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Completed: Jedediah Pants

7 Jun

Hi everyone! It’s been a wild two weeks over here… I turned 32, my mom got a hip replacement (she’s doing great!), and then I moved to a new house (which means NEW CRAFT ROOM coming soon!)! Lots of stuff going on, which meant less time for pretty much anything except packing and then unpacking. But I’m finally set up and settled in, and ready to get back to a more normal routine. This project is from last month’s Mood Sewing Network post, and I’m only just now getting around to having time to properly write about it – finally!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

The most mind-boggling part about this post, I reckon, is that I MADE SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Clearly, that’s not me in these pictures! Although it’s my baby brother, so it’s bascially me with a beard haha. That being said, I rarely make anything for ANYONEEEE else, so this is a bit of a departure from my usual sewing. It’s been a long time since I’ve made something for a dude! Or anyone else for that matter haha.

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

My reasoning behind this project is pretty solid. Back around the holidays, I was wearing a reasonably new pair of Ginger jeans that I’d made for myself out of some really fabulous, really really really stretchy olive green twill. I love those pants and I’d still be wearing them right now if it wasn’t so damn hot outside! But I digress. Matt (little brother) noticed them and mentioned that he’s been looking for pants exactly like that for ages and he wished he had a pair, too. Now, Matt actually knows better than to ask me to make anything for him – he’s asked me millions of times and pretty much always gotten shot down – but I know he’s always wanted something handmade by me, his sister. His timing was good this time, though, as I’d just recently had the realization that while I loveeeeee sewing pants, I was kind of reaching a limit with what one person could reasonably wear during a season (I know I counted them, but I’m too scared to remember the exact number in my drawer. I think it was 19 D:). It was a good compromise, and I was in a good mood – so I agreed to make him his own pair.Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Based on the style of pants he wanted, we decided on the Jedediah Pants from Thread Theory. I’ve never sewn with a pattern from this company – it’s primarily menswear, and remember, I don’t sew shit for no one else lolz – but I’ve followed them for ages and was excited to give them a spin! Rather than go by the sizing on the envelope, Matt supplied me with a pair of well-loved pants that had his perfect fit, and I used those measurements to choose his size. This ended up being a 32, although I think a 30 would have been better (but he is pleased with the fit, so whatevs! And don’t even get me started on the brain-bending behind making loose-fitting pants out of stretchy fabric. I don’t understand it, either!). I did not make any adjustments to the size or length – this is straight out of the envelope. I know they look short, but they are actually too long – Matt likes to wear weird socks and roll his pants to show them off, and we purposefully kept them long in case he ever wants to wear them to a more normal length. They can easily be re-hemmed!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

The fabric is from Mood Fabrics, which I picked up when I was in NYC in March. I found the original olive fabric that I used for my pants there, and I was hoping there would still be some left when I came back. Unfortunately, that was not the case – but this one is fairly similar. It’s the exact same color (I actually wore my pants to the store to try to fabric-match, ha!) with about the same amount of stretch, but the fabric is quite a bit thicker. It’s almost spongey and there’s definitely a good amount of poly in it, as it doesn’t really press too well. Not my favorite fabric to work with, but doable!

As far as sewing the pattern, I only about half followed the instructions. I’ve made so many pairs of pants, I have a preferred order of steps and way of doing things. For example, I sewed the inseam before the side seams – this was for two reasons. One, it allowed me to flat-fell the inseam (Matt skateboards and he wears his clothes HARD, so they need to be as durable as possible), and two, I was able to baste the side seams and have him over for a quick fit before I finished everything and added the waistband. I also went my own way with the waistband insertion; I didn’t do that weird rolled thing that the instructions tell you to do (that shit makes absolutely no sense to me and if you’re confused, I can’t explain it. It’s witchcraft and I hate it haha), but instead just applied the waistband the same way you do for the Ginger jeans. I did opt to finish the facing edge with a length of bias, instead of turning it under, because it looks super cool on the inside now and that makes me happy.

Working with the fabric wasn’t terribly difficult, but like I mentioned, it didn’t really want to respond to pressing. I have found that with poly-rich fabrics – such as this one – it helps to use high heat and lots of steam (I have a shoe on my iron that protects my fabric – but if you don’t have a shoe, you’ll want to use a presscloth, else you gonna melt and/or scorch that shit), and then hold the pressed seam (or seam allowances) in place until they cool completely. One way to do this is with a clapper – or, if you hate waiting, you can do what I do and just pin them down. Easy and fast!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

My favorite thing about making pants is all the fun ways you can customize them with topstitching – thread colors, designs, all that! Of course, Matt is a boring piece of shit and wanted NONE of that on his pants (jk ilu Matt)(but still, boring), boo! So we stuck with dark olive green thread – I used a single spool of all-purpose poly, and a triple stitch to get a nice thick topstitching line – and brown thread for the bartacks. The metal zipper and button are from the Garment District, from Sil Thread and Pacific Trimming, respectively.

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

I *was* able to have some fun with the inside! I used a plaid cotton that was in my stash (I think I got it from my Mamaw’s stash, actually haha) to line the pockets and add that bias trim around the edge of the waistband facing. It’s the same cotton that I used for the pocket bags of my olive pants, actually. Matt was actually pretty excited about how cool the insides look, which pleases me!

Because this is my little brother we are talking about, it was nearly impossible to have a normal photoshoot for these poor pants…

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

“Matt, smile or something.”

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

“Matt, turn around so I can get a photo of your butt.”

