Angel Wing and Unicorn Mane

IMG_2416

This sweatshirt started when I picked up the latest issue of Ottobre at my local Barnes and Noble. A Facebook friend of mine posted that they are selling Ottobre at B&N now. I want to encourage this kind of thing, so I went there and bought it. One of the patterns in the mag is a short sleeved sweatshirt, which reminded me of the short sleeved sweatshirt that I had in seventh grade that made me feel SO COOL. I thought about making it for my daughter, but, well, she’s not me. And I like to think I’m not one of those parents who lives through my kids. So, I thought about it and decided that it might work for me. I looked in my fabric closet for a good knit, and this soft woven remnant caught my eye. It just might be the most amazing fabric I’ve ever felt. The cut was a lot less than a yard, and the fiber was not marked. I think the fiber content is 50% unicorn mane and 50% angel wing feathers.

I took the Ottobre pattern and made the largest size, 170. I did an FBA, and it works for me!

For the decorative stitching, I used silk thread doubled in the bobbin, and stitched from the wrong side.

back

back

front neckline

front neckline

back neckline

back neckline

sleeve hem

sleeve hem

side view

side view

silk thread for decorative stitching.  I doubled the thread, wrapped it around the bobbin, and stitched from the wrong side

silk thread for decorative stitching. I doubled the thread, wrapped it around the bobbin, and stitched from the wrong side

The issue of Ottobre with the pattern that I based this garment on.

The issue of Ottobre with the pattern that I based this garment on.

Me Made May 2015 Wrap-Up

Another May has come and gone, and again I jumped right in to Me Made May. It’s just so much fun to see what people are sewing and share my work. It seems like it was a bigger thing on Instagram than Flickr this year.

Following is my image gallery for the month. In previous years, I’ve linked relevant blog posts about the garments, but I just can’t be bothered to put links in at this moment. If you have any questions about any of the garments, please leave a comment and I will be happy to point you to the blog post (if there is one) or answer your questions.

Here’s what I learned from Me Made May this year: red lipstick makes every photo better.

=====================================================

I know that Me Made May has a bit of an anti-consumerist vibe (which I’m totally on board with), but several people in the Instagram group posted garments in this amazing octopus print from Cotton and Steel. I just had to get some from Michael Levine. I’m planning on making a buttondown shirt with it.
octo

Sequins of Doom — Conquered!

IMG_2250

Way back in 2013, I started a sequin coat that defeated me for a while. It sat in a bag on my sewing room floor, occasionally casting disapproving looks my way. Then, several weeks ago, I decided to give it another try. When mulling over my technique, I decided that there might be a way to sew the sequins on using the machine. I took the foot off the machine and stitched the sequins on freeform. It took a while to get how to do it, and even when I got the hang of it, progress was slow, but I managed to get them all sewn on! After that, it was only a couple of weeks’ work to complete the coat.

The pattern I used came from the book “Simple Chic” by Machiko Kayaki. I wanted a loosely fitted menswear style coat, and it turned out pretty much like I predicted. The only complaint that I have about the pattern is there there’s a really skimpy overlap at the center front. Luckily, I left large seam allowances, so I took some seam allowance to make the underlap 3/8″ larger on the left side.

The fabric came from Mood (bought in 2012, so they probably don’t have any more of it), and the buttons came from the Etsy seller Lyanwood. The lining is a home dec silk from Pollack that I got at a warehouse sale. The sequins are from M&J, but you can get sequins like these pretty much anywhere.

lining pocket

lining pocket

sequin detail

sequin detail

sequin detail

sequin detail

sequin detail

sequin detail

patch pocket

patch pocket

back belt with buttons

back belt with buttons

front button

front button

undercollar (melton and grosgrain)

undercollar (melton and grosgrain)

back collar

back collar

collar

collar

back

back

Winter Weight, Spring Color

IMG_1675

I am such a sucker for these Chado Ralph Rucci designs! That shoulder line gets me every time. The pattern I used was part of the new Vogue releases, 1437.

The pattern calls for a rather involved self-lining technique. Because I’m using a heavyweight fabric, I chose to forgo the self-lining. And because the fabric does not fray, I decided that it would not need a lining at all. I’m sure that the recommended lining technique from the pattern directions would result in a lovely finish, but for this fabric at this point in my life, I skipped it.

For an edge finish, I pinked and graded the seam allowances, then turned them to the side and topstitched. The fabric does not fray at all, so this finish will hold up fine.

I picked up the fabric at an estate sale. It has a terrific weight and hand. However, it was a terrible mustard yellow color from the 1980’s. So, I figured I would try to dye it, and it came out great! It’s probably a wool blend rather than 100%, because it handled the washer and dryer like a champ. I had to put it in the dryer because of the possibility of bedbugs.

