Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat in Duck Canvas and Broadcloth

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Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat in Duck Canvas and Broadcloth

This is a case of unselfish sewing, surprising though it may be.¬† ūüėȬ† Today’s project is the Belvedere Waistcoat (vest) from Thread Theory Designs.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

I made this vest for my husband before Christmas, and we were both very happy with how it turned out.¬† In buying this pattern, I broke one of my norms, and bought a PDF pattern, which is not my preference, but after looking around at the available patterns, and even buying a Vogue pattern, we realized that this was the one my husband really wanted.¬† At this point, it is only available as a PDF.¬† This is a great pattern because there are two options:¬† an easy waistcoat, and a tailored waistcoat, so if you are a beginner or are looking for a quick vest pattern, you’re covered.¬† If you want to delve deeper and try your hand at something involving tailoring, welt pockets, etc., you’re also covered.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

We were inspired to use canvas by¬†a friend’s vest, purchased from Historical Emporium, which is also made of canvas.¬† My husband isn’t very formal, so he liked the idea of a vest that was both detailed and sturdy.¬† I had leftover brown duck canvas from the first pair of cargo pants I made him (Thread Theory’s Jutland Pants), and so rather than making a muslin, we decided on a wearable muslin in this fabric. ¬†I found an inexpensive poly/cotton broadcloth at JoAnn Fabrics to use as a lining as well as the buttons I needed. ¬†We were ready!

Luckily the fit was great, and the only things we would do differently next time are to lengthen the torso by two inches since he is tall with a long torso, and take a small wedge (about 5/8″) out of the center back seam, tapering it to nothing 5″ up from the bottom.¬† Luckily the wedge adjustment was something we were able to do while this version was in progress, and it really improved the fit for him. ¬†Now that I’m thinking about it, some higher quality interfacing would also be a good idea next time.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

Like any time I sew for someone else, I usually procrastinate a bit.¬† I think I’m worried about the garment fitting and, in this case, I wasn’t sure how complex this pattern would be.¬† I was happy to see that when I finally got into it, if I just followed the directions step by step, I made it through just fine.

One part where I ran into a little bit of trouble (which was completely my own fault) was when I was clipping the seams where the front of the vest and the facing join.¬†On one side I wasn’t very careful and I clipped through not only the seam allowance, but also the facing.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

It took me a few deep breaths and some thought to figure out how to fix that one, since I didn’t want it to unravel. ¬†I settled on sewing some bias tape over it, and it was fine. ¬†(Thank goodness!)

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

Next time I’ll be more careful.

I found it helpful when making the welt pockets (which went just fine, thankfully) to use a zipper foot when sewing over the little triangle tabs at the side.¬† This helped me get as close as possible to the base of the triangle.¬† I haven’t made many welt pockets before, so I was happy with how these turned out.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

We also decided to add in the optional side vents, which turned out well.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

We decided to leave the last (non-functioning) buttonhole off the bottom of the waistcoat.  It was his preference to only have functional buttonholes, and since this is for him, I wanted to make it just how he wanted it.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

I’m so happy to report that he loves it and it looks terrific on him!¬† When it was finished, and I saw it on him, I really felt it was something I could be proud of. ¬†That’s a great feeling.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

While I did get him to agree to let me snap a few pictures of him wearing it, I know it’s not his favorite thing to do, and I’m anxious to blog this project before I forget the details.¬† If I end up getting a good picture of him wearing it, I’ll update the post.¬† At some point, I hope to make him another version with the modifications we noted for next time using higher quality materials.

Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

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Belvedere Waistcoat in duck canvas and broadcloth

 

 

 

