That 1980s Feeling- Designer Vogue and Pink Landers for Fall

I recently took a gander through my old, old patterns and found this Vogue American Designer pattern from the 1980s.  How about those sleeves?! So is this vintage? or retro? Whatever the term, it is most definitely awesome and not at all outdated.


Yes- I was alive in the 1980s; and yes- I was sewing clothes for myself way back then.  I still remember -vividly- how great I felt in the dress I made from this pattern even though I don’t remember much else from the 1980s. I was in graduate school and a newly-wed during that decade. I do remember the Police, Talking Heads, shoulder pads, E.T., Duran Duran, Dirty Dancing, mullets, The Breakfast Club, big hair, arcade games and Madonna. I have seen the 1980s referred to as the greed decade- which might have something to do with the size of those sleeves- among other things.

I decided that another go-around with this pattern in a new century might recapture that great 1980s feeling- minus the greed part. Plus, I love how aspects of this pattern still feel modern and current.


I remember my first dress out of this pattern was a black and red print. And I know I sewed the pattern view B. This time around, it was easy to modify the pattern to create a spiffy knit top.  I simply widened the bodice from the bust-line and lengthened it slightly. 

This fabric is a very drapey knit from Treadle Yard Goods- so the sleeves did not turn out as voluminous as the first dress I made.  The pattern also calls for a sleeve cap header, that I remember making out of interfacing as a shoulder pad stand in- but I skipped that step.  I also modified the pattern to button on one shoulder, and sewed the other shoulder closed. Finally, I eliminated the button cuffs for the sleeves and simply attached sleeve bands.


I actually hand hemmed this top- because I wanted it to look pretty when worn untucked. Although, I found out I prefer how the top looks when it is tucked into these newly made Landers.


The pants are stripped down True Bias Lander pants with the zipper expansion.  No pockets anywhere. The fabric is a soft and comfortable- albeit a tad wrinkly- Robert Kaufman all cotton twill from  The Lander pants are a great fit for me.  I blogged about these previously, you can get all the details here.

Pietra pants- with zip

So, I succumbed to the siren song of elastic waist pants, again.  The enticement of elastic waist pants is hard to ignore.  Who doesn’t want to live in stretchy waist accommodating comfort?   Yet, if I am looking for a pant that fits well and is complimentary- I find elastic waist pants prove as difficult as fitted pants to fit the bill.  Because, here’s the thing: all that fabric and ease- which provides so much comfort- is not super flattering gathered around my mid-section. I have not yet found an elastic waist pant pattern that I would make again- that is until I made up the Pietra pant which is part of the new Rome Collection by Closet Case.  I already have another pair on the cutting table.


There were some obvious design elements that suggested the Pietra pant might be more flattering than my past elastic pant makes. I love the front seam and clever straight-cut pocket. Also, there is a flat front with elastic only in the back. Even so- I made several modifications to this pattern because - well it’s typical for me.  First, I took an inch off the top of the front and back. I like my pants to sit at my mid-section- not above.  I also reduced the waistband to accommodate 1 ½ inch elastic instead of 2 inch- partly because it was what I had on hand, and partly because that seemed wide enough.  I shortened the front crotch after checking for fit, because it was necessary.


The most significant modification was adding an invisible zipper on the side- an idea first used and blogged about by Mia at Sewnorth here- thanks for the inspired idea!  When I tried the pants on for fit, I didn’t like all of the fabric and fullness in the rear.  So, I reduced the fullness by taking in the center back seam.  However, reducing the fullness made the pants a bit too tight to wiggle into them.  An invisible zipper solved the problem and makes the pants pretty perfect. See side zipper glam shot below.


I used a denim chambray from Lakes Makerie as a wearable toile, and while the fabric color and weight is fabulous, I worry they won’t be super sturdy.  That’s why I feel rushed to make another pair.


The top is the trusty Colette Laurel without back darts.  The fabric is such a winning Scandi print that I found from Juniper Blue Textiles. The print is so cool- I didn’t want to distract from it with a more complicated pattern.

Wearing the pants: True Bias Lander

Wearing the fabulous Lander pants- finally!  You might be thinking I am rather late to make the infamous, celebrated, honored, and lauded Lander pant by True Bias- and you would be correct.


The thing is, I am a bit biased to making dresses. I absolutely love making and wearing dresses.  And, truth be told, I don’t know if I ever had a pair of pants ready made or otherwise that were truly comfortable, flattering and well-fitting.  But that was before I made the Lander pants.

And here’s a bit of a dress-making back-story.  I grew up in a small town and I wore a uniform –a simple plain blue pinafore- to primary school every day.  Besides a few play outfits, I didn’t have many other clothes.  I dreamed of owning and wearing a closet full of dresses. Because there weren’t many ready-made dress choices in my little town and funding was an issue, I figured the best way to accomplish my dream was to learn to make dresses for myself.  So, I begged my Mom to teach me to sew.  She put me off until -left to my own devices at my grandma’s with a swath of fabric, scissors, and access to her ancient sewing machine one lazy Sunday- I made myself a dress.  When my Mom came to pick me up and I was decked out and proud in my completely self-drafted cobbled together hand-made dress- she finally agreed to teach me to sew.  And my dressmaking odyssey began.

