Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

I’m working through a batch of transitional garments as we go from warm to cool weather, and first up is a pair of Morgan Jeans from Closet Case Patterns.

Morgan Jeans!

I made a short pair this summer, and wanted to try a full-length pair, hoping for some pants that would be good for daily wear and that I could layer over long underwear in the cold weather.

Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

My measurements put me in a 14 waist and 16 hip, but as I discovered this summer, that 14 waist is just too small.  I ended up adding extra fabric at the top of those pants, so I wrote myself a note to make a straight 16 next time.  Well…as I read the description, I noticed that these are drafted to fit closely, assuming that the non-stretch denim will relax over time.  I don’t love tight jeans and I wanted these to fit over long underwear in winter when layering is an act of survival, so I chickened out on the sizing and decided to trace an 18 to be safe.

Morgan Jeans!

I was lucky enough to be visiting Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA when they were having a denim sale and, after vacillating between some non-stretch selvedge denim that was 30″ wide and a 60″ wide non-stretch denim, I went with the wider fabric, not least because I could make two pairs of jeans for the price of one in selvedge denim.  The more thrifty I can be, the more projects I can make!  That’s a huge consideration for me.  Happily, I managed to get enough denim to make a pair of jeans for about $15.

Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

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Morgan Jeans!

The pattern and topstitching thread came from Pintuck & Purl, as did the Cotton + Steel fabric I used for my pockets.  It was left over from this shirt.

Morgan Jeans!

My jeans buttons are from Wawak.

Morgan Jeans!

As far as the pattern goes, here are my notes:

  • I bound the edges of the pocket facings with bias tape, because I think it looks really nice.Morgan Jeans!

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    Morgan Jeans!

  • I also like the look of French seams at the bottom of the pockets (this is a suggestion in the pattern).Morgan Jeans!
  • I recommend sewing your buttonholes, slicing them open, and using Fray Check on them before you sew the fly placket into your pants, just in case you have issues.  It’s not such a big deal to recut the piece and redo it before sewing it in.  I accidentally sewed my bright thread on the bottom of my fly placket, so next time if I want contrast stitching, I’ll put it for my top thread and in the bobbin.Morgan Jeans!
  • One thing to note, my button fly placket extended above the top of my pants.  I think I should have matched the top of my fly shield to the top of my button fly placket, because I matched the top of it to my pants and it was weirdly low.  I had to trim it and finish it with my serger.  Incidentally, I have a new-to-me vintage serger that is working!!!  I was able to use it to finish my seams. A billion thanks to Pintuck & Purl for servicing it!Morgan Jeans!

More tips:

  • When putting the back together, wait to trim the seam joining the yoke and back legs until after you have topstitched it–then you don’t have to worry about missing the seam as you topstitch.
  • As Heather, the designer, suggests in her Ginger Jeans sewalong (in this post), it makes sense to finalize your back pocket placement at the end so you can put them in the optimal spot for your unique back side.  In the end, I moved the pockets a little bit, but not too much. Morgan Jeans!

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    Morgan Jeans!

  • One other new thing I tried was installing the waistband using Lladybird’s tutorial (skip to the end of the linked post).  It was really helpful and makes so much sense.  The gist of it is that you sew your inside waistband seam first so that when you are turning under the seam allowance and finishing the waistband, you are topstitching from the outside, and you never have to worry about catching an inner facing–it’s already attached.  It makes more sense in the post, but it’s a very logical order of steps.  I like it.
  • I interfaced my waistband this time to make it less stretchy, but I really should have graded my seams better around where my buttonhole was going to go.  I had to sew through so many layers to make my buttonhole that I ended up fudging things to make it longer and it still takes a good amount of effort to get that top button buttoned and unbuttoned.  You don’t want to have a bathroom emergency in these pants!Morgan Jeans!

Last tip:

  • Use Fray Check on the edge of your belt loops to keep them from fraying every time you wash them.  It doesn’t take care of the fraying entirely, but it helps.

All right, now after all of that, what’s the final consensus?  Well…my jeans are really comfy…they will fit over long underwear…but they do look a little big.

Morgan Jeans!

They’re perfect when they come out of the dryer…for about 5 minutes, and then they are comfortably loose.  Also, it may be the style with boyfriend jeans, but I’m not sure that I like them cuffed.

Morgan Jeans!

So I guess I’ll have a better take on them after wearing them during cold weather, but my gut feeling is that, especially if I were to make these in a thinner denim, I should go down to a 16.  Or maybe I should just look for a pair of pants with a straighter, wider leg.  I think I convinced myself that these were like that, but they really are a closer fitting, non-stretch jean, which is actually obvious from the cover art and the sample photos.  Well, live and learn!  That one’s on me!  😉

Morgan Jeans!

The good news is that whether or not these are the perfect jeans for me, the pattern itself is high quality and well done, which is consistently true with Closet Case Patterns.

