1.18.2016

Balloona Does Birkin

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

Yes, my friends. YESSSSSSSSSS. Do not adjust your monitors. It is I, your Kalkatroonaan proprietess, and I am in that most normal item of clothing: JEANS.

Seriously, what would drive me to this? I'm a party-frock-glam-rock girl when it comes to sewing. I am cake AND frosting, with a side order of ice cream and donuts. 

(Because cake is sweet. Jeans are bread. Jeans are, like, delicious sourdough bread, yo.)

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

Actually, I wear jeans a lot. You don't see them here, because I don't make them. I have five pairs of skinny H&M jeans. One bootcut. Zero flares. In the Great Closet Cull Of '08, I finally came to my senses and kicked all RTW flares in my closet to the curb. The sadness! I've always adored flares! YET THEY HAVE ALWAYS SPURNED ME! HAUGHTY THINGS! Waist too low, flare too baggy, back too gapey. They made me look less like a bohemian sunwashed Cali girl, and more like a hobbit.  

When I saw Erica B's jeans at the end of 2015, my love jones came back, hard. I needed those flares.

Baste and Gather's Birkin flares, to be exact. WHICH I FOUGHT KICKING AND SCREAMING ALL THE DING DONG WAY. 

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

Let me back up a minute. This past holiday season, we headed home with a sewing machine in tow, as per Mama Ruggy's request. She mentioned how much she liked it when I set up shop in the living room on holidays past. Specifically, she said: I LIKE THE CHAOS. 

Hey, who am I to deny her that pleasure?

I had no clue what I'd make during those ten days. The traveling Singer Featherweight meant straight stitching only, so: something simple. A TNT pattern. A muslin, perhaps. Sensible.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

I guess the desire for "chaos" got stuck in my subconscious, because I lost all sense in the airport. Machine nestled between my feet, boarding calls pushed ever back, I pored over the bevy of testing beauties on Lauren's blog and impulsively announced to Ruggy: I AM GOING TO MAKE A PAIR OF JEANS. AND THEY WILL BE FLARED.

Y'all, Out-Loud-Announcements are No-Take-Backsies. However, my bad flare affairs of the past had left an indelible mark, because I did EVERY DAMN THING I COULD TO END THIS RELATIONSHIP BEFORE IT STARTED. Put the pattern in the cart and then waited too long for the $2 off coupon? Check. Bought a heavy weight denim with .00002 % stretch? Check. Fooled around on the computer with the PDF pattern, whiting out markings I "didn't need" in order to save printer ink, thereby forgetting that I was supposed to leave the fly extension off one side, creating THREE extra hours of zipper installation, seam ripping, and head scratching? SO MUCH CHECK. Took four inches of length out of the pattern and then completely lost all sewing sense, adding width back to the pattern between the lengthen/shorten lines? YEP! CHECKITY CHECK CHECK!!! IT'S NOT LIKE I'VE BEEN SEWING FOR EIGHT YEARS OR ANYTHING.

I soldiered on. On the final day of our holiday, sure that these were a total loss, and had served only to create a sense of Fun Holiday Chaos for Mama Ruggy, I put the basted jeans on... and ran full speed into the living room. 

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

I think I made jeans, I scream breathed.

Chaos Ensued.


Now, let's be real, these are too tight. I made a 28, based on Lauren's instructions (and excellent frigging instructions they are). They fit like a glove. If I'd used the proper denim, I do believe I'd be golden. This, however, is a fairly heavy weight denim with only the teeniest bit of stretch, scored at the local Hancock's on the remnant table. Two-fifty a yard, yo. No stretch? No care. Sold. 

Of course I did not spring for proper pocket lining (see "attempts to thwart my own self" above). Nope, I used the heavyweight demin for that. So, yeah, there's three layers of this hardworking stuff around my abdomen. RIGHT WHERE YOU WANT IT. Arriving home, I lopped off a curve out of the front pocket facing and overlocked it shut. It's a TV trick, costumers will often remove pocket bags from pants, and topstitch the pocket curve shut-- the look of a pocket, with no lines. I got so used to it, I never use my front pockets even when I have them. 

It's pretty genius, actually-- I should get in there and go all the way with it, as there's still plenty of denim lining to lop off. I will forsake front pockets for a smidge more room.

oonaballoona | a blog by marcy harriell | sewing the baste + gather birkin flares

Other things I have forsaken, other than sense: Belt loops. Rivets. Post button. Back pockets. Yeah, I'm going to see if embroidery inspiration strikes for my bum. And belt loops? Who needs belt loops? These are staying up all on their own, baby!

