Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vintage Simplicity 9309

All I want to sew for fall/winter is jeans and blazers and jackets. I'm skirted-out, I guess.  I came across this photo a while back while checking out one of my favorite sites and really loved the entire look.
I just love the long jacket over casual jeans and a t-shirt, and decided I wanted to make something similar.  Even though I think the bold stripe on that jacket is kind of what makes it, I decided to use some of the many yards of wool suiting I already had in my stash before trying to find a similar fabric.  I pulled 2 yards of this wool suiting from Mood out of my stash and some coordinating Bemberg rayon for the lining.

I searched Etsy for a pattern I could use and come up with this gem from 1979:
Oh yes.  Interestingly, they don't give you the yardage needed for just the long jacket - it's assumed you will make a jacket-skirt combo.  The 2 yards I had was just enough for the long version of the jacket.  The pattern was a size 12, bust 34, and I made it as-is, no adjustments other than omitting the patch pockets.
It went together pretty easily - I've made lined jackets before, so there were no real surprises.  Vintage instructions are usually (always?) better than the modern version.  The wool was beautiful to sew and press/steam.  I added a single button, but it's the kind of thing I feel like I would mostly wear open.

My finished version is not as long as the inspiration photo; I thought it might overwhelm me seeing as how I'm only 5'4" and it's not something I would wear a heel with.

The overall look is totally what I was going for - I am super excited with how it turned out.  The suiting weight is great for NorCal fall temperatures.  I like the collar turned up  more so than folded down.  When I tried it on, my first impression was that the length makes it feels like a "Luther" coat -
(you're welcome)
- his knee-length tweeds are so gorgeous (if you watch the show, you understand why I nearly cried when he threw his coat in the Thames). Give me a case to solve!!  And a plane ticket to London.
I don't know that I need too many of these in my closet, although the striped fabric of Margot's is calling to me, and if I can find something similar there may be another version of this in my future!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

McCalls 6656 - the Fauxest of Furs for a Vegetarian

My fabric stash is full of gorgeous wools and faux furs...but Bay Area winters don't really call for the heavy coating, sadly. So I live out my winter coat fantasies by sewing for others, namely my family on the East Coast.  Califabrics recently added some gorgeous faux furs to their shop, and I really loved this pink one, with different shades of black and gray and different pile lengths.
I'm not really a pink person myself, but I still thought this was so pretty and unique. So I decided to use it in a coat for my sister for her November birthday. She's a longtime vegetarian but signed off on the faux fur, and this is unabashedly faux - no pink rabbits were harmed!
The pattern I used was McCalls 6656.   I made view A and a size S.  This has a big red  "EASY" on the front of the pattern, even though it looks like it would be complicated - it wasn't. It was super easy! It is unlined, uses button closures instead of a zipper, and the edges are unfinished.  Deceptively simple.
The body of the jacket was a black wool coating from Mood fabrics that was kind of medium weight and almost felted in texture - perfect for a pattern with raw edges.  I added 2.5" inches of length to the jacket body based on my sister's measurements.  I've sewn faux fur before, and used my usual method of tracing the pattern pieces with a sharpie on the back of the fur and cutting with an X-acto knife to minimize the fur shedding.
The jacket sewed up very quickly and I thought the instructions were adequate.  I ended up topstitching the front to help keep the fur facing in place and hand sewed the rest of it in place along the inner seam allowances.  Following the advice of another patter reviewer, I did not use the original button placement markings - they seemed much too high. I just tried it on, made a note of how it draped and where it would be comfortable and marked it accordingly. I'd say my top button is at least 3" lower than the suggested placement.  Other than that, it was a quick, fun sew - 4 hours start to finish including a bit of hand sewing! 
I love this SO MUCH. I kind of want to keep it for myself, but I won't - partly because it is a tad snug across the shoulders for me.  But I even love the pink more than I thought I would! (I still have about half a yard leftover...)

Topstitching and the button closures.

The fur is very soft when the jacket is closed and it's against the face - not at all scratchy or itchy, in my opinion.
There's not much else to say, other than I love this jacket and I love this fur and now I have to make one for myself! I think it's a really cool statement piece and it looks quite intimidating but is really  straightforward in terms of construction.  I'm going to go pack it in my suitcase to hand deliver it since I'm headed East soon - if I stare at it too long I might decide it's staying in California!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coups! is offering a coupon thru the end of August to celebrate the launch of the new blog. Check it out! Coups are like, free fabric! And check out the blog, there is a $100 giveaway at the end of August.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jalie 3243 - Shorts for Someone who Hates Shorts

The amazing thing about sewing your own clothes is that you can make exactly what you want to wear and what you love to wear. So naturally this weekend I made something I hate to wear - shorts!
I do not like shorts, I don't remember the last time I didn't mind wearing shorts - maybe high school.  I have a longer torso and short legs, but I'm too thick to wear a shorter inseam, and anything else just makes me feel like Mom Jeans.  Like I'm climbing in the minivan and bringing orange slices to soccer practice.  
Part of my upcoming end-of-summer vacation involves desert hiking, and it will be too hot for jeans and sometimes you just can't wear a skirt without looking like a jackass.  She knows it:
Short pants it is.

I wanted something simple, I really didn't want to put a lot of time and effort into something I don't feel good in. I chose Jalie 3243 after reading some positive reviews and viewing the finished products.  It's a straight legged short or pants pattern with front pockets and an elastic waist. Good enough!

