Hudson Pants

Hudson Pants: The Perfect Athleisure Wear

You can sew knits without a serger. There are countless blog tutorials and YouTube videos detailing exactly how to do so. But OH MY GOD is it faster, easier, and so much more satisfying on a serger.

Brother Designio DZ1234 Serger
fresh outta the box

I’ve sewn so many knits over the past year that I knew it was time to bite the bullet and get a serger. And then Christmas rolled around, and my very generous parents gifted me this Brother Designio DZ1234 Serger (and this awesome The Complete Serger Handbook by Chris James!). I almost started crying. Thanks Mom and Dad!

brother Designio serger
sergin’ some scraps

I didn’t even open the box until well after holiday break, since I figured the thing might consume me. I was correct. It came prethreaded, so I pretty much started serging bits and bobs of scraps at will. So fast! So neat! So professional-looking! Full disclosure: I just flipped the machine on and started using the default stitch. I know there are plenty of stitches to explore, but I’m not kidding when I say that I went at this with reckless abandon. It seems intuitive enough, right? Hehe, hehe (*nervously looks around for whistleblowers*).

The Hudson Pants from True Bias seemed like a logical choice for my inaugural serged garment. I’ve made them twice already and absolutely love each pair. Kelli came out with this pattern well before I ever heard the term athleisure (thanks, Aria!), but I think it’s safe to say that the Hudson Pants fall squarely into this category. If you’re not familiar with the word athleisure, you’ve at least seen the trend out in the world. Think leggings as pants, cropped sweatshirts over tanks, floaty “yoga tops” that no one actually does yoga in but will gladly wear after yoga class. Preferably at bottomless mimosa brunch.

athleisure lululemon
athleisure in its natural habitat: Lululemon (photo: http://bit.ly/1JcxV2z)

Hate it or love it, athleisure isn’t going away. (Just ask Forbes.) I’ve decided to embrace it, even if only at home on the weekends or after a workout.

True Bias Hudson Pants

Here are the details for these Hudson Pants:

  • Fabric: stretch bamboo rayon jersey and an Art Gallery cotton jersey knit for the contrast
  • Same fit modifications as my printed Hudsons: 1). slashed and spread to add 1″ to the front and back crotch 2). added 3″ of length
  • Added a seam at the upper thigh because of fabric constraints
  • Smaller waistband because of fabric constraints
  • Omitted the buttonholes/drawstring

Hudson Pants

So… the color. I know. Kind of, very nude-looking. I didn’t buy this fabric (which is incredibly soft and comfy BTW) with the intention of sewing Hudson Pants. It was destined for a Christmas gift, but the color was just wrong for the Hemlock I wanted to make.

Hudson Pants

Enter these slightly obscene Hudson Pants. I’m going to spare you a butt shot for the sake of my own dignity. Strange fabric color aside, I love these pants and can’t recommend this pattern enough if you’re looking for some comfortable loungewear. Excuse me, ATHLEISURE WEAR.

Do you have any favorite athleisure patterns? My serger is looking for more work.

 

All Dressed Up in Anna with Nowhere to Go… Yet.

Purely. Gratuitous. Sewing. That’s what I did when I had the apartment to myself for a couple days over holiday break, and it felt amazing. Did I need to make this By Hand London Anna dress? Not quite.

by hand london anna dress

Sure, I’m considering using this pattern to sew a bridesmaid dress for a wedding in the fall, but that’s more than 10 months away. I did, however, really want a break from sewing Christmas gifts and practical clothes, and Anna turned out to be just what I needed to get my sewjo back. (Sorry not sorry for using that frankenword.)

by hand london anna dress

Construction was simple but time-consuming, since I opted to hand sew a lot of the finishes. Here’s how I finished the guts:

  • Blind slipstitched the armholes and leg slit
  • Catch stitched the hem
  • Pinked the facing and waist seam
  • French seamed the skirt panels and shoulder seams
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
blind slipstitch on the leg slit
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
catch-stitched hem and french seam on a skirt panel
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
three-for-one: pinked! frenched! slipstitched!

