Tropical leaves

When the print is so fabulous, using a simple design like New Look 6013 is my ‘go-to’ for this print from Minerva crafts.

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New Look 6013 has simple darts at the front and the back with raglan sleeves. I’ve made this pattern before and added a full bust adjustment for when I get bigger in the Winter. My weight changes a lot but I still prefer to wear somewhat fitted dresses.

Fabric:

This crepe (John Kaldor Layered Leaves Print Crepe Dress Fabric – Lime and Black) feels lovely. It drapes well and washes easily. I chose this lime and black colourway because of the black background but there’s enough white in the print to still make it a Summer style.

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You’ll find that the softness and drapey properties of this fabric makes it easy to line and hem. I still love to use John Kaldor fabrics when I can because they’re such classic prints.

I did go a bit ‘couture’ with this version. What I mean by ‘couture’ is I interlined the dress bodice and finished the hem hand sewing the hem to the interlining. Crepe is very accommodating to any shape and any level of sewing expertise you have. When you first start sewing crepe is easy to mould into shape and you get a good result with very little stress.

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This dress is going to get a lot of wear because of its colourway, print and fabric structure so I chose to use a cotton poplin for the dress bodices.

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In the Summer we have a lot of humidity in Sydney. Right now our weather is very Singapore like. This lasts for at least 2 months here so I specifically chose this fabrics and the interlining to make sure this dress helps me deal with our searing Summer conditions.

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Couture Finish:

So I’ve raved about couture techniques so why not show you what I mean.

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The Bodice: When I line any garment I need wiggle room but I also want a great finish. Wiggle room means the garment fits well but doesn’t constrict my movements. This crazy photo shows I’m hamming it up while waiting for the train. Yes there’s no one on the platform so I could show you how this dress fits but has the room to be a bit crazy in a very measured way.

On the inside, I’ve interlined this crepe and still used the facing pieces for a clean finish.

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By sewing just the bust darts on the interlining, the side seams of the front bodice still matches the side seams of the back bodice. You don’t need to be a mathematician to figure this out and thankfully while maths isn’t my strong point, you should always measure twice, cut once.

Having more than one tape measure and measure slides keeps your sewing accurate. Having an unpicker to save the day is a good thing too.

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The Hem: The interlining poplin is study and it is about the same weight as the crepe fabric. Keeping the interlining lighter than the fashion fabric is your goal, so your final garment isn’t heavier than you’d expect. All bets are off when it’s an evening gown. Evening gowns are another story.

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The interlining is cut at the hem length and I’ve left this fabric unfinished. Hang on I’ll tell you why.

The fashion fabric is then folded up onto the interlining and then hand sewn onto the interlining. So…there’s no need to hem/finish the interlining fabric. See. It’s all good.

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The sleeves: I decided not to interline the sleeves. I probably should interline the sleeves if the fabric had less drape. On this dress the sleeves are look soft and that’s what I wanted on this version of New Look 6013.

Thank you Minerva Crafts for stocking John Kaldor fabrics.

 

 

Raincoat sparkle

I’ve always enjoyed seeing how raincoats can sparkle and look amazing. I’ve used Jalie City Coat pattern for this raincoat success.

Do you remember back at school the smell of plastic yellow raincoats? This is one of my distinct school day memories and I’m so glad this fabric has raised the bar on stylish and affordable raincoats.

This Raincoat Fabric comes in 4 colourways and I was so tempted to make the black version but I chose the purple colour. It’s amazing in real life.

The Fabric

This fabric is bonded so the plastic side is the ‘right’ side and the ‘wrong side is woven. If you’re not watching the fabric as you sew it, it can move quite a bit.

The plastic side tends to stick to itself so once you’ve cut out the pattern pieces, make sure you take the time to release the pieces from each other. There were a few times I thought I’d lost some pattern pieces but they were all there. I just had to look at them closer.

One thing I discovered is that you can lightly iron this fabric on the wrong side as long as you use a cotton ironing cloth. This will stop the plastic from melting. I did a spot of ironing on some of the seams but I used my ironing cloth and ironing ham. I only ironed each seam for no more than 5 seconds. That was enough time to avoid ruining the fabric.

