Haute Skinny Pants and Plantain Tee

An alternate title for this post could be: A Demonstration of How Much My Camera Sucks at Capturing the Colour Coral. That hot pink shirt that’s currently burning a hole in your retinas? It’s actually coral.

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee and Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

And those large-scale floral pants that are also currently burning a hole in your retinas? Well, I have no excuse for those. That’s exactly how they look. I mean, who am I to walk away from wildly colourful Bird of Paradise stretch cotton fabric without turning it into something loud to wear??

Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

The pants are Haute Skinny Pants by Wardrobe by Me. They are (very) high-waisted skinny pants with an invisible side zip, designed for a medium-weight woven with 3 to 6% stretch, or a ponte knit. The negative ease and 3/8″ seam allowance scared me into cutting a size 4 instead of a 2, but ultimately I did a lot of taking in around the waist and thighs so I probably could have gone with the smaller size.

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee and Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

They have a waist facing that is fairly deep at the front, which helps keep the tummy in check. Love that. The only thing I didn’t love about the pattern was it didn’t include hip pockets. I have a hard time understanding the point of pants without hip pockets. Spare change, lip balm, office keys…these don’t fit conveniently in back pockets! So I added them in using this Burda tutorial on adding hip pockets as a guide.

Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

Is it bad that there’s a bouquet of bird of paradise leaves sprouting from my crotch? I’m rolling with it. There could be worse things… 😉

I bought the material from Fabricland. I’m not that thrilled with it as it started to pooch out around the knees pretty soon after I started wearing the pants. Not sure how you would test for this problem in fabric before buying — any advice?

I wore these pants to a hair appointment on what has become the most hipstery strip in all of Toronto — Ossington Ave between Queen and Dundas — and one woman working in the salon complimented me very emphatically on my pants. So I must be doing something right if I’ve got the hipsters on board!

Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

The back pocket placement is a little problematic. The pockets seemed very low when I marked the placement lines according to the pattern, so I raised them by about 2 cm / 1″ before stitching them on. I think they still look too low on the butt. If I make these again, I intend to raise the pockets by at least another 3 cm. But it’s not such a big deal here, as the busy print camouflages the pockets.

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee and Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

I intentionally turned up a very long hem allowance so that I could turn up cuffs at the ankles as I’m wearing them here, without showing the wrong side of the fabric.

Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

In a bizzarre, unplanned, probably never-to-be-repeated, happy accident, I seem to have purchased fabric for a top that I can actually wear with the loud pants I made! Solid colour for the win! This is the free Plantain Tee from Deer & Doe that I made with a wonderfully soft modal jersey I bought at Affordable Textiles on Queen Street West in Toronto. Sooooooo comfortable. And look at that neckband — NAILED IT! (Gotta celebrate these minor major sewing victories, no?)

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee

The tee has a comfortable a-line shape and 3 choices for sleeves: short, 3/4, or long. I found it to be quite fitted, so I switched from 5/8″ seam allowances to 3/8″ seam allowances before sewing the side seams. It worked out well.

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee and Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinny Pants

It’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged but I do have a lot of projects to share with you. My poor #unsungsewingbloghero husband has been hustling hard with the camera lately trying to catch up! So I look forward to sharing lots more with you over the next few weeks.

Deer & Doe Plantain Tee

Thanks for stopping by!

Mother’s Little Helper: Not-So-Secret Pyjamas

Pssst! Over here. Need something to take the edge off? Something that’ll make you feel great? I got what you need. I’m your pusher…


And I’m pushin’ TERRY CLOTH. Lawdamercy, why didn’t anyone TELL me that terry cloth is heaven on earth? These pants caress my legs all day with millions of tiny soft loops that swish around in buttery-soft drapiness. Siiiiighhhhhh….


As soon as I made these addictive narcotic pants I rushed back to my pusher (The Work Room) to get more. I had experienced nirvana, and needed more, More, MORE! But when I got there I didn’t see any left.

Sweat broke out on my brow.

“Excuse me,” I said, concealing my panic, “I bought some terry cloth here last year, I think it was rayon or bamboo terry…do you have any left?”

“Sorry, none left.”

“Will you be getting any more in?” I choked out in a high pitched voice.

“Maybe. I don’t know. It might be a seasonal thing.”

I waited for a few awkward moments, expecting maybe a “I’ll find out for you if we can get more.” But only silence. (Folks in this place seem to have skipped over a few chapters in the Good Customer Service/Principles of Pushing Handbook.)

