assorted sewing ruminations

Remember those shorty overalls/dungarees/”ovarees” I made last month? I submitted the design to the Maker’s Wish competition over at Schnittchen Patterns. People can vote on which designs they would like to see turned into actual Schnittchen patterns. The four most popular choices will win. It’s kind of a cool idea, letting the people that ostensibly may buy your patterns have a say in the options available. Maybe go check it out & vote?

& if I may include a bit of reasoning for why you should vote for my pattern: I intentionally submitted a garment that is perhaps a bit more unique in silhouette because I feel like there’s a lack of that in the indie pattern world. As a person who aims to have a completely handmade wardrobe, I need a lot of options–NOT just skirts & dresses. I wear pants, jeans, & shorts all the time, because that is what is most practical for my lifestyle. When I got a bee in my bonnet to make my shorty overalls, I really couldn’t find a pattern I liked. I wanted classic jeans detailing (topstitching, rivets, mock fly, front & back pockets), a full front & back bib, & I was absolutely obsessed with wanting a waistband. I also had a vision of having buttons at the hips to facilitate fit. I guess that’s a detail I remember having on some overalls I had in high school (circa 1993, when overalls were all the rage).

There aren’t a lot of overalls patterns available, full stop, & every one I found was not quite right. The bib was cut too low, it called for buttons at the shoulders instead of classic dungarees hooks, there were pleats around the belly/hips, it was cut all in one with no waistband (or even a waist seam in some cases), the fit was too snug, the legs were too wide, something. I could have just bought the pattern that was closest & tried to alter it to suit my vision, but instead I took a chance on just drafting my own, & I LOVE how it came out. Those ovarees are probably my most worn item of summer 2016.

There are so many dress patterns in the world. I’m not saying that we don’t need another. I’m just at a point in my sewing where I can easily alter & hack the dress patterns I already have to get pretty much any style I want. People seem to find pants a lot more challenging & want a pattern to guide them. So…pick my pattern! Or, seriously, any of the others. There are some really intriguing designs to choose from.

In other news, I guess I am co-hosting a sew-along in this crafty mom FB community I am in. Not quite sure how it happened, but I’m okay with it. The selected pattern (I had nothing to do with making the choice) is the Key West tank by New Horizon Patterns. I had never heard of this pattern company before. It just goes to show: there are so many indie pattern companies out there, it’s literally impossible to keep track of them all.

I’ve never been of a sew-along before. Like, I’ve never even silently followed along with one online. I haven’t cut out the tank yet (I’m waffling between two fabric choices), but it looks super-fast to sew. I imagine that once it’s cut, I’ll be done sewing it in less than two hours.

After that, the group is arranging a knit-along. The pattern in the offing is the Zinone top by Andi Satterlund. & the most exciting part is that I kind of inspired the knit-along! I have been thinking about taking up knitting for a long time. I even had a roommate who tried to teach me way back in 2004. I don’t know why I didn’t stick with it…Just a lack of commitment, I guess. Jared knows how to knit & has offered to teach me on numerous occasions. I’ve just always been really intimidated by it. All those different kinds of yarn & needles & something called swatching & the possibility that whatever you knit could potentially be ruined in the wash, if it’s wool & you forget. I guess it’s not so dissimilar from when I first started sewing & was utterly flummoxed by all the different kinds of fabric that are out there. Cotton is cotton is cotton, right? Surely there’s not really an appreciable difference between, say, voile & quilting cotton. People just act like there is so they can feel fancy, right? I really did think that. & it really didn’t take me that long to learn how wrong I was.

We have a really nice local yarn shop in Lawrence, so I stopped in there & bought the stuff I need to tackle the Zinone. I let Ramona help me choose the yarn. I decided to just focus on getting the weight right. The pattern calls for linen yarn & I am too incompetent to know if it makes a big difference to use a different fiber. Ramona chose a really soft yarn that is mostly merino, in dark gray. At first I wanted to choose something else, because…gray? Bor-ing. But gray is actually a really utilitarian color in my wardrobe, & I wanted to honor Ramona’s choice. She was so excited to be helping me.

My logic is: my first garment project ever was a fully lined fitted skirt with darts, a yoke, curved pockets trimmed with bias tape, & an invisible zipper. Did it come out perfect? Definitely not. But it came out Good Enough, & I actually still wear it. I jumped in with both feet with sewing, & therefore, I’ve never been intimidated to try a new technique or fabric or garment pattern. Why not take the same approach to knitting? The worst than can happen is that I will hate knitting. But if I can complete even an imperfect knitted garment & enjoy the process & learn something new, that’s a big win. I told the crafty moms this, & one of the experienced knitters offered to put together a knit-along so there will be a crew of people to help me (online) if/when I get stuck. Fun!

