Category Archives: Sewing

Jutland Pants for Me!!!

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Jutland Pants for Me!!!

When I was growing up, I was a tomboy.  I’ve grown more “girlie” as I’ve gotten older, but there is still a side of me that loves the practical and strong in clothing.  I love a good dress, but I also get a lot of inspiration from workwear.  That was why, when I realized that the Thread Theory Jutland Pants that I made for my husband (here and here) fit me as well, I started planning my own pair.

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

I’ve always loved straight- and wide-leg pants, but after several years of closer-fitting styles being the norm, it’s a big change to go back.  I wasn’t completely sure about my idea…until I borrowed one of the pairs I had made my husband so I could test out the fit.  So. Comfortable.  I was sold.

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

The pattern and fabric for these pants came from Pintuck & Purl.

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

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Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

The fabric is a 100% cotton grey English canvas (which I obviously should have pressed before taking these pictures–oops!).  This is the same fabric I used for my husband’s second pair of Jutlands, but in a different color.  The pants came together really quickly since this is the third time I’ve sewn them, I didn’t bother with special topstitching thread, and since I forgot to flat-fell my outseams (oops again).  I also left off the cargo pockets and knee patches, retaining only the hem reinforcements.

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

I borrowed patch pockets from Simplicity 1020,

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

and back pockets from the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns.  (I’m still not sure if I like that decision or not.)

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

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Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

In fact, in a triumph that I will probably never experience again, I sewed these pants in a single day.  Yes.  One day.  I was proud of myself.

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

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Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

These pants are rugged and neutral,  and will coordinate with a lot of other colors.  I made these with the goal or having something workwear inspired, but also of having actual work pants.  In fact, it took me so long to get pictures of these, that I had already done some outdoor work while wearing them and, much to my annoyance, stained them.  I guess they’re legit now, right?

Jutland Pants for Meee!!!

So, despite the fact that these aren’t form-fitting in any way, I LOVE them.  I love how they feel and I love that I feel tough when I wear them and don’t have to worry about a stain or two.  I kind of hope Thread Theory develops women’s versions of some of their men’s patterns.  Then I could take inspiration from the likes of Carhartt and Duluth Trading Co. and apply them to my wardrobe.  🙂

Jutland Pants for Meeee!!!

Recommendations

  • It’s almost time for Me-Made-May 2017!  Are you joining in?  If you’ve never heard of Me-Made-May, it’s a challenge to help you wear and love your handmade garments.  You set your own goal at whatever level is challenging for you.  Here’s my pledge:  ‘I, Lisa of patternandbranch.wordpress.com and @lisa.poblenz sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear both a top and bottom (or dress) that I have made each day for the duration of May 2017’.  I hope I can do it!  And I hope you join in, too!
  • This pink Kelly Anorak Jacket by Girl and Machine is seriously tempting me.  I keep telling myself I don’t want to get into such a big project and that I have enough jackets, but then I think of this jacket, and I start to have second thoughts…
  • I’ve been having a lot of fun looking up fashion details on Pinterest.  Searching for “pockets” or just “fashion details” has unearthed a lot of inspiration.  You can see my Fashion:  Details board here.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool/Lycra Knit

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Grainline Lark Tee in Wool/Lycra Knit

Hey, friends!  Long time, no project!  That hasn’t been intentional.  I have a bit of a backlog to share with you, so let’s get started on this week’s project, a wool/Lycra knit Lark Tee from Grainline Studio.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

This is my first Grainline Studio garment since the Hemlock.  I wasn’t in love with that particular pattern (or its instructions) and so I shied away from the company as a whole, but they do have a number of pretty great-looking patterns, and people seem to love them, so I decided to dip my toe in a little bit.  And to be completely honest, I wear my Hemlock all the time for pajamas.  I guess it just goes to show that first impressions aren’t everything, and it’s worth it to wear a garment for a while before deciding if you like it or not.

This project came about because I really need a good, versatile t-shirt pattern that can become a TNT (tried-n-true) pattern for me, and after searching the interwebs for one pattern with lots of options, I found that Grainline’s Lark Tee had the largest number of options to cover all your basic t-shirt needs in one pattern.  I used to say I wouldn’t sew t-shirts when I could buy them so cheaply, but I admit to getting sucked in.  A t-shirt is a great palate cleanser between more intense projects.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

I still had a good amount of my green wool/Lycra knit fabric (used in this shirt), which seemed like a good match for the pattern.  I borrowed the pattern from a friend, so that I could see if I liked it before really committing.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

I chose the long-sleeved scoop neck view, tracing a 12 at the bust and grading out to a 14 at the waist and hips.  In looking at the pictures, I think I could have maybe gone down a size, but I usually err on the side of more ease rather than less.  The instructions and illustrations were very clear and easy to understand, which I really liked.  Maggie at Pintuck & Purl had told me that the shirt runs long, but I decided to keep the length so I could use it for layering (for reference, I’m 5 ft. 8.5 in.).  She has a great version of this shirt on the shop’s blog.  Reading her post is part of what finally convinced me to try it.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

My initial reaction was that the shirt was…ok.  It is definitely a straight fit and not defined at the waist.  Also, this fabric might not be the awesome match I thought it was.  I have to wear it a little bit more to see what I really think, but despite my potential fabric and sizing blunders, I’m beginning to like it.  I think it could become a wardrobe staple.  I’d like to try a short-sleeved version as well as versions in other types of fabric at some point.

Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

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Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

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Grainline Lark Tee in Wool Knit

***Since taking these pictures and writing my first draft of this post, I spent a day wearing this same outfit, but with the shirt tucked in and with a long cardigan over it, and I really like it.  It’s comfortable and (I think) looks good.***

I have to admit, I’m kind of excited to experiment with this pattern, and I’m glad I gave Grainline another try.  Looks like I need more knit fabric.  Darn.  😉

 

Recommendations

  • I think I mentioned last time that I’ve been listening to old episodes of the Sew Forth Now podcast, so I’m making lots of discoveries, like…THE PROJECT RUNWAY NINTENDO WII GAME!  I’m not quite sure if this is hilarious or awesome (or both), but since I don’t have a Wii, maybe one of you can try it out and let me know.  🙂
  • I recently met Jocelyn Love who is working to open “a nonprofit sewing center and reclaimed fabric store” in Gloucester, MA, AND they are having a sewing-themed sale on May 6 to raise money.  If you are local, you may want to donate and/or shop the sale.  Their Facebook page is here and even if you don’t have Facebook, you can see the details at this link.  I’m really interested to see what this nonprofit becomes.
  • Cadbury Creme Eggs.  It’s that time of year, and Cadbury Eggs are my all-time favorite Easter candy.
  • More seriously, though, to those of you who celebrate it:  Happy Easter!

 

 

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I’ve been thinking for a while about this post.  If you’ve been following my blog for a long time or have looked through past posts and seen a Brimfield post or two (or three), you’ll know that I love antiques.  I’m not a collector of any particular thing, but I love items from the past that I can use in my everyday life.  I like a bargain and a little patina.  Wood, metal, glass, ceramic–those are the materials I like to look for, and many of them have been pressed into service for sewing.  Thanks to some special items from  family and friends as well as flea markets and roadside finds, I have some vintage sewing tools, but I also have some great storage solutions.  That is what I want to share with you today.  Maybe it will give you some ideas or maybe you have fun vintage storage solutions of your own that you’d like to share in the comments.

Let’s take a little tour of my sewing space.  I actually cleaned it up for you.  😉

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Here’s where I sew at one end of our living room.  Most of my tools and equipment have been gifts, freebies, or bargains.  The sewing table was my Mom’s and the chair belonged to my parents.  That cool old medical lamp was a side of the road find.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

It’s not very bright, but the head can be moved to direct light onto your project and you can make the lamp taller or shorter.

Here are a few more items I find useful.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

This is my fabric cabinet, found at a flea market.  Fabric is organized somewhat by color and somewhat by type.

Those are the big items, but I also have some very useful smaller organizers–wooden roast beef and cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Patterns go in the roast beef boxes…and tools (and other items like trim) go in the cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use cheese boxes in the drawers of my sewing table for organization.  That’s actually where I keep my box of cutting tools.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Other great containers for storage include cigar boxes,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

tins,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

and really any old container that you like the look of and that will fit what you are trying to store.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also find old locker baskets useful, albeit somewhat pokey.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

For buttons and old, but beautiful spools of thread, I often employ glass canning jars, which look great whether they are vintage or new.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

And on my sewing table/desk, I’ve found that an old stamp holder (if it’s not too rusty) can be useful for holding thread and bobbins for your most recent projects.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use this old shaving mug to hold binder clips for pattern pieces, mini clothes pins for my pattern instructions, and post-it tabs to help me keep my place in the instructions when I’m sewing.  This one features New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountain” who fell off the mountain some time ago, so…I guess it’s even more special now?

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Once you get started organizing with vintage containers, it’s not hard to follow that up with a few vintage notions.  Often people will give them to you if they are cleaning out and know you are interested.  I love having tools and notions that were loved in the past and knowing I can use and enjoy them and give them a second life.  It makes my own sewing that much more special.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

If you’re looking to add a little vintage flair to your sewing and/or your sewing organization, here are some of my sources.  I will tell you, though, that I’ve loved old things ever since I was little, so this collection of special odds and ends didn’t spring up overnight.  This is a great long-term hunt.  Patience will serve you well.

So, sources!  Number one for so many of these items has been family.  My parents and in-laws have often passed on things they weren’t using that I fell in love with.  Once I started to sew and knit, family and friends also gave me tools from family members who had passed away, which was really special.

If you are near Boston’s North Shore, my favorite flea market is Todd Farm in Rowley, MA.  It’s open every Sunday morning from approximately Easter to Thanksgiving.  I like early-morning antiquing, so I go before church sometimes.  If you are within driving distance of western Massachusetts, I highly recommend Brimfield.  The prices there are not as good (in general) as a small, local flea market like Todd Farm, but the selection is unparalleled.

For cigar boxes, you can often buy them inexpensively (or sometimes get them for free) at cigar shops.  They may not be vintage, but they often have that vintage look regardless.  And consider using any containers that you find useful and beautiful like clean jars or tubs from food or other items.

I also suggest yard sales, side-of-the-road freebies, thrift stores, and super junky bargain antique stores.

Of course all of this takes time, but I love the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to use things with a history.  If you have any great tips for organizing or sewing with vintage items OR great sources for finding said items, tell me in the comments!

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the new “stickers” from the McCall Pattern Company for iOS?  It’s a free app with little sewing-related images that you can use on your phone (if you have an iPhone) or iPad.  They are super fun to text to your other sewing buddies.
  • So, here’s a website/blog that’s new to me, but could prove very helpful:  Shop the Garment District.  It’s about sewing and shopping for sewing goodies in New York City’s Garment District.  I heard about this site while listening to the Sew Forth Now podcast.  This is an old podcast that you can still listen to by Lori from the blog Girls in the Garden.  I’m finding some great resources through these.  Lori’s blog (which she is still posting to) is also a great source for sewing inspiration as she tries lots of different patterns and fabric.
  • Here is something I learned recently:  Everything is better with doodles.  😉

 

Simplicity 1696…The Continuing Quest to Conquer the Fear of Sewing Pants

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Simplicity 1696…The Continuing Quest to Conquer the Fear of Sewing Pants

Today is another project from my 2017 Make Nine list–Simplicity 1696, a pair of chino-type pants.

Simplicity 1696

As I was choosing my projects for the year, I wanted to make sure I had a few pants (or trousers for my non-American friends out there) on my list because I realized that I still fear making them and therefore I avoid them.  It’s not the construction that I fear.  It’s fitting.  Here’s the problem with fitting…you might know something isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean you know the cause of the issue.  How can you fix a problem if you don’t even know what the problem is?  But when I look back at my experience making button up shirts, which I have come to love, I realize that you can’t figure out your common fitting issues if you never make the garment in the first place.

So, this year pants are on the list.

Simplicity 1696

I’ve had this particular pattern for a long time, but I’ve never made it before now.

Simplicity 1696

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Simplicity 1696

It’s one of the Amazing Fit series, so it sounded like it had a lot of extra fitting tips inside, and it definitely delivered.  Before beginning, it directs you to take certain measurements to determine which back piece you will use–slim, average, or curvy.  Once I measured myself, I chose curvy.  There are some great tips for fitting as you go as well as extra-wide seam allowances in key places.  The pattern has directions for adding faux welt pockets to the back, but after trying them out, I thought they looked fake, so I took them off again.  Otherwise, I did everything as instructed.  The only fitting I did was to take the inseams in by 1/8″.

Simplicity 1696

That being said, I think there is excess fabric in the back, and I don’t know what to do about that.  MY FITTING FEARS HAVE COME TO PASS!  AHHHH!!!!

OK, so it’s not quite as scary as I thought.  😉

You can see it better in the picture below.

Simplicity 1696

The fabric I used for these pants is a cotton/spandex sateen from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It’s a little on the light side, although it is a bottomweight.  So, here is my question for you, readers:  do you think all the back wrinkles are due to fabric choice or something else?  The feel of these pants is perfection.  They are comfortable and not too tight.  But the look of the back leaves something to be desired.  Should I have gone with the average back?  Is it something else entirely?  The few shorts I have made before have generally needed more length in the back crotch seam rather than less, but maybe these are different?  I’m not sure.

Simplicity 1696

After trying them on, I decided not to worry too much about it.  Hopefully I’ll run across the answer at some point (maybe one of you will have it), but since these feel so comfortable, I decided not to let my fitting questions stop me from finishing the project.

Simplicity 1696

So, final analysis?  This is a great pattern, which I highly recommend.  For myself, I may not have figured the pattern out to perfection, but I now have one more pair of pants under my belt (haha), and I’m a little bit less afraid.

Recommendations

  • Anyone who has been reading the blog for awhile will know that I love fabric from Cotton + Steel (the tiger shirt I’m wearing in the photos above is made with Cotton + Steel fabric), so it was a lot of fun to hear about the inception of the design group as well as the personal story of Melody Miller, one of the founding designers.  If you want to listen, you can check out this podcast episode from Modern Sewciety and/or this one from the Crafty Planner podcast.  If you are new to podcasts, you can find out how to listen to them by scrolling to the bottom of the second link.
  • My husband and I have very different taste in books, but every once in awhile he comes across one that, while it may not be my typical genre, he is sure that I will like.  He’s a good judge of these things, so that’s what caused me to dip my toe into a little sci-fi recently with the audiobook version of Starwars:  Bloodline–New Republic…and it was so good.
  • If you are north of Boston, whether in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, or southern Maine and are looking for a good place to eat, I highly recommend The Farm Bar & Grille for delicious, casual food.  Good for a date, good for a family outing.  I’ve only tried the Massachusetts branch, but I’d be willing to bet the New Hampshire and Maine ones are good too.
  • I think this particular bad lip read video is appropriate since I just recommended a Star Wars book…(And if your kids are standing by while you watch it, Luke says “pitchy” at the end, not the word that rhymes with pitchy that we tell our kids not to say.  😉   )

McCall’s 7261: “Doin’ Everything in my Activewear!”

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McCall’s 7261: “Doin’ Everything in my Activewear!”

As I continue to expand my sewing skills, one of the goals I have is to try out different kinds of fabric.  One type of fabric that I would really like to try out is merino wool knit.  It tends to be prohibitively expensive for me, so I haven’t tried it yet, but I thought that trying out another wool knit would be a good start.  Before Christmas, Fabric Mart had a wool/Lycra jersey from an activewear manufacturer as one of their daily deals.  In the interest of helping my wonderful husband with his Christmas shopping, I tipped him off to this and–surprise!–it showed up for me on Christmas!  (He’s the best!)  😉

Because of the truly awesome deal that this was, I got a good amount of yardage (4 yards), and made plans to make it into both an activewear top and a t-shirt at some point.  Today’s project is my activewear top–McCall’s 7261, View B.

