Tag Archives: wool

Spring Sewing Plans: My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

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Spring Sewing Plans:  My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

*I’m reposting this because the pictures were only showing as links when viewed on a phone. I’m sorry for any confusion! Hopefully you can see all my pictures now, no matter what type of device you are reading on.*

Hi, everyone! I have something a little different for you today. Normally, I do a photography post the last Friday of every month, but I never made the time to get out and take those photos in March. So instead, I want to share a little challenge I have set myself for the spring.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Now, I love planning sewing projects–and knitting projects, actually, but especially sewing projects. I wanted to try something new for the spring–a personal challenge of some kind. I know there are a million sewing challenges floating around the internet, but I usually have so many ideas of my own that I find it hard to take time away from my never-ending list of fun possibilities to follow the guidelines of a challenge. So, I decided to create my own! I want to try to make myself a spring outfit that all goes together. My plan is to make as many of the pieces as I can. While this isn’t an especially novel idea in and of itself, it’s distinctly different from how I usually work, which makes it fun and refreshing for me.

Here’s a broad outline of what I want to make: a long-sleeved t-shirt, some pants, and a windbreaker for my main pieces. In addition, I plan to make undergarments (which won’t show up here, as I don’t feel comfortable blogging those, but which I will still make), socks, and a hat. I haven’t learned to make shoes, so I’ll exclude those.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

All right! That seems like a pretty good list. Now let’s break it down.

Where I live, spring starts off quite cool and takes awhile to warm up. Every year, I wish I had some Breton-striped long-sleeved shirts in bright colors for spring time, so that or something similar is what I want to make for my shirt. (Never heard of Breton stripes? Check out this article on the history of Breton Stripes.)I decided that I would pick my pattern based on what fabric I found. I could use the Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade if my fabric was pretty stretchy or Vogue 8950 if I found two coordinating stretchy fabrics. If the fabric was low-stretch, I could make the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After lots of deliberation, I ordered this coral pink and white striped sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s low stretch, so I’ll make the Coco top with long sleeves and boat neckline.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Since a Breton-striped shirt has nautical roots, I thought it would be fun to make the Sailor Pants, Pattern 229, from Folkwear, which I got for Christmas.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge
My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I found some non-stretch, medium/heavy weight denim also at Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about this, but I plan to compare the pattern to jeans patterns that fit me as well as some genuine sailor pants that I own. The pants I have are the same 13-button style, but are made in a wool gabardine (I think). They are truly high-rise and don’t have quite the bell-bottom shape of the Folkwear pattern. I plan to use them as a guide. I may even make a muslin. All the extra steps and double checking are, admittedly, the kinds of things that usually lead me to procrastinate, so fingers crossed on these.

For my windbreaker, I want to use the sweatshirt pattern in vintage McCall’s 5303.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I have had this pattern for a long time. It’s one I got from my Mom’s pattern stash, although she gave me the medium instead of the large. After looking at the finished measurements, I decided to hunt down a large online, even though anything from the medium through the extra large would fit. I think the windbreaker/sweatshirt will be great to throw on when the wind whips up on the beach, and in a Supplex/Taslan, which is water resistant, it will even keep sprinkles off. It doesn’t hurt that Supplex/Taslan also blocks a good amount of UV rays. Woven Supplex is something I have wanted to try more of for awhile now. Previously I used a tiny bit for the neckline placket and pocket of my Patagonia-inspired sweatshirt, but that wasn’t enough to get a real feel for the fabric. I ordered a bunch from the Rainshed so I can make this and hopefully some hiking pants and board shorts later this year. My original plan was to make the main part in yellow with magenta facings on the hood.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After looking at the various colors I ordered, however, I think I would rather make the main part in yellow with this “Candy” pink for the hood facings. I do need the Candy pink for another project as well, but I’m hoping that with some careful cutting, I’ll be able to make it work for both.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

For the socks, I found the free Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, a sewing company that is new to me.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Free patterns are such a great way to try out a new company, and a sock pattern I could sew was right up my alley. I’m not quite sure what fabric I want to use for these, but I’m hoping to use up some of my t-shirt scraps.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Because it is often cool here during a lot of the spring, I thought a hat might be a good idea as well. I plan to make The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit. It will be nice to throw a little knitting into the mix.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Maggie at Pintuck & Purl gave me some mystery yarn on a cone and after doing some tests, I’d guess it’s a wool fingering weight yarn. I plan to pair it with some silk mohair from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make this hat. I picked out the color “Stagecoach Mary” from their Mighty Mo line over on the Wool & Co. website.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

If the season gets ahead of me and warms up before I finish with this, I still plan to make it, but I’ll consider substituting a bag pattern or just taking this off my spring outfit list without substituting something else for it.

