Vogue Patterns 7301: bootlegs from the year 2000

Don’t mess with these girls. They will go all Charlie’s Angels Reboot on you.

This is Vogue Patterns 7301, printed in 2000

I bought this one, new, on purpose, at a fabric store not in someone’s front yard, in the year 2000. I liked Version B (but without those silly ankle-slits) and hated Version C. So of course here I am sixteen years later in Version C. 

The fabric was a big square of upholstery stuff. My husband bought it, cut it, frayed the edges into a fringe, and we had it as a tablecloth or wall hanging or something for a long long time, and until eventually it was absorbed into the fabric stock. 

It’s orange and textured and definitely 100% polyester. I know because I had a sudden worry that this mystery fabric might burst into flame on my body, so I did a burn test, and happily it did not explode, but melted away into little black beads. So, polyester. 

The circles-and-squares pattern is woven in, and remind me of being in an airplane and looking down at those giant circular fields, you know the ones. They always seemed to me to be an inefficient use of space, until I realized that they are irrigated by a long sprinkler arm anchored to a central pivot point. So they naturally form a circular field. So it actually is pretty efficient. I felt pretty clever when I figured that out.

The pants are meant to have a back zip, but I always move back zippers to the side on pants to avoid the early morning ragefest that would be mistaking these for front zip, putting them on backwards, (hopefully) noticing something was wrong, taking them off, and putting them on again with the zip in back. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Speaking of zippers, here above is the envelope from the (possibly 70’s vintage) invisible zipper I used. I’m pretty delighted with it, notice how it says “Unique Invisible Zippers come in these 28 out of sight colors.” 

I’m totally amused by the use of the phrase “out of sight”, especially when paired with the word “invisible”. Like, is there a zipper in there at all? ‘Cause sounds like I won’t be able to see it. Some kind of Emperor’s New Clothes type situation going on in there. 

Fun pallet of colors. But avocado is missing. Maybe I’m wrong about the vintage of this zipper. 

*edit* Looked closer at the zipper envelope just now before throwing it away, it is from 1971 according to its copyright date. Welcome to the 21rst century, zipper, pleased to have you here. 

Ok, so, bootcut though, let’s talk about it. To my mind, bootcut (or bootlegged as the pattern calls these) are fitted through the thigh and then cut straight from the knee to ankle. Neither tapered nor flared. 

This pattern definitely flares out from knee to ankle, however I didn’t have quite enough fabric so I cheated by cutting straight from knee to ankle (a la bootcut) to allow the pattern pieces to nest, but then once the pants were together decided they looked weird and went back in and nipped out the knee, basically recreating a flared leg. 

Is this a bootcut? Seems like flare would best accommodate boots, but then why the name bootcut when flares already existed. Also funny to me: the girls on the envelope are definitely not wearing boots with their bootlegs. 

These pants flew together. I think of pants as being a time consuming project, but not this pair. 

They took 4.25 hours, and that’s including the hook and loop, and going back in and taking in the knee, and my fit alterations which were pretty minimal. They are super basic:  no back pockets, no slash pockets, no topstitching, no belt loops, no buttons, appropriate amount of wearing ease, good length, good depth. Would make a good starting place for creating other styles. 

Sew It.  


McCall’s 4501 and M5400, under-riffic

The Backstory:
Right, so I made a bathing suit, here, using a pattern from 1975. One fairly important pattern piece was missing, so I borrowed from a bathing suit pattern published in 2007. Right? Right. 
The ’75 pattern was granted Sew It status, while the ’07 pattern was hanging out in a weird limbo of having been sort of but not exactly tried out. 
So, in an effort to properly assign status to the ’07, and to have fun while making undies, I made four pairs of underwear, two using the bikini bottom pattern from McCall’s 4501 published in 1975, and two using the bikini bottom pattern from McCall’s M5400 published in 2007. 
Two pairs each because, you know, one each is hardly enough to really get into the project. 

First up was this:

This is the one from 1975, obvs. 
P.S., what is going on with the glasses of the girl in the yellow bikini? They’re like pale blue? As if they are that kind of indoor glasses that turn dark when you go outside, caught in a moment of transition between clear and opaque? Why didn’t the artist just make them be actual dark sunglasses and give poor Yellow half a chance at looking cool? Anyway…
This is the pattern I was most excited about. I thought the low waist and low legline would be super cute and fun and seventies, and instead they are the worst looking underwear of all time. 


Ok I know it’s hard to truly understand the badness in a photo where the clothing isn’t on a person, but believe me, they are bad. After trying them on I understood why the illustrator didn’t include a rear view on the pattern envelope. 
More about why and what is bad in a minute, but for now I’ll say that I almost gave up completely and didn’t even try McCall’s M5400, which was the whole point of the exercise, so dispirited was I by these underpants. 