Take it from me, if you're firmly sitting in the never-gonna-make-jeans wagon, jump on off and jump in these. I feel like a rock star in these! This shot was taken when a family of four shouted their love for my look. Ruggy was quite proud of himself for capturing my "thank you" (It's good to capture those real moments, he said. SMELL YOU, SCORSESE). 

I'm sold, hook line and sinker. I have proper fabric on the way for a second pair: same size, adding back length...and using ALL OF MY SENSE.

99 comments:

  1. Yay jeans - honestly I think these are the cutest pair of Birkins I've seen!

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    1. thanks girl! i can't believe it, but i can't wait to make a second pair. #thingsithoughti'dneversay

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  2. Ooh these look lovely on you, if a smidge restrictive. With no stretch in them I'm guessing they are more for those days where you are going to be standing for most of it :p
    One of these day I WILL do jeans. I must keep saying that to my self...

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    1. i'm absolutely getting into that pocket "lining" and giving myself a smidge back :). and i always said to myself i'd NEVER make jeans, so i say go for it!

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  3. Girl, you be damn bootylicious in your Birkin. Not sure if you heard, but Birkin's supposedly increase in value. They were totally talking about your jeans, not the handbag:

    http://www.luxurydaily.com/hermes-birkin-bags-value-increases-14-2pc-annually-report/

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    1. A HUNDRED THOUSAND FOR A BAG?!!! damn, i gotta scour some vintage stores next time i'm down south!

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  4. You look retro-fabulous! This is all kinds of boho-chicness! I love yours!

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    1. thank you m'lady, and thank you even MORE for testing and making me drool!

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  5. Day-um girl, you look great! Very Foxy Cleopatra Beyoncé.

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    1. i do need a karate kick pose in there, don't i ....

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  6. Woah, you may not be able to move much but you look amazing! I am definitely making jeans this year - no more putting it off

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    1. thank ya! i highly recommend it. good lord, next i'll be making lingerie.

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  7. I love your jeans and I love making jeans. There is a way to do the fly with a cut on facing on both sides--Jalie does this in their jeans and so does Sandra Betzina: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3831/video-easy-to-sew-flat-fly-front-zipper

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    1. ooo, thank you becca, i'll check that out!

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  8. You are so cute. I love that flattered smile/laugh at the end. I'm obsessed with this pattern and with sewing another pair of jeans pronto. Hopefully I'll be cutting my own birkin flares tonight!

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    1. i've seen your progress! are you 70s glam yet?

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  9. Love em! Gonna go find mine to wear tomorrow!

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    1. thanks louise! i swear, i could live in them. must have another pair.

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  10. I am sold!! I love them! I am at work tomorrow and I am printing this pattern right there!

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    1. YAHOO! you are gonna love making these!

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  11. Whoohooo!!!! Go Jeans! I've never made a pair...not sure if I will....but I DO chaos really well :-)

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    1. oh debi, i think the world might stop spinning if you showed up on your blog in jeans! UTTER CHAOS!

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  12. Sooooo good!these are amazing - loved the story!

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    1. thank you lauren! i can't wait to get into the second pair, where i'm not fighting myself all the way :))). your pattern is absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS.

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  13. Gawd these are cute on you so IF I liked jeans more and IF I wanted to use a PDF pattern then I MIGHT consider making a pair! The next pair will be awesome I'm sure!

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    1. relaxed dress code at work...i'm just sayin........

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  14. these are so good on you!!!! perfection. i need some.

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    1. kelli, my suddenly faraway friend, you would rock the HEWL out of these.

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  15. I just tried to post my comment and it said I do not own my identity :-( But I just checked, and I do :-? No idea what was the whatever. These look fabulous, Oona! As someone who lives in jeans and squirms in skirts and can't make either (yet), I applaud you and am hopeful the black cord's I have on tap while it's still cold work out 1/2 as well. Yay! Ok, trying this again.

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    1. oh, blogger. you're so funny with your nonsencial rules... i was just told i edited my comment from too many locations. i guess timelines are intersecting or something. i hope those cords are working out! that reminds me, i have to check on your blog.

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  16. I love these jeans. Now I have to make them. And your hair is AMAZING!

    Nancy

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    1. thank you, nancy! and i'm so glad to pass the birkins hysteria on!!

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  17. They look fabulous! Dat ass! I am totally in love with the pair I made, too, it's just a delightful pattern.

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    1. "dat ass." ALWAYS A FAVORITE COMPLIMENT.

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  18. Can I second the opinion of the shouting family of 4? Nailed it :-)

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    1. thank you, adopted family member number 5!

