Tag Archives: winter

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Current Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Future Possibilities

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

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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Winter Sewing Ideas and Plans

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

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

 

The Silk Party Blouse: New Look 6560

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The Silk Party Blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

The Story

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Design Choices and Cutting

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

Construction

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

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

The silk party blouse:  New Look 6560

My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

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My Favorite Fall and Winter Sewing Patterns

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

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

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

Tops

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

Style Arc Josie Hoody/Hoodie in Polartec Power Stretch

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

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

Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover in Polartec Curly Fleece

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

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

The Green Pepper F722 Polar Pullover

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

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

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

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

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

Strathcona + Plantain=A Strathcona Henley for Me!

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

Bottoms

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

Morgan Jeans!

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

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

Spring Pants!  Simplicity 1696 in Cloud9 Tinted Denim

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

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

MMM'15 Day 11

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

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

Quick and Easy Pajama Pants:  McCall's 3019

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

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

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style

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

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

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

T-Shirt Time! Three Plantains and a Lark Tee

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T-Shirt Time!  Three Plantains and a Lark Tee

Hi, sewing friends!  It’s finally time for the last of my winter sewing…and by that I mean projects I sewed during the winter, not necessarily projects that are just right for cool weather.  Spring is cold here, so I’m currently sewing sweatshirts.  I’m happy to wrap up the winter-time sewing, though.

I’m combining all these projects into one post because I have blogged both of these patterns before.  My two Plantain Tees are here.  The Lark Tees are here:  short-sleeved v-neck, short-sleeved crew neck, long-sleeved scoop neck.  Today I have three Plantain Tees, a free pattern from Deer & Doe Patterns (and my current favorite t-shirt pattern) and one crew-neck Lark Tee, a pattern from Grainline Studio.  I feel mixed about the Lark, but I keep making it because it has so many options.

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

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

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Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

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Two V-Neck Grainline Lark Tees

I used to think that I never wanted to sew t-shirts when they were so readily available and inexpensive, but they are a really quick and satisfying sew, a perfect project after sewing more complex or time-sensitive things (like Christmas presents).  Now I’m converted.  These were the first things I sewed after Christmas.

My t-shirt drawer needed some more options, and I found some interesting fabric for my projects.  The two star-print t-shirts (the pink and orange is a Plantain and the black and white is the Lark) are cotton/spandex knits from Cotton + Steel that I got at Pintuck & Purl.  The black and white is softer, but also attracts more hair in the washer and dryer.  The pink fades very slightly at the seams.  I really like both as I love a good star print, and they get lots of wear.

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

I used some scraps from the pink and orange Plantain to add contrast elements to this sky blue Plantain.  The elbow patches are included with the pattern.

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

I sew them on with a very close zigzag stitch.  The fabric is one I got awhile ago for some other project that never happened, and I’m not quite sure what it is or where it’s from.  My guess is that it’s a cotton/spandex from Fabric.com, but I’m not positive.  It is sort of stiff, although it’s not uncomfortable.  I probably wouldn’t order it again, but since I can’t remember what it was or where it’s from, I’m probably safe.  😉

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

The last Plantain Tee is made from a wool jersey from Fabric Mart.  It’s really soft, and I love the color.  It is thin, but not see-through.  I wear this one a lot, too (like right now, while I’m typing this!).  I found a few small holes in one arm that I tried to fix (and probably made things worse).

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

I have no idea if this is how the fabric came or if it’s from my washer.  They were so tiny, I probably should have just left them, but oh well.  As with all of these fabrics, I prewashed and dried them in the washer and dryer before cutting and sewing the fabric, so they are all easy care, and I don’t have to worry about shrinkage or special treatment.

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

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T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

As far as construction, I don’t feel my results with a twin needle have been as durable as I would like.  The hems that I have used a twin needle on often come apart after awhile.  Since I didn’t feel like trouble-shooting that this time, I used a zigzag for all the shirts–construction seams and hems.

T-shirt Time!  Three Plaintains and a Lark

I don’t worry about finishing my edges (other than hemming) or think much about fine-tuning the fit on these shirts, since the knits all stretch.

I like the fit on both patterns, although the Lark is long, and I prefer the fit of the Plantain.  I sewed the Lark to the original length, because I figured if it was really too long, I could chop it off later (I actually hate going back to old projects, but let’s just pretend I would do this).  So far, it doesn’t bother me too much.  For me, the success or failure of each Lark I have made has hinged on fabric choice since I go back and forth on how much I like the silhouette of this pattern.  I have been happy with all my Plantains.

