Friday, November 7, 2014

Autumn Activities

This post has been in draft mode for almost two weeks waiting for better pictures, links to instructional info and more witty prose. Those are never going to happen so here it is, short and sweet.

This time of year my husband would have us road tripping about the countryside every weekend. I convinced him to do one day trips so I could have the other day for sewing. And he would have a day for his "honey do" list. I warned him if I didn't sew, I would be grouchy and compensate by buying more fabric. He knows that is not an idle threat.

This past weekend we visited the Shenandoah National Park and hiked the same trail we did 35 years ago on our honeymoon. The weather and autumn leaf color were great, but the trails and roads in the park were packed with people. I guess everyone had the same idea for a weekend outing. On the way home, we stopped at an orchard and bought a variety of apples. Virginia has an apple growing region. When I was a kid and our family vacations took us through Virginia during apple harvest time, we always stopped at an apple orchard where my mom would buy a couple bushels to take home. The problem was the only place for the apples, in our overcrowded car, was on the floor in front of the back seat; where my brother, sister and I sat.. The last four hours of the trip home were spent trying to find a place to rest our feet comfortably among the baskets of apples, and  whining and complaining loudly. We were allowed to eat as many apples as we wanted, probably to keep us quiet.  The memory of the taste of those just picked apples is one of the reasons I can always be talked into a trip to an orchard.

Thorton Valley Orchard, Sperryville, VA

 My latest makes are a blouse, Vogue  pattern 1412,  in an animal print silk spandex, and pants in an irregular pinstripe cotton poly bottom weight. Both fabrics are from Fabric Mart Fabrics.

The blouse is a tunic style with faced V neck, shirttail hem and gathers at the shoulder and back neck. The button closure on this blouse is fake. And while I am always up for unique details, I am not sure all the effort to mark and press the pleats that make this closure were worth it. The back neck gathers meant I did not have to do my normal alteration for the high back curvature. Not that you can see any of these style details in the print fabric I used, but I think they would be very flattering in a solid color fabric. The blouse can be worn out or tucked into pants or skirt under a jacket. The V neckline is fine on me, but I have no cleavage so I  rarely have the issues with low necklines on Vogue and Burda patterns which seem to bother other sewers. To check neckline depth, be sure and fold out the tuck on the pattern and hold pattern to your body. The front pleat's sides overlap, making the lowest point of the V about 1" above the bottom of the finished neckline opening .

The pants were a copy of a favorite pair of RTW pants. The RTW brand is FOCUS which is a rather inexpensive line. I try on many different RTW brands, both inexpensive and high end, to find brands whose pants fit me well. I have found good fit at both ends of the cost spectrum. The original pants were made from a poly rayon crepe type fabric and had none of the excess fabric in the back beneath my butt, where I normally have it. When they got ratty from wear, I took them apart to make a pattern. I found that the front crotch extension was very short and the back crotch extension very long and tapered sharply from the inside leg. From reading drafting books, this draft is used to snug in the back crotch area to the body and is more typical of jeans than slacks. I still had to tweak the copied pattern a bit. My butt is so flat and wide; I shorten the center back seam 5/8 at the top tapered to nothing at the side seam, and remove the back waistline darts. The small amount of shaping I need when going from the widest part of my hip to my waist can be done in the center back seam and side seam darts. I would have never thought to do this, but when I had a professional fitter help me tweaked a pant muslin years ago, she made these changes and explained why they worked for my shape.


  1. I understand why everyone is out in the wonderful weather and the changing trees because the dreaded winter cold is coming soon and they will be stuck inside for months and months! The new pieces are nice but I want to see what you've recently bought from Fabric Mart...y'know kindred spirits and all that! *LOL*

  2. Lovely outfit. And the autumn weather looks appealing too.

  3. Oh, what a gorgeous outfit! I have admired this blouse pattern, and am thrilled to see it made up.

  4. I'm writing this in a hotel outside of Roanoke as we set out this morning to take a drive and hike along the Skyline Drive so I know what you mean about enjoying fall and the colors while we can. Love your pants and top so much. That blouse is up next on my blouse sewing list (separate from my knit top sewing list, coat sewing list, etc:-) And I just read your line about sewing and getting grouchy to my husband....who reminded me that I can sew whenever I want and STILL can't resist a Fabric Mart sale.

  5. Your new outfit is just gorgeous. I like your fabric choices. Reading this post made me want to get up and grab an apple, which is what I actually did. It's one of my favorite things about fall and all the different types of apples you can actually get. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks for all your notes on the Vogue blouse and comments on pants fitting! I'm sure the Virginia countryside is lovely right now, and Carolyn is right: winter's coming, so time to take a hike while you can.

  7. I just bought the shirt pattern, so I am happy to see it made up. Your whole outfit looks great!

  8. I am fortunate to leave and work in this area and see the lovely trees daily. VA does have some nice apple orchards.

    I really like that top and looks great with the pants.