Holiday giveaway – last chance to enter!

She Wears The Pants - cover

Win this book!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Just a quick reminder that my holiday giveaway closes today (January 1) at midnight EST.  Up for grabs is a brand new copy of She Wears the Pants, a Japanese sewing book with some fun and funky garment patterns.  Entering the giveaway is super easy – just leave a comment on this post.  Good luck!

I hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing day off today and spending time with loved ones.  Unfortunately I’ve been working all week, including today (booooo!!), but that is a story for another post.  I’ve fallen a bit behind on my Top 5 posts too, but I plan to make a bit more progress on them this weekend.  Such is life!

Here’s wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and enjoyable year ahead.  What does 2016 have in store for you?  🙂

Holiday giveaway (and discover new sewing blogs)!

She Wears The Pants - cover

People, the holidays are upon us!  To celebrate the holiday season, in addition to the recent 4-year anniversary of this blog (yay!), I thought it might be fun to host a giveaway.  Up for grabs is a brand new copy of She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada, a Japanese sewing book that was released in English earlier this year.  If you’ve been eyeing this book and didn’t pick up a copy earlier in the year, now’s your chance!

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Sarrouel Trousers in Loominous

Sarrouel Trousers in Loominous - finished

Damn right folks, I made another glorious pair of Sarrouel Trousers (aka #diapershorts), and I freaking love them!  I don’t know what it is about this crazy style, but I am totally enamored with these shorts.  They’re weird, they’re unflattering, but they’re so much fun to sew and wear.  I think the reason I love them so much is **because** they’re so unusual and non-traditional.  I spend so much of the year bundled up in boring old jeans and layers upon layers of sweaters that I find it really fun and exciting to wear something different for a change.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve already worn these out and about on the streets of Boston and for a full day of work at the university… and no one said a thing.  Really folks, no one cares what you’re wearing, so wear whatever makes you happy!  My floral rayon pair has become my favorite summer garment and probably my favorite thing I’ve sewn all year, and I wear them with pride on a regular basis.  I’m so glad I now have another crazy pair to add to the rotation.  🙂

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Velour Blouse in voile and rayon

Velour Blouse version 1 - finished

I’m back with another project from She Wears the Pants, this time the Velour Blouse, No 5.  Now, let me get something off my chest right away: this blouse is a total FAIL.  I’ve seen too many sewists blame themselves for failed projects when there was clearly something wrong with the pattern, but this time it was really all my fault.  I didn’t make a muslin (the horror!), I used a woven when the pattern is specifically designed for knits, I used a lining that was too stiff, and I chose a design feature (cap sleeves) that never, ever works for me.  WHY did I do this, you ask?  It was a little sewing experiment, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring the little voice inside my head.  Lesson learned – that voice is there for a reason.  🙂

With that said, I actually enjoyed sewing this blouse, and I continue to be impressed with the professional finishing techniques in this pattern book.  I already have plans to fix this top and may even make a knit version.  The pattern is good; I was just a little reckless with my choices on this project!

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Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon

Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - finished

After making a muslin of these shorts, asking for your brutally honest opinions, and hearing the vast majority of you exclaim “I would never wear them!”, I went ahead and made a version in fashion fabric.  And you know what?  I love them.  Yes, this look is not for everyone, and it may not even be working for me (la la la, I can’t hear you…), but they’re interesting and different and oddly liberating to wear.  I’m so enthralled with them that I wore them on the streets of Boston for a full day of work at the university.  Read on for a slew of photos, some minor construction notes, and my experience wearing a non-traditional garment out in public.

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Brief update on sewing, work, and life

June sewing updateLife has been quite a wild ride lately!  I haven’t been doing much blogging, but I’ve been sewing, working, worrying, working, stressing out, working… oh, and did I mention working?  As you may recall, I’m finishing up my PhD this summer, and I think I’m entering the infamous end-of-PhD panic mode.  Is that a thing?  I’m pretty sure it’s a thing.  It must be a thing because IT IS TAKING OVER MY LIFE.  Oh the humanity.

Here’s a quick and dirty update from the battlefield:

Sewing

After all your hilarious and brutally honest comments on my Sarrouel Trousers (aka #diapershorts) muslin, I decided to screw social convention and make a pair for public display.  A beautiful floral rayon pair.  And yes, I displayed them out in public!  My obsession with She Wears the Pants continues, as I’m currently working on a Velour Blouse (check out Stacey’s version) in peach cotton voile with pink rayon accents.  So far so good.  I’m not convinced the style will work for me, but at least my broad shoulders can support the extra wide neckline.

Also, a first for me: I agreed to alter a friend’s bridesmaid dress.  In blue poly chiffon.  (!!!)  Working with the chiffon hasn’t been as tricky as I was expecting, but it hasn’t exactly been easy either.  Plus, since the original dress was several sizes too big, I wound up taking the entire dress apart and putting it back together again.  It was quite a learning experience!  Fun though, and I’m always happy to help a friend.

Work

Post-PhD planning has begun, and what a terrifying prospect this was!  After many months of uncertainty, difficult decisions, disappointment, elation, soul-searching, crying, and endless discussions, I’m happy to report that I can now see the light at the end of this 5-year-long tunnel.

I HAVE A JOB.  (Right here in Boston!)

That’s right folks, an occupation other than “student” is in my future!  Is this really happening??  Honestly, I almost can’t believe it.

For those of you academics out there, I just accepted a postdoctoral position.  For those of you non-academics, a postdoc is basically a glorified graduate student.  Nearly the same job description, nearly the same ridiculously low pay, but hey, you can make people call you “doctor.”  🙂

Life

Every day has been a new adventure lately.  One day I’m exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open long enough to eat dinner and collapse.  One day I’m all smiles and telling everyone how much I love my work and how excited I am for things to come.  One day I’m screaming in frustration at how near-disasters occur and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.  I’m not an overly emotional/dramatic person, and this roller coaster of human experience is a little overwhelming.  I have a feeling things will only ramp up as my defense date approaches, so I’d better learn to hang on.

I’m going to try to take some good blog photos this weekend, so hopefully I’ll be back soon with more sewing and less waxing poetic about the undulations of life.  For now though, I wish you all peace in life and work, and hopefully lots of sewing time this weekend.  🙂

Sarrouel Trousers muslin from “She Wears the Pants”

Sarrouel Trousers muslin - finished

I picked up She Wears the Pants, a Japanese sewing book by Yuko Takada, on an impulse while running to catch a train last week.  Previous Japanese sewing books that I’ve seen have turned me off with super boxy styles and titles like Sweet Dress Book.  When was the last time I wore a sweet dress?  This one, however, really caught my eye.  The original title translates to “She Has a Mannish Style,” which I think suits me perfectly.  The designs are androgynous but not tent-like (for the most part), with some really interesting details and challenging techniques.  I was intrigued!

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