Thursday, May 30, 2013


Did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? I actually had no idea until one of my former students posted it on his Facebook page...but now that I know (even if it is the end of the month!), I'm glad that I've been learning more about Anna May Wong for real, and not just fake-pretending to dress up as her. It's fascinating for me to learn more about the experiences of very early immigrants and second-generation APAs, mostly because that's not my family history at all. My parents both came to the US shortly before I was born, so it's not like my ancestors helped build the Transcontinental Railroad or anything.

You know how Facebook goes on these random kicks once in a while where everyone changes their profile picture to their favorite cartoon character, or the celebrity they look like most? It's too bad I didn't know about Anna May Wong when the latter rolled around, since if I had to say, I probably look more like her than Lucy Liu*, the only other well-known Chinese-American actress out there.  

I know that I was very fortunate to grow up in San Francisco, which boasts a huge percentage of Chinese-Americans. I experienced very little racism and never felt conflicted about who I was or which culture I identify with, because so many of my peers were just like me, with a foot in both worlds and somehow managing to balance those. It wasn't until high school that it even occurred to me that not every city was like mine! All those YA novels about Asian-Americans growing up in hostile environments and the struggles they had felt thankfully far removed from my own life. The more I grow up and the more people I meet, of course, the more I realize how difficult the Asian-American identity is for some. Still, living in California, I mostly don't notice my minority...but it does pop up every now and then in the strangest ways!

I was reading up on vintage sewing machines and ended up perusing the comment section over on Peter's blog regarding hand-crank sewing machines, and suddenly had a fit of jealousy over all those lucky people who had sewing machines sitting in their grandmothers' attics. Being the child of immigrants, our house doesn't have an attic (that is unrelated to the immigrating, actually) and our garage only has boxes of our old Chinese school homework and math workbooks (not even lying!). No vintage sewing notions, and certainly no beautiful old treadle machines! And even though my mom sewed prolifically as a young lady, none of those clothes have made it to me, since it's impractical to cart a handmade wardrobe over the Pacific ocean to a tiny apartment in SF. And since my grandparents grew up extremely poor, I certainly don't have any heirloom Edwardian wedding gowns!

The closest thing I have: my mom's 1970s qipao

So even though I love being Asian-American, and am proud of my heritage, sometimes, a very tiny part of me wishes that I were white, if only so that I could inherit all these treasures from generations past. I also wish this a tiny bit when I think about dressing up in historic clothing, as I'm pretty sure that my great-great-great-whatever didn't wear gorgeously embellished 18th century frock coats or huge swishing hoopskirts. I also don't know too many other APA bloggers who are into vintage sewing or historic fashion, and I definitely don't know any in real life, so sometimes I feel a little bit like an anomaly.

Not quite a robe l'anglaise: my mom took me on a trip to China as a high school graduation present, where I got to wear a tourist trap dubious polyester Qing dynasty robe at the Forbidden City. Yeah, that doesn't even fall into the same category, it's so different. Also, ignore the date at the bottom -- apparently nobody ever bothered programming the camera! 

Then I remember that I make geeky dresses from thrifted sheets, and I think that there are probably bigger reasons for feeling like an anomaly, and I like it that way.

But oh! for a gorgeous vintage Featherweight!

*I came across this interview with Lucy Liu, and it's kind of sad how similar things are, even after 80+ years. It's still just as difficult now for an APA to get a leading role as it was when Anna May Wong was a star in the 1930s. And then there are projects like this one that reveal just how little people know about "others" even in this day and age.

[And hey, on a totally different note, if you haven't added your knit stashbusting project to the May link party yet, go do it. You've got til Sunday to get in on endless fame and fortune bragging rights if you win the challenge!]

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Measliest Knit Stashbust Ever

Can it still count as stashbusting a knit if I only used a third of a yard?

I had a little bit of black jersey left after making my Accidental Aladdin Pants, so I used it as the top portion of this convertible dress/skirt. Heady with the success of my last successful Japanese sewing book project, I decided to try another pattern from the Feminine Wardrobe Book, number E3. I really liked the unique shape of the skirt, which is like a less complicated version of Communing With Fabric's tablecloth skirt.

