Archive for February, 2008


Not sewing as much as usual – work has heated up with a giant Freedom of Information project. I love the FOIA and the 1st Amendment and open government as reporter tools, and have wanted to conduct such an audit for a long time. So that’s good news. But here’s why editors wouldn’t let me do it before – it’s incredibly time consuming keeping track of so many document requests. More to come as Sunshine Week approaches.
That having been said, I have managed to straighten some pants, which is easy to do just because it can be done one small step at a time.

  • Sliced the boot cut off dark denim pants inherited from my sister
  • Un-booted gray cords I wear practically as reporter uniform
  • Tightened up a gorgeous pair of vintage Bill Blass jeans
  • Tried to taper the bells on these thrifted muddy pink cords because the waist construction is stunning and very solidly done.

pink-pants-before.jpgSo they’re pink, I know, after I just whined about stupid pink. (What’s with all the best thrift store stuff being pink?) But they are of such quality that I thought I’d try out dyeing on them since they were $1. Will try gray or brown or black. Nothing crazy.

The beauty of this work is that it can be done in pieces. Short attention spans welcome. Got 10 minutes to sew? You too can straighten pants. Click here for the step-by-step.

How to…straighten wide, bell bottom or bootcut pants

Straightening pants is pretty easy and can be done in 10-minute chunks. I have a bunch of cords and jeans that flare into boot-cut bottoms and they fit well up top; they just don’t feel cool anymore. Here’s how to un-bell bottoms into straight legs like this:


1. Put the pants on and figure out where you want the straightening to begin. If they’re belled or boot cut, it’s usually around the knee. Mark the spot with a pin.


2. Flip pants inside out. Pick out the hem. Don’t be lazy now; your work will go smoother and look more professional in the end.


3. With a ruler and chalk/pencil, draw straight lines down to the hem from the pin mark. ***If you’re doing jeans, one seam probably will be topstitched. Deal with the seam that isn’t.


4. Pin the pants at the chalk lines and sew. Trim the edges and finish them as you like. With heavy fabrics, I do two seam lines then serge, but a wide zig zag will secure the edges, too.


5. Mark and pin up the hem. Stitch it as you like. On cords and jeans, I like a straight top seam all the way around.

In the works is a how-to on how to insert zippers into the bottoms of *really* skinny jeans. You remember.

How to… shorten blouse sleeves???

black blouse beforeWhat a winning little blouse, all black and ruffled and wrinkle-proof. The lightweight polyester-blended fabric will be great once the Thaw comes. The cuffs are ornate and adorable. The front has black-on-black stitched detail.

Except it’s hardly little.

I’m not teeny, but I’m not this unshapely, either, so I wanted to find a way to rock this in spring. Thanks to the Joann for having a sale on cone thread, and now I have enough black cones to run this thrifted little guy through the serger.

black blouse cuffsThis blouse needs its sides pulled in, and the sleeves yanked up rather than hemmed, so the lovely cuff detail remains. Tightening the sides will require resetting the sleeves anyway so the shoulders don’t droop. I think I’ll puff them, since there’ll be plenty of fabric to do so. More to come. Work has limited not only my free time but my attention span to deal with proper sewing.

Quick rebeading

My mister’s aunt and uncle brought me stunning jewelry from India as a belated Christmas present. It’s all giant and chunky and in fantastic colors that I might not buy for myself but that I already love.

My favorite kind of gift.

glass beads

This glass necklace bugged me, though, because the multicolored beads were overshadowed by gold plastic spacer beads that already were chipping.

I did lose a few inches in the restringing, but the length is still great and this teeny adjustment makes me want to wear the beads all the time.

glass beads restrung


Aunt & uncle returned from a month in India. Love that they held my Christmas box until their travels. Returned with these mirrored colored bangles and so much more booty in tow. I love that they love my love of giant jewelry. Aunt said she enjoyed the hunt for so much fun. What a doll.

Think I’ll take the glass bead necklace and restring it to remove the little gold spacer beads that feel like plastic.

pink @ fitzfab @ ebay

I don’t do pink. Period. Don’t like it. Don’t like what it means. Yet I find the most fabulous dresses that happen to be pink. Here’s the latest casualty, now featured on fitzfab on ebay:

hot pink jackie-o dress

Look at that Jackie-O collar! And the charming diamond shape sewn into the simple front! You can almost feel the wool boucle fabric. And here’s the heartbreaker, a sassy side pleat fastened with covered buttons. I love it:

hot pink jackie-o dress - detail

And I hate the pink. I think, “Dye that sucker. Dye it darker and enjoy it. Dye it anything darker.”

One time in high school I bought an amazing orange dress. Bias-cut long a-line skirt. The top had frog closurs and a keyhole over the bosom. H-O-T, except for the orange which in HS I also wasn’t into. Tried to dip it red. Failed miserably. Ruined the poor little dress. Guess it’d dye black now if I tried harder and with the patience and budget of an older woman. But that stunner of a dress left me scarred and scared to dye again. Asked the refashioning ladies what to do in terms of dye. Whatever they decide I will respect.

Meanwhile, I wave good-bye to Jackie-O in hot pink. Maybe she’ll finance something in a darker shade of purple.

fitzfab @ ebay

Posted and reposted on ebay today during the fee sale. Few sweater dresses too fabulous to go unworn, and cute, cute thrifted dresses that just aren’t me. I’m having doubts about selling this one — can’t say I wear a lot of shirtdresses, but this one comes with a lot of cheek:

red shirtdress

Last time I sold a batch of stuff, these poor little thrifted Bill Blass jeans piped in white were left over. They wanted to be worn by me, with their dark, dark color and fabulous trim details of silver tags and embroidery, but they were just sloppy long and the legs were too big. Just begged to be retooled. Thanks to pop’s serger, I now wear ’em proud.

So I guess ebay will decide whether the red dress sells or goes back into the closet to await spring weather.