Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Grow Pots Galore

I've dipped my toe into the world of vegetable gardening. Now that we live in pandemic times we've tried to limit our grocery shopping to once a week. This has been a big change, since we were used to stopping by the store once a day. We've been thrust into the world of meal planning and larder stocking.

The thing we miss the most from the before times is quick access to fresh vegetables. So I fired up the old raised bed that The Man and I built probably 15 years ago. We were doing quite well in the salad department until the gophers figured a way past our wire containment system. 

This is a sad little kale plant being sucked down into a gopher hole. They started out taking a plant or two every so often. Then their appetites seemed to ramp up and now they're polishing off more than we are.

So here's my answer: the fabric grow pot. 

I've sewn up two of them now, both sized broad but shallow. They're intended for lettuces and they seem to be working well. I baby them with water and fertilizer so I can fit a lot of lettuces into one bag. We get the cut-and-come-again types so we can harvest a side salad pretty much every day, once they find their legs.

They're super quick and easy to sew up. I used some cheap synthetic felt I got off Amazon. I've discovered you can also use weed blocking landscape fabric, which is cheap and easy to pick up at your hardware or garden store. The felt is kind of cheerful though.

But the felt is also a little stretchy, so I thought I'd try sewing something along the top edge to help the bag hold its shape. Twine might have been nice, only we didn't have any twine. So I cut a strip off an old curtain that I'd been saving in my toile stash. And since I was sewing the edging on anyway I figured, why not handles? 

I don't think my extra finishing details made much difference, to be honest. The improved version doesn't seem much squarer than my prototype, but the lettuces don't seem to care. 

My tip would be, don't get any fancier than you want to. It's basically a bag of dirt, after all.

But if you did want to get a little fancy, you could make some pretty cute felt pots for little succulents, or maybe herbs to give to a friend. Then it would make sense to do a neat top edging with some bright cotton scraps.

In the background is my prototype pot with some leggy lettuce. I harvested all this and planted a new crop right after taking these photos. 

These two grow bags will probably keep us in salads for a while, considering there are only two of us. In the meantime I'll figure out what to do with our raised bed. I'm thinking rebuild with galvanized steel and cement blocks. Take that, gophers!

My pattern review, such as it is, is on PatternReview.com here.

StyleArc Bob Pants

This is only the second StyleArc pattern I've made, which surprises me a little. I've made the Barb stretch pants a bunch of times and like wearing them a lot. It could be that my closet full of BurdaStyle magazines uses up most of my pattern juice.

A few weeks ago my friend Martha came over for some socially distanced bubbly water and showed me a couple of cuts of linen she'd picked up at Hart's on the way. She planned to use them for the Bob Woven Pant pattern.  Which she did. She reported that the pattern was easy to work with and the pants were insanely comfortable. I was sold.

She spoke truth on both those points.

I used 2 yards of black Brussels washer linen and I am very pleased with my new pants.

Black is a risky choice for me because I have a Great Pyrenees. They are great dogs, but they shed like you can't believe and their hair sticks to everything. Here she is getting de-thatched. We have that done professionally once a month.

Below is the line drawing of the Bobs from StyleArc. On their size chart they list the finished measurements of the pattern for each size instead of the measurements of the sewist. It was nice to have the finished measurements so easily available, but this was going to be a new style effort for me and I dithered a bit about how much ease I wanted when all was said and done. 

I ended up picking my size based on the smallest finished waistband that would fit over my hips, so I'd be able get the things on. That was a size 8, which has a waistband of 36.25 inches (without elastic). 

However, the size 8 winds up with a finished hip measurement of 44.5 inches, which worried me a bit, but I decided if I was into this new silhouette for a penny I was in for a pound. I did a quick pin fitting with the paper pattern and they didn't look comically humongous, so I went for it.

And I like! The linen drapes a lot nicer than the exam table paper I use for pattern tracing. The balloon shape on the legs doesn't feel over the top, and they are, indeed, insanely comfortable.

Back view and side view for you.

The line drawing on the pattern envelope shows the pants hitting a bit above the ankle. I tend to like my pants on the long side. Might be a holdover from my formative years, when we wore our pants so long they touched the ground even while we were wearing enormous platform shoes. 

I'm 5 foot 2ish, so you might want to lengthen or shorten to suit your desires, especially if you're taller than me. Not too many are shorter, it seems.

As an added bonus, the inseam pockets are very nice indeed; deep and shaped so that anything you stash in there is going to stay put. 

I'm glad I gave this new shape a try. I have a chocolate brown piece of mystery fabric up in the stash closet that I may tee up for another pair.

My pattern review is on PatternReview.com here.