It's a very simple idea, really. 
Not that you can really tell in this busy, drape-y rayon, but there are these neat little corners! 
When I eventually get around to posting this on Pattern Review, I'll probably label it as "Pattern OK, But Did Not Work For Me." While I love the flow and shape of the skirt, I'm just not comfortable with this strapless/tube-top look for the bodice. I can do strapless dresses if it's made from a woven fabric and has boning, but this whole knit bodice thing is just too precarious for me! And unfortunately, I don't like how much fabric there is bunched around my waist when I pull it down to wear as a skirt. So, while there's nothing really wrong with this pattern, I doubt I'll be wearing it much unless I can find a way to add straps that don't look too weird. Any ideas, sewasauruses?

Can you tell that I'm just sort of uncomfortable wearing this? 
Right after taking these pictures, we ran into a friend of ours. It was the most uncomfortable twenty minute conversation ever, which just goes to show that there needs to be some kind of overhaul of the top if I'm ever going to wear this out. 

Fabric: 2 yards of rayon, from my trip to Michael Levine Loft with Oonaballoona, 1/3 yard of black jersey with a significant lycra content.
Notions: Seam binding for the insides of the skirt
Hours: Three, including cutting and sewing and endless baby hemming
Will you make it again? Nope. And I can't even think of anything clever to say about it, either.
Total cost: $5, if even.
Final thoughts: I'm pretty sure this is the briefest write-up I've ever done. I guess this is what happens when something is so meh.

Even these pictures are meh. They all look the same because I was afraid to raise my arms!

I'm kind of sad that this is how I'm ending my May stashbusting, but hopefully you all have some gorgeous makes that you can be more excited about. Here's your chance to share your projects!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Feminine Wardrobe Book Review

At last, a Japanese sewing book pattern that I can get behind! Then again, that's mostly because I made a bunch of changes...

The Feminine Wardrobe, by Jinko Matsumoto, is another book that Laurence King Publishing sent for me to review. Like the Stylish Dress Book, it's just been translated into English and is coming out sometime this month. I don't know if it's because I've been staring at too many of these books, or if this one is actually more wearable, but I actually liked quite a few of the designs in here!

These dresses look normal! Actually, better than normal. I really like the bow detail on that shift. 
Of course, they're still into the photography in front of a white wall, this time with a stack of vintage books and a tiny lamp on the floor. 

I chose to make the "peasant blouse," because of its superficial similarity to this recent Anthropologie top:

Lemonbloom Peasant Blouse

It's got the floral pattern, the gathered-into-a-wide-neckline look, and the loose sleeves. I only realized later that the Anthro top is an actual button-down; I'd overlooked the buttons because of the busyness of the print. If anything, though, I like the FW version better because there are no buttonholes to deal with!

This being the fourth Japanese sewing book make I've attempted, I'd like to think I got a little wiser about the sizing and the roominess that tends to result: not only did I start with the XS, I preemptively removed four inches from the center of the front and back pieces! This ended up being the right call, I think, producing a lightly gathered, loose-but-not-sacklike comfortable top. The other problem I tried to head off was the excessive poufiness issue; the book only gives "cotton" as the recommended fabric, but last time I used cotton voile, which had too much body and resulted in some unattractive bulge when gathered. This time, I used a very thin rayon challis, which is so drapey that it almost classifies as a liquid. Unfortunately, this meant that attaching the collar of the blouse was very, very tricky, and mine still isn't perfect, despite using almost all of my pins in prepping it for sewing. If I were to make this again, I would use some lightweight interfacing to stabilize it (which the instructions actually call for, but I cleverly didn't bother looking at them), and possibly employ some of Andrea's tips for working with chiffon.

Besides the sizing and fabric change, I also lengthened the sleeves by a few inches and added elastic to gather it in, similar to the look of the Anthro top (yes, I know it's actually just rolled up in the picture, but I really like the three-quarter sleeve look with the puff of sleeve right above the hem). At this point, I was ready put in the elastic waistband (the instructions, which I ignored, call for you to do this before you even attach the sleeves, but I figured that I couldn't trust their placement, so I opted to do this at the end when I could try on the whole thing first), but some experimentation with a thin elastic belt made me think twice about the gathers all...gathered...about my waist. It just didn't look right. But I still needed a way to bring it all in and make the top less swingy.

