How I high-waisted the low rise.

This story begins with the end:

Ahahahahha. End, see. Hahhaha.


That book I’m reading? It’s Bright Star, which is a collection of the love letters from John Keats to Fanny Brawne. There was a movie of the same name, the love letters themselves are way, way better than the movie.

The movie I really want to see though is the movie of Fanny Brawne’s second life. You know, after she has this all-consuming teenage romance, after her tragic poet boyfriend dies far far away from her and she cuts off her hair and wears black and walks the moors for years, after that, I want to see the movie of her at thirty three, when she got married and had children. What was that story. I mean, she rejoined the living and moved on, but how? What was that like? Was it love again?

Anyway anyway. Jeans:

This is the raw material. Two pairs from the thrift, one plain old perfectly average pair, and -very important- one pair of button-fly. That pair happened to be Lucky Brand, which means they were priced higher ($14 maybe?), because the thrift shop recognizes that as a fancy denim brand name.

Is Lucky even cool anymore? I have no idea. I just wanted them for the button fly.

What I do know is that this particular thrift shop is unaware of J Brand jeans, which usually run in the $300 range, which I snapped up a ~brand-spanking-new looking~ pair of for $7 that same day, and passed along to my sister.

Here is a diagram of what I did:

Red represents what was taken off and discarded, blue represents what was used, arrows show where it all went. Pair 1 is the Gap pair, Pair 2 is the Lucky’s with the button-fly.

So basically, I removed the waistband of 1, took the entire upper section of the 2 and settled it into place, tried it on, pinned until it sat right, and then stitched it together.

I also removed the front pockets from pair 2 and pieced in some denim, to avoid having four pockets in front. I did try the four stacked pockets look briefly, since it would’ve been way less work, but it looked hilarious and bad and I had to fix it after all.

I used the back pockets from pair 2, because I liked them better. Oh, and because the pockets from pair 1 had a bunch of dumb pre-distressing and holes, obviously factory made that way. Hey, Gap, quit doing that. I used pair 2 to patch all the other dumb pre-distressed holes in pair 1.

The lower diagram in the picture was drawn by a five year old who wanted to get in on all that exciting pants drawing action.

The challenge of course with adding a second story to a pair of jeans is what do you do about the zipper, so here’s a picture:

The zipper proceeds as usual, then the buttons take over, it ended up being pretty simple.

All my double topstitching is done using a cover stitch machine. Automatically parallel and even!

If I could do it over again, I’d try and do that front-pocket-replacement thing with the lighter color denim rather than the darker color, just to break up the look of the front a little. Right now it’s very obvious that it’s one pair laid above another, and I think that works in the back but looks kind of dorky in the front. But it’s not too bad. And most of my shirts cover the upper level anyway.

So that’s it. Low rise straw into gold!


McCalls M6992, with tiny workout ladies

The pattern is McCalls M6992, a raglan shirt designed for knit fabric.

This pattern not vintage, obviously, and is still in print (my copy is from 2014) and is pretty well documented online as far as your standard front-back-side construction views go, so I’m just going to share a couple arty pictures today.

Ok so the obvious point of this project was the fabric. I had one yard of this tiny-exercise-lady print knit, which I picked out a couple years ago as part of a prize for winning Best Bottoms in the Vintage Pledge competition.

I should put that on my resume.

It was my gold skirt that won btdubs, not, like, …well anyway.

The prize was a gift certificate to Girl Charlee and instead of buying usable yardage I just went 1-Yard Crazy and bought a bunch of 1 yard pieces and then they arrived and I was rich, rich I tell you, but then couldn’t really do anything with all my treasures.

So now is now, and I have paired the tiny exercise ladies with this silver tinsel knit, which I also had a stupid-small piece of, from a million years ago, which I fell in love with because I was a little rave kid at the time and anything silver was super attractive, so I kept this weird tiny piece of silver tinsel knit lo these many years.

The silver is really sheer though, and I wanted just a normal long sleeve raglan T that wouldn’t need elaborate layering, so I flat-lined the silver, which is only the front piece, with black knit from a cut-up T shirt, and then used more of the black knit for the cuffs and the shoulder caps and used the original T shirt neckband for my new shirt’s neckband.