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Fall Sewing Inspiration

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One of the best things about sewing is the limitless possibilities it presents.  Every pattern or bit of gorgeous fabric is loaded with possibility.  As if that weren’t enough, people-watching provides its own set of garment styles and combinations to consider, as does “shopping” for ideas in stores.  Sewing gives me the power to make the things I see in the colors I want with the modifications necessary to fit me well.  While I like the process of sewing, with its inherent building of skill on skill and opportunity to try new things, I think my favorite parts are the planning and the finishing.

Fall Sewing Inspiration

I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to focus on for the fall for a long time now.  While in the warmer months I like to sew woven fabrics like cotton and linen in order to make garments that stand away from my body and allow air to flow, in the cooler months I have different priorities.  I want my clothes to allow for layering and feel like a warm hug.  😉  I’m looking for pants that either have enough room for long underwear to fit underneath or that are stretchy (like leggings) for ultimate comfort and flexibility.  I find myself drawn to knit tops (typically t-shirts) more frequently than woven tops because they are comfortable and can hold warmth in.  Additionally, in the last few years I’ve been thinking that it would be helpful to focus more on cardigans or light jackets rather than pullover-style sweaters and sweatshirts.  That way I can layer, adding interest to my outfits with various colors and textures, while keeping in step with the temperature around me.

All this leads me toward these garment types to focus on:  looser pants, t-shirts/knit tops, and cardigans/jackets.  I’m going to list some pattern ideas (with links and/or pictures) in each category.  I don’t plan to make all of these–they’re just ideas–but hopefully, if you are thinking along similar lines, you’ll find some interesting patterns to inspire you as well.

Pants

I’m tired of exclusively wearing closer-fitting jeans, even though it’s the silhouette I’ve grown used to seeing myself in.  It’s time to try some different styles.  I want pants that have ease for comfort and for the practicality of layering in colder weather.  For that reason, I’ve been exploring a few options.

  • Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.  I made a shorter version of these this summer, and I’m hoping they could be a good staple jean, especially if I go up a size for winter.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

  • Butterick 4995 wide-leg pants, View B.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    I’ve had this pattern for ages (it is actually out of print (OOP), but you could find it on Etsy).  I have linen set aside for these, and currently have a muslin/toile cut out to see if I like the shape enough to make a final version.  If I do, I may see how I like linen for fall, or make it in another fabric and save the linen for spring/summer sewing.

  • Lander Pant by True Bias.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    I wasn’t thrilled with these the first time I made them, but after wearing my first attempt for awhile, I think I could modify the fit to a place that I like.  I’ve seen some good corduroy versions of these.

  • Chinos.  I’m not entirely sure what pattern to use.  My top contenders are Simplicity 1696 (OOP), which I’ve made before (in gray sateen and octopus print),Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    Burda Style 7447 (OOP), which I haven’t tried yet,

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    Alina Design Co. Chi-Town Chinos, or Pauline Alice Port Trousers.  What I’m looking for is a tapered, but not tight style with a mid-rise, angled front pockets, and back welt pockets.  I’m leaning toward using the Simplicity or Burda patterns since I already own those, but I can’t decide if I like the fit on the Simplicity pants or not.  The zipper definitely needs to be set deeper in, but otherwise they are more or less what I want, and they are a known quantity.  I have Cloud9 Tinted Denim in “Heather” (pink) that would be great for these.

T-shirts/Knit Tops

  • Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    As soon as I tried this t-shirt, it became a favorite (merino wool knit and cactus print double brushed poly versions here).  The best part?  It’s FREE!  You can download the PDF to make it yourself, AND they have expanded their size range from what they had previously.  I have a wool knit and some Cotton + Steel cotton/spandex knit set aside for t-shirts.  My t-shirt situation is pretty sad right now, so I want to try to rectify that.

  • Coppélia by Papercut Patterns.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    This top can be a cropped wrap top or a longer faux wrap top.  My first version of the faux wrap top didn’t have the amount of stretch or ease I wanted, so I passed it on, but I would love to try again, especially since I want another chance to get that neck-band right.  I loved this pattern, even though my initial attempts weren’t perfect.

  • I had forgotten about Vogue 8950 (still in print!),Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    which is very similar to Papercut Patterns’ Ensis Tee.  This would be a fun take on a t-shirt with great color blocking options, and it’s a Very Easy Vogue pattern, so it could be a nice, quick win.

Jackets

  • Simplicity 8700.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    One of my long-term dreams has been to copy a favorite ready-to-wear jacket that I thrifted several years ago.

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    It’s slightly too small to be really comfortable and the upper back is too narrow, so I have often wished for a version that fits better.  I think this pattern could help me approximate my jacket.  If that doesn’t work, other pattern options could be these patterns designed for Simplicity by Wendy Mullin–Simplicity 4109 (OOP)

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    or Simplicity 3966 (OOP).

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    They’re out of print, but you can find them on Etsy or eBay.  I have some olive cotton twill that would work for this type of jacket.

  • Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns.  This is a really intriguing pattern.  It has interesting seamlines and definitely fits the category of clothing that could be like “a warm hug” for cold days.  The cocoon shape is such a weird, yet interesting fashion idea.  I go back and forth on how much I like the look of this one, but I find it really intriguing, and I’d love to make one.  Curiosity often gets the best of me with interesting patterns.
  • Women’s Kimono Jacket by Wiksten.  This falls into the same category as the Sapporo Coat in my mind.  I’m not sure it is always good-looking (although I have seen several versions that I thought looked great on Instagram), but it would be so comfortable and tick all my cool-weather clothing boxes.
  • Cardigans.  I want to think about this category further, but so far my only plan is to take the version of McCall’s 7476 I made last winter and cut it from floor-length to knee-length.Fall Sewing Inspiration

    McCall’s 7476

    Fall Sewing Inspiration

    As fun as it was to parade around like Darth Vader in his flowing cloak, the length I chose isn’t the most practical, and it needs to be chopped.  If I were to make this again, I would also raise the V front a bit.

So those are the things I’m mulling over most for fall.  Of course I’ve also considered a skirt or two, a jumpsuit, some activewear, etc.  I always have so many ideas, that I tend to forget a lot of them, which is why I write them down and then periodically look back through my sketches and notes.   I plan and plan and then finally come up with my next batch and a general list of ideas for potential future projects.  They never all get made, but that doesn’t bother me.  I also make myself a seasonal mood board on the back of the door nearest my sewing machine.   I’m not sure how good I am at weaving all of the mood board ideas into my sewing, but some of them do show up, and it’s a lot of fun to make.  One thing from my most recent mood board that stands out is that I really want to find a way to incorporate bright colors into my cool-weather garments.  That has been an ongoing project for the last couple of years, and one I need to work harder on.  I’ve found a lot of inspiration from Katie Kortman on Instagram.

In case you are interested, here is the first batch of projects that I already have started for the transition into fall (pictured at the top of this post):

  • Restyle of a basic skirt.  I want to change the back to an elastic waist and add pockets.
  • Two Lark Tees.  I have felt mixed about this pattern, but I haven’t tried the v-neck yet, so I’m going to give it a go and see if I like it.  I have two cut out.
  • Morgan Jeans.  These were going to be for later in the fall, but I put them on the fast track, and they are already finished.  I just need to photograph them.
  • A Kalle Shirt (shown below).  I lengthened the cropped version.Fall Sewing Inspiration
  • A muslin of Butterick 4995 wide-leg pants.  I want to see if I like these enough to make a final version.
  • My current ongoing knitting project is the Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter.  I’m taking my time on this and learning to knit do colorwork while knitting Continental-style.Fall Sewing Inspiration

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    Fall Sewing Inspiration

Everything is traced and cut out, so now it’s time to sew, sew, sew (and knit).

Fall Sewing Inspiration

I got this antique drying rack on my last visit to Brimfield.  I’m testing it out as a structure to hold my traced and cut projects.

I’m hoping all the ideas I listed above will guide me as I make future plans throughout the fall and winter.  So, what about you?  If you want to play along, answer one or all of these questions in the comments below:

  • What is your ideal type of clothing for fall?
  • What are you planning or hoping to make in the cooler months (or the warmer months if you are in the Southern Hemisphere)?
  • What is inspiring you right now in your sewing?

Recommendations

  • After all this talk about planning, I have to recommend Episode 58:  Planning Projects on the Love to Sew Podcast.  If you like to plan projects (whether or not you actually make them), you will love this episode.
  • I’m recommending this to myself as much as to you:  go shopping and try on types of clothes that you are interested in sewing.  Don’t let yourself obsess over the fit or sizing of the clothes in the store.  Focus on if you like that style and if you would be excited to make it and wear your version that you made.  These days you can find a sewing pattern similar to most ready-to-wear styles.  How many failed projects could we save ourselves from if we did this?
  • I’ve been listening to The Innocence Mission a lot lately.  They make great music to sew to.  It’s like being in a quiet, magical world.

 

Outside in September

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Outside in September

This month has flown by!  I had to schedule in a little bit of outdoor time at the end to get these pictures.

Being out in nature is one of those things that helps me to quiet down on the inside–in a good way.  It doesn’t always feel necessary to set aside time to be outside and take pictures, but when I do, I realize that I needed it.

I had to work a little harder to find some color amidst the grey, but it’s still there, even if it takes more searching in the fall than in the summer.

Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

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Outside in September

 

The Last Summer Project: Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

Today is the last full day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.  Tomorrow, September 22 is the Autumnal Equinox, the official beginning of fall.  But until then, it’s still summer!!!  So let’s talk about this last summer project, a pair of elastic-waisted, deep-pocketed, SPARKLY linen/cotton shorts:  Simplicity 1887.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

This pattern is a good one.  I would make it again, and I recommend it to you. 🙂

At some point this summer, I realized (or re-realized) that I really want easy-wearing, elastic-waisted shorts and skirts for summer.  I had other projects already planned, but these shorts managed to get squeezed in right at the end.  I had hoped to make them last year and didn’t, so I was determined to sew them this summer.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

I made View C, the shorts, in a size 20 with no changes.  I didn’t even really come up with my own fabric idea.  I loved the sparkly fabric Simplicity used on the sample on the envelope, so I bought a Sand-colored linen/cotton/Lurex blend (Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic) by Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Pintuck & Purl.  The sparkle is hard to photograph, but I gave it a try.  ↓

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

This pattern ticked all the boxes I wanted:  something that looked a little bit nicer so I could wear it to work, shorts that were a little longer than what I had been making previously, an elastic back waist, deep pockets, and a loose fit for those hot days.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

I decided I would try out the tie on the front, knowing it would be easy to remove if I didn’t like it.  It’s only stitched onto the front (not inserted into the waistband), so if I didn’t love it, I could take it off quickly and easily with my seam ripper.  The good news is that so far, I like it.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

I also wondered if I would like the front pleats, and I do!