Surprise! These sleeves are the puffed wonders of Anne's dreams. And if you're thinking that the top looks amazingly sleek...

Thanks to extensive browsing of Anthro's newest tops, I had a brilliant idea for reducing the width in the torso without the use of elastic (can it still be an idea if you're pretty much just straight up copying?). The Lace Yoke Tee looks deceptively slim, but if you look at the back, it's actually brought in with the the use of some buttons. I made a couple of button loops and sewed them onto the back of my top, then sewed buttons onto a little matching topstitched rectangle of fabric.

Worn with my McCall's 6610 skinny pants

And with that, this top goes from voluminous (and not even as voluminous as it was originally drafted!) to slenderizing while still being comfortable.

Fabric: 1.5 yards of rayon challis from SAS was barely enough!
Notions: 2 pearly-looking plastic buttons, seam binding
Hours: 5 hours, mostly due to the finickiness of the rayon. It was a fairly calm five hours, though, with hardly any moments of frustration or threats of this turning into a UFO. I love it when you just get on a roll with sewing and you know what you need to do, and it's engaging without being mentally taxing.
Will you make it again? You know, I actually might! I really like the look of this top. I would just replace the collar with a strip of self-fabric bias tape next time, though...less fussing, more or less the same result.
Total cost: $5...between my two inspiration tops, I saved somewhere between $50-70!
Final thoughts: I really like tunic tops because they cover the butt, which means that I don't need to worry about wearing underwear that doesn't make lines in my pants. I'm sorry, was that TMI? Well, now you know. My McCalls 6610 pants are fabulous, but they're also a little on the thin side, so I need to choose underwear carefully if I wear them...but now I don't need to if I'm wearing this top! Unmentionables aside, though, I'm seriously in love with this top and I'm so glad that I finally made a Japanese sewing book pattern work for me!

Incidentally, if you're interested in making your own garments from these kinds of books, I just discovered this French group blog that's specifically dedicated to showing the finished garments made from various Japanese sewing books. It's interesting to see that everyone else has the same issues with the silhouettes looking boxy and shapeless (although that might actually be their desired look, I don't know), and that most people end up adding belts or sashes for waist definition.

Sadly, I actually found this book to be surprisingly devoid of poses to mimic. Aside from the random stack of books, most of the pictures have the models just standing and holding purses, so that's not too weird. Darn!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wedding Dress Progress Post #6: The Big Reveal!

It's been almost a month since I last gave you all any updates about Elaine's wedding dress; I last left it at it's-being-sent-to-Tucson-gosh-I-hope-it-arrives-and-fits...oops! Hopefully these photos of the finished dress on a real person will make up for my delayed wrap-up post. Unfortunately, they're just my iPhone pics from the wedding day, but you can bet I'll show off the "real" photos once Elaine gets them!

The hem just perfectly skims the tips of her shoes in front, so as not to trip her while walking.
It's got just a tiny bit of a train in the back. Also, this is probably the best representation of the true colors of the outfit.
Side view!

I had sent the almost-finished corset to Elaine a couple weeks before the wedding so that she could try it on and play around with applique placement. She sent me some pictures that made me a tiny bit stressed about the fit, but at least it arrived safely! I got it back from her without incident and attached the applique to the front by hand, going with the most popular placement (Elaine agreed that she liked this best, too): straight up and down on the second panel. I was slightly sad that putting the applique on last meant that the stitches showed through on the inside, but there was really no other way to have a corset for her to try on without finishing the lining (and therefore the grommets) first. I also sewed up a modesty panel, which was pretty much just a rectangle made with the fashion fabric and lining and bound with the same cream binding. At the very last minute, I also hand-stitched a tiny blue heart on the inside for a "something blue." The fabrics for the corset and dress are obviously new, the lining fabric is old (yay stashbusting!), and the crowning touch on the whole outfit was her mother-in-law's gorgeous amethyst pendant that just happened to perfectly match the whole ensemble!

You can just barely see the ribbon loop holding the back lacing on the modesty panel.
I am so proud of how evenly the back lacing gap turned out!

