Sewing Hiking Clothes: PATTERNS

As with any sewing project, the first place I tend to start – after I have a general idea of what type of garment I want to make – is a search for possible patterns. I’m confident that I’ll be able to make some shirts for myself using patterns I already own and love (as long as I find some good wicking fabric) so the pattern search is mainly for hiking pants.

How to Make Hiking Pants from
I honestly love this. It doesn’t help me AT ALL, but I am amused by the idea that someone outdoorsy with no sewing experience might read this and think, “Oh it’s so simple!” (FYI their steps are: buy a pattern, alter it to match your measurements, buy fabric, cut it out, sew the pieces together, and VOILA! Which, honestly, is a straightforward explanation of how to sew your own clothes. I just think most people would want more details.)

Women’s Korouoma Hiking Pants by Shelby Outdoor
These are a fairly classic hiking pant – elastic waist, cargo pockets, articulated knee, reinforced cuffs. Unfortunately, their technical drawing and product photo are EXACTLY THE SAME as for the men’s pants. (After clicking around, it appears that these same pants are also for sale as a custom-made product, so I’m slightly more interested having seen them on a body.) Other considerations: They’re only available in printed version, which ships from Finland. And based on reviews I found, there are no instructions – just the pattern pieces, which you still have to tape together like with PDF patterns.

Women’s Wind & Rain Pants by Green Pepper
These pants came up a lot in my searching. It seems that Green Pepper has been around for a while, and has a good reputation. However, I’m not sure whether they’ve updated any of their patterns since the 90s. These fit into that theory – they remind me of the “wind-proof” pants that ice skaters and gymnasts slip off right before their routines.

This brings up another thing I’ve discovered – a lot of brands that make patterns for outdoor gear tend to focus more on winter sports. There are a LOT of patterns for hats and gloves and overalls, and honestly it made me wish I lived somewhere colder so I’d have an excuse to try sewing some of them! If you want to peruse the collection of patterns I found, The Rain Shed seems to carry the widest assortment.

Sequoia Cargos and Shorts by Itch to Stitch
I found these on a Pattern Review discussion board, and they seem to have a lot of great features! I’ve purchased a few Itch to Stitch patterns, so I can confirm that she has well-designed instructions. (I’ve not sewn up any of the patterns, but you can find a lot of blog reviews if you search.) These could be a winner for a lot of people, though I’ll admit that the pocket shapes are all of my least favorite.

Trousers 3035 by Patrones Y Moldes
I can’t even figure out HOW I found these, but they popped up on Pinterest and I was fascinated by the technical drawing. I liked the slash pockets, the interesting seaming, and what looks like some reinforced cuffs. (Of course, I have no idea what this company is. I didn’t even find the English language version at first! I had to use google translate to figure out what size might fit me, and it’s very strange to me that they sell the pattern as a single size. But I took a risk, and I ordered one, and the next day they sent me a PDF pattern with no instructions. Interestingly, I think the pattern is designed with no inseam, which would be great for reducing friction. Will I ever sew them? Who even knows!)

At this point I was also browsing a number of outdoor gear websites – especially in Europe, because I was convinced they were better at this – and I realized that my favorite pants had a shape similar to the high-waisted, skinny leg sweatpants that are super-trendy right now. So I though, could I find an indie sweatpant pattern that I love, and then sew it up in a more technical fabric? The No Sweat Pants by Seamly are one great option, but they weren’t as exciting to me as…

Ruri Sweatpants by Named
Look at the technical drawing! They have a half-elastic waistband! They have a faux fly front! They have an on-seam pocket (which could be easily sewn up, or could be changed to look like something more outdoorsy). They have that interesting pleat on the cuff, which means the leg opening can be larger! These might not work, but I’m very interested in trying. And, unlike most of these other pants, when I make a test pair in a non-technical fabric, they’ll be something that I’ll likely want to wear in real life. (Lounge pants FTW!)

Confession: while I was doing this research, I also discovered that Eddie Bauer offers a number of hiking pants in tall lengths. I ordered a few, assuming they wouldn’t fit – because of my history with hiking pants – but I ended up liking them! And they were on sale for $50-60. So I’m feeling less urgency to pursue this path. BUT, I still have 10 months until the trip, and I think the lounge pants are going to happen sooner than later.