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  19. I'm not sure which I like better. The đź‘–the pics or the story. The story is great! You look amazing in these fabulous flares. I'm in Carolyn's camp - if I liked jeans more I might be tempted to make these. g

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    1. thank you gaylen! ah, the ways i attempt to kill my sewing projects.

      (and i have a feeling you'd like these...do it do it do it)

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  20. Back pockets be dayumed! Those jeans are perfect sans pockets. And all on a straight stitch machine to boot. Wow!!!

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    1. i may just leave them off!

      i did overlock the crotch & side seams when i got home, but just on a "regular" machine (i finally threw my possessed serger out). oh, i forgot to mention, the straight stitch seams that were not basted, i flat felled... and then i flat felled the damn back yoke to the wrong side!

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  21. My goodness, even I may consider these! LOVING your hair most of all, ALMOST gets me over the funk of losing Bowie and Rickman so close together. I WILL START WRITING FAN LETTERS!!! Getting sick of losing people before getting all fan-squishy on them...where's the best place to honour all this Oona goodness?? Where do I write an homage to all that gloriousness?! *lol* :)

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    1. i think right here's pretty safe ;))). give these a try, they're loads of fun!

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  22. Ok: these are great and you are having a ball in them. Please please please, tell me what a TNT pattern is? What do the letters stand for?

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    1. thanks tasha! yes, tried n true. someone needs to start an indie company with that label!

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  23. Ohoh. I've got the supplies, I was waiting for the sewalong to get started but reading this I think I'll have to buy a different denim. I did exactly the same as you: bought some cheap heavy denim and didn't even enquire about the stretch. It looks like they're isn't any! Thanks for the post. I think they look amazing on you.

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    1. if there's ze-ro stretch, then yeah, get something different-- but, if it has even a little stretch, you can get away with it. and it *is* nice to have these in heavy denim! i would follow lauren's advice to the letter on picking out your size, and then go one size up to account for the minimal stretch.

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  24. Ohoh. I've got the supplies, I was waiting for the sewalong to get started but reading this I think I'll have to buy a different denim. I did exactly the same as you: bought some cheap heavy denim and didn't even enquire about the stretch. It looks like they're isn't any! Thanks for the post. I think they look amazing on you.

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  25. Yaay! I love these! I'm not sure I can think of anyone else who suits flared jeans more than you! This whole look is giving me 70's babe chills!

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    1. i can think of someone: YOU. i MUST see you in flares, yo.

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  26. Oona, you did a great job! Don't forget that denim that has no elastic in it will relax quite quickly, so you might find that if you wear them for a week with no washing that the fabric gives a bit and they fit you really nicely :)

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    1. i think that tiny bit of stretch is made of herculean fibers, because (kinda gross) i haven't washed them since jan 3 and they're still going! yikes!

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    2. No judgement here! My dad always says that jeans only need to be washed when they can stand up on their own ;)

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  27. These jeans look great on you and fit you beautifully! I look forward to seeing the next pair you make up.

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    1. thanks girl! i'm hoping to make the second pair this weekend. not that i'm thinking about it every minute or anything...

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  28. I want to encourage all first timers. I made my first pair of jeans a year ago and was stunned that they were relatively easy to do. Not easy, but relatively easy. I've made three pairs since.

    Oona, I have a request, now that you're a jeansienne: Can you make a pair of denim joggers/athleisure and post them? I'm planning to add denim joggers to my wardrobe and you do such great work that I'd love to copy your work. Just a hint: my joggers won't have an elastic cuff - they'll be mostly jeans-styled, elastic waist comfort-fit pants.

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    1. so true! i mean, this experience (my own attempts to thwart myself notwithstanding) was so rewarding, and not that hard. though i think it really made all the difference to use a pattern that's so well made.

      HMMMMM. this is an intriguing request... i have a burdastyle track pant pattern...

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  29. Those look so amazing on you!!! I've vowed to make some sort of pants that actually fit this year. I'm not sure if I'm ready try to tackle jeans just yet. I need to practice fitting pants on my body with something less daunting first. :)

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    1. i'll tell you what, i think this is only daunting because it's "jeans"! they were actually pretty easy, i mean, i made them mostly away from home (and without all my favorite sewing supplies), and the only problem i had was with my own stubborn brain. the stretch in these (well, not mine per say :) makes them forgiving as well.

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  30. Oh, you look just like all the pretty girls in my high school looked in 1976! I had a more "farmer boy" look -- really short hair, no bosom, flat thighs ... my entire family of six could wear the same size of jeans so we did. You just took whichever pair of bare-bones Wranglers was on top of the clean clothes basket and dragged them on. Which meant no flares, because Ma & Pa Kettle did not wear flares.

