I’m using a pattern I’ve made at least twice before, McCall’s 2233, Uniform Essentials.



The fabric is from, Michael Miller Nevermore Collection Old Script Urban Grit Black.  That’s a mouthful.



Way back when, I was smart and glued the pattern to some sturdier brown paper, knowing I’d reuse the pattern in the future.  Only problem, I lost the pocket pattern piece somewhere in my many moves!  I had some brown paper and using the image in the instructions, cobbled together a makeshift pocket. Worked fine.


I always forget to take pix while I’m sewing.  Since I use the Serger for my seams, I had to do a little finish work with the regular sewing machine.  Here I’m making a mess of the pockets.


One of the things I like to do is to finish all raw edges with the serger.  Below I’m serging the edges of the waist.  This gets turned under and made into the casing for the elastic, but I still like to finish it.  In my mind it tends to unravel less.


I’m putting the elastic in the casing below.  How do you do that?  Tried and true method: Use a safety pin.


Now for the tutorial. I hope I can explain this half as well as I would like.

How to use the blind hem stitch on your sewing machine.

First of all, you have to press your hem nice and neat.  Here I just made a tiny ~1/2 inch hem because the pattern is kind of short for my husband (I found out on the previous pants I made).  I could lengthen the pattern, sure.  But I am lazy and that is a topic for another blog post!  So…turn under your nicely serged hem.

PressAHemThen you need to select the correct stitch on your machine.  It should look like a zig zag with straight stitches in between. In my case, it’s #18 on the Pfaff Creative 2144.


Be sure to lengthen the stitch a bit, otherwise it’s too close together.


Then you bring over you nicely serged and turned pant leg, ready to be sewn:


And you Flip The turned hem UNDER, to make a little lip of the pant leg on the left, and the hem on the right.

FlipHemUnder See the little fold there right under the presser foot? THAT’S the key.  You want to imagine the fabric in a Z shape under the presser foot.  When the need is doing the straight stitch, in the right-most position, it will enter the bottom layer which is the hem.  When the needle “zags” over to the left, it will catch the pant leg briefly, then return back over to the hem.  The results are beautiful.

Here is the finished hem.


And here is what the “zigs” look like (had to search to find a visible spot, they really are blind stitches with the right thread color!).


Here’s the finished product.  Even the goof up on the pocket is hard to see.



I made a small video of the sewing machine actually stitching the blind hem stitch.  Need hubby to help me get past the 2mb size limit on uploading media. Grrr.  Maybe if I bribe him with some fancy new chef’s pants…?

Other Craft Projects:

I made a little mouse wrist rest, because my arm started to hurt with the new setup at work.  I saw one at Joann’s of all places, for $7.00.  “I can make that!” I thought.  Only this one had nice little rubber dots on the back to keep it from sliding all over the desk.  Hmmm. Ok, I’ll live without that part, I thought.

Well, lo and behold, I’m at Mary Jo’s today and there is the fabric with little rubber dots on it.  I got half a yard ($3.75), in case I decide to make more, or there is a national emergency that requires duct tape and fabric with little rubber dots on it.  I’m covered on both accounts.

Anyway, I sought out some cute sewing themed fabric and found a bolt of the “Keep Calm and _____ On” print.  It’s pretty cute, there’s a lot of sayings, but the size of the wrist rest, only the one showed up perfectly…So of course I had to make it the quilting one. 😀  I also got 1/2 a yard of that, also $3.75.  So By now I could have bought the one at Joann’s. 😀  None the less, I was all in by this point. At home I had the little plastic beads that go in bean bags left over from another project.  So I just used some of those leftovers.

Here’s a pic of the finished product.  If you would like the pattern, drop me a note in the comments and I’ll come back and add it here.


Other Craft Projects:

Saw a cute pattern for a baby blanket and knew I had to make it.  It was kind of a flatter popcorn stitch, great texture, and I knew the exact yarn I’d use…just needed a baby to make it for.

Well, lo and behold my boss announced he’s going to be a grandpa, and the project was off and running.

I started the instructions, which had me yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull through, yarn over, insert hook, yarn over pull through, then yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.  EVERY SINGLE STITCH was a pain in the derrier.  The YO loops were so tight, even though I’d made them as loose as possible, I couldn’t get the head of the hook through!  I got about 20 “clusters” in and was on the verge of tears.  Suddenly it dawned on me that popcorn clusters are made differently, and that by simply making half the loops of a popcorn cluster (4 instead of 7, so sue me, my math isn’t great), I’d have semi flat popcorn clusters, without the terrible frustration.

And viola!

10269464_10152377938684854_742813755124901239_nIt came out perfect.  I yo, insert hook, yo, drawn through two loops on hook, yo, insert hook, yo, draw through two, then one last time, YO, Insert Hook, YO, draw through two. Until I have 4 loops on hook, then YO and draw through all four loops on hook. Viola! half popcorns.

Looks great!


Other Craft Projects:

I was thinking the other day that my posts on making the capris really didn’t go into specific details of sewing the pattern.  This was done purposefully under the assumption that ya’ll know how to sew a pattern.  My husband pointed out that such assumptions are presumptuous.  So, I thought, I’ll do a step by step how to sew a sewing pattern!  Brilliant!
So brilliant, it’s been done before!

