack.  The one that does everything short of packing itself!!!   I'm thinking all this pack making may actually qualify as a 'disorder' at this point....there may even be medication that I could get...Hmmmmmm? 

It surprises me as much as anyone!  I have never been much for sewing home dec stuff, or quilting, or anything that didn't end up on a hanger in my closet, so this fascination  (alright, obsession!!!!) with backpacks came out of nowhere!  But it has hit hard!

The quest for the perfect combination of pockets, and figuring out how to connect the straps and the HARDWARE!!!!  OOOO, I really love hunting for hardware.  I have been haunting every Ace Hardware in three counties!  Did you know that horse bridle D-rings and hooks make great backpack hardware??? 

And don't even get me started on marine hardware!  Yes, I think we are definitely into 'disorder' territory.

So when my Sewing Guild pals asked if I would help them make backpacks....duh!!!  Let's go!

Once the date was set and everyone had the instructions for cutting out the thousand pieces for their packs, I started to get nervous.  I realized that there are a lot of things that I do automatically when I'm sewing that I was going to have to 'splain to people so they could do it.  That's when the "Month of Backpacks" really heated up.  I decided the best way to figure out how to explain it was to DO it!  Several times!

My son had requested a pack and since his birthday was just around the corner, I made a 'guy-ish' version for him....


A sewing buddy wanted to try it, so we made 'matching' packs.  We both fell in love with the same fabric, so we decided we would just have to call each other and flip for who gets to bring their pack when we go out together.😝

And yes....matching the print was an issue!

I realized that one of the things that the ASG members were interested in was the front pockets for maps and water bottles.  I needed to try them out again....I thought this high contrast, raincoat fabric version would be easy for people to see the different parts and pieces...


This one is made with fabric that came from my first trip to London, eons ago.  It was supposed to make covers for my dining room chairs, but we moved before I got to them and the fabric has been following me around ever since.  Please check out the matching on the back pockets!  Pretty proud of that!


You might think that I would have it down by now.....but, after the sewing session with the ASG folks, I had a whole bunch of new ideas and changes that I thought would make it easier to construct, sooooo, I had to try them out....

All the pieces cut and ready to go.....
And the finished pack complete with map and water bottle pockets!
(and yes I will have to call my son if we decide to travel together!  I used the left overs from his backpack.)


BUT!!!!!!  Here are the packs that I am most proud to share!  These are the ones that were made by some of the ASG members during our backpack sewing session.  There are several others that will be finished later in October when we get together again, and I will add them to this post when they are completed and ready to travel.  

It was a really long day and we still have some work to do to get to the finish line.  But everyone is really hanging in there.  This is not a beginner project!!!  It takes lots of 'splaining and major levels of patience with their 'teacher,' but we are getting through it.  I love how each one is a reflection of the maker's personality.  Sew much fun!





An Overhaul for Overalls!

Here we are...the last Friday in August...the last week of a Month of Pants....

I have had such a good time 'getting to the bottom line' this month.  I have several new wardrobe additions that I think are going to get worn often.  I have some great ideas from Rhonda's posts that I am going to try. (I already have several more ideas for my PJ bottom pattern!)  And, I usually have a bit of an end of the summer lull in my creativity but these four challenges have given me a creative pick-me-up just in time for some fall sewing.

So, what is the challenge this week?  We are doing some renovations!  We started with a pair of pants and reimagined, refashioned, refurbished, retrofitted them into a different pair of pants, or whatever! 

When I proposed the idea back in July my thought was to go to the thrift store and get a pair of pants and have at it.  When it actually came time to do it, the thought of taking apart a stranger's old pants kind of gave me the willies.  I don't know why I hadn't thought about it before, but eewwww.  So I ended up in my own closet, and sure enough, there were several opportunities just waiting for me.  AND, I couldn't pick just one!

The first pants I pulled out are a pair that I got back in the spring.  They fit, I liked the fabric, but I never wore them.  They didn't come out of the closet once this summer.  I tried them on...again...and took a hard look.  I decided that it was the bulky waistband and tie that I didn't like.  That was an easy fix!  After the success of last week's knit waistband technique I just went right ahead and did it again.  I made this one a bit narrower so I wouldn't lose too much of my pocket openings.  I am so much happier with them in this renovated form.  They will definitely be in the rotation until the cooler weather sets in.


Original waistband and tie .....newly renovated knit waistband!

There was elastic in the original waistband that I encased in cotton jersey and reapplied to the new version...


The second pair of pants that I pulled out were my old working-in-the-yard overalls.  I had gotten a new pair at the Farm and Garden a few weeks ago and was planning to put the old ones in the donation box.  Perfect timing...

My first thought was to make an overall skirt....I would cut the inseam open and overlap the seams like an old 70's hippy skirt...well...I think the jumpsuit in week two was more than enough of a romp down memory lane!