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    1. this is hilarious!

      now that you say it, these remind me of a photo of my mom, she's a shortie like me with long legs :).

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  31. Looking like a 70's hottie! I cant wait to get started on mine

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  32. The jeans look fabulous! How about fake back pockets - just the top flaps?

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    1. that's an intriguing thought! we'll see what george has to say about it ;)

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  33. Whaaaaaaat?!! You may have just pushed me over the 'I'm not sewing jeans' edge!! These are AMAZING!! And you look incredible!!!!!

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    1. it is a wonderful edge to fall off of, take it from me!

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  34. BOOTYLICIOUS! Which I've never said to another living being before ever. So glad you write your blog - I love it.

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    1. well thank you! it's a wonderful word which should be bandied about whenever possible!

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  35. You look awesome and as ever your post made me smile!

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  36. Fabulous jeans! You know... when I saw the first picture I thought this was going to be about the top, which also looks fabulous. You know... I sort of hate when people say that hand made clothes look "just like store bought" because that suggests that the store bought look is the standard we should aspire to when everyone knows that hand made is superior (You bought it off-the-rack?! Horrors! [nose in air]) but maybe jeans are different? Anyway, in the pictures I really can't tell you made them.

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    1. EXCELLENT point. i think heather lou said that a pair of RTW jeans are made in 15 minutes? CRIKEY!

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  37. Girl, you f'ing crack me UP! Also, you are lookin good in those jeans!

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    1. ;)))). luckily, i crack myself up too, or i woulda stopped sewing a LONG time ago!

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  38. My Dear, the look, the ENTIRE look is a thing of beauty. You look about 6 feet tall - did you say you were short? Not here. You got the proportions correct. You got the curves correct. You got the outfit correct. You got the backdrop correct. And of course... the hair....The Hair....THE HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay now remember the original 501 jeans back in the day..(my day was the late 70s early 80s) They made even the guys with the stick-ist of legs look like they were hiding hints of trees. Guys with concave butt look like they has some junk back there. They were made that that denim you just worked with. That beautiful material will break in with washings and will look and fit better as time goes on. Any rumor of tightness will fade away replaced by the truth. The jeans are beautiful....and you ain't too sexy for these ones....they be just right.

    Handle it....

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    1. 5'2, baby. (and three quarters, but they tell me that's in my head...)

      i am actually terrified of washing them, for fear of losing even a millimeter of width... but i guess i'll have to someday! fingers crossed you are correct ;)

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  39. You look fabulous and those jeans were definitely a labor of love! I enjoyed reading your review!

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  40. You always crack me up! I love those flares on you, and I may have to give them a try after my first attempt at the Ginger jeans pattern (which wasn't bad if I do say so myself!)

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    1. ;) thank you taylor! and i picked up that same denim from mood based on your gingers :))

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  41. Awesome Marcy!! If this is your muslin pair, I can't wait to see the real thing!

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    1. thanks heather! i'm a little excited too, i must say...

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  42. Absolutely fantastic on you! Hard to believe flairs were not your friend, I think that they look perfect on you! Your giving me encouragement to jump on the jeans band wagon!!

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  43. I've seen a few of thede by other sewers and thought cute, but too complicated for me (I am pretty new to sewing). But, seeing how beautiful these look on you my fingers are itching to try it out anyways.

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  44. I've seen a few of thede by other sewers and thought cute, but too complicated for me (I am pretty new to sewing). But, seeing how beautiful these look on you my fingers are itching to try it out anyways.

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  45. Your flares look terrific and you may have inspired me to make a pair!

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  46. they look beautiful on you, sis! can not wait to see the real deal!

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  47. Gorgeous! Maybe I could sew these and look like you? MAYBE?!!! I used to wear jeans flares in 2000 with fantastic Japanese flatforms and we never took photos but I worked in a nightclub and I thought I was Disco. DISCO!

    xoxo I love your natural hair too btw!

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  48. In a word, these are STREPITOSI!!! Hey, I hope the Gorgeous George has been limbering up ready to give Take Two's back pockets some loving attention
    Baci Sxx
    sarsaparillasal.blogspot.com

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  49. I like you waited and waited although my heart said buy the pattern buy it you can do it! Now looky looky here who I see working it to DEATH in these fab jeans! Shoot I can't wait to make mine! Now I have to do it and soon! You look FABULOUS!
    Hugs
    Shari
    MyDailyThreadz

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  50. HOLY GUACAMOLE! These jeans are the hotness. Well done!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!