Frenching the seams and hand-sewing the hems took quite a bit of patience, but I’m really pleased with the outcome. Plus it was nice to have something to do with my hands while binge-watching Making a Murderer.

anna dress bodice

As for fit, the bodice is pretty snug. I’m not sure if I lost some inches with lackadaisical french seaming, or if I could stand to go up a size. I cut a straight size 10 (I’m a 36 bust with broad shoulders), and I’ll probably go with that size when I sew this up for a for-real bridesmaid dress. Edit: I should note that this material has a bit of stretch, which definitely helps. I think it’s a poly charmeuse?… I honestly can’t remember, I picked it up for $5/yard from Vogue fabrics in Evanston.

by hand london anna dress back

I’ll generously call this a wearable muslin, although I’m not sure where I’ll wear it. I finished Anna in time to bring her to the Wisconsin Dells for New Year’s Eve, but my rational side won out and I left her at home. She might have been JUST SLIGHTLY out-of-place at the steak house we went to for NYE dinner.

It pains me to say it, since the floor length makes this dress pretty glam, but I might shorten her to wear in the spring and summer. I’m sure I’ll make up for the drama with the bridesmaid dress in the fall.

Have any of you made a bridesmaid or wedding dress? Tell me your secrets!

Flannel Archer Button Up

flannel archer button up grainline studio

It’s time for me to get back in the blog saddle. I recently started a new job, and I gave myself a little break for a few weeks to adjust. The gig’s been great thus far, but I’m still getting used to dressing like a real person (business casual, y’all!) and coming into the office five days in a row without feeling like a zombie.

My previous job offered Work from Home Wednesdays. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact that had on my energy levels. Doing work braless, in my pajamas once a week really did wonders for my well-being. But alas, that life is no more. I’m finally used my new schedule and workload, and that means more energy for blogging. 😀

cruella
image: Veronz

I know Halloween has come and gone, but daggumit I worked hard on my costume and I want to share it. Here’s the outfit breakdown:

  • Fleece and faux fur coat: Vogue Very Easy pattern V 8930
  • Dress: single layer of V 8904, sewn twice before
  • Red gloves, cigarette holder, and wig: Amazon.com
  • Red pumps (not pictured): DSW
  • Earrings and necklace: sourced from my late grandma’s fantastic costume jewelry stash
  • Emerald ring: panic attack central AKA Forever 21

The gloves were slippery, the wig was a little itchy, and the coat was hot as hell at the indoor party I attended. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel like a badass the entire night. Being a glamorous Disney villain has its perks.

flannel archer button up

When it came time for a practical sewing project, I turned to the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio. Last year, I sewed view B in a red chambray. This shirt is view A, a classic boyfriend-style button up, in a super-soft Robert Kaufman flannel from The Needle Shop in Chicago. I was very, very hungover when I took these pictures (like, “oh god why did I do this to myself never again” stupid hungover), so I apologize for my glazed-over eyes and general derpness.

flannel archer button up grainline studio

The sewing process was so much less intimidating this time around with one Archer under my belt. I don’t have a ton to say about construction, but I did fudge the collar a little bit. Instead of using Andrea’s collar tutorial like I did last time, I followed along with the pattern directions and referred to Jen’s sew along. Her video on how to attach the collar is helpful, but my collar stand ended up jutting out past the button band a little bit on one side. It’s not enough to be bothersome, so it’s staying as-is.

archer button up in flannel

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I’m coming to accept little imperfections in my handmade work. Part of me wonders if I notice the mistakes more because I’m gaining experience. But, I could just be getting lazier. Either way, I have a wearable shirt at the end of the day. Right now, that’s good enough for me.

archer button up grainline studio
And this is why we press our hems

In case you’re interested in the boring details:

  • Size: Straight 8. My measurements are 36″-29″-38″ and I’m 6’0″ tall.
  • Alterations: Added 1.5″ to the sleeves and body (could’ve gone with just 1″ on the sleeves); used Jen’s alternate Archer pocket tutorial again.
  • Finishing: Used my machine’s overcast foot for a faux-serged look (this foot is AMAZING by the way); sewed faux flat-felled seams throughout.

It feels good to be back! Before I leave, did you all see Heather’s latest release over at Closet Case Files?

Clare-coat-sewing-pattern-funnel-collar
photo: closetcasefiles.com

The Clare Coat just pounced to the top of my queue. I know, I know, I did a whole post about which coat pattern I wanted to make and actually bought one from Burda. But this pattern just speaks to me. Now to source some wool and super-warm lining…

Have any patterns cut the line in your sewing queue?