Damn, I’ve got to find me another pusher. I’ve got a need for terry cloth that any pusher worth their salt would be more than happy to exploit. Regardless of season. Extreme comfort and happiness know no season! My wallet is wide open here, people! I’ll sell my soul for terry loops in all the colours!


These pants are New Look 6461, a simple elasticized-waist pant that’s meant to fall a couple inches above the ankle. On my 5’4″ frame they’re a bit neither-here-nor-there in terms of length…I probably should have shortened them another inch or two. But they drape like a dream and I ADORE wearing them. In fact, I’m not even embarrassed to tell you that I wore them for two consecutive days, including to bed! [Spot the person who’s been working from home a lot lately.]

New Look 6461

I’m also working on my own version of the top pictured on the model in purple and grey stripes.


Good news: I think I found myself a new pusher. L’oiseau Fabrics is a Canadian online fabric shop based in Calgary that has a great selection of knits. And like any good pusher, they threw in something they thought I might like for free on my first order to get me hooked. Actually, it was by accident. I ordered some black bamboo terry cloth and when the package arrived…no loops. NO LOOPS! Another cold sweat. Am I mistaken, I wondered? Is there such a thing as terry cloth with no loops? But it turns out they had just made a mistake on the order and had sent along regular old black jersey. They sent the terry cloth right away and told me to keep the jersey. Nice, huh? Although the terry I got from them is a heavier weight than what I made the pants with, so it hasn’t quite got the same luscious drapiness. But it will be good for a winter cardigan or sweatshirt.


Pssst! Me again. I’m also pushing podcasts. Have you heard the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast yet? It’s freeeeeeeee…….just try it, see if you like it. Come back and tell me later if you need more. 😉

clothes Making Mavens - a sewing podcast about handmade fashion - episode 1 available now - clothesmakingmavens.com

Whole Lotta Cool Culottes

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113

As I began cutting the fabric for these culottes, I knew I was either going to really hate the end result or really love it. My sewing projects lately have been leaps of faith: slightly strange patterns that I wouldn’t normally think I’d wear (yeah, culottes) and often paired with pretty bold fabric choices. (See my satin jogging pants as recent proof.) So it could go either way in terms of wearability or giveawayability. Verdict: LOVE these, and will definitely be wearing a lot!


This is BurdaStyle pattern 04/2015 #113 – Pleated Culottes. I used a cotton-linen woven I bought at Fabricland last month.

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113A

I had to put a dart in the back of the waistband to improve the fit (this really should have been drafted to be a curved waistband, given how wide the waistband is). Ha, I make it sound like I know enough about sewing to know that, but I learned that from my sewing instructor Dilys at Sew Be It Studio, where I just finished up a 5-week, once-a-week class called Garment Construction. I was more advanced than the other two students but I still learned a lot making these culottes as well as a dress under Dilys’ guidance. She’s also super friendly and so much fun to hang around — one of those people that’s bursting with personality.

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113

Dilys virtually saved these pants by helping me decide what to do about the HORRIBLE GIANT FRONT PLEATS that were poofing out at the front like ridiculous clown pants. I sewed down the front pleats all the way from the waistband to the hem, but if you look at the Burda pattern they are just meant to be pleated at the waist and hanging open down the front. Ugh. As high-waisted pants, the extra volume around the tummy was not the least bit flattering. Sewing the pleats down with some top stitching made all the difference in terms of actually feeling good wearing these.


This was my first time trying a fly zip! Thank goodness Dilys was there to walk me through it. Despite this pattern being featured in the April 2015 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine (European edition) as the “Sewing Lesson for Beginners” — which means it gets a four-page colour spread with illustrated instructions — I still wouldn’t have known what the hell to do to put the fly zip in.


Back view. I’m a bit horrified to see that this looks like a front view with backwards feet. What the hell happened to my ass??

With these culottes I am breaking all the rules I ever read for petite gals like me: avoid wide pants cause they make you look shorter, and don’t wear large-scale prints because they will overwhelm your small frame. I CALL BULLSHIT ON THE RULES. If you’ll pardon my giant ego I think I look pretty damn good in these. 😀


K, What About This?

Still questioning the validity of satin ‘joggers’, although feeling pretty propped by all the encouraging comments on their debut post. Thanks for weighing in! Commenter Barbara J had a valid point when she wondered whether dressing them up with high heels was, y’know, a bit twee…


….so I thought I’d try styling them more casually, pairing them with a plain heather gray T-shirt and metallic silver oxfords:


Whaddya think? Does it work? Or am I just trying to polish a turd? 😀

The Hammer Pant debate rages on…

Look Who’s Wearing Hammer Pants

Alright, they’re not quite Hammer Pants per se, but these are definitely way outside of my usual trouser universe. The question is: should I wear them?