Later on I realised that using an iron-on interfacing was not going to work to reinforce the front seams for buttons and buttonholes. I used a wide strip of black woven fabric from my stash to give the front of the raincoat stability. It worked a dream and you can use any fabric because it won’t be seen.

Seam Finishes

I mulled about this before I started working on this project. If the fabric had only been plastic, I may have used bias tape to finish the seams.

The base fabric is soft, so the fabric edges are also soft and do not fray so I’ve left them in their raw state. You can see how I’ve tested out using the overlocker to finish these seams. This really didn’t make much difference to the wear of the fabric and overlocking added more weight to the seam that I didn’t like.

The other finish that I would have loved to use on this coat was topstitching. Because this is a ‘raincoat’ I decide to avoid adding more holes in the fabric that would need to be sealed later.

What I am investigating at the moment is using a light-weight sealant on these seams and until I find a decent one, this will be a faux-raincoat.

Lining the Coat

I chose to use Jalie’s City Coat pattern because it’s unlined.

Sizing

There is enough weight in this raincoat that it sits nicely as a coat and I’ve made it two sizes bigger than I needed so there is some airflow when I wear it.

This pattern has a hood option so I will make the hood later and attach it using buttons on the outside of the collarband.

Right now I love the existing collar.

Will I really wear this coat?

Yes. Especially when it might rain. Once I figure out how to seal the seams this will be a cool looking faux raincoat. I know I have a time of Odicoat in my sewing room.

And that’s the second part of the tale of two coats.

Thanks Minerva!

It’s in the writing

Using this double border fabric from Minervadotcom was a great way to start off the New Year.

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New Look 6468 has a few relaxed style jumpsuits and dresses and this cotton broadcloth really stood up to the test of being worn on a 45C afternoon here in Sydney. We’ve had many bushfires and the air here is hazy on most days.

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As soon as I received this fabric I gave it a wash and within 30 minutes it was dry and it looked like it had been ironed too. That’s how hot it is at the moment.

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The fabric is black and grey so when I chose the buttons, I filtered the buttons to 2 hole. Minerva website gives you that search ability. The pattern suggests 1.3cm buttons so the everyday basic buttons were the logical choice.

The cool thing about these buttons is they have a greyness to them in the centre so I was really chuffed when I received these in my package for this month.

I always look forward to the packages that the team at Minerva sends me.

Now I already owned New Look 6468 because I collect jumpsuit patterns.

This month’s choice was to simply make a nice casual dress to get me through the hot Summer temps we’ll have to get through for the next 3 months.

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The fabric:

Here’s the good aspect of using a double border print. You can use both sides and get more use out of the fabric.

This print on one side of the fabric is further from the selvedge that the other side of the fabric.

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I used this to my advantage. The skirt pattern used for this dress is the same front and back.

Now I have a prominent backside so I need to lower the back skirt. Do you see where I’m heading to?

The front skirt was cut along the print that was close to the selvedge.

The back skirt piece was cut along the print side that was further from the selvedge.

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And voila. The skirt pieces didn’t waste too much of the print but worked for my body shape. 

That’s a win in my books. 

The other good part about this fabric is that it’s very affordable so really, you can get a lot of good used from this fabric. 

It does create a really neat little black day dress to wear wherever you need to be. Heels or flat shoes – this dress works well with both. 

The other good thing about this fabric is that it’s cotton so it breathes well. Yes it crushes and creases are easy to see in light colour fabric so the black base of this fabric is much handier for my liking. 

If you are using a hot iron, use a pressing cloth to avoid iron on the grey print. The print will melt onto your iron so just be careful.

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The pattern adjustments:

The basic skirt length for me is 19” or 48cm. I remember 19 inches as my rule of thumb.

Because this dress has to sit away from my body, because it’s so hot, I chose to make size 12 with no pattern grading. When it’s really hot, I find the fabric has to breath and not stick to me. I’m so loving this fabric choice.

I did remove 1.5cm from the bodice length between the shoulders and bust point. This reduced the gaping that tends to happen if I don’t shorten this length. This adjustment has also ensured the armhole sits close to my body so there’s no side gaping.

When I looked at the pattern drawings I wondered what was used at the waist. The waist has elastic in the seams. I used an elastic from a previous order to finish off the waistline.

I’ve hand sewn the hem and hand sewn on the buttons.

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The button loop finish is a fitting feature for this print.