In the days leading up to Saturday, I found myself having brief moments of panic here and there where I would find myself freaking out (quietly) about whether or not things would fit, whether Elaine would like the ketubah, and just hoping in general that she would feel like the dress was everything she'd ever dreamed of. I loved my wedding dress and it made me feel like a princess (gag, I know, so cliche, but it's true), and I so wanted my best friend to feel the same way! Thankfully, when I laced her up on the morning of the wedding, it looked beautiful and fit way better than I had thought it would when looking at the trial pictures. When Elaine's mother walked into the dressing room, she said that I would have to make her granddaughter's (Elaine's niece) wedding dress. Um. While I love that she trusts me that much, I'm not in any hurry to make another wedding dress! Thankfully, said granddaughter has at least a decade to go before even thinking about marriage.

Right after the excitement of finding out that the dress fit, there was the excitement of the first look!  I love how obviously happy they both are.

The wedding day itself went very smoothly -- the ceremony was beautiful and there were lots of LOTR references throughout, the weather was just right and the food was plentiful and delicious. Nikki (the third member of our little high school best friends trio) and I didn't drop the chuppah or giggle too terribly much during our speeches. All the guests loved Elaine's dress and couldn't believe that I had made it (frankly, I was having trouble with that idea too!), and suggested that I go on Project Runway. Ha! All of you fellow sewasauruses know just how funny that compliment is.

You can see my back as I hold the chuppah pole. 
Okay, maybe I did giggle a lot during the speech-making. 

Pattern: Simplicity 5006 for the corset and skirt, but significantly modified to get the look Elaine wanted. I draped the lace overskirt myself, no pattern used.
Fabric: Six yards of eggplant-colored satin for the corset and top layer of the skirt, five yards of cream-colored satin for the underskirt and corset binding, two yards of gold lace, all from Joann's (see, you can make nice things from big box fabric stores!), one yard of cotton coutil from from Richard the Thread for the corset's strength layer, 0.75 yards of IKEA Cecilia cotton fabric for the corset's floating lining.
Notions: 3" wide elastic for the skirt, 5 yards of 1/4" ribbon for gathering the side seams on the skirt and lace overskirt, 6 yards of 3/4" cream ribbon for lacing the corset, gold floral Venice lace appliques for the corset, 9 yards of gold venice lace for the corset and skirt trim, size 0 brass grommetsheat-shrink tubing for tipping the bones, and a 14" antique brass busk and a few yards of spiral steel boning, both from Richard the Thread.
Techniques: Tipping steel bones with heat shrink tubing, making a corset with a floating lining layer, inserting a steel busk, deep breathing, and learning to identify cognitive distortions (the corset might spontaneously combust in transit! it might fall apart on the wedding day! Elaine might hate me and regret asking me to make her dress!)
Number of fittings: I measured Elaine back in January, made a muslin of the corset for her to try when she was here for the TORN Oscar party, had a skirt fitting in March so that I would know where to hem it, and that was pretty much it. Although she tried on the corset in Tucson, it wasn't really a fitting since the corset was all done except for the applique.
Hours: Over fifty, spread out over a few months.
Will I make it again? Can you hear my hysterical laughter? No, but really, I actually quite like the Simplicity 5006 pattern, and might one day make it myself for costume purposes. Not anytime soon, though.
Total cost: $180 in materials, not counting tools like the snips I got for cutting boning or the tungsten file for smoothing the edges. I also have enough purple satin and gold lace leftover that I *might* be able to squeeze out a fake-Laurel. Elaine paid me to make the dress, and considering that the original inspiration dress was about $800, I don't think I ended up saving her much money. But as she very graciously said to me, she would rather the money went to me than some other random person.
Final thoughts: The whole way back home after the wedding, I couldn't stop exclaiming over and over  to Mr. Cation 1) how relieved I was that it fit, 2) how great it looked, and 3) how happy I was that Elaine was happy with it. Seriously, you guys, I was like a broken record, which probably wasn't very pleasant to listen to since we were stuck in some awful traffic and only just barely made it in time to catch our flight back to TCOCC to give Walnut his dinner. Anyway, let me just say it again: I am so incredibly pleased with how it all turned out! And now, theoretically, I shouldn't be scared of welt pockets, but we'll see how that actually pans out...

