A Quilting Cotton Belcarra Blouse

I'm a huge fan of Sewaholic Patterns as is evidenced here here here here and here and I always look forward to the new patterns. However, I was on the fence with the Belcarra blouse. I initially thought it was really casual, which I don't really need more of; I'm really on a mission to make more work-appropriate garments. But then I saw Miss Crayola Creepy's version and I became convinced that it could fill a void in my office wardrobe. The fabric (color, print, and material) can really transform this pattern.

Despite knowing better, I used a quilting cotton to make this version. It's a Pat Bravo design "premium" quilting cotton fabric (NouvElle - Femme Fatale) that I bought at Sew Modern. I was hoping to find some rayon challis or voile, but I kept going back to this print even though I knew I shouldn't be using quilting cotton for shirts/blouses. However, I just couldn't pass up this beautiful print. In case you're wondering if this blouse can be made in a quilting cotton, yes, technically it can, but it would be so much better in a fabric with a lot more drape and a lot less stiffness. Let me tell you why.....

While I love the print and think it's absolutely beautiful, the fabric type is all wrong for this pattern. It's interesting how when you first try on a garment after making it you may think, "it looks ok, but I could see how maybe I should have tweaked this", but after you wear the garment for a full day you really notice what fits well and what doesn't.

I wore it to work the other day and all day I couldn't stop futzing over my blouse, tugging it down, moving my bra straps, making sure the front neckline didn't poof out in front fully exposing my bust.....ugh. I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how I could modify it so I wouldn't risk exposing myself with every slight movement. I'm thinking of adding some pleats or tucks to the front neckline.

For awhile I thought maybe I needed a forward shoulder adjustment, but nope, the shoulder seam is perfectly fine when the blouse is tugged down and I stand up straight with my shoulders back (or in other words, I hold myself in a perfect posture). But as soon as I start moving, especially hunched over my keyboard, all hell breaks loose.

I tried capturing these movements in the photos, but every time I took a photo I was disappointed to see that it looked fine. I swear it doesn't look fine in real life! The quilting cotton is way too stiff and every time I move it just poofs out. I most definitely should have used a fabric that drapes well (and so should you!).

Anyway, enough complaining about my poor fabric choices.....on to the pattern.....I made the Belcarra in a straight 0 with no modifications other than the cuffs. I didn't even shorten the blouse, but I think I should have shortened it about an inch. I would like to wear this blouse untucked most of the time and I think it's currently a tad bit too long.

I had a really difficult time sewing on the cuffs. I don't know if I stretched the sleeves during cutting or construction, but they were significantly longer than the cuffs and I pretty much either had to gather the sleeves or stuff them in near the underarm seam (that's the route I took....why??? i have no idea because it looks ugly.) I ended up sewing on the cuffs differently than instructed. It was really late at night when I was finishing it and didn't want to take out my serger one last time to finish the seams. So I sewed the cuffs on the wrong side of the sleeves, then turned the cuffs over to the right side and stitched them down. I'm actually strongly considering removing the cuffs and just turning the sleeve hem under because my massive guns feel too constricted.

In case you can't tell in the photos, there is a lot of extra fabric at the high bust edge/inner armhole. I think I need to tuck out an inch of fabric between the bust and shoulder. Also, the blouse is a bit snug across my bust so I plan on grading out to a size 2 just at the bust.

Overall, I like this pattern. It looks basic and simple, but there are so many options for customizing it that once I get the fit down right (and use the correct fabric type), it could be a great block to make a variety of blouses. What do you think??

I bought the pdf pattern and was very impressed to see it included an index of the sheets and clearly labeled which pages you would need to print out for each version. That is a detail I think most pdf pattern users would appreciate.


2014 Mid-Year Check-In

Hello hello! I'm still blogging....just very very infrequently. I have so many draft blog posts, but I've been super lazy about taking photos of my finished (or in-progress) makes. Most of the photos in this mid-year check-in post are from Instagram.....which is just so convenient. The pics look decent on a phone, but not so good on a full-size screen.....sorry not sorry.

Here's a nice photo to start things off on a good foot. It's all downhill after this one!

Man oh man, where the heck did time go?

A lot has happened in the first half of 2014, in my personal and sewing life. I haven't blogged since March! I think the best way to get back into blogging is to do a check-in, so here we go:

I started 2014 with a sewing goal: 8 projects. I actually forgot what I had on that list and had to look at my blog post to see what I told myself to sew this year! (I also had planned on listing the 8 projects on my sidebar and crossing off each one as I completed it, but hello, laziness!)