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Anyway, Matt is thrilled with his new pants (in fact, the actual word he used was “stoked) and I’m happy that he’s happy! I hope he wears them until they fall apart – whether or not I make him a replacement pair, that is TBD. I think I’m all selfless-sewing’d out for the time being, ha!

Oh, and ladies, in case you were wondering… Matt is single πŸ˜›

**Note: The main fabric used in this project was supplied to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my monthly contribution to the Mood Sewing Network!

Completed: Morgan Pants

27 Apr

I have a well-documented love for theΒ Ginger Jeans pattern. In fact, I love making (and wearing!) this pattern so much, that I just stopped posting about it. After you finish the 10th pair of pants, it just feeling way too fucking redundant to keep posting the same pattern praise over and over again. Needless to say, I have a lot of pairs of these pants, and more in the works for next winter. No shame about that, but also, no blog posts. You are welcome in advance.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

With that being said, I loooove making pants and I found myself very intrigued with the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans pattern, which is also from Closet Case Patterns. I loved the idea of being able to make pants with a non-stretch fabric – truly, it opens up an enormous world of pants-possibilities that I hadn’t been able to consider in the past. Plus, I could keep making pants but pretend like they were like, totally different. Mostly, though, I wanted some non-stretch twill pants. I love the Organic Cotton Twill that Mood Fabrics sells (and yes, I’ve made pants with it before! And shorts!) and I know from experience that it’s a great fabric that wears and washes super well. I had about 1.5 yards leftover from my Organic Cotton Twill Kelly Anorak, so I decided to make the pattern as a sort of wearable muslin.

Truth be told, I actually got the Morgan Jeans pattern for Christmas last year. My little brother bought it for me (at my request) and while I was PUMPED to sew it up, it’s been languishing in my sewing room ever since. Every time I pulled it out of the envelope and tried to creep on the size chart, I just got overwhelmed and confused. I don’t know why this particular size chart buggered me out more than any other size chart in the history of ever – but that’s my excuse! See, I’m technically between sizes in Closet Case Patterns (I’m about 1/2″ bigger than the size 2, and a 1/2″ smaller than the 4). In my pants-making experience with this company, the size 2 fits pretty well, and the 4 is waaaay too big. However, this pattern suggests that you size up if you’re between sizes – and I kept having flashbacks of my size 4 Gingers that needed a LOT of tweaking to get a good fit, as they were just too big. I chatted with Heather about it when I saw her in DC, and she suggested going with the 2, so I took her advice and did just that.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Y’all, I’m so glad I had a moment of craziness and decided to trace my pattern – I generally DO NOT trace my patterns, but the sizing question was giving me major pause and I thought I would be pretty sad if I ended up cutting the wrong one. Which is exactly what I did, because the size 2 is definitely too small! Oh well, live and learn!

With that being said – these pants I am modeling are the original size 2 that I made, so I did make them work. I had to let out the leg seams (basically the side seams from as close to the waistband as I could get, all the way to about the knee area) as much as my seam allowances allowed (it’s hard to tell now since they’re all finished, but I didn’t cut any fabric off when I serged as I was anticipating this, so, I’d reckon those seam allowances are probably about 1/4″ now). They were still pretty tight, but fortunately, woven fabrics like this tend to ease and relax throughout the course of the day. TBH, I don’t think I can ever put these pants in the drier because I don’t want them to shrink back up! (A far cry from me in my early 20s – when I’d walk around the house pantsless all day and only put on my pants literally right before I left to party, so they’d be as tight as possible haha!) But with the seam allowances let out, and the fabric all relaxed and happy – the fit on these is pretty much perfect! So no complaints on this pair – and I’m so so happy I was able to salvage them, as shit got a little hairy for a minute there – but I definitely will need to size up to a 4 for my next pair.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Other than the sizing snafu, I am pretty pleased with the overall fit of these pants! I will be the first to admit that they may not be the most flattering thing I could put on my ass – but I think that’s kind of the case with a relaxed fit pant like this, regardless? And they are also a little tight, still, so sizing up on the next pair will probably help with that too.

I did not make any adjustments to the pattern – including not futzing with the rise. I usually shorten the rise as I have a bit of a short crotch, but I wanted to see how these fit out of the envelope. And again, I think it’s pretty good! Since they’re more of a relaxed fit than the tight Gingers, my calves fit in the legs just fine. FYI the inseam of these is pretty long – I think I measured it at about 32″ (I don’t know why that wasn’t included in the finished measurements, but there ya go), which is a good 4″ longer than what my lil’ legs require. Since the legs are straight, though, you can just cut off the excess length – which is what I did! These are hemmed to be a normal full-length, by the way, I just have them rolled for the pictures because that’s how I’ve been wearing them!

And speaking of wearing them – I took these photos on day 3 of wearing these pants, so they are pretty relaxed! And that also explains all the wear wrinkles. Whatever! It’s cotton, it’s gonna wrinkle!

Morgan Jeans

My favorite part about making pants is all the fun detailing you get to play with! Topstitching, contrast bartacks, fun pockets – yes please!

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

For these, I used a darker olive all-purpose thread with the triple stitch (I think it looks nicer than using topstitching thread – although it is a BITCH to unpick, so be warned if you decide to go that route!), and brown thread for the bartacks. The pocket lining is a batik fat quarter that I bought at Loose Threads, a quilt shop that I stumbled upon at random while in Harriman, TN a few weeks ago for the Barkley Marathons.Β I was not actively seeking a fabric store (honestly, we were just looking for coffee), but I saw the words “Quilt Shop” and we had to make a quick detour. There isn’t much that I can buy in a quilt shop – still haven’t caught the quilting bug, ha! – but I can stash some fat quarters as they are the perfect size and weight for pocket linings!

