5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

And An Internal Patch Pocket Hack

Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts.  They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit.  In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line.  The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket.  There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.

I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible.  Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation.  It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack.  As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.

The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it.  I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket.  I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner.  I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front.  I am pointing to this area in the photo below.  (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)

Z pocket alter

Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front.  That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded.  I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.)  I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.

Z pocket fac

Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric.  You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty.  I love making my shorts out of Supplex.  It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool.  And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!)  Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer.  And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.

Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket.  Give it a good press, then topstitch.  The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.

Z pocket

Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides.  Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.

Z pocket baste

Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front.  I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine.  Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew.  Press everything smooth.  From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
Zen back

I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look.  It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge.  I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues.  I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum.  This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)

I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer.  It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.

 
Zen shorts

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

A Little Help

My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter flew down for a visit this week, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the day at the beach.  We walked the beach, built sand castles, played in the ocean, and were enjoying the wonderful day.

ocean play

A couple in their young thirties were walking past, and I complimented the gentleman on his cool track chair.  I like seeing people who are differently abled have the tools and technology to be able to enjoy something we take for granted, like enjoying a day at the beach.  He asked my husband and son if one of them would be willing to carry him into the water.  He explained that he would drive his chair closer to the water so it wouldn’t be so far, and his wife demonstrated the proper lifting technique.  Our son quickly stepped forward and helped his wife carry him into the ocean.

Everyone enjoyed playing in the water, and the gentleman tried to give me tips on mastering the boogie board.  “Start swimming before the wave gets to you so that you’re going the same speed as the wave.”  I did more bobbing like a cork than truly riding the waves, but it sure was fun!  I was truly impressed by his swimming skills because the waves were quite strong and breaking pretty hard.  Even when they washed over his head, he continued to swim with just the use of his arms.  His wife frequently walked up to shore to check on his sweet service dog.

When we took a little break, our son let the dog sniff his hand, gave him some pets and back scratches, and the dog backed into his legs for more pets and attention.  He obviously sensed that our son loves his own dogs and knows just how to give a proper back scratch and rub! 🙂  The couple spent an hour or two playing in the surf before our son helped carry him back to the track chair.

As a rather shy person, I was thinking about how hard it has to be to ask someone, a complete stranger, for help.  Especially asking them to do a more physically demanding and personal task like carrying you into the water.  How hard is it for you to ask for help?  Is it easier for you to help others than to ask for help yourself?  We all need a little help sometimes.

Life can feel challenging at times, and that is the perfect time to pray and ask God for help.  If you’re not used to prayer and talking to God, it can be awkward because you may feel like you don’t know what to say.  I think just having a conversation like you would with a friend is a great way to start.  Say what’s on your mind (it doesn’t have to be out loud, it can be a conversation in your heart).  God listens.

I am loving being able to spend time with my family, and build precious memories with my granddaughter.  I hope that you are enjoying some conversation with God and Jesus, are willing to ask for help, as well as to step forward and help.  We had a wonderful Palm Sunday, and look forward to Easter.  Enjoy this Holy Week in anticipation of the glory to come!
Lila shovels

 

Pace Skirt

Tips For Pretty Pleats

Like many (most?) sewists, I like looking through patterns, and thinking about new clothing I can add to my wardrobe.  I have eyed the GreenStyle Pace Skirt several times, and even when I’ve made bulk pattern purchases to get the discount, I’ve hesitated on the Pace Skirt because of the pleats.  Pleats may seem intimidating, but you really can sew pretty pleats!  I want to share some tips for making pleats, so you won’t be afraid to try this fun pattern. *update: the Pace Skirt is on sale for $8.50 for the month of April!*

The Pace Skirt has a plain front and pleated back, with optional attached briefs, or shorts with pockets! 🙂  Secret hidden pockets to carry your keys and phone?  Not having to worry that a big gust of wind will come along, or that you’ll have to perform some kind of quick un-lady-like move while chasing a little one around?  Sign me up please!

The pattern is drafted for a stretch woven skirt, with a stretch knit waistband and briefs/shorts.  Since it can be challenging to find a stretch woven fabric, GreenStyle has a note in the directions that you can use a stretch knit by sizing the skirt portion down a size.  I have learned to trust the extensive testing and excellent pattern drafting, follow my measurements, and make the recommended sizes.  I like to print and tape a master copy of my patterns and trace out my size on waxed paper.  That way I’ve always got my master pattern to go back to, even if my pattern pieces get torn or a bit crinkled up from use.