STAY TUNED for more lists: of online sources for technical fabrics, and various techniques I’ve discovered!




Sewing Hiking Clothes

I have a tendency to fall down sewing project rabbit holes.

This latest one was jump-started when my mom, sister-in-law, and I decided to go on a vacation together next summer. We plan on walking the Great Glen Way in Scotland, which is a path some friends have traveled and highly recommended.

Of course after signing off on the dates and the cost of the trip, the next question in my mind is “WHAT DOES ONE WEAR ON A WALKING PATH IN SCOTLAND?”

The answers that I’ve gathered include: long pants, waterproof  items, comfortable/breathable activewear, and sturdy shoes that are well-broken-in.

Which is similar to the list of requirements for hiking gear, something that I theoretically use frequently but which has historically eluded me. (I generally hike in cotton leggings or running shorts.)

Why has hiking gear eluded me in the past?
-I am a lady, and the availability of technical gear for women hasn’t always been great. It’s getting better, of course, but…
-I am a tall lady. Maybe 10% of technical gear made for women is also available in longer lengths. (Let’s not even discuss whether they think to increase the rise in addition to lengthening the inseam.)
-I am larger than a size 10. Back when I was still a size 10 – aka when I was a teenager – I would go to outdoor stores and only fit into the LARGEST PANT SIZE.

So, over the past decade, I’ve mostly avoided the hunt for hiking pants. I would occasionally find something that sort-of-worked, but the other reality is that technical gear is EXPENSIVE. I’m not willing to spend $100+ on a pair of pants that sort-of-work.

Having tackled jeans-making in the last six months (hello, neglected blog, I have definitely not told you about this), I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to tackle this project. However, the jeans were made by using an incredible indie pattern AND some thorough teaching tools. So my first step in this process was to research the heck out of it! Since I found a lot of small pieces of information in various places, I figured it could be helpful to share them here. Stay tuned!

2017 Maker Report

This has been such a surreal year – I bought, decorated, and moved into my first house at the beginning of the year – and I’m sure it’ll always be an outlier in that regard.

Every time someone asks what I’m working on, from a sewing/quilting perspective, I’d said, “My house is my hobby right now.” And that’s been true – a lot of this list is going to include house projects which I’m VERY proud of completing. But I also wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the many things that were sewn this year, even if they were often in batches,  and sometimes frantically to a deadline.

1. Somewhat over-ambitiously, I thought I’d dip my toe into upholstery. This only involved buying a DIY upholstery book and attempting to re-seat a cute chair I found on a sidewalk years ago. It was more effort than I expected, though I’m still proud of the outcome. (No pictures of the finished product though – just this process shot…)
Still collecting hobbies. #waitingformorestaples

2. This tabletop was built a few years ago with the help of a friend’s husband. He had the tools and the attention to detail to ensure my vague vision was well-executed, and I actually placed the tabletop on a smaller table in our house for a while. But once I closed on the house, I knew I could finally complete my vision of building a pipe base. It was really fun to sketch and plan the measurements, and VERY frustrating to twist it all together.
Built some legs. Then I took everything apart to be re-assembled in the new home!

3. This was a quick re-upholstery job, covering a dingy fabric stool with some heavyweight fabric that I (tragically) tried making into a dress many years ago. I love having a fabric stash, especially one filled with mistakes that I haven’t yet tossed, so I can dig through for materials in the middle of the night.
I'll probably hate this tomorrow, but this bench needed some cushion and I've had this fabric (from a failed dress) for at least 10 years. #neverpackthestaplegun

4. I assembled a LOT of furniture in the past year, but this bed was the most difficult. So I feel like the Maggie who wrestled with it one night in February should be honored.Guest ready! #onceiwashthesheets #afterifindthem

5. DID YOU KNOW you can by some hairpin legs on Amazon and attach them to a random board and suddenly have a decorative bench? YOU TOTALLY CAN.
Here's the bench! Fitting perfectly against a narrow wall, as if I planned it. ❤

6. Once I was all moved in, with a SEWING ROOM (which was admittedly the last thing to be set up in the house), I felt some pressure to take advantage. This quilt was partially pieced before the move, and had a client eager for delivery, so it was the first finished and photographed at this new house.Untitled