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Lander Pant, Take One

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Lander Pant, Take One

After making three pairs of Ginger Jeans (1, 2, 3) as well as a few other pairs of pants, I’m finally getting in my pants-sewing groove.¬† I still don’t feel like I have pants-fitting down, but I’m not afraid to try any more.¬† When the Lander Pant & Short pattern from True Bias came out, I was excited (ok, really¬†excited).¬† I had already given away all my thrifted skinny jeans, and was feeling the need for some looser pants, or at least nothing tighter than the stovepipe leg view of the Ginger Jeans.¬† These looked like just what I was after, so I did something I’ve never done before–I preordered the paper pattern.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I already had some inexpensive non-stretch denim in my stash from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA, and plenty of thread, interfacing, and jeans buttons, so I was ready to go.¬† When I got the pattern, I decided on View C, the boot length pant and traced a size 12 waist and size 16 hip.¬† I also decided to lengthen the pattern by 4″ since I’m 5′ 8.5″ and this pattern was drafted for someone who is 5′ 5″ tall (I ended up only needing 2.5″ of extra length, however).¬† I told myself this was a wearable muslin, in the hopes that it would work out and I could wear it.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

The instructions are very clear and helpful, although I did a few things differently.¬† Like with the Ginger Jeans, I opted to put my back pockets on last, so I could place them while wearing the pants.¬† I also changed the method for making belt loops, which I felt was just too tricky.¬† Using a loop turner on denim is not for me!¬† It’s much easier to cut your fabric strip for your belt loops, turn your seam allowances in and press them, and then topstitch everything closed and cut the long strip apart into belt loops.¬† These things are minor personal preferences.

The part I really had trouble with was the waistband and crotch seam.  The pants fit great until the point where I added the waistband.  Despite using my measurements to determine my size in that area (and I double checked to make sure I had them right), the waistband was uncomfortably tight.  It was also very high, sitting above my belly button, at my natural waist.  This is what the pattern promises as far as the waist height.  After trying it on, though, and feeling how uncomfortable the waistband was, I decided to go off-book and lower the rise and recut the waistband.  This is not the correct way to lower the rise of pants, but with the jeans near complete, it was the only option.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I decided I wanted to lower them about 1.75″ (or the finished width of my¬† original waistband), so I marked new stitching and cutting lines and cut a new waistband 7″ longer, and sewed that on.¬† I decided to cut the pants down after sewing so I could make sure I was on the right track before crossing the point of no return.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

This was more comfortable, but it also meant I needed to curve the waistband a bit.  I added some darts (which added a few drag lines, but what are you gonna do?), and this seemed workable.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I tried the pants on and was pretty happy with them.¬† They are SUPER wide-legged as drafted, but I decided to keep the width and try them out for a while.¬† Mine also have more ease in the hips than many other versions I’ve seen online, but I chose my hip size according to my measurements, and find the fit in the hips really comfortable.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

I liked the back view, and was happy with them when standing, but after wearing them for a few days, I realized I COULD NOT wear them any longer.¬† Something is up with the crotch seam such that it cuts into me in the front when sitting, and I cannot wear them any more until I figure that out.¬† I really hate going back into a project once it’s done, but I put them in my mending pile, and I’m going to compare the crotch seam of this pattern with the crotch seam of the Ginger Jeans, which are very comfortable, and see what the difference is.¬† I’m hoping I can add in a (hopefully invisible) patch to lengthen the front seam or something so that these can at least be wearable.¬† I think my Jutland pants actually need this adjustment too, although they are not nearly as uncomfortable (in fact, this is something I have only noticed recently).¬† It looks like I have a little sleuthing to do, which means I get to learn more about pants fitting.¬† Right?

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

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Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

My overall analysis is that this is a good pattern, the instructions are well done, and Kelly of True Bias has actually put out a design that is different from what everyone else is doing (in a really good way).¬† As more and more pattern companies come on the scene, it seems to be harder and harder to find unique patterns, so I like that these aren’t available in 1,000 iterations from every company.¬† If you are thinking about this pattern, I would say: go for it.¬† Every pattern will have to be fitted to your unique body, and as hard as that can be at times, it also helps us learn and become better at this craft that we love.

Lander Pant from True Bias in Denim

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the Google Arts & Culture app?¬† I haven’t explored it fully, but my family and I did have some fun with the selfie feature that pairs your picture with a piece of art the app thinks looks like you.¬† I managed to get two pairings to different selfies:Matching people to art:  Google Arts & Culture

    and

Matching people to art:  Google Arts & Culture

You can read all about this in this article on Google’s blog.

  • I’ve really been enjoying listening through some of the fiction works of writer Wendell Berry (most recently Hannah Coulter and¬†That Distant Land).¬† He creates a community that isn’t perfect, but still manages to make me want to be my best self.
  • I think I could make a coat like this men’s wool shirt jacket from L.L. Bean¬†by using Simplicity 4109.¬† One day, I WILL realize my shirt jacket dreams! ūüėČ
  • Funny stuff from Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell:

Simplicity 4111 (Built by Wendy) Top in “Winged” Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 (Built by Wendy) Top in “Winged” Fabric

I am so glad to be here sharing sewing projects with you again!¬† It feels like it’s been forever since I published a sewing project post!¬† Today’s was almost without photos of the garment in action, because I couldn’t find the pictures I had taken of the shirt while I was wearing it.¬† Oh, blog photography!¬† It’s definitely the most challenging part of blogging for me.

Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

Today I want to talk about Simplicity 4111, a pattern that is out of print but, I would argue, still in style.¬† This pattern is a Built by Wendy pattern (although the line is technically called “Built by You”), a collaboration between designer Wendy Mullin and Simplicity.¬† I’ve had this pattern for ages, since before I started sewing regularly, but haven’t made it until now.¬† I paired it with a fabric I’ve also had for some time:¬† “Aves Chatter Dim” from the “Winged” collection by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics, bought a few years ago at The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI.¬† Originally I planned to make a button up shirt with it (because most woven cotton fabric looks like it would make a good button up shirt to me, actually), but in the end, I think this was a better use for it.

Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

After measuring the flat pattern, I determined that I wouldn’t need a broad back adjustment.¬† You can bet I was pretty thrilled, albeit skeptical about that.¬† I cut a size 16 bust, 18 waist, and 20 hip, and chose to make View B with long sleeves.¬† I wasn’t sure where the elastic that is supposed to sit under the bust would hit, but I decided to just go for it.

Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

It is so interesting that you can both love and not love how a pattern turns out.¬† This shirt in this fabric is so, so beautiful to me.¬† I love it.¬† However…I really did need that broad back adjustment (next time!) and the under-bust elastic is a little high for me, giving the shirt a curious bust-minimizing effect.¬† To be fair, this is the look on the pattern envelope, but I would prefer the elastic a little lower.¬† After running it by my friends at Sip & Stitch, this is what I think I need to adjust for next time:¬† do my normal major broad back adjustment for comfort and lower the front elastic by an inch or so.¬† Thanks (again!) to Stacy, who really knows her stuff when it comes to fitting and pattern drafting.

Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

Here are a few detail shots:

Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

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Simplicity 4111 in "Winged" Fabric

So, I kind of want to make this again in the next few months while simultaneously regretting that I don’t love the fit on the beautiful shirt that I have.¬† I’m going to try to wear it anyway.¬† What sort of fabric should I use for round two?!¬† (I love planning projects!!!)

After making this, I got on a little bit of a Built by Wendy kick and looked up Wendy Mullin, her work, and her patterns and books, and I have to say that a number of her patterns are ones that I really like.¬† Thanks to this rabbit hole, I purchased two of her patterns: Simplicity 3966 on Etsy and Simplicity 4109 on eBay.¬† Maybe 3966 would make a good spring jacket and 4109 could be the basis of a wool shirt jacket?¬† Both of these and their many possibilities are currently kicking around in my head.¬† If/When I use them, I will report back.¬† ūüôā

Recommendations

  • Thanks to the Wednesday Weekly blog post from Helen’s Closet, I am finding so many new things!¬† One I am really excited about is the free¬†Stash Shrinker Excel file from SewJourners that you can use to help you sew the fabric you already have before buying more.¬† I have so much good fabric in my stash, but I get distracted by all the new and pretty things that come along and sometimes my good buys of yesterday languish.¬† I’m hoping this will help me bring that fabric goodness to my closet instead of losing it in my fabric cabinet.¬† ūüėČ
  • Since we were talking about Built by Wendy, did you know she has four instructional sewing books?¬† I currently have them checked out of the library.¬† I just love flipping through craft and cook books.¬† In case you want to check them out, too, they are:¬†¬†Sew U, Sew U Homestretch, Sew U Dresses, and Sew U Coats and Jackets.¬† They each come with several patterns.¬† You can also find them used at various spots online.
  • Here’s a fun time-waster for you!¬† The Akinator will guess any movie or literary character you can think of (although I have tricked him a few times!).¬† Give it a try.¬† It’s pretty amazing.¬† Just make sure to check the “under 13” option if you are using the site with kids.
  • Here is a sport I never even imagined!¬† Welcome to the world of cycle-ball:

 

 

Field Trip: The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

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Field Trip:  The Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

I went on a field trip last week to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see Georgia O’Keeffe:¬† Art, Image, Style.¬† I heard this exhibit was coming way back in May on the Thread Cult podcast.¬† It was exciting because the exhibit isn’t just about her paintings, but also contains her clothing, some of which she sewed.¬† I had a free pass to the museum and I saved it just for this show.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Georgia O’Keeffe is not one of my favorite painters, but having studied art, and now applying my artistic side through making clothing for myself, this exhibit sounded exciting to me.¬† I certainly wasn’t disappointed.¬† I loved it.¬† The funny thing is, it wasn’t the paintings that I loved or her¬†exact clothing style.¬† I loved seeing the two together with images of her by various photographers, seeing her tiny, tiny stitches, seeing how she created her own style.¬† I’ve never read a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, so I don’t know what her personality was like, but going through the exhibit gave me a sense of someone who found out what she liked and quietly went with it (feel free to set me straight in the comments if she was loud and dramatic or something).

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Because sewing has become my own form of creative expression, I was moved to see how she created her own style that exemplified who she was…and she did it at an amazingly high skill level.¬† The miniscule and beautiful stitches, pintucks, and mending on her clothing was wonderful to me.¬† She sewed her clothing by hand!

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

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Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These tiny lines in the fabric are pintucks–small folds of fabric that she created and stitched down by hand.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

Garments shown above are all believed to have been sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.¬† These pictures really cannot convey the beautiful and precise hand stitches she used.

The exhibit was divided into two parts–before she went to New Mexico and after. ¬†Sewing wasn’t her main mode of expression, and as she went on in her career, she started to have others make her clothing, but even when she wasn’t sewing for herself, she used her apparel to express who she was.¬† It wasn’t a loud explosion of color or attention-grabbing fashion.¬† She quietly found her style and stayed with it, but when you see her fashion choices in the time after she began visiting New Mexico, things start to feel very contemporary. ¬†Some of the clothing she was choosing then is what people wear every day now.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

These garments weren’t sewn by Georgia O’Keeffe.¬† The styles are still in vogue today.

It wasn’t about being sexy, grabbing attention, or screaming at other people to follow her.¬† It was just about what she liked.¬† And you know what?¬† We are following her.¬† The show ends with a recent Dior fashion show that has numerous elements obviously inspired by O’Keeffe.

There is something really compelling about someone who quietly does their thing.¬† I’m tired of the loud and blustery.¬† I’ve done it, but I think I respect this more.¬† Even if my take on this show isn’t a clear and accurate picture of who she was, it certainly caused me to think.¬† It’s ok to carve out a unique path in fashion and in art.¬† It doesn’t have to be overly sexualized, because we’re more than that as people.¬† It doesn’t have to be loud to be compelling.¬† It doesn’t have to be in-your-face to make a difference.¬† Sometimes quiet diligence is what prevails.

This exhibit is showing through April 1, 2018.¬† You can see more pictures of the exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum’s website as well as on my Flickr page.

Recommendations

  • The Peabody Essex Museum has an excellent gift shop.¬† They have all sorts goods related generally to art and specifically to their exhibits, currently including black hats as that was a distinctive item of apparel that O’Keeffe adopted in her New Mexico years.¬† I found my own black hat that really felt like me.¬† Fashion and art take courage because both involve putting yourself out there.¬† I’m going to wear this until it doesn’t feel awkward any more, because I LOVE it.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

  • O’Keeffe was influenced by the writing and art of Arthur Wesley Dow, which reminded me of how much I love his work.¬† Some of his landscape paintings and his use of color really stop me in my tracks.
  • Since we were talking about fashion, I really like some of Dansko’s ankle boots lately.¬† Comfortable¬†and¬†good-looking!

Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead

And now for something a little bit different…

I don’t always sew Christmas presents.¬† It can be hard to know what people will like, and I don’t want to invest time into something that isn’t a sure thing.¬† That’s why, this year, I decided to make a few zippered pouches.¬† These are not clothing or decor, and they are very, very functional, and can be used to store whatever the recipient wants.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead

I haven’t made many bags, so I’m not as tuned in to that area of the sewing world, but I knew from what knowledge I did have, that if I wanted to find a tutorial for a bag with great instructions, I should look at Anna Graham’s blog, called Noodlehead.¬† So, off I went, and found exactly what I was looking for:¬† the Open Wide Zippered Pouch.

After the initial tutorial post, Anna went back and updated it with two more size options so you can make small, medium, or large pouches and, as the name indicates, these pouches open wide when you unzip them.¬† They also stand up, thanks to interfacing and boxed corners, and stay open so you can see what’s inside.¬† I had never considered these options before, since the zipper pouches I use are store-bought and of the flat variety.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead

I made both pouches in the small size.¬† They were easy to make and didn’t take long at all.¬† I got all my fabric and zippers at Pintuck & Purl–just quarter yards of each fabric I wanted to use.¬† The printed fabrics are Cotton & Steel quilting cottons and the light blue solid is a lightweight denim from Art Gallery Fabrics.

I sew a lot of clothes but I have found that there are always new areas to explore in the sewing world.¬† So even if bags are fairly new to you, as they are to me, you can handle this.¬† I would definitely make these again, and I’m already planning to try out another of Anna’s pouch tutorials this year.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch from Noodlehead

These pouches were well-received and are already in use, which makes me happy.¬† I recommend Anna’s tutorial to you if you are looking for something like this.¬† Here’s my question for you:¬† do you have any favorite bag patterns?¬† I’m not planning on switching away from garments, but I might try a few bags this year.

Recommendations

  • I’m reading¬†The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, and it’s so interesting.¬† This is a great book for someone who only has little chunks of time to read.¬† She talks about a myriad of colors, and each entry is only about two or three pages, so you can learn a lot of fascinating color history, even if you only have 5 minutes here and there to read.
  • I tried Cremont cheese from Vermont Creamery earlier this month, and it is SO GOOD!¬† I highly recommend this one if you are a cheese lover.
  • I just started listening to the Awesome Etiquette podcast from the Emily Post Institute after hearing about it on the Love to Sew podcast.¬† It’s definitely not about picking apart the behavior of others, but focuses more on how we can care for others with our actions.¬† It’s nice to hear and think about positive, uplifting things.

The Long, Long Cardigan: McCall’s 7476

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The Long, Long Cardigan: McCall’s 7476

The long cardigan was a new style for me until the beginning of the year when I bought one at TJ Maxx. ¬†I wasn’t sure about the look, but I was curious and wanted to try it. ¬†I told myself I would test it out, and I really liked it! ¬†Then I saw this look and found McCall’s 7476.¬† It was time to MAKE one of my own.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

The only problem was that the super long version I wanted (View E, but without the shawl collar) called for A LOT of fabric.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

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The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

I knew that if I was going to make this, I would have to find a good deal on material. ¬†One of my favorite places to look for such deals in person, rather than online, is at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. ¬†It’s not exactly nearby, but if I’m really efficient with my time and focused when I’m there, I can do it on a weekday.

I went with my list and my budget and my ideas and, providentially, there was a sale on wool. ¬†The fabric I found for the cardigan was a wool/acrylic rib knit, so it was affordable with the discount. ¬†I don’t normally like rib knits, but being able to see and feel this one in person convinced me that it could work for my cardigan.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

On to the project! ¬†I washed and dried a fabric swatch (I think it was 4″ x 4″) to see how much shrinkage would happen. ¬†Despite the warm temperature I used, there really wasn’t any shrinkage. ¬†So, I put the rest of my fabric in the washer and dryer. ¬†The only downside to this fabric is that it’s a hair magnet, but at least it doesn’t shrink!

I cut my pattern out on the floor after cleaning it as well as I could so the fabric didn’t get dirty. ¬†I cut a large for the bust and waist and an extra large for the hip, leaving off the shawl collar. ¬†This was also my first time using knit interfacing. ¬†It went well, and I like the feel of it in the finished garment.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

Except for the unwieldiness of the project due to its length, this wasn’t hard. ¬†I tried using Coats & Clark’s new Eloflex thread, which is slightly stretchy and made for knits.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

After awhile, I switched from Eloflex as my top thread and in my bobbin to Eloflex in just the top and wooly nylon in the bottom.¬† It seemed like my machine didn’t like something that I was doing, and for some reason, that configuration seemed to do the trick.¬† I still used a zigzag stitch and all the other things I do for sewing with knits (walking foot, lighter presser foot pressure, jersey needle), but just changed up that top thread from my usual all-purpose Gutermann to Eloflex. ¬†We’ll see how it holds up. ¬†No complaints so far, but I also haven’t used it enough to say if I love it or not.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

The other thing I tried out on this garment was Steam-A-Seam 2 (the 1/4″ one).¬† I’ve had this for a while, but haven’t really used it.¬† It’s a lightly tacky double-stick tape that you then use to fuse your fabric together with an iron when it’s positioned. ¬†I used it to help me hem and for my pockets as an extra stabilizer.¬†It says it creates a permanent bond when ironed, but I still sewed my hems and pockets where I applied it. ¬†Why did it take me so long to use this?!

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

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The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

After wearing the cardigan a few times, I wonder if I need to shorten it just a bit.¬† The hem is about an inch off the ground.¬† (For reference, I’m 5′ 8.5″.) ¬†It doesn’t pick up as much dirt as you might expect, but I’m always worried it will drag. ¬†I was hoping I could just fold the hem up one more time, but when I tried pinning it, I realized that my hem was slightly uneven, and simply folding it up really exacerbated that. ¬†Maybe it’s time to use my new-to-me hem marker if it will go down that far.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

I really, really like this cardigan. ¬†I know it’s a different look and it’s a lot of black for me, but it’s so cozy and warm (guys, it’s basically a blanket or a robe). ¬†I like how it looks with jeans or overalls, and it’s great to have something so long and dramatic–something so different from most of the rest of my wardrobe. ¬†I would definitely make this again.

The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

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The Long, Long Cardigan:  McCall's 7476

Recommendations

  • While reading the Wednesday Weekly from Helen’s Closet, I saw that Sewrendipity is creating a hub for local fabric shopping guides.¬† You can see if she’s linked to one near you, or submit your own.¬† It’s a great idea.
  • Indie Sew wrote a great article on fabric weight, how to determine fabric weight, and why it’s important.

 

 

 

The Coziest Sweatshirt: Very Easy Vogue 9055

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The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

After the dirndl project that I undertook earlier this fall, I wanted to make sure that I had some quick, easy projects in my next project batch.  As we were going into cooler temperatures, I started to think that a few knit sewing projects were in order.

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

One of the new things I want to incorporate more into my wardrobe is leggings (even though I’m not wearing them in these pictures) which, whether or not you think they count as pants, definitely count as secret pajamas.¬† However, I also don’t want my hind end exposed, which means I need longer t-shirts. ¬†I’ve tried the Briar Tee from Megan Nielson Patterns, which I like, but it’s not quite as long as I want and I think something is off for me in the shoulder area.¬† I really like the concept, however, and so I thought I would give Vogue 9055 a try.

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

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The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

I found the coziest sweatshirt-like knit fabric at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA that seemed perfect.¬† It’s 80% cotton and 20% polyester.¬† This pattern and fabric combination ticked most of my boxes: ¬†cozy, secret pajamas, like a warm hug, long and butt-covering. ¬†The only thing it was missing was real color. ¬†While gray is a cozy color, it also kind of depresses me. ¬†Sorry, gray lovers. ¬†I live in a land of gray winters (as you can see from these pictures) and I need color. ¬†So I bought bling to spice it up. ¬†ūüôā

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

While in my mind this project was going to take me, like, two seconds (which never actually happens, but it’s still possible to delude myself), it didn’t. ¬†I made the shirt, minus hems, and then I looked at it… ¬†The hips were too wide, and actually it looked a bit big on top, too. ¬†The neckband wasn’t tight enough, so it was flopping forward. ¬†What the heck?! ¬†Also, why have I not mastered knit neckbands after all this time?!

So I took a step back and started working on one issue at a time. ¬†I took the extra off the hips that I had added previously, and that made a big difference. ¬†I decided not to hem the sleeves or body of the shirt because I like the unhemmed shirt length and the look of it unhemmed. ¬†I could probably trim an inch off the sleeves…but I just don’t want to. ¬†As for the neckband, I cut it off and stay stitched again, but it wasn’t great without some sort of band. ¬†So I asked someone who knew more than me (always a good choice!). ¬†She told me I needed to make the band shorter, and she did all my calculations for me, making the neckband 15% smaller than the opening of my neck hole (thanks, Stacy!!!). ¬†When I recut the piece and sewed it on, it was SO MUCH BETTER. ¬†I still need practice to get knit neckbands perfect, but this was a serious improvement.

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

I know lots of people are down on the amount of ease in Big 4 patterns. ¬†I’m the opposite. ¬†I usually love the amount of ease they include, since I’m not a fan of super-fitted clothing, but I think in this fabric, I could have gone down one size from my measurements.¬† On the plus side, it’s the ultimate in comfort.

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

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The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

As for the sparkly decorations I bought for my shirt, there really isn’t a lot of space to put them on. ¬†So I don’t know. ¬†What would you do? ¬†Keep the sweatshirt plain or add details or decorations of some kind? ¬†For now, it’s plain, because I just wanted to wear it, and it really is as cozy as it looks. ¬†I’m open to ideas for jazzing it up, however. ¬†Leave your ideas in the comments!

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

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The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

The only thing that is out of the ordinary in this project is that I tried a new product: ¬†the new Eloflex thread from Coats & Clark. ¬†I haven’t used it enough to have a firm opinion on it, but it seems good so far. ¬†It’s not elastic thread, but it does have a bit of stretch in it. ¬†You can’t really tell if you hold a small amount between your fingers, but if you hold about a foot of it and pull, you’ll feel more stretch than in standard polyester thread. ¬†Normally I would use all-purpose Gutermann polyester thread for my knits, maybe with woolly nylon in the bobbin. ¬†For this shirt I used Eloflex in the top and in the bobbin.¬† Now we’ll see how it holds up to wear and tear.¬† I’m definitely excited to experiment with it.

The Coziest Sweatshirt:  Very Easy Vogue 9055

Recommendations

  • Check out these cool seam rippers from Bias Bespoke on Etsy. ¬†This one is a travel seam ripper with a flip-down lid, and this one has a seam ripper on one side and tweezers on the other. ¬†Smart design!
  • My awesome parents now scout out fabric stores for me (my mom is also a quilter, but they look for me now, too). ¬†They discovered¬†Fabrications in Richland, MI. ¬†If you are looking for wool knits, Fabrications has a number of them, including some marked “machine washable”. ¬†I spent a lot of time on their website picking out swatches so I could give some a try, courtesy of my parents. ¬†Thanks, Mom and Dad! ¬†I’m excited!
  • Sometimes I struggle with anxiety (especially the last few winters), so this winter I’m trying out The Happy Light to see if light therapy helps. ¬†As one doctor said, even if it’s psychosomatic, if it helps, it’s worth it. ¬†So far I really like it. ¬†We’ll see how the whole winter shapes up, but even if it doesn’t help with anxiety, it makes a great little work light.
  • Here’s what happens when you use Google Translate to take a song out of its original language and then translate it back. ¬†ūüôā

 

How I Sew

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How I Sew

The process of how people make things is interesting. ¬†It’s fascinating to see the spaces people create in and to learn about their processes. ¬†And since sewing is my creative practice, I’m interested in how others sew and in thinking through how I sew. ¬†After spending a few years sewing regularly, I’ve developed some habits and systems, and I thought I would share them with you in case you are curious about those types of things too. ¬†Here is how I take a project from start to finish.

Overview

Currently, I batch my projects. ¬†The first time I tried to do this, it was completely overwhelming. ¬†But the next time I did a single project, I missed it. ¬†These days, I tend to group about five sewing projects together and move them from start to finish as a unit. ¬†Here’s what that looks like.

1.  Choose patterns and fabric.  This has to be my favorite part (except for finishing, when I get to wear the final product!).  Pairing fabric and patterns is so much fun.  Sometimes I have a pattern I want to make and I go looking for the fabric.  Sometimes there is a fabric already in my stash that I bought for a certain type of garment, in which case I have to look for just the right pattern.

How I Sew

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How I Sew

This is what I’ve got on my sewing list right now (which is a bit larger than usual): ¬†Vogue 9055 (a knit top), McCall’s 7476 (a long, knit cardigan), Mini Virginia Leggings from Megan Nielsen Patterns, The Belvedere Waistcoat from Thread Theory Designs Inc., The Fairfield Button-Up, also from Thread Theory, Simplicity 4111 (a woven top), and the Lander Pant and Short from True/Bias. ¬†This particular batch is a little out of control, but I’m going with it. ¬†Christmas might have a little to do with the size…

2. ¬†Choose pattern view and sizes. ¬†Once I decide on my patterns, I make sure I know my measurements and, in this case, the measurements of the other people I’m sewing for. ¬†I use this information to pick out my size(s) on the back of the envelope and I also choose what view/version of the pattern I’m going to make. ¬†Everything gets written down on a sticky note and stuck to the back of the pattern, along with a list of the pattern pieces I’ll need to trace.

How I Sew

It’s also important to note what notions and interfacing I need, so I can look through what I already have and write down what I need to buy. ¬†I stock up on what’s missing the next chance I get.

3. ¬†Trace patterns.¬† I trace my size(s) in each pattern and, while I usually use paper patterns, if I am using a PDF, I assemble and trace that as well, since I don’t want to print and assemble PDF’s more than once. ¬†I often have to grade from one size to another between the bust and waist, and sometimes I have to do a broad-back adjustment as well. ¬†All of that happens on my traced pattern pieces. ¬†The clean, traced pieces look so nice, and I’ve learned to enjoy the process of tracing. ¬†It can get intense, though, when you are tracing through five or more patterns, especially the ones with lots of pieces. ¬†TV, an audiobook, or a podcast help.

How I Sew

4. ¬†Cut out patterns. ¬†Once all my pieces are traced and adjusted, I cut out all of my fabric and interfacing (or my muslin if I’m making one). ¬†Whenever possible, I cut on a self-healing mat on a card table that is raised up on bed risers. ¬†I use a rotary cutter and large washers as pattern weights.

How I Sew

For longer patterns, I cut on the kitchen table or living room floor with scissors.

How I Sew

Once cut, I pin my pattern pieces to the fabric and stack everything up.  Sometimes I transfer markings after cutting, and sometimes I do that right before sewing.  Despite how nice and neat the picture below makes things look, my cut patterns usually end up draped over a chair in the living room, taking it out of commission.  I should probably use hangers more often!

How I Sew

5. ¬†Time to sew! ¬†Once I have everything cut out, I can sew, sew, sew! ¬†I think that’s what really hooked me on batching projects–the fact that you can sew through project after project. ¬†I love that.

I usually pin my instructions up in front of my machine, mark my place with a little Post-It flag, and transfer any pattern markings to my fabric pieces if necessary.  Then I sew through each project one by one.

How I Sew

In my current batch, I’ve made Vogue 9055, McCall’s 7476, and three Mini Virginia leggings. ¬†All of these are knit projects that were super fast. ¬†I felt the need for a few quick projects, so I put those at the front of the queue. ¬†Now I’m ready to dig into the Belvedere Waistcoat, a garment type I’ve never made before.

Batching like this produces a nice group of projects I can photograph and bring to you here on the blog. ¬†It’s really satisfying. ¬†When I’m finished, I clean everything up and plan my next group of projects!

What about you? ¬†Do you batch projects? ¬†Do you have a system for working or do you change it up? ¬†I’m curious! ¬†I’m also excited to look back at this post sometime in the future and see how much my work practice changes (or stays the same) over time.