Oh no! Where did time go?

It’s the end of May already!! Where oh where did the last 2 months go? I was determined that I’d post weekly and then … and then … well, life came and bit me on the bum… again!

To recap .. we went to Hawaii for two weeks in April. It was, as always, amazing if a bit frustrating. Frustration stemmed from the fact that having broken my leg and rib in late January, I started weight bearing 9 days before we left for Hawaii. Oh yes, and I was wearing a full leg brace. The nurse in me said ‘well, it’s better than a full leg cast’. But oy, vey! I developed the worst heat rash under that brace. So bad I decided it was worth not wearing the blasted thing after all! The trade winds were up when we were there, which meant that the waves were too. It made it harder for me to get in the ocean, but rather than be defeated we found some accessible beaches and entry points.

CM enjoying his Thunder Mountain Coffee taster
Thunder Mountain Coffee

I love Hawaii. We go to the Big Island – Kona side. I swear that my veins are slightly coffee coloured by the time I return. I drink coffee several times a day when I’m there; just a small cup of Madame Pele’s goodness. (She’s the Fire Goddess, goddess of volcanoes and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands). Life is more laid back and we enjoy buying local, eating local and just hanging out. Let’s face it, most everything else is imported from elsewhere in the USA so it can be expensive. Not to mention the Canadian dollar is pretty poor to our Southern cousins dollar … EEP! It was a bit of an expensive trip – but a good one.

Fishing!
Fishing!

I went sea fishing while we were there. Same company as always; Bite Me! They not only offer fishing charters but have a great, if simple, restaurant on site serving what the fishers don’t take away with them. They also have a little fish counter that sells the rest of the fresh fish; Let’s face it, it comes off the boats several times a day. It’s the third time I have been out with them. They’re professional, the boats are clean and the crews friendly. Plus they accommodate my nut allergies. When I booked I asked if it would be ok if no-one ate nuts on the trip. The receptionist said “I remember you. You’re the lady who brings treats in case people can’t eat the ones they brought with them”. Considering we only go to Hawaii on an annual basis at most , it’s a sign of their customer service that she remembered me. If you like fishing and are on Hawaii I recommend them wholeheartedly!

You need to move over to the sewing part of my blog now as I have finally written about the Secret Test that happened in March and April. No longer a secret; I made myself a pair of jeans. Woo Hoo! They are fab!

Coming soon is an update on my Mystery Challenge project. I was given Countess Constance Markievicz. .. no comment!

I’ve also joined a blog tour for Canadian designers. This means that as well as designing something for the mystery tour I’ll be making something else.

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Jeans, Jeans, Gotta Love them Jeans!

Before I left for Hawaii I’d been working on a secret test for a lovely creative inspiring designer called Suzanne Winter. Her company is called Winter Wear Designs. Suzanne has an Etsy Shop, a blog and a FaceBook group (you can look for that one yourself!).

It’s the first time I have ever tested a design and to be honest it was a bit of a concern for me. I wasn’t sure if my skills were up for the challenge. I must admit that I am still slightly befuddled about how I became one of the chosen few testers. But hey, I didn’t worry for too long because there was frankly, just too much to do. The hardest part was being unable to tell my friends what I was up to, and ask for advice (did I say it was my first time?).

The jeans are called The Real Deal Jeans. The real deal because they had a yoke (not a worry), waistband (that’s fine too), but a jeans zipper?!! (ho hum .. I got there – eventually).

Enough joviality though .. they were and are a fantastic pair of jeans, well crafted, and the testers were all height, shapes and sizes. Part of me wondered why a designer would try to incorporate sizing from a 00 – 24 on one pattern. It certainly gave her a lot of work, and I must admit that I now have increased respect for both designers and paying for the patterns.

But back to the pattern… These are a straight legged jean, though I made mine slightly boot legged as I live in cowboy boots for most of the year. The pattern also includes shorty shorts (bedroom shorts for those of us who are a bit older?), long shorts, capri pants and full length jeans. Suzanne’s blog and the FB group have instructions for distressing your fabric, converting to a skinny jean and other options. They are made from a stretch fabric. While, in essence that seems an easy thing to buy, it honestly isn’t! There are many types and qualities of stretch fabrics, so read the experts suggestions! I’d chosen a soft pink stretch corduroy, but it sadly had great stretch but not good recovery (as in, it didn’t return to its original shape). As such, they will get finished but I’ll have to size down on the pattern to make them fit and stay up. It was a valuable lesson learned.

What I got out of this experience (apart from a great pair of jeans!) was being part of a team, learning from a professional, and knowing I had input in creating a great product. I’m 5’9” tall with a 33” inside leg. It’s not terribly tall, but I have a longer rise and find it hard getting clothes to fit. It’s why I started sewing at 14. I’d grown out of 2 school uniforms in 6 months and my mum gave me fabric and told me to get sewing. Thanks Mum, it’s a lifelong love affair!

The pattern is a PDF; I still hate printing, cutting and pasting the pieces together. Like most fitted patterns its essential to make a muslin beforehand. If you use a non-stretch fabric for the muslin like I did, then I’d advise cutting it on the bias or on an angle to give a bit of stretch. Otherwise you’ll need your muslin to fit tightly or you might end up going down a size. I used cotton for my muslin, then needed to go down a size with my stretchy cord.

The pattern instructions are clear with lots of pictures. The instructions include suggestions on decorating the pockets, get fancy with seam decoration and generally personalize them. As a visual learner I really appreciated the pictures. Suzanne was great in taking on board the suggestions to ensure it is an easily understood, well written pattern.

It’s six weeks since I finished my pair, but I know I will be making more. I liked that I could alter the yoke and rise to fit me, in just the right places. I’m thrilled with how they turned out.

Anyway, here are my finished pair in a burgundy stretch corduroy shot with silver flecks. I hope you are inspired enough to make your own pair!

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