Going Beyond Indie

Hello everybody. This, this will be a different sort of blog post. (I’ll get around to makes I promise, call this my detox) This is the kind of blog post that will definitely tell you a lot about me. You may not like me afterwards, it’ll be some plain speakin’. I want to you to know, I believe there is space in the sewing community for all of us… No hard feelings.

I put the disclaimer above because what I’m going to get into is why indie sewing is bad. Everybody in the community loves indie sewing right? Hell, I love indie sewing. However I’m just going to make a conscious decision in the coming months to balancing my support to of the little guy with my support of the big guy. The Big 4 (Big 1) and the traditional pattern magazines like Burda are an important thing to appreciate as sewists as well.

This will get political. This may go against your previous teachings on ‘feminism’, at least the feminism they sell on tshirts.

My little self history. I was born (as a sewist) in 2017 in the living room of my apartment with the sewing machine my Mum had forced me to buy ‘just in case’ when I’d moved into my first solo home years before. I sewed up a bag (or three) using a freely available online tutorial (link). I progressively refined the pattern over three bags. I discovered that sewing was totally doable.

Bag in progress

If I could sew a bag, I could sew a top. So I bought a magazine that had 2 Kwik Sew patterns conveniently packaged. Immediately set to work with comically heavyweight Ponte Roma to make a bag with batwing shirt. I also tried a pair of black shorts doing a very sloppy ‘trace from clothes’ pattern attempt that didn’t even account for the fact what I was tracing was a knit and the fabric I had was a woven. This was the wild west of my sewing career.

Then, I discovered the world of Indie Patterns. I did my first ever pattern test for the Sinclair T-Shirt. Which was my first, successful sewing make. I wore it to my office (this may have been ill-advised) and straight up rocked it. It was quickly moved into a bedroom piece – however that’s not because I didn’t like it…. It was because I did. I have worn that t-shirt to death (due to my work, 24hr work, PJs and work clothes were the only thing I wore for months, and I wore my me-made PJs every day).

That pattern, combined with every sewing blogger who ever lived, served as a gateway drug into indie patterns. I have a folder full of poorly considered purchases of patterns bought because I love the designers, I love the community, I love love. I loved being part of something, just for loving a pattern. I bought the pattern, not for the sewing, but for the wanting people to like me.

For the false sense that the community would disappear if I wasn’t there to pay the individual sewist to stay in ‘business’.

Yep. I’m about to get controversial now. I’m not sure I want to be part of a business community. I want to be part of a sewing community, not a place where IP rights or ‘personal brand’ are at the for front of everybody’s mind. I was reading a post by Siobhon of Chronically Siobhan about Loving Big 4 Patterns. I was reading it to find a fellow soul, so I’m, similarly, writing a post, for any stray traveller in the sewing community that feels differently. You aren’t alone, Indie has huge media presence, but sewing is more than Instagram.

Why I can’t love Indie anymore. I have indie, I sew indie and I may buy indie in the future. However, for everybody out there, I want them to know, that I’ll only buy indie where I can’t get the same thing from the Big 4 already. For a die-hard member of #teamcutthatshitout, this will mean mean converting a little over to tracing, because Big 4 doesn’t do PDF yet…. But this is a sacrifice I’m will to make.

Firstly, the easy victory for Big 4. They are cheaper.  I mean, sure, their packets SAY $20… but show me a person that spend more than $10 on a Big 4 pattern… and you’ll have shown me a fool, a very, very time poor individual or a parent indulging a child’s fledgling interest in his/her craft. Meanwhile, an indie pattern will set you back in excess of $10 dollars very easily… often (speaking as an Australian) in excess of $20. I could spend $25 on an indie pattern – and I have. Alternatively you can have your senses assaulted by a thousand diverse sales every day or week, hoping the the designer you like, has the pattern you like, on a sale 20% or better…. If you are the kind, you may want to pray.

I could make a pure financial argument. However, to be honest, my decision is very next level. I’ll pay more where I need to. I just don’t WANT to need to in patterns. I don’t want this to be people’s livelihoods. I don’t want to think my $20 dollars, paid from one individual, to another individual, keeps anybody afloat. There is a lot of exploitation in the world. So I know there will be people pricking their ears at this point for evidence that I’m just here to screw ‘women entrepreneurs’.