EDIT A couple of people mentioned in the comments that they are interested in my dye process, so here’s some info. I did not want to go into the dye process, because I totally messed it up, so my results are probably not replicable. I used “moss green” acid dye from Dharma Trading. BUT I have a brand-new washing machine, and I am not yet entirely familiar with its workings. So, when I was dyeing the fabric, the dye bath water started draining WAY too soon and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had to add the vinegar to the rinse cycle, rather than add it to the dye cycle. It turned out a lovely color, just lighter than I originally intended.

Side view.  I love the length differential front to back.

Side view. I love the length differential front to back.

back view.

back view.

I added a closure, which was not called for in the pattern directions.  I really dislike jackets without closures.

I added a closure, which was not called for in the pattern directions. I really dislike jackets without closures.

I dyed the hook and eye to match, more or less.

I dyed the hook and eye to match, more or less.

Inside view.  I pinked and graded the seam allowances, turned them to the side, and topstitched.

Inside view. I pinked and graded the seam allowances, turned them to the side, and topstitched.

linen and lace

IMG_1666

This pattern was so hard to sew. Who drafted this pattern anyway? Oh, wait, it was me. And, in case you were wondering, shoulder seams are really useful and not at all extraneous. No, you weren’t wondering? It was just me, then. And now I know.

It looks kind of nice though. After a hanger fix, I may be able to wear it.

Umm, linen base fabric. Rayon (?) lace. Cotton tulle. Metal buttons.

I thought it would be interesting to sew a round yoke with no shoulder seams.  And I guess it was interesting.  I would not recommend it, though.

I thought it would be interesting to sew a round yoke with no shoulder seams. And I guess it was interesting. I would not recommend it, though.

front

front

back

back

sleeves are hemmed, folded over, and buttoned.  No cuff.

sleeves are hemmed, folded over, and buttoned. No cuff.

side

side

All About That Weave

1-IMG_1649

My husband and I have been amusing ourselves on weekends going to estate sales. I especially like the ones where the owners were older and had quirky collections of stuff. One house where we went to a sale had at least 1,000 elephant-shaped items. Cufflinks, tea pots, stuffed animals, a 7-foot stone statue in the yard, etc. Those people were so extreme.

We went to one a couple of weeks ago where the person was into textiles! I bought a loom, and several spools of weaving thread. I have learned that, when I’m buying a relatively expensive item, it’s always a good idea to grab some smaller things. The person doing the pricing will generally look at a pile of smaller items and charge $5 for the lot. I grabbed this textile, which I assumed without looking closely was a linen tablecloth, because I loved the weave. I thought I could cut it up into dishcloths, and have something nice hanging in my kitchen to wipe things with.

When I brought it home, it went straight into the washer and dryer. The dryer part is crucial to kill any bedbugs that might be lurking. When I pulled it out, it was clear to me that it’s not linen at all, but wool. I’m pretty sure wool dishtowels would be frustrating to wipe things with, so I set it aside and petted it occasionally while thinking on what to make with it. The washer and dryer did not have any negative effects, which was a little surprising. It had obviously been through the wringer before. It was mended in places using brown thread, but I could easily cut around that. There were many signs of wear, but no holes. It was originally 24″ wide, and 2 lengths were stitched together by hand. The blue threads were almost certainly indigo dyed, and the white were naturally colored. I’m thinking it was some kind of blanket.

EDIT — It is an overshot coverlet. Thank you for you comment, Judith Noble! You can find one on ebay if you are interested. Currently, they appear to be going for $100 – $200 for one that is in better shape than the one I used.

I thought for a while about making a collared shirt, but the fabric is really thick, and it might be too bulky to gracefully accommodate a collar and collar stand. I decided that a quilted cardigan jacket would be a good choice.

The body lining, trim, and seam finish is a dark blue necktie silk. The sleeve lining is silk charmeuse. I used a TNT pattern that I also used here.

back view

back view

I agonized over the buttons, and ended up choosing some rather small ones.

I agonized over the buttons, and ended up choosing some rather small ones.

I like the way the buttonholes turned out.  I stiffened them with gimp.

I like the way the buttonholes turned out. I stiffened them with gimp.

cuff vent detail.  The sleeve is a one-piece, darted sleeve.  I like to use a one-piece sleeve to minimize the need for pattern matching.

cuff vent detail. The sleeve is a one-piece, darted sleeve. I like to use a one-piece sleeve to minimize the need for pattern matching.

pocket

pocket

the body of the jacket is lined with necktie silk.  The sleeves are lined with silk charmeuse to make it easier to slide my arms in and out.

the body of the jacket is lined with necktie silk. The sleeves are lined with silk charmeuse to make it easier to slide my arms in and out.

hong kong finish

hong kong finish

inside of edge trim.  I left the edge raw, which should be OK since the edging strip is cut on the bias.

inside of edge trim. I left the edge raw, which should be OK since the edging strip is cut on the bias.

This is one of the spots where the fabric was darned.  It looks kind of cool, but I did not include the darned parts in the jacket.