I’m really glad to have all of these in my wardrobe, adding color and options.  In the future, I would love to try the Stellan Tee, another free t-shirt pattern, from French Navy.  I bought more of the black and white star print in the hopes that I will be able to make it this summer.  Do you have a favorite t-shirt pattern?  If so, leave it in the comments.  I love new pattern ideas!

 

Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

Today’s post is almost the last winter clothing post.  (Oh, wait.  I just realized I’m sewing sweatshirts right now.  Well…this is one of the last ones I sewed during the winter.)  I saved this one for early spring because it’s a great transitional garment…the Sapporo Coat from Papercut Patterns.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

This is a pattern I have had my eye on for awhile, so I put it on my Christmas list, and my husband was kind enough to order it for me from Pattern Review. (He’s the best.)  Papercut always has really interesting patterns, and this one is no different.  Cocoon coats are sort of a funny shape, but I like trying new types of clothing, and the possibility of color-blocking and highlighting the cool seamlines really drew me in.  It was an added benefit that I had fabric in my stash that I could use, so I didn’t have to get any new fabric for this.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

I chose gray and black wools from my stash for the outside with a polyester lining.  The wool was given to me by friends ages ago, and the lining was purchased for another project, but never got used.  It’s originally from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

When choosing a pattern size, I nearly always have to grade up a size for the waist and hip.  According to my measurements, I should have done that for this pattern as well, but it’s not the easiest pattern to do that with, so I went with my bust size (S/M) and hoped for the best.  It helps that this coat is oversized and meant to be worn open.  I think it turned out alright.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

The sewing itself was pretty easy and enjoyable.  I saw online that many people used different tailoring techniques and interfacing to make this more like a coat, and less like a lightweight jacket, but I decided to mostly trust and follow the instructions as written.  The one thing I did change was the sleeves.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

The pattern has you line the sleeves with the same fabric as the outside, but I noticed that the seam that joins the sleeves to the body really stood out from the body on many Sapporo coats that I saw online, and I hoped that using lining in the sleeve would soften that area so it didn’t stand up so much.  It didn’t actually have the effect I had hoped for, but I did learn how to bag a lining after a few missteps.

In order to line my sleeve, I created a facing for it using the sleeve pattern piece and then a shorter piece for my lining.  In step 12, I pinned my lining to my sleeve facing and stitched, thinking I could flip everything right side out.  I came out with a tangled mess, so I consulted the Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long, and followed her directions.  That helped me fix everything.  I just have to say…bagging a lining is MAGIC!  I can’t even remember how I did it, but now I know where to find the information (and you do, too!)!  (By the way–that link is to an eBook, but you can find used copies of this book pretty easily.  Mine came from Amazon, I think.)

Sapporo Coat in Wool

I really like this strange and interesting coat.  I like the hidden pockets and the unique shape.  I wasn’t sure if I would like the shorter sleeves, but I do.  They work with the silhouette.  And I LOVE the color-blocking.  Originally I had planned to do a lot of topstitching, but decided against it when I started making the jacket.  I still think it would be interesting to add topstitching near the seam lines and edges, but that will have to be an experiment for another time.  The top of the collar seems like it wants to roll out, so topstitching would probably help with that.

Sapporo Coat in Wool

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Sapporo Coat in Wool

It will be interesting to see if this jacket becomes a staple of my wardrobe or more of an occasional piece.  I really enjoyed making it and would consider making it again someday.  One of my goals is to make more jackets in general, so this is a good start.

A Long Overdue Gift: Men’s Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Men’s Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I am so happy to report that this flannel shirt, which was supposed to be a Christmas present in 2017, is finally finished!  It took awhile, but I’m really happy with the final result.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

My husband picked out this buffalo plaid Mammoth Flannel by Robert Kaufman Fabrics in 2017, and we decided to pair it with the Thread Theory Fairfield Button-up Shirt.  The Fairfield is a slim-fitting dress shirt, which should have been a clue about how my initial tests would go.  What my husband wanted was a loose-fitting, casual flannel shirt.  We really like Thread Theory Patterns, which is why we tried the Fairfield, but after two muslins (test garments), it just wasn’t working out.  I made muslin #1 too big.  Muslin #2 was a great fit…for a slim-fitting dress shirt, which is exactly what that pattern is for.  What it is not is a loose and boxy casual button up.  After two muslins, I put the pattern away for a year.  I needed a break.