So here’s McCall’s 5400, published in 2007. I did bikini bottom View F.

So much better! Like real underwear! 
What is responsible for this miraculous difference? The pattern right? No, not exactly! 
I have some theories on why the second two are better than the first two.

Theory 1: Fabric. 
With the first couple pairs I used satin for the back pieces and a medium weight four-way cotton Lycra for the fronts. I figured, based on some of the other seventies patterns I’ve done up, that the fabric probably doesn’t really even need to be stretch. But just in case, I cut the satin on the bias and used stretch for the front. Turns out the cotton Lycra is too thick and bulky, and the satin just look bizarre, feel strange, and puts a literal highlight on all wrong places. 
With the thickness and bizarreness in mind, I decided to stop being all crazy and just do it the right way and use an appropriate (thinner, softer, cotton) knit for the second two pairs.

Theory 2: Troubleshooting. 
The first pair I made, with the blue, looked gigantic before I even tried them on. And looks weren’t deceiving. Second pair (the pink) are cut the same size as the blue but I used a stronger elastic at the waist, plus pulled the elastic tighter, plus used a zigzag instead of the coverstitch. By the time I got to the second pattern and the two bird-print pairs, I’d abandoned the overlock and the coverstitch altogether and had brought out a pair of real, commercially made underwear as a reference for the construction. 
The result being, not only do the bird pairs look better, they also went together much faster: blue and pink took three and a half hours combined, while bird print took two hours combined, from cutting to finishing, for a total of one hour per garment. 

Theory 3: Maybe the pattern. The bikini bottoms for M5400, the 2007 one, which I did in the bird print, are described as having a high-cut leg, which is probably just plain better looking. I liked the low legline as part of a one piece bathing suit, but apparently it doesn’t work for me in a bikini. 

Theory 4: Practice. I am a professional patternmaker, but not a professional stitcher. The costume shop is a highly specialized world in which I’m expected to stay away from the sewing machine and let the stitchers, who are better at stitching than I am, do their thing. I hope that by doing these Sew It Or Throw It projects now, while I’m out being a mom, I’ll return to work a better patternmaker with a deeper grasp of construction. I think the improvement between underwear 1 and underwear 4 is at least a little bit due to practice. 

Other Things:
Here below is the difference in size between the blue and the pink. The other sides are matched, the pieces are cut the same, it’s all a matter of the elastic type and the zigzag versus coverstitch. 

Here below is a detail of both of the elastics, which I bought downtown at some kind of a studio closing sale. I think they’re pretty 

And this photo above showing how much the coverstitch flattens out the elastic. The elastic is just not strong enough to “return” against the pressure of all that stitching. 
Which brings me to a thought and a question:

While reading sewing blogs I’ve been impressed with the consistency of terminology. Here’s this international community, whose members posses every possible level of training in sewing, from various sources, and yet everyone has these terms for fitting. And these terms are universally understood. 
Contrast that to my life in costume shops, where we don’t have terminology for fitting adjustments. If the shop manager needed me to do a Full Bust Adjustment, she wouldn’t say FBA, because I wouldn’t know what she was talking about. She would describe it. Something like, “lower and deepen the dart and swing the side seam out a little.” Or more likely no one would use any words at all, I would just mark the dart lower, pin it deeper, and rip open the side seams in the fitting and then transfer the marks to the pattern later without even knowing I was doing A Thing. 
I was talking about this difference with my husband, and he was like, “where does the terminology come from, if it’s not coming from, like, theater training or fashion?” And I was like, “Sewing books??? YouTube???? The patterns themselves???? I don’t know!”
So anyway, I respect the international consistency of terminology. 
And I’m wondering if anyone can help me with this terminology:
Is there a word or phrase for what is happening in that last photo, where the overlock and the coverstitch are defeating the weak elastic and leaving it all flattened out? Anybody know? Otherwise I’ll just keep describing it. In long sentences. Maybe rhyming. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Oh right, there’s a pattern to be judged! McCall’s M5400 from 2007 is a sew. I’d like to make an actual bathing suit not underwear version of View E and H, the one illustrated in white with the tie-front. 

As for the underwear, I’m sending the blue pair directly to the thrift, maybe to be followed by the pink pair. I might make a dozen more of the bird version, if they wear well, with the goal of using a high order (to the factory of me) to cut construction time in half. Next time I might even cut them so the birds go the right direction on the front. 