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

I skipped the back pocket topstitching as I wanted to keep these reasonably plain, but added a leather back patch like the instructions suggest. This leather was pulled out of my box of leather scraps – I’m not entirely sure where it originally came from, but it’s fairly thick. I had used this same leather to make luggage tags for my suitcases (yes I am a big dork), and that square was a leftover piece from the center cut-out. Since my machine had no problem going through the 2 layers to make the tags, I knew it would be fine with a single layer + the cotton twill. I didn’t even change the needle for this – just went to town and it turned out fine.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Anyway, that’s all for now! Have you tried this pants pattern yet? What is your take on the boyfriend jeans (whether they are secretly made for females or you actually steal your *real* boyfriend’s jeans… tell me about that too)?

*Note: The main fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Giving New Life (+ Lining) to An Old Coat

14 Mar

Hi everyone!

Wow. It’s been a minute, huh? Many, many thanks/hugs/appreciation for everyone who reached out regarding my dad. Every single comment, email, text message, card – I read every single one of them. While I can’t possibly reply to every single one of them, I do want to thank all of you, as I found them all so comforting. I feel like I am saying this way too much lately, but y’all truly all are the best.

As it is, it’s time to jump back into real life. Actually, I did that pretty much the day after the funeral – I went to Leesburg, VA to teach a workshop at Finch Knitting and Sewing Studio, which was really wonderful and a very welcome distraction from what I had been dealing with the week prior. The next weekend, I flew to Brooklyn, NY to teach my Jeans Making Intensive and Pants Making Intensive classes at Workroom Social. I just got home about a week ago, and have spent this time trying to catch up all the things I’d set aside while I was gone- boring adult-y things, like work and cleaning my much-neglected apartment. I’ve finally gotten a chance to get back into my normal life indulgences – like sewing! – and man, it feels good to be back!

Before I get into the post, I did want to announce my next upcoming workshop in May! I will be traveling to Hyattsville, MD to teach another workshop at Three Little Birds Sewing Company May 13th and 14th (and also a meet and greet / project gossip the evening of May 12th, because wine). This is like all the other workshops I do (other than the pants-specific ones in Brooklyn, which are also Workroom Social specific ;)) – you get to choose whatever project you want to work on that weekend! Whether you want to make a lined dress, a fabulous pair of jeans, a new winter coat, your first bra, whatever – I’ll be there to support ya! And if you don’t have a particular project that is screaming for support, can I just say that this is also a great excuse to make your sewing a little more social for the weekend πŸ˜‰ I always have such a great time running these workshops, and I’m so excited to do it again!! You can read more about the workshop here, and also sign up! It’s going to be an awesome weekend πŸ˜€

Ok, now for the post!

Re-Lining a Coat - before

This is a bit different that what I usually post about – it involves repairing an existing garment, rather than making a new one from the start. I think most of us have announced at some point or another that we’d rather make a new piece than alter or repair one that needed it. I know I’m guilty of it! But lately, I’ve been making a bigger effort to reduce waste whenever I can, and repairing garments that need it is a great place to do this!

I bought this coat at Banana Republic when I was 19. I remember being super proud of the purchase – it was one of the first “nice” things I ever bought with my own money (well, and the help of some gift cards). It’s not the nicest thing I own – and I can certainly produce better garments out of my own sewing room today – but it’s followed me around for the past 12 years regardless. I love the color and I love the way it fits me. It has certainly seen it’s share of wear over the last decade, though – the lining was shredding in several places (I can specifically vouch that the lining at the hip was probably torn by my studded belt – YES, THAT’S HOW LONG I’VE HAD THIS DAMN COAT), and I recently ripped a huge hole in the sleeve lining while trying to put it on. I realized that I would either need to replace the lining entirely, or just get rid of the coat. Y’all all know that I am pretty much always up for a challenge, so I decided to give it a shot! Worst thing that could happen was that I’d ruin a coat – which, admittedly, was already kind of halfway ruined anyway.

Re-Lining a Coat

Re-Lining a Coat - before

Re-Lining a Coat - before

Here you can see some of the places the lining was tearing. The lining was also discolored, especially under the arms, and wearing very thin in several places.

I actually planned this project last year, in December. I waited until I could go to Mood Fabrics in NYC and pick my replacement lining fabric in person – the green wool is a really unique shade, and I wanted to try to match or coordinate with it as much as possible. Spoiler, I never did find a perfect match to the green (not surprised), but I found a print that I adore, so there’s that!

Re-Lining a Coat - process

This is the silk that I went home with meΒ – it was with the rest of the silk prints on the 2nd floor. I am not sure what type of silk it is specifically – it has a heavy, fluid hand just like silk charmeuse, but it is slightly textured, almost like a twill. I suspect it may also be a blend, because it didn’t take to pressing as well as I would have liked. I bought 2 yards (after consulting with the guy who cut my fabric and going by his suggestion), which ended up being plenty. I actually have leftovers – matching silk top, anyone? πŸ™‚

After I bought the lining fabric, this project had to sit on hold for about 3 weeks while I went to Egypt. I haaate leaving stuff half-finished if I’m going to be gone for longer than a weekend, and this project I especially didn’t want to have a lapse in, since I was kind of winging it. So I didn’t actually start until the end of January, but fortunately it did not take very long!