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

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McCall's 7261--Activewear top

I started with this because I knew I could wear it over another shirt in case it was itchy, and I often want a light long-sleeved layer to wear over my sleeveless workout top until I get warmed up.  Also, in all honesty, I was hoping that by sewing more activewear I would be more motivated to get to the gym.  I’ve been doing a lot of walking outside, but I would also like to do some strength training…it’s just so hard to go in when it’s sunny and not bitterly cold out…or you’re busy…and stuff.

So, enough talking–on to the project.

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

I’m really happy with this one.  The only adjustment I had to make was to grade out from a 16 at the bust to an 18 at the waist and hips.  The fit is good, but with enough ease to be comfortable and to easily fit over another shirt.  The good news about the fabric is that it isn’t itchy.  When you touch it with your hand, you think it will be, but when you wear it, it isn’t.  Surprises me every time.  🙂

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

The shirt has raglan sleeves and princess seams as well as a drapey cowl neck that crosses over in the front.  The cuffs are extra long and have thumb holes.  The front hem is also higher than the back.

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

The thumb holes are probably the only part I would adjust if I made this again.  I think they need to be a little bit larger, have a stretch stitch around them (which may or may not be necessary if the thumb holes are larger), and maybe be repositioned a bit.  The sleeves twist a little when I use them as they’re positioned now.  I do love having them however, and these adjustments are minor in the grand scheme of things.  When I’m not using the thumb holes, I fold the cuffs over on themselves.

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

For my hem and around the join of the cowl and the neck, I used a twin needle to add stretch and look professional.  Also, I’m super excited that I actually know how to use a twin needle on my machine now.  It took me forever to figure it out!

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

I like that the seams are double stitched (the seams are first sewn with a straight stitch and then with a zigzag stitch in the seam allowance).  The straight stitch gives a nice clean line at the seams, but the zigzag backs you up when those straight stitches inevitably pop a bit.  If you had a serger, these things probably wouldn’t be an issue, but I don’t, and this doesn’t really bother me all that much.  In the hopes of maybe giving my seams a little extra stretch, I used woolly nylon thread in my bobbin and normal polyester thread in the top.  I also used a jersey needle and a walking foot.  This is just me trying out different things, though.  I think you would also be fine using regular polyester thread throughout, a jersey or stretch needle, and a normal foot.

And finally, one more thing in the category of…I don’t know…things I’m trying to motivate myself to do, I guess.  So, along with getting to the gym, I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to take blog photos.  My husband has been taking my pictures a lot lately, but I’m sure becoming my Instagram Husband wasn’t really on his list of life goals (although he is always willing to help out), so I’m trying to motivate myself to take more and better blog photos.  It’s a process, people, and I am no model.  So, today’s photoshoot is brought to you by the use of props and humor.  They came out a little blurry, but I did have fun!

McCall's 7261--Activewear top

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McCall's 7261--Activewear top

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McCall's 7261--Activewear top

Recommendations

  • Traditional folk costumes are fascinating, and I love a good dirndl.  Back when Gretchen of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing got into them, I vicariously went along for the ride and, thanks to her, discovered Lena Hoschek’s beautiful dirndls.  Some women want a chance to make a fancy dress, but I think I really want a reason to make a dirndl.  I’m saving up ideas for now over on Pinterest.  😉
  • And, since we’re on the subject of folk costumes, I also always wanted to make a costume to go to Tulip Time in Holland, MI.  I’ve been to a few tulip time festivals, but I always thought it would be fun to make my own costume.  I have to say though, that at this point, the dirndls are a lot more likely to get made.  They’re winning in the ‘beauty’ and ‘scope for imagination’ categories.  A lot of the American Tulip Time costumes that I’ve seen are a snapshot in time while the German and Austrian dirndls are an ongoing, living tradition.  I admit to having no knowledge of tulip festivals in the actual Netherlands.
  • Well, since we’re talking folk costumes, we might as well mention Folkwear patterns.  Their patterns represent the traditional clothing of different cultures and times in history.  I’ve never tried any, but have had fun perusing their offerings.  Have you ever sewn with one of these patterns?
  • And now for something completely different.  This video is a repeat, but every time I wear workout clothes/activewear (especially when I’m not actually exercising), I think of this video.  It’s also where I got the title for this post.  😉

The Plaid Flannel Dress: Simplicity 8014

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I made a dress!  And not just any dress, but a cozy flannel dress.  It’s time to post this cool-weather project before spring gets here, so let’s get down to it!

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

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Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

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Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

Today’s project is Simplicity 8014, a shirt dress made from lofty Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in the Adventure colorway.

Not only is this dress soft with plenty of ease for comfort, it’s also underlined with a slippery rayon Bemberg lining fabric so it glides easily over tights or leggings.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

If you’re not familiar with underlining, it’s when you take two layers of fabric and hold them together as if they were one, sometimes from the start of the project, and sometimes beginning after the darts have been constructed in each layer.  It is different than lining or interlining.  (In fact, I think we should make up more sewing terms with the word ‘lining’ in them just to make it more confusing.  😉 )  Underlining can have multiple benefits.  It strengthens the garment, especially if your fashion fabric is light or loosely woven, and it can provide a layer to stitch into (for hems, etc.) that won’t show your stitches on the outside.  (Here’s a great article from Threads Magazine that explains everything better than I could.)  In my case, I wanted a smooth layer that would keep my dress from catching on tights or leggings.  I’ve only underlined garments maybe once, but in that case, I read about what underlining was and then applied the definition as I saw fit.  This time, I decided to actually follow the traditional process for underlining.

There are four views in this pattern.

Simplicity 8014

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Simplicity 8014

I made View D, but dropped the hem of the dress to the length of View C.  I also chose to make this with long sleeves and interior tabs in case I want to roll the sleeves up at some point.  I made a 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.  I also lowered the bust dart and did a major broad back adjustment.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

Fabric for this project came from Pintuck & Purl, and buttons, thread, lining, and interfacing came from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Despite the look of the buttons, they aren’t pearl snaps.  Buttons seemed more secure for a dress, and these are some of my favorites.

In order to underline this dress, I cut out all of my pieces in the flannel, and then also cut out the body and hem facings a second time in Bemberg/Ambiance rayon.  I didn’t think a smooth inside was necessary for the sleeves. I chose Bemberg as my underlining fabric because it is a semi-synthetic/semi-natural fabric (rayon is made from wood pulp) and because it’s not prone to static cling.

Using the method outlined in the Reader’s Digest Sewing Complete Guide to Sewing, I basted the layers of flannel and rayon together and then trimmed the rayon to more closely resemble the flannel.  Cutting out the rayon was a bit tricky, but a lot of those imperfections got trimmed off or were hidden in the seam allowances.  It would have been easier and more accurate if I had used a rotary cutter, but my cutting mat wasn’t large enough for me to do that without having to move my pieces around.

Simplicity 8014

Sadly, this is the only underlining picture I could get to load onto Flickr.  I had a few pictures of the pieces basted together, but after trying to get them to upload several times, I had to give up.  😦

Once it was all basted, I sewed it together using the pattern instructions.  Since I try to focus on learning only one or two new techniques per project (most of the time), I decided not to worry about perfect internal finishings, and I zigzagged and trimmed my seam allowances.  Because I bought the last of this fabric (although it has been restocked since I made this dress), I didn’t have enough extra fabric to put my yoke or cuffs on the bias.  I did manage to cut my chest pockets on the bias, but here’s where we enter ‘things I should have done’…  Next time it wouldn’t be a bad idea to interface those pockets if they are on the bias because I think mine started stretching a little as I handled and sewed them.  I also think it would have been a good idea to put just a little bit of interfacing under the buttons for the sleeve tabs to strengthen that area a little bit.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

So, final verdict?  This is a great dress!  As a friend of mine pointed out, it sort of fits into one of my favorite clothing categories:  secret pajamas.  It’s warm and cozy and kind of like a nightgown with a belt.  I love that it has pockets and is loose and comfy, but has the belt for a little bit of shaping.  Ironically, I finished this the day before we got some warm weather.  I tried to wear it to a Sip & Stitch craft night at Pintuck & Purl, and completely overheated and had to change within about 10 minutes.  Haha!  Oh, well.  It’s been cold since, and I’ve really enjoyed wearing it.  Added bonus:  this was one of my 2017 Make Nine Projects, so that’s one more down!

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

I promise I’m smiling in this picture!  Or am I crying because taking blog pictures is hard?  😉

Recommendations

  • In case you are curious about lining fabrics and other resources related to that, check out this article from the blog A Fashionable Stitch:  Understanding Lining Fabric + Resources .  This is such a great blog if  you want to increase your sewing knowledge and skills.  There are a number of posts on different types of fabric and so much more.
  • In fact, here is a post from the same blog on rayon wovens.  If you are new to sewing or just want to know what the big deal with rayon is, this post will clue you in.  It’s a relatively new fabric for me, but so far I really like it.
  • I know we already talked about my personal 2017 Make Nine challenge, but if you want to read more about it or are interested in jumping in yourself, here’s a recent post from the challenge’s creator, Rochelle New, on what it is and how you can join in.  So far, I’ve found it really fun.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

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Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Hi, sewing friends.  This week I have two versions of the same pattern to share with you.  A little while ago I made the Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns, first the long faux wrap view, and then the cropped wrap view.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

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Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

These weren’t hard to make, and were very quick projects, even though I chose to double sew each seam, first using a straight stitch and then going over the seam again with a three-step zig-zag.  This wasn’t indicated in the directions, but I made these right after making the Toaster Sweater, which does call for this technique, and I thought it was smart, so I used it in these sweaters as well.

For the long faux wrap, I chose a poly/cotton French terry from Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Time will tell if it resists pilling and holds up well, but I loved the color and feel, so it seemed like a good fabric for a first try on this pattern.  Fun fact:  when I was little, this color, a.k.a. “sea green” was my favorite for a long time.  Pastels were big…what can I say?  😉

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

I really like how this turned out.

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

It’s comfortable and for a style I have rarely worn (wrap-front), I really like it.

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

It’s especially nice to wear to the gym since the style is just a little nicer than my normal slouchy sweatshirts.  😉

Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns

For my second version, the cropped view, I chose a rayon knit from Pintuck & Purl, which is also where I bought my pattern.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

I’d never worked with rayon knits before, I don’t think, and this one had the added interest of being gray on the wrong side and a dark plum color on the right side.  It has a great hand and drape.  I was worried that it would be hard to work with, but it wasn’t.

I’m not entirely sure it was the perfect match for this particular pattern, because while it feels lovely on, the neck band tends to relax and flop open rather than staying put.  (You can see that in the two pictures below.)  Maybe a knit with a little spandex/elastane would have been better?

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

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Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Either way, this cropped version is great to wear with high-waisted bottoms or with a longer shirt underneath.  You can tie it in the back or wrap it around and knot it in the front.

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Tied in back (above and below).

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

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Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

Tied in front (above and below).

Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns

I’m sort of curious to see how much wear these will get.  I really like them, I like the fabric, but like I said, they are a little different than what I normally wear in a sweater.  My hope in buying this pattern was that I could use it to replace an old, but much-loved sweater from Old Navy.  That one is a little big and not the best quality, so I wanted to be prepared for when it finally died.  The way this pattern wraps around the body is definitely nicer than my store-bought sweater.

As for some of the little details, I used a regular polyester Güttermann thread in my needle and a wooly/bulky nylon in my bobbin as well as a jersey needle and a walking foot.  All of these are choices I would recommend and use again myself.

I’m really glad I tried this.  Papercut Patterns has some great designs.  If you are on the fence about this one, I would encourage you to give it a try.  Also…this is one more pattern from my 2017 Make Nine challenge I can mark off the list!

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the new Sewing Translator app from Liesl + Co.?  It will translate sewing terms from one language to another.  I haven’t played around with it too much yet, but it looks pretty cool.  It’s free and works on iOS 8.0 or later.  Do you think it counts as learning another language if I just practice the sewing terms?  It’s a start, right?  😉
  • I always see the most amazing things on the @mashable feed on Instagram.  It showcases all kinds of new inventions from sleeping bag coats for the homeless to new wheelchairs to photorealistic latte art.
  • I’m kind of intrigued by Daughters of Style patterns.  They might be just a little too fashion forward for me, but I don’t know…  That Amy Shirt dress has me coming back and looking at it again and again.
  • Rather than posting a video, I’ll just tell you that we have lots of fun over here watching Mental Floss videos.  It’s a cool way to learn lots of interesting facts.  John Green is a great host.

Refashion: Down Jacket Into Down Skirt…or…Struggle. Victory.

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Refashion:  Down Jacket Into Down Skirt…or…Struggle.  Victory.

It was a grey and stormy day when I finally cut into a project I had long been contemplating.  It was a refashion, but not just any refashion.  This one involved sewing with a material I had never tried before:  a down jacket.  I had chosen the patterns that were going to help me achieve my goal and planned a little more than half of the project, but there were still questions in my mind about how I was going to finish the rest.  Inspiration images had been pinned to my Pinterest board, but still I mulled it over…until the snow day.  It was finally time.

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

I had already been scheming about refashioning a down jacket into a scarf after seeing these ones, which was the product of a collaboration between Patagonia and Alabama Chanin, but my down-sewing plans expanded when we visited Colorado last winter and I saw a woman wearing a down skirt.  It was such a brilliant idea.

Google revealed that down skirts are actually a thing, even though the Colorado one was the only one I had seen in real life.  So, after a ton of thought, I chose New Look 6843 for the skirt portion, and the waistband from the leggings in McCall’s 7261 for my stretchy waistband.  Since I wanted this to be a pull-on skirt, a waistband and some gores/gussets/godets in the side of the skirt were in order (after seeing the skirt, you can tell me which term is the right one for what I did 😉 ).

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

I managed to turn the back skirt into a single piece and eliminate the zipper.  All of that fit onto the back of the coat, allowing me to use the bottom of the coat as my hem.  It got tricky when I came to the front because that was supposed to be one piece, too.  I really wanted to incorporate the coat zipper in a decorative way (although I planned to sew it shut), and I also wanted the pockets both for decorative and functional purposes, but in the end, it was too much of a struggle.  I realized that by opening my sleeves and sewing them together, I would have enough for my front piece.  I still had plenty of the stretchy fleece left from my Toaster Sweaters for my waistband and gores/gussets/godets.  Then it was all construction.

This is probably the point when you are asking how in the world I cut and sewed that crazy stuff.  That is a very important question.  Here is what I did:  I marked my cutting lines with a water-soluble pen and sewed with a straight stitch on either side of my cut line in the hopes that it would hold all the down in.

Do you think it worked?

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Well, it sort of did.  Not ALL of the down came out.  But some did.  Here’s how I had to sew.

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

You can’t see it in this picture, but I also had pink-eye (conjunctivitis) at the time.  Nice, huh?  (Luckily no down got in my eye.  That would have been…um…gross.)

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

I had the BRILLIANT idea of vacuuming off the edges after I cut them.  I do not recommend this.  Maybe you thought of the problem with this.  It actually dislodged things, so it was sort of like it was snowing outside and snowing inside.  That was the point at which I realized I really needed to get this finished that same day.  We had some sickness in our house that week, and I wasn’t feeling my best, but I decided to power through in the hopes that it was all in my head.  (It wasn’t all in my head, but I powered through anyway!)

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

I also realized that I needed to cover every seam on the inside if I didn’t want to perpetually shed feathers.  This was the point where things got a little…”Becky-home-ecky” (sorry if your name is Becky).  The finishing, while functional and necessary, didn’t meet the vision I had in my head, but I was sort of racing against the down and my nausea.  The good news is, when I’m wearing it, I think it looks like something I could have bought at an outdoor store.  (If you disagree, you don’t have to tell me.)  It’s only if you get up close or look inside that you see the craziness, and since people don’t do that when I’m wearing it (thank goodness!), I think I’m safe.  Want to see it?  Check it out!

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

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Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

This skirt has the added benefit of a little puffy booty enhancement up top.  It’s too high for people to think you pooped in your pants, so I like to think of it as booty enhancement.  Maybe it’s because I sewed all the darts in the skirt, even though I basically negated them with those side triangles.  I needed the triangles, though because if you’re going to eliminate the zipper, you need some way to get your skirt on!