This past fall/winter, I decided to try again.  I bought Simplicity 1544, which is the men’s version of my own favorite button up pattern, Simplicity 1538.  I took my husband’s measurements, which put him in a size 44.  I cut out a straight 44 for him (View A without the back tab), and decided to throw caution to the wind and skip the muslin.  I really hate making muslins despite the fact that I’m always glad when I do.  After two, I just decided I was going for it and if it didn’t work out, we could find someone else to give it to.  It was time.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I took a lot of time and care in cutting this shirt out.  The blocks of color in this plaid are more rectangular than square, so there are some areas that I couldn’t make symmetrical, specifically the back yoke, which I put on the bias, but overall, it worked out great.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I love contrast, so I used the bias as my contrast, in a sense, putting it on the yoke, the front placket, the pocket, cuffs, and cuff placket.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I tried to match the plaid horizontally across the front of the shirt, the back, and across the sleeves.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I was even careful to have the shirt’s hemmed edge fall at the bottom of a repeat (this was mostly successful).

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

And tried to have a dividing line of the plaid down the back center of the collar and collar stand.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

Some parts of the insides are not finished as well as I would like.  I zigzagged any seam allowances (sides and sleeves) that weren’t encased like the yoke and cuffs.  French seams would have been bulky, and I really didn’t think ahead enough to do flat-felled seams.  Luckily, my husband doesn’t care, which means I don’t either!  (Mostly.)

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

The yoke, placket, and cuffs, however, are satisfyingly finished.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

And the topstitching is a really nice detail.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed sewing this pattern.  I shouldn’t have been–I really like making button up shirts, but after taking such a long time to get to the sewing part of this project, I wasn’t really thinking about how I would feel while sewing.  Happily, I loved it.  The directions for this pattern are clear and well-written, and I loved seeing all my careful cutting come together is a beautifully matched shirt.  The icing on the cake was that this was exactly the fit my husband was looking for.  It’s the perfect casual flannel shirt for him.  This pattern is going to be my go-to if I make him any other casual shirts.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

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Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

As far as the fabric, my love of Robert Kaufman’s Mammoth Flannel is pretty well documented (here’s my Mammoth flannel version of Simplicity 1538), and this is no exception.  When you buy it, it feels a little on the thin side, but as soon as you wash it, it fluffs up to be nice and substantial, with no real right or wrong side.  I like Robert Kaufman fabrics in general because there is a huge variety of substrates and styles, lots of shops carry Robert Kaufman fabric, and it’s both good quality and affordable.  This fabric and the Fairfield Shirt pattern came from Pintuck & Purl (of course) and the Simplicity pattern came from Joann’s, as did interfacing and thread.  The buttons were given to me by a friend.  They are basic black buttons, but are a perfect match.  I made sure to put a few on the inside of the placket in case any of the main ones fall off.

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

So that’s it!  Despite being finished toward the end of winter, this shirt has gotten a lot of wear.  I love how it looks on my husband, and I think he likes it too.  🙂

Men's Simplicity 1544 in Flannel

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

It’s finally spring!  I’m so ready for it, but before I start digging into spring projects, I have some winter garments to talk about on the blog.  One of those garments is a pair of Jutland Pants for me in yellow corduroy.

The Jutland Pants are a men’s pants pattern by Thread Theory.  I’ve made a few pairs for my husband (here and here), but they also miraculously fit me (see my first pair and my cutoffs).  And, like any good pair of boyfriend jeans, they are loose and comfy.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

This time around, I had to trace a new size, but I was in the middle of two sizes, so I tried to trace right in between the size lines on the pattern sheet.  I’m always afraid of making things too small, so I tend to err on the side of bigger rather than smaller.  With this iteration of the Jutland Pants, I think I went just a little too big.  The pants, which are SO comfortable, are also super loose, and definitely a bit bigger than they should be.  You can kind of see below that there is a bit extra in the waistband.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

When I first put them on, the waistband really stood away from my body at the back, so I put in a few darts after they were otherwise finished.  I tried to line up the waistband darts I was creating with the darts that were already in the back.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I transferred the darts to my pattern piece for the future.  I also came to an important conclusion:  if I’m going to keep making this pattern for myself, it’s time to get serious about making it actually fit me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

As far as this pair goes, I love them.  I recognize that they don’t look great on me, but they do feel great.  I’m so ready for pants with wider legs.  All that being said, however, I plan to make the next pair a bit smaller and do some real work on the pattern to make it fit me just right.  I’m even researching possible ways to make the waistband adjustable for weight gain or loss (seriously–why is that not standard on all pants?).