7. Me Made May motivated one sewing project, though in past years it’s been responsible for the bulk of my sewing. This dress, however, became one of my most worn items as the weather changed.I made this dress yesterday. I'm wearing it today. Not sure what #MeMadeMay2017 will look like since homeownership continues to claim my extra money and time. BUT I'm thankful for this fabric in my stash and for the minor alterations that made this favori

8. Since I was doing laundry every few nights so that I could put that purple dress back on, I made a few more versions to get me through the summer. (I love a handmade uniform.) A few weeks ago, I made two more copies of this dress, and now I legit have a summer wardrobe. #maggiemadewardrobe

9. I was clearly getting some sewing mojo back along with that project, because I decided to tackle a queen-sized linen whole cloth quilt for the guest bed. It took a lot of hours, particulary the hand-quilted portions, but I love it (and have already started dreaming of making a throw blanket of a similar style).
Had one section left to quilt. Now I have to figure out what to bind it with.

10. True confession: I DO NOT REMEMBER BEING THIS PRODUCTIVE. But apparently I made ANOTHER quilt for a client, and finished it in August/September. New house fact: I can lay out (and pin baste) a twin sized quilt in the living room if I just move the coffee table (and plants).

11. For my birthday, my parents offered to visit and help me with house projects. The list I came up with was EPIC and included, as a final dream item, this small addition to my back porch slab. The new view from my back door. #mudpiesforeveryone #wecaneatonthepatio

12. I asked to participate in the New City Artist Exchange this year, partially to motivate myself to make some new things, but also so that I could collect more art for my walls. Overall, I made 15 (or 16?) small quilted works, which probably add up to the work of a whole quilt. Finally make a first attempt at something for the Art Exchange with @newcityartsinitiative! I’m paper piecing for the first time, and it’s fun! (Wonky McWonkerson on the top right will be blamed on the learning curve.)

13. One of my wardrobe goals over the past few years is to sew as many basics as possible. So I was thrilled to realize that the Plantain and Nettie tees I’ve sewn in the past have been my most-worn. I made a batch of new ones, and would apologize for the lack of creativity in color selection except for the fact that these are the colors I grab first in my closet Every Single Time. (Except for the pink. That was to coordinate with a burgundy pencil skirt.)Clockwise: #plantaintee times three, then one #nettietee. Millennial pink, slate, indigo, navy. #batchsewing #winterlayering

14. Weirdly, I’m the most proud of this next one. Perhaps because it’s one of the most recent? The story is that I wanted to build some more shelving, and realized that I was trying to determine when my parents were next in town so my dad could help. But then I thought, “Maggie, you are bad-ass enough to build furniture without any help!” And so I did some research, bought some lumber, assembled it…unassembled it, bought some crucial new tools (wood glue, clamps), assembled it again, and now I feel like I could make anything! 😍👷‍♀️🙌

15. The first time I’ve ever sewn curtains, an it happened in the middle of the night when I had a spontaneous desire to floral ones.This is my last Project Report (any Octonaut fans will know the tune I sang that to): the first time I have EVER sewn curtains! 😱

16. Here’s a quick sketch I made a week ago when I realized there was a need for something this size/color/texture on my living room wall: Pulled out the camera while sun was shining this weekend.

17. And here’s my final report of 2017 (unless something else is made in the next few weeks): 4 of 6 throw pillows I’ve re-covered to better fit into this new space. All of them made with fabric from my stash (small scraps and leftovers, or larger pieces I knew I’d likely never sew garments with) and all assembled somewhat frantically the night before houseguests arrived. 20171217-IMG_6491

So my 2017 tally is 3 full-sized quilts (plus the quilted art pieces, plus a baby quilt commission that I didn’t put in here), 3 dresses, 4 shirts, 6 pillows, and a beautiful collection of things built for the house. I feel pretty good about this level of creative productivity! And I’m excited to see what I manage to make in 2018 – maybe I’ll find excuses to use the sewing room more frequently.

50 books finished in 2017: Disunity in Christ

50 books finished in 2017


The blurb from the back is perfect:

With a personal touch and the trained eye of a social scientist, Cleveland brings to bear the latest studies and research on the unseen dynamics at work that tend to separate us. Here are the tools we need to understand how to overcome the hidden forces that divide us.