Simplicity 4760: summer shorts times five

The Pattern: 
Simplicity 4760 BOYS’ AND MEN’S PANTS AND SHIRT, copyright 2004 by Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc
This is my most used pattern: first the shirt, then shorts, then as pants with crocodile patches. 
This time I didn’t mess around though. Five pairs of shorts, made factory style, simple, fast, bam. 

The Fabric:
I pulled out all the random 1-yard-ish pieces of printed cotton from my shelf and used them up. I found five pieces, so he got five shorts. I am very satisfied with this. 
Starting with the top left we’ve got chickens, stars, Australian Aboriginal art, bottom left we have harvest vegetables (that one was bought to make a hilarious tablecloth, obviously, but never happened, because the reality of a loud tablecloth is not as fun as the idea) and fried eggs, which are from the same collection as the chickens: Ellen Krans for Robert Kaufman. 
I stack-cut them with no attempt at matching, here below is my favorite accidental match up: 

See it? That one two-toned chicken? Totally just happened that way Hahhahahahaa. 

The kid was really into the big spool of string I used to hang up all the shorts, that’s what he’s holding in the photo above. Really really wanted that big spool of string. Such a good helper. 

The blue star shorts, though, I am annoyed with. I’ve had this fabric on the shelf for years, why did I never make myself a pair of star shorts! Now that I see how they look, I am jealous! They should’ve been mine! Arg!!!!

He’s also wearing his State of California shirt. My husband made the graphic and printed it out on iron-on paper.

The harvest shorts crack me up the most. Although it’s a close race.  

Time and Construction: 
I made these factory style, which means I separated the work by process not by garment. So I cut them all, then made all the pockets, then set all the pockets on all the fronts, then closed all the inseams, then closed all the outseams, etc etc. All together this took 8 hours, divided by five pairs equals 1.6 hours per, so let’s call that just over an hour and a half per shorts. 
Good and fast. 
If I’d made a single pair, it probably would’ve taken like three hours, just because stuff always does. 
My dad happened to be napping on the couch the day I cut out all these shorts, and was woken up by what he thought was me chopping an insane amount of vegetables. Oh Scissor Noise, you give us the lols. 

Sew It or Throw It: 
Sew it. 

McCall’s M5965: Seven T-shirts and a story about KISS

 The Pattern:
McCall’s M5965, TODDLERS’ AND CHILDRENS’ GOWN, TOPS, AND PANTS, copyright 2009 The McCall Pattern Co, Inc.

This cover art has way too much color and business going on. 
All that pink and yellow. And red. And black. And soccer balls. And cupcakes. And lizards. It’s jittery. It’s noisy. How are those kids supposed to sleep with all that racket! 
Yes, on the one hand this is a totally silly, irrelevant complaint, but on the other hand: it is totally relevant as the cover art here is supposed to be selling me pajamas. I don’t feel relaxed when I’m looking at it. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED, GUYS.  

But I bought it anyway, so joke’s on me. 

Fat Henry (image under copyright by AE), The Sink, Albums on the Hill, Dot’s Diner

The ones I made are not pajamas though! No way, man.
This is the All Food (except the ones that aren’t food) T-shirt Tour Of Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a good place. You should go. 
These were all adult size T’s, bought by AE and brought home for me to cut down. 
Not pictured:
Lucille’s— because the size womens’ small only needed re-hemming to fit a kid (jeez),
Illegal Pete’s— because they actually had a kids shirt for sale and AE bought it (yay),
and Juanita’s— because they don’t exist anymore. Sorry kid, no Praise The Lard. 

Centro front and back, Boulder Bookstore (with tatooed Shakespeare) front and back

I made these factory style, which is when the time gets interesting: you divide the work by process, not by garment, and for a long time it feels like you’re making no progress and then all at once you have several finished garments, and you divide the total time by number of garments to see how much each one cost. Or timed. 
Except I didn’t bother keeping track of time. 
Dang it. Would’ve been good to know.
I organized construction of these seven shirts by thread color: first group of three shirts with all the machines in white thread, then second group of four, with all the machines in black thread. 