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

The fabric was very easy to work with and while it is slightly less soft than a lot of linen/cotton is, (I think that’s because of the Lurex), it’s still very comfortable.  Once I finished these, I felt the temptation to make more in other sparkly colors (there are many color options), but I’m going to wear these for the rest of the warm days to get a gauge on how they fit into my wardrobe and if I want to make further pairs next summer.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

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The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

I was happy to note that the crotch curve was a good fit, further cementing my suspicion that Simplicity’s crotch curve is one that works for me.  After making this view of the pattern, I would consider making the longer pants as well as the longer skirt.  We’ll see what next summer holds, but I’m glad I finally tried this pattern, and I recommend it for a relatively quick and satisfying sew.

The Last Summer Project:  Simplicity 1887 Shorts (in Sparkly Linen!)

Thanks to my husband for the pictures.  And if you want to read up on the shirt that I’m wearing, you can find that project here.

And now?  On to projects that will transition into fall!  I already have several cut out.  I’ll report back soon!  What are you working on for fall?  What is inspiring you?

 

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt: Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt: Butterick 5948

I think I found a winning pattern!  Butterick 5948 is a dartless, boxy woven t-shirt or tank top with different sleeve lengths, necklines, and back options.  I really like a lot of the boxy, loose tops I’ve seen lately and the line drawings on this pattern made it look like it had some potential.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

I made View F with the length of View C in a 16 (bust) graded out to a 20 (waist and hips) and also made a minor broad back adjustment to the paper pattern since the back had a little more width than most tops I make (usually I need a major broad back adjustment).  I decided to wait and see if it looked like I needed a forward shoulder adjustment and, if so, incorporate that into a later version.

One of my goals was to use up some odds and ends from my stash, so I managed to cut the front, sleeves, and pocket out of a bit of ’70’s fabric my mom gave me.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

Someone way back in the past had given it to her.  We think it was curtains at one point, but it also served as a skirt for my hippy costume one Halloween when I was a kid.  🙂 I’ve always loved the colors and those big flowers.  Now it was about to get another life in this shirt.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

Look at the pattern matching on that pocket!

For the back, I used some Cloud9 yellow Tinted Denim left over from the Thurlow Shorts I made last summer.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

The front fabric had more drape, but from having worked with the Tinted Denim before, I knew that over several washings it would soften up.  I also used some random pink bias tape from my stash to finish the inside of the neckline.  Yay for using up stash items!

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

I LOVE how this top came out.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

A lot of people object to the amount of ease in Big 4 patterns, but I’m a fan.  I don’t like my woven garments to be super fitted, and I love the shape and silhouette of this.  I will say, however, that because the armhole is somewhat low, if you raise your arms, the whole shirt lifts up.  I decided to experiment with the length of the shirt in version two.

For my second take on this pattern, I made the same size, but lengthened it by three inches, taking it back to somewhere around the look of View F.  I had some Alison Glass Mariner Cloth fabric that I had planned to use for a third Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top (the two I made are in last week’s post), but I felt it would get more wear made up into this garment, so I re-appropriated it.  I made a 3/8″ forward shoulder adjustment because I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a major forward shoulder adjustment on the paper pattern without making the shoulder areas of the front and back different lengths.  (Jenny of SoleCrafts had some great shoulder fitting tips in the comments of last week’s post that are worth checking out if you struggle with forward shoulders fitting issues.  I hope to try her tips in a future garment.)

Since I had been so excited to play with stripe placement with this fabric when it was destined to be the Peplum Top, I wanted to make sure I did that in this boxy top, even though it had fewer seam lines.  I turned the stripes on the diagonal on the pocket, and placed them vertically on the lengthened section of the shirt.  I also opted to use a spring green thread for a fun subtle detail.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

Once the shirt was nearly done, I tried the it on and discovered that the longer length, while practical, wasn’t my favorite.  I shortened it back to what it had been by taking the extra inches out of the main body of the shirt so that I could keep the bottom panel with the vertical stripes.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

The fabric itself is interesting.  It’s a little lighter and more loosely woven than a quilting cotton, but costs about the same.  The neon stripes are bundles of long threads that are woven into the main cloth, and when you wash it, it rumples up kind of like seersucker.  I really like it so far.  We’ll see how durable it is over the long-term.  I’m really glad I tried it.  Both this and the Tinted Denim are from Pintuck & Purl.