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

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Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Here are some details:

I got my pattern and fabric from Pintuck & Purl.  The corduroy (a Christmas present) is a Robert Kaufman corduroy, and the octopus fabric I used for the waistband and pockets is an old Cotton + Steel quilting cotton print.  Other supplies, like bias binding, thread, and interfacing came from Joann Fabrics.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

I mainly followed the directions, with the addition of the darts and an extra bar tack at the bottom of the fly.  One weird thing about this pattern is that it creates a small fold at the bottom of the fly, rather than a smooth surface.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Am I missing something?  It never bothers me when I’m wearing it, but it always leaves me nonplussed when I think about it.

I used faux flat-fell and zigzag stitching on the seam allowances inside to finish my seams, so they aren’t very pretty, but it was quick.  There is provision in the pattern for nice, flat-felled seams if you want them, though.  In order to do that, you should follow the construction order in the pattern.  In future, though, (if I remember), I plan to skip that and construct the front and then the back, like the Ginger Jeans, so I can fit from the side seams before finalizing everything.

Those are my current thoughts on this pattern.  I think my great love for it comes from its comfort and the straight leg shape.  Hopefully I can get it to really work for me.

Jutland Pants for Me in Yellow Corduroy

Craft Fail: Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters (Updated!)

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Upcycled Sweaters (Updated!)

Update:  check the end of this post for an update related to this pattern.

It’s been awhile since we had a good ol’ Craft Fail on the blog, but this project was a complete and total loss.  I would say that three-quarters of it was my fault–poor fabric choice, and silly mistakes were most of the problem.  I also had some trouble with the directions.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I bought this pattern, the Tova Mittens, along with two hat patterns, from Last Stitch during the Black Friday sales.  I was really excited about these patterns (and I still am), partly because it looked like you could use shrunken/upcycled sweaters to make them.

This seemed like a fun way to use up some of my favorite shrunken sweaters, which I save for interesting projects like this.  The intended recipient and I went through and picked out a fun combination of sweater pieces so that I could make mittens that would sort of match in an offbeat way.  I also had a few scraps of sweatshirt material (from this project) that I thought would be perfect for lining.

I think problem number one was the fabric choice.  The shrunken sweaters, specifically the pink sweater, weren’t as stretchy as they probably should have been.  Another VERY IMPORTANT thing that I didn’t pay enough attention to was the right side of that pink sweater fabric.  In its shrunken state, both sides look really cool and could have been used as the right side.  Sadly I wasn’t careful enough when cutting and sewing…and…I MADE TWO LEFT-HANDED MITTENS.  Yes.  I did.  And to ice that cake, (and probably because of it), one of the lining pieces on one of the mittens is the wrong way out.  Bad, bad, and worse.  Also funny…once you stop being mad.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

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Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

The pattern itself is interesting.  I made the XS size.  The seam allowance is odd if you use Imperial measurements.  For those of us who use inches, it’s 1/5″, which I’ve never seen before, so I just tried to use 1/4″.  I was tracking with the directions until step 5.  I found the picture really confusing.  I ended up sewing the thumb right sides together and then turning it right side out before doing the next step.  Then everything was good until step 8.  I stitched the front and back together with right sides together, which meant that my thumb was on the inside, and I had to be careful not to stitch it.  This is different from the picture (adding to my confusion), but maybe I did step 5 wrong.  I could also see that I was going to have a hole where the thumb joined to the side seam.

Once I got to the cuffs, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to use the fold line shown on the cuff pattern piece in step 9 or 11.  It wasn’t shown in the picture or mentioned in the directions.  Step 11 was very confusing in general.  Was I supposed to fold in half what I had already done or fold half the cuff up so the seam was enclosed?  It didn’t end up mattering, because the cuff I had made was never going to fit the mitten.  This was undoubtedly my fault–I’m sure my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough, so I chucked it and used ribbing from the green sweater, which worked much better.  Unfortunately, I attached the cuffs wrong-way-out.  Yep.  I did.

Craft Fail:  Tova Mittens from Fulled Sweaters

I think a big part of my problem in understanding the directions is that I’m coming at this from an American sewist’s viewpoint.  We are used to having a lot of hand-holding.  Even the Big 4 patterns, for as much as people complain about them, actually have a lot of information included in them if you take the time to read it.  I think that sewists in Europe (where this pattern is coming from) who are used to Burda patterns are a lot more self-sufficient and used to figuring things out for themselves.  While there actually are a lot of directions and illustrations, I found them hard to understand at several points.

