Completed: Blue Herrinbone Thurlow Trowsers

I’m participating in this sewalong almost by accident, but being blue my favorite color, it was impossible for me not to join.

Since I made my first pair of Thurlows I hardly wore other pants. I loved the fit and comfort so much that I wanted a pair in every color an fabric to wear those and only those. My RTW jeans are not loved anymore, they feel tight on the thighs, the waist loose, with all those wrinkles created by the belt. No, once one knows better, average is not good anymore.

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I coveted a fabric for months. I remember visiting the shop and going to this bolt just to touch this fabric and check the prize tag once again. But the €28 per meter was just too much. Luckily I found exactly the same fabric in blue in my last visit to Vigo. It was in that fabric-by-the-kilo shop, and I bought 2 meters for €8. Incredible! After this precious purchase I was so worried to cut into this fabric and ruin it but I have to say that it went fine. It pressed quite well and it was easy to sew.

The construction went very smooth. This is my third pair and the previous one was made very recently, so the details were fresh in my mind. No issues at all, and I even recognized a problem that showed in my last pair and found a way to fix it. I have done so and I’ll show you very soon.

I was not sure about what fabric to use for pockets and lining, but as soon as I’ve seen this parrots cotton quit I knew it was the one. And Gerry of course approved!

Sorry for the lovebird overload, just a mother proud of her son. And you can clearly see that he’s through a molt and he’s getting a beautiful orange brow.

I feel a bit bold for using such a contrasting fabric, but now that it’s done I don’t get tired of looking at it.

Now that I see this picture I remember the only thing that didn’t go well: the damn buttonhole. My machine makes 1-step buttonholes and when I use thick fabrics or several layers it tends to screw up. I had to finish this one by hand while swearing that I’ll conquest perfect buttonholes one day.

This time I hand sewed the hem, since I thought it was more appropriate for this kind of fabric. It took forever but I like the result.

I used again size 2 but 4 for the seat (big bum, I know) and I didn’t taper the legs down this time. I like the drape of this fabric, even though I should have ironed those creases a lot better.

The length is perfect and saved in my mind for the future. I just need to chop 2 inches off and use the 1″ 3/4 for the hem. Being quite short I have to be careful adjusting the length on broad pants so that they don’t dwarf me even more.

I really really love how these pants fit and I’m proud to say that I adjusted the waist a lot better in these than in previous versions.

I finished the pants last Wednesday and I’ve been wearing them a lot. I was afraid at first, since I don’t own a lot of clothes that need to be dry-cleaned (not going to hand wash these) and I didn’t want to spill food or drinks on them, but hell, I decided to wear them to go out on Saturday night and I loved them. They are warm, comfortable, chic and blue. What else would I ask for?

Allergies in time and space, and Red Apple Lipstick excellent customer service

I was born and lived for 27 years in the northwest of Spain. Like many children there I was (and still am) allergic to dust mites. Then I became allergic to grass and things stayed like that for a very long time. In 2006 I moved to Belgium and four years later I got a swollen mouth after eating an apple: I had become officially allergic to the birch tree pollen and some fruits with a cross-protein with it. Several tests came later and I discovered that that’s the thing I’m most allergic to. And that includes not only apples, but hazel nuts, almonds, carrots, soy and other that I didn’t dare to try since then. We moved to Madrid two years ago so I should expect a change in my allergies (well, new ones added I mean). I was already allergic to the grass pollen but I think I’m feeling an increased sensitivity to cypress pollen too. A poly-allergic person usually becomes allergic to new things depending on environment changes. I guess it’s something I have to live with.

And that reminds me of a friend from the US who was living here for a while. She used to work as a camp monitor for a while over there and she was used to kids with allergies, but when she came here, many of the allergies here were unknown to her. Like my apple-birch allergy. Also unknown to most of the Spanish people I’ve met, except for the doctors. They always  say very excited that I’m the vivid example of what they studied at university.