So here is my first tip: pay attention when you are tracing your pattern pieces.  Because I was using a stretch knit, I had to remember to trace a smaller size for the skirt front, back, and upper back pieces, while using my measured size for the waistband and shorts pieces.  This is also the time to lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces as needed.  I am tall, so I added 1-3/8″ to the skirt length.  I also used the high rise waistband pieces rather than the standard pieces.  Can I just add here that I love that both rises are included in the pattern?  I didn’t have to worry about adjusting the pattern to add to the rise, and those that prefer a shorter rise also have the appropriate pattern pieces.

Tip #2: Make sure that you are laying out your pattern perfectly on the grain.  Grainlines and direction of greatest stretch lines are included on patterns for a very important reason.  They help you line up the pattern with the fabric so that your garment will hang properly on the body.  This is super important on the skirt back piece, because you will want to reference the grainline when pressing your pleats.  If you cut it out on grain, it will make it so much easier to get perfect pleats.  If you cut it out crooked, you will get crooked pleats if you follow the grainline while pressing.

Tip #3: Mark the pleat lines on the skirt back.  The pattern piece is clearly marked with how to fold your pleats, so they go from the center outwards.  You could use tracing paper or a disappearing pen, but I found it easy enough to use pins and clips.  I placed pins along the top of the skirt at the pleat marks.  And where each pleat folded over, and the next pleat started, I also added a clip.  That was my reminder of where the pleat ended.  In the photo below, I’ve already pressed all the pleats on the right outward toward the right side of the skirt.  (I used the metal hem guides to help hold my pleats in place while I made the folds to pleat the other half of the skirt back.  You could also just use pins or clips to accomplish this.)  Since I had made sure that I cut my pattern piece on the grainline, it was easy to follow the grainline to press the entire length of the pleat down to the hemline.  And obviously, I need to clean my iron, because little white specks of build-up have flaked out of the steam ports! 🙂

pace pinned

Tip #4: When pattern directions suggest that you baste, take the time to baste!  The small amount of time that it takes to baste, will save you so much more time when you are sewing your pieces together.  Once all of your pleats are pressed, pin them in place so that you can baste them down before sewing on the upper back piece.  Check out those pretty, pressed pleats!

pace pleats

By following the pattern directions, you will end up with a fun, flirty, pleated skirt!  It can be casual everyday wear when paired with a simple tank top.  In this case, a rayon spandex GreenStyle Staple Tank.

pace sidepace back

You can use the built-in briefs option if you prefer it when playing tennis or golf.  If you’re like me and want pockets to hold your stuff while power-walking, I recommend the shorts.  I love the “secret” pockets!

pace pocket

I also love that you can change the vibe and wear the Pace Skirt for dressier occasions  by wearing a chiffon top, or adding a jacket or cardigan.  This RTW top had been languishing in my closet because I didn’t really have anything to wear it with.

pace black

I am very happy with my new skirt.  My husband complimented me on it, and said that he loves the pleats.  ❤  Even with the built-in shorts, I don’t feel overheated because I used Phee Fabrics circular knit which is moisture-wicking and super comfortable.  There’s no need to feel intimidated by pleats.  If you have any questions about sewing or pleats, feel free to comment and I will try to help you out.  Take your time, use my tips, follow the pattern directions, and add some cute new skirts to your closet!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

 

What Would You Do?

We All Have A Choice

My husband and I were heading out for a walk late yesterday afternoon, when we found a wallet at a crosswalk.  We had already pushed the button for the flashing lights, and traffic had stopped, so we quickly walked across the street.  I said “Let’s see if there is any ID or a phone number inside so that we can contact the owner.”  We checked the wallet, but there was no identification, and no business or credit cards.  Just a few faded out receipts and some cash.

We live in a neighborhood of mostly mature population, (in other words, older people). 😉  People are very active, with a pretty steady stream of bicyclists, walkers, and runners.  You sometimes see people pushing a stroller, (and I don’t know what it is with this phenomena), but there can as likely be a dog in the stroller, as a child.  I had never seen a dog stroller until we moved to Florida, but apparently it is a thing!  I thought the whole point of taking your dog for a walk was to let your pet walk.  I also see people “walking” two dogs, and frequently they will stop, pick up, and carry one of the dogs.  I have a cat, so perhaps I just don’t “get” the dog life!  But I digress.