I should confess: I had every intention of turning this post into a tutorial on how to re-line a coat. I started with a bunch of photos, but as soon as I got to the sewing part – guys, it’s pretty much impossible to photograph these steps. Plus, every coat is a little bit different in how it’s constructed. So this post is more of a loose guide if you’re considering doing this yourself, and I have linked to the resources that I found useful when I was in the throes of my repair. Also, I should point out that I have made several lined coats at this point, so the process isn’t really that different from sewing a coat and then adding the lining. If you have sewn a lined coat, you can totally handle this. If you have yet to hit this milestone in your sewing practice, maybe wait before you tackle this project πŸ™‚

Re-Lining a Coat - lining removed

The first step is removing the lining from the coat entirely. This part wasn’t difficult, but it was annoyingly tedious. I knew I didn’t want to deal with the drama of drafting a lining, so I needed to keep the lining pieces as intact as possible in order to use them as my pattern pieces. I removed the lining from all the way around the facing of the coat, being sure to take notes and photos of anything that I might need to know when I was putting it back in – such as the seam allowances used, how the back pleat was sewn in, stuff like that. This was the #1 reason why I waited to start this project – I knew I’d forget everything while I was in Egypt!

Re-Lining a Coat - lining removed

Pulling out lining can be kind of interesting though – you get to look into the guts of the coat and see how it was put together! I’m always fascinated to see how RTW does things, as opposed to what the home sewer does. For example, they sewed small rectangles of the lining into the seam allowances where one traditionally puts thread chains (such as under the arms). Then, the rectangles were sewn directly to the seam allowances of the outer, eliminately the time it takes to make a thread chain and attach it. I thought that was pretty cool!

Re-Lining a Coat - lining removed

Another thing I found interesting was the tailoring done on the coat. It’s actually pretty nicely tailored (with fusible interfacing), considering its just a coat from Banana Republic.

Re-Lining a Coat - process

After I had the lining out of the coat, I carefully separated all the pieces and marked which one was which. I flattened them with an iron and marked grainlines. I will be honest here – I used a similarly-styled jacket pattern I had in my stash to figure out where the grainlines were. They might be slightly off, but eh, it’s a lining. I could NOT for the life of me see where the grain was on the actually pattern pieces, and the fabric was so delicate that is just kind of disintegrated when I tried to rip it.

One thing I will point out when you are marking your pattern pieces – it is really important to mark the sleeve front and back, and also where the sleeve cap hits the shoulder seam. You can snip directly into the seam allowances before taking the pieces apart – presto, notches πŸ˜‰

From there, you just lay your pattern pieces on the fabric and cut them out. Remember, they already have seam allowances – no need to add those.

I should also point out that I did not pre-wash my silk before cutting it. Since the jacket outer is wool/polyester, it is dry clean only. Which means this silk will never hit a washing machine, so I didn’t bother to wash it! I DID wash the leftover piece after I finished the coat, and it changed the texture of the silk a bit. More on that if I ever get around to sewing that piece up haha.

Re-Lining a Coat - process

Next, you assemble the lining to make a lining-coat. Easy stuff!

Ummmm so here’s where I stopped taking pictures haha. I had to figure out how to get the lining into the coat shell, and not a single one of those steps was remotely photogenic πŸ˜‰

You have two options when putting the lining in- One, you can do it the old school couture way, and hand sew it around the entire perimeter of the facing. This is definitely the easier of the two options, but it’s more time-consuming. The second option is bagging the lining into the coat – sewing everything together at the hems and pulling the coat through a hole in the lining. This step is much more fiddly – you have to set everything up properly so you don’t twist the sleeves or whatever, and it totally looks like a hot mess until the very end. Also, I realized this a bit late in the game – but it’s reaaaally finicky to sew the lining to the facing at the neck (where the collar is). The layers are super bulky and you don’t have much of a seam allowance to work with. I made it work, obviously, but I did end up un-picking out my stitches a few times.

If you need help bagging a lining, this tutorial on bagging a lining from Grainline Studio is great. For the back vent, I watched this YouTube video from FashionSewingBlogTV on sewing a lining to a vent.

Re-Lining a Coat - process

So, I bagged my lining, pulled everything from a hole in the sleeve, and then went back on the inside and attached the lining to the shell with thread chains (I wasn’t even gonna try those weird lining rectangle things haha). Then I pressed everything really well, and attached new buttons. Oh, and I sewed the labels back on too – the original BR one, and one from Mood Fabrics (the sizing and fiber info tag is underneath the Mood tag, fyi). It’s kind of a collab coat now, you know?

Sooooo, drumroll pls…

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Yay!!! I just love it so much πŸ™‚

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Due to the new layer of silk, the jacket is actually much warmer now (the old lining was polyester). Always a plus!

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Re-Lining a Coat - after

The colorful new lining makes me so happy!

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Re-Lining a Coat - after

Re-Lining a Coat - after

I also replaced the buttons, with something similar but a little more refined. These buttons are from Pacific Trimming, which I also picked up while I was lining shopping. I reallllly wanted to do self-covered buttons, but I could not find anything that remotely matched this green. So I went with tortoiseshell, although these are shank buttons (the original buttons are flat).

Re-Lining a Coat - after

I really enjoyed the challenge of working on this project – in fact, taking things apart and putting them back together was how I originally taught myself how to sew, so it was a cool throwback to revisit those roots. I like doing things that force me to slow down (and/or walk away) and think, and this was definitely one of those. And hell yeah, this coat is finally back in rotation! Feels good!

Note: The silk fabric used in this post were purchased with my monthly Mood Fabrics allowance, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: The Kelly Anorak

14 Feb

Hey guys! Thank you for all your great comments, suggestions, and feedback on my last post! I’m so happy to hear that y’all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it πŸ™‚ With that being said, my stint as a ~travel blogger~ is now officially over (well, until I save up money for my next trip – the verdict is still out on where exactly!) – back to regular sewing posts!