Fiskars How to Use a Pattern

Why reinvent the wheel. This is the go to guide you should start with if you are unfamiliar with how to cut out a pattern. The author actually appears to have sewn before, unlike some of these how-to blog sites that seem to hire freelance writers with no other talent beyond writing (or not). My only complaint is that she drops off before actually sewing anything. Mostly it’s about cutting out the patterns (makes sense on a scissor website). But following ALL the directions of the pattern is obviously important, and can be intimidating. Let’s see the whole process!

Sew Mama Sew Patterns…Demystified

This is a great tutorial with detailed pictures. I would recommend this one highly.  Again, only gets you through cutting the pattern then stops. Maybe it’s just not feasible to do a tutorial of the whole process? Do I ask too much?

Adventures in Dressmaking How to use a sewing pattern

This tutorial isn’t. It has descriptions but I like to see pictures of the steps, personally.  This is more like a discussion about using patterns vs not with some details of how to use a pattern strewn about.

Reading a Sewing Pattern for Dummies
Where are the pictures? Man, I like me some pictures! This tutorial has ZERO.  I just skimmed it. Yeah, I’m that lazy. If you didn’t know that you must be new to my blog.

MimsMusings 25 Steps to Sew From a Pattern

Love this one, but would have liked to have seen more pictures. Love that step one is to measure. Yeah, do this before you leave for the fabric store, please! Again, someone who actually sews.  More like 25 tricks when using a sewing pattern, though (like not all patterns have zippers, but great tip on how to install them).  Still some good advice.

Ok, so there are tons of “How to sew from a Pattern” Tutorials or rather, blog posts, out there. I’m not going to waste your time writing what’s already out there dozens of times (if not more).  You can obviously use the googles or the search engine of your choice to find more.  If you find anything worthwhile, please post in the comments. I would love to see it!
I am however going to blog step by step my attempt to teach my husband to sew from a pattern. That would be educational AND entertaining. So stay tuned for that.

Other Craft Projects:

So, my first post really underscores the entire premise of this blog.  A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law announced she was pregnant with child number two. Great! I’m on it! I’ll start the obligatory-new-baby-afghan NOW and it’ll be ready by the time the baby comes (unlike last time when baby number one received his blanket over a year after he came). OMG I’m so friggin’s smart!

“Baby Number Two,” Ava, just turned two.  My chaos settled to a manageable level (sometimes it flares up, I know you understand this), and I went looking for Ava’s afghan to finish.  It’s a pretty pattern, filet crochet hearts in pink and mauve, with black sashing.  I wanted something that would work for her for a long time.  So I mosey-ed into my sewing room cum piano room, cum son’s homework room, cum dog kennel room, cum junk depository, and went to the general location where I believed it to be. Nothing.  Well, not nothing. Tons of OTHER crap, but not the afghan. If memory served, it was nearly done. All that was waiting was putting edging around the main blocks, washing and blocking, and shipping it over to Australia (where my niece lives, not randomly sending stuff across the globe for kicks).  Frustrated, I tore through everything in the room looking for the afghan.  No luck.

Aha! Suddenly I remembered doing a purge and taking a bunch of Rubbermaid bins full of yarn, fabric, etc. out to the shed.  And by taking, I mean, “Had hubby take,” just so we’re clear.

Tore the shed apart (found a lot of cool stuff!) but no afghan.  Aha, again! It must be in the attic, where the rest of the Rubbermaid bins of yarn are!  Tore the attic apart. No afghan.

I searched my guest room, my office/sewing room/etc once again, then twice, then re-searched the shed and attic.  I called on St. Anthony to intercede on my behalf, then I finally resigned myself to REMAKING THE AFGHAN.  Gulp.  This was after about a month of searching in my spare time (which is minimal, of course).  With the pattern book in hand, I opted for a totally different design.  Hubs asked why not remake it exactly.  Good point…here’s why: If I find the afghan, I can either give it to Ava later as a gift, and not have it be a duplicate, or I can use it for another baby. Ava’s a toddler now, so I was doing something less baby-ish.

The colors I picked were identical to the original, though, and I needed more yarn. So during an excursion to the eye dr, I swung by Walmart (next door), and checked out their yarn selection.  Instead, I kept coming back to their sewing machine collection.  I liked the Brother SE400, and kept eyeing it for another project that I started 6 months ago, but was procrastinating on.  I spent so much time there, I never made it to the yarn, had to rush to my appointment, and so began my new afghan with the three skeins I did have.

As Murphy take-ith away, so does he give-ith.  Of course, I knew once I gave up looking I’d find it. I just figured it would be around the time I finished my second afghan.  As luck would have it, I found it (by accident) in the coat closet, (cause of course that’s where I would have put it, duh!), before I had even finished the first granny square! Yay!

Now, my memory is a little off, ‘cause yes the blocks were done, and it was mostly assembled, but there was still a great deal of work to be done.

First of all, I did three strips of four blocks.  One of the strips was only partially crocheted to the body of the afghan. I had stopped about ¼ of the way down the seam. Second, because this is pink and black and mauve, when you edge the lighter color with black, the vertical edges of the blocks look AWFUL. I mean, downright nasty.  Even with a fairly straight vertical edge to begin with!  So, I had first edged the block in the original color, giving black a really nice straight base.

Here you can see the nice even edge, and the more “wavy” original vertical edges of the original block.

All these years of crocheting (like 30 maybe?), and I just hit this issue?  I just realized how to make the vertical edges look decent?  Can you say “Slack”? I knew you could!

Ok, so what were we talking about? Oh yes, the afghan that was lost then found.  Ava will be married by the time I finish this darn thing. But when I do finish it, this afghan will be beautiful, and I’ll hate saying goodbye!


Other Craft Projects: