Monday, December 26, 2016

Where is Audrey?

As you read this I am on a plane to South America. Chile specifically, to visit my oldest son who has been living and working in the capital city of Santiago for the past 10 month. Chile is long and narrow country.  It is  2,653 mi long, with an average width 109 mi. Comparatively, the area is slightly smaller than twice the size of the state of Montana. It will be the height of summer during our visit and we will be visiting urban and rural locations in the central part of the country, the  desert in the north, as well as a subtropical  offshore  island. 

There is so much travel info online. I have learned about packing cubes – rectangular nylon bags that help you save space when packing,  tips to avoid getting sick when choosing and eating at street vendors, travel clothing with  hidden pockets,  easy care and quick drying garments with anti-odor properties that allow longer wear periods between washing, ways to go ( to the bathroom ) in different countries.  It is amazing.

My on line reading influenced the planning and sewing  of my travel wardrobe.   My wardrobe will be loose tunic type tops worn over camisoles and tanks, with jeggings  or pants,  and comfortable shoes . For the most part the temp will be 60's to 80’s with minimal rain.  However the night temps in the desert are near freezing and we have one desert excursion planned that starts at 4 AM. I will travel from VA, which is cold in Dec, in light layers which I can use on desert night excursions.

Secret Pockets and Reversible Garments.

When I travel outside the US, I am always a bit paranoid about losing my passport or being pick pocketed. It doesn’t matter what country. So I put “secret” pockets in the front of pants, inside the front of coats and in other garments, where I can carry my passport, charge cards and ID close to my body. I made a bunch of secret pockets out of muslin and poly/cotton scraps. These are the type you sew into the inside front of pants by attaching them to the waistband facing. 

Sew in secret pockets

For knit tops I like to insert the  pocket in the side seam with an invisible zipper. I specifically looked for light weight invisible zippers that have mesh tapes instead of the regular weight tapes.  I believe these zippers are for use on lighter weight fabrics that would be weighed down by a standard invisible zipper. They are very hard to find and in limited colors. The difference is the zipper tapes are made of a lighter weight polyester mesh  versus the typical polyester twill weave.  The pocket itself is made out of skin colored knit to avoid see through.
Zipper tape types
Secret Pocket on Tank Top

I noticed my recent sewing projects all had a  bit or a challenge or  puzzle in the construction.  Sewing for this trip was no exception.  Reversible garments.  The first is the Style Arc Courtney top with different front panels.  A silk Asian print in purples and grays for side one and a rose and gray colored floral silk stripe on side two, with the rest of the top constructed of gray rayon spandex knit.  All fabrics from

And reversible knee length shorts. Fabric used was a stretch denim woven with black and white fibers resulting in black tweedy color on one side and white on the reverse.  Pattern is an old RTW (Sears I think) I took apart and used for a pattern. The fabric is from I had been planning to make reversible pants from this fabric for a while.

All seams are flat felled to the black side. On the white side this looks like ¼ inch top stitching. The waist on the black side is black elastic, used both as an accent and also to prevent the stretch out that stretch denim does after wearing a short time.  I needed the waist to stay snug and elastic was the solution. While trimming the seam allowance for felling, I accidentally trimmed both seams allowances in the center front area.  Expletive hail storm!

Solution: a faux zipper placket.  Looks great on both sides.

  The leg edges on the black side are hemmed using a faced piece about the same width of a typical sewn jean hem.

The secret pocket for these pants is on twill tape  tabs inserted between the elastic and the waist edge.  No matter which side I am wearing out, I  can flip the packet to the inside.

Secret Pocket on reversible pants

The other item I sewed for my travels is a cross body bag with water bottle compartment
The pattern is Cross-Body Hipster Bag with Water & Phone, sold by Lidija Miklavcic on Craftsy.

Cross-Body Hipster Bag 

It is a clever design for a medium size bag cross body bag which rides on your front, with separate compartments for your phone and water bottle. The front shoulder strap is designed to enclose your earphone wires, and position the ear pieces near your ears. It is a well drafted pattern with very good instructions.  It is still a bit of a challenge to sew.  Mine is sewn from gray leather from  The lining is dark red nylon, backed with vinyl, scraps from a raincoat project in my UFO pile. I added some extra pockets inside the front strap, and finished the lining in a different way that the directions recommended.  My Galaxy 7 phone is too large for the pocket. The flap cannot close.  Next time I make it I will make the phone pocket larger.

Estoy listo para irme.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip. I love the idea of reversible clothing and have been wondering about this a lot lately. Too hot for summer here, but I am thinking about some winter things to reverse. Love the hidden pockets.

  2. Wow. Chile. have a wonderful time. Totally intrigued by the hidden pockets and reversible clothes. Happy New Year!

  3. Wow! Looks like you are ready to go. Have a great time!

  4. Such a well-thought-out wardrobe! Being an expert sewist you can create what you envision. The travel info you found online would be useful to lots of people, do you have a link to them somewhere?

    1. I just entered key words in Google and wandered through the links returned from the search. There are a lot of YouTube videos by women who travel alone internationally that addressed questions I had.

  5. I usually wear a secret belt to stow my passport etc. I like the idea of hidden pockets and will have to come back to this post as reference. Enjoy Chile!

  6. Chi Chi Le Le, Vive Chile! I lived in Copiapo for a year teaching global expat kids. I never had a problem, even traveling alone. The locals are wonderful people and Santiago is a cosmopolitan city. Happy New Year there!

    1. That is a great travel wardrobe. Can't be too safety conscious when traveling outside of the US.

      Happy New Year and have a safe and fun journey!!!


  7. Hope you have a wonderful trip! Your secret pocket idea is fantastic. I just went on a trip, and lamented the fact that I didn't have more secure pockets. I also really like your cross body bag- it looks fantastic and perfect for your journey. Did you find a source for the mesh zippers online?

    1. The lightweight zippers are sometimes described as Beulon brand. I found them on Etsy and Amazon. For example "Invisible Beulon White YKK Lightweight Closed End Zipper"

    2. Thank you! I will definitely look into getting some of these for future travel!

  8. Sounds like an amazing trip, enjoy! Loved reading all your travel wardrobe sewing ideas, the reversible pants are great!