I cut the size W - for my hip measurement, although my waist is a size R and that is some serious grading.  I didn't grade it though, I just decided to let the elastic do the work.
For my fabric I used a lightweight gray chambray from Califabrics.  It's very soft, lightweight but still heavy enough for pants/shorts, and I really love it, it was so easy to work with.
The pattern was very simple - Jalie is a great pattern company, I don't think I've ever had a negative experience sewing one of their patterns.  I made a pair of shorts and the pants version in a couple hours, using the instructions for the hidden facings (there are two options).
 They're fine.  For shorts.  I can live with this if I have to.
They may cause a polter-wang issue in the crotch? 
"Where did I park the minivan?"
They really don't look too bad, technically, even though wearing them makes me sad.  But as shorts go, they'll work for hiking around the desert.
This is a well-drafted and simple pattern, and I'm as happy with the final result as I can be!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cali & Co Sewing Blog Launches August 1 - with a Giveaway!

 A bunch of talented sewists/seamstresses/ladies from all over the world (including myself) will be blogging for at Cali & Co  - A Sewing Blog for the Fabric Obsessed.  The official launch is August 1, with new posts added every few days all month.  There is also a $100 giveaway ending August 31.  $100 goes a long way at Califabrics, so check it out!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sew Over It Pussybow Blouse

The next stop on my pattern tour of pussybow blouses is the Sew Over It Pussybow Blouse. 
I decided to do Version 2, which is the attached v-neck (on the right, as opposed to the open v-neck), since Version 1 is almost exactly like the Style Arc Holly I had just made
This was going to be another trial version or wearable muslin, so I used an inexpensive polyester woven from Mood fabrics. 
I cut the size 10 based on the finished garment measurements.  This sewed up very quickly. It's not a complicated pattern and I had basically just done the same thing with the StyleArc version, and most of the major construction components are pretty similar.  I did not put the little buttons on my sleeve cuffs, not because they are tiny and fiddly but because I don't like button cuffs and I was happy just sliding my wrists through.  No other deviations from the instructions.  The results:

This fabric makes me look like I escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. But I like the blouse! A few things: this size 10 is much closer fitting than the StyleArc Holly size 10 (which I took in quite a bit and should have at least started with an 8).  I have to wiggle a bit to get this over my fat head.  But once it's on, I like the fit.
I like the slightly fatter tie on this pattern.  My next pussybow blouse will probably be from my vintage pattern collection and those ties are wide!
My only real dislike is the existence of a center front seam. You can see it in the photos because this polyester doesn't press well.  The StyleArc Holly has no CF seam and I like that better, but I think I could make this pattern again and omit the CF and it would be no big deal to the construction.  I also need to shorten the sleeves maybe 2".
The back is significantly longer than the front, and this needs to come up a few inches for next time.  It's draping weird on my arse. 
This shirt is hilarious!  And it matches my hair.  I do really like it, and I think it is definitely a wearable muslin (although not until fall/winter, because I was sweating under that polyester).  I will definitely make it again with those few modifications - no CF seam, shorten the back hem and sleeves.  Maybe in a fabric that is not so much Bride of Beetlejuice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Modified Colette Patterns Myrtle Dress

Over the past couple of years I've made several versions of the Colette Patters Myrtle dress, in both knits and wovens.  For some reason, I find myself not wearing them as often as I intend to, even though they are easy to make and easy to wear.   So what’s the problem?  I realized there are a few fitting/design issues that keep me from really loving this pattern that I really want to love!

One, I don’t think the wide, almost-off-the-shoulder neckline is a great look on me. It isn’t the most flattering since I have slightly broader shoulders and back.  Two, there is a lot of fabric that drapes in front of my torso in a not-so-cute way (although it does make it beer and burrito friendly!). I’m pretty certain this is because Colette drafts for a bigger bust, so what can you do. 

Finally, on a breezy day that front drape can blow off to one side and then I am getting way more exposure than I need.  So! I decided to modify this pattern into a halter style at the front with a racerback. It was easy: 

First I just traced off the back pattern piece. I shortened the back neckline and moved the shoulder seam over, making sure to keep it the same length. Then I connected the shoulder to the side seam using a curved ruler.   
The front pattern piece I kept nearly identical to the original.  I traced it off and I just slightly lengthened the line from the side seam to the shoulder seam, basically by “scooping” it out a little.  The front underarm has a little farther to travel in a halter style.  I pinned the tracing paper, “tried it on”, decided I needed to scoop out a little more on the front, tried it again, and decided to go for it!

The first version I made was using a pineapple print rayon crepon (?) from  Turns out this had a lot of mechanical stretch, so it was almost like sewing a knit.  I’ve started self-lining the back bodice; the first time I did this was when I made the silk version above, because I didn’t want to deal with a bias binding on that thin shifty silk.  I also prefer it to a turned down hem.  The end result – success!

I love this. It’s a little too big, because of all that mechanical stretch, it’s a bit loose along the sides. But I much prefer the neckline. 

I made a second version with some polyester crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics that they’ve been selling at 40% off lately.   
This one I sewed exactly the same as the first but I went back and scooped out more of a racerback (I love a racerback).  I also self lined the skirt because the fabric is pretty lightweight.  This fabric has zero mechanical stretch and so it gives a different look than the pineapples:

It’s almost a hair too snug, across the back.  But I love how the front drapes and how the drape comes up higher at the neck.

I have plans for at least one (maybe three!) more version for the summer – this is my new easy summer dress pattern.  It has all of the things I love about the original in a silhouette that works better on me!