I would try this pattern again in a fleece with a distinct right and wrong side, and I think things would go a lot better, although I do wish the directions (pictures and words) made a bit more sense to me.  At this point, I have shoved these mittens in a corner, and will probably recycle them after publishing this post.  On to the next thing!

Update:  11/6/19

Since writing this post, Johanna Lundström of The Last Stitch, creator of the Tova Mittens pattern, contacted me and told me she had read my review and was revising the directions to make them clearer.  She added photographs and clarified the directions that I was unsure about.  All the changes she made look really good, and are so helpful to someone like me who doesn’t have a vast amount of experience sewing with sweater knits.  I think sewists of every level can have a successful experience making this pattern, and I’m looking forward to giving it another try.

On a more personal note, I was really nervous about writing my original review because I didn’t want to offend or hurt Johanna.  I wanted to be honest about my experience with the pattern as well as my own mistakes.  When she wrote to me and told me she had read this post and was going to work on making the directions clearer, even asking for my opinion, I was really amazed.  I already had a lot of respect for her and all she does in the sewing community, but now I feel that tenfold.  She really cares about her customers and her products, and I can’t wait to see she does next.

Quick and Easy Knitting: Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Quick and Easy Knitting:  Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

For Christmas this year, I got a skein of soft BAAH Sequoia yarn in the Dragontail colorway, a beautiful hand-dyed super bulky merino yarn.  After seeing a sample of Sequoia knit into a Big Wool Basic Hat, a free pattern by Sara Heckman, I knew I wanted to make (at least) one too.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was ready for some quick and easy knitting and sewing projects.  This pattern was perfect.  Knowing that I am a loose knitter, I took a chance and went down a needle size to US 13’s.  I chose to use double pointed needles instead of circulars because I already had them.  Using the size 13 needles, I got the right gauge.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

This pattern is basically a tube with ribbing at one end.  Once you knit to the appropriate length, you run some yarn through the live stitches and draw them tight and tie the yarn off.  It’s nice and easy and quick.  The length the pattern suggests knitting to is 10.5 inches, which I did on my first hat (on the right, above).  It makes for a hat long enough to wear slouchy or to fold up the brim.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I was on the fence about this, so when I decided to knit a second hat by unravelling a previously made cowl, I made it shorter–only 9 inches long.  This was the perfect length for me to wear the hat with the brim unfolded, which I like better.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

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Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I wore both hats for a while and in the end decided to un-knit my first hat by an inch and a half so that it would also be 9 inches long.  I’m really happy about that decision.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I bought a faux fur pom pom at Pintuck & Purl for my pink hat (also where the yarn and my other pom pom are from).  It attaches with a big snap, which makes it easy to detach if you need to wash your hat.  (You sew half of the snap to your hat–the other half is already attached to the pom pom.)  On the multi-colored hat, I had a rabbit fur pom pom that had a little elastic loop, kind of like a hair tie, so you can tie it into your hat.  I liked the snap better, after trying both, so I bought some big snaps at Walmart and sewed one onto my multi-colored hat and turquoise pom pom, covering up the elastic loop.  This makes for a much more secure attachment, and it’s easier to detach the pom pom now that it has a snap.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I’ve been wearing these hats almost every day.  I love their bright colors and that this hat was so fast and easy to knit.  I would definitely make this pattern with this yarn again.

 

Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouches in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

Today I have some cute little zippered pouches to share with you.  If you think you have seen something like this before on the blog, you’re right!  I made these as gifts back in 2017.  🙂

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The Open Wide Zippered Pouch is a free tutorial from Anna Graham of the blog noodlehead.  It comes with options for three different sizes.  I chose to make two of the small size bags and reverse which fabrics were on the inside and outside, so I could have the best of all worlds with this pair of bags.  I got my fabric (Rifle Paper Co. Menagerie Rosa in Hunter and Violet Metallic quilting cotton) and zippers from Pintuck & Purl.  I used Fusible Featherweight interfacing from Pellon (because I had it on hand for garment-sewing) that I got from Joann Fabrics.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The small size bags start out as 10″ x 7″ rectangles of fabric, making the finished size slightly smaller.  These are great for holding pens and pencils or as travel bags to hold all your odds and ends.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

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Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

The tutorial itself is easy to follow and gives you a nice finished product where all the raw edges (including the zipper’s raw edges) are enclosed.  My stitching on the zipper tab got a little wobbly, but I didn’t feel like ripping it out to do again, so I decided it was good enough.

Open Wide Zippered Pouch in Rifle Paper Co. Rosa

This is a great, useful scrap buster and is good for gifts, including gifts to yourself.  😉