I’m not. I promise. However. I am here to screw all entrepreneurs. Not because I think it’s bad to have a passion. However I do think it is much LESS SUSTAINABLE to keep thousands of people working piecemeal work for their livelihoods, than to have hundreds of thousands of people in a workforce paid comfortable wages so that they can work less and enjoy more. Yes I do believe those two things are in direct conflict. If everybody only had to do work for big industry and agriculture. There would be soo many more people than we needed there to do it. So we could just work everybody less, give everybody time off. So then rather than having one person trying to live off individual purchases, you have an entire sewing community freed to be creative.

I want there to be sewing culture of experimentation, of pattern hacking. I’m not very interested in the duplication of effort for dollars that exists in the sewing community. Yep. I can find 1000 variations of a tshirt. Sure the mantra is ‘find your perfect tshirt’ however none of those indie businesses are staying afloat if people only have one tshirt in their stash and stay happy. They are reselling and reselling stuff that already exists. I’ve fallen for it (I naturally love to collect ALL THE DATA POINTS). However, do you know who doesn’t fall apart if you just need 1 tshirt pattern? The Big 4. They’ll sell you a dozen tshirts, but their inventory is so diverse and renewed with dozens of patterns every few months. They don’t need you to buy their 2-3 golden solution patterns to retain their staff.

My final point really exists around the concept of ‘intellectual property’. I think, particularly creative, this desire to keep everything in house is detrimental. It isn’t reasonable that everybody whose done a 6-12 month course in pattern drafting should be selling their, quite simplistic, wares to other members of the community. Much like doing a 12 month course in a language (I did Indonesian) makes me qualified to sell introduction guides to Indonesian.

I want the world to be such that we can learn from the great pattern drafters. If we can’t, then I want them to do their craft for the biggest audience possible, and I want everybody else to be sharing their information for free.

Please. Everybody. Stop obsessing about indie brands. They distract us all from beautiful community projects like FreeSewing.Org.


Prior Planning Prevents…

Ok. So I started this blog. A year or so ago. A combination of work, life and procrastination means I just haven’t gotten into the swing of sewing things. I was away from my machines for 5 months. I was working 12 hours days when I wasn’t away. When I had time off I just wanted to stare at youtube and instagram and waste the day away. Classic life in 2018 you could say.

However, I’m back and keen to do some blogging. Specifically? I’ve got myself a mission. I want a coverstitch machine.

Specifically, I want a Pfaff Coverlock 4.0.

Image result for coverlock 4.0
(Pfaff Website)

I’ve goggled it and googled it at length. It is a five thread hybrid machine, which is my ‘dream girl’… Well my dream girl is probably a Babylock, but that is an even more unreasonable price (considering I already have a Babylock Enlighten which was mucho expensive). Opinions are welcome, however I’m not sure I could be persuaded to pick an alternative machine.

I am a machine nerd. Perhaps because I am an engineer by training. I want the new and flashy, I want options, I want sexy. I’d totally be an old machine hoarder if I thought I had the space, I don’t so I try to have a minimal collection of high end machines instead. I am missing coverstitch capability. I hate my twin needle… in fact I have already learned to hate hems of all kinds.

So the mission I have given myself. Is that I can consider a coverstitch machine when I have sewn 40 garments. I figured like a ‘pay per week’ saving plan, I’d do a ‘pay per garment’. I will consider $50 saved towards the machine each time I complete a garment. A Coverlock 4.0 is about $2000 (AU), so after 40 garments, I will have $2000 ‘saved’ to consider my grand coverstitch plans.

Why the Coverstitch 4.0?

It is a five thread coverstitch/overlocker combination. Although I’m pretty keen on keeping my existing overlocker, and I don’t NEED the machine for its overlocking powers. I want the combination powers. The ability to do a ‘five thread safety stitch’, which a chainstitch seam and overlock edge all at the same time. In my mind, moving into the coverstitch area without gaining that particular seaming capability would be a massive oversight.

2-needle safety stitch
Five Thread Safety Stitch (Juki)

The Pfaff machines are sexy. That’s pretty straightforward I think. I like their aesthetic. If I could go back and reconsider my sewing machine choice it would probably be a Pfaff. Unfortunately I’ve grown up around Janome and Bernina so when I picked my Janome S7, it was because of the familiarity. Yet, even then I bought the S7 for the acufeed capabilities, which is essentially an overengineered variation of the Pfaff IDT, which every single Pfaff has.