And that’s it! I’m really excited about this! Even when I work in larger batches of several projects at once, I don’t usually try to coordinate my projects, so it’s fun to do something a little different. We’ll see how I get on as the season progresses. I have a few things to finish up, and then I plan to get started tracing all my patterns. As I get going, I’ll post some projects that I finished recently, and by the time I’m done showing you those, I bet I’ll have some of this challenge finished! If this sounds fun, feel free to join me and make your own spring outfit using whatever parameters sound good to you, then leave me a link in my comments so I can check out what you’re up to!

My Modified Marshland Sweater

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My Modified Marshland Sweater

Since the scope of this blog is sewing and creative projects, I’ll just say this before beginning:  we’re well here.  I often suffer from anxiety, but by God’s grace, I have been largely calm and peaceful.  I’m thankful for many things, not the least of which is good creative work to do in uncertain times.  Creative work may seem frivolous and secondary to some, but it can be both a necessary and a wonderful gift.  So let’s talk knitting today.

I don’t always put my knitting projects on the blog, since I keep this space largely for sewing, but this project represents a lot of problem solving and (good) hard work, and I want to share it.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

So, here was my problem:  I have many partial and complete skeins of 14- or 15-year-old wool yarn from Yates Farm in Vermont in a worsted weight that knits up like a bulky.  I love this yarn, but I have lots of colors and not many skeins that are the same color.  It’s also a slightly scratchy yarn and isn’t great at the neck or ankles although it’s lovely to wear over another shirt.  I’ve been pondering just what to do with it for years.  Maybe the best way to use it was a colorwork sweater, but it had to be something without a high neck that could use a lot of partial skeins and a lot of different colors.  Hm…  What could I make?

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I had fallen in love with the Strange Brew book by Tin Can Knits and had it in my library.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

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My Modified Marshland Sweater

This book is filled with patterns for colorwork yoke sweaters as well as hats and cowls.  Not only does it contain patterns–it tells you how you can design your own sweater or change up the existing patterns.  It’s my favorite kind of craft book:  projects, inspiration, and reference information.  A lot of the design aspects of the book are still a bit beyond me, but after ages of mulling things over, I thought I might take my favorite design, the Marshland Sweater, and modify the colorwork a bit to have some of my favorite elements in it.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I studied what I liked best in the existing pattern and in other colorwork designs and changed up the color charts a bit.  Since I don’t have experience designing knitwear, several of my rounds had three colors in them instead of the usual one or two, but I managed ok.

To throw yet another complication in, I needed to be able to knit this sweater at a different gauge since my yarn was knitting up thicker than a standard worsted.  In order to figure out gauge, I took the advice in the book and made a hat.  I wasn’t worried about it fitting anyone–if it did, it would be a bonus.  Instead, I used it as an opportunity to try out some colorwork patterns I had been doodling in a notebook and to see if I could make a fabric that I liked…and what would happen to that fabric if I washed it in the washer and air dried it.  In the end, the hat was not really wearable, but it WAS informative.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

From there, I measured my stitches per inch and used the formula on the Tin Can Knits website to figure out how that gauge could be used to knit the Marshland Sweater.  I wanted a big, warm, comfortable winter sweater with plenty of ease and length.

Here’s what I ended up doing:

  • Yarn:  Yates Farm worsted yarn
  • Gauge:  14 stitches/4″ with size US 10/6 mm needles in colorwork after machine washing and air drying
  • Needles:  US 8/5 mm for ribbing, US 9/5.5 mm for plain stockinette sections, US 10/6 mm for colorwork
  • Size:  Knit a women’s small to end up with a women’s large, checking and adjusting length as necessary

Then, I got knitting!  I had one pretty massive mishap where I overlooked a key instruction and knit beyond where the armholes were supposed to be.  I knew I would have to rip back quite a bit.  And then I realized that I had made another huge mistake–way back an inch from the beginning, I had messed up during the increase rounds, and I would have to rip back almost to the beginning.

The thought of just dropping a match on the thing leapt through my mind.

Instead, I put the sweater down and quit for the night.  The next day, when my family was at work and school and I wasn’t so tired, I ripped all the way back to the point where I had made my first mistake.

I had a goal of knitting at least one round a day, and that really made this sweater move.  I cast on on December 30, 2019 and, even with my huge mistakes, finished binding off on February 26, 2020.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m not a very quick knitter, so this was lightning speed for me.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

After that, I just had to block it (which I did in the washing machine using this tutorial) and weave in my millions of ends.  It was finished a few days later!  And I love it!!!!!

