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I have a very adorable friend named Helen.  She’s actually a former grad student of mine, but really more like a sister. If I had to use one word to describe Helen, it would be sunny. She is smiles, whereas the Selfish Seamstress is scowls. She is blue skies, while Selfish is drizzles and gloom. She is genuine and lovable, while Selfish is all deception and malice. She is violet and turquoise and emerald and daffodil, while Selfish is charcoal and black and navy. She makes people feel good about themselves, while the Selfish Seamstress cuts them down. It is nearly impossible to be anything but happy around Helen, and much like an impish singing and dancing orphan with a heart of gold who wins over the grumpy old loner against all odds, she can even tug the barest hint of affection from your crochety old Selfish Seamstress.

Helen and I have two things in common: 1) we are both rather obsessive about recycling and avoiding waste and 2) we are both quite small. A few months ago, Helen brought me a gift of a pair of very cute glen plaid pants that no longer fit her:

The manufacturer is Garage, and the fabric is cotton with a smidge of spandex. Unfortunately the pants were also much too small for the Selfish Seamstress, but Helen did not want them back, so they sat on the shelf for quite a long time.

Last night I pulled them out again and like the Grinch, post-epiphany, decided that environmentally passionate Helen would probably appreciate a little refashion job. I’ll call it a S.W.A.G. project for the sake of convenience, but it wasn’t really.  After all, only for sunny Helen would the Selfish Seamstress cheerfully and willingly match plaids and topstitch with painstaking precision:

The pattern is from the Japanese hat pattern book I got from Kinokuniya some months ago. I added on the button band and reused some of the buttons from the pants as embellishments. The fabric covered button on top is new though. I was going to line the whole thing in pale pink Bemberg rayon, but after I started cutting the pieces, it occurred to me that what Helen would probably appreciate more is knowing that there is a rainbow inside her hat. So I went digging through my lining collection, which admittedly has a lot more burgundy and black than sunny yellow or indigo. I briefly considered cutting up the rainbow fabric from a broken umbrella that I salvaged from the trash a while ago, but then thought the better of it- umbrella nylon is probably not the most comfortable fabric to have on your head. What I came up with isn’t exactly a rainbow (unless your idea of a rainbow includes tan), but is perhaps motley enough to convey the feeling of a rainbow in one’s hat:

Clockwise from top- pale pink Bemberg rayon, leaf green cotton lawn, forest green (though it looks turquoise here) poly satin lining, silver blue rayon, tan jacquard rayon, and burgundy rayon (though it looks brown here.)

I have not given it to Helen yet, so you get grumpy old Selfish as your model for now. (When I give it to her, I will try to convince her to let me show you a photo. She is far more adorable and photogenic than I. It’s amazing that I show up in photos at all.) Wow, it is hard to a take set of close up pictures that both show the hat properly at different angles, and don’t make my face look way scary. These are the best I could do and they are intentionally small.

I pulled out my straightening iron and tried to make my hair look like the Japanese models’ hair in the book, with sort of mediocre results. (Did you know you can curl hair with a straightening iron?  You can.) I do like the hat though, and it would break my selfish little heart to part with it for anyone but Helen. Current and prospective grad students take note- no handmade hats for you!

I may make one for myself, but it will have to be out of different fabric. With the plaid matching and long bands, the hat consumed a surprising amount of pant. All that’s left now is a bunch of oddly shaped scraps and strips, as well as a bizzarro plaid thong/holster/garter belt artifact:

No, I did not try the holster thingy on. I told you, the pants are too small for me.

I’ve been wearing my Jalie 2908 holy fecking shet jeans way too much. They just fit me so much better than any of my RTW jeans that I’ve been wearing them tons and practically forgotten about any of my other jeans. We’re talking about a frequency of wear that is outside of the realm of socially acceptable.  Bordering on gross. Actually probably well into gross territory. (TMI!) So last night I decided it was time to start a new pair.

I got some new stretch denim which is heavier than what I used for the last pair (I love the last pair, but they do feel a little flimsier than I like for jeans) and in a darker, less blue wash. I’ve got dark gold (not metallic) Gutermann topstitching thread and a couple of rivets left over from the last pair, though I could stand to order some more. I cut out all the denim last night and then started thinking about what scraps of cotton to appropriate for pocket linings and facings. 

It’s really not worth getting new cotton for the pockets in my opinion because you really don’t see them (unlike a jacket lining) and it’s such a small amount of fabric. I guess if you decide to line the waistband it might be justifiable to go pick out some adorable new print, but I prefer my waistband to be all denim. For the last pair, which, if you recall, was actually supposed to be a muslin, I just snipped a bit of old bedsheet that I had previously used to muslin something else. But it wasn’t a particularly pretty bedsheet, and it has that wrinkly worn look of a very old, very nondescript bedsheet. So this time I wanted something prettier.  Here’s what I’m going with- some candystriped cuteness in varied shades of pink and brown:


You saw England,
You saw France!
I made you look at Dan’s UNDERPANTS!

That’s right- I’ve decided that old boxer shorts are the BEST source for jeans pocket fabrics. You can easily get a whole matching set out of a single pair of underwear and the prints are just so darn cute. (Don’t worry, they’re clean, which is more than I can say for the Jalie jeans that I’ve worn for the last 3 days in a row.)

More TMI! This pair was wearing and tearing at the seams and I had even mended them once already (*gasp* Did I just publicly admit to mending something for someone else?  And someone’s UNDERWEAR, no less?? Guess whose internal filter is not working today.  Mine!) but despite the patching, the fabric was just so worn at the seams that they were falling apart.  Other than at the seams, however, the fabric is in great shape. And so cute and pink.

I’ve been hoarding several pairs of Dan’s falling-apart boxers (yeah, more TMI! The Selfish Seamstress is freaky!) because the fabric is good quality and adorable in cheerful stripes and mermaid prints and polka dots, but hadn’t really had a plan for them other than the vague and perverse idea of an eventual “Underpants Quilt,” as there didn’t seem to be enough fabric in a pair to make much else. But now that I’m making my own jeans and will probably make several more pairs in the future, I’m pretty thrilled with this use of the undies. 

But it sure makes you think twice about asking me if I can carry your lipstick in my pocket when we go out, huh?   

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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