On the Bar Cart: Volume 1

bar cart

Since I’m always curious about what other people are drinking at home, I thought it might be fun to start a periodic series to show you what’s on my bar cart at the moment.

Here’s the current lineup:

bar cart

Gin

Ransom Old Tom gin

Letherbee gin

Whiskey

Rowan’s Creek bourbon

James Oliver rye

Old Weller Antique bourbon

Rum

Cruzan light rum

Kraken black spiced rum

Liqueurs

Luxardo maraschino

Rothman & Winter créme de violette

Cointreau

Etc.

Leblon cachaça

Letherbee bësk (and a ltd. edition empty Letherbee malört bottle)*

cocktail bitters

Bitters

Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters

Fee Brothers orange bitters

Bittercube wild cherry bark, Madagascar vanilla, and cocoa bitters

Angostura aromatic bitters

Not pictured (because we ran out of room, or it’s in the fridge or freezer): Luxardo bitter, Lillet blanc, Dolin red vermouth, Du Bouchett’s peach brandy (used in a NYE punch), Jameson, New Amsterdam gin, and some Death’s Door vodka that a couple of friends left at our apartment.

* If you live in or around Chicago, you’ve heard of malört: the bitter, herbal, grapefruity, liquor with a hairspray-like back-of-the-throat feel. Jeppson’s makes the original (from an old Swedish recipe, apparently), but Letherbee Distillers decided to take a stab at their own recipe, which turned out decidedly more palatable than Jeppson’s. In early 2014, Letherbee was forced to change the name of their malört after Jeppson’s won their bid to trademark the term. You can read more about that here. It’s more of a novelty drink than anything else at this point, unless you talk to the old Eastern European man who once told my boyfriend “Is good for stomach,” a tip neither of us will ever forget.

I love using my Grandma Loe’s old vanity table as a bar, but I’m wondering if it’s just too small to hold my growing collection.

Ikea Raskog cart

I recently bought a Raskög cart from Ikea, and I’m kind of embarrassed about how much I love this inanimate object. I originally bought it for bathroom storage (it’s doing a great job holding my toilet paper, extra towels, and face-wax strips), but now I’m thinking it could make a really great bar cart. Especially since it’s got castors. What do you think? Stick with the antique, or give the Raskög a chance?

And, what’s on your bar cart at the moment? Anything you’re saving up for? Let me know in the comments!

Phony ‘Groni with Luxardo Bitter

Luxardo Bitter Negroni recipe

Faux Negroni? Doppelgröni? Call this frankensteined cocktail whatever you like, except a “Negroni.” Apparently, one without Campari just isn’t a Negroni—the bitter aperitif is essential to the drink.

I first learned of Campari at about 16, when I was reading the Gossip Girl YA book series well before Blake Lively ruined it for me on TV. In the books, these Upper East Side high school WASPs drank Campari on the rocks. Naturally, I assumed the drink was some sort of sweet, fruity concoction, probably because all I’d tasted at the time was Watermelon Pucker and Malibu Coconut Rum.

Negroni recipe with Luxardo Bitter

Eventually I learned that Campari is a bitter liqueur, but I was still surprised by its intense taste the first time I had a Negroni. It took me a couple tries to warm up to the flavor of the drink, but now I crave ’em. Unfortunately I don’t have any Campari in my bar yet, so when I saw Luxardo Bitter on sale at Binny’s Beverage Depot, I snagged it up. (Apparently $9.99 is an insanely low price.) I’d heard it was a good introduction to bitter aperitifs, and god knows I can’t pass up a 50% sale on booze.

Here’s the recipe for the slightly controversial drink. Admittedly, it isn’t quite as punchy as a standard Negroni, but it still tasted great and quenched my craving for a bitter pre-dinner cocktail.

Luxardo Bitter Negroni recipe

Phony ‘Groni

  • 1.5 oz. dry gin
  • 1.5 oz. Luxardo Bitter
  • 1.5 oz. sweet vermouth (I used Dolin)
  • Splash of soda (optional)
  • Slice of orange peel for garnish

Fill a lowball glass with ice. Pour the gin, Luxardo Bitter, and sweet vermouth into the glass and gently stir to mix. I added a splash of soda, but that part’s up to you. Add a slice of orange peel for garnish.

Enjoy! Have you used Luxardo Bitter before?