BUT before we get into the project – some class-related stuff!

  • I’ve got two classes at Workroom Social in March that both still have a couple of spots left, if you’ve been on the fence and are looking for a reason to treat yo’self πŸ˜‰ (it IS Valentine’sDay, after all! ;)) The Jeans Making Intensive is March 2-3, and the always-popular Pants Making Intensive is March 4-5! The jeans class primarily focuses on construction and finishing a pair of jeans (we use the Ginger Jeans pattern – which, btw, I’m wearing in these photos haha), while the pants class has a little more fitting involved and sews a classic pair of trousers. Both are going to be super fun and I am so excited to be back in NYC in a couple of weeks! β™₯
  • Speaking of Workroom Social – Camp Workroom Social is coming back, and I’ll be back as an assistant to Amy of Cloth Habit’s Bra Making class! Registration is currently open only to alumni, but will be open to the public soon. I cannot WAIT for another round at camp – last year was freaking amazing (and so, so, so beautiful!) and it will be so fun to reconnect with old friends and make new ones!
  • Finally, speaking of Amy and bras -she’s coming to Nashville to teach a bra making workshop at Craft South! Having worked with her at camp last year, I knew we had to have her at the shop for a workshop – she’s a fantastic teacher and so knowledgeable about bra fit! Amy will be in Nashville September 22-23 to teach her Bra Making Weekend Workshop at Craft South. The class will make Amy’s newest pattern, Harriet, as well as learn basic fitting and finishing methods. Oh, and I’ll be assisting the class πŸ™‚ I know a lot of people have been asking when we’d do a bra workshop in Nashville – so there ya go! You can sign up for the workshop here. It’s gonna be amazing!

Ok, back to sewing!

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Today’s project is actually last month’s project that I am just now getting around to posting – the Kelly Anorak from Closet Case Patterns!

While I am not typically a fan of “vacation preparation sewing” – mainly in the sense that I get really stressed with those sorts of deadlines and thus sewing doesn’t even up being very fun – I did make this jacket specifically for my trip to Egypt. I thought it would be a useful thing to bring with me – a nice light layer to ward off the morning chill in the desert, yet breathable for when the sun got all crazy in the afternoon. I also liked that it had those big, roomy pockets and was long enough to cover my butt. My orange Minoru fills most of these slots, but I’ve worn it to death over the years and it’s starting to look ratty – plus, that poly lining isn’t exactly the most breathable thing. Also, I just really love sewing jackets. Sue me πŸ˜›

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

As I said, the Kelly Anorak is a lightweight and unlined jacket – meant to be worn between seasons, not necessarily your crazy winter coat. I’ve seen some people make it out of waterproof fabric, but in my experience I usually carry an umbrella when it rains anyway (and I also own an actual rain jacket – although I still prefer the umbrella, as I don’t like getting my shoes and pants wet!), so this is good enough for a super light drizzle. The pattern features a zippered front with a snap closure placket, a 3 piece hood (which stays on your head much better than the 2 piece kind – it also doesn’t flatten one’s hair as much), big ol’ gusseted pockets, a drawstring waist, and a sleeve placket so you can roll up the sleeves. I actually saw something real similar in JCrew while I was out holiday shopping one afternoon, so I got the added bonus of being able to try the thing on before making it!

The fabric I used for this jacket is an old favorite that’s shown up in tons of my past makes – solid organic cotton twill from Mood Fabrics. The color I used specifically is Olive, and yes, I realize the color on their website photo is way off and no, I don’t know why that is. If you are picky about color, you will definitely want to order a swatch of this stuff. Anyway, I love this fabric because it is easy to work with, has a nice brilliant color, washes/wears well, and is reasonably priced (at least in my opinion!). And it comes in so many colors! Mood pretty much always carries this fabric, FYI, so even if it’s sold out on the website – either hang tight and wait for it to get restocked (I promise it will) or just call the store and have it shipped from there.

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Most of the little hardware bits and pieces were picked up in the NYC Garment District when I was there in November. I knew I was going to be nitpicky about everything matching just so, so I wanted to check out the goods in person. The drawstring, grommets, cord stoppers, metal tassel ends, and zipper are all from Pacific Trimming (I knowww there are other places in the GD to buy this stuff – and maybe even for cheaper – but I just love Pacific Trimming, esp their zipper room!). The zipper is actually a Riri zipper, cos I wanted that shit to be extra fancy. I think I paid around $20 for just the zipper – so it’s not necessarily cheap at all – but it’s really nice, both in terms of how it looks and how smooth it zips! It was also nice to have it cut to the correct size, and also be able to choose both the finish of the metal teeth and the color of the zipper tape, cos again, I was feeling nitpicky about that shit! πŸ™‚ I knew this jacket was going to be a time commitment to make, and for that reason, I’m ok with spending extra money on nicer materials.

The only notion that I did not buy in NYC was the snaps – I just went to Elizabeth Suzann‘s studio during their lunch break and used their industrial snap setter, ha! That thing is really cool and I kiiind of wish I had one, but honestly I am always looking for an excuse to drop by and chat with my old coworkers so for that reason, I’ll continue mooching off theirs!

