Galaxy-painted Anima Pants (with tutorial!)

What’s this, heels and sweatpants?! A bit of a departure from my usual style, but for a good reason: Papercut Pattern’s Anima Pant competition! Pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the Milky Way…

Now these pants aren’t at all similar to my original sketch. And they’re actually my second pair of Anima Pants. I made my first (full-length) pair out of white jersey and dip dyed it, hoping for a white-to-violet effect that I would then embellish with gold foil. Sounds nice, right? Unfortunately they turned out more of a grayish purple color, although they do have the color gradient I was going for. The color combined with the long length looks pretty frumpy on me, so they’re in a time-out situation until I figure out how to jazz them up.

But I’m actually really glad Plan A didn’t work out, because it pushed me to come up with an equally elaborate Plan B! I looked at fabric painting and dyeing tutorials online for inspiration, and I came across a couple galaxy-print shirt DIYs. “Galaxy painted Anima pants?” “Sure”, I thought. “Why not?!” And the process was actually super fun, and turned out way better than I expected! ( I’ve included a tutorial and progress pics at the end of the post if you want to make a pair for yourself!)

I wanted to pair these pants with something simple that wouldn’t cover the waistband: enter Nettie #4! The Nettie pattern has earned tried-and-true status in my book, and I knew I could make one up in just a couple hours. This is the scoop-neck, high-back, bodysuit version.

I bought this fabric during Girl Charlee‘s Fourth of July sale just because it was super cheap, but I ended up totally loving it! It’s a soft and stretchy rayon blend (my fave) and the color’s actually a really pretty orangey-red jewel tone, though it looks redder in the pictures.

The pant fabric is a medium-weight black jersey that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I only had one yard, and I was just barely able to fit the pattern pieces for the cropped length on it.

Since this was my second pair it came together really quickly. Overall the pattern and instructions are great, and I would definitely recommend this pattern! The only tricky part was the waistband. I had a lot of trouble doing the foldover method in the instructions, so for this pair I did my usual elastic insertion method where you sew a tube with an opening and thread the elastic through. This worked a lot better for me and this waistband is a lot neater than my first one. I did still have trouble with the buttonholes though. My machine does NOT want to make buttonholes on knit fabric. So they’re not too pretty, but they’ll do the job.

I didn’t follow any one tutorial, but kind of amalgamated the information from a few different ones. The process was basically the same in all of them. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Put some bleach in a spray bottle, dilute it with water, and spray some galaxy clusters onto your pant pieces. I just used some bleach-based bathroom cleaner that was already in a spray bottle. The orange spots take a few seconds to show up, so don’t spray too much all at once. You want to build up gradually. I let mine sit for about 30 minutes, and then washed them to stop the bleach from eating away at the fabric too much. Then I let them dry in the sun (which took about 5 minutes because it’s so hot).

Step 2: Using a sponge, build up layers of purple, blue, and white fabric paint (in that order). These should also be built up gradually, as you can always go back and add more later. The color fades a little as it dries, so I went over each piece twice. There’s no real method to this – just do whatever looks good to you! I concentrated the blue and purple around the outside of the orange clusters. This is what it looked like before I added white:

Step 3: Add stars by dipping a toothbrush in white paint and flicking it onto the pant pieces. You may want to practice this on a piece of scrap fabric first. In this picture you can see my finished back leg pieces with my bleached-only front pieces, as well as the sponge and toothbrush I used for painting.

Step 4: Let the paint dry overnight, and then sew up your garment as usual! I chose to leave my waistband, cuffs, and inner pocket black.

Let me know if you have any questions! And thanks for reading!

<3 Lindsay

Elephant Seersucker Archer

Archer #4! And this one has the most modifications yet. I started out with the pattern I made for my last sleeveless Archer (made using this tutorial from Jen at Grainline Studio) and then did the v-neck alteration Andrea detailed on her blog. The tutorial worked like a charm, and I love this neckline!

Now let’s talk about fabric. I have two words for you: seersucker and elephants. How could I resist?! I found this fabric at MissMatatabi (an Etsy store with an amazing selection of Japanese fabric) and I knew it had to be mine. I’ve been wanting a seersucker shirt to help deal with the long, hot summer for ages, but it’s so hard to find seersucker fabrics that don’t consist of pastel-y stripes and a “yachting at Cape Cod” vibe. I don’t normally go for novelty prints, but I love that this one is so small scale that you don’t really see the elephants from far away. I think that and the colors keep it from being too childish.