Besides Elaine's dress, I also made the LOTR-inspired ketubah, which turned out very nicely after about ten hours of work and $35 worth of materials.

I also had the pleasure of making the bridal bouquet:

Nikki and I stole the bouquet to take fake prom pictures. 

It was suggested that I might as well have made the cake, but no, Studio Cake took care of that nicely:

Books with cat toppers! Elaine and her husband have two cats, Cactus and Prickles (since, you know, Tucson), so this was just perfect. 

As for my own outfit...everyone kept asking if I had made that as well, but I explained that no, after making Elaine's outfit, I had no time or energy (or desire) to make my own. I ended up wearing a thrifted Frederick's corset and a thrifted chiffon skirt (originally part of my Bellatrix costume); throw in some Forever 21 jewelry and I had my bridesmaid outfit for less than $35! It seemed a little wrong to wear a cheap, ill-fitting plastic-boned corset made in China when I had made a "real" one with steel boning and custom fit, but then the bride's the important one!

Congratulations, Elaine!  Thanks for trusting me to make your dress!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Literature

One of the best things about having siblings is that they get you. Having presumably grown up with the same parenting, environment, and influential books, there's a great comfort in knowing that they understand where you're coming from. For Emily and I, one of those things we share is a borderline obsessive knowledge of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. I started Emily on these books pretty early, making her practice her reading skills in kindergarten by reading aloud to me while I washed dishes (it's like the poor man's audiobook). In the years since then, we've read those books so many times, the covers of our paperback editions (which I've had since a particularly gratifying fourth grade book fair day) are ready to fall off, and the pages have fruit juice stains from the many times that we've enjoyed apples/plums/grapes while reading (is there anything so glorious as a good book and a juicy piece of fruit?). Whenever we get together, we take delight in being able to work quotes from the books into everyday conversation at appropriate times. Somehow, Farmer Boy is the book that gets quoted the most. So when I saw that one of the HSF challenges was to recreate a something from a book, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. It's not as grand as some of the other garments I was considering (Mary Ingalls' going-to-college dress, Sara Crewe's rose-colored dancing gown, anything from Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Gone With the Wind, or all of Austen's works), but this was simple to make and actually fits multiple pieces of literature!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never specifically describes Sherlock Holmes as wearing a deerstalker hat, but he mentions at times that the detective wore a "close-fitting cloth cap" and a "ear-flapped travelling cap." Because of this description, Sidney Paget, the original illustrator, drew a deerstalker, as it was the only style of hat of the time that fit both descriptions.
Some of Sidney Paget's illustrations of Sherlock on the go. [source]

Like SH's hat, a deerstalker is never specifically mentioned in Farmer Boy, but Wilder twice describes a style of cap that might be a deerstalker. Almanzo's cousin Frank has one that he boasts is from New York and costs fifty cents, and he shows how the ear flaps can be buttoned around the chin, or flipped up to button on top. Almanzo and his brother are both jealous. Later in the book, Almanzo gets a similar hat for Christmas: "The plaid cloth was machine-woven. So was the lining. Even the sewing was machine-sewing. And the ear-muffs were buttoned over the top. Almanzo yelled. He had not even hoped for such a cap."

My ear flaps flipped up, and posing with my magnifying equipment. 
This toy microscope was actually a freebie from a science teacher fair. 
Side view of the hat...looks pretty real! 
The button on the top is my favorite little bit!
It's like I'm some kind of weird headless mannequin. 

I still had a bit of this brownish-gray plaid leftover from my Mad Men dress and Clovers, and it's definitely machine-woven, so it was perfect for this HSF literature-inspired project. The lining is just some IKEA cotton fabric, and the while my flaps don't button, they can be tied under the chin or over the top. And best of all, Almanzo's cap is specifically described as machine-sewn, so I don't even have to apologize for not stitching this by hand! However, given that my machine threw a fit about sewing through so many layers of fabric and interfacing, I might have done better to sew it by hand (or with pliers!).

This gray leaf print seemed like an appropriate fabric for an outdoorsy hat.
I may decide to cut the aglets off of the shoelace tips so that it's less obviously anachronistic, but for now it's nice not to worry about fraying. 