Since the jacket is unlined (and, for me, primarily worn wide open), I took extra care to finish all the seams for a neat interior. Most every seam is flat-felled, with the exception of the arm holes (only because I didn’t feel like futzing with that shit. I just serged them). I used two different threads to assemble the jacket – a polyester thread for the seams, and then a cotton thread for all the topstitching. I would have just sewn the entire thing with the poly thread, but the color I had on hand was off enough to where the topstitching didn’t look right – and the only thread I had in a suitable color was cotton. In my experience, cotton thread simply does not hold up as well as polyester thread, which is basically indestructible. Considering all the work that I put into this jacket, I didn’t want my threads to fail! So I just used cotton for topstitching – and used a triple stitch, partially for added durability and also because it results in a more visible stitch.

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

I will be completely honest with y’all – I didn’t exactly enjoy the process of sewing this jacket. A big part of the reason was because I was under a pretty tight deadline to finish it before my trip (even though I promised myself it was ok to take the Minoru if I didn’t finish, and that everything would be fine – I still rushed!), but I also found some of the directions to be a bit confusing. The Closet Case Patterns blog has some tutorials on the trickier steps, but some of the information actually contradicts itself in online tutorial vs pattern instructions. The zipper placket specifically was really head-scratching to me, and I had to walk away a few times. There’s a discrepancy with the seam allowances written in the pattern instructions vs the blog tutorial, which I found really confusing. I believe the version on the blog is the correct one, though, if I recall correctly! Another thing that really threw me off was that my zipper pull was on the opposite side of the tape, than what you see on the blog. Finally, I was not a fan of how wide the finished facings are – they are really really wide (too wide, in my opinion). I ended up turning them under additionally and sewing another line to make them more narrow. At the width they were as drafted, I felt like they would just end up flapping around with wear and showing my ugly white interfacing. Nope, not doing that.

Anyway, minor complaints – and may also just be personal, because all the reviews I read just gush about how clear the instructions are. So it could just be me!

As far as sizing and fit, I made a size 2 – which is my normal size for this pattern company. I actually did make a muslin, so I could double check the fit, length, and drawstring placement. The length and drawstring were perfect, and the fit was pretty good. The only thing I changed was the shape of the arm hole – it was a little too big, which made the entire jacket move along with my arms when I lifted them. I raised the bottom by about 1/2″, as well as added to the back of the arm hole, and then took a bit (maybe 3/8″) off the front of the arm hole as it was pulling. This is a pretty standard adjustment that I make to most patterns that involve sleeves. I think I just have really weird-shaped and/or small armscyes haha who knows.

One thing I wish I could have found a way to change was to make the snap on the pocket functional. It’s just there for show and to hold the flap in place – the pocket doesn’t actually snap shut. I considered adding the other side of the snap, but it would have shown on the inside of the jacket (and since you need to interface it, would not have made the inside look as nice). One idea is to interface a scrap of the twill and sew it to where the snap gets inserted, so all you see is a square of twill on the inside. I may do that in the future. It’s not a dealbreaker not being able to snap the pockets closed, but it sure would be handy.

At any rate, this jacket was TOTALLY worth the effort – I think the finished result looks pretty damn good! There’s definitely something to be said about using nice materials, as they really elevate the garment into something that looks extra nice. But I am also really happy with the craftsmanship that went into it – I’m glad I took the time to do the flat-felled seams, rip out mistakes and fix them (even though we all know that shit can be agonizing haha), and even deal with making a muslin first. All totally worth it in the end. And while I made this for Egypt and our upcoming spring weather, it’s actually been handy for the majority of January & what we’ve experienced so far in February. I realize everyone is getting pummeled by snow right now, but y’all, it’s been 70 degrees in Tennessee this past week. I am starting to wonder if we are going to skip winter entirely! I had plans to make an actual winter coat this year, but I may put it on hold until the next cold season because I’m not really feeling super motivated with the weather as it is currently!

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

I used twill tape to finish the neckline (as suggested in the pattern instructions). If I’d thought about it while I was buying my supplies, I would have tried to find a tape that matched my olive fabric. Oh well! For the label, I serged around all 4 sides of a scrap of twill, then sewed my label (which is from Dutch Label Shop) on top of that before attaching it to the jacket. The hanging loop is a small piece of leather that I cut to shape and sewed on by hand.

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics

Whew! Sorry about that photo dump – I guess while I’ve gotten better at editing down and posting less photos of myself, I can’t say the same about detail shots πŸ˜‰ haha.

I leave you with one last photo of me. Sorry, not sorry:

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood FabricsNote: The fabrics used for this project was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

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Completed: Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

3 Jan

Happy 2017, everyone!! I’m going to kick off this year with one of my last makes from 2016 – featuring some uhhh-mazing leopard print silk charmeuse!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Having spent the last 1-2 years of my sewing working on essential wardrobe basics, my handmade wardrobe is quite practical these days. Lots of pants and jeans, lots of tshirts and button ups, lots of comfortable and stylish casual sundresses. I feel really good about where I’m at when it comes to those needs, and as I mentioned before – right now I am just updating the old/worn out and not really scrambling around to make new stuff anymore. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I ended up with a surprising hole in my wardrobe – fancy dresses! This is somewhat hilarious to me, considering I spent the first several years of my sewing career endlessly making frilly party dresses that I rarely wore (or stopped wearing after I got over the novelty of wearing a party dress to, say, the bar. Hey, if that’s your jam, you keep doing you! Me, I will put on leggings and a giant sweater instead haha). I ended up with a closetful of impractical clothing, and have spent all these years trying to rectify that with the practical. I also did a bunch of purging with what was already hanging around, getting rid of things that no longer fit (or never fit right in the first place) or in colors/styles that I didn’t feel like suited me.

I have done such a great job that once the holiday season hit, I quickly realized that I have nothing to wear. lolwut.