The Coverlock is expensive, but not too expensive. Looking at the options in the cominbation machine market. I could find the Pfaff, the Bernina, Husqvarna Viking and Babylock. The first three are much of a muchness and the Babylocks are, forever, queens of the high end. I love my Babylock Enlighten, but I’m not sure I can justify an Ovation/Triumph. The Pfaff Coverlock offers me speed control, 5 thread stitches, all standard coverlock stitches, a waste tray (my Enlighten did not come with one of those D:) and automatic differential feed. Essentially everything a girl could want.

Image result for pfaff coverlock 4.0

So, of course, I want one. I’m going to get one. First, though, I need to sew 40 new garments. Starting now. I can do this. I will document this. Feel free to come along for my ‘I want a Pfaff Coverlock’ journey.


Defining My Style

I’m at the beginning of my sewing journey. That means a lot of things. It means I am still learning how to follow the basic instructions. It means I look at button plackets with something before fear – just blank confusion. It means I’m constantly observing the seams, folds and drapes in the clothes I wear or walk past in the street.

I’m in the early phase of my sewing adventure where I want to dream big. I want to walk around in immaculate self-made clothes from my undies to my winter coat. It’s achievable, I read the blogs of people who do exactly that. Where to start is hard. Every kind of garment seems to have its own subset of special skills. I want to master them all.

However, most significantly perhaps, I don’t know what I want to wear. I reside in the ‘size greater than a ladies 14’ area of life where many shops don’t bother to stock it at all, and those that do have a tendency to create funny size gaps or assumptions about what I’d want to wear. I’ve never truly stopped to think about what I’d wear if I could have ANY clothes I wanted. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no point learning to sew t-shirts if you really want to wear a blouse, or learning how to sew a blouse when you’ll wear nothing buy tank tops and blue jeans. I need to prioritise my sewing adventures towards clothes I want and need in my wardrobe.

The Curvy Sewing Collective seems to have heard me, this month they’ve been running posts about capsule wardrobes. I love the idea of capsule wardrobes, only having what is necessary. For now, I mean specifically with my sewing. I’d like to be able to sew a small set of clothes that work inter-changeably with the style I’d like to have. I have no immediate plans to give up my wardrobe. It’s overly large, poorly directed, but it will provide me a stable collection of things I can wear until such time as I can truly sew the lot.

However what I was most interested in was their way of using mood boards for wardrobe concepts. One of the ideas in the post was to use Polyvore, which I remembered vaguely from its height a few years ago though I’d never been keen. So I figured I’d give it a shot. The following are three ‘looks’ I was contemplating for interchangeable clothes.

Bright Red Polyvore.JPG

Work Readdy Reddy Wardrobe

This was my first foray into the web of Polyvore. I love red, I love to pair it with black. If there’s anything wrong with my current wardrobe its not having the option to do this MORE. This look was intended to provide me a few options without going overboard. I would happily wear this page for a week straight, so that’s a positive thing. Its not quite work ready, I’d probably need to add a pair of slacks, but you can see it can’t you? It is definitely a dress up or dress down wardrobe.

My Favourite Item – the black button down skirt. I’ve been craving these for weeks. Pretty much since I started sewing and encountered patterns that do this. Its definitely one of the things I’m most likely to make quickly.

My biggest concern – Having only fussy blouses. I love blouses, but they are delicate to launder and sometimes prone to creasing. I definitely need some guaranteed lazy lady tops in my wardrobe.

Two Looks Polyvore.JPG

One Pants, Two Looks

Grey jeans. This is a thing I need in my life. I had a pair a few years ago… Sadly they haven’t fit for many years either. Although I’m probably a few sewing experiments away from jeans, if I can make myself a pair of grey skinnies one day I’ll be a happy girl. This wardrobe is looking at two different looks I love. The red, but also the pale blue casuals. I think I could happily have all these looks in my wardrobe.

My Favourite item – That bottom red top. I love the drape. Drape can be very forgiving when done correctly. I also just love simple red.

My biggest concern – How to fit the pale blue in. I love that sweater, but that’s a difficult to replicate item. I’m unsure if I’d want pale blue to be denim based, but that look also looks pretty good to me.