Since there were some larger bills in the wallet, it’s quite likely that the wallet belongs to a local in the neighborhood.  I’ve noticed and heard my children and others of their generation comment that they don’t carry cash.  They just use their debit card.  Since most people use direct deposit, it is indeed easier to just use a debit card than it is to go to the bank, and withdraw cash.  Which leads us to believe that the wallet belongs to an older person who prefers using cash.

We tried to think of the best way to try and return the wallet to its owner.  There is usually someone from the Sheriff’s Office up at the City Hall Building.  I think they may have an office there?  Since it was evening, City Hall was already closed for the night.  Our neighborhood is on the NextDoor app, so my husband posted it on the app.  Hopefully the owner makes contact soon, and if not, we will take it up to the police.

I was thinking about it, and wondered how many people would try to return a wallet, and how many people would just pocket the cash and toss the wallet.  I think that most people are basically honest and good, and would try to find the rightful owner.  Maybe I am a Pollyanna and see the world through rose colored glasses?  I am sure that there are many places in this country and the world where the cash would be quickly pocketed and spent without a second thought.  But the wallet doesn’t belong to us, so we didn’t even consider keeping it.

Is it just our faith that sets us apart?  I know that faith calls us to be virtuous, to not lie, or cheat, or steal.  God blesses us with a conscience, and hopefully our parents raise us in faith, to teach us to understand right from wrong, and kindness, thoughtfulness and charity.  We live in the world, but don’t have to be of the world.  People of faith are different.  We are still subject to the temptations of the evil one, but with the grace of God, we choose to not fall into the temptation.  We sometime fail, and sin.  Thankfully, we have the sacrament of confession to rid of us our sins, and bring us back into grace.

When we think about the fact that God loves us, and Jesus died for us, hopefully it is easier to choose love and goodness over temptation.  What do you choose?

The Staple Tank

Call It A Basic, Call It A Staple

You can call it a basic, or call it a staple, just know that you need the GreenStyle Creations Staple Tank in your wardrobe!  A few months ago there was a post on the GreenStyle Facebook page asking if there was a pattern you hoped would be designed.  Everyone was invited to share Pinspirations, photos, or whatever they wanted to convey their idea.  Some people envision something fancy or fashion forward, but I am a basic girl.  I shared a .gif from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie, you know the one.  Where she’s running through the jungle, and her tank top stays perfectly in place.  Her bra straps are covered, and the top looks perfect from every angle.  That is what I was looking for- the perfect tank top.

And Angelyn of GreenStyle designed it!  Can you imagine trying to design a top that fits XXS to 3XL, with all of the wonderful body shapes and heights that encompasses?  I was lucky enough to be on the pattern testing team, which means that I have sewn several of these tanks.  The pattern is a simple sew, and includes the option for neck and arm bands or bindings.  So if you love the clean look of bindings, you’ve got it.  If you do better at sewing bands, you’ve got that too.

layer whitelayer w cardi

It’s the perfect fit to throw on with a pair of shorts (in my case, Brassie Joggers cut at shorts length, made out of Phee Fabrics Supplex).  My bra straps are completely covered, and the scoop neck is a flattering depth, without being too high or too low.  It’s a slim enough fit to look cute tucked in, and you can layer it under another top, a sweater, a jacket, or cardigan.  I love my Sunday Cardigan(s), and even when they are made of a super lightweight or sheer fabric, the Staple Tank lays smoothly under them.

layer skirtlayer cardi

I love a dressy basic that looks great with a skirt.  The super soft rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect weight to not be sheer and has enough recovery to make perfect bands (or bindings).  I need a Staple Tank in all the spring colors!   I can get dressed in minutes, throw on my cardigan, and look put together and ready for the day.  It’s definitely a staple in my closet!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

What A Week!

From Illness To Gratefulness

I am finally recovering from a week of influenza and it feels so good to be upright!  I was literally down for the count for a week, laying in bed, slowly walking to the sofa or dining table, and back to bed.  I hate being sick, feeling dependent on others, and not having my normal energy and routine.

My husband was a champ!  He made me food, did the dishes and laundry, and took excellent care of me.  I told him how much I appreciated him taking care of me, and he said, “You’re always taking care of me and would do the same for me.  It’s not a big deal.”  While it’s true that it may not have been a big deal to him, it meant a great deal to me.  When you are naturally a caregiver, it’s interesting to see it from the other side.