I also wasn’t sure about adding the pockets on the bodice so I created them anyway to see how I feel about them. They look ok so I’ll leave them there.

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Did I say that the skirt has pockets? Well. The skirt has pockets and they’re super easy to sew into the skirt. 

Overall I stuck to the instructions for view D of New Look 6468 and I’ll make this again.

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This pattern was better that I expected. When I reread the fabric I chose was ‘broadcloth’ I did a double take with this pattern. 

Now I’m really happy with this dress and the detailing within this pattern.

I hope everyone has a great 2020. It’s a new decade and I hope you get to sew all the things you have in mind.

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Relaxing into Christmas

We’re having a different Christmas experience this year and that means my wardrobe makes are relaxed and chilled. What I mean is we’ll be travelling and being casual so there are no formal occasions to dress for. Enter Style Arc Avery tunic top using two light weight knits.

Minerva sells multi size Style Arc patterns and I happened to have bought Style Arc’s Avery Tunic pattern last year when I visited Style Arc HQ. They’re a lovely team who love seeing what we, their consumers, make with their multitude of designs. I bought size 8 and I did no adjustments to this pattern.

Strange hearing that I made no adjustments on any pattern but this month my tunic goal was make a top that I could comfortably wear on a 4 hour plane journey or wear in the car for ‘road trip’.

I chose these fabrics because their dark but the print is summer beach worthy. We will be hitting the beach a few times this month so I chose this tropical print for the contrast.

Travelling long distances is constrictive and I had to choose fabrics that breath well. These knits do just that.

Travelling long distances means I need styles that give me room to move but have some fit elements to them.

This tunic top isn’t fitted across the body but it fits really well at the neckline, shoulders and bust. From the bust down, this shape is loose but doesn’t swallow me up.

After asking a few sewing people in Instagram, I used this Tropical Print Stretch Jersey Fabric for the front bodice and the sleeves. I had fun trying to decide what floral motif would be placed centre front so of course, I chose the hibiscus flower. The leaf prints look nicely balanced at the shoulders so I was really chuffed with this outcome.

Style Arc has designed this tunic to be used for both knits and woven fabrics. I ordered the zipper. It’s really pretty but I didn’t need to use it. I’ll have to use this on another Minerva project soon. This zipper is too pretty to leave it in my zipper stash.

Honestly this is an easy pattern to cut out and make in 1 afternoon especially if you’re using knit fabrics.

The shaped hem is uneven and it’s very different to the hems I’ve made it the past. It’s refreshing and a bit challenging because this is a new style shape that I need to practice and get right.

I did need to use lots of pins to get the stitching right. The clever part with this hem is that it provides a good amount of weight when you’re using a lightweight knit.

Thanks Minerva for supplying me with the pattern and fabrics to make this top to celebrate Christmas in this year.

Closing the gap

New Look 6351 was the key pattern I planned to use for this month’s post using Minerva fabrics and notions.

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I chose a grey black chambray denim for both the jacket and pants.

Yes I’m somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect jacket to make that elusive French style jacket so the jacket in New Look 6351 has a v-neckline using the front jacket pieces.

Jacket adjustments:

Adjustments or tweaking the pattern to fit is my favourite part of creating clothes. Ready to wear is designed on a block that’s not me so I love being able to make a pattern fit me. Now the pattern doesn’t have to be super fitted. In real life clothes need to allow me to move around easily and not cling to me.

It would be terrible if I made lots of adjustments; had a top fit me snuggly; and then when I get in the car to drive somewhere the fabric across the back of my shoulders rips. Sewing should bring you joy and not rivers of tears.

1: Sway back adjustment

Admittedly, my Spring sway back adjustment is always less than my Winter sway back adjustment. On this occasion, I took out 3cm along the centre back seam at the waist. Then I added this amount at the centre back hem and graded this to 0 at the side seams.

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2. Shoulder seam length

I love the dropped shoulder look that you see in fashion. My shoulder shaping doesn’t work well with dropped shoulders so I had to remove 2cm off the shoulder seam length so the sleeves sit nicely on my shoulders.

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3. Forward shoulder adjustment

This adjustment is easy. I move the shoulder points forward by taking out 1.5 cm from the front shoulder seam and adding 1.5 cm to the back shoulder seam. It’s not much of a change but this makes the shoulders sit at the right spot.

