Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Sewing Project

Orageuse Bruges Trousers Pattern Review


This is one of my latest projects – the Bruges Trousers by the French pattern company, Orageuse. I wanted a comfortable yet stylish pair of pants for work and so I chose this pattern. It has a front fly, which I hadn’t ever done on pants before, but I was ready for the challenge!

I chose a light brown corduroy that cost me next to nothing. I love shopping at our local thrift sewing store called Sew Green, a not-for-profit that takes unused and leftover fabric and other sewing notions and resells them. I got the corduroy as well as the peach corduroy that I used for the stripe on a day Sew Green had their bag sale (fit as much fabric as you can in your bag for $15!).

The pattern turned out to be more difficult than I bargained for, but I persevered and was very happy with the results. Here’s the lowdown on my experience:

The pattern has been translated into English. Between teeny tiny print that strained my 57 year old eyes, even with reading glasses, and strange terms, lost in translation, I almost gave up! This is what American sewists need to know before attempting this challenge: seam allowances are 1 cm! The instructions do say this, but somehow I missed this little note and ended up with pants that were too small so I had to pick them apart and start again! The other little thing that kept tripping me up was the use of the term “right sides facing”. I am used to American patterns which say “right sides together”. I kept asking myself, “Right sides facing? Facing what? Up? Down? Both the same way? Huh?” And what does this mean: “If your muslin is too thigh around your butt will have to add more ease.” Huh? My thighs aren’t around my butt! Okay – it’s a typo, but it’s a pretty hilarious typo.Jpeg

I found the pocket design unique but not impossible. The front fly was tricky, but the directions were pretty clear on that one. You definitely need to print the directions in color.

I consider myself an intermediate sewist. I would not recommend this pattern for beginners, nor advanced beginners. This was, in my opinion, not for the faint of heart. But I am so happy with the finished product! I really do love them!

The blouse I am wearing with my pants (ok – for all you Europeans – “trousers”), is the Simplicity K8169.SimplicityK8169



Gail's Nest · Pattern Review · Refashion · Sewing Project

Refashioners Challenge 2018 – Inspired By

This year’s Refashioners Challenge put out there by sewist and blogger, Portia Lawrie of the UK, is to take a popular designer or fashion icon out there and mimic his/her masterpiece with an old, tired, thrifted piece.

Sooooooooooo…here’s what I did:

Really this project came at the right time because I’ve been planning on making a winter coat for myself for 10 months now. I have quite the pinterest board on coats and patterns. I knew I wanted a 1960s style coat. Jackie Kennedy’s style has appealed to me for awhile and her famous/ infamous Oleg Cassini leopard coat was probably the most amazing thing she ever wore:


I say “famous” because when she wore it she stunned everyone everywhere. I say “infamous” because it was so crazy popular that everyone wanted one and the leopard population nearly became extinct. Oleg Cassini was quoted as saying he regretted making it. I think he underestimated how much of a fashion icon Jackie Kennedy was.


When I walked into my local “Sally Ann’s Boutique” (aka Salvation Army) I saw this fleece bathrobe. BINGO!!


Yeah. Hmm. I know. My husband just laughed at me when I put it on. This was a definite rescue operation.

So my first step was to “unpick” it apart. (BTW – why do sewist say “unpick”? I don’t get it. Aren’t we “picking” it? We’re picking apart the seams, right? Un-pick would mean to undo picking which would mean to put it together. Where do we get “unpick”? Anyway… that’s what I was thinking about while I did this tedious task.


I decided on The Ellsworth Coat pattern by Christine Haynes.


It required a lining fabric and while fleece is warm I knew I wanted a REALLY warm coat to get through the weeks of below zero (fahrenheit) Ithaca, NY weather. I pulled out a thick black soft fleece from my stash (really it was from a failed attempt to make a coat back in March).


Look at that pile of pattern pieces! I was going to make a few adjustments on the pattern because the fabric from the robe wasn’t going to be quite enough.

I decided on using the lining fabric for the yoke and collar. Also, I chose to eliminate the pockets on the front. Jackie’s coat had side pockets and I would rather have them too so I planned to insert the pockets from the robe right into my coat.


Here’s the coat in process:


Jackie’s coat had 3/4 sleeves so I saved precious leopard print by adding my lining fabric at the bottom, giving the sleeves a 3/4 look but giving me the full length I wanted.

Now it was going to need awesome buttons so I searched my stash, Joann’s, and ebay and settled on these black paisleys.Jackiecoat3-1

So here’s the finished project:

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No leopards harmed in the making!!




Gail's Nest · Lydia's Nest · Sewing Project

Date with my Daughter to a Fabric Store

Sewing lovers will agree that entering a fabric store is like walking into an ice cream parlor. You get a rush when you see all the different colors and textures. And how do you decide?

Couple that with entering the store with your sewing-loving daughter and you have a ready made good time.

Triple that with entering the store with your darling not-yet-two grandson and… well, you can’t linger too long making decisions.


But… I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

We went to Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Ligonier, Indiana.

So here was our haul…

This super soft double brushed poly could make great leggings!

I’m planning on making a blouse out of this pretty piece.

I want to make a coat, and I found this fun fabric to test my pattern on! I love the color.

When I’ve worked out all the kinks, I’m going to use these to make a 1950s-inspired coat.

And here’s Lydia’s haul:

Such fun!

These two are for some comfy joggers for Cory. (And maybe matching ones for Deacon!)

You can never have too many basic fabrics – the oatmeal will become a sweater, and the other two are great to have on hand for neckbands and such.

Lydia couldn’t resist picking up some fun fabrics for her baby GIRL on the way!

These last two are very soft – they’ll become leggings and a matching top.


We had a blast exploring Zinck’s. Highly recommend!



Gail's Nest · Sewing Project

A Guatemalan Fabric Make

Hey Everyone – My lovely daughter, Rachael, and new husband, Tom, went to Guatemala on a medical mission trip and brought back for me some lovely blue woven fabric. I gave half of it to Lydia, hoping she’ll have time to make something for herself (she recently moved to Indiana and now is expecting baby number 2 so I doubt it will be any time soon!) It will be fun to see what she comes up with!

So anyway… here’s the fabric and here’s the pattern I chose to use:


The jumper was an easy make. Thank you Rachael and Tom!

And here are a few photos of the newlyweds’ mission trip in Guatemala:

MarketTandRwith childTom

And the final product…




Thank you to Rachael and Tom! Lydia – what will YOU do with your fabric?

And BTW – if any of you go on a trip and you’re wondering what to bring back as a souvenir to your loved ones, a great idea for the sewers in your family is a couple yards of fabric! Guaranteed they will love it.