Jeans Makeover

Tuesday I stopped at Frenchy’s (a Maritime thrift store specializing in used clothing) to pick up a couple of pairs of jeans in stretch denim. I tried on several pairs – size 10 fit my waist and the top hip region, but were way to big through the bum and thighs – perfect for what I intended to do with them.

At $4.75 for a pair of jeans I can experiment to my heart’s content! I wanted to see if the dart/seam in the centre back of the pants would give me the fit I’d achieved in SF.

I started by lifting the back pockets:

Then I tried the jeans on putting a pin at the spot of the greatest depth for the dart, another pin to mark the point where the top of the dart ends, and another at the knee.

Next I turned the jeans inside out, used a fabric marking pen to identify the position of the pins. Now to locate the grain line in the back panel (I started at the hem, folding and pinning the back in half, aligning the side and inseams and marking the fold all the way to the mid-hip in back. Once I had the centre back I marked the dart/seam and stitched from the top of the dart (under the pocket) to the knee and continued with a narrow seam to the hem on both legs.

I tried on the jeans to see whether I’d removed enough of the excess fabric – pretty good fit. So I pressed the seam, pinned and restitched the pockets in place. 

I measured the inseam (a good length for me is 27″), added 1 1/4″ for the hem, cut the legs, serged the hem edge, folded, pressed, and stitched the hem.

Not bad huh? Took me about an hour and a half.

Theatre de la Mode, Fashion Dolls: Survival of Haute Couture

Ann Williamson Design today blogged about the Maryhill Spring Tea — Maryhill is an art museum about 2 hours east of Portland OR, on the hills of the Columbia River. Among the various collections is one of note to anybody interested in fashion / haute couture: Theatre de la Mode — an amazing collection of 27″ wire frame dolls clothed in designer garments from just after World War II. Paris was still the centre of fashion but without the supplies to do runway shows, the designers, in conjunction with other artists and designers, created this amazing display to showcase their collections.

Evening wear:

Day Clothes:

And accessories (these shoes are to scale: ~ 2.5″ in length) constructed with amazing accuracy

If you’re ever in the Portland area, it’s worth the side trip to see this collection!

Ornithogalum Continued

This was the Ornithogalum a month ago – here it is today:

It continued blooming while I was away (cared for by my next door neighbour) and I’m guessing it will last a few more weeks! Amazing.

It’s a bulb so I’ll try to keep the foliage going for a bit before letting the plant die back. If I’m lucky, the bulbs will survive till next fall when I’ll replant them and see if I can encourage them to bloom.

Vicki’s Jewellery Shop

I mentioned yesterday I’d never seen so much “stuff” in one small shop as I had yesterday in Vicki’s shop.
Karen and I were back there today because Karen needed a small gift for her next door neighbour’s seven year old daughter’s first communion on Sunday. I just had to take pictures:

We’re not talking cheap costume accessories. These pieces are real jewellery – a lot of it from estate sales, but even the contemporary and costume pieces are upscale. This is the kind of place you’d go to find something to wear with a particular outfit or a necklace to go with a pair of earrings you already have.

I didn’t buy anything today, just took the opportunity to schmooze more widely than I had yesterday. Lots of interesting pieces, even if much of it isn’t my taste.

New Necklace


I was shopping with my friend Karen this morning – she needed a gift for another friend of hers having a 70th birthday. I had tagged along as company – with no intention of buying anything! 

I regret I didn’t get a photo of the shop itself – I don’t think I have ever seen so much “stuff” in such a small space – much of it didn’t interest me. But there was a small “manikin” with a display of necklaces by Israeli artists and they fascinated me. 

The one I bought was created by Ayala Bar. I just loved the colours and symmetry of the piece. I didn’t even bother to have it wrapped. Paid for it and wore it for the rest of the day.

A souvenir of the San Francisco/Toronto trip.

New “Faces”

While walking the streets of San Francisco, I came across some “faces”.

The first has a long drooping moustache: 

The second looks rather like a Chinese dragon:

Can you see them?

I wasn’t looking too hard this trip or I’m sure I’d have found lots more!

Two Photos

I’m not usually one for taking photos from plane windows (because I prefer an aisle seat to a window seat) but today because I had a window seat I got two images worth sharing.

Leaving San Francisco – I couldn’t resist trying to capture the deep blue of the clear sky with the fog over the bay.
  Arriving in Toronto I was amazed by the extent of the ice along the shore of Lake Ontario (and the frost on the window itself)!

San Francisco 9

San Francisco fog in the morning

The packing is done – I must have packed more lightly than I thought when I came because I managed to get everything into the two bags, including the fabric I bought! Tomorrow morning I fly to Toronto for a few days before heading home.