I'm actually doing pretty well with the goal! Madalynne recently discussed "Fast Sewing", which she described as the sewing world getting caught up in every new pattern release or fabric and rushing to create them to be in the "in crowd". I can't say I'm above all that because I do cave-in when I see a pattern I really like, but I don't sew very fast. I think it's because I usually have to make several modifications for a patten fit me right and my sewing/fitting skills aren't quite to that point where I know exactly what to fix on the first couple tries. I only listed 8 projects as a goal this year because I didn't want to pressure myself to go too fast and I knew it would leave me time to work on other stuff.

Anyway, back to the 8 Projects. I'm over halfway there! How convenient! I made a sleeveless Emery Dress, another Emery Dress, the Zinnia skirt, and Coat/Jacket. I decided to swap the Robson Trench Coat for the Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket, which was about the right length of coat I wanted. I haven't blogged this jacket yet, but I did Instagram it several times. I probably should add that it's actually only 98% finished because I still haven't sewn on the buttons. I discovered the other day that my buttons are a tad bit too big for the buttonholes I made....oops! Oh well. I also finished the Closet Case Patterns Bombshell swimsuit (which is ah-maze-ing!) right at the end of  June so I'm counting it as a first half of the year make.

I've also made a couple other things this year:
3 Monetas (one turned into a shirt), a third Emery Dress (although I've unpicked some parts and still need to fix it), the Deer and Doe Belladone Dress, and another Sewaholic Tofino PJ pants. I'm also halfway through a fourth Moneta; I just purchased "lining" fabric, but it may turn out to be a reversible dress (keep your fingers crossed!) And I haven't blogged about any of these! Although all of them except one have been Instagrammed.

I am also working on a muslin for a blazer (the Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern) because I noticed this year that a well-fitted blazer is a serious hole in my wardrobe. I ran into some fit issues around the front armscye/sleeve area so that muslin has been set aside while I think about it.

Despite all the garments I've made this year so far, I'm totally going to have to buckle down to complete the last 4 Sewing Goals for 2014. I tried making a rub-off of one of my husband's shirts and came across some difficulty getting the muslin to fit just right. (we also got pissy at each other during the fitting process because he claims I snapped at him multiple times, and I just wanted him to stand still, which he was not doing. the difficulties of unselfish sewing...). In March I was so gung-ho regarding menswear, but it's been more difficult than I was hoping. I bet part of it is that I want whatever I make my husband to fit him absolutely perfectly because I want him to feel good in it not just because his wife made him something, but because his wife is a fucking master at sewing menswear. I might need to let my OCD/perfectionism take a seat and just sew the damn thing. If it fits, great! If not, well, I'll know what to fix for next time. I also promised my husband a badass vest (like one the guys wear in Justified). I have a Simplicity pattern, but I haven't even made a muslin yet.

I still need to do some tweaking to the Albion Toggle Coat pattern. I can probably put it off till after summer since I won't be needing a wool coat anytime soon. I mean shit, I didn't need a wool coat this past winter.

On the personal front (omigod, I'm getting personal here!), I finally met some sewing bloggers in real life at Christine Haynes' book party at Sew LA. I know this is still sewing related, but I'm including it in the personal section because it's proof that I stepped out of my comfort zone to meet new people. I was definitely nervous about how to start talking to people (*goodness I sound so ridiculous*), but I am very glad I went!

I also changed jobs in the spring. I felt like I was getting held back at my old job and was worried that I was getting "behind"....if that makes any sense. I also looked around my office and asked myself if I saw myself working there in 5 years and the answer was a resounding 'No', so I knew I had to make move. I'm still in the same field, still working in Downtown LA, but with a different company (actually, the one I started at when I entered the workforce, just a different office location). So far, so good! I also had so much vacation time saved at my last job, that I treated myself to a week and a half staycation. I sewed. I tried a new ramen joint. I worked out. I also went to Vegas for a couple days with the husband and bet $20 the LA Kings would win the Stanley Cup at 12/1 odds....which THEY DID! NOW I HAVE TO GO TO VEGAS AGAIN TO COLLECT MY SCRILLA!