Random Patterns Polyvore.JPG


I’m unsure if it is a good or a bad thing that when faced with the wealth of the Polyvore catalogue I run out of ideas after two looks. So this page is just me attempting to provoke myself to consider other options. You’ll notice the pants are still grey, the jacket is still leather. I did try to fit patterns into the blouses here, and the texture idea on the black skirt. If you added a second pair of shoes this wardrobe would probably be about to cover the full gambit of needs. However it doesn’t excite me with beauty the way the first to did.

My favourite item – Its hard to pick, for the most randomised set, there are also multiple items on here I really like. I’m going to say the grey shoes though because I was looking for something exactly like those in the previous look and couldn’t find a thing. Definitely need to track down something like those.

My biggest concern – Shorts and patterns. I love shorts and I love patterns. Yet I can’t seem to make rational decisions about them when confronted with Polyvore. Shorts are particularly hard because they are a life essential in Australia. Maybe I’ll just be unfashionable in the summertime.

The Results

As a result of this analysis I have identified a number of things I NEED in any long term wardrobe:

  • Black Jeans – sewable
  • Grey jeans – sewable
  • Black Skirt with buttons – sewable
  • red drapey top – sewable
  • white drapy top – sewable
  • white shirt – sewable
  • chambray shirt – sewable
  • Grey sneakers
  • black ankle boots with silver accents
  • a black bomber or leather style jacket – sewable
  • A cream jumper – knitting

It’ll be interesting having this post to come back to in a year or two to check my progress towards this ideal. Who knows, maybe my favourite colour will be green in six months.


Project Complete – Zoe T-Shirt

Hip hip hooray! A successful thing has been made! I’m back on the blog, recording my success for my own records. If anybody does stumble across it please do say Hi.

Today I’m documenting my successful completion of the Zoe knit top from Sinclair Patterns. This landmark item shall go down in history as the first piece of clothing I made for myself that I then wore outside my house. That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me. I received this pattern as part of the company’s pattern test. (In case you can’t tell by the size of my blog – nobody is asking me to post this – this is all my own opinions etc.) I’m going to try and step through this in a systematic way.



This pattern is sized from US00 to US22, or in more meaningful terms from a 31.5″ (80cm) to a 48″ (122cm) bust. Although some women may need to take into account the waist measurement because its a knit shirt it’ll be nicely flowy. My person measurements are 44″ bust, 39″ waist and 50″ hip. I made a US18 which is listed for 43.3″-36.2″-45.7″.


This is a PDF pattern. I was a child that wouldn’t ever use a sticker for fear I’d want to use it again, differently, later. PDF patterns are the cure for the fear that I’ll mess the pattern up – I can print it out as many times as I want. Each pattern size is a seperate PDF – so you can print it and cut it out and not feel too bad that you are ruining the multi-size versatility. Though if you want to grade between sizes (this is a loose knit so I don’t see it being necessary but do what your heart tells you) this might make it difficult.


This was my most pleasant PDF experience so far (I’ve done 4 – well 3 I discarded one). I would buy their patterns again just for the features in their PDF. Why you ask?

  1. Their pdfs are not ‘full page’ – good because those drive me bonkers because my printer inevitably prints some on an angle and never prints to the edge.
  2. They PDFs have little grids on every single page to tell me where in the overall pattern that piece belongs – great for when i accidentally dropped them.
  3. There was the cut and paste rectangles – but then the pattern extended through them so I could line up the lines between the pages.

I don’t know other pattern companies with this many features in their PDFs – but they rock – everybody should do them this way.


I made this shirt out of a viscose elastane. I was originally going to make it out of pink ponte I have lying around – I bought 6m off a Spotlight sales rack a little while with. However the company suggested that I try the pattern in a lighter knit fabric. Which was as good a reason as any to go to the fabric store. I found this gorgeous red and I had to have it. I, being a fabric newb, would call it light-weight, the website says I’m wrong. Apparently it is a 240GSM, mid-weight viscose jersey, purchased from The Remnant Warehouse.


This shirt was super easy. If you’re a knit newbie, or just a plain newbie – this shirt is the shirt for you. It has a total of 7 necessary lines of stitching (8 if you count the hem – which I probably should).


I overcompensated for my nervousness about the fabric a little bit by using a LOT of pins. Nothing was moving anywhere. While this probably blew my times out a lot, I have great seams and my neckband is pretty smooth (there is a small fold but its at the back, nobody can see). I really didn’t have any true dramas. I folded the first sleeve wrong – you just need to fold it over at the seam, I did a weird half over thing – but I asked in the Facebook group and learnt the error of my ways.