So now I have a kind of odd silver-fronted raglan long sleeve T with sheer-ish sleeves and back, and black shoulder wings. It’s just right.

Sew It or Throw It:

Sew it. It’s a perfectly good pattern.

One weirdness though: the raglan sleeve has a dart from the neckline. I don’t like darts in knit, I think they refute the whole point of knit fabric, which is that knit fabric stretches and doesn’t require darting to go over curves.

So that frustrated me.

Also the optional shoulder cap detail isn’t seamed in, its meant to be laid over the darted raglan sleeve, stitched down, and then treated as one piece. I left mine free along the bottom edge, in part for fun and in part because if it’s going to be stitched down it would look way way better and less home made if it was seamed in and then topstitched rather than awkwardly applied.

Says me.

But it’s good pattern and I still give it a Sew.

Here are some other patterns I’m Throwing though, over to Etsy, if anyone’s pattern shopping today.

These are both patterns that I’ve used and talked about here, but am realizing I’ll never make again and I should set them free. Etsy shop is named Lazy Liza, have a look if you’re in the neighborhood.

What’s next. 

Despite the fact that this photo is blurry —and that it includes both a water stained ceiling and the photographer’s own thumb— it’s one of my favorite pictures of me. I was nineteen in this photo and had just voted Bill Clinton in for his second term. My first time voting. That’s a super blurry I Voted sticker there on my sweater. 

The only reason I have this photo is because I came back to my dorm right after voting, beaming like this, and one of the dudes on my hall was like, “Dude, you are like beaming. I’m going to take your picture.” 

Last Tuesday I was in line to vote, behind some college age kids. I had brought along a book (Inherent Vice), mostly to hold in front of my face while I eavesdropped. At one point I overheard the kids in front of me making fun of some friend of theirs who posted a video where she was crying real tears at having just voted for a female presidential candidate. Kids were like, “ugh, drama,” and I mostly agreed. I mean, we were all there to vote for Hillary, but none of us were crying at the historic momentousness of it. We were just voting for the person best qualified for the job, for so very many reasons, her being a woman was pretty low on my list of important reasons to vote for Hillary. 

It wasn’t until the next day when it all went to hell that I realized how truly excited I had been to vote-in the first female president. It’s like I had deferred my joy, to be felt on Wednesday when everything was settled, not Tuesday with the actual act of voting. 

And then on Wednesday, the day I had reserved for Joy Unbounded, I kept having these split-seconds where I would forget who won the election, and in the moment of forgetting I would feel this overwhelming joy well up in my body, like my body had been storing it and was ready to live it now,  but then I’d remember she didn’t win and I’d be emptied out and sick feeling. This happened almost hourly. The rest of the time was spent with waves of realizations of the coming consequences, and revulsion. Like dirty, like I’d been coated in something that won’t wash off for years. 

At the same time I was finishing up a project. Secretly, without telling me, my mind had already started in the days before the election to riffle through my fabrics and patterns, planning ahead for glitter-bombs of ruffles and flowers and bows and joy and pride. And then it happened and I thought, “this country does not love you, girl” and that next-project-planning part of my mind turned to a harder, colder, less exuberant version of feminity. Metal, not roses. 

Now what’s lined up is this, a Halston from 1975, in gold satin spandex:

And this, a jumpsuit from 1977, in washed gold lamé:

I don’t want to get too intense in this post. After all, like: Don’t Sew, Vote. My sewing projects don’t mean anything in the big scheme, they don’t even make a statement that anyone would be able to read except me, but I find it interesting that there was this visceral disconnect between what I’d been expecting to happen and what did happen and that it’s manifesting in clothing, and I wonder if anyone else felt that too. 
I would’ve made these patterns anyway, but differently. I had a floral lined up for the jumpsuit. Maybe I’ll come back around to that. I hope so. For now I’m feeling these cold, loud, defiant metallics. 

I sure would’ve loved it if someone could be taking another photo of me four years from now, at age 43, voting in President Clinton for her second term, to put beside that first photo. Oh well.

And for a ray of sunshine: as of now in California, plastic shopping bags are illegal but recreational pot is a-ok. And we just elected the second ever African American female senator. And Big Hill won the popular vote nation wide. This country does love you girl. (Edited. 12/14/16 Just can’t leave this on a hopeful note after all.)