Holy Shit, the LA Kings won another Stanley Cup!!!! Not sure if I've ever talked about it here, but I've been an insane LA Kings fan since I was a little kid (like since 6 or 7 years old). Never did I think they would win 1 Cup, let along 2 Cups in 3 years! It's crazy and ridiculous that I get so freaking emotional over a sports team, but I do. I admit it. I bawled like a baby when they won Cup #1 and I still cried (albeit a lot less) when they won Cup #2. I also seriously considered dropping over $600 PER TICKET for my husband and I to attend the Cup Clinching game, but then "Rational Kaoru" appeared and talked me out of it. So now I have money to buy fabric this summer :)

Also, in addition to the 4 projects left on my 2014 list, I recently found out I will be attending two weddings this summer and I was thinking, holy shit, I sew! I should make my dresses! I feel confident enough in my sewing skills to whip up two wedding-guest-appropriate dresses so I should do it. I just need to figure out what pattern(s) and what fabric......any suggestions???

Ok, back to sewing! Yay!


The Bubble Gum Belladone Vegas Dress

At the beginning of April I found myself between jobs by choice (I suppose I was technically unemployed.) I had over 4 weeks of outstanding vacation days at my old job so I decided that I could "afford" to sit around and do nothing for a week and a half before I started my new job. My husband and I entertained the idea of road tripping up the coast to the Bay Area and hitting up Hearst Castle and Carmel on the way, but the dates didn't really work out well with his schedule. And besides, I was secretly hoping to sew ALL WEEK LONG!!! The idea just sounded so heavenly!

So instead of an awesome road trip we decided to spend a couple days in Vegas, which still left me with about a week of free time to do as I pleased. I spent most of the days working out in the mornings, grabbing lunch at a new spot, and sewing. I primarily worked on the Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket, which took way longer than it should have only because I decided to finish the seams with handmade bias tape (gawd, that took forever!).

And then the day before we left for Vegas I decided that I should make myself a Vegas dress! Let me clarify for a sec. When I say "Vegas Dress" I'm not talking about a slutty dress, but rather something that I wouldn't normally wear everyday. I high-tailed it to Jo-ann Fabrics because I wanted something fairly inexpensive and I wasn't too concerned about making a high quality garment. I wanted something floaty, but instead settled on a pink bottomweight fabric. Then I found some gold metallic bias tape! GOLD! To me, nothing screams 'Vegas' more than GOLD!

I decided to use the Belladone Pattern from Deer and Doe, which is pretty conservative in the front, but the back is so wonderfully unexpected that I felt it was appropriate for the occasion. I made a muslin of the bodice since I knew the back would not fit on the first try. I tried to shorten the long edges since there was quite a bit of gaping, but I still don't think I have the pattern modified correctly. However, I was very short on time so I forged ahead. I stayed up so very late working on this dress and woke up early the next morning to finish it.

This dress looks like a total rush job up close, but I think it's passable from afar. The back neckline is totally messed up so I can't really wear this dress with the back neckline exposed. I didn't take any photos of the insides because that would pretty much be the equivalent of airing my dirty laundry. Trust me, the insides are not worth sharing....it's pretty embarrassing. I ran out of white serger thread midway through so only half of the seams are finished properly. I didn't have time to slipstitch the hem so I just machined stitched it; oh by the way, I completely forgot to buy thread that matches the fabric so I used a color that doesn't quite match the fabric, but I think it sorta coordinates. The top of the zipper is kind of a disaster. I really struggled with the best way to finish that part. Regardless, I had fun wearing this dress. And besides, I kept telling myself I would be in Vegas. There are a ton of people so messed up and poorly dressed that no one was going to notice the flaws with my dress. That was my sewing mantra as I powered through this dress: It's Vegas, no one will notice!

The instructions are pretty sparse, but I think the dress is easy enough that you don't really need that hand-holding. Just make sure you take the time to match up the back bodices pieces correctly. Double-check before you sew!

I definitely want to make the Belladone Dress again, but this time in a lighterweight fabric. Despite all the construction flaws I have actually worn this dress more times than any other dress I've made. In addition to wearing it in Vegas I also wore it for Easter brunch and to dinner to celebrate my 5th Wedding Anniversary! Hooray for marriage! I need to revisit my muslin first to make sure it fits properly in the back. Anyone have a good tutorial or hack job to get the back to fit better?


Argh, Interfacing!!!

Sooooooooo....this happened on my current "vintage" make:

I was *THIS* close to finishing a #VintagePledge sewing project, but progress came to a screeching halt when I basted on the bow and discovered I looked like I was auditioning for the circus.

Seriously, my bow looks NOTHING like the one on the envelope.