I think that’s most of my sewing news that isn’t actually the sharing of a garment. I spent the morning cutting out some new projects, though, so…more to come!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

8 thoughts on “assorted sewing ruminations

  1. Oh man, I wish I’d known about this contest! Ben got a pair of pants recently that have elastic at the waist but it’s in a side panel that’s hidden. When the pants aren’t stretch, it looks like there’s just a side seam in the waistband. When they’re stretched, the elastic comes out of the back half of the waistband, but it’s covered in the pants fabric so you can’t tell there’s elastic; the front waistband just gets longer to give you more room. I don’t know if that description made any sense, but I desperately want a pair of pants like this. I never wear pants because they’re so uncomfortable. I hate feeling strangled at the waist, which is what always happens. I made a pair of Gingers a while back and they were better, but my problem is that my fat spreads so much when I sit so that something that feels okay or even a bit baggy when I’m standing makes me super uncomfortable when I sit. I’ve been wanting to experiment with elastic in pants, and I really like this hidden elastic panel idea because it’s seriously impossible to tell there’s elastic in them. I don’t think it will be that hard to construct a similar waistband, but there are so many people in the sewing community who like dresses because pants are uncomfortable, so I feel like such a design would be welcome.

    Anyway, I voted for you because your ovarees (I love that name!) are the closest to the classic overalls I wore in high school as well, and the recent dungaree patterns that have come out look very Becky Homecky in comparison to me.

    1. Those pants sound really intriguing! I can’t really picture exactly how they work in my head just based on the description. Do you have a link to a catalog photo or something? I want to check this out!

      I feel like Schnittchen maybe didn’t do a super-great job of publicizing the contest. I guess it was on their blog & on Instagram, but there were only one or two mentions in each place. Then again, they are a German company. Maybe they pushed it harder on their German language social media, which I wouldn’t know anything about. I honestly don’t even remember where I heard about it.

      I have seen a few dungarees patterns that are somewhat intriguing. I was tempted by the Turia dungarees by Pauline Alice, but there’s no waistband, the back bib was a bit skimpier than I wanted, the hips are fitted with zippers (I just imagined splitting them the first time I sat down), the overall silhouette is a little bit too fitted for my tastes, & to top it all off, I am outside the size range. I would have had to make so many alterations, it was just easier to draft my own.

      One bummer thing is that if my design does win a spot in the Schnittchen pattern line-up, it will be too small for me! I’m outside Schnittchen’s size range as well. But as you can see, this pattern still works perfectly well on someone with a 40″ waist. *sigh*

      1. Yeah, I’m seriously bad at describing things spatially. Here’s a photo of what it looks like:
        These are a tiny bit more obvious than Ben’s because of the crease in the part that’s sliding out of the waistband. His don’t have that so it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s an expanding waist.

        Schnittchen is very much not on my radar because most of the patterns I’ve seen from them aren’t my style, so that’s part of the reason I never heard of it, I’m sure. That really sucks that their size range would mean the pattern wouldn’t fit you! Some of these size ranges are so restrictive that I really don’t understand it. I’ve read that the average size for American women is like a 14. That should be the center of most ranges, then, I would think!

        1. About the size range: I know, right? Tim Gunn just wrote an editorial for the “Washington Post” on this very topic. I did not win the pattern contest, but I did get a gift certificate for my trouble. I am really struggling to find a pattern that interests me, which is too bad.

          The waistband on those pants is really intriguing. I would love to figure out how that’s constructed.

  2. Greetings your Crabiness,
    Love that you made overalls. Can’t believe that they were a popular garment for your years. Mine too! Sadly had mine in (can’t believe I’m positing this) the mid-70s. No thunderbolts or other ominous sound effects? Wait a bit, something will explode…. No? Must be losing my touch. Anyhow mine were OshKoshB’gosh, some serious denim. Wore the hell outta ’em. Never with the also popular tube top as I was one of only TWO in my class hefting DD’s. Three in a school of 1200. I also bow to your prowess on the Bracraft. I was going to say my favorite part of your design was.. then I realized I like every little bit. Voted for it too because just last fall I was wishing I could find some that would fit. If they do make a pattern I think I’d tackle it. Somehow seems less intimidating than jeans which I’ve not yet tried.
    Busy trying to get the fit right on a bra. After I get that working then I can try other new things!
    Just love reading your blog. Especially your humor. Was always told that was my Scots roots showing. Personally I think it’s more to do with having a mother who was known as “the Empress”. When she was good, she was very very good and when she was bad she was awful. 🙂 Knew you’d understand and I don’t think you’re crabby, just a mite too honest fer some!

    1. Thanks for the compliments on my blog, & the overalls pattern! Sadly, it didn’t win, but I have the ones I made & I love them. They’re such a hot trend right now, it’s only a matter of time before a couple of overalls patterns are rolled out by someone.

  3. I’m sorry I missed the deadline! I feel like I can’t justify the time spent sewing overalls when I could only wear them on the weekends, but I am having some serious nostalgia for all of the overalls I wore in the mid-90s.

    1. Yeah, since my life is mostly hanging out at the playground & preschool runs, overalls are pretty ideal for me. They really didn’t take long to make at all! The fact that I’ve made a couple of pairs of jeans probably sped things along.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: