Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I have no new projects to share today, so I thought I would give you a look into what I’m thinking about sewing this winter.  I do have a batch of projects underway, and a pretty good idea of some patterns I may want to sew next.  Planning and dreaming up sewing projects is one of my favorite parts of sewing!

Current Plans

Current plans include drafting and sewing my own leggings using this tutorial from Cal Patch.  I’ve made these once before, and they were great.  I want to make them in a midweight Polartec Power Stretch (below),

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

but first I have to see if my new pattern fits right by testing it out in some bathing suit fabric (below) that I had in my stash.  I think this (hopefully) wearable muslin will make great exercise leggings.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I also want to make Burda Style 6471, View A minus the cargo pocket and drawstring in recycled Polartec ThermalPro denim look fabric.  I got this pattern for Christmas 2018, and I have been waiting for just the right fabric to come along.  I’m hoping for some secret pajamas I can wear out and about, but if they read too casual, I can just use them as loungewear.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

New Look 6560, View A without the ruffle, which I just completed in silk is back on the list, this time in hot pink stretch velvet, because it’s FUN!  My friend got this fabric for me for my birthday, and I’m excited to try it out.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Vogue 8932 has been hanging out in my pattern library for a long time, and I’m finally going to make it (View B).  I’m going to try it out in black ponte de roma from Fabric Mart.  If I like the pattern, I would love to make it in a stretchy boiled wool knit someday.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I’m also finally trying out the Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan, Version 1, but in a shape that will fit me (this is originally a men’s pattern).  I’d love a relaxed version of this cardigan, maybe with some elbow patches and a bottom band added, and I want it in a shape that will fit me, so I’ve done a bunch of work and measuring to see if I can get there.  This is another pattern I have had for a long time, waiting to find just the right fabric.  Thanks to my husband getting me several pieces of Polartec fleece that I had my eye on, I plan to make this in a Polartec 200 sweater-look fleece, using scraps of green from the Burda pants I mentioned above for the yoke.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

All of those are at the cutting stage.  I just need to cut out the New Look wrap top and the cardigan, and then I can get sewing.

Future Possibilities

Other thoughts and possibilities for the rest of winter are also brewing.

I had a snap-front skirt (Burda Style 6252, View A, lengthened) on my list to make out of a damaged Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket that I got for FREE (!!!), but it was just too damaged and stained to cut a skirt out of.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I want a pattern I like to make insulated skirts to wear over leggings, and this may be the one, but it’s going on hold for now.  The blanket could become a pillow and maybe a bag (The Wax + Wool Tote, possibly?).  We’ll see.

One strong possibility is McCall’s 7930, View D.  I think I have some stash fabrics that would work for this–either a shirtweight denim + a Swiss dot or maybe silk double georgette + silk crepe de chine.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Another likely project is the Persephone Pants from Anna Allen, lengthened for winter, maybe in a green canvas.  I have resisted the ultra-high rise trend, but I once had a pair of very high waisted wool sailor pants that I LOVED, and thinking about them convinced me to give these a try.  To tell the truth, I have been looking at our local Army Navy stores for some ’70’s era sailor jeans to try out before buying this pattern, but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for.  This pattern was a Christmas gift, so I’m going for it!

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

I have some cotton velveteen that might get made into Simplicity 1696, a tried-n-true (TNT) pattern for me, although I do worry about the nap rubbing off in places like the inner thigh.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Burda Style 6265, View A is also a possibility in flannel worn with leggings, but I really wonder how much I would reach for this.  I have never been a dress person, and I am trying to branch out into wearing dresses, but I can’t quite tell if this is something I would reach for or if it would just hang out in my closet.  I actually like the long view, too, maybe for spring or fall.  I’m going to have to think about this pattern for awhile.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

Other tempting patterns are to be found in the Burda Style magazine from November 2019 that I found at one of the larger Barnes & Nobles.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

There are a lot of patterns I like in this issue (which is why I bought it), but my absolute favorite is #121, the “On-Trend pattern”, a really cool cropped jacket.  I love the style lines, and I could see it made up in various wool fabrics.  I wonder if I could recycle some wool pants I have into part of this jacket.  (They’re the checked fabric below.)  I would love that.  And they would be great with this blue wool/cashmere remnant I have.  Overall this issue has a number of great jackets.  I’m just outside their standard range, but I can grade up a size or two.

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

The other day I went to my local mall to see how it had changed in the last few years (I don’t get there much) as well as to hunt for inspiration.  I love to look in Nordstrom and J. Crew, among other places, to get ideas for future sewing projects or to check out details on clothing.  I found it really interesting that with the proliferation of pattern companies, plus the fact that Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity, Vogue, and Burda Style all put out numerous patterns per year, I can find patterns that are close or nearly identical to a lot of the clothes I see in stores.  The sewing world is really on top of what’s current in much of the fashion you find in stores.  It’s pretty cool.  On the flip side, there are also companies that put things together in really creative ways that I haven’t necessarily seen before.  They really inspire me to try to think more creatively.  When I look at Anthropologie, Free People, and even Lucky Brand, I often ask myself why I didn’t think to combine fabrics like that or try some similar detail.  We sort of have the best of both worlds in that way:  fashionable patterns + ready-to-wear inspiration to think even more creatively.  The mall is a different experience when you’re shopping for inspiration.

What about you?  What are your current sewing plans?  Have you tried any of the patterns I mentioned?  Feel free to recommend patterns, too!

 

The Silk Party Blouse: New Look 6560

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The Silk Party Blouse:  New Look 6560

Hi, everyone!  I hope you had an enjoyable time over the holidays.  I decided to take a break from blogging and Instagram as well as whatever else I could put a pause on to rest and hang out with my family, which was nice.  Today’s project was one I made before Christmas, but didn’t get good pictures of, so I’m sharing it today.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

This is New Look 6560, View A, a long-sleeved blouse in a beautiful chartreuse silk from Pintuck & Purl.  In fact, Maggie told me she ordered this silk for the shop with me in mind (Aww!!! So nice!).  Clearly, I gravitate toward this color.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

The Story

A few months ago, my husband’s work sent us an invitation to a fancy holiday party.  I am not a fancy person, although this sounded like fun.  As a non-fancy person, my gut reaction was to FREAK OUT!  The party was in Boston at a swanky club and the dress was COCKTAIL DRESS.  Ack!  So I turned to Google and Pinterest to see just how much latitude I had with that and what it even meant!  I came up with a plan, and ordered a stack of fabric.  Then I looked at my fabric stack for a few days and decided that I didn’t like my plan.  I did a lot of freaking out, and finally settled on this pattern (which is everywhere in stores right now, interestingly) and this silk, which was in my stash after a sale at P & P.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I got a fanciness pep talk and help from people at the shop to figure out how to starch the fabric.  They also sold me one more yard because I realized I had enough for everything but one of the sleeves, and I wasn’t going for a one-sleeved look.  Wrap styles can be fabric hogs!

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Design Choices and Cutting

OK.  Let’s talk details.  I opted to leave off the ruffle on View A.  I cut an 18 bust, and a 22 waist and hip.  Size 22 was beyond what the pattern offered, so I graded out by copying the shape and distance between the other sizes.  After looking online at others’ versions of this pattern, I decided to lengthen the shirt by two inches just under the waist mark.  Then I measured the new bottom edge to make sure it would still fit around my hips, which it did with no problem.  It didn’t look like I needed a broad back adjustment, so I crossed my fingers and cut it out.  Starching the fabric and using a rotary cutter with a sharp, new blade were really helpful.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Construction

I used French seams everywhere except the yoke/shoulder seam.  I sewed that seam and then did a three-step zigzag in the seam allowance and trimmed it close.  According to the book Sewing Specialty Fabrics from the Singer Sewing Reference Library, this is called a double-stitched seam.  I didn’t remember to use French seams until after I had done that one.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I also put in my sleeves flat, although I did still use the gathering stitches at the top of the sleeve to get the sleeve to fit to the shirt body.  It’s a wonderful thing when even your sleeves and armscyes have beautiful French seams!

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Also, I love the flowy, puffy sleeve shape in this pattern.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Overall, this wasn’t too hard to sew.  It was enjoyable.  I was on one of the last steps and was cutting my buttonhole with my buttonhole chisel when disaster struck!  I thought I was being careful, but somehow part of the shirt was under the buttonhole and I cut two little slices in my shirt.  At that point, I just walked away.  There was no going back in time and it was getting late, so I put the project down until the next day.

The next day, I fused a bit of interfacing to the back side, which looked pretty good from the right side, but I had my doubts about how permanent a fix that was.  So, I applied some Fray Check.  That didn’t look so good.  It looked like a permanent wet spot.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

With my deadline approaching and no creative ideas forthcoming, I decided to sew a patch over it and call it a day.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I figured the tie would mostly cover it, and it does.  Sometimes these things happen.  What can you do?

As for the rest of the process, I made sure to put a little interfacing behind my button to strengthen the fabric.  For the belt, I topstitched around the outside once I had turned it.  I used a satiny ribbon for the inner ties (although those have started to come apart from the shirt at the stitch line after being washed and dried a few times–you can see that in the second picture a bit).

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Thankfully, I made the blouse on time, paired it with a camisole I made a long time ago (also silk, also from Pintuck & Purl), and some thrifted trousers, comfortable Dansko clog boots, and a FABULOUS faux fur jacket from Nordstrom Rack.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

As soon as we got to the party, I breathed a sigh of relief.  People wore a wide variety of styles.  I was fine.

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

I still need to work on my fancy clothes game, but I broke the ice, and I have since worn this top to church as well as with jeans to a more casual holiday party.  Now I kind of want to make it in some hot pink stretch velvet I got for my birthday…

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

Hi, everyone.  I’m excited to share this jacket with you today now that I have pictures!

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

Today’s project is Simplicity 4109, an out-of-print Built by Wendy/Built by You sewing pattern from 2006.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

I found my copy on Etsy.  What drew me in were the cool front pockets on View A and the potential to create different looks based on your fabric and hardware choices.  It looked like a pattern that would make a great chore jacket or jean jacket.  Originally I had planned to make this last year, maybe in an olive green cotton twill, but that fabric became my recent pants overfitting drama.  Instead, I finally made this pattern from some railroad denim I got this past summer at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, Michigan.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

The label said it was 100% cotton as far as I can remember, but there is definitely some stretch, even if only good mechanical stretch.  I would say this is probably a midweight.  I traced View A with a 16/18 bust, 18/20 waist, and 20 hip.  I also did a major broad back adjustment.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

The pattern instructions were really good, and this was an enjoyable project to make.  I didn’t have topstitching thread, so I chose to use a triple stitch with a normal weight thread.  If I had planned ahead a bit more I could have ordered topstitching thread in green from Wawak, but my local fabric stores didn’t have any (and I didn’t plan ahead), so regular weight was what it had to be!

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

Let’s talk pattern details.  The most intriguing part of this pattern was the front pockets.  I really like them, but I did change a few minor things.  For some reason, the top pocket wasn’t supposed to have a real buttonhole–you were just supposed to sew a button to the flap, which seems silly.  I wanted the real deal, so I made a buttonhole in the flap and installed a jeans tack instead of a button.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

Because my fabric was kind of stretchy, I also sewed twill tape to the inside of the lower pocket opening, doing a decorative zigzag on the outside to hold it in place.  I was hoping this would keep the pocket openings from stretching out.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

I also added bartacks at the corners of the pockets and the lower pocket opening because I like that look.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

I did a double line of topstitching on the top of the flap, even though the directions only say to do one.  If you do a double line, you need to be very careful not to sew the top of the pocket underneath the flap shut.  I also did a little extra topstitching on the sleeve vents because I thought it would look nice.

For some secret fun, I added Rifle Paper Co. rayon scraps to the insides of the pocket flaps as well as using bias tape from the same fabric to make a hanging loop and to finish some of my inner seams.  I did an ugly but effective version of bias bound seams; however I think Hong Kong seams would have been better.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

I had a lot of fun playing with the stripes on this jacket.  I tried to take every opportunity to flip things around, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

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Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

I thought I would like it, but I REALLY like it.  It’s got a good amount of ease, so you can easily wear a sweater underneath (nice since I finished this just as the weather got even colder).  I also think this pattern could be a good candidate for a lining as it would be easy to hide the edges under the facings.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

You should know that I have very little experience with lining things, so that’s a guess based on near total inexperience.  🙂  What got me thinking about it is these very inspiring denim jackets made by Ginew that are lined with an exclusive Pendleton wool.  They’re beautiful!

I find denim very inspiring and I also really like workwear.  There are so many details that are both interesting and functional in work clothes, not to mention you can do actual work in them.  I may not be a farmer or a construction worker, but I like having clothes that I don’t have to worry about messing up and that wear beautifully as they age.

Simplicity 4109 Jacket in Railroad Denim

All that to say, I’m happy with this jacket.  I definitely recommend this pattern, and could see making it again if I found a fabric that was inspiring.

 

My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

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My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

Hi, friends!  My most recent project is all finished, but not yet photographed.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some pictures this week so I can share it with you soon.  In the meantime, let’s talk cool weather sewing!

One thing I have been thinking about as the weather has gotten colder here is which patterns have become favorites in my fall and winter wardrobe.  By now, I’ve sewn through a lot of patterns.  Some projects have been real wins, and others have been given to family, friends, or the thrift store because something about them just didn’t work out.  The most interesting discovery has been that it’s not just the patterns that have to be winners–it’s pairing the right pattern with the right fabric that makes these garments my favorites.

Let’s look at a few of my favorites below.  When possible, I’ve linked to the pattern and original or similar fabrics.  None of these are affiliate links–I just want you to be able to find the same information and products I did if you want to.  (Fabric links, if not listed in this post, are in my original posts.)

Tops

I have two favorite sweatshirts right now.  One is the Style Arc Josie Hoodie.

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

I made this sweatshirt from Polartec Power Stretch, one of my absolute favorite fall and winter fabrics.  I really think that making this pattern in this fabric is what has me reaching for it over and over again.  This particular Power Stretch is–yes–stretchy, but it’s also thick and squishy with a smooth outside and fleecy inside.  The longer length and curved hem of the pattern are nice touches as well.

One of my other favorite sweatshirts right now is my Brunswick Pullover from Hey June Handmade in Polartec Curly Fleece and Rifle Paper Co. quilting cotton.

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

I love the colors, the cool details in this pattern (arm pocket, side snaps, cowl neck), and the fluffy fabric.  My family calls this my muppet sweatshirt because of the fabric.  It’s super cozy.

And here is one more sweatshirt that I wear on a regular basis:  my Polar Pullover, pattern F722 from The Green Pepper.

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

The roomy fit is great, you have three pockets, and you can use this pattern (or the vest view) to create your own version of those pricey fleeces found at stores like Patagonia and L.L. Bean.  I love that I got to pick my own colors, and the Polartec Curly Fleece (just like in the green sweatshirt) is furry and soft.

My current favorite t-shirt pattern is the free Plantain Tee from Deer & Doe patterns.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I have many versions of this t-shirt (batch one, batch two), a few of which are in wool knits.  Wool and Polartec brand fleece are my two favorite cold-weather fabrics, and having a few Plaintains in wool jersey means that not only are they great for daily wear, they also work for camping and as exercise gear.

This mashup between the Plaintain Tee and the Strathcona Henley from Thread Theory is a real winner.

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

This shirt is made from wool ponte and wool jersey, which were gifts.  If you can ever find wool ponte, I highly recommend it.  It’s both drapey and substantial.  This is a nice, long shirt, but with the right curves for my body since I used the shape of the side seams in the Plantain Tee.

Bottoms

For every day, I would have to say my Morgan Jeans from Closet Case Patterns in non-stretch denim are my top pick.

Morgan Jeans!

I love the fit of these jeans, and with some brightly colored topstitching, they feel a little bit special.  I sized up because I don’t like super tight jeans and I want to be able to fit long underwear or leggings underneath in the cold weather.

For looking a little bit nicer, Simplicity 1696 is my go-to.  I have made these pants several times.  My favorite iteration is my most recent, in Cloud9 Tinted Denim.

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

I think it reads as a pleasingly faded chino.  I like this slightly heavier fabric more than the lighter sateen and quilting cotton I have tried in the past.

Another winner for every day or pajamas is self-drafted leggings using an old tutorial by Cal Patch on Etsy’s blog.  My first pair was in a cheap polyester fabric, and I still use these for pajamas.

MMM'15 Day 11

I’m hoping to make a new pattern this winter, since my measurements have changed.  I’d like to make some leggings in a midweight Polartec Power Stretch.  There is nothing like fleecy leggings for coziness.

Speaking of pajamas, I just pulled out my flannel pajama pants made from out-of-print McCall’s 3019 in Cloud9 organic cotton flannel.

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

I have used a lot of cheap flannel in my time, and probably will again, but there really is a difference when you use something that is high-quality like this organic flannel.

I have to include my Alabama Chanin Long Skirt in Polartec Sweater Knit.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style

This is a really simple pattern that you can sew on your machine if you don’t want to hand-stitch it, making it super fast to create.  The fleece, which looks like a sweater knit on the outside and is fleecy inside, is really warm, and the skirt is long enough that you can wear long underwear or leggings underneath, keeping yourself nice and toasty.  It’s like you’re wearing a blanket, but it looks nice.

I absolutely love sewing wovens, but I find that in fall and winter, I often want to wear knits.  It took me awhile to notice this trend.  My most successful projects are a great pairing of fabric to pattern, even if the fit isn’t absolutely perfect.  Luckily, knits tend to be pretty forgiving in that area, in addition to continuing to fit should your measurements change somewhat.  All that being said, though, I do want to occasionally challenge myself to make and wear different styles, so I have a few knit and a few woven projects tentatively planned for the winter.

If you have any favorite cold-weather patterns or patterns you are excited to sew in the fall or winter, share in the comments!  I love sewing inspiration!

Outside in November

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Outside in November

I don’t have many photos this month–looks like I didn’t get outside with my camera enough.  Here are my favorites of what I did get.

Outside in November

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Outside in November

Look what my family and I found when we were hiking in the woods.

Outside in November

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Outside in November

Pretty cool, huh?

I hope everyone in the US had a great Thanksgiving!  I’ll see you next week if I get my current project finished and photographed.  🙂

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in a Striped Embroidered Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in a Striped Embroidered Cotton

Today’s project is New Look 6472, a peasant-style blouse in a lightweight striped cotton with an embroidered edge.  I love the boho, ’70’s-inspired style that’s been going around, and this pattern is perfect for that.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

I found this fabric in the clearance section of Hobby Lobby in Indiana this summer.  I had planned to make a skirt with it, but changed my mind when considering what fabric to use for a first try of this pattern.  I decided to make View A with the sleeves of View C in a size 18 bust and 20 waist and hip.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

In order to use the fabric well, I made a few adjustments to the pattern.  There are two lengths included.  However, the embroidered edge seemed perfect for the bottom, and I wanted it to fall at midhip, so I shorted it 1.5″ from the shorter view.  I also took a risk and lined up the finished embroidered edge straight to the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces, even though it threw the grainline off a bit and added a wedge of fabric into the center front and back.  I figured I could probably gather that into the neckline.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

Luckily it didn’t seem like a broadback adjustment was necessary on this pattern, and the little bit of fabric those wedges added seemed like extra insurance.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

The pattern wasn’t too difficult, which was nice after all the changes I attempted on my last project.  There were a few little things I would change.  I think they forgot a step between steps 11 and 12.  It should direct you to press the unsewn long raw edge of the binding to the wrong side at 3/8″.

Also, there was no direction to trim the seam allowance around the neckline, but I thought it seemed like a good idea.  If you leave it untrimmed, it can create some structure to wrap the neckline binding around, but that seemed like it might be a little too stiff for this shirt.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

Additionally, when making the neck ties, I think it would be easier to fold the tie right sides together the long way, sew one short end, pivot, and sew the long edge, leaving the thread tails from the beginning of your sewing long.  You can then thread them through a needle, push that needle to the inside and push it through the tube and out the open end, turning the tie right side out.

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

I finished the inside with French seams, which I love.  I also like the little buttons on the sleeves, but I didn’t plan ahead to find some nice looking elastic for my button loops, so I used the 1/8″ white elastic I had on hand.  The buttons are vintage ones from my in-laws (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

I’m happy with how this shirt turned out.  I suspect that the armholes might need some fitting tweaks that I don’t yet know how to do, but I have to say that other than trying it out under a warm sweater the day I finished it, I haven’t had a chance to wear it.  It’s been pretty cold here.  My plan was to wear it once or twice and then put it away for the spring, but it may go to a family member who fell in love with it.  I love it too, but I actually have a fair number of shirts, and I can always make another one…or borrow it back. 😉

I’m really happy to have found a pattern in this style that I like, and I hope to make more of these–maybe in a drapey fabric next time!