I’m not sure what madness gripped my brain when I saw Burda’s “jogging pants in floral sequin fabric” and thought, “Good Idea!” — because, no. No. Nooooo.

Burda 05/2015 #111 Long Blouse #114 Joggers

And then I saw this pretty satin fabric and thought “Jogging Pants!”, naturally, because jogging is the first thing that comes to mind when fondling shiny satin fabric.



Obviously no jogging is going to get done in these pants. But as a rule no jogging is ever going to get done in any of my pants unless someone else is wearing them. (That sounds like a weird euphemism, doesn’t it? “No jogging in my pants!” Say it with different intonations and it gets pretty funny.) Anyway, I don’t run — pants or no pants — unless someone is chasing me with a weapon or Lenny Kravitz was just spotted down the street. In the latter case it’s possible I’d be running with no pants on at all. K, this is getting weird…I’m gonna stop with all the pant and running imagery now.


The whole time I was sewing these I was thinking, this can only end in tears. Or laughter, actually. And here they are done and there are no tears, just a bit of laughter, and a feeling I can’t shake that I might actually wear them. Like, out in public. Or even around people I know.

The laughter came after I put them on last night before going out to dinner and asked my husband if he’d be embarrassed to be seen with me if I wore them. Without hesitating he gave me an emphatic yes, which was the answer we were both expecting. Since we were just going a few blocks in our own neighbourhood, I thought it safe to give these pants a test-walk. Turns out I liked wearing them! They’re comfy and kind of sophisticated — but I could be willfully deluding myself on the sophisticated bit.  And not one person pointed and laughed! Well, except my snarky husband. This is a good sign, no?


There is a bit of unfortunate pattern placement as I didn’t realize when I laid out the pieces for cutting that parts of the fabric are more heavy on the dark colours. It just randomly turned out that the two back pieces wound up much lighter coloured than the two front pieces, as you can see in the next two photos. I wonder if this makes me look like a court jester. I mean, beyond the fact that I’m wearing satin Hammer Pants.

BurdaSatinJoggers3 BurdaSatinJoggers6

So, what do you think? Wearable? Or shall I just chalk these up to some more sewing experience under my belt? Or below the belt, as the case may be; these are the first pants I’ve sewn.



Right on Target?

Your advice needed! I picked up this cardigan and these pants at Target a few days ago, and I’m pretty sure I did a fist pump while I was trying them on in the change room. Tuxedo-style ankle pants in colour-blocked black and white! [Fist Pump!] Colour-blocked cardigan in black and white and bright blue with groovy mesh on the back and sleeves! [Fist Pump!] Cardigan by London-based designer Peter Pilotto for cheap! [Fist Pump! — even though I’d never heard of Peter Pilotto before, if he wants to do a line of cool clothes with fun and colourful prints and colour-blocking for us plebes, please! — feel free!] Cool outfit for less than $70! [Fist Pump!]

Peter Pilotto for Target cardigan, Massimo ankle pants

Peter Pilotto for Target cardigan, Mossimo ankle pants

I was visiting my folks in Florida so when I got it back to their place, I modeled it for my mom, who was very impressed and liked it a lot. A little later my dad came back from a walk and said — and I quote: “Oh…my…god….That’s…”  And that’s all he said. 😐

Peter Pilotto for Target Cardigan and Mossimo Pants - back view

I swear I just spent 5 minutes with a lint roller on these pants and they’re STILL. COVERED. IN. CAT. HAIR.

So then I get back to Toronto and model it for my husband. “Whoa,” he said.
“Is it a bit much?” I asked.
“It’s just that it looks like you’re about to go race-car driving or something,” he replied.


The cat-hair culprit, skulking back from just having eaten a tray-full of bread pieces my neighbour put out for the birds.

So I turn to you, dear readers and friends. Is this outfit a winner or no? Please vote in my poll.

By the way, when I asked my husband to take photos, he said, “but you didn’t sew any of that” and I said “I’m doing a poll to ask if I should wear this”. He, still in his pyjies and robe, donning boots so he can come outside to take the pics, said, “I’m gonna take a poll to find out if *I* can wear *this*!” What do you think? Is his outfit a winner? 😀


My fashion-forward photographer. He’s covered in cat hair, too. Ha.