Wednesday, May 26, 2010


After reading several reviews of David Paige Coffin's latest multi media book on Making Pants for Men and Women I decided it was worth adding to my library.  I hated his cd book on pants; I like to have a book to hold and read in bed if I want to.  The first book just didn't have enough information either.  This one is well done with lots of information with both a book and a dvd. There are lots  of photos of rtw and custom made pants as well as plenty of technical and construction details and some nice video clips to illuminate the technique.  It's a great use of multi media capabilities.    My hesitation on buying this book wasn't it's lack of information on linings,as Sigrid mentioned,  but his bias for menswear   and I only sew pants for women, namely myself.  He does cover faced, raised  waists, which I will try out.

What I like the best about this book though is his point of view and his attitude towards sewing.  He is unabashedly an amateur, as are most of us, and his willingness to experiment is contagious.  One of his pants making goals is to make flat, thin edges as is mine.  I've had issues with getting  the contour waistbands I prefer to lay smoothly and flat.  I have curvy upper hips with my weight right below the waist.  I'd have an easier time of it if I just used a straight waistband at my waist, but I don't love them.  I cut these pants out using several of his ideas.  One, I used 1/4" sas at the waist and at the bottom of the band.  This is often  where I run into problems just sewing the  very curvy seam. Using narrow sas make sewing  a curve easier and I don't need extra in case sas there.  Secondly I made a separate pattern for the interfacing without sas.  The third thing I did was to make the facing in a bias shirting (the red facings in the picture) in a  wider width  to cover the pressed open waistband seam.  I'm not sure exactly how I'll construct these  yet; Coffin's sample has an extended tab band that I don't want.  This is where the experimenting comes into play.  We'll see where it leads me.  
If I were sewing professionally I'd make a dozen of these, but I don't really have the time, and it's kind of boring, so I'll make mistakes,  But, I have my trusty seam ripper and I don't mind hand basting.  He  sews his pants  in the ditch by hand to hold the facing in place.  I  may do it this way too because with my very curvy hip it may very well be easier to sew it flat. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Busy Weekend

Saturday was good for my bank account, but not for sewing.  It was a gorgeous day to install a landscape, especially the location.  The property overlooks the Sound and I made it even more beautiful. adding lots  of color that was missing in her existing landscaping.
Alex rewrote my website first page so I worked on getting that up and while the site needs more work, it is up.  

Sunday I did manage to get my white blouse, Hot Patterns Princess Shirt,  cut out.  However, I realized after I cut it out, and fortunately I have some extra fabric, that Debbie Cook  had said that there was too much ease in the sleeve cap.  I always measure the the armscye and the sleeve cap.  So why not here?  Who knows.  I'll measure it and decide if I want to remove some ease and if so I'll recut the sleeve.  I lowered the neckline by an inch and reshaped the lapel area.  I am  cutting a pair of pants to go with it.  Black and lycra sateen to start.  So exciting, but I need some basics.  Then I'll sew.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Exercising in Style

My usual outfit for yoga is an old t shirt and my one and only pair of yoga pants.  When I commented to my dd that I needed to buy some new yoga clothes she scolded, Mom you must have some fabric in your large stash that would work. She was right.  I used a 14oz rayon lycra jersey from Emmaonesock in charcoal for the pants.  They are a simple version of my tnt Hot Patterns Razer eliminating the darts and zipper.  Instead of using a fold over top I used a separate band, which I prefer for pull on pants, and that's it.  Oh, I had to shorten the crotch depth because of the stretch.  For the top I used the hot pink  11oz rayon lycra that I mentioned.  It looks nice with the gray but I can't for the life of me remember why I bought something so pink.  I used Simplicity 4076, a very popular pattern.  Mhh.  I made the gathered front  version when I bought it and also, not my favorite.  This is the mock wrap, side gathered top.  Also just ok.   I don't like where the wrap goes across my bust.  The gather is droopy and it hugs my bulges a bit too much in back.  I made it longer than usual because I wanted it to keep me covered, so it does that and isn't the most flattering length on me.   Ah well, it's only going to yoga class.

Next up is the Hot Patterns plain and simple Princess Shirt.  I need a woven!  I am tired of sewing knits.   I'll probably make it in a white cotton stretch from Paron and  to go with it a pair of gray linen and lycra from Emmaonesock for another pair of  the Razer pant.  I want to copy some details from a pair of pants in February Knipmode to make them more interesting.