A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

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A Boxy Woven T-Shirt:  Butterick 5948

So that’s the story with these tops.  I would definitely make this again.  In fact, I would be curious to try View E in a double gauze, although I always wonder how that will hold up over the long-term as well.  I guess I wonder that about all fabric substrates that are more loosely woven.  Hopefully in time I’ll have the experience and knowledge I’m lacking now.  You never stop learning with sewing!

Along those lines…Sunday, September 16, 2018 marks my five-year “blogiversary”!  I can’t believe I started this blog five years ago!  Thanks to everyone for following along.  I can’t believe how much I’ve learned (and how much sewing has completely taken over my life) in the last five years.  I’m so thankful.

Lastly, thanks to my husband for letting me convince him to take a thousand pictures of me in these shirts and for always supporting me in all my creative endeavors. ❤

 

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top: Two Versions

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top: Two Versions

This summer, I made multiple versions of a few patterns.  One of those was the Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top by In the Folds.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

This is a free PDF pattern you can access online, even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine, which is a nice contribution to the sewing community, and a great way to introduce people to the magazine.  I’m not sure where I first saw a picture of this cute top, but I loved it immediately and pinned it to my “Sewing Patterns” Pinterest board for future reference.  This summer, I made this top twice:  first from a vintage sheet that had quite a bit of body, and second from some Cotton + Steel rayon, which had a lot of drape.  I made a size E at the bust and graded out to an F at the waist and hip.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

Version one (front:  above; back:  below)

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

Version two (front:  above; back:  below)

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

I was so impressed with the directions and thoughtful design of this pattern.  The directions and illustrations were very clear, and each piece was carefully and thoughtfully drafted, allowing you to cut bias strips that would perfectly fit the top and come to a neat point in the back.  I didn’t use those pieces in my versions due to lack of fabric and my desire to use up bias tape I already had, but I was so impressed with this level of detail.  The shirt is made of several pieces, allowing you to easily color block or create fun pattern placements.

For my first version, I decided to try to use up things I had in my sewing stash.  I pulled out some vintage sheeting I had thrifted when I first began sewing, odd bits of bias tape, and some lace pieces my Mom had given me for the shoulder panels.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

This top is quite cropped and is drafted for a B cup.  I’m a larger cup size, so I think that added to the cropped quality.  You can see how short this is on me, and how, in this stiffer fabric, it stands away from my body, making the ruffle at the bottom really noticeable.  This is cute and wearable, but I knew that if I made it again, I would want to lengthen it.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

Other aspects of the pattern that I liked:  good undergarment coverage due to the width of the shoulder pieces, and a nice rounded front neckline and v-shaped back neckline.  Also, if you, like me, don’t have quite the required amount of fabric, it’s pretty easy to piece the ruffle.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

Between version one and version two, I came to the realization that I have very forward-set shoulders.  I didn’t realize that was a thing, but I found it in my trusty Singer Sewing Reference Library fitting book (The Perfect Fit).  I have found that when I make sleeveless shirts, the front armhole often cuts into the front ball of my shoulder.  The book said that if your shoulders are in front of your ears, you have forward shoulders.  I had my husband look at me from the side and he said that my shoulders were way in front of my ears.  Time to learn about forward shoulder adjustments!  I’ve searched for a solution to the problem of sleeveless shirts cutting into the front of my shoulders for the last few years.  No one seems to really know what to do, and I never find information on the internet about it.  I was hoping that this would help, so I started with a minor adjustment.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

I think it made a difference!  Version two is a little bit better in the shoulder area (and to be fair, this shirt didn’t cut in very much–just a little).  I also lengthened version two by two inches.  I made this iteration in some leftover pieces of Cotton + Steel rayon from a shirt I made my Mom.  This version looks really different because, in addition to my adjustments, this fabric has a lot of drape.

I really like Cotton + Steel’s rayon.  I haven’t completely fallen in love with rayon challis as a substrate because, while soft, something about it just doesn’t feel durable.  It’s also not my favorite to sew, but this rayon is smooth and tightly woven, and is great to sew with.  I highly recommend it.

I used some random bias tape I had on hand again, because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out the bias strips included with the pattern, and I pieced the ruffle.

Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

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Peppermint Magazine Peplum Top:  Two Version

I had plans to make a third version in some Alison Glass Mariner Cloth that I got at Pintuck & Purl.  It would have been really fun to play with the stripes, but as you’ll see (hopefully in the next week or two), I ended up using it for another top.  I wanted to see how this pattern would work with my changes in another fabric with more body, but I realized that I didn’t need so many tops of this style in my closet, at least not right now.  I would certainly be up for revisiting this one in the future, though.  Trying out this great pattern from In the Folds has made me curious about their other offerings.  I think it is so smart of designers to put out really quality work, especially when a pattern is free to consumers, because it’s a great way for sewists to try a company that is new to them and get a feel for it.  I’ve tried free patterns that weren’t well done that have turned me off to certain companies, and I’ve tried good ones (like this one), that have made me excited to delve deeper into any of their other offerings that might fit my style or intrigue me.