This shirt took me around 6-7 hrs to sew and I think it’s realistically a good option for a 1hr sew for an experienced seamstress.

Fit and Finish

The sleeves are quite tight relative to the rest of the fit – but I like that, it gives it some interest. I think if they were much looser they folded up cuff wouldn’t stay as nicely.

In all it is a great t-shirt, I’ve worn it 3 times since I finished it only a week ago. I’m glad I made it in the red. Red is my favourite colour to wear, so this top has propelled itself to the top of my t-shirt pile.

Sewn with care, worn with ease.



Shorts 2.0 – Pick a Pocket

So my boyfriend, very kindly accepted my rather misshapen first pair of shorts. However of all their flaws – including the fact that I originally measured the elastic to the same number as his waist measurement and they completely fell down – the one thing he couldn’t get past was the fact that they had pockets. I was encouraged to try again, but only if I added pockets this time.

Quick Three Things I Learnt
1. There is more than one way to pocket a pant.
2. If there’s a picture in the tutorial, look at the picture. Particularly if it involves cutting.
3. It is possible to turn a ‘mistake’ into a ‘feature’.

Now back to my story

Of my own volition I decided to be a little more structured in my approach to sewing this time around. I admitted to myself that the tracing and guesstimate approach was perhaps a little advanced for my mediocre skills. I hoped that the use of a pattern could move my shorts to the ‘next level’ of wearability. So I scoured the internet for the basic short to end all shorts. The internet told me pretty fundamentally that I should be able to do this without pattern assistance – thanks internet – but I did find some people willing to give a total beginner a bit of a leg up. I ended up going with the Juba Shorts from Imaginegnats.

It seemed basic, yet the drawstring/elastic waist offered room for new skills, and it had a bunch of ‘expansion packs’ in the form of online tutorials listed in the sale blurb. And most significantly…

juba shorts with pockets Collage
Juba Shorts – Pockets for Men Tutorial

Oh yeah baby. A Pockets tutorial. A pretty plain short, for men, with pockets. They seemed like good pockets – the sort you imagine in your head when thinking ‘pockets’. My guy would be so impressed with me when I show him what great pockets I made. AND it has a pattern piece. AND pictures. How could I mess this up?

So I cut out my pattern pieces. I feel pretty pro doing this. (Apologies that I used a manky work shoe as a pattern weight). I put my big green cutting board (a pre-BTI item I own because I’m the daughter of a quilter) on my kitchen floor – because both my tables are circles – and got my roller cutter out to pizza cut all my pieces. So easy.


Then I got my handy dandy pocket pattern piece out. Stuck it on. I felt really smart – if I folded along the pocket line I could use a single print out for the front AND back of the pocket. (I’m sure I didn’t invent this oh-so-novel idea.) So I cut out my pocket pieces… And then I cut into my two front panels. Like so.


Right about now the thousand ghosts of  veteran sewers past are looking upon this with a giggle. I’d made a very obvious mistake. Thought not so obvious that it would occur to me. On the contrary, attempting not to make a mistake I’d thought long and hard about how to position this pattern piece. So I decided to put it right there. Right. There.


From there, still feeling like an awesome professional sewer, I sewed the front half of the pocket to the front side of the pant piece, flipped it ‘inside’ sewed it down and then sewed the two pocket pieces together to create a pocket piece. I was using my cute little sewing clips and feeling super accomplished. Nobody would be able to tell this was only my first pair of shorts. I was making pretty straight stitches and using my zig zag just the way the instructions say. What could go wrong?


Then, finished my pocket, I took this photo. Look how great it looks? Edges are flush with the original edges of the pant piece. Just like a bought one! Then, as I looked at the piece through the screen of my phone, I realised…. I’d done the pocket upside-down into the pant leg! Aww man! It was a devastating revelation I have to say. I was faced with an excellent pocket…. at the wrong end of my shorts. And the cutting out meant that I couldn’t simply unpick it.

Well. I fixed it. I sewed the pocket together and made a very attractive leg decoration. Just like a bought pair of sports pants. I could totally get away with that if I hadn’t already told the world that I’d messed up a pocket ;).


The worst part is that this was the first pocket. The other one, already cut, was in the exact same condition…. I had to sew it together, knowing it was wrong. Just so I could cut it off again and make the pants sides equal. I did. They look OK now.

