Cloudy Polly and the drama pants

I found myself with a hankering to replace my dissatisfying black pants during May. I found them at the thrift store a few years ago, and never loved them even after slimming the leg and cropping the hem but never hated them enough to stop wearing them when jeans wouldn’t do.

And, I’d always meant to use my altered-beyond-recognition Burda 7250 pants pattern, and the perfect fabric (or so I thought…) fell into my hands at Our Fabric Stash recently – black linen-rayon with a nice light-to-middle weight and drape. | pleated pants and Polly top


These were also the pants I used on my waistband finish tutorial. I love how they turned out, but they were giving me grief from the moment I finished the tutorial. Part of it was the unpredictable fabric – there’s quite a bit of stretch I hadn’t anticipated when I’d bought it, and the waistband was dramatically wider. I usually baste the outer waistband to the pants, staystitching the top, to make sure there are no surprises. I felt overly confident using a pattern I’d worked with before and stitched/understitched my outer and inner waistbands together. Taking apart and altering a finished waistband is the pits. And though it’s much better, the problem wasn’t completely solved by taking excess out of the waistband; the fabric grows quite a bit during the day. | pleated pants and Polly top


The silver lining to all this unpcking was that in doing so, I realized I’d only basted the outseams together! I’m glad I caught them before a tearaway pants moment occurred.

Oh, and I put in single-welt pockets in the back and forgot to take pics of them! I referred to Melanie’s wonderful tutorial again. I slip-stitched the welts closed as I never use back pockets for anything other than breaking up an expanse of rump. | pleated pants and Polly top

I love these pants (in spite of? because of?) the struggles and I’m not done with this pattern by a long shot.


I also made another BHL Polly top! I scored this fantastic cloud-printed quilting cotton at – where else – Our Fabric Stash. One of my good friends, Jen, is getting interested in sewing garments, and we chose the Polly top as her first project. Of course, I had to be companionable and sew one up, too. | BHL Polly tops


This time around, I ditched the cap sleeves I’d made as part of my tiger costume. I revisited the fit, and concluded that I needed more length through the upper chest. I added 1/2″ to the pattern. I did a square shoulder adjustment as before, but added 3/8″ on the outside rather than subtracting it from the inside. Jen shortened her straps a bit after trying it on. I think this picture is a pretty good indication of how long I must be through the chest. | pleated pants and Polly top

It’s much more comfortable than my other version, but some pesky wrinkles crept in next to the armpits. (The wrinkles at the bottom were from wearing this top two days in a row.) It’s not too tight anywhere – any wrinkle-readers out there know what might have caused them? | pleated pants and Polly top

And I think it’s really time I started making swayback adjustments. I’ve been fighting this one for a long time. Any favorite tutorials out there? Or maybe I’ll just keep my back curved forward for now… | pleated pants and Polly top


A Hobbesian costume | tiger costume

I’m not usually a plan-ahead-for-Halloween kind of person, but I decided a whole two weeks in advance to sew myself up a tiger suit this year. Since I’m fairly practical, I have a hard time putting a lot into a one-night costume. My strategy for getting around my practicality was making separates that I would hopefully wear again.

Nathan got in on the fun as Calvin, which transformed my plain tiger into Hobbes. The man drew completely parallel Sharpie lines on his shirt!


I was hoping to make some sort of eared hat before my friend’s party on Friday, but ran out of time. Inspired by Sanae’s owl mask for her daughter, I sewed up a cloth mask before going out on Friday night. I also sewed a tail and basted it onto the back of my pants. | tiger mask

The mask turned out a little bit fox-esque. I may add whiskers and a white muzzle if I wear it again! Or I’ll create a mask that looks more like Hobbes. | tiger costume

I used Vogue 8909 to make my pants and By Hand London’s (free) Polly top. It was a bit risky sewing two patterns I’d never used before on a deadline, but they both turned out amazingly well. I cut out my size in the pants without any alterations; the only change I would make for next time is taking 1.5″ out of the front and back rise.

To increase my chances of a good fit with the Polly top, I compared my taped-up printout with my altered Wiksten tank pattern to get a sense of the fit. Based on what I saw and the finished Polly measurements, I graded between a smaller size through the waist and then a larger for the hips. The only fit adjustment I ended up making was removing 3/8″ from the front and back of the inside shoulder seam – I think that would qualify as a square shoulder adjustment? I also added improvised cap sleeves for a tiny extra bit of warmth. | By Hand London Polly top

The tiger fabric was a black and white Michael Miller cotton (aptly named “Party Animal”) that I dyed orange with my curtains. It felt a bit thicker than what I expect of a quilting cotton and played really nicely with these patterns – no wrinkling or stiffness. I used the wrong side because I liked the subtler coloring better. The white fabric is the same linen as the top piece in my color blocked dress. | By Hand London Polly top

I had a great time on Halloween and I’ll admit to already wearing the Polly top out of costume twice since I finished it on Thursday. I just love it! You’d better believe those tiger pants are going out in public, too. I always think of Patti and Selma on the Simpsons when a costume piece makes its way into “regular rotation”.  Perhaps this has happened to you, intentionally or unintentionally?