I finished the blue pants this morning – cut out, sewn, and wearable without further adjustment. That was my goal! However, the twill is unforgiving – very stiff with no forgiveness, hence the “wrinkles”. My next project will be to try the jeans in a fabric with a bit of stretch – I’m guessing the fit will be a bit more smooth because the fabric will be just that bit more flexible. What I like is it looks like I have a bit of bum in them.

I didn’t work on anything else after this pair of pants was done. Instead, I tidied and packed up, then eavesdropped on the assistance Sandra offered everyone else. Lots of great sewing “tips” – about how to cut out silk using paper beneath with the pattern on top (not precut, so you’re cutting through a paper/silk/paperture sandwich – that way the silk doesn’t slither around and you get an accurate cutting.

The day ended early – everyone tired but satisfied with their sewing projects. During the day, Dan, Sandra’s husband and helpers slowly broke down the room, taking away the garment samples, sewing patterns, fabric and notions, sewing machines back to wherever everything lives. It will all be back out again in a month or so for the next group of sewers.

Mid-afternoon, Sheila and I took our last walk to Union Square. I wanted to capture a photo of an interesting jacket I’d seen in Gumps my second day in SF.

I thought the fabric interesting – it’s organza, machine over-stitched to look like knitting! Apparently the jacket is also available in the Gumps catalog – when I get home I’ll look to see if it’s available in my size.

The snap dragons in Union Square were lovely this afternoon

It’s going to be a while before we see flowers in bloom in Halifax!

Our last walk back to the hotel I took the opportunity to capture a few more interesting sights. A window of antique Jewellery

a chocolatier

Pink – a men’s clothing store with lots of pink clothing

I’m ready to be heading home.

San Francisco 8

Hard at work today – with just a day and a half to go everybody pushed hard to get as much done as possible.

Last evening I revised the pattern I’d used for the pink jeans incorporating the various adjustments I’d made. After an early breakfast I headed to the sewing room on the 10th floor to get going on a second pair – this time light blue twill jeans. I cut out the fabric and interfacing, pressed interfacing to the matching fabric pieces (waistbands, fly front, pocket facings). Next step – serge edges of pockets, waistband facing, etc. With the prep work done I started assembling the jeans – sewed front pockets on, then did the fly front opening. I stitched in the dart down the back of each leg and added the back pocket. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

During the morning Sandra made sure people were comfortable with what they were working on, helping out where help was needed. Just before lunch she took a few of us on a walk, pointing out some of her favorite shopping places.

After a quick lunch I resumed sewing. As I did the first inseam I discovered I’d cut the fronts on the hem line and not the cutting line! When I finished the second inseam, the two side seams and the crotch seam, I trimmed the back of the leg and created a false hem using scraps of silk organza. Last, I added the waistband.

All that’s left to do is stitch the inner waistband and then I’ll model the pants. The length turns out to be just right!

My goal was to see if the pattern was close enough that I’d be able to cut out the jeans, sew them up, and wear them without further adjusting. It looks as if I accomplished what I set out to do.

Sheila finished her third garment – she was pleased with it.

Barb was still trying on sample garments although by this evening she was too tired to take off her clothes and she just held up the top Sandra finished yesterday.

I’ll finish the second pair of jeans tomorrow morning. I still have a cut out muslin to work on – I’ll probably have to finish it at home.

San Francisco 7

Day 3 – we’re now past the half way mark. Sandra arrived this morning with a load of garments based in her pattern line for Vogue Patterns. Several garments from the same pattern but in very different fabrics which makes them look very different! One short coat was made from a Vietnamese bedspread:

I tried it on later – too big for me but done in a smaller size using some kind of upholstery fabric with faux suede, for example, it would work well. It would also be a vehicle for lots of interior pockets so I wouldn’t have to carry a purse.

I managed to finish the pink twill jeans I was working on – not without a good bit of taking out! The fit is interesting – they fit reasonably well, the back yoke and pocket placement gives my bum a bit of shape. 

I applied the adjustments I made – a 1/4″ drop in the waist at the sides, a 1/4″ increase in the side seam from above the knee to the hem, the added 1/4″ in the side seam at the waist to a new pattern. The biggest adjustment – a substantial dart from just below the bum to the knee that Paul suggested yesterday to get out some of that unwanted fabric beneath the bum. I’ve cut the pattern out ready to have another go – a light blue twill, this time.

The pink pair could use a good pressing but I find the professional irons here difficult to use so I’m not getting a crisp, flat seam. I’ll do that when I get home.

Went out for a bit of dinner with Sheila – on the way home we walked passed a Clivia (a plant in the Amyrillus family) in bloom. My friend Marlene has one in her greenhouse but has a difficult time getting it to flower.

So tomorrow, I’ll have one day to cut out and assemble the second pair of pants. Friday, our last day will be filled with clearing up tasks.