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I left the sleeves long to increase the coziness factor and did the same for the overall length of the body.  I’m SO HAPPY with how all the colors look together and how it fits.  It’s big and warm (but not too warm) and perfect.  Theoretically, even if I wash it in the washer and air dry it in the future, there will still be plenty of ease.  I haven’t had the guts to try that, so hopefully I’m right.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

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My Modified Marshland Sweater

I have had this yarn for so long and have been at a loss for just what to do with it for so many years.  I still have quite a bit, but now I have a good idea of how to use it.  As spring seems to be on its way, and I want to get some wear out of this sweater, I have worn it multiple times per week each week since making it.  Between wearing this and my newly completed cardigan, I have had a lot of wardrobe repeats, but I am so happy with both of them that it’s a joy.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

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My Modified Marshland Sweater

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My Modified Marshland Sweater

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!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

before

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

after

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The next thing the jacket needed was standout details.

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

testing ideas

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

 

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

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

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.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag: Winter Wool Version

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Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Wool Version

I have something a little bit different from what I normally sew for you today—a bag!  This is the Flying Geese Patchwork Bag designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo for the Bernina blog.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

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Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

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Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

I made a summer version of this bag that I love and used daily…until recently.  I had already been thinking about making a winter version of this bag in wool, since I had both black and gray wool sitting in my stash, but when Maggie at Pintuck & Purl asked if she could put my bag on display in her new shop window in North Hampton, NH along with a number of other staff and customer projects, I knew it was time.  Actually, when she asked, my initial reaction was, “No way!  I use that bag every day!”  Luckily, that part stayed in my head, rather than coming out of my mouth.  My husband pointed out that it was an honor I would be sad to pass up, and after considering his wise words, I agreed.  It was also the push I needed to make my winter version…before the end of winter.

So here we are!  I did it, and I LOVE it!

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

If you have some sewing experience, I think you can make this bag with the information provided.  I’m not a quilter or a bag maker, so I had to read the directions carefully to make sure I got everything right.  I actually printed them out and made myself a little instruction packet I could mark up.  There are a few things that, as a non-quilter, I found a little bit confusing or unclear.  This meant I had to call my emergency quilting hotline (my Mom) for help.  So this is for anyone who isn’t already a quilter or just wants some extra tips.

A good thing for non-quilters need to know is that this bag is sewn with quarter-inch seams throughout, except where noted.  Grainline doesn’t seem to be a consideration here.  I think as long as you cut your strips on the straight grain or on the cross-grain, you’ll be good.  It’s also important to note that quilters don’t always backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.  I couldn’t bring myself to do this.  I kept thinking that this bag had to be durable and able to take weight, so I backstitched everything.  I also wasn’t sure how to press my seams—open?  to the side?  In the end, I pressed them to the side.  I could really tell on the flying geese (the white triangles) when I had pressed in the best direction (up, toward the top of the triangles worked best for me) because they looked crisp.  Probably, though, it didn’t matter so much anywhere else.  I also added a little bit of interfacing to the bottom tabs of the bag where the grommets will go, just for a little more strength.  In addition, I stitched twice around the bottom of my bag (outer layer and lining) both with a quarter-inch seam allowance and a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Maybe it’s not necessary, but it makes me feel better.  There were a few more minor spots where I was confused, but I figured them out.  If you make this and find yourself confused, feel free to leave a comment and I can tell you what I did, if that would be helpful.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

Above is a picture of the bag empty, so you can see the design.  Below is how it looks with things inside.  The design is more obscured, but still cool.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

The template provided was great as was the link to the tutorial on foundation paper piecing by Jennifer Mathis.  I watched it a few times to make sure I was getting everything right.  I also appreciated the detailed instructions on where to place the grommets.  The photography in the bag tutorial is gorgeous, which got me really excited to sew this, and the end product—the bag—is beautiful AND functional—win-win.

Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

Here is where I found my supplies for anyone thinking of making this:

  • The black wool and gray wool were from my stash, but the white wool came from Pintuck & Purl.  Also, unlike many people, I prewash my wool in hot or warm water and dry it in a hot dryer whenever I think I can get away with it so that I can wash it without fear of shrinkage going forward.
  • The flannel was a Mammoth Flannel from Robert Kaufman Fabrics, bought at Pintuck & Purl.
  • Grommets, rope, and interfacing came from JoAnn Fabrics.  I couldn’t find the rope, which is Simplicity brand, in every JoAnn’s.  I had to got to one of the larger stores for it.  I found it in the trim section.

Rope for Flying Geese Patchwork Bag

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Flying Geese Patchwork Bag:  Winter Version

This bag was totally worth the time away from garment sewing.  I use it every day and really love it.  That being said, I’m ready to get back to sewing clothes. Have any of you tried making this?  Do you plan to?  If you’ve made it, let us know in the comments!