I’m not a woman that uses a lot of make up. I would say that I’m on the lazy side. But, probably due to my age or the beginning of a mid life crisis, I’ve started to take care of myself a bit more than I’ve used to. And then I’ve heard wonderful opinions about Red Apple Lipstick. Their gorgeous colors, their performance, their properties which make them perfect for allergic people. I had to try them. I bought three of them: Plum Sexy Crazy, Straberry Lips and Reddish Fettish. I tried them in three consecutive days. The colors were wonderful, and the smell… that smell! It was all I wanted, with the exception that I realized I was allergic to them all. Without exception.

I have thick lips, but the ones I got one hour after using the lipsticks were like sausages. I contacted Red Apple Lipstick explaining my problem and I got a complete refund almost instantly. I have to say that not only they have nice products but they also have an excellent customer service. They didn’t ask for it but I sent the lipsticks back and I really wish them well and lots of luck because the customer service really makes a difference.

After the incident I went to check the lipsticks ingredients and I was surprised to find almond amongst them. I blame that but it could also be the Titanium Dioxide, the Manganese Violet, or the Mica, Iron Oxide.

LIPSTICKS ORIGNAL SERIES – Red!, Love My Kiss, Ruby Slippers, Strawberry Lips, Flirt With Me, Crush On Me, French Skirt, Mauve Me, Secrets, Plum Sexy Crazy.
Ricinus Communis, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cera Alba, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate from an all natural non gluten source, Prunis Dulcis (Almond ), Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Essence of Vanilla, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide ,Manganese Violet, Mica, Iron Oxide.

LIPSTICKS INSTANT COLOR SERIES – Coral Crush, Hibiskiss, Lovebird, Oh My Guava, Push Pop, Sweet Pea, Fierce, Barcelona, Reddish Fettish, Light My Fire, Swoon, Ravishing
Helianthus Annus – 100% pure organic cold pressed, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii, Synthetic Beeswax, All Natural Gluten Free – Soy Free – Corn Free Vitamin E Tocopheryl Acetate, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide ,Manganese Violet, Mica, Iron Oxide.

So this made me think again about how allergies appear depending on the environment. I am pretty sure that Red Apple Lipstick is safe for 99% of Americans, but it’s possible that in other parts of the world there are other kinds of allergies. Move 1000 Km and you will be exposed to different pollens, different environmental conditions.

Completed: Corduroy Thurlow Trowsers

I like corduroy pants for winter because they feel warm, cozy and comfortable. I had two pairs many years ago and those pants got a lot of use. When I was living in Brussels I wanted more of those corduroy pants because winters were freaking cold over there, too cold for this warm blooded Spanish girl. One of the things that I hated from Brussels (and Belgium in general) was that shops closed around 6 or 6:30 pm so it was impossible to buy anything during the week. That made Saturdays hectic for me. I remember Rue Neuve so crowded, everybody in that same buying frenzy. I used to end up buying too many things without thinking too much just by impulse because Saturdays were the only chance I had to get them. I remember the time I was hunting for those cherished corduroy pants that I spent four consecutive Saturdays looking for them with no result. Corduroy could be trendy years ago but it’s becoming less and less since some time ago already. The only ones I found were skinny pants and that’s a no go for me. I have a mild case of knock knees and thick thighs and I know that that shape of pants doesn’t flatter me at all, so imagine my horror knowing that skinny pants are trendy since some years ago. And I like boot-cut pants! I am so glad that I’m sewing now my own clothes!

If you remember I made a pair of Thurlow Trousers last year and I love them. It’s not only that I could customize them the way I wanted, I can say that they are the most comfortable pair of pants that I own. My thighs have grown thicker in the last year and a half because of Capoeira, and I have a small waist compared to my hips, so you can imagine that I run into a lot of fitting issues with regular pants (tight on the thighs, enormous waistline). That pair of pants is not perfect, but it’s one of the best things I’ve made and they are my favorite. So I had to make them in corduroy!