New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

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New Look 6472 Peasant Blouse in Striped Cotton

This Could Be a Fail…Simplicity 8841 Pants

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This Could Be a Fail…Simplicity 8841 Pants

It’s turned cold here, and I’m hurriedly trying to finish the projects I cut out while it was still warmish.  I just finished the pants in today’s post and a top.  Next up is a jacket.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

What do I say about these pants?  I’m not really sure.  I can’t decide if I like them or if they are a big fail.  I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  The pattern is good, but the alterations I made to it may not have been.

For this project, I decided to try using my measurements to alter the flat pattern before cutting out my pants.  I have a few Big 4 pant or short patterns that I have made multiples of, and each time, I tweak them just a little bit more to get closer and closer to what I want.  I was hoping to skip right to the “what I want” part of things by doing it this way.  If I could just figure out the right shape, I could use it on all future pairs of pants.  Well…I may have adjusted a bit too fiercely.

Pattern and Fabric

My pattern is Simplicity 8841, View C, but with the patch pockets and no belt or belt loops.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

I chose to make it in a cotton twill fabric that is probably on the light side of midweight from Joann Fabrics.  This pattern is one for pull on pants, and View C is supposed to be the longer length and have a slim leg.  My measurements put me at a 20 waist and right between a 20 and 22 for my hip.  Since this was a pull on pant (i.e. elastic waist, no zipper or buttons), I got nervous about the hip being too small, and I wanted the pants to be comfortable when I sat, so I made a straight 22.

Flat Pattern Alterations

I used the book Sewing Pants That Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library.  I like these books a lot.  The pictures and illustrations are very clear and easy to understand, plus you can easily find these books used for a low price online or in thrift stores.

I measured myself, which is something books always recommend that you do with a sewing buddy if possible, because it’s hard to measure yourself.  Perhaps to my detriment, I tried on my own anyway, taking into account the fact that the pants are supposed to sit an inch below the natural waist.

It seemed like I was going to need more crotch length, with most of that length in the back.

On the front pattern piece I added a small wedge and a little at the thigh to get the right length.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

On the back, I added a wedge and length to the back crotch point.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

First Impressions

My first thoughts when I tried these on was that they felt great, but looked bad.  All that extra fabric is super comfortable, but some of it had to go!

Fitting Changes After Initial Construction

First up, choosing to make a 22 instead of a 20 was overkill.  I should have made the straight 20.  The 22 was definitely too big, even for someone like me who likes a lot of ease.  In the end, I shaved off 1/8″ from the crotch seam and inseams, and 1/4″ off both side seams, and the pants are still a bit too big.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

After that, I took 1″ off the top of the pants, and then 1.75″ more off the front, tapering to nothing at the side seams, because they were just too high-waisted for what they were supposed to be.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

I think I should go back into my flat pattern and remove the wedge adjustment I made to the front.  I was trying to add length however I could, but that wedge adjustment is actually used for a full abdomen, and although my stomach is fuller than it used to be, this doesn’t seem to be the correct adjustment for me.  Even after what I shaved off, it is still too baggy in the front.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

I’d also really like my pants to feel slightly higher in the back than the front.  I don’t know if I’m the only one on that, but it just feels more comfortable to me.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

Conclusions

Rather than achieving my goal of skipping right to the end of fitting, I think I made more problems.  I think I’ve learned a few things:  I shouldn’t do a wedge adjustment in the front, I SHOULD do a wedge adjustment in the back, and adding length at the back crotch point was probably a good idea (not sure if the front crotch point length was helpful or harmful).  Maybe I should have traced off the crotch curves from the Ginger or Morgan jeans, both from Closet Case Patterns.  Those patterns fit me pretty well from the beginning.  Maybe the lesson here is to be a bit more patient with the fitting process and to just keep trying.

Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

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Simplicity 8841 Pants

After all the tweaks I did, I still felt the pants were shorter than I wanted and wider at the bottom.  They don’t look tapered to me.  However, I think I’m done for now.  These just aren’t warm enough for the cold weather.  I think they’ll have to wait until spring to get more wear.  I can always do more evaluation then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside in October

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Outside in October

It’s the first day of November, but since I don’t have any sewing projects to share this week, here are some of my favorite pictures from October.  I’ve started to notice a few of my photographic ruts, but some things are so beautiful, you have to take pictures of them every year.  😉

Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

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Outside in October

I’ll be back next week if I have a finished project to share.  I had a few gifts and things for others that I was sewing that won’t make it to the blog, but now I’m back to sewing for myself.  Hopefully I’ll have new projects to share soon.  🙂  Happy fall!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I’m really excited about the jacket I have to share with you today.  I didn’t sew it—I upcycled it!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

This wool shirt jacket was waiting for me at the Army Barracks, a military surplus store in Salem, MA.  I guessed from the collar that it might have been made in the 1970’s.  Do you think I could be right?  Clearly it had already been altered—there were a few patched and darned areas and the hem had been changed, but that didn’t bother me.  It gave the shirt an interesting history.  Since I love wool, olive green as a neutral, and shirt jackets, I bought it.

After getting it home and washing and drying it, I decided to redo some of the mending.  I covered the original darned area on the sleeve with more darning in a thread color that matched the jacket better.  To do that, I dropped the feed dogs on my machine and used a darning foot and a zigzag stitch.  Then I sewed back and forth in a crazy scribble all over the original darn to cover it up.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

before

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

after

I also redid the area that had been patched on the button band.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I cut a rectangle of a matching cotton twill fabric, folded and pressed under the edges, and sewed it to the back of the hole.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

Then I darned the hole the same way I had on the sleeve.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The next thing the jacket needed was standout details.

I often think about decorating my clothes, but usually talk myself out of it.  Not this time, though!  This shirt jacket seemed like just the garment to try adding a little fun to.  Pink + green, florals + utility, “flair”—I love it!  I had a lot of Rifle Paper Co. rayon Les Fleurs bias tape left over from when I made my friend a linen jacket, so that is where I started.  It seemed like a good way to highlight the unique back and front lines of the shirt yoke.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

testing ideas

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

Then, I thought maybe a patch would be cool.  I found a great tiger patch at Joann Fabric.  I ironed the patch on and then used advice I had seen from Lauren Taylor (@lladybird) on Instagram, and sewed the edges of the patch with regular thread in my bobbin and clear thread on top using a tiny zig zag stitch.  I LOVED it!  But it needed something more.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I started hunting around for patches, maybe some swallows.  Somewhere around this time, I started to see images of embroidered Gucci jackets.  Some of them I liked, some I didn’t, but I discovered a few things:  the back of the Gucci jackets I liked best had images that related to one another somehow, whether they told a pictorial story or were just grouped in a way that was visually pleasing.  I also discovered that you can find a lot of knock-off Gucci patches on the internet if you want to make your own version of a Gucci jacket.

I found a great pair of swallows on Amazon.  Once I put those on the jacket, it felt almost finished.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I wanted to add some bees, but not the Gucci ones with red and black bodies.  I wanted some with yellow and black bodies that were somewhat realistic looking.  I finally found them from RichLoveFinds on Etsy.  Two went on the back, and one covered the area that had been darned on the sleeve.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The original plan was to cover the patch job on the button band, too, but it made the front visually unbalanced, so I left it as it was.

At this point, it was so close to what I wanted, but something wasn’t quite right.  The floral bias tape related well to the jacket, and the patches related well to the jacket, but the bias tape and the patches weren’t meshing together, even though they shared some of the same colors.  Then I figured it out!  If I could find a thin black trim to sew on the bottom side of the bias tape, it would have the same outline effect that the patches had.  I found some that was 1/8″ wide at Joann’s, and sewed it on.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The ends tended to fray, so I tried to zigzag them, and then applied Fray Check.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

That was somewhat successful.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was close enough for me.  NOW it was just right!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

 

I have worn this shirt jacket so often since I made it.  It is a great layering piece as the weather cools down.