One last thought, which is really more of a question/request.  If anyone has any experience with forward shoulder adjustments or knows what I should do to solve my woven-tank-top-armhole-cutting-in problem, please tell me your thoughts or point me to resources in the comments.  I did try a major forward shoulder adjustment on a top I haven’t blogged yet, but I must have done something wrong or adjusted too far because I ended up making the shoulder seams on front and back different lengths, so I went back to the minor adjustment.

That’s it for this project!  I have a few more summery projects to finish and share and then I’ll start making things that will transition between seasons.  I’m happy to have the warmer weather a bit longer though–I haven’t forgotten what winter feels like yet.

Recommendations

  • Megan Nielsen’s blog is where I learned the technique of sewing over a cord or string to gather fabric.
  • The Twig + Tale blog has several interesting tutorials like this one on how to create a concealed pocket in a lining. This one on adding side pockets to one of their shirt patterns is also pretty cool.  Add all the pockets!
  • I really want McCall’s 7330 jumpsuit in my closet, I just don’t feel like fitting and sewing it.  Can I just snap my fingers and make it happen?  Maybe a jumpsuit is something I need to thrift…

 

Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

My family and I did a lot of different things in July and August, which lends a nice variety to some of these pictures.  I hope you enjoy looking at some of my favorite outside pictures from these two months.

Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

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Outside in July and August

 

 

 

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket in Polyester Crepe de Chine

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket in Polyester Crepe de Chine

I’ve been thinking about adding some jackets and cardigans to my wardrobe, and Simplicity 8172 is a great summer version of that idea.  Layers can add a lot of fun to an outfit as well as giving you numerous mix and match options.  Living in New England, where summer evenings can get cool, this pattern made sense.

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

I started out with View A, the shortest and boxiest view.  I wanted to see if I liked it or if I would want a longer version.  I had leftover polyester crepe de chine from the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank I made last year, and I hoped I could squeeze this jacket out of it.  The fabric came from Hobby Lobby’s clearance section a few years ago, so it was inexpensive and perfect for testing out this pattern.

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

It was pretty tricky, but I managed to get the pieces cut out of what was left, although there was no chance of any sort of pattern matching.  The sewing itself was pretty easy.  It’s only two pattern pieces and three seams (shoulders and back).

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

I used French seams to keep things neat inside.  Then you use bias tape around the front/neck opening and hem the sleeves and bottom.

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

I took the opportunity to practice using my narrow hem foot with the instructions in my machine’s manual rather than the pattern instructions.  After that, you sew on the trim, and you’re done!  I thought about skipping the trim, but I’ve had this pom-pom trim in my stash for ages (maybe it’s from Joann’s?), and thought that adding it kicked the project up a notch.  Even if I gave it away, it would be fabulous for someone else.

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

After finishing, I tried the jacket on, and…it was ok, but not awesome (although the pom-poms helped).

Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

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Simplicity 8172 Kimono Jacket

I don’t love where the bottom sits, but I still think it has potential, so I’d like to try View C.  I was talking it over with one of the librarians at our library when it came to me–if I find a coordinating fabric, I can trace out and cut the lower pieces and cuff and attach it to what I’ve already made, turning my View A into a shiny, new View C.  If you decide to try this pattern and view, I found that it did look better on my friend who was shorter than me (I’m 5′ 8.5″), so if you are shorter, it might be just right for you.

If a future version ends up being a winner, I think it could be great in a handkerchief linen.  Or what would it be like in ankara/wax print, crocheted lace, or a knit?  It definitely has potential.

Recommendations

  • Are you watching “Making It” on NBC?  It’s hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman and is a friendly competition show that features makers who work in all different media.  They complete two challenges per show and one is eliminated at the end.  It’s funny and people are kind to one another, which is a welcome change from some of the cutthroat reality competition shows.  We don’t have cable, but I’ve found that I can watch it for free (older episodes) through my Apple TV.  You can find it on NBC’s website as well.
  • I’ve never been into fitness videos, but lately my family and I have been trying out some of the free workout videos on Fitness Blender, and I have to say–I like it!  They have a really encouraging, positive approach.  My regular exercise routine died sometime in February, so I’m thinking of ways to get back to it and improve my strength, fitness, and flexibility.  I think this might be part of the answer.
  • I have a favorite jacket that I thrifted that doesn’t fit me as well as I would like it to.  I’ve been toying with the idea of recreating it, and I wonder if Simplicity 8700 from Simplicity’s new Pattern Hacking line would make a good base.  The jacket has lots of seam lines, but at its core, it’s very similar to this pattern.

A Summer Dress: McCall’s 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall’s 7774 in Yellow Linen

And now back to sewing!  Despite the quiet blog and relatively quiet Instagram account, I’ve been sewing as much as possible.  With kids home, guests, and travel, the sewing has varied in amount, but it’s still happening.  I usually blog mostly in the order I make things, but this dress is jumping to the front of the line because some of my other projects have been multiple versions of single patterns and, if possible, I’d like to feature those together.

On to the dress!

