The Adventures of an Online Fabric Shopper

The truth of the matter is that I would not actually need to shop for fabric ever again and I would still not be able to use up my stash in my lifetime.  But...hey...has that ever stopped me before?!  I have to admit that the virus lockdown has put a definite cramp in my usual fabric shopping style, but I have done my part to keep our online fabric establishments going.  The tricky part is not being able to fondle the fabric before plunking down for it.  Example:

I saw these floral print pants in the JJill catalog this spring.  At the time it was miserable and cold outside and they felt sooooo summery.  I thought I should make a pair!  If you have followed my sewing adventures for any amount of time, you probably realize that loud floral prints do not make their way into my stash very often.  (mud colored, monochromatic prints, yes, florals? not so much)  With this picture in mind I went out on the 'interweb' to find the fabric.

Image For Linen-Stretch Button-Hem Ankle Pants from JJill

Since I haven't done a lot of online fabric purchasing, I wasn't quite sure where to start, and once I started, finding places that would be able to send it before next spring was a bit tricky.  I have had some lovely pieces from Marcy Tilton in the past, so that's where I landed.  

I knew the fabric would need a bit of body to handle the style of the pants, but, without being able to touch the material it was really difficult to know.  I opted for a tropical-ish print in linen.  I figured linen might have the hand I was looking for.  The description also told me that this would be a nice fabric for pants...OK...send me 2 yards!

You can probably guess that when it arrived it was absolutely lovely...for palazzo pants, maybe...but definitely NOT for the style I was coveting in JJill.  It is linen, but it must have a touch of rayon as well because it is drapey and swishy and light and airy....nothing like I had in mind.  

I washed it and it got even more swishy!  Hmmmm, I folded it neatly and added it to the stash!

Fast forward a few weeks....

I came across this pattern....

I got it when it was first released ??? years ago.  I have looked at it any number of times but have never gotten around to making it up.  The idea of a 'french house dress' for hanging out at home sounded appropriate...AND, what do you know?  I just happened to have a really swishy linen and rayon print that would be perfect!  Voila!  Ici my french house dress!


At this point I think I will call it a win for the summer wardrobe and go ahead and order up the pants from JJill...if they haven't sold out already!!!😏


Eve of the Unknown

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way...
Yes, I am weary of living with no knowns.  Yes, I am grateful for the relative ease that my situation has afforded me.  I am safe, fed, sheltered, loved and clothed!  I have been trying not to start sentences or thoughts with "when this is over...." I am starting to say things like, "I'm glad I know how to use Zoom"  or "I never would have thought a virtual birthday party would be such fun!" 
For now, I will do now.

...and yes I am soooo very grateful for my sewing.  It is the one place that feels somewhat the same.  I can still get lost in a project and still obsess over thread color and crotch curves.  I think because it is mostly a solitary thing, it has much the same feel as before solitary was mandatory.

I actually haven't been sewing as much as I thought I would at the onset of the quarantine.  The strange spring weather in Michigan has also been hard to figure out.  My fingers are ready to be deep in linen, but the temperatures still say wool.  When I returned from my workshop at Merchant and Mills I was excited about the pants I had made there.  I tried the Eve pant pattern and ended up really, REALLY liking it!  I made it in a lovely linen at the workshop and then again when I got home in an ivory colored cotton drill.


I love the fit and the relaxed style.  I was thinking that warmer weather was right around the corner and I would be wearing them by now!  Not so much....

I had stacked up a couple of other potential fabrics to make a few more pair when the thought occurred to me, "Do I like wearing them?"  It is one thing to try them on and fuss with the fit, but actually wearing them and going about a normal day in them...hmmmmm?  I decided I should do a test drive and see before stocking up on them.  

The two versions I already had were not going to cut it in 40 degree, rainy weather.  I would have to have my long underwear!  So I found a piece of some kind of suiting blend that I had gotten who knows when for making who knows what...there was enough yardage to make the pants and that was all I needed. The pattern goes together really quickly and in a few hours I had another version of the Eve pants in weather appropriate fabric for my test drive.