The fabric is a voile and I was so hesitant to interface the bow, as is instructed in the pattern. But I found an "ultra lightweight interfacing" made by Pellon that I had in my stash. It felt very lightweight with a good amount of drape so I went ahead and fused that bitch onto my beautiful voile, knowing full well that I didn't have enough leftover fabric to redo it if it turned out shitty.

Well, it turned out shitty and now I'm stuck doing this:

yep, I'm scraping the interfacing off the bow ever so delicately. I've gone through a fantastic episode of Parenthood and a gawd-awful episode of Grey's Anatomy and I'm still maybe only halfway there. I could go back to the fabric store and purchase a quarter yard, but I'm feeling cheap and I don't even know whether I'll like the blouse with a looser bow.

So, lesson learned. Use a high quality lightweight interfacing for delicate fabrics or none at all. Oh, and I should remember to read other sewing bloggers' makes; I forgot that Handmade Jane made this blouse last fall and I just re-read her post and she left out the interfacing......I would have saved myself hours if I had just taken a minute or two to hop on over to her blog. *sigh* I'll finish this blouse eventually...


{Finished Object} Emery Dress #3

ok, so after my hellish time making up my own construction order on the last Emery Dress I decided to make another one following the instructions to a T.

I've had this quilting cotton fabric in my stash for months and always intended on turning it into an Emery Dress. I bought the fabric (Comma Nigella by Zen Chic) at Sew Modern and I remember the lady asking me what I was going to make because I bought 3 yards. When I told her I planned on making a dress she made a comment about how she figured I was doing something big with it since I got so much yardage; I'm guessing most people who shop there don't usually buy that much yardage of one fabric since the store mainly caters to quilters.

Now that I had the pattern tweaked to fit my bodice, I knew it would be an easy project. I kept the zipper in the center back and add the shorter sleeves. Actually I modified the sleeves to make them more of a cap sleeve. I know the pattern isn't perfectly drafted, but I like how it turned out on the dress. I took off about 1/2" on the ends of the sleeve pattern and a couple inches in the middle and then connected the three points in an arc.

I just have to brag for a second and mention this is the first dress I've ever completed in one day!! I feel like I've surpassed a sewing plateau. But, I suppose such a conquest can (should?) happen when you make the same pattern 3 times.

I gotta say, after making essentially the same dress twice two weeks in a row, I definitely like the side zipper better than the back center zipper. Seriously, why does the back not look nearly as good as my side zipper dress? Also, don't pay any attention to all the wrinkles. I have no idea why the dress looks so crumpled in the back.

My husband took these photos and while he says he doesn't mind doing it, he gets a bit inpatient so I'm always hesitant to ask him to take 50 shots from each angle. So....crumpled dress in the back it is....

I think I only used a 3/8" seam allowance along the center zipper because I was worried the quilting cotton wouldn't breathe as well, but I probably should have used the standard 5/"8" seam allowance. I should mention that this version can be fully zipped while on the dressform, but the sleeveless version cannot despite that one being made out fabric that has a slight stretch. The shoulders and bust on my dressform are a bit bigger than my actual measurements so fitted tops can't fit on my dress form. Obviously I added some unnecessary extra ease into this version.....

For my next {Emery?} Dress I want to try installing a side zipper where the zipper doesn't extend all the way to top of the side seam/bottom of the armhole. I have a blouse with this type of zipper insertion, so maybe I can figure out the construction. It would be nice to have a clean armhole as opposed to worrying about the zipper top digging into my armpit (oh doesn't that sound lovely??).

Anyway, this post is short on details because I pretty much used the same modifications from the second Emery Dress, but just moved the zipper to the back. I really want to make another Emery Dress despite having at least a handful of other dress patterns I've never made. It just feels amazing to know I have a pattern that fits like a glove and is pretty easy to make (if I follow the instructions).

Also, there is now a sewing celebration for Roisin (of Dolly Clackett fame) and her upcoming nuptials. She's such an inspiration to me. I recently went back to Sew Modern to find some adorable fabric and was SO tempted to buy the raccoon print from one of Tula Pink's collections and I seriously thought, "Roisin would totally rock a dress made out of this fabric"....and what do ya know, she did! In case you're wondering, no, I did not purchase the fabric because I still haven't broken out of my demure, conservative fabric and pattern choices. Baby steps...one of these days...So yeah, I'll be making another Emery Dress. I did buy some pretty awesome fabric recently that I'm really excited about turning into a dress.