So- back to these Landers. These pants might rival some of my favorite dresses and convert me to a lover of pants.  They are comfortable and the pattern is so flattering.  And they are pretty close to a perfect fit.   I did not make a muslin and I would only add a few fitting tweaks to the next pair.  These are probably my best fitting pants right now.


The pattern is well drafted and the instructions are clear and straightforward.  This pattern is definitely deserving of the praise and legions of followers.

Amazingly- I discovered the Lander sizing is very close to my measurements.  Extra bonus- this pattern is drafted for a 5’5” individual- just an inch taller than me.  And although a muslin is recommended- I felt so encouraged and emboldened by these similarities- I simply cut a size 6 and went for it.

I used the Lander fly zipper expansion- I like the clean look and don’t want to fiddle with buttons on the fly.  The zipper pattern and instructions were clear and easy to follow. I also eliminated the pockets- because I may be one of the few people out there who is ok without garment pockets and I am always looking to reduce midsection bulk- both front and back.

The Jetsetter Twill I purchased from Lakes Makerie turns out to be the pant fabric of my dreams.  This is such an awesome color and a perfect weight and smooth twill face.  The fabric has stretch-love that in pants- with great recovery- no bagging out.


The shirt is a mash-up: self-drafted somewhat including bits and pieces of various patterns.  It is not super successful so it doesn’t deserve a discussion except to note that the fabric is the best, lightest weight, silky cotton lawn- purchased from Mood Fabrics.. 


Style Arc Tully for the carry-on

Whenever we take a trip, I almost always sew something new.  Travel typically means a different climate and always means non-work wear clothes. So, I consistently seem to need something to fill a gap in my existing wardrobe.  That said, and as much as I have a closet full of clothes- I am truly a light packer.  For trips that last 5 days or less, I often just take a regular backpack.  For trips up to 10 days, I use my larger 55 liter backpack.  When we return home from an overseas trip- customs agents almost always ask me where my luggage is.  Ha! 

We recently had a very spontaneous opportunity to take a quick warm weather break.  I wanted/needed some light linen pants that would do double or even triple duty and be great for the beach and for sight-seeing and would provide winter white leg coverage and sun protection.  Important!

I had two days to get this done, I used the Style Arc Tully pattern that I owned – having made these up previously for my daughter.  I wanted simple elastic pants, and I appreciate the flat front and paper-bag waist features of the Tully. 

I found the perfect blue linen fabric from my local and fabulous fabric store: Treadle Yard Goods.


Nicely pressed pants pictured above in my dining room and below while on delightfully warm holiday, all rumpled and beach ready.


And yet another shot back home on the porch. Note, I modified the Tully because I wanted a loose wide leg.  This was simple to draft from the Tully. I simply drew a wider leg- following the grain line marking on the pattern- see second shot below. 


And, in conclusion, a short story about the face hiding handmade hat. This hat is self-drafted- I copied an REI brand hat that I have had forever with a perfect not too big, not too small, just right brim.  I used buckram inside the brim – but next time, I will use another layer -or find something even sturdier- for more stiffness.  All the better to see!



So50visible challenge

When I recently dove headfirst into the online community of sewists, I expected to find inspiration to nourish my creative side.  What I didn’t expect is that I would also have an opportunity to be an activist. So, I was surprised and thrilled when I discovered Sewover50 and their Sew50visible challenge specifically aimed at raising awareness and calling for pattern makers to include older models on pattern covers and in other marketing for the pattern.

Here is the deal for this challenge: you have to submit a new or recent make of a pattern that features an older model in the styling.

No need to ask twice for me to be completely on board with this. 

I started searching for patterns with older models.  Unsurprisingly, it took effort, and the choices were slim. The bright side of this search is that I discovered several independent pattern designers that were new to me.  Among the options that qualified, I found the fabulous Romero pant pattern by Pauline Alice.  BINGO!  I have been meaning to try a wider leg pant and now I had a reason to do it.


First, some praise for the pattern. I love, love, love the clever button/pocket closure construction scheme for these pants. Romero is closed by buttons on the sides and waistband. You will be happy to learn the pockets are fully functional, and I really appreciate the clean finish with French seams. 

I obtained the PDF download and the pattern and instructions were crystal clear.  I also appreciate the great video instructions at the Pauline Alice website- no need to speak French.  I did add my own modification/suggestion to this construction scheme.  I put the second waistband button on the inside of the waistband to reduce overall buttons showing on the front.


It has been a minute since I made a pair of fitted pants.  I foolishly sewed these up (quickly) going by my waist measurement only.  In the end the waist fit was fine- but too tight elsewhere.  I didn’t want to remake the pocket construction- and I didn’t have enough fabric on hand to recut the front, so I took out the back, and recut the whole back pattern piece with a full-butt adjustment- or in gentler terms- adjustment for a naturally round derriere!  I follow these fabulous instructions from Colette when modifying a pant pattern.  And now though they are not perfect, they are a pretty good fit.  Next time, I will go up a size also.  I used a light-weight denim with a bit of stretch from my stash. In the end, it is a satisfying fit story. 


One word of caution for this pattern- I am 5’4” and usually never have to worry about length, but these pants are short.  There was very little length for a hem- I had to use some wide hem tape in order to get a one inch hem at this length.