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Skirt front (above)

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Skirt back (above)

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Side view (above). I folded the front of the skirt down at the top a bit because it was originally higher in the front and lower in the back, but that feels weird to me.  I want it the other way around.

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Inside front (above).  I covered my seams with fleece, but didn’t sew with a wide enough seam allowance, so I ended up sewing extra lines and hand-tacking things just to get all those feathery seams covered.  I also covered my top seams with wide fold-over-elastic (although I didn’t fold it), and used a zig-zag stitch to hold it down and allow for a little stretch at the waist.  That doesn’t look great, either, but again, you don’t really notice it that much when I’m wearing it, so whatever!

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Inside back (above)

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Inside side view (above).  Here’s where it started to get ugly, but I just wanted to finish at this point.  It was helpful to have the coat lining as a lining for my skirt because I could hand tack the fleece to it.

Refashion:  Down Jacket to Down Skirt

Despite any deficiencies in the finishing, I LOVE THIS SKIRT!!!!  When I wear it, I feel ready to take on winter!  The fit is great and it is so cozy that I wore it for two days straight after making it (and vacuuming my work room a.k.a. our living room…twice).  In January I made these fleece leggings and the Toaster Sweater that I’m wearing in this picture, and this outfit is pretty much winter perfection.  I love it so much.

After I finished, I contemplated making a scarf from the remnant of the jackets, but I decided to just put it away for now.  I DID NOT like sewing with all that down.  However…my husband had the brilliant idea to make a scarf from it in the summer…while sewing outside.  He’s so smart!

Recommendations

  • On Wednesday I made the Blueberry Poppyseed Snacking Cake from the Seven Spoons cookbook, and now I just want to eat that all the time.  I know this would be unwise, so I gave the last piece away before I could eat it.
  • I have some old gaiters from L.L. Bean that I just love.  They don’t sell the exact style I have anymore, so this is the closest I could find, but they are great if it’s snowy out and I don’t feel like putting snow pants on.  I can walk through several inches of snow without it getting in my shoes or on my pants.  I used them for a walk on Thursday, and it just reminded me of how much I love them.
  • Is orange the new black?  Are doughnuts the new croissants?  Do you like to say that _____ is the new ______ ?  Then check out this fun and funny website, where each time you click, you get a new ‘this is the new that’.
  • This week I found out that everything is better with doodles.  😉

2017 Make Nine

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2017 Make Nine

It may be a little late in the year to talk about 2017 Make Nine plans, since most people do that in January, but I never ended up posting about my goals for this challenge, and I’ve actually been working toward them this year, so I thought it would be fun to give an update on my progress so far.

If you haven’t heard of this idea, it’s a challenge that was started last year by Rochelle New of the blog Lucky Lucille (and owner of Home Row Fiber Co.).  You can read all about her goals for this year and ideas behind the challenge here.  It’s a fun way to challenge yourself as a sewist/sewer/seamstress/whatever by picking nine things you’d like to sew for the year.

Last year, I jumped on board, and then promptly forgot about my plans.  In the end (when I remembered), I looked back and found that I actually had made most of my 2016 Make Nine goals, but not really on purpose.  This year, I decided I would actually remember my plans and actively work to complete them.  So here we are.  I took a picture of all my patterns.  Check ’em out with notes on their current state:

2017 Make Nine Project

Top Row, left to right:

  1. Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven
  2. Coppelia by Papercut Patterns
  3. Gallery Tunic + Dress by Liesl + Co.

Middle Row, left to right:

  1. Simplicity 2255, already a favorite of mine
  2. Simplicity 1538, one of my TNT patterns
  3. Butterick 4259 (out of print)

Bottom Row, left to right:

  1. Simplicity 1696
  2. Simplicity 8014
  3. Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

I printed out a picture of my patterns so I could make notes on it and actually remember my ideas.  I’m fitting other projects in here and there, but I’ve already begun working on these.  I have each pattern traced and adjusted with the exception of a long sleeve I need to trace for Simplicity 2255.  I think I’d like to borrow the sleeve from Simplicity 1538 and see if I can meld it with the one already in Simplicity 2255.

Each of my cooler weather patterns has also been cut out (or, in the case of the Gallery Tunic and the pants on the bottom left, cut out in muslin form).  That means that the top and bottom rows are at least ready for me to sew in one form or another.  The middle row will wait until spring sewing, most likely.  Here’s where I’m at with the ones that have been cut out:

Toaster Sweater:  DONE!  (It feels good to type that.)

I made two versions in fleece, which are already blogged here.

2017 Make Nine

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2017 Make Nine Project

I have worn these sweatshirts a ton.  They’re very cozy.

Coppelia:  DONE!

I’ve made both a long and short version of the Coppelia Cardi, which is yet to be blogged (because I need more pictures of the short version).

2017 Make Nine Project

Long version, faux wrap (above).

2017 Make Nine Project

Short version (above).

Gallery Tunic:  muslined.  This one is not for me, and the recipient is at a distance, so a muslin was definitely called for.  Despite this aberration, I do not sew for other people.  This just slipped out of my machine somehow.  😉

2017 Make Nine Project

Simplicity 1696 (pants):  muslin is cut out.  I think muslins are very valuable, but I really hate doing them, so I’ve been procrastinating on this FOREVER.  I procrastinated on this one even longer than the Gallery Tunic, but it’s finally cut out so that I can procrastinate on sewing it.

2017 Make Nine

Simplicity 8014 (dress): cut out.  I cut this one from another Robert Kaufman Mammoth Plaid, and I’m attempting to underline it with Bemberg Rayon so it won’t catch on the leggings I plan to wear underneath my cozy, cozy dress.  This has a ton of pieces, especially when adding an underlining, and I was squeezing it out of the end of the bolt, so I’m really hoping the plaid matching turns out ok.  I was pretty nervous cutting it out–I had to give myself lots of pep talks.  😉

2017 Make Nine Project

And lastly, Jutland Pants:  cut out in gray canvas.  When I realized that the Jutland Pants I had made for my husband actually fit me, too, I decided I wanted a pair of my own.  I came late to the skinny jean party, but even after only a few years of wearing them, wearing straight leg pants like these is heaven!  I want to try the cargo pattern, but with patch pockets on the front and no side cargo pockets.  I’m still not sure about the knee patches, but I think the back pockets may need some fun customization.

2017 Make Nine Project

So that’s where I’m at in the challenge!  It’s pretty fun so far.  I made sure to only include things I really wanted to make and wear.  This gives me a little extra push to get through the hard stuff, like muslins and such.  I’ve also gotten fast enough that I can do other little projects (yet to be blogged) in between, so it’s both fun and flexible.  What about you?  Have you decided to come up with your own 2017 Make Nine?

 

Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

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Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

Hey, friends!  I missed you last week.  My plans to take some outdoor pictures for my ‘Outside in January’ post were thwarted by family sickness, so that post never happened.  Thanks to my ‘Instagram Husband’ photographer and some nice weather on Saturday, though, I’m back with another sewing post for you.  Today’s creation is the new Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven.  I was severely tempted to make a sweater for my toaster or pose with a toaster, but I resisted and went for something more basic.  😉

Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

This creation is brought to you by my getting caught up in the wave of cozy versions of this sweater floating around the sewing internet.  I often get caught up in these things, but rarely give in.  This time, I not only got caught up, I bought the PDF version of this pattern, something I almost never do!  I’m not a big fan of PDF’s from a user end.  They are a great way for a new company to get their patterns out into the world for a lower start-up cost, but from a sewing perspective, I’d always rather have a paper pattern.  Sometimes I will even pass on a pattern I like if it doesn’t come in a paper version.  This time, though, I realized that I could buy the PDF of the single view that I wanted (the pattern comes with two views) for less than the price of the paper or full PDF pattern, and I could have it NOW.

I already had my fabric, some Polartec Power Stretch (at least I think it’s Power Stretch) that I bought this past summer at one of my favorite fabric stores in Michigan, Field’s Fabrics.  It was just waiting for the right pattern.  And this was it.

The Details

This is a great pattern and a fast sew.  There aren’t too many pieces, and the instructions are great, which makes the construction feel really simple in a good way.  I made this before making the Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns, and I’m glad I did.  The helpful advice about double stitching is something I’ve been using in all my recent knit projects.

Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

I had all these plans to alter the pattern before getting started.  I wanted to lengthen it and grade the hips out to a larger size, etc., etc., but in the end I made a straight size large for the first version.  I had two colors of fleece, so I figured the first could be a wearable muslin, and I could change things up for the second if I wanted to.  In the end, all I changed for number two was to add another inch in width to the bottom band so that, hopefully, the sweater/sweatshirt would hang down over my hips, rather than sort of sitting on top of them.  I’m not sure that this made a huge difference, but the good news is that both versions are really great.

Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

Here are some knit sewing construction details for anyone who is interested.  I used a 90/14 stretch needle (Schmetz brand) and a walking foot with Gutermann polyester thread in the top and wooly/bulky nylon in my bobbin.  Normally I just use wooly nylon for swimwear, but I wanted to see if I could get a better stretch stitch, and this turned out to be just the thing.  I used a straight stitch with a length of three for my first pass and a three-step zigzag stitch next to that in the seam allowance for my second pass on each set of pattern pieces.  For the zigzag, I used a width of 6 and a length of 1.  My tension was at 4 and my presser foot tension was at 3.  I did not use a serger.

To figure out my stitch length and width, I used the suggestions that came printed on my machine and tested them on fabric scraps.  Then I stretched each test to see if any of my stitches popped.  The straight stitches will pop if you put enough stress on them, but I think it is worth doing both because the straight stitches give you a clean join in your pieces while the zigzag provides extra strength and stretch.

I used a universal twin needle since I didn’t have a stretch twin needle at the time (I’ve since gotten one, and it’s great, but the universal did work as well).  I didn’t press my seams since I was sewing Polartec and I didn’t want to melt it, but I used the twin needle even in spots like the vertical neck, cuff, and bottom band seams to hold my seam allowances to one side.  I think I finally have the hang of the double needle now, and I’m so happy about it.

Toaster Sweater #1 in Polartec Fleece

So, in conclusion, I really like this pattern.  I don’t think these are the world’s most flattering tops on me personally, but I don’t really care.  I love them and I wear them a ton.  They are so cozy in fleece and just perfect for winter.

Recommendations

  • I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again:  fleece from Malden Mills (Polartec brand fleece) is awesome for cold weather.  I love natural fibers year-round, but Polartec fleece is cozy and technically fascinating.  Reading their website really gives you an appreciation for all the innovation in these fabrics.
  • I found this article really helpful:  How a Sewing Machine Works, Explained in a GIF.  I could never picture the inner workings of my machine before.  Thanks to Maggie from Pintuck & Purl for this one.
  • Thanks to this show, I learned that the internet is actually housed on top of Big Ben and if you are really, really lucky, the Elders of the Internet might let you borrow it for big speeches.  😉