Friday, March 20, 2015

Bagua Pants

The Man and I are taking a bagua zhang class every Thursday at the Academy of Martial and Internal Arts. Martial arts is something new for me. I've been really enjoying it. I'm learning to move my body in some different ways, which I think is good for the mind as well as the muscles. Plus The Man and I are allowed to spar, now that we know enough to not knock each other's blocks off by mistake. The Man refuses to take dance lessons with me, so this is the closest I'm likely to come to waltzing with him.

Anyway, my skills are improving bit by bit, but my wardrobe is woefully inadequate. I have a stable of running gear, but apparently shorts or neon leggings are just Not Done in martial arts. I've been wearing a pair of cheap yoga pants (also Not Done, but better then shorts). Those pants are kind of hot and polyester-y, and they only have one tiny pocket inside the waistband; maybe big enough for lip gloss, but nothing else.

So I made me some Bagua Pants.

This is the Snake, with what I think is the Crane stance. I'm a newby though
I used pattern #112 (Jogging Pants) from the March, 2014 issue of BurdaStyle magazine. Burda describes them as narrow jogging pants with an elasticated waist. Short and to the point. They advised using fine knits or jersey, and it just so happened I had a hunk of brown cotton jersey just waiting in my fabric closet.

That makes this project is a two-fer: Burda Challenge (check) and Stashbusting Challenge (check).
This is the Lion
The pattern was super straightforward. There are 4 pattern pieces, one of which I didn't use (the back pocket). They have you draft your own waistband and ankle bands, but even I can draft a rectangle without too much drama. OK, I did initially cut the ankle bands too narrow, but I had plenty of fabric to fix that little problem.

I do appreciate the front pockets. They describe them as 'hip yoke' pockets; they're the same kind of pockets you see on trouser patterns. They're nice and roomy but don't look too baggy. I won't be able to haul around too much stuff, because this fabric is so light, but they can handle my car keys for sure.
Waistband shot - The Man tells me baby blue satin drawstrings are also a no-no in martial arts. I'll have to swap that out before class.
Burda says the waistband sits about an inch below the natural waist, but the slouchiness of elastic and drawstring puts it a bit lower on me. It feels like just about the perfect rise for a pair of sweatpants.

I'm pretty happy with them. They feel much lighter than the yoga pants, and they're certainly comfy and very easy to move around in. In fact, I have them on now as I slump on the couch writing this post.

You know when you get home from work and you just want to yank off your shoes and constraining office clothes and chill? This is what you want to be putting on. I can see myself making another pair in a perkier, non-martial arts color for lounging purposes. Bet they'd make great jammies too.

I leave you with the Unicorn
My review of the pattern is on here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Crazy Dog Lady for Sure

I finished my entry for the Crazy Dog Lady Challenge, and I must say I'm pretty pleased with the results.

As a reminder, my inspiration dog is my Great Pyrenees, Zoe.

And this is a close-up of my fabric, a very soft and well-behaved cotton from Cotton and Steel. I'm suspecting this might really be a coyote rather than a dog, but the resemblance is remarkable, don't you think?

We adopted Zoe three years ago from Great Pyrenees Rescue of Northern California. When we got her they thought she was about 3 years old, so we figure she's about 6 now. She's just the sweetest dog you would ever want to know. To her, a stranger is just a friend she hasn't met yet. She works with me doing pet assisted therapy. Twice a month we visit a nursing home with Furry Friends. Zoe also heads to the public library once a month, so that kids can practice their reading with her. She's a totally non-critical audience. That's a program called Tales to Tails. This weekend we'll be visiting the library up at the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California, so that stressed-out students studying for their finals can mellow out by cuddling a big, white fur ball. That program is called Pause for Paws.
The blue isn't really as dark as it looks here
I decided to use one of my favorite patterns for this challenge - the Edith blouse from Maria Denmark. I thought the vintage style of the blouse would be a good match for the slightly retro-style fabric, and it's certainly an easy top to wear.

Front view
The blouse has darts front and back to give it a nice shape.

Back view
And the cut-on sleeves just cover your shoulders.

Better idea of the color
Here's a picture on Mini Me, to give you a better idea of the color. The background is a very soft blue-grey, livened up by green cacti, pink jack rabbits and, of course, Great Pyrenees.

I had what I thought were the perfect buttons. I got them at an antique mall in Illinois when we did our road trip to Chicago last summer. I think they look like little full moons, just the thing for a while dog (or coyote) to be howling to on a Spring night.

She's very good at giving kisses

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

To Pullayup and Back

I just got back from my most exciting sewing trip ever. My sewing bud, Jessica, and I went north to the 2015 Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Pullayup, Washington.

And we went by train.
Amtrak train 1131 pulling into the station
We had a romette with two beds and our very own bathroom.

It's about a 22 hour trip from San Jose, CA to Tacoma, WA and we enjoyed every minute. Besides the gorgeous scenery passing by out our window, we got in some quality knitting time.

The Steel Bridge in Portland. I love Portland. We had time on the way up to walk about a bit and grab a coffee.
 I went a little crazy with the seminars. I think I signed up for 15. Some were better than others, but I learned something from every one.

Most creative vest

Here we are in the thick of it!
There were a bunch of fun booths in the marketplace. We did some cruising every day, in between our classes.

As a Stashbusting Sewalong participant, I tried to keep my credit card in my wallet. But I failed.
Stretch elastics for lingerie making

Marking tools, new shears, a measuring tape and a nice jacket pattern

These are the fabrics I don't feel too guilty about, because I don't have an assortment in stash. The two khaki pieces are stretch twills: one will be the Jalie jeans pattern I've been itching to try and the other will be another pair of BurdaStyle 10-2013-127. The berry piece is rainwear - I want to make a Minoru for wet days. That's if we ever have another wet day here on the Central Coast. Our drought is becoming the new normal.

The two pieces on the right are slated for shirts: the dotted green is a cotton gauze and the black is polyester with a nice, heavy drape. Maybe an Archer?

The roll up top is a light weight wool. I think I have enough for the McCall's 6709 pictured up above.

Here's the group I should feel guilty about. Knits. I have a whole shelf of knits in the fabric closet. But this is a bundle of coordinating fabrics from Marcy Tilton's booth. I've been wanting to try some pattern/print mixing, and using a pre-picked palette will be a good entree for a nervous Nellie.

One of the good things about the train is you can bring a honking big suitcase!