4. Sleeve length

For my needs, I wanted long sleeves as I added 5 cm to the sleeve hem.

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5. Lining

I love, love, love lined jackets. This jacket is very easy to line. Use the front side, back and sleeve pattern as your lining pieces. It’s that easy to line this jacket.

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Ah. One point to consider. The back lining piece needs to be cut on the fold with 3cm fold. This gives you ‘wiggle room’ when you’re wearing the jacket.

It’s also lots of fun to choose stunning prints to line otherwise basic work jackets.

6: Pockets

Everything is better with pockets.

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This pattern has a pocket pattern for the pants view so I used this patter to create the pockets for this jacket.

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Positioning them was a challenge. I made sure these pockets were 1/3 on the front panel and 2/3 on the side panel.

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Trouser pattern

I prewashed the fabric before I cut out the jacket. The trouser pattern has gathers at the waist.

If this denim weighed less, I would have made the pants in this pattern. I ended up using my TNT Burda 7746 pants pattern.

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The pockets on this pattern are darted on the waist and sit nicely against my body.

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Denim as lovely as this will retain its shape and I’ve been wearing these trousers to work at least once a week.

The leg shape of this pattern works well with this denim so I’m really happy that I’ve been able to pair these together.

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If it fits – wear it. That’s what you’re able to do when you sew your own clothes.

Thanks so much Minerva for keeping my work wardrobe looking so sharp!!!

Jumpsuit addiction

This pattern sold out so quickly when Minerva Crafts brought Deer & Doe’s Sirocco jumpsuit, I felt I needed to see why.

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The answer is this is a very quick jumpsuit to sew on an overlocker. The seams are 3/8 inch and this is perfect for overlocker sewing. This jumpsuit has pockets! That always get a big tick from me.

The v-neckline can be as low or as high as you want it to be. A simple size 0 snap is all I added as the closure for the neckline. You don’t need to add a snap. I do so I feel more confident to wear this faux wrap neckline.

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The fabric – crepe knit

This crepe knit feels lovely and soft against my skin. I didn’t feel it before I ordered it so I was really pleased that it feels so soft.

The crepe texture does mean that there will be blue dust on your machine as you sew. I keep a craft paintbrush next to my sewing machine to sweep away the fabric dust build-up.

The crepe side is what I chose as the right side of the fabric. The colour on the crepe side is a slightly darker blue and that helped me as I cut the fabric out at night.

This knit is more fine than medium weight so it does curl as you use it. This meant I did have to sew the fabric in short bursts so the fabric didn’t curl into the seam stitching.

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Using the overlocker

I still go back and use the overlocker instruction manual to check the recommended stitching for knit fabrics. It’s also handy to go back to the instruction manual to use it for other purposes such as rolled hemming. I did consider using a lettuce edge on the sleeve hem, but I decided to use this hem finish for another time.

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Construction changes

The beauty of using the overlocker meant that I could change the order of construction.

I followed the Deer and Doe instructions for the bodice only. Then…

  1. I overlocked the front bodice, waistband, pants into one piece.
  2. I did the same for the back pieces.
  3. I overlocked the sleeves in flat.
  4. Then I overlocked the side seams from the sleeve through to the ankle.
  5. Before I hemmed the jumpsuit, I overlocked the inner legs and checked the trouser hem length.

 

Pattern adjustments- pants

Earlier this year I made Style Arc Brice jumpsuit so I used this to check the leg length for this jumpsuit pattern.

Leg length:

I took out 6 cm from the Sirocco leg length.

When I was ready to hem the legs, they were still too long. I had to remove another 5 cm from the hem.

There are some schools of thought that recommend you shorted the leg length at the knee. When I took a good look at the leg shaping, I really didn’t want the ankle width to be too skinny. That’s just my style preference so the ankle width on my version is definitely wider that the pattern provided.

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Tummy length:

I know that I am shorter from at the centre front on the pants so I took out 5 cm across the mid-tummy area on both the pants and the pocket pieces, so these would all match.

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Sway back:

I also know I have a sway back and a gravity affected behind so I took out 5cm from the mid-sway back side seam to match the front pant through to 0cm at the centre back seam. This effectively gave me enough coverage for my ‘sway back’.

