Creepy Floral

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In case you looked at my last post, featuring the print that I designed and had custom printed, and wondered what on earth anyone would do with such a print, here’s the answer. A menswear-style tailored jacket.

The pattern I used was Burdastyle 1/2010 119. I re-drafted the back piece to eliminate the center back seam so I would not have to break up the skull motif that I so painstakingly constructed. I also re-drafted the collar and lapel for turn of cloth. I block fused the linen cotton canvas that I used with a weft insertion interfacing to make it tailor better.

After working with this fabric, I wholeheartedly recommend it. This linen-cotton canvas has a great hand, and it tailors like a dream. I ran it through my washer once, with no noticeable change in color. It is a little expensive, but I’m old enough to remember a time when custom printed fabric was something that I could only dream about. The fact that I can get it at any reasonable price still seems miraculous to me.

The print is up for sale at myfabricdesigns.com. The jacket took 3 yards of the linen/cotton canvas. I found that I really did need all 3 yards, because of the extra fabric needed to match the large-scale print. Just so you know, myfabricdesigns contacted me and offered to let me try their service for free, so the fabric I used was complimentary. Also, if you buy my print, I will get a small percentage of the purchase price.

back view

back view

undercollar in necktie silk

undercollar in necktie silk

side view

side view

pocket detail

pocket detail

silk satin pocket flap facings

silk satin pocket flap facings

collar detail.  The orange things on the print are goldfish

collar detail. The orange things on the print are goldfish

silk charmeuse lining

silk charmeuse lining

back view, on me

back view, on me

front view, on me.

front view, on me.

Arboretum in Winter

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Have you heard of myfabricdesigns.com? It’s a new service for printing fabrics on demand. They contacted me a month or so ago and asked if I would like to try their service. I love designing prints, and it’s been ages since I’ve done one, so I decided to give it a go. It was a total blast.

I went to a local park (the Reeves Reed Arboretum), and took photos of the dormant vegetation and goldfish. I love plants at all times of year, but winter may be my favorite. Then I went home and manipulated the photos on my computer to come up with my final print. My favorite florals are ones the look a little creepy, so I centered my print around a skull motif.

I uploaded it and waited for what seemed like an excruciatingly long time (but was really only a little over a week), and my print arrived at my door! It is everything I hoped it would be. The colors are really vibrant. They came through my prewash really well, and the fabric ironed up nicely. I’ve already cut out my project and started sewing. I bought the linen-cotton canvas to make a menswear-style blazer.

I could also see this print looking fantastic in activewear. I may buy more in a knit to make a hoodie at some point.

The print is up for sale in their marketplace. For more details, you can click on the link in the sidebar, or click here to purchase.

This is going to be the back of my jacket.  I re-drafted this pattern piece to eliminate the back seam so the skull can rest between my shoulder blades.

This is going to be the back of my jacket. I re-drafted this pattern piece to eliminate the back seam so the skull can rest between my shoulder blades.

This is what 3 yards of it looks like hanging on my washline.

This is what 3 yards of it looks like hanging on my washline.

Swamp Creature Dress

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Every year, I make a nice dress to wear to holiday parties. I end up going to several, and for the most part, the other people there don’t overlap, so I can wear the same dress a few times.

This dress will be this year’s holiday attire. It’s actually a dress and a blouse. The dress is made with silk ottoman, trimmed with cotton crocheted lace. The blouse is silk organza, trimmed with the same lace.

The idea came from a look from Alberta Ferretti’s fall 2015 collection, showing a dark sheer blouse under a sleeveless dark dress. It looked so cool and gothic that I wanted one. I picked some fabrics from my closet and dyed them. I dyed the silk ottoman and organza with acid dye from Dharma Trading in Moss Green. The cotton lace is dyed with Dharma Trading procion dye in I can’t remember what color.

I call it my Swamp Creature Dress because of the color scheme and because the lace coming out the hem (which is attached to the dress lining, not the blouse) kind of looks like seaweed or pond scum. Also, the silk ottoman changed dramatically after the dye process. I thought it might be ruined from the stress of multiple washings. It started out as a very formal fabric, with all the rows laying perfectly straight. After the whole dye process, the ridges were markedly wavy. I went ahead and made the dress anyway, and now I really like it. The lace coming out the hem (which is attached to the dress lining, not the blouse) kind of looks like seaweed or pond scum.

back view

back view

I self-lined the dress

I self-lined the dress

cuff

cuff

collar

collar

seaming

seaming

hem

hem

the crochet lace tablecloth that I cut up and dyed for the trim.  I bought it at an estate sale.  It's a pretty standard item that lots of old people have.

the crochet lace tablecloth that I cut up and dyed for the trim. I bought it at an estate sale. It’s a pretty standard item that lots of old people have.

patterns that I used.  The blouse pattern is almost certainly oop.  The dress pattern might still be available.

patterns that I used. The blouse pattern is almost certainly oop. The dress pattern might still be available.

Alberta Ferretti dress (lifted from Vogue.com)

Alberta Ferretti dress (lifted from Vogue.com)

Wool Flannel, Out of Season

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As I think I’ve mentioned previously on the blog, I like to shop at estate sales. Even if I don’t find anything at all to buy (which happens pretty frequently), the voyeur aspect makes the whole trip worth it. My husband and I have (occasionally lengthy) discussions about what went on in the house.

I month or so ago, I saw an ad on estatesales.net with some very promising photos. There appeared to be a well-stocked SEWING ROOM in the house. I tried not to get too excited beforehand, because I’ve seen crafting spaces in these ads before, but when I arrived, the actual stuff was all crap from Michaels not to my taste. So, I got there, and it was pretty much Shangra-La. Hundreds of spools of different varieties of silk thread. Really high-quality fabrics on rolls. Interfacings. Strange things that I have never seen before, like invisible zippers with metal teeth, and silk petersham. I bought a whole bunch of stuff, including fabrics, thinking they were really high-quality. A burn test revealed that the vast majority of the fabrics were what I thought they were. Only 2 out of 12 of the fabrics that I bought thinking they were silk were actually polyester.

This suit is almost entirely made from my estate sale haul. The wool flannel, silk lining, silk topstitching thread, and even the fusible all came from this unknown crafter’s estate sale. The buttons were a gift from Carolyn. I like buttons that are in 2 sizes, with bigger ones for the front opening and smaller ones for the cuffs. The undercollar is made from necktie silk, from a tie that I bought at the thrift shop.

I put a bit of effort into the buttonholes. I made the lapel buttonhole using a technique I read about on the made by hand blog. It took a couple of tries, but I think I got it almost right.

My three tries for the lapel buttonhole.  The top 2 are my practice runs, and the bottom one is the one on the suit.

My three tries for the lapel buttonhole. The top 2 are my practice runs, and the bottom one is the one on the suit.

back lining

back lining

cuff buttons and buttonholes

cuff buttons and buttonholes

back view

back view

undercollar

undercollar

undercollar made with necktie silk

undercollar made with necktie silk

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front detail

front detail

pocket

pocket

Angel Wing and Unicorn Mane

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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.

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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