I still have my glorious Marc Jacobs birds dress (which is still my favorite favorite thing EVER), this blue cotton sateen dress via the Sew Bossy challenge, and my sparkly brocade skirt. Both of these have been great to have for festive holiday parties, or the occasional wedding ceremony, or that one fancy date that I get to on on like every 6 months. I am also totally not opposed to wearing the same thing multiple times – having been the sort of person who needed a new dress for every occasion, I would rather now just have a handful of things I really really love that I know I look and feel good in – I felt that it was time to give myself permission to make another fancy dress. Just in time for the holiday season to end, ha! Whatever, I’ll take myself out for a steak date and wear this shit!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

After some deliberation, I ended up with Simplicity 6266, cos I just can’t get enough of that 70s mock-wrap neckline and those sweet tulip sleeves. Honestly, I wanted to make this version with the long sleeves – but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut everything (which, in restrospect, was probably for the best – I think that sort of style would do better in a solid color. That much leopard print could be overwhelming!) because I’d already cut a little bit off and used it to make a bra. I’ve made this pattern before twice (one and two), and yes, I realize that I basically just made a duplicate of the first version. I totally still have that dress – after a couple rounds of alterations when my weight started changing – and I love it, but the polyester content of the fabric makes it not such a great choice for summer. I’ve always wanted to make another version in a more breathable fabric, so here we are.

My leopard print silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics, and while it hung around on the site for months after I bought it, it’s sold out now. I think it was originally Rag and Bone, and it’s been in my stash since 2015 hahaha. It’s a nice weight with a gorgeous drape, and I gave it a cold wash before cutting which helped make the shiny side a little more matte (and now I can wash this dress like any other old thing in my laundry basket, ha!). The shiny side was still a little too shiny for my tastes, so I used the matte side as the right side of my fabric. The added bonus to doing this is that the dress feels REAL nice on the inside now, heh heh heh.

I wanted to try a new way to stabilize the silk for this project – in the past I’ve used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, which works GREAT but it can be $$$. I was tipped off to try using gelatine – yes, basically unflavored Jell-o – and I decided this was the project to test this theory with. You can read the full instructions on how to do this here, but basically – you cook the gelatine in water until it boils, add more water, stir in your fabric and let it sit for an hour to soak everything up, then wring it out and lay it flat to dry. I folded mine in half lengthwise and then used a series of chairs and my drying rack to get it as smooth as possible so it would dry reasonably flat. Once the fabric was dry, it had a much more stiff body – similar to a silk organza before you pre-wash it. To remove the gelatine, you just wash the garment as normal (so, this will only work with something that’s been pre-treated – you can’t use it to sew something you wouldn’t wash, such as a coat lining that’s not removable) and it will soft right back up to how it was originally. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to sew – I mean, we are talking about silk charmeuse here, y’all, it’s never going to be completely fool-proof – but it was a HELLUVA lot easier to manhandle than it had been before the treatment.

Because of the gelatine treatment, assembling this dress was reasonably easy. I used a brand new, 70/10 sharp needle to sew it, and finished all my seams with a serger and then pressed them open (I know that traditionally you sew silk with French seams – and this is what I usually do – but I was anticipating alterations with this. More on that in a sec). For the hems, I turned them under 1/4″ twice and blind-stitched them by hand. The stiffness of the fabric only moderately affects things, if you’re a fit-as-you-sew kind of person (I am!) – as in, the fit is still accurate, but everything just kind of hangs weird because it’s lacking that drape. My sleeves in particular looked RIDICULOUS, but they are fine now that they are soft again. I left off all the topstitching, except at the waist (only because I felt like the silk needed the topstitching for extra stability), and sewed the ties together into a removable waist tie instead of attached at the side seams. Oh, and I used an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper. I added a strip of fusible interfacing to both edges of the dress where the zipper would go, which keeps the area smooth and supported.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

I did have some snafus with the fit on this dress, which at least I was anticipating. See, my pattern isn’t exactly my size – it’s for a 33″ bust, and I’m closer to 32″. This is why I had to take in the original cheetah version, and I had some fitting tweaks that needed to be made on the polka dot one as well. With both dresses, I didn’t actually record my changes – so I had to start from scratch, again. Awesome. For this dress, I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams at 3/4″, instead of the usual 5/8″. This helped a bit – the dress still isn’t super tight, but I like the drape of charmeuse with a little bit of ease. Interestingly, it was the sleeves that gave me trouble with this dress. First, I sewed them with the wrong side on top – and I didn’t notice until after I had finished the dress (including all the serging) and I was comparing it to the original cheetah version. They look really awful when they are the wrong way, in case you were wondering – and I had to unpick and resew them. Also, the shoulders were strangely wide on this dress – the armscye was the correct depth (thanks to that 3/4″ seam allowance), but the sleeves started past the edge of my shoulder and it was channeling some serious linebacker shit. Of course, I noticed this AFTER I had fixed the sleeves – and I wasn’t about to unpick that shit again! So I added a 1/2″ tuck on top of the shoulder, which only goes about 2″ and then folds into a soft pleat over the bust and down the back. This was enough to pull in the sleeve cap so it actually started where a sleeve cap was supposed to start – and also made the bodice fit a little better, too. It’s not the most elegant of solutions – it’s a total hack job, tbh – but it worked!

I also tacked down the center front invisibly, because the dress wanted to gape open (probably cos my boobs don’t quite fill it out lolz).

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

As a side note, I am trying a new spot to take photos. I had a few people tell me that my other location was too distracting, and, well, it totally is haha πŸ™‚ I don’t know why I never tried this wall – it’s pretty empty and gets ok light. What’s weird is how different it looks with me standing there vs the dress form (I took all these photos in one session). The background is boring as hell but it’s not like anyone is here for my stunning photography. Also I’m not really sure how to get rid of that giant shadow behind me.