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

This season, I’ve really felt the urge to discover some Tried ‘N True patterns.  I suppose that’s an endless quest, since fashion and our own opinions about it tend to change, but I’m looking for favorites nonetheless.  I decided to try out McCall’s 7774, View C to see if I liked it.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

I made a 16 in the bust and a 20 in the waist and hips.  The dress hits your waist somewhere in the skirt portion, so I didn’t have to grade out to the 20 until I traced the skirt piece.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

When I was younger, I really favored empire waist and A-line dresses and skirts, and I’ve been wondering if I still like them.  This dress has a higher, empire waist, so it seemed like a good one to try.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

It features pockets (yay!) and a bodice cut that looks like it might hide undergarment straps (always a plus, in my book).

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

It also has some interesting seaming that would allow you to play with pattern placement (especially stripes), which you can see in the photo on the pattern envelope.  I was excited about this one, and I definitely wasn’t the only one in the sewing community.

In my stash, I happened to have a really nice, midweight yellow linen from Fabric Mart that I had planned to use for a ready-to-wear-inspired top, but which seemed perfect for this dress.  It was quickly reassigned to this pattern.  I gave myself a slightly crazy deadline of a wedding my husband and I were going to, and got to work, no muslin/toile in sight.  I was going for it with my awesome fabric!

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

This is one of the designer linens that Fabric Mart regularly stocks, and it is AMAZING.  I think they call it a light-medium weight, and it’s pretty opaque, which I really like.  It is very linty when you wash and dry it, but you only notice that when you clean the dryer’s lint trap.  It was great to sew, although I did press it on the cotton setting rather than the linen setting.  I can’t tell if my iron is starting to go, but that seemed to be a better setting for this fabric.  Usually the fabric retails for around $25/yard, which is way out of my budget, but they often have sales, so it is totally possible to scoop this up for $9 or $10/yard.  Oh!  And it’s a wider width at 57″.  I highly recommend it!

On to the pattern!  Being now older and wiser, 😉 I’ll tell you that if you attempt this dress, you should probably muslin the bodice.  I really like the pattern overall, but I did have to adjust a few things, and they seem to be common adjustments for people who tried this one.  Some good news is that if you just go for it, like I did, you can make these fixes on the fly without damaging your fabric.

The darts, which are under the bust, extend pretty high.  You want your dart points to end 1/2″ to 1″ below (or beside if you have side darts) the apex of the bust.  I shortened these by 2″, and they may still be slightly high.  Shortening darts that much gave me darts that were very wide at the bottom, which made the bust very…pointy.  That’s not for me!  So, then I had to narrow the darts.  I narrowed them by half (so that they were half as wide).  If you do this, you must take the extra length you have created out of the side/bottom of the front bodice!!!!  Learn from my mistake!  I knew that narrowing my darts would give me extra length in the front of the bodice, but because the skirt was gathered and could expand and because I love ease, I initially left it in.

Wrong choice.

I ended up with a pregnant-’90’s-lady jumper.  If that makes no sense to you, just trust me when I say that it looked bad.  Apparently you can take a love of loose clothes too far.  😉

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

The original dart is in marker.  My modified dart is in pencil inside the original.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

Below is the area I should have adjusted when I narrowed those darts.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

Above:  the final modified front bodice piece with narrowed, shortened dart, and excess length (from narrowing the dart) removed where the side seam and bottom of the bodice meet.

I also noticed quite a bit of gaping in the back neck area, but I realized that if I fixed that, the bodice would be tight in the shoulders, so I decided I could live with it.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

All these issues aside, I think the instructions for this pattern are really good.  You are on your own for seam finishing, but other than that, this was really enjoyable to make and was well-thought-out.  The bodice is fully faced/lined with self fabric, and it’s a nice dress.  There is quite a bit of hand-sewing involved in putting in that facing/lining, but if you know that going in, you can enjoy it, and come out with a beautiful result.  Using a comfortable thimble to push my needle through the fabric and running my thread through beeswax to keep it from tangling has really helped me in the hand-sewing department.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

If I made this pattern again, I would do what @artsy_tiff did and lengthen the bodice, lower the neckline a smidge, and maybe lower those dart points a bit more.  I’m new to doing forward shoulder adjustments, so I’ll have to wear this a bit more to see if I think I need that.  Initially I thought not, but now I think maybe I do.  This dress is very comfortable to wear, especially in this fabric. Belting it really helped when I wanted a more form-fitting shape.  The belt is some wide ribbon (maybe upholstery trim?) from my stash.

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

Here are some pictures of the dress without the belt:

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

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A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

Final thoughts on this project:

  • Fabric Mart’s designer linen:  recommended!
  • McCall’s 7774:  recommended with reservations–do your research and maybe make a muslin of the bodice.

I’d love to make this again just to see what it could be with those fitting changes, but I don’t think I will this year, so we’ll see if it happens.  I considered the maxi length, but my mom and I both think it might just be too much.  I need a good woven maxi pattern.  There are a few contenders, but I haven’t settled on anything.

I hope you all are having a great summer.  No thoughts of fall here!  It’s usually warm where I live through September, so I’m sticking to summer sewing.  Yay!