...a couple of years ago I had remade a pair of my son's jeans into a wine tote...hmmm....maybe a bag!
(You can read about my wine tote HERE.)

Y'all know I love a bag project!!!  This one was dead easy!  I cut off the legs and stitched across the bottom and...BAG!



All of the pockets are still useable and there is plenty of room in the main section.  I think it will make a great beach tote...or maybe a knitting bag....we'll see....

I was pretty happy with my redos and was cleaning up my sewing table, when....I held up the legs of my overalls and dangit if they didn't look like a skirt!

Well I couldn't let that go!  So I now have a really cute jean skirt to go with my really cute jean bag!


The center front and back seams are actually the outside leg seams of my overalls.  I put a zipper in one side and used a piece of twill tape to make a waist tie.  So I ended up with a skirt after all.

And this is all that is left of my old overalls!

Check out Rhonda's renovations HERE!

Thanks again Rhonda for suggesting a month of pants.  It has been sew much fun!  


"You've Been on My Mind"

I have to admit that when Rhonda suggested a whole month of pants I was thinking how many different ways can I make pants!?  But I now have more ideas than I have weeks!!!!  It reminds me that where you put your attention, energy flows.  I think we usually stop at the first (maybe second) idea and we never really get to the more nuanced or creative ones.  Focusing on pants for a month and coming up with 4 different takes is pushing my brain into those subtler ideas.  Thank you Rhonda!

I got a bit excited about our August plan and jumped the gun with week one!  So now I am a week ahead of Rhonda and decided to just go with it...I'm not sure if we'll end up in the same place, but I am enjoying the great bottoms and the nice additions to my pant wardrobe.

This week's edition of "Getting to the Bottom Line" is about things that have been on our minds but never seem to get the front row seat. (yes, the pun was intended!)  Maybe we have a piece of fabric that keeps getting pushed to the back, or a technique that we have seen or read about that we haven't tried yet,  maybe there is a pattern that has been on the pile for a while now....something that has been tickling our fancy but we haven't actually gotten around to doing.  The time has arrived!

My "you've been on my mind" project started with a skirt that I made earlier this summer.  I wanted a skirt with a flat waistband.  I had a top that I wanted to wear for my niece's wedding but the skirts I had all had waistbands that 'poked' out and made the top bunch up and look awful.  I needed something that would fit close and be flat under the hem of the top.  I ended up making a gathered skirt attached to a knit 'yoga pant-ish' waistband.  It worked really well and was sooooo comfortable!  I thought about trying it on a pair of pants...and then got distracted and, didn't get to it.


(Ok, yes, it is a way to get a gratuitous photo of my handsome son into the blog!!!  😜)

So that was the first idea....as I thought about making the pants I remembered a piece of fabric that was left over from another project that I have really wanted to make into pants, but I only had a short length of it.  It is a piece of Eileen Fisher birds eye woven linen that I had been hoarding and waiting for the right idea.  I thought with the knit waistband a short length of fabric would probably work.  

Here's the dress that I made using the Eileen fabric for the lower portion....you can read about the dress HERE

OK...waistband, check, left over fabric, check...

I found a piece of knit that was a color match, but it was a bit too light weight and didn't have the stretch and recovery that would hold up to the weight of the linen....hmmmmm....technique idea!!!!
A sewing buddy had shared a great idea for making yoga pants.  To get the extra stretch into the waistband she added an 'interfacing' of power net...the stuff that you use to line swim suits!  It was just the thing.  It added the stretch without adding much weight to the waistband.

...and finally...when I read Rhonda's post about her favorite PJ bottoms pattern...perfect!  I pulled out my PJ pattern.  It has a fold-over casing at the top so I could cut it off straight across and add my knit band.  I laid it out on the linen using every bit of length I could get!  Here's what I had after I cut out the pattern pieces...

I really wanted pockets....

I used the "crotch" cut outs and inserted a piece into the center (it had to be on the cross grain!) to get enough to make patch pockets.  I think they are kind of nifty.

I ended up putting a facing at the hems to eke out every bit of length I could get and they are still just above my ankles, which I am kind of liking.  The 'flood pants' trauma from high school is starting to recede a bit and making pants that are 'too short' doesn't cause quite as much consternation! 

I've been hanging out at the lake this week, so I don't have my crack photographer to help me...it's selfie time. 😉 

These pants are super comfortable!  and so easy to make!  (The pockets were the toughest part!)

I am very happy with my "Eileen Fisher" pants...what's not to like...PJ bottoms with a yoga waistband?!   It was worth holding out for the right project!

Be sure to check out 'what's been on Rhonda's mind' HERE...

What's been on your mind?  Maybe now's the time to try it!

The fourth and final installment of Pants Month will get our creativity going again next week when we try some 're-imagining.'