And now for KISS:


Ok, so this one time, I was at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I was working as the alterations person for a stylist for a photo shoot for a singer. They were shooting on the penthouse roof, I had a little portable costume shop set up in a corner of the wardrobe suite. 
At one point in the afternoon, I walked across the hall to the other suite, the catering suite, for a coffee, and had to pause and regroup a little at the fancy-ness of the spread. Just, food and sparkling glass and silver and ice and linens every whichaway. I mean, I have been to weddings with less elaborate food situations than this photoshoot. 
I steadied, got myself a coffee (four choices of brew, seven varieties of milk, representing all the major plant and animal sources) and was thinking to myself, “Hollywood, I love you,” while I wandered over to the window to do a little people watching. 
And right there, a few stories below me, sitting in the outdoor patio of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf across the street, was Gene Simmons. 
Not the real one, but a costumed actor who had wandered over from the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He, too, was taking a break. Just chilling. In full-on KISS makeup and leather. On the table in front of him was an iced coffee and some kind of large, pointy scone type pastry. 
I was about to turn and go back to work —because really, that image was enough to make my day forever— when I saw a lady run out of the coffee shop, have a quick, smiling conversation with Fake Gene Simmons, then she ran back inside, and came back out dragging two kids. She positioned these kids next to Fake Gene Simmons’s table and stepped back with her camera. Meanwhile Fake Gene Simmons stood up, grabbed the scone, stuck it in his mouth, put an arm around each kid, and turned to camera. 
His photo-tongue! He had a long, pointy, Gene-Simmons-style fake tongue, for photos!
And then I went back to work, thinking, “Hollywood, you just keep on giving.”
I can’t name a single KISS song. In fact, before writing this post, I looked up the titles of their most popular songs, and didn’t recognize any of them. Which makes it all the more awesome that they are a major cultural symbol, imbedded in my pop-consciousness, on the strength of make up and costume alone.

Sew It or Throw It: 
Sew it. Raglan ringer-T’s are the super cute-est. The 70’s vibe is fun to see on a little kid. There’s lots of room for playing with color here. I dig. 

Simplicity 2519: a bunny costume for a good dog 


the pattern:
Simplicity 2519, LARGE SIZE DOG COSTUMES, copyright 2009 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc. 

One day back in 2010 or so, I got a phone call from a friend who was like, “hey, wanna make a shirt for an iguana?” And I was like, “Of course I do.” 
So the parameters of the project were: I would come in, meet with the tv show’s costume designer, and then take home the iguana’s measurements, photos from several angles, and two size large men’s shirts to use for fabric to make the iguana’s shirt, and then two days later I would bring them a shirt and the scraps and fill out a time card. 
Shirts instead of yardage because the iguana needed to match with a human actor in an existing garment. Like twinsies. 
I would not get to have a fitting with the iguana (because it’s a notorious diva) (jk) (only because of time restraints).
I had never made a costume for an iguana before, and I didn’t (and still don’t) have an iguana mannequin at home, but on the drive home I figured iguanas are shaped pretty much like dogs when you get right down to it, so I swung by the JoAnn Fabrics and bought four or so doggie costume patterns. Not to use directly, but for reference for things like the weird way an animal’s neck sits on its body, and the angle of the sleeves, how they point forward instead of down like a person’s. That sort of thing. 
This is one of the patterns I bought that day. Didn’t use this one, the other three were more helpful as references, but, I mean, you can’t get rid of a pattern like this, which is why I still have it. 
Oh, and the iguana shirt was a success. That was one well-dressed reptile.  

Just now I made View A, the rabbit costume, for Trixie, who is a good dog. 

the fabric:
Black polar fleece, cut from sweatshirt that my husband was tired of. And pink silk for the inner ears. 
Trixie is a fluffy white poodle-ish sort of dog, very lamb-like in appearance. I think the black will look nice on her, but it occurred to me while making it that this might be a doggie hair magnet. Whoops. 

so mysterious
Trixie is not my dog, though. 
And as a non-dog owner, I was completely mystified by this keyhole opening you can see in the photo above. 
It is at the back of the neck, where the back of the hood meets the body. The pattern piece and pattern instructions refer to it only as Faced Opening, and I stared at it for the longest time wondering if it was some kind of air vent or something and could I just skip it? What was it even for? 
And if it was an air vent, wouldn’t the dog collar be in the way?
Finally, thoughts of dog collars clued me in: it’s there so you can clip a leash onto the collar. Duh.
velcro closure down the front
This pattern has 3/8ths seam allowance. Thank you thank you I love you pattern. 
3/8ths of an inch is the width of the cover stitch pressed foot, and also the distance from the edge of the overlock blade to the needles. Which means that you can just cruise the presser foot along the cut edge of the fabric and everything is sewn in the right place, no trying to line up with a guide or anything. 
I learned this one on the job, a stitcher came over and said, “next time you cut for the cover stitch, please use 3/8ths inch seam allowance, it is easier for me.” And easier means more accurate and faster so I was happy to oblige.  
I am so pleased to see a commercial pattern that knows this trick and is making the sewing easier for us too. 

The only change I made with this rabbit costume was cutting the length shorter and skipping the pompom tail, since Trixie has a nice fluffy white tail of her own. 