When you are constantly taking care of others, of the household, of your children, etc., you can easily get irritated or feel a little bit resentful.  “Gah!  I just vacuumed and you’re tracking dirt everywhere!”  “Ugh!  Sweaty, gross gym clothes to wash and they are laying on top of my outfit in the laundry basket and getting it all stinky!”  And of course you’ll make eggs for breakfast when you’d much rather make banana pecan waffles topped with strawberries and blueberries because you know he’d prefer the protein.

I generally don’t complain about the inconveniences (OK, other than the tracking in dirt!), because caring means that you are doing these things out of love.  And really, it’s not hard to do any of it, and it really isn’t a sacrifice.  It’s just the way it works for your family.  Everybody has to do their part to make their family life work.  Maybe your family dynamic is different, and you’re the main breadwinner, and someone else has more time for the household.  Or maybe you are responsible for everything yourself.  Everybody has to participate in making life work.

But working joyfully, and cheerfully giving, that decision is up to you.  I can tell you that life is happier, you are happier when you move through life with a happy heart.  Is life always easy?  Do things always go perfectly according to your plans?  Of course not!  We all have worries and concerns.  Maybe you are struggling financially, maybe someone you love and care for is sick, or injured, or dying.  Maybe you just feel like life is beating you down.  We have all been there.  Everyone has struggles.  How we face those struggles is the question.

Do you think that you have to carry the burden alone?  On the surface, it may appear to you that you do.  But you don’t.  There is always someone you can talk to, someone who will listen, someone who will lighten the load.

Talk to God, talk to Jesus.  Surrender your heart, look, and listen for the little spark of joy.  There is beauty and happiness everywhere.  What are you grateful for?  What can you do for others?  What small look, gentle touch, gesture of friendship or love can you give?  Because that is the secret.  Opening your heart to God, praying and listening for His voice.  Giving of ourselves, rather than just focusing on what we “deserve”, what I think the world “owes” me.  Be grateful to the one who gives us all the opportunity for everlasting life.

And don’t forget to say thank you to the people God has placed in your life.  The ones who take the time to care for, or be kind to you.  Pet the cute kitty who snuggled you while you were sick.  Hug the loving husband who kept you fed when you didn’t have the strength to make your own meal.  And talk to God, open your heart, feed your soul.  Be grateful for whatever crazy, wonderful life you have.

My GreenStyle Fit Capsule Roundup

Sew All The Workout Wear!

I’ll start off with my newest makes from earlier this week.  Before I spent three days helping my Mom and before I ended up with the flu. 😦  I knew I had to get my sewing fix in before I left for my Mom’s, so I made a couple things I really wanted and needed.

My love for Super G’s is strong, so I made a pair in navy Supplex with navy powernet pocket panels.  As soon as these new colors were listed on the Phee Fabrics website, I had to place an order!  Navy is a great basic, so I will wear these a lot.  Since I always find myself reaching for a Studio To Street Top when I get chilly, I decided to make another one in Phee’s pretty periwinkle rayon spandex.  I did the V-neck, V-back, curved hem version, except I cut it straight across in the front, and did a 4-1/2″ split hem on the bottom sides.  This kept it a little bit longer in the front, and gave me a cleaner, (though similar look) to the split band version I made previously.

STS peri navy Super GSince it’s not a capsule without at least three pieces, here’s my flat lay photo that includes my Brassie Jogger shorts.  If I have enough Supplex left in any other colors, I plan to make more Brassie shorts because they are seriously the most comfortable shorts ever!  It’s a bummer that I couldn’t capture the true colors with my indoor photo.
navy peri fit cap

My Lille Tank and Norah Nightgown mash-up was the anchor for my teal and charcoal Supplex capsule.  I used powernet in the front and back bodice, as well as for the pocket panels on my Super G’s.  And look, it’s another pair of Brassie shorts!

Lille Nteal charcoal fit cap

Plum Supplex and neon green tricot made such a striking combo for my Power Sports Bra and Super G’s.  I rounded out my capsule with a plum Supplex Lille.  Because it’s a solid, I’ll be able to mix and match it with items in my other capsules.

 

Lille outtakeGS bra sideplum neon fit cap

Hacking the Power Sports Bra into a workout top was my first Fit Capsule item.  And it looks great with my gray Supplex Super G’s.  Of course I need to include one of my comfortable rayon spandex Studio To Street Tops to round out this final capsule.

top jumpgray white fit cap

All in all, I have really enjoyed sewing for the Fit Capsule Challenge.  It pushed me to expand my workout wardrobe and to finish up some pieces that I know will get tons of wear.  Here’s hoping that I can get over this flu and get back to yoga on Monday!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!