Pattern: I used Tanit-Isis' sunhat pattern to do the crown (with 1/3" seam allowances), then traced off a baseball cap for the brims (download pattern here). The ear flaps are just a shortened, rounded version of the crown pieces. While I just winged the construction, I later found these instructions for Simplicity 2517 online if you need more guidance on making your own deerstalker.
Fabric: less than 1/3 yard of plaid, even less of the cotton lining.
Notions: a shoelace, a 7/8" covered button, craft-weight interfacing for the brims (which could probably still stand to be heavier.
Hours: 4, sadly. I managed to botch the lining seam allowances so badly that I ended up cutting a seventh piece to make up the difference in circumference. Then I managed to very meticulously sew the lining the wrong side up, so I had to go back and unpick and repin everything. I also stitched in the ditch by hand to attach the lining to the hat at the seams so that it would stay put.
Will you make it again? Does one need more than one death frisbee? Yeah, I didn't think so.
How historically accurate is it? Polyester and shoelaces and craft-weight interfacing are definitely not historically accurate materials, but the general look is right, I think...deerstalkers haven't changed much since Victorian times, and mine wouldn't look terribly out of place in the late nineteenth century until someone saw the shoelace aglets.  Since I'm not working for a museum and this is just an excuse to make fun things, I'm not bothered. I'm at theatrical costumer level at best.
Total cost: I'm going to count this as more or less free, since I used all stash materials.
Final thoughts: I suppose by making this hat at home, I sort of defeated the purpose of recreating Almanzo's Christmas cap, which is specifically store-bought. Still, this ridiculous hat makes me as happy as he was on that long ago Christmas morning. Will I ever wear it for anything other than a costume event? Probably not. But I can sleep knowing that should I ever want to have a coordinated 1960s secretary/detective outfit, I could do it!

And just because I love Benedict's Sherlock:
"What kind of hat is it anyway? Is it a cap? Why has it got two fronts?"
"How do you stalk a deer with a hat? What are you going to do, throw it?"
"Some sort of death frisbee?"
"It's got flaps. Ear flaps! It's an ear hat, John!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Those Elusive Four-Leaf Clovers

If this were a fashion blogger's outfit post, it'd be considered pretty boring: neutral-colored slim-fit trousers, countered with a more intense color near the face and a lace collar for interest. But I'm not a fashion blogger, and this standard work outfit is exciting because it's entirely me-made! Okay, I didn't crochet the lace collar, but still, it's exciting to have made some very sensible basics.

I need to make some new underthings that don't leave lines under my clothes!

Despite having made successful slim-fit pants before, it's been long enough that I've re-built up all my previous anxiety about fitting my bottom half. My orange trousers were wide-legged enough that I wasn't super concerned, and besides, there was no fly-front. Somehow, the combination of an unmodifiable center front seam and my weirdly shaped legs makes me lose all confidence. Oh, and let's throw in an untested pattern for good measure! Better yet, let's make it a pattern that's notorious for funky fit and requiring multiple muslins, the Colette Clovers. And the icing on the cake, of course, is messing with the pattern by throwing in a fly front.

Not that you can really tell it's a fly front, even close-up -- I did that good a job on thread-matching for the topstitching.

I've only ever made one Colette pattern before, and that was the free Sorbetto tank; that simple top required so many changes that I pretty much gave up on Colette patterns as being drafted for an entirely different body type, hence my refusal to buy the Laurel (plus I already had a shift dress pattern in the stash). Still, I figured pants might not be as bad, plus the pattern was free (generously gifted to me by Ms. McCall of Brown Paper Pattern)! In the end, I ended up not making as many changes as I was afraid I would need to. These pants aren't perfect, but they're not bad for a wearable muslin. Here's my list of alterations:

  • I made them fly-front instead of side zipper pants, using pattern pieces and directions from McCall's 6610.
  • Knowing how bubbly the darts would be in this unpressable mystery fabric, I omitted them and took out the difference from the center back seam instead. I think it worked pretty well, and I'm now pretty convinced that I don't ever need darts again. 
  • I majorly smoothed out the hip curve, as they were slightly ridiculous. It was like bloomers or jodhpurs or something similar. 
  • I also took out a bunch of width from the inseams, up to 1.5 inches on both the front and the back, tapering to nothing at the knee. 
  • I took in the back side seams by about 1.5 inches at the mid thigh, tapering to nothing at the knees. Essentially, my back side seam is just a straight line down from the waist to the knee. 
  • The curve of the waistband just didn't look right to me, plus it was made for the side zipper, so I subbed in the Sewaholic Thurlow trouser waistband. I felt slightly wrong, mixing my indie pattern company pieces, but the Thurlow waistband worked just beautifully. I faced it with a little bit of this nautical print Japanese cotton that I got in Birmingham on my UK trip a couple years ago, because it matched the seam binding so nicely. 
Pretty insides! 