After this I couldn’t do the same pocket again to the top of the fabric. There wasn’t room to do two Vs in opposite directions. Or at least, not without making it really obvious what I’d done wrong. So I needed to find another pocket. I mean, plenty of clothes have pockets, there’s got to be more than one way to skin this cat. Second time around I was going with something that wouldn’t go cutting into my now repaired pattern pieces. So I found inseam pockets. They were, as my boyfriend would say, just the bunny. Exactly what I needed.

So after this minor detour I was off again. On my way to great shorts. I’m going to hopefully put the real deal into my next post.

Made with care…. yet to be wearable.

Until again.


A Week In Words: Slang for Beginners 1.0

I’ve officially been submerging myself in the sewing community for about a week. I jumped with both feet and no intention of coming up for air. It’s been a lot of fun. However already I’m starting to notice there are a bunch of words which everybody else seems to understand that I need to run away to the Google monster and research. Or simply relearn from the colloquialisms. I figured I’d list a few – maybe it’ll assist a fellow beginner and maybe it’ll simply serve to assist my own memory.

knit vs woven – There are material TYPES? I spent a few months making bags. It never occurred to me to question why some of my clothes stretch and others didn’t. Knits just like if they were knitted with knitting needles but on a teenie tiny scale. Woven fabrics are made with looms or similar. Knits stretch and wovens don’t (except maybe along the diagonal, the ‘bias’). This is probably sewing level 0, but I really learnt this this week. Fabric confuses me a lot. (Apparently some wovens do stretch – the mystery of modern fabrics I guess – some gym fabrics may be in this boat.)


selvage/selvedge – This simple little word is the name used to describe the trim on a piece of fabric created during production to prevent the fabric fraying along the edge. It’ll often have a little line of branding continuously or periodically, though sometimes it is completely plain.

TNT – ACRONYMS! I do love a good acronym, but that first time there is always confusion…. Particularly when an acronym has a more common use. Like an explosive compound. TNT in the sewing community means Tried and True. This little acronym means a pattern a person reuses because it works. Excellent, I can’t wait to have some TNT patterns of my own.


muslin vs ‘making a muslin’ – You can’t fool me, I read Georgette Heyer in high school, I know what muslin is. It’s plain, thin cotton material from ye olden times… so why on earth would I be making one? Turns out I was mostly right. There is muslin, the woven cotton material that comes in a range of thicknesses and there is ‘making a muslin’ where a muslin has become the colloquial term for making a first draft item from cheap materials. This blog helped me out a fair bit in my understanding. Muslin – is apparently the same material as ‘calico’ in UK/Australia. I also note that following this I googled muslin or calico hoping to find the cheap solution fabric for my bumbling beginner fingers – but its actually pretty expensive. Like $8 a meter when I can get polycottons or on-sale material for $3-$5.

There are always more words to learn though. That’s why I’ve numbered this post. I’m sure there’ll be a 2.0 very soon.

Until Again.


First Clothing Attempt – Shorts 1.0

I was trying to figure out where to start. I mean, I have a few successful projects from before BTI that could start the blog off on a high…. But I felt they may overstate the case for my sewing. Where better to begin than the here and now? This weekend, Easter weekend (because I need a LOT of time), I am attempting to construct shorts which look like real shorts. As it turns out – harder than it looks.

Quick Three – The three things I learnt in this project.

  1. Don’t use stretchy shorts as a template for not-stretchy material.
  2. Clothing seams are inexplicably harder than bag seams.
  3. I need a better mechanism for threading elastic.
  4. Do use rotary cutter, as much as possible. (I’m just starting out – I’m learning A LOT)

Back to the Full Story

I began with the conviction that patterns are the easy way out and if I can sew bags without pattern pieces, surely I can sew pants without pattern pieces. The internet largely seemed to agree with me, there are as many more blogs and tutorials dedicated to pattern-free shorts as there are for shorts. I was initially planning to sew shorts for my boyfriend (so he’d stop wearing his high-school pants 10 years post graduation) – but there are even less patterns or conversations about male pants and shorts. Apparently blogging about men’s clothing is boring? So I figured, ‘use a pair of comfy shorts as a pattern’ was clearly the way to go. I fired up YouTube, found This Tutorial, and assumed the ready position.