You'll notice the hair; it's six weeks and counting since I colored my hair.  I'm okay with it but it does look a bit strange right now.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Alex is not happy with my reduced posting of late, but it's spring.and there are lots of things to do.
There is more work for one, which is of course a good thing.  I have also been working at growing my business.  With the help of my wonderful son I've been building a website for my business,   Nancy Karpen Landscape Design.  The website is actually finished, but we're having trouble getting it up.  Gardening has actually been going on here too, and last, I've been sewing. 
The yoga pants are finished and I am cutting out the very hot pink top. Pants are charcoal gray by the way.   Me, hot pink?  No.  But it's the gorgeous rayon jersey that Emmaonesock sells, so languishing in  my stash forever  is not an option.  It will match my face after exertion, but it's only yoga class.
Photos when the outfit is finished.

Pattern Review is running another wardrobe contest.  Nancy you are not even going to think about planning one!   This one is 10 pieces in 3 months.  Not happening. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Ah, the wonders of technology and the internet.   This morning our dd was participating on an internet talk show on Women in Korea (she lives in Korea) on  When we video Skype her she usually has her hair pulled back, no makeup and her glasses on it is after all usually 9 or 10 at night when we talk.. But, this morning we had the opportunity to see her all made up and her hair done and contacts in and she looked fabulous, even though she is suffering from a bad cold. It was fun to see her interact with 3 other women teaching in Korea.  Apparently this will be a weekly feature on Koreabridge on Sunday nights her time.  Something to look forward to, but since this is when we usually talk to her it will cut into our conversation time.  Ah well.  Afterward we had a  Skype chat with our son and grandson Jake.  As I said, the wonders of technology !

Saturday, May 1, 2010


My wardrobe  has a very limited color palette and periodically I attempt to alter this, which is why I had this acid green rayon lycra jersey in my stash.  It's from Emmaonesock as usual.  Her knits are the best quality and this 11oz jersey is no exception.  I really prefer rayon knits to the cottons available   because those just don't feel as good.  It's wonderful against the skin; like wearing cashmere but far cheaper!  This is Burda 124 7/07 which I've made it before; it's the only twist top I've made that isn't too low and exposed. The review is here. It's a plus sized pattern that is cut rather small.  If I remember correctly, I didn't actually have to narrow the shoulders!  It's also very curvy and snug fitting in the middle, a part I don't like to showcase.  I had to make a small fba for this and I uncurved the middle a bit and then curved it back again in a different spot.  In other words, I needed to play around with the side seams to get  a fit I like.
You of course cannot see how fabulous this green looks on me.  I never used to like wearing green, but this is the perfect complement to the pink in my skin.  If you'll remember your color wheel green and red are complimentary colors and do good things for each other.  These are my spring sandal purchase.  Semi dressy and apparently green by Naya, which I think is made by Naturalizer because they are available as well as on other shoe sites,  on their website.  They are made from naturally tanned leather and the trim is bamboo.  I wore them yesterday for the first time and they were comfortable.  Hard to find stylish  when you have a wide foot.   Also wore them with my new black pants which are ok and even though out of a tight cotton gabardine, stretched out enough to be comfortable in the back leg. 

I have not been happy with either the quality of either  my buttonholes or the top-stitching on  my Viking 750 so I bought this vintage/used Singer on ebay for a big $20 in a cabinet and a trip to Jersey.  Got a great Korean lunch with my dh  too.  I wanted to use one of the vintage buttonholers with it, but yesterday it occurred to me to try top stitiching thread, the heavy Gutterman, with it.  Well hallelujah!  It's a trooper.  Worked like a charm.  I still haven't tried out the buttonholer on it though. 

Next up is cleaning my sewing room and studio.  Cannot work in this mess!  I have pattern pieces and rolls of drawings that need to be filed.  The floor isn't too bad because I do sweep it, but it needs a good dusting and vacuuming too.  Sigh. I hate to clean.

What am I going to sew next?  Yoga clothes.  I have 14oz rayon jersey for the pants and some hot pink rayon jersey,  I do not remember what possessed me to  buy it, because pink is so not my color, for a top.  I'm going to adapt my razer pant  for the bottoms and Simplicity 4076 for the top, which was altered several years ago and I never made the mock wrap with gathers which should work well with short sleeves. I looked through 5 years of BWOF for yoga patterns, and there are several, but in the end I really didn't want to trace and alter another top when this one would work fine. 
Have a great weekend