3 hours. Polar fleece, so easy, no seam finishing.
Another thing that helped the time: I had all the supplies in house. Velcro, elastic, interfacing for the floppy ears, thread, fabric. Here’s to keeping well stocked. 

Sew It or Throw it:
Sew it. The tuxedo needs to be made. 

*Exciting update*   Here is Trixie! Costume is too big, but Trixie has her own personal in-house tailor, so no problem. Hahahaha Trixie you are a bunny.  


McCall’s M5430: a 1 Hour Skirt*

the pattern:
McCall’s M5430 MISSES’ WRAP SKIRTS, copyright 2007 The McCall Pattern Co. 
The pattern envelope artwork features (in addition to a four-pack of sour-pussed femme-bots) a big red circle with the number 1 inside, proclaiming this to be a 1 Hour Skirt*
Asterisk included.
I looked all over for the footnote that would follow that asterisk, figuring it would read, “lols fooled you Sucker, this will take many more hours than one hahahaha,” or similar, but even worse: there is no corresponding footnote. Not anywhere on the pattern envelope or the instructions inside. 
Here, here’s the back, you look. No asterisk. 
Maybe it’s supposed to be an emoticon? Like, maybe they meant to make the smiley face with tongue sticking out, or the wink face, but had a typo and this mysterious unanswered asterisk is the result? 
Anyway, moving on,

no footnote here
the fabric:
The striped part is cut from a skirt that I made in maybe 2003, wore a lot, and then suddenly hadn’t worn in years. So, time for a re-cut. It was a circle skirt, so it provided a pretty good amount of material. 
It’s a cotton canvas, fairly stiff, kinda stands out like a bell, which will be great for hot summer days when I want my clothes to not touch me. 

The waistband is denim from an old pair of jeans. I really like how the denim works here, it’s nice and soft, and shows so much variety in color from the worn spots and folded areas from the original pants. 


tiny rainbow in my camera lense lalalallaaa
center back uses the side seam from the original skirt, nicely matched, thanks Past Self
Speaking of matching, I really enjoy how the side seams do not match. Or actually the stripes do line up in one spot at the hip, but the angle of the side seams is different, so they can’t match all the way down. Which I like, the chopped-up stripes look all kind of agitated and exciting. 
If I’d been working from yardage instead of cutting this thing from a large circle, I could’ve eliminated the side seams all together and had the stripes go from horizontal in the front to meet in chevron at the back. 
That would’ve been cool too. Oh well. 


not a real safety pin
this mess is definitely staying closed
this is pretty much what I look like all the time
Ok back to that 1 Hour Skirt thing:
I don’t know what part of this project was supposed to take one hour.
It took me 6.5 hours. I was sending my husband texts saying I was on hour forty-seven of my one-hour skirt. He was sending me texts saying he’d be out for an hour and a half and expected to see one and a half finished skirts when he returned. 
To be fair, part of my 6.5 hours was a bunch of stuff the pattern didn’t call for. 
Such as:
The pattern didn’t ask me to cut from an existing skirt, necessitating a lot of turning pattern pieces this way and that way to get the best lay-out. 
The pattern didn’t ask me to make fake-French seams. 
The pattern didn’t ask me to use hooks and snaps. (It calls for buttons on the underlap and a very nice functional tie on the overlap, which I eliminated due to my fabric being both bulky and in limited supply). 
The pattern didn’t ask me to face the hem (with blue taffeta bias fold).
The pattern didn’t ask me to zig zag on an appliqué in the shape of a safety pin. 


The pattern does include, depending on which version you choose, top stitching, applied pockets, a lace hem, a real hem, making two buttonholes, sewing two buttons, and hemming waist ties. 
What part of any/all of that is supposed to take only an hour?! It takes me almost an hour to get my buttonhole attachment set up! 
Ok joking about the buttonhole attachment, but seriously, let’s look at the snaps and hooks as an example: 
If it takes me five minutes to sew each pair (which it does more or less, 2 minutes thirty seconds per side is not a bad estimate) and I’m sewing six total, that’s thirty minutes right there. So, the whole rest of the cutting, sewing, and everything else is supposed to take just thirty more minutes? I mean yes, they never told me to do four hooks &bars and two snaps, that was my own crazy, but whatever, it’s a good example of the reality of the time it takes to make things. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew it. It’s a good skirt! Just nevermind that 1 hour business!
The overlap gives good coverage, I tested it by running around, sitting cross-legged, running around some more. 
The yoke is nice, sits well on the waist. 
I think, actually, this skirt —as I made it— is very me. Like, if there was a game show where there was a rack of miscellaneous clothing and friends had to pick out which garment belongs to me, they would all totally win the grand prize. 
It’s got stripes doing something funny, it’s a slightly odd shape with that stiff fabric I chose, it’s got a yoke, it’s got a funny appliqué…yep. 
Which is a little bit of a hard truth to accept! I mean, I’d love to think I’m a bias dress in some kind of liquid satin or a sculptural wool coat or, you know, something even a little bit sophisticated, but no, I’m this skirt. 
Fine, whatever, I accept. 