So I got out my handy dandy black fabric. This is the sum total of my clothing fabric – 4 metres of black stuff that feels like shorts/pants and 6 metres of pale blue stuff that feels like a shirt/blouse. (I really need to learn more about fabrics – I’ll get there.) The grey at the bottom is a medium weight waterproof grey that I have bought for bag lining – It wouldn’t make good clothes. I’ve discovered that clothing fabric is remarkably hard. I feel like I need to go to Spotlight and spend a few hours just touching fabric to get a grasp of what on earth people mean when they use words like ‘rayon’ or ‘cotton knit’ or ‘jersey’ and so on. I can tell you neither of the fabrics I have are stretch, but that’s about it.

I got to cutting around a pair of super comfy gym shorts. The first side I cut using my fabric scissors. (Thanks to my Mum who quilts I have a collection of sewing tools from long before BTI.) I cannot cut a straight line…. It was pretty bad. The second side I cut using my rotary cutter like I have done for a dozen bag pieces. That worked a lot better. If you don’t have a rotary cutter – one sewing noob to another – totally get one.

I sewed all all the seams up. Fronts together, backs together, legs together – I felt really accomplished. Using first a straight stitch and then a zigzag just like the internet said. Its pretty good, I don’t think it’ll unravel but my zigzag doesn’t seem to have done a great job at stopping fraying edges. I think I was too far in from the edge. This all took about 5 times as long as any tutorial – even the ones that say ‘beginner’. But about 2 hrs of work later I had seams!

Composite Pant Seams

Look at Me go! Shorts. They are so Easy. I don’t know what everybody is talking about. I can do this sewing thing. SO EASY. I’m AMAZING.

But then I tried them on….


The fit is about as terrible as this photo of it. (Sadly I live at alone and take photos with my phone.) They were way too tight. I didn’t bust seems getting them on… but it was a close call.

However a functional pair of pants was just the optional bonus of this expedition into sewing so I kept going. Onwards; into the unknown. I sewed up the bottom seams.. Using red cotton because the delightfully forgiving black fabric which looks identical on both sides and completely hides black thread was driving me a bit mental and I wanted to be able to see some of my stitches. This was a terrible idea – my stitches look awful. But I did a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch then folded them double up and stitched again. I like the way the red looks on the black.

Such pretty red stitches

Then I did the elastic waist band. That definitely felt like it could have been easier. I made a HUGELY wide hole… In appropriately wide. but threading the elastic was still a menace. Push one inch in pull half an inch out. I got there in the end. The end result was shorts.


Ultimately I made, completely by accident. A pair of shorts for my boyfriend. They are bordering on too large for him, in part because I seem to have cut the elastic about 6 inches too long, and even after shortening it seemed too long. (Shortening it did involve unpicking – which made me feel oddly accomplished – can unpick clothing seams.)

I’d show a picture of him wearing them, however he has stated that I’m not allowed to post a picture of him wearing shorts until I make a pair with pockets in them. Next time I’m going to try that. (I’ve actually already started this project and I’ll drop the hint that it’s not going all that well.)

Made with care, worn with ease.

Until again.


Blog Time Immemorial (BTI)

Hi! Welcome! How’s things? Good I hope, though you’ve somehow stumbled on a fledgling blog’s first post so maybe things are going a bit slow? Then again maybe you are curious about sewing. Maybe its years down the track and you’ve methodically tracked down the first post of my hugely successful blog out of genuine interest.

The purpose of this blog, my blog, Sew Unseamly, is to record the life and times of my sewing adventures. I’ll come and I’ll go (a hazard of my work) but if there’s something on my sewing table, there’ll be a post about it.

For my first post I figured a ‘full disclosure’ of my prior sewing experience is essentially to cement my location in sewing growth. I’m a not-quite-beginner. I ‘discovered’ sewing a few months ago and have made a few things, not a heap. I intend for this blog to document me trying new things and growing in the faith of ‘sewing’.

This post has been entitled Blog Time Immemorial for a very specific reason. I intend for BTI to be my reference to the thoughts, feelings and experiences I had towards sewing, or tried in sewing prior to the creation of this blog. Time immemorial is a fun legal term for ‘outside legal memory’ which if you are a history buff (or – like me – a watcher of QI) you’ll know was once fixed as beginning with the reign of King Richard I on 6 July 1189. That’s no good to me, they certainly weren’t using Janome sewing machines or spandex in 1189. So instead I’ve created my own Blog Time Immemorial, dated today, 11 Apr 2017.

This is the beginning. (I promise I’ll include photos of my previous projects in my next post.)