As I’ve said, corduroy is not trendy anymore, so not only buying RTW corduroy pants is difficult; getting the fabric is also hard, and the shops receive so little of it that it sells out quite fast. When I went to buy this corduroy for my Thurlow I finished the bolt and got more than half a meter for free (they didn’t want to leave it there).

This brown thin whale corduroy is slightly stretchy, and this makes this pants as comfortable as sweat pants. I know that they are not the most fancy pants in the world, but they are what I wanted them to be: cute, warm and comfortable.

I bought a really beautiful fabric for the inside that caught my eye the second I saw it and I knew it was meant for this pants.

The corduroy is not a very elegant fabric, but I just love those lines, the symmetry. I like symmetrical things.

There’s a little bulge on the front of my pants and I may need to fine tune this pattern for the future (but not for my next pair since it’s already cut, hehe) but it was not present on my first pair. It could also be because this fabric is a bit elastic, but it also means that I can sit comfortably in them and eat as much as I can.

Those welt pockets gave me a bit of a headache. The ones in my first pair went fine but I don’t know how I managed to mount these ones the wrong way around. I think I was just too tired, and after my realization I went straight to bed. The day after I fixed them and you wouldn’t be able to tell they were like that before.

I remember that sewing the zipper for my first pair was almost a nightmare. I got it almost right in the end after struggling with it. This one worked like a charm. Being this my third fly-front zipper helped to master the technique.

Like with my first Thurlow I was afraid again of sewing the belt loops, but my machine behaved correctly and they were sewn without any issue. And they look almost professional!

I finished this pair of pants last Thursday and I have worn them everyday since then. The weather has cooled down a bit in the last days and this pair of pants is just what I needed.

Completed: The great getaway bag

This was named by Koen as the neverending bag. I started before Christmas with the intention of using it when going to Vigo, but it soon became clear that not even spending hours and hours each day was going to make that real. I finally finished it almost a month after Christmas and reminded to myself that I should be more realistic about deadlines. If several people on internet mention that this is one of the most complicated bags from the book The Bag Making Bible, then they should be right.

I first used this book one year ago when making a handbag for my sister. I remember spending quite some hours but not as many as with this one. Also, when the book mentions the fact that you should keep your pieces organized, do so, or you’ll end up like me. Especially in the cases where it tells you to cut a rectangle of fabric of x and y dimensions and then cut a piece from that rectangle, and that several times. If at that moment you cut from the wrong rectangle (because believe me, you will have several rectangles that look just the same) then you’ll be almost as lost as me. So first rule, be organized and don’t throw your bag pieces into a plastic bag without any kind of label and expect to have everything clear the next day.

The instructions were clear but I’ve missed a couple of pictures extra about the process, just like with my previous handbag. All in all, the bag came out beautifully and it’s exactly like I expected.

If you intend to tackle a project like this you will need a walking foot. I wouldn’t have been able to sew this without it. Not only due to the laminated fabric but also due to the thickness off all layers together. I had a couple of issues due to that (my machine is not super powerful) but the walking foot helped to have things running smooth.

One of the features I like is the piped handles. I couldn’t find ready made ones so I had to make them myself. The book instructs you to buy flexi-tube, but that couldn’t be found here either, so I had to improvise. This is the best thing I found:

I’m also proud of my adjustable strap. Having made it before for my sister’s handbag helped me to know how to achieve clean results and that walking foot avoided major issues.

Another thing that I love love are the pockets, because what’s good about a handbag if it doesn’t have pockets?

The exterior pocket comes in handy to keep things you may need accessible, like your boarding pass.

The flush zip pocket is a feature I consider a must in any handbag, to keep your small valuable things, like your keys.

And the lining  pocket, divided in two different sized pockets, to store some extras, like documents, thread, your sewing shears.

I love this bag. It’s really spacious and comfortable to carry around. At first sight no one can guess it’s handmade. It has vibrant colors and it makes me feel proud of myself for being able to make it and  also finish it.

I’m not going anywhere right now so I currently use it to carry my projects to my sewing class. And it works great for that too!