I still think the back fit needs work, since there are all these wrinkles (fish-eye dart adjustment, maybe?), and the grainline is off on the front because of all my adjustments. The front under-crotch is slightly baggy too, but all in all it's not worse than any of my RTW pants. Hah! now there's a dubious compliment if there ever was one! I thought the whole point of sewing was to get better than RTW fit. Oh well. I guess the trick is to psych myself up for another pair before too much time goes by, that way I can really work on the fit while things are fresh in my mind.

Sometimes the back looks okay, depending on how I'm standing...
...and sometimes it's drag line city. Yikes. 
At least the back waistband actually fits! No plumber's crack or gaping when I bend over.  

As for the top, it's made from sweater knit rescued from my first failed Drape Drape top, simply re-cut into a cap-sleeve fitted top using my knit tee block. Since the sweater knit was so sproingy and unpressable, I decided against my standard knit neckband and instead finished it with some leftover rayon bias tape. It was looking pretty boring, though, so I added the lace collar at Mr. Cation's recommendation. I'm finally getting with the trend of collared everything!

I just now realized while looking at this picture that the cutouts on the collar are little stars!
Rayon bias tape made from the remnants of this dress' fabric, cotton crochet lace collar whipstitched on by hand. 

Fabric: The remaining 1.5 yards of this stretchy gray-brown plaid I had left after making my Mad Men dress. They work beautifully for these pants since they've got excellent stretch and recovery, while still being quite stable. I used As a result, these pants are uber comfortable. The sweater knit is probably acrylic, about a yard.
Notions: 3.5" metal jeans zipper, hooks and eyes and a metal snap for the fly front closure, lots of seam binding. The lace collar is from They don't seem to have this style anymore, but there are some other cute ones!
Hours: The top took about an hour, the pants were more like 10+. I lose track when things take more than a few days to make.
Will you make it again? I theoretically want to, in order to fix the fit! There's so much potential here, but after a certain point you can't change the wearable muslin anymore because you've run out of seam allowance and/or patience. And the knit tee block I've already used a gazillion times, so that's a for sure.
Total cost: The whole outfit was less than ten dollars ($2 for the collar, $2 for the sweater knit, $5 for the pants, and miscellaneous other notions)
Final thoughts: I can't think of anything else to say that I haven't already, but generally I like it? These are the kind of separates that are so basic that it's hard to drum up too much excitement. I'm pretty pleased to use up more stash fabric, though...the pants are even stretchy, so while they may not be knit, per se, they're still kind of in the vein of the month's challenge??

I have to remind myself that most people don't look at me and think about the crotch curve adjustments I should have made. Nope, that's just me, sneakily staring at people's nether regions while trying to figure out how their pants fit. 

I think it's funny that these pants are called Clovers, since three-leafed versions abound (pretty good fit, definitely acceptable), but the four-leafed version (looks absolutely amazing and as drag-line free as the the modeled photos on the site) is pretty rare. Okay, that's a pretty belabored and cheesy metaphor. The question now is, do I keep working on this pattern, or try tracing my own from pants that already fit me? When I compared the crotch curve on the Clovers to my favorite RTW pants, they were pretty drastically different. The Clovers look more like the "official" crotch curve pictures in all the sewing books I own (less pronounced J in front, almost an L in the back), but I like the less-curved crotch curve fit of my RTW pants. Maybe I just don't know how pants should fit? Anyway, I bought myself the Craftsy Jeanius course to copy my favorite jeans since it was on sale last weekend, but I know myself and I don't think I have the patience/stamina/meticulousness required for Kenneth King's couturier directions. I think I'll give the haphazard pinpricking method a try first...