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

Thanks to my wonderful husband for helping me out with some of the pictures in this post!

Recommendations:

  • I read the most fascinating book after I saw it on Peter Lappin’s Instagram account.  I planned to just skim through it, but ended up reading it cover to cover, even letting it go overdue at the library since I couldn’t renew it and wasn’t quite finished.  A History of the Paper Pattern Industry:  The Home Dressmaking Fashion Revolution by Joy Spanabel Emery was really well done.  The older I get, the more important history seems and while this isn’t world history, it’s history that covers one of my favorite little corners of the world.
  • I really like hats and, for the past few summers, have been thinking I’d like a white summer hat.  After doing a little research on Panama hats, I found one that looks like the real deal (made in Montechristi, Ecuador of toquilla straw) on eBay and ordered it.  I love it!

A Summer Dress:  McCall's 7774 in Yellow Linen

  • I haven’t been able to shake my summer obsession with wooden-bottom clog sandals (is it just summer love or is it true love forever??).  Here is the latest pair I keep looking at by Cape Clogs.  They’re pink!

The Brimfield Report: July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

And I’m back!  After taking a little more than a month off of blogging, it’s time to get back to it, and first up is a report on my trip to Brimfield Antique Show in mid-July.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Brimfield, it’s a small town in western Massachusetts that hosts the largest outdoor antique show in the US three times a year (May, July, and September) for about a week (Tuesday-Sunday).  I love antiquing, and while I don’t get to go every year, I make it for a day when I can.  The show (which is really a collection of different fields) stretches out on either side of a one-mile strip of road.  You never know what you will find, from sought-after antiques (and new things that play well with antiques), to repurposed items, to raw materials to make your own upcycled creations.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I love antiquing.  A full day of wandering through the fields with a friend or by myself is one of my favorite kinds of days.  This July, my best Brimfield buddy Jo-Alice (of Hillcraft Designs) and I managed to get away for the day.  We left before the sun was up, drove out to western MA, and got walking!  Each show has its own flavor, and July tends to have fewer vendors and fewer customers, because it can be the hottest weather (although sometimes September is pretty toasty, too).  Having said that, though, there is still A LOT to take in.  A few of my favorite vendors weren’t around, but despite that, we walked from about 7 A.M. to maybe 4:30 P.M. and found plenty to look at.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

No, that didn’t come home with me.  That dress form made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I always go with a list of things I’m looking for for our house, my sewing practice, as gifts, or just fun things like jewelry and plants.  I save some of my Christmas money toward this end, and don’t usually spend much, but always have a great time.  Anything I don’t spend, I roll over for next year.  I only get things I can use, because our apartment is small, and we don’t have wall or shelf space for knick-knacks.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Storage items are always useful finds!  I didn’t find any affordable pattern storage boxes, though.  I’m not willing to pay a lot for those.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Hm.  Maybe I should have gotten this sign.  😉

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

Health fads of the past…

I didn’t find quite as much as usual this time, but I still came away with some good finds:  deadstock top sheets with a great border print.  These were unused and unopened and are 100% cotton.  I think they’ll make a great maxi dress.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I found a sparkly necklace and this cute chocolate tin for gifts, but…bonus!  It was filled with sewing odds and ends for me!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

We needed some enamel ware for camping.  Check!

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

I also thought I would try out this folding drying rack for holding patterns that have been cut out but aren’t sewn yet.  Right now I drape them over my husband’s chair and, while he’s very patient, I bet he would like his chair back.

The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

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The Brimfield Report:  July 2018 (Better late than never!)

My favorite jewelry lady and plant lady weren’t in attendance, so no treasures from them this time.  Not a huge haul, but a good one, nonetheless.  Next year, if I get a chance to go, I’ll reevaluate this year’s list and roll anything over that I am still looking for.

After a day full of walking and looking (and eating second-breakfast and a delicious lunch of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), my friend and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner since it’s on our way home.  What a great end to the day, and a wonderful chance to hang out with a dear friend!

If you get a chance to visit Brimfield, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t bring your young children.  If you plan to make a full day of this, it’s a lot of walking and can get long and hot.  Can you do it with kids?  Definitely.  Will you (and they) enjoy it?  Probably not.
  • Bring cash.
  • Wear good shoes.
  • Park in the middle so you can drop things off in your car as you go back and forth.
  • Write down the fields your favorite vendors are in.  After walking for a while, things start to look the same and the paths through the fields are sometimes curvy, which can make remembering exactly where you found that perfect item a little tricky when you are tired.  My current favorite fields?  New England Motel and Quaker Acres.
  • Pack a cooler filled with water and leave it in your car.  Plan to take a midday break with some water and a snack as you drop off your purchases so you can get that second wind to keep going!
  • Wear sunscreen and be prepared for varying weather.
  • Have fun and chat up the vendors.  They are usually really friendly, really interesting, and great to learn from (whether you want to know the history of your latest find, its provenance, or the psychology of Brimfield).

 

Do you have a favorite antique fair where you live?  Have any tips to share or recommendations for fun flea markets/fairs to visit?  Leave them in the comments!