I also lowered the centre back curve for gravity.

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Pattern adjustments – Bodice

I’ve graded the bodices with size 38 at the bust and size 40 at the waist. This is the shape I am at the moment.

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Front:

I took off 1.5cm off the shoulder seam as I have two shape issues.

  1. forward shoulders. I remove 1.5cm from the shoulder point.
  2. bust gaping on V necklines. This means I have to take out 1.5 cm from the neckline.

When I was prepping the pattern, I simply took this off the pattern piece.

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Where the v-neckline markings are on the bodice, I placed the neckline neckband seams at this point so the neckline would sit more securely on me. This worked out well. I did add a size 0 snap on the neckband so the neckband will stay put!

Back:

I added 1.5 cm to the height of the shoulder point.

I also added 1.5 cm to the hem of the back bodice to give me enough wiggle room to curve with my sway back shape.

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There was a few moments when I cut the pattern out that I thought ‘will this work?’

It took me Saturday morning to slowly sew these adjusted jumpsuit pieces together.

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Pocket reinforcement

I love garments with pockets. However I’m very aware of ensuring to keep pockets in the shape they were drafted. What I mean is I tend to think through how to keep pockets reinforced so they don’t’ eventually look like hip ears.

I have this tricot tape to reinforce seams when I sew knit garments.

I used this tape on the pocket seam to provide the shape I want the pockets to always have.

I have friends who have the pockets sewn closed on their ready to wear garments because they want to keep the trouser shape as is.

Winter version

I plan to make a long sleeve version for Winter soon.

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Thanks again Minerva Crafts.

Excited

There are so many times finding the right pants can be a drag. Style Arc’s Lola Woven Pants were terrific and the fit made me quite excited.

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I really wasn’t sure that I had anything that I could pair with these pants and low and behold, I found this ponte top I made last year – that’s why I was really excited.

This month’s Minerva post is about these pants. They’re made using John Kaldor Polyester Crepe Fabric. The colourway is called Olivia Pink. I simply love the name of this colourway.

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It’s a light-weight fabric. Washing this was quick and the colour is fast.

The pattern recommends ironing after each step which keeps your sewing sharp. This fabric only needs medium heat, if that.

What is perfect with this fabric is that it’s great for travel. Not much ironing needed.

The large print is bright, distracting and fun. PS. This fabric is currently on sale right now. Once it’s sold, it’s sold.

Now for the Lola pants.

The fabric is woven so I was keen to see how these Lola pants would work with a partial elastic waistband.

I learnt a new skill and relearned an existing skill.

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The new skill learnt was sewing a partial elastic waistband. This feature makes these pants look wearable to more places than the gym.

The front waistband is flat so I can wear these pants to a lot more places. I’m looking forward to making these in a plain colour fabric for work pants.

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I used elastic that wasn’t 4cm wide but it was wide enough for what I needed. I would definitely use 4cm wide elastic in my next order.

The existing skill I relearned was sewing in a normal dress zipper. These pants have pockets that give you the option of adding a zipper.

Because I’m testing this pattern for the first time, this was definitely one option from this pattern I was going to follow through with.

The other option you can choose to include is to add elastic on the hem across the back leg piece. I couldn’t see the benefit of this feature for these pants so I hemmed these pants with a row of machine stitching.

Going back to the zipper pockets, here are some progress shots I took so you can see why a bit of hand stitching can make a lot of difference to the finished project.

I will definitely use zipper pockets for future work trousers and trousers made for travel.

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Step 1: pinned in zipper

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Step 2: Checking if the pinning was accurate and seeing that it’s not good enough.

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Step 3: Hand basting these zippers in place so when I machine sew them in, I know they will be sitting in their correct position.

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Step 4: Being happy after you’ve machine sewn in the zipper and it’s read for ironing.

When you sew the pocket bag for these pockets, there needs to be enough zipper tape to sew the pocket bags onto them. I’m glad I spent the time hand basting the zippers in before machine sewing them.

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On the pattern I made my usually sway back adjustment and lowered the centre back curve.

With this fabric, these pants are really light and fold up easily if you’re packing for a quick getaway.

Sewing doesn’t always have to be serious business. It’s good to have a bit of fun and enjoy the finished product.

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Thanks
Minerva!