Simplicity 4760: pants, now with more crocodile 

See how puffy this envelope is? That’s because it contains ALL THE SIZES OF MAN.

the pattern:
Simplicity 4760 BOYS’ AND MENS’ PANTS AND SHIRT, copyright 2004 Simplicity Pattern Co, Inc.
Yes, this old thing again .
But this time in corduroy, and with animals!

front, with mama and baby crocodile and mama and baby kangaroo awwwwww
back, with solo echidna
the fabric:
The brown corduroy is leftover from a pair of pants I made for my husband a while back. It’s light weight, has some stretch, and has narrow wales.
Pin wales?
Speaking of wales, I was watching Venture Brothers the other day and there was a villain named Wide Wale and he was wearing a corduroy suit and it made that raspy corduroy-stride sound, at max volume, every time he moved, and it totally cracked me up.
The animal fabric is a printed cotton that flew all the way from Australia, from Australian Grandma, who is vigilant in keeping her grandson stocked in kangaroos and wombats and etc.
I used stitch-witchery to make patches and then fused them onto the pants and zig-zagged the edges. The plan is that they’ll serve as knee-patches to keep that wimpy corduroy from wearing through.

Didn’t have a big enough piece of the corduroy, so the legs are seamed in back.
All nap going downward.
The direction of the nap is an interesting thing: nap going up generally gives a deeper, more intense color, but it feels gross to me. I always make the nap go downward, unless someone makes me cut it the other way. I’ve heard this refered to as “pet the cat,” as in, you make the nap go from top to bottom in the same way you’d pet a cat. Pet the cat the wrong way and you get Bit.
Skipped the zip in the center front, but did put a fly facing inside to reinforce the fabric so I could topstitch to give the totally more grown-up appearance of a zipper while keeping them as pull-on pants.
I used the waist facing to make two channels for elastic.
I had just enough corduroy to make a back pocket, which the pattern doesn’t include, but which I think helps take these pull-on-pants out of dangerous are-those-pajamas-or-are-they-real-pants territory.

I’m adding a new category! I forgot to say!
Time! Because I want to get better at estimating how much time a project will take, in my head, immediately, before starting the project.
So, time on this one: 4.25 hours.
To emphasize: I’m not trying to get faster or to brag about times or create any kind of time-pressure for myself (or you), I’m just trying become better at estimating time by keeping track of hours and making note of them here.

pants, framed by the award winning Administration Building
pants, in the Shoin Building adjoining the teahouse
pants, on the way to the viewing pavilion overlooking the actual water treatment part of the plant. It’s so pretty!

Above, the pants out in the world.
And not just anywhere in the world, this is The Japanese Garden & Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, which is an incredible place and definitely the most beautiful water reclamation plant I have ever visited.
It’s mission, to quote the little coloring book that came with our admission stickers, is, “to show how reclaimed water can be used in a delicate and positive manner.”
It’s beautiful. Seriously. I could see having a wedding here. Just, maybe, on a day with a breeze. Sometimes it, well, smells exactly like a water treatment plant. But it’s so gorgeous I feel like everyone should just Be Adult and ignore that factor.

Sew It or Throw It:
This is the third time I’ve used this pattern, and it’s Sew status remains intact.

McCall’s M5965: Grinch pants


the pattern:
McCall’s M5965 TODDLERS’ AND CHILDREN’S GOWN, TOPS, AND PANTS, copyright 2009 The McCall Pattern Co.
Just your average pajama pattern. I bought this on clearance a couple years ago because kids in raglan t-shirts are such a Cute Classic. Still haven’t made the shirt, but was glad to find this pattern in my collection because the pants pattern is extremely simple: just two pieces, pull-on elastic waist, no outseam. Perfect a loud print that I don’t want to bother matching.

the fabric:
Face: Printed cotton. My husband bought it a couple years ago, just because he liked it. 
Flatlining: Brushed flannel in red. Super soft. Used to be a grown-up nightshirt. Came as a gift, along with a book. Not even kidding here: the book was How The Grinch Stole Christmas. How’s that for appropriate repurposing.
The nightshirt was never worn, but it was HUGE, so I kept it for the fabric. As flatlining it adds a nice weight and warmth to the otherwise wimpy cotton.


