Saturday, January 18, 2014

Utilitarian Sewing Projects

Most times, frequently, sometimes my sewing projects are less than dramatic or glamorous.  My recent sewing activities have been necessary but not particularly creative.
Mr. Lucky and I are no longer snowbirds heading to Florida for the winter.  The coldest winter in Maryland in twenty years is occurring daily.  No, those two things are not cause and effect but they do mean that I need warmer layers in order to be comfortable in my chilly house and out on my daily walks....yes, I walk 3 or 4 miles on any day above 20 F.  And I've always been a person who feels the slightest chill.  I joke that menopause brought me briefly up to room temperature.  Here are the latest sewing projects keeping me as cozy until we head to Florida for a month long visit in March.
First I wanted something warmer than just jeans so I sewed up two pairs of Style Arc Barb pull on pants using some Polartec stretch knit two sided fleece.  
Style Arc Barb pant in Polartec stretch microfleece....and temps not in the double digits
The inside next to your skin....or maybe next to your silk long the short pile velvety side.  The outside is a smooth knit.  For both the black and tan pants I used a soft 100 weight microfleece for the elastic waist with a little less bulk and even greater softness next to my waist.
beige version.....not pretty but oh so toasty
the microfleece waistband
the soft velour finish on the inside
That green sweater is a mohair one from the 1980's and the warmest indoor garment I own.  I actually own a second one in pink and they are most likely the oldest garments in my wardrobe.  I believe I channel my inner Mary Frann (Johanna Loudon on the "Newhart" show in the 1980s) each time I wear them.
Mary Frann was the female equivalent of Bill Cosby in her fabulous sweater collection on the "Newhart" show

Now for some projects without revealing pictures.  I wanted some underthings to keep me warmer when the winds are blowing and temps are dropping.  I used two new to me patterns to make a small collection of silk knit items: 
Kwik Sew 3636....see the snow outside?
Kwik Sew 3636 no side seam leggings.  I sewed a size M and took off 3/4 off the top while adding 2" total length.  These are silk knits that I have stashed for years, I believe from a Jomar fabric trip with ASG.
Kwik Sew 3636
I made Sarah Veblen's suggested fitting adjustments to the Margarita top LJ Design A La Mode Margarita top and am thrilled to have some warm but stylish camisoles to wear under sweaters and pullovers.  I snapped a pic of only one of them but made the same beige and blue above.  I will post a picture of me wearing one once the weather becomes bearable enough to let me expose my upper arms for more than a few seconds!
One of three new silk knit camisoles from the Margarita top 

Last little note before I close is to continue my reading record for the last month or so.  The first two of these books were total winners for me.  I had heard so much about the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts" and it is usually hard for a book to live up to that hype.  Wow, I was touched, intrigued and fully involved in every much so that I bought a copy for my Kindle after returning my library version.  The Power of Introverts

After seeing "Saving Mr. Banks" I just had to read more about P.L. Travers and our library wisely stocked several copies of her 1999 biography in anticipation of just that reaction.  

The movie was wonderful and this book was even more illuminating.  The Mary Poppins books were magical to me as a child and certainly influenced my lifelong love for England.  After reading about her unusual life I am eager to re-read those children's books with a new eye.
The last book was less "literary" but still an interesting way to pass a cold wintry evening.
It's quite melodramatic but an interesting examination of language acquisition among a group of bonobos.  What does make us human?  In this book, the animals are kinder, more empathetic and compassionate than most of the humans.  I loved "Water for Elephants" and am glad I read Sara Gruen's latest even if it wouldn't be a book group worthy selection.
Now, off to prepare projects for my upcoming sewing retreat and a separate ASG neighborhood group presentation tomorrow.  Hope you are engaged in some enjoyable projects this weekend in your corner of the world.  


  1. I think sewing a wearable wardrobe counts as creative sewing. Good job, Jane! I'm in love with your Margarita top.

  2. Love your winter-happy creations, especially the matching silk leggings and cammie. And so happy to hear someone else out there still loves their ancient warm sweaters! A good mohair sweater is indestructible: ask me how I know!

  3. I admire your self-sufficiency in making exactly what you need, when you need them. I use KS 3636 for both myself and Iris. Running up a pair from stash is quicker than shoveling out a car and driving to the store!

  4. Loved your remark that "menopause brought me briefly up to room temperature". I understand completely! I like all your garments and why shouldn't we sew utilitarian, much needed items in very nice can't buy them with that good fit.

  5. You look snuggly warm in those pants!

  6. Good job - did you have any problems with fit on the Syle Arc pants? I was all set to go with getting that pattern, but then somewhere I read a comment that they were not true to size, so haven't moved on that yet...thoughts? Thanks for posting...when you get back from Fla -- it will be spring!


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."