Well!  Bingo!  I haven't worn anything else since I finished them.  My instinct told me they were good, but the wear test really confirmed it.  These are officially my favorite pants (right now!)  Even in tacky brown mystery fabric!  I did make one addition to the pattern that I think was absolutely necessary.  The pattern as written does not include front pockets.  I don't know about you, but I want pockets in my pants!  I added slant side pockets and put the opening inside the left side pocket.  It work liked a charm.  Pockets and no zipper in one go!

So, until the weather decides to actually act like summer, I am happily wearing my mystery fabric Eve pants.  I'm pretty sure there are a few more versions in my future.  (one unknown taken care of!)


Stay Put and Putter

Heading into month two of "Stay Put" makes me feel weary.  I have been keeping busy with projects and spring cleaning (like bugs out of the light fixtures cleaning!!!) and have even been enjoying more cooking and baking!  But knowing that so many people are struggling and not knowing when relief might come makes the days long and the nerves a bit raw.

Each day when I head to my sewing room I think I know what I will work on.  I have made any number of 'project piles' anyone of which would be fun to do.  But I never seem to get to the projects, I just keep piling and re-piling and end up making something completely unexpected.  A bit like wandering around in a town that I don't know.  Oh, that shop looks cute!  I wonder if there is a deli somewhere for lunch?  I've heard about this place....Anyway, I could scold myself and make a promise to focus and stick to the plan, but letting the wander happen seems like a kinder gentler way to go.  So here are a few of my random 'wanders' from the past week or so....

Since more TV has been part of our 'now' routine, I have been dragging out half finished knitting projects from who knows when.  A couple were started so long ago I can't remember what they were supposed to be and any pattern that might have existed is long gone, so those have been frogged and put back in the yarn stash for now.  I found a Wingspan scarf that was about 3/4 of the way along.  I just love this pattern and have at least 3 others that I wear often.  I love the way the yarn does all the work to make the design and the finished scarves sit nicely around my shoulders and under the collars of coats.  The yarn for this one came from a really tiny little yarn shop in Portland OR.


Here's another sweater that I started when I was in Key West in January 2019.  I actually got the yarn while I was there and made a good start and then it just got set aside.  It's two shades of white-ish linen.  It was a bit tricky as "TV" work because in the dark I really couldn't tell which color I was working with, and yes, I did have a few rows of un-knitting during the process.  It is my basic 2 squares with sleeves sweater pattern.  I do knit other patterns, but the 2 squares with sleeves are the ones that I actually like to wear.  I think this version is going to be great after a few wearings.  Linen always gets softer with time and wear, and this one is already pretty soft.  I really like it over the printed linen shift I made last summer to wear for my niece's wedding.

One of the things that I wanted to make after seeing it at the Merchant and Mills shop was a Costermonger bag/pack. 
The actual bag was simply an 18" square with straps.  I decided I could handle the size and shape of the bag without the pattern but did pick up a hardware kit that includes really cool leather straps, strap rings and rivets.  I also found a remnant of oiled cotton that would be the right size and brought that home, too.  I didn't want to mess up the oiled cotton so I decided to make a "trial balloon" of the bag.  When I got out the stuff for my "muslin" I figured it would take me a couple of hours tops to put together an 18" square bag.  HA!  I spent the entire day fiddling, cutting the wrong size pieces, sewing the wrong things together, whatever could go haywire did!  Boy did I feel like a newbie!  It finally came together, but I'm not sure it gave me any more confidence in cutting into my oiled cotton!  I may not jump right into that project!

I think what I have been doing in my sewing room would be called "puttering." 

doing a number of small tasks or not concentrating on anything particular.  move or go in a casual, unhurried way.

Yep, that's it!  Puttering seems to be OK for now.