pattern observations:
The pattern calls for stretch fabric, which my fabric is not, so I just went up a size, and they turned out HUGE on my kid. Comically huge. I like the proportions a lot, actually. The deep cuff show off the flannel nicely, and kind of reminds me of how firemen uniforms are proportioned, with those stripes around the hem like a giant cuff.
The pattern has you fold the waist down into a channel for 3/4″ elastic, but I did two channels of 1/2″ elastic instead, because that’s what I had in house, and because I like the way two rows look.
I added a little tab of ribbon in the center back, because there isn’t much difference in rise between the front and the back, and I didn’t want to go around wondering if his pants were on backwards all the time. Not that it matters. Except to ME. So now I can always tell front from back. 

Ok, this made me laugh: the pattern instructions, when describing the waist elastic, say “cut elastic a confortable waist measurement, plus 1 inch.”
Um, what? No! How about You Tell Me exactly how long to cut the elastic! You are the pattern. Give me a chart! Tell me exactly how long the elastic should be per size! Don’t make me figure it out!
I ended up just measuring the waistband of another pair of my son’s pants and cutting the elastic the same, but, like, way to make assumptions, McCall’s. I mean: not everyone who sews for kids has a kid. What are people supposed to do when there aren’t any kid’s pants around to measure?
Also, what is this “plus 1 inch” business? I pretty much always cut elastic to the exact measurement of the waist, then overlap 1″, so the elastic is stretched onto the body, not just sitting on it. That’s what I did here, helps keep the pants from sliding down.


There’s an action shot. I put out the pipecleaners to lure him into the photo. Sort of worked.
He loves these pants. We watched the cartoon recently, and he was super into it. Three is a fun age, he’s old enough to understand the story and talk about it. Now I just need to teach him the songs so he can sing along with Boris Karloff. That will be so awesome. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew it. Cute, uncomplicated. Sized up to age 6, so I’ve still got some time to make the shirt.

Simplicity 8924, Butterick B5585, Simplicity 4479, and McCall’s 3510: a whole bunch of nope. 

These four are definite Throws. I’m not going to bother putting these to the test, and here’s why:

First up, Simplicity 8924 YOUNG JUNIOR/TEENS’ AND MISSES’ VEST, MINI SKIRT, BLOUSE AND PANTS, copyright 1970 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.
I recently discovered eBay! So exciting!
I got a box of miscellaneous vintage patterns, mostly good stuff that I’m excited about, one Throw.  This is it.
I like the variety of 1970’s hair-do illustrated on this pattern. However, the collarless tunic-ish vest-y thing and elastic waisted skirt and pants are not for me. Because gross. 

Next up, Butterick B5585 INFANTS’ JACKET, DRESS, TOP, ROMPER, DIAPER COVER AND HAT, copyright 2010 The McCall Pattern Company.
I bought this in 2012 at full price, while I was pregnant. I never buy at full price, so I’m gonna classify that one as an emotional purchase.
Here’s what happened with this pattern:
One day I got the onesie all cut out from an old band t-shirt. The next day my son was born. Time managment lols!
It was months before I got back around to sewing, and by then he’d outgrown the onesie I’d cut, and I realized that I didn’t actually want to make a onesie at all, for him or anyone else. They are a lot of work!
I tried making the hat later, but didn’t love it. The tie is not integrated into the design, it’s a separate piece that’s tied onto a loop, and that bums me out. I like the magic of an integrated design. 
Cute baby on the pattern cover though.

Third up: Simplicity 4779 MISSES’ KNIT TWIN SETS, copyright 2004 Simplicity Pattern Co.
Found this at a thrift store for the strange price of 79 cents. I remember I actually bargained with the guy at the cash register and got this one for free, which I feel kind of bad about because it’s a charity store and, like, why’re you gonna shortchange a charity store, but there you go, I totally did.
Oh well, now they’ll be getting it back to re-sell at their leisure.
Nothing wrong with this one, except that it’s not my style at all. My opinion on this sort of shrug/cardigan hybrid is PICK A LANE.

And lastly: McCall’s 3510 MATERNITY DRESS, SWIMSUIT, TOP AND PANTS, copyright 1973 The McCall Pattern Company.
This one is adoooooorable.
Especially View C, which has bloomers!!!!!! It calls itself a swimsuit but would really make a fun summer lounging outfit for summertime pregnant ladies.
The only problem is, this is not how pregnant ladies dress anymore. It’s a lot easier to throw on a stretchy t-shirt than to bother sewing something that might only get four month’s use.
The bloomers are patterned to be longer in the front, so you pull them up over the belly instead of having them sit underneath. I know because I considered making a pair for non-pregnant loungewear, but decided it wasn’t worth the repatterning.

Bye Patterns! Have a nice time at the thrift shop! Find someone who loves you! 

Simplicity 2965: The pockets are shallow, the disappointment is deep. 

the pattern:
Simplicity 2965 copyright 2008 by Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.
I found this pattern a couple weeks ago at a thrift store. When I saw that it was published so recently but is already sitting there in the thrift, I was like, “Somebody only kept this seven years?! That’s Quitter Talk!”
But I shouldn’t judge. Maybe the original owner went someplace where she didn’t need clothes. Like nudist camp. Or the big bobbin-winder in the sky.
This is one of those “inspired by Project Runway” patterns.
I don’t watch the show, so I don’t know what the deal is with these patterns. Did this design appear on Project Runway? Is this design eerily similar to a design that appeared on Project Runway? If so why isn’t the designer credited? Aren’t some of the people on that show credited on some patterns? Did this designer lose? Do only the winners get their names on patterns? Is it actually nothing like anything that’s ever been on Project Runway, but Simplicity is hoping to pique my interest by referencing a fashiony tv show?
I didn’t find anything on the googles, so I’ll just have to tweet Simplicity and ask. *
What I do know, though, is this: for a fashiony show, these are sooooooper unstylish envelopes. Too much color! What is with that blue? What is with the button clip-art floating around in the background? What is with those fashion illustrations? It looks all chaotic and unsophisticated. To me, of course. My opinion.
I mean, the one photo with the dress in white looks great, just keep that one and get rid of all the other color and prints and jumble.
Keep it simple, Simplicity!

the fabric:
Like fifteen years ago maybe, a costume designer friend gave yardage of this striped linen-cotton blend to my husband, and he hung it in our apartment to hide the white walls that we weren’t allowed to paint. Like curtains, but well away from sunshine. When we moved, the curtains came down and went into my fabric collection, and now here they are today:


cutting the side-fronts on the cross grain was my idea, not the pattern’s.

I ran the photos above through a filter because my face looks better that way, the actual color is more like this:


the dress:
Has some patterning issues! Primarily the Disappointing Pockets! They are so shallow! There’s nothing I can put in there comfortably, INCLUDING MY HANDS!!!!
So disappointing. The pockets promise so much, such an interesting detail the way they magically come out of the side front dart, and then they just let you down so majorly.
Also the bodice has three inches of wearing ease. That is too much. I reduced it to one inch, which I still think is too much. For a dress like this, you really want that delicious Two-Scoops-Of-Ice-Cream décolletage that a snug bodice and the right undergarment will get you.
Also a lower neckline.
Isn’t that scallop-edged elastic cool though? I just realized that in addition to a lot of patterns and fabric, I also have a lot of trim and buttons. So my new philosophy is use a trim. Just, whenever. Which is why there’s a button at the back neck.
I used up a button! Yes! Only twenty million more to go!
Back to the patterning issues though:
In the photo, the bust darts appear to angle outward at the bust, which is nice and gives the appearance of a nice full bust and slim underbust. However, as my striped fabric telegraphs, the darts actually go straight up, which is not super flattering and seems kind of gimicky and weird and made me think snobby thoughts about the contestants on Project Runway and their design aesthetic.
Which, again, I don’t watch, so obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about and should shut up.
If I were to do this dress again, I’d change the darts to princess seams and eliminate the underbust seam at the center front, so the front would magically swoop all the way from those pockets to the neckline. Really play up the magical pockets feeling, like this:


That awesome picture was traced from the pattern cover.

Sew It or Throw It:
It’s a sew? I guess? But not a very enthusiatic one?
Maybe I’m being unfair?
I think I’m just having a hard time getting past my disappointment with the pockets. My Deep Disappointment with these Shallow Pockets. They need to be like six inches deeper. Which would not be a hard fix, but I feel like the pockets are the whole point of this dress, so I’m confused and maybe a little outraged that they aren’t awesome.

* exciting update: @SewSimplicity answered my tweet. The “inspired by Project Runway” patterns are part of a contest open to the the public, so I guess they are, literally, Inspired by Project Runway but not actually part of the show. The winners get a trip to the Simplicity offices in NYC and shop the fabric district and get their pattern published. So that’s pretty awesome.
Also, looking on the Simplicity website, I see that the more recent “inspired by Project Runway” patterns have in fact ditched the chaotic blue envelope for a nice simple photo and line drawing. So that’s awesome too.