August 2018.

This was a busy month for me, with the performance of a show I had been working on since January 2017. As a result, not as much sewing as usual.

With the leftovers of my last Paola Turtleneck Tee, I whipped up another Basic InstincT. I had been wanting to make another slogan tee for a while and had been thinking about what might go on it.

I landed on Try Hard both as a descriptor of myself, and as a command statement. I have a number of friends who are very cool and hip, who often appear to look down their noses at people who are obviously making effort. It’s such an interesting thing, as these people are high-achieving, intelligent people, but something about the way I make effort seems to rub them up the wrong way.

Instead of feeling small about these things, I have decided that I should embrace my try-hardery. I like it about myself, and I certainly really like it in other people – particularly people I work with.

The funniest thing about this tshirt is that it really was an embodiment of this ethos. I tried so hard to get the lettering all the same width on a slightly flocked fabric. And when I made a slight boo-boo on one of the letters, instead of just going with it, I tried to fix it, which in turn created more of a boo-boo. No-one can see it, and it’s fading now, but it really just about killed it for me. Perhaps the next tshirt I make should say “Don’t Try So Hard”?

There’s nothing to say about this tshirt I haven’t already. I love it. I make a straight M and do no adjustments.

The second thing I made was a pair of pants for the show I was in. I have had dress black pants on my to-make list since SWAP 2017! I have had the fabric leftover from another project and the pattern in my stash forever, but more fun things just kept making their way up the list. But when the costume call for this show was “anything you want to wear as long as it’s black” there was the impetus I needed.

These are a slightly hacked version of Simplicity 3688. I changed the zip to be at the centre back and added a curved waistband. I’m calling these pants my ‘epiphany pants’ because something amazing happened while I was making them.

Every time I make a pair of pants, something weird happens when I attach the waistband: all of a sudden they are infinitely tighter than they were when the waistband was not attached. I could not for the life of me work this out. The trousers fit perfectly without a waistband. I always make my waistband to measure. The waistband always fits the top of the trousers. What in the name of St Catherine (apparently the patron saint of seamstresses) was going on?

Recently I had sworn off straight waistbands. Although I am quite straight through the middle, I have a very sway back and straight waist bands were doing my head in. So I have been using the waistband off my Alpi Chinos which is lightly curved.

My sister Miriam has been having the opposite problem. She makes pants with straight waistbands and pants that fit her fine were now too big through the waist.

Then somewhere, in some comments on an IG post I saw something along the lines of “the more curved you are, the more curved your waistband should be” and I was like “hmmm Miriam has a much curvier waist than I, and we have the opposite problem” …


(that’s the sound of the penny dropping FYI):



It also makes my zips not sit flat, my side pockets jut out. WOW. So I had already cut out the waistband and partially attached it while inserting the invisible zip in the back. But the sides were not attached yet. So I made a really crude change and tried to make the curve shallower. Not perfect but a hugely different result.

The next installment in my pants making is going to be to draft a custom waistband. I know from experience it will be much more curved through the centre back and then shallower through the sides and front. I’m also going to draft a nice curved one for Miriam next time she makes trousers.

Anyway, the upshot is I’m super happy with these pants. I wore them for the show with a silk bias cut cami top I made last year from a Vogue nightgown pattern that I had never blogged. The funny thing about this top is that when I was considering the costume I thought to myself: if I have enough fabric leftover, I could make myself a cami top to wear with these pants. And then I remembered I’d already made one!

free radicals

On my sewing table I have a Victoria Blazer to match my recent Lander Pants. I also bought the Perkins Shirt by Ensemble Patterns, and I have fabric sitting there to make Alex some jeans. He’s also asked me to make a mascot for the studio he’s running in the new library, so that’s on September’s To-Make list too.

21 thoughts on “August 2018.

  1. Congratulations on the concert, N. You look lovely. I like the waistband epiphany. I have never really given waistbands a great deal of thought, but always have to take a wedge out of the back of my pants and waistbands and so perhaps I should!

    You know, I had to scratch my head over the idea that anyone would reject the idea of trying hard. Or maybe the issue is just looking like one is trying hard? Either way, I can’t think of anything better than caring, and caring and striving often go together. I love the t-shirt. I have been having a lot of conversations lately about slogan t-shirts, so this is a funny coincidence. I don’t really have any, but I do love t-shirts with pictures. I have a yellow one with a dog on it that I love to wear to yoga. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steph. Yes, i think the issue is looking like you’re trying hard. Most people i know actually try hard but seem to expend a lot of effort trying to make it look otherwise. For instance, if sharing a project on social media they use language like: oh look, i made a thing OR come to our *little* show/concert/pop up… rather than revealing the huge degree of planning, work, investment etc that’s gone in to it. It’s all meant to look effortless, as if showing effort means you’re somehow un talented?

      I’d love to see your yellow dog tshirt! It sounds awesome.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmm…that is funny. You know, I am not a big believer in talent. I think we overuse that word in a way that boxes some people in and excludes others (who don’t engage with things they might like, because they have gotten the message that they lack this talent stuff). I would much rather be the person who accomplishes things because I worked hard…but that is me. PS I rather love my dog shirt. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I so hear you! I feel like i know if i achieved well or not, that’s my own assessment. What i appreciate from others is when they acknowledge my efforts! I guess that’s where the rub is.


  2. Fabulous post Naomi, I haven’t been keeping up w blog reading over here acrosss the paddock, found myself thinking of you recently. I woke one weekend morning a few years ago and thought dammit, I am not going to put on jeans. Walked to the shop to buy a coffee. The then marketing manager of Hermès, something of a frenemy, saw me and said “you always look like you try so hard”. Think of all the pleasant things she could have said. I thought she could have at least cleaned her teeth to go and buy coffee! I never know what to say in those situations- completely discombobulated, but I wish I’d said thank you! Yes, please do let us know how to watch your performance, I.m certain you were fabulous x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, it’s so great to see a shot of you ‘in-concert’! You look so cool and at ease! I could not agree with you more about the ‘try harder’ slogan. I, like you, embrace that side of myself, cool folks be damned!

    Liked by 1 person

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