When I was almost done with this shirt I tried it on and realized the armholes gaped a lot. And the silhouette was really boxy. I didn’t have this problem with my last Archer made using the same pattern, so I guess it was due to the fact that this fabric was stiffer than the shirting I used last time. I’d just finished bias binding the armholes and there was no way I was going to rip that out, so I pinched out the excess fabric from the armhole to the waistline, and just sewed new side seams. This actually worked pretty well! I also raised the hem a few inches.

The shorts I’m wearing came from an old pair of Lucky jeans that I bought on sale 7 years ago when I was in high school. I wore them out until they got super faded and a big hole on one knee, and they’ve been stowed away for years. Now they’re a relic of the boot-cut and low-waist heydays, but I pulled them out yesterday and they still fit really well… So less than a minute and two swipes of the rotary cutter later I had a new pair of shorts!

Lucky jeans must be made well because all of the seams and the upper area still look great. No holes in unsightly places! And I’m pretty sure I wore these jeans literally hundreds of times. Sometimes it really is worth paying a little more for high quality, “made in the USA” products.

This fabric was the prize piece in my (admittedly small) stash, so I’m glad this shirt turned out as well as it did! The v-neck/collar stand neckline is one I’m definitely going to replicate in the future.

How’s your summer sewing going? And do you know of anywhere else that sells unique seersucker fabric? I might be hooked…

<3 Lindsay

Jamie Jeans

I made jeans! I feel kind of unstoppable now. This is the Jamie Jeans pattern by Named, an indie pattern company from Finland. I’ve seen lots of lovely versions of these around the blogosphere, but I’d held back from them myself due to a failed jeans-making experience last year (from a Burda pattern) and their spendy price tag. However, I knew in order get a step closer to my goal of a completely (or almost completely) handmade wardrobe I would need to make some jeans, because they’re such a staple piece for me.

The Jamie jeans are a skinny jean with a mid-rise waist. What really attracted me to them are the unique details: the seam running down the front and the contrast pocket panels, which I love.

I intended for this pair to be a wearable muslin, and they turned out very wearable indeed! I used stretch denim (95% cotton, 5% spandex) from Jo-Ann that I got for 50% off, so I wouldn’t be too upset if they didn’t turn out. The denim is surprisingly nice (the bolt said it was made in Japan), but I don’t think they’re carrying it any longer – it was from their spring collection.

One nice thing about this pattern is that the pattern pieces are nested and there are different files for different sizes (only two sizes are contained in each file). I think this layout is really clever and ends up saving a lot of paper. The only piece I ended up having to trace was the waistband.

I was really happy with how well these fit straight from the pattern. I pinched out about an inch of fabric from center back for a swayback adjustment (the same adjustment I always make to my Maritime shorts) and shortened the legs by about two inches. I shortened them after the jeans were already made, rather than shortening the pattern pieces themselves, so the calf area is a big bigger than it would otherwise be. I think this is for the best however, as I’ve read in other reviews that the calves are kind of tight, and I wouldn’t want them to be any tighter than they are here.

The construction was fairly straight-forward, and the instructions seemed to be geared toward an intermediate level sewist. I referred to this photo guide a couple times to make sure I was doing everything right.

I did have some trouble installing the fly zip. Somehow it ended up not being set in deeply enough and the zipper teeth were visible. I fixed it by stitching the zipper directly to the top side of the pants, which luckily blends in pretty well because of the darkness of the pants and the thread color. I think I just didn’t mark my notches well enough, but I also should have referred to Grainline’s fly zip tutorial as I was making these because the flys on my Maritime shorts look a lot better than this one.

One problem area I’ve noticed is the bagginess/wrinkles around the crotch and upper thigh area (see picture above). Does anyone have any idea what causes this and how to fix it? Is it something to do with crotch length/depth? I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to pants fitting, so any help would be much appreciated!

Overall I’m pretty happy with these, though I definitely want to work on improving the fit in my next pair. I’m just glad to dispel the lingering doubt I had about jeans-making – now I know I’ll be able to make it work!

<3 Lindsay