This is one of the spots where the fabric was darned. It looks kind of cool, but I did not include the darned parts in the jacket.

Summer Dress, in the Dead of Winter

1-IMG_1623

What I really want to do is hibernate until the days get warmer and longer, but that would set a poor example for my kids. So, I’m dreaming up my summer wardrobe. I’ve been seeing a few dresses like this one around, with a gathered skirt, high front neckline, midi length, and thick straps. It seems like a great summer silhouette for a midweight fabric.
Originally, I was thinking of ordering or otherwise procuring some Dutch wax prints for this dress, and I may still do that to make a few more. Since I’m too lazy at the moment to make any purchasing decisions, and I had this textured fabric in my stash, and it seemed perfect for the style. I drafted the pattern myself. It’s almost exactly what I originally envisioned.

I may even be able to wear it in spring with a cardigan over it.

back view

back view

side zipper

side zipper

pockets

pockets

black silk lining on the bodice.  The skirt is unlined.

black silk lining on the bodice. The skirt is unlined.

textured fabric.

textured fabric.

grosgrain straps

grosgrain straps

Spats!

IMG_1523

Here I am, off on a fashion tangent again. This time, it’s spats. I really thought, when I was making these, that I would never even wear them outside the house. I thought they would be too costumey. But now that they’re done, they seem to fit in really well with my wardrobe. This probably says more about my wardrobe than about the spats.

The original idea came from the Chanel Metiers d’Arts presentation for Fall 2015. This show is consistently my favorite fashion show every year. They always stage it in a different city, and incorporate local dress into the collection. This year, it was in Salzburg.

I made the pattern by draping fabric over my calves. There are 2 main pattern pieces, elastic loops, buttons, and a leather strip up the back that helps keep them upright. The main fabric is a good-quality wool suiting, they are lined in black linen, and the front gusset is white lace. The topstitching is bobbinwork embroidery using some strange silk cord that I’ve had for a while.

I’ve been wearing the spats all morning. They’re super comfortable, and keep my legs really warm.

I made the button loops out of elastic cord.  You can also see the elastic that goes around my shoe to keep the spat on.

I made the button loops out of elastic cord. You can also see the elastic that goes around my shoe to keep the spat on.

The leather strip up the back helps keep slouching to a minimum.

The leather strip up the back helps keep slouching to a minimum.

buttons

buttons

lace gusset.  This bit is probably strictly unnecessary, but I thought the white stripe up the back needed to be balanced with some white elsewhere.

lace gusset. This bit is probably strictly unnecessary, but I thought the white stripe up the back needed to be balanced with some white elsewhere.

black linen lining

black linen lining

IMG_1526

IMG_1525

Guest Blogging Chez Bunny

Hey, everyone! I did a guest post for the Next Level Sewing Series on Bunny’s blog, La Sewista.

I keep thinking that I should do the occasional tutorial on my blog, but tutorials are so much work to put together, then when I post them to my blog, they just get buried and no one ever looks at them after the first week. There’s not much motivation to put the work in.

Then, a couple of months ago, Bunny started doing a tutorial series on Next Level Sewing. I contacted her right away asking her if she might need a guest blogger. I’m thinking that, since she’s got a bunch of tutorials in one place, a post on her blogh will be less ephemeral than a post on my blog.

I chose the topic, which is, “How to Sew On a Button.” I know, it sounds earth shattering, but I am routinely horrified about how a lot of even pretty experienced sewists sew on their buttons. Clearly, this does not bother anyone else since no one else ever brings it up, but I think maybe people will be interested to know that there is a right way. Maybe.

So anyway, head over to Bunny’s blog and check out my post!

Vintage-Y Jacket

IMG_1515

Sometimes it’s fun to do a nice tailoring project. I’ve been fairly busy for the past few weeks with Thanksgiving, but this week I got to work on some sewing! I love this fabric. I bought it at Elliott Berman Textiles in NYC during the Patternreview party a month or so ago.

The pattern is from the new Burdastyle Vintage magazine. I really like this magazine and I’m glad I ordered it. If you think you would like this magazine, you definitely would. There are a lot of really interesting patterns, and, if this jacket pattern is any indication, they are very well-drafted. Also, the pattern sheet is easier to trace than a typical Burdastyle magazine.

the pattern calls for a facing, but since the fabric is very bulky, I thought it would be better to line to the edge.

the pattern calls for a facing, but since the fabric is very bulky, I thought it would be better to line to the edge.

button detail

button detail

I added pockets.  They're sort of welt pockets, but more minimal.

I added pockets. They’re sort of welt pockets, but more minimal.

back view

back view

back view.  You can see the pleat at the shoulder that gives the jacket an interesting shape.

back view. You can see the pleat at the shoulder that gives the jacket an interesting shape.

side view

side view

burdastyle vintage magazine

burdastyle vintage magazine

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 332 other followers