October 12, 2007

Gang-banger Clown Seamstress In Da' House!

No blog posting today. Cold cooties have gotten the better of Ryan. She should be back on Wednesday.


clown.jpgWrestled a little more with the gang-banger clown seamstress pants last night because TV has been dreadful and I’ve discovered that I get as much out of the shows watching them with my back turned to them and concentrating on sewing straight seams as I do slouched on the couch, staring at the boob tube, a little drool escaping from the corner of my mouth.

As if it weren’t bad enough that I have no idea what I’m doing, I got “creative.” The pant legs really were too frickin’ wide—think, the sail on a schooner, plus 5/8” added on either side for a seam—so I sewed new seams down both sides of each leg, making them about 3” narrower, and then just chopped off all the extra crap. Feel free to blanche; my efforts were truly that inelegant. I’m sure what I did broke at least nine of the ten Golden Rules of Sewing but, meh, it worked.

More accurately, I narrowed one of the pant legs and then, as before, minced proudly around my house wearing my new creation, with one wide-ass leg flapping in the breeze and one modified one skimming my leg quite nicely, thank you. Most importantly, however, I discovered that the crotch did not bunch up between my legs and make me walk slowly and spraddle-legged like a goose on the verge of laying the egg of the century. That’s got to be worth something.

Now, if you’re like me, you probably hate it when a knitter goes all sew-y or quilt-y. I am a one-craft gal and read knitting blogs to read about knitting and knitters, and when they suddenly go all sew-y or quilty-y, I wail, “Say it ain’t so!” But fret not. I have not gone all sew-y or quilt-y. I have, in fact, been churning out a simple-as-can-be, roll-brim winter hat for myself in Naturally Vero Tweed, color 55 (a thumbs-up for this yarn, by the way) and gearing myself up to tackle—or rather frog—the Four-Acre Sweater which looked like this, last we saw it in May…


…but which ended up having armholes that were 11.5” deep, practically down to my knees. Would've gone well with the schooner sails.

In the meantime, I'll share a Kooky Kraft which, in my mind, is not so Kooky. Waaaay back when I first started this blog, I went on a mini-tirade about people who cut plastic bags into strips and knit the strips into…a plastic bag. Talk about infinitely looping and self-referential! But last week, when I was starting my research into kente-cloth colors and patterns, I came across this, a page about an African woman who crochets bags and rugs out of plastic-bag strips. Talk about fun and folksy and colorful, not to mention creative and practical! Check out especially the rug in the upper left-hand corner and, for a picture that is guaranteed to make you grin from ear to ear, the picture of the children in the upper right-hand corner.

Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Posted by Ryan at October 12, 2007 01:56 PM

Now those bags from bags are da bomb! This sewer says doing what you did with the pants legs was just fine. The only danger you could have encountered was shortening the crotch too much, but since you had too much in there to begin with, it seems you are fine. You go, girl!

Posted by: Kristen on October 12, 2007 02:29 PM

Gramma M crochets plastic bags strips into little water bottle carriers and beach bags for the grandkids. Not as many colors as that gal you linked to, but she definitely gets the stripes going. It's true, you can carry your stuff in a plain ol' plastic grocery bag, but it's so not pretty.

Posted by: Carrie on October 12, 2007 02:48 PM

I would have done what you did with the pants... indeed in my costume making days I probably did!

Posted by: kathleen on October 12, 2007 03:36 PM

Once again, I don't know about every one else, but it sounds like you sew just like I do (therefore, perfectly normally, in my opinion) And hey, if it works... I always enjoy the forays into other fibery pursuits, by the way.
Those rugs are amazing. I wonder if I have enough bags under the sink...

Posted by: Loribird on October 12, 2007 05:29 PM

Looking at that African lady sitting on her doorstep crocheting shows just how alike we all are. She's got her chores done and is relaxing--and makes hats for the children she loves. I did a little knitting on my porch after mowing the lawn just this afternoon. Of course, I wasn't dressed as nicely as she is. Love your blog, Ryan. I'd have left the pants legs big and flappy. Clown seamstresses need room to be creative.

Posted by: bookie on October 12, 2007 06:22 PM

Thanks for the link - she is a very talented lady, making such beautiful rugs (and cute hats!) out of plastic bags!

The very, very few times that I am found sewing, I can be found sewing according to the "What the hell, let's try this" method. So your way of fixing those pants sounded totally normal to me. As you say, meh, it worked. :)

Posted by: jules on October 13, 2007 07:15 AM

Are there rules about sewing?

I have been laughing about your sewing experiences. I thought to myself...that sounds like me. Maybe that is because I didn't know the 10 golden rules of sewing!

Those plastic rugs/bags/hats are so cool! Where do you find this stuff???

Posted by: Naomi on October 13, 2007 09:06 AM

Nothing wrong with your sewing technique! Just be sure to check the fit of your pants while sitting and doing toe-touches, to make sure you're not narrowing the legs TOO much.

I often find that it's easier to buy patterns a step or two down from Vast and enlarge them where needed (usually waistline & hips). Otherwise you end up with outrageous amounts of wearing ease, as you noticed with your pants.

Most of my patterns are too small now (I haven't done much sewing in recent years) but I was so disappointed with the current pattern offerings that I think I'm going to simply attempt to resize my old patterns and hope for the best...

Posted by: Denise in Kent, WA on October 13, 2007 09:34 AM

Feel free to get "sewy". Since you are a beginner sewer lik em. (actually I am a sew when you absolutely have to sewer), it's kinda fun to hear about you rproblems and solutions. Not to mention brightly cololured clown pants make my day! I too have been saving interesting [plastic bags with the intent to knit up something eventually....

Posted by: Carol on October 14, 2007 09:37 AM

What a lovely link to the crocheter!

Send your sewing machine to go sleep with the fishes, and tell more about why you need to frog. A foot-long armhole sounds fine to me. (Room to breathe, Inner Child playing with matches and all that.) I am also faced with an Armhole Emergency with the Rona sweater, of exactly the opposite problem...perhaps we should have a frogging get-together?

Posted by: Gail "hey-would-you-shake-up-this-bottle-of-juice-for-me" on October 14, 2007 08:09 PM

Sometimes it really is just easier to wing it when it comes to sewing.

That's one of the benefits I love about knitting. The slow organic process of knitting gives me a much more solid understanding of the shaping of garments, so I make fewer mistakes when I am trying to sew something for me.

Posted by: Seanna Lea on October 15, 2007 08:03 AM

My husband (successfully) made tights for himself that way - put them on, narrow them, put them on again..until they fit! *I* am not only NOT a sewer, I am one of those people whom the Fates decree are NOT to sew. (I wear simple, ankle-length, high-waisted dresses with seam pockets - the kind I just pull on. No zippers, nothing. My sewing friends who make them for me say "heck you don't even need a pattern!") So...applause to you, is all I'm sayin'.

Posted by: dale-harriet in WI on October 15, 2007 10:21 AM

Hope you feel better soon, Ryan!

Posted by: Jocelyn on October 15, 2007 01:07 PM

Ryan - Hope you are feeling better!!! I was looking forward to chatting with you tonight at Ferals. I guess it will just have to wait.

Hopefully TMK will still be there!

I've missed you both!

Posted by: Naomi on October 15, 2007 04:47 PM
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