Maybe for my next one I'll alter the neckline. My husband's first comment on this dress was "the neckline is very conservative". Translation: "you should have lowered the neckline". Tasha of By Gum By Golly just posted an Emery Dress with a square neckline, which looks super flattering. I just might have to steal that idea!

...And like that, I'm down 3 projects in 2014! I actually finished this dress a couple weeks ago and had planned on finishing those damn modifications to the trench coat that has been dancing around my head for months. But alas, I got lazy and never got around to it. Also, I need to get started on one of the projects for my husband that I've been promising for at least year.....oh menswear....you're so attractive, but so intimidating.


{Finished Object} - Emery Dress #2 - Sleeveless and Unlined

Oh man, that Emery Dress pattern by Christine Haynes.....it has become a TNT pattern! I finished two dresses recently; I'm sharing one today and I'll share another one later this week.

I've had my eye on making another Emery Dress soon after I tested the pattern...way back in August 2013. However, I was a bit lost on how to reduce the slight gaping along the back neckline. It wasn't *that* noticeable, but the neckline would not sit flat when I wore it and I could not for the life of me figure out why. As much as I really, really, really wanted to make another Emery Dress, I did not want to make one until I could figure out how to make sure the neckline would lay flat.Would I have to do some crazy pattern hack to reduce the length of the back neckline? Did I need to lengthen the neckline darts or add new darts somewhere else?

Well, I finally figured out what I had to do! I tried on my muslin (which I made back in October or November when I planned to make another dress) and realized that if I just raised the whole bodice at the shoulder seams just a tad, then voila! The girls are framed ever so nicely by the darts, and the slight gaping along the back neckline was f'ing gone!

I eventually realized that raising the shoulder seams would mean I would have to also re-draft the necklines and darts......so I decided to shorten the bodice through the mid-point of the armsyce. Modifying the bodice this way meant I only needed to true-up the armsyce and lengthen the bodice below the waistline by the same amount I reduced above my bustline.

Anyway....once I got that part fixed it was easing sailing with the Emery Dress. Well, it would have been if I hadn't decided to make even more changes without fully thinking through the construction process.

I moved the zipper to the left side seam and decided to make a sleeveless version. I managed to get the side seam pockets sewn into the dress with the side zipper on my first try, but I doubt I did it the "correct" way.

My easy sewing day came to a halt after this point when I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to neatly machine-sew the lining into the dress. I sewed, unpicked, sewed, unpicked....way too many times. Eventually I scrapped the lining and finished the neckline and armholes with bias binding....hand-sewn, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid with the lining....

In case you want to machine-sew the lining into a sleeveless dress, you have to sew the lining to the bodice BEFORE attaching the skirt to the bodice. I eventually googled it after I sewed everything together and had no idea how to get myself out of the mess.....Here let me Google you some tutorials for this method.

The neckline is actually a bit lower and wider than it should be because I actually understitched the lining to the main fabric at the neckline and instead of unpicking that mess, I just sewed on the bias binding and then cut off the lining at the original seam. I don't mind the lower neckline, but the shoulder width is narrower, which I sorta mind. (Well done, self!)

I used a "bottomweight" fabric from Jo-Ann Fabrics that I bought months ago, so I can only guess that it's mainly cotton, but there is a slight stretch to it which I totally appreciate because it means I can eat a lot and still breathe with a tightly fitted bodice. On the downside though, it's much heavier and thicker than quilting cotton so it doesn't really cooperate when I try to iron the darts flat (see first 2 photos above), but at least I can get away with wearing this dress without any lining or slips (or at least I think so....).

Since the fabric is a bit stiffer than what the pattern calls for, I reduced the width of the skirt patterns (about 6" total on the front and 4 or 5" on the back). Don't get me wrong, I love how the skirt looked on my first version, but I was concerned about going full poof with a stiffer fabric. I also got to try out my serger for the first time! Gotta say.....LOVE IT! ERMAHGERD, I cannot believe how fast I can finish seams now!

Before I hemmed the dress I tried it on and showed my husband. He was astounded at how well it fit in the front bodice. He said it looked like a custom fit dress and well, that's the one of the things I want to accomplish with sewing my own clothes. The back bodice on this dress could use a bit of tweaking to get it just perrrrrrfect, but I think it's fine the way it is right now. It's so damn hard for me to find the right fit with RTW clothes, particularly skirts and dresses, because there's usually not a big selection for petites so it's refreshing to know I can make my own dresses. Can't wait to make like a hundred variations of this dress!