P.S.  If you suspect that all the decorations I added to this jacket cost more than the jacket itself, you would be correct.  If you take on your own project like this, you can decide if you want to think about that beforehand or not.  😉

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric: Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

I love going antiquing.  A month or two ago, I went to my local flea market and got a deal on some vintage quilting cotton.  Three dollars for 2–3 yards!  I thought about what to make with it, and finally settled on Burda Style 6375, a cute wrap skirt with interesting pockets.  The plan was to underline it with a cotton sheet for opacity and to reduce wrinkling.  It seemed like a fun project to make as the weather is changing.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

The Pattern

This pattern has two views, a shorter skirt designed for leather or imitation leather, and a longer skirt created for woven fabrics.  I opted to make the woven fabric version (View A) in the shorter length.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

My measurements put me just one size outside of Burda’s range, so I looked at the pattern and noted how much space was between each size, and then enlarged the largest size by that amount, creating the next size up.  Before cutting, I layered my fabric on top of the sheet with right sides facing out, trying to keep the grainlines going in the same direction.  Then I cut both layers out together.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

Sewing Notes

  • I underlined each of my pattern pieces—and by underlined, I just mean that I cut them out of both fabrics and then treated the double layers as one.  Since neither fabric was slippery, they stayed put once paired together, and I didn’t have to baste them together as is traditional when underlining.  For the pockets, the double layers of cotton were a bit too bulky.  Perhaps the little triangle pieces on the outside of the pockets could have been underlined in silk organza, but I just forged ahead with my double layers of cotton.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

  • I left off the the narrow leather bands shown in the illustrations, but they would certainly be a good addition if they fit the look you are after.  In retrospect, I wish that I had finished the edge of the facing inside the pocket to prevent fraying.  For durability, I stitched two lines around the pockets instead of one and added bartacks to the top corners.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

  • Due to the bulk of the underlining and fashion fabric, I made sure to grade my seams whenever necessary (waistband and tie especially!).
  • I tried to use up whatever lace seam binding I could on the inside of the skirt.  It’s such a fun trim, and I have a good amount thanks to the generosity of various people.  On seams that weren’t covered in seam binding, I turned and stitched my seam allowances.  To do this, you press your seams open, then turn each edge of the allowance under and press again.  Finally, you sew each seam allowance, making that last crease permanent and hiding the raw edges from view.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

The Confusing Part

The tie, eyelet, and snap closure were a little confusing, but I finally figured it out.  I’m putting a lot of pictures in this section in case others get confused.  There aren’t a lot of posts or reviews about this pattern, so hopefully this will help.

The snap is meant to go on the inside layers to hold the underlap to the outer layer of the skirt.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

The large metal eyelet goes on the outside corner of the waistband.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

The tie is a long finished rectangle of fabric that gets sewn to the waistband.  Half gets threaded through the eyelet and tied to the other half of the tie.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

I also added a button inside the overlap and a buttonhole on the underlap so that I could be sure my skirt wouldn’t come untied and fall open with only the snap to hold it on.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

My Big Mistake

I did make one rather large mistake…  When the skirt was all finished except for the closures, I tried it on, and found that the underlap just wasn’t long enough.  One gust of wind, and I would have a problem on my hands.  I knew that I had just measured myself and compared my measurements to the pattern.  Why on earth hadn’t Burda made a longer underlap?  What were they thinking?  How was I going to fix this?

The skirt went in “time out” for a few days while I thought this problem over.  I figured I could add more fabric to the underlap, which sounded kind of annoying, but doable (I hate going back to fix things when I’m almost done).  Something was bugging me, though.  The part of the waistband that was supposed to be attached to the underlap only had fabric hanging down from half of it.  That seemed weird.  So I went back and studied my pattern pieces.  And you know what?  The underlap pattern piece said “cut 1 ON FOLD“.  By not cutting on the fold, I had only half of the piece!  It was all my fault!  Rookie mistake.

Luckily, I had just enough fashion fabric and sheet fabric to cut the other half of my skirt piece plus a double seam allowance.  I unpicked my finished edge and waistband, attached the other half of the underlap and finished all my edges.  NOW I had a skirt that had an EXCELLENT and substantial underlap.  No more fear of wind gusts.  I hate fixing things, but it didn’t actually take that long, and it was completely worth it.

Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

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Wrap Skirt in Vintage Fabric:  Burda Style 6375

Success!

I really like this skirt now!  It turned out cute and very comfortable.  I’m happy that I used my vintage find, and with the addition of some bike shorts underneath, I feel really good in this.