{Finished Object} Sewaholic Tofino PJ Pants

Not one. Not two. But three Sewaholic Tofino PJ Pants!

Even though I finished the bottom two this past weekend I'm not counting these as part of my 2014 makes since I should have finished them in 2013 considering two of them are Christmas gifts! Well, better late than never!

Back in November 2013 I had this grand plan to make my friends PJ pants for Christmas out of some ridiculous cat print. Two of my close friends and I are huge cat lovers and we appreciate super cheesy stuff so I thought they would get a kick out of this horrid Timeless Treasures cat print.

Howeva, I wasn't loving the price tag of the fabric at about $10/yard. I was also concerned with the size of the cats' heads. I wanted the first handmade garment I made for someone else to look nice, so I opted to use a "nicer-looking" flannel print from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

I was hesitant about buying the Tofino pattern because did I really want to pay that much for a pajama pants pattern???? Well, in case you have the same reservations, let me make a decision for you. Yes, you do want to buy it because holy hell it's awesome! I don't think I've read a single negative review about this pattern and that is because it is fantastically easy to make.

I ended up making a pair for myself first so I could get used to the pattern. I contemplated making my own piping, but I seriously couldn't figure out where to get cording in Jo-Ann's and I was too lazy to ask someone. I settled for pre-made piping: white for myself, navy and pink for my friends. I also struggled with which elastic to get. There are just so many options! I decided to buy the "underwear" elastic because it felt like it would be comfortable, yet sturdy enough to hold up PJ pants. Oh, it is sooooooo comfortable!

Ok, onto the construction. I shortened the pants 4 inches for myself and left them as-is for my friends, since they're actually normal-people height. I didn't make any other adjustments to both pants. If you're wondering, I used 2.5 yards for myself and 3 yards for the full-length pants. I also was able to fit the belt onto the 3 yards even though it's listed under a separate "contrast fabric" section, which I totally did not see when I was buying fabric. It was a tight fit, but I made it happen. I did not interface the openings in the waistband in the version for myself, but the flannel fabric I used was prone to fraying easily, so I interfaced the openings on the next two versions. I'd recommend taking the extra minutes to interface since you'll want to wear these pants all the time and will want them to last forever.

I had never sewn with piping before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm glad I made my pants first because I learned a couple things that I was able to apply to the second pair. First of all, I didn't sew close enough to the cording so the stitches on the pre-made piping definitely show.

Second, I lined up the raw edge of the pre-made piping with the raw edge of the pants sections. It didn't occur to me to check the width of the pre-made piping (which by the way is 1/2") so I ended up accidentally adding an extra 1/2" to the waist on the legs. I had to reduce the waistband seam allowance to make up for the extra width.

So yeah, lesson learned: Check your pre-made piping width. On the second pair I made, I marked off a 1/4" line along the side panel leg sections to know where to line up the pre-made piping. And I sewed much, much closer to the cording!

There's not much else to say about the pattern. The construction was super easy. It would have been finished in a flash if there weren't such long seams to finish! Oh vey, that took forever. Having a serger will definitely save you a ton of time finishing the raw edges.

The belt is called out as constructed in contrasting fabric, but I used the same flannel fabric on all three makes. I would not recommend doing that because it gets really, really bulky around your waist line and it's difficult to tie in a bow. I agree with Tasia's recommendation to use a contrasting fabric. I've seen people use ribbon too, which looks really cute.

The flannel is so soft and comfortable and the pants have so much wearing ease. I usually make a size 2 in Sewaholic, but I made a size 0, which fits very comfortably around the waist and the legs are enormous! Not that I'm complaining though because I lurve wearing them! I really hope my friends like theirs too. I love them so much I'm willing to post a backside shot (ermahgerd it's my butt!):

I highly recommend this pattern, especially if you're looking for a beginner's pattern to get started in sewing or you just want a fantastic pajama pants pattern or you want something to sew for a friend or family member. Seriously, I want to make this pattern for every gal in my family! And even if you're still nervous about tackling it, Karen from 'Did You Make That?' had a sew-along on her blog last year with step-by-step instructions and photos.

Look who was being a good kitty during the taking of these photos:

Oh and I know you were checking out my socks:
Zori toe socks straight from Japan. True story: I totally thought everyone called flip-flops 'zori'. I was quite old when I realized zori is a Japanese word.

Ok, time to tackle my other 2014 goals! I'm almost done drafting pattern pieces for my modified trench coat. I hope it comes together like I have it planned in my head!