And because I’ve gotten some comments on it recently – the thing I’m holding is my camera remote (my camera is old and the only remote that works with it has a giant antennae), not a screwdriver hahaha.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Anyway, thanks for all of your great comments and insights on my last post. I had a great time ringing in 2017 and I look forward to what this year has to offer!

Note: The leopard print silk charmeuse was purchased with my allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526

3 Oct

Well, surprise surprise…. I am back again with – you guessed it! – another button-up shirt. Ha! Is this all I wear these days? Probably. I’ve been sewing – and making button-ups – for years at this point, but it still tickles me to no end that I can get them to fit every part of my body without bagginess or gaping. To hell with all those tiny safety pins and double-sided tape – I finally have buttons where the buttons need to go! Yay!

So now, my wardrobe is just slowly filling up with the button-ups of my dreams. Also, button-ups are really really really fun to make. You like making jeans and bras? You’ll love making button-ups. So many tiny pieces with lots of precise topstitching I LURVES IT β™₯

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I made some time during my trip for a couple hours at Mood Fabrics flagship store in the Garment District. Since I live way way outside of NYC, I don’t generally get this opportunity except once or twice a year – so I try to make it count! I always come prepared with a list and a plan – and while I allow myself to veer off the list if I see something shiny that appeals to my magpie tendencies (very much like when I go grocery shopping, although that sort of veering usually involves chocolate :P), the list is helpful for keeping me on track so my purchases are a little more focused. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of shopping in the physical Mood Fabrics store, but it is QUITE overwhelming if you’re not used to it! The aisles of fabric go on forever, piled to the ceiling – and there are 3 glorious floors of it!

One of the things on my list for this trip was to find a chambray Tencel shirting. I’ve seen this all over sewing blogs and even in RTW – chambray Tencel was apparently very hot last fall (whether or not it’s still hot this fall – whatever, I like it, that’s all that matters!). I wasn’t familiar with Tencel until a couple of years ago, when I was sewing for Elizabeth Suzann and she started using it for some of her designs. Tencel is very similar to rayon – it’s a wood cellulose fiber, so it breathes beautifully, and it has an incredible drape. Unlike most of the rayons I have sewn with, this is a bit thicker and easier to handle – it’s not quite so floaty. My brief internet research also tells me that Tencel is a very environmentally friendly, and the fibers are grown sustainably. Gooooo Tencel!

I found this particular Tencel in the depths of the shirting fabrics in Mood’s store, and it was exactly what I had been dreaming of when I wrote my list. It’s drapey and nearly as soft as a baby’s butt – just like rayon – but with a thicker hand and an incredible sheen. I am pretty sure this is the same stuff available on the website, actually (also FYI, Mood Fabrics now has tons of Tencel on their site – including flannel WUT). I bought enough yardage to make a long sleeved button up, prewashed that bad boy when I got home, and set it aside to allow summer to pass before I cut into it. And finally, here we are!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

I used my very favorite shirt pattern, Butterick 5526, to sew this up. I’ve made this pattern dozens of times at this point, so there’s not much I can say about it that I haven’t already said dozens of times. I’m so familiar with this pattern, I’m pretty sure it could sew itself if I gave it a chance. I decided to mix a couple things up to make my shirt look a little more like a workshirt – rugged, casual details, but with that pretty, slim fit that only princess seams can give you. And also to make it look less like I am just wearing the exact same shirt every day. Even though I totally am.

I redrafted the back to include a yoke (and by redrafted – I mean I just sliced off the top of the pattern piece and added seam allowances, ha!) and swapped out the simple bias plackets for a more manly tower placket. I also drafted pointed pockets with matching pointed flaps (again, I am using the term “drafted” VERY VERY loosely here!). Another big change was to topstitch everything at 1/4″, instead of my usual 1/8″ edgestitching. It’s a lot more bold and pronounced, like the RTW stuff I’ve been lurking on, and gives a completely different look! I imagine that over time, the edges will curl and wave a bit and make the whole shirt look more settled in. All the interior seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the yoke – which is faced with more Tencel. Oh, and I added button tabs to the sleeves, so I could roll them up if I wanted to!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Working with Tencel wasn’t much different than any other shirting fabric I’ve used, although it does have a tendency to stretch and slide if it things it can get away with it. I added lightweight fusible interfacing to all the normal shirting bits – collar, collar stand, button placket, etc – as well as the sleeve tabs and pocket flaps, just to give them a little more structure. This fabric responds really well to heat, so I was able to steam everything easily into submission, which is a must for shirt making.

I did have one pretty big unpicking session with this shirt – for some reason, the collar ended up too big (I don’t think it stretched out, as the top collar is cut on the straight grain and was also immediately interfaced after cutting – I am thinking maybe I skewed my seam allowances somewhere, somehow?) and went almost to the ends of the collar stand. I noticed it right before I started topstitching, and while I tried to convince myself it was ok – it wasn’t, and I knew deep in my heart of hearts that it looks absolutely fucking shitty. At this point, I had already aggressively trimmed down all those seam allowances and pressed the shit out of everything, and while I could still unpick things – it would going to be a giant PITA. I left the shirt on my dress form for a few days so I could get some space, and upon revisiting, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the collar the way it was. Considering how much time I had already spent making this shirt (and the uncertainty of knowing whether or not I’d be able to get more of this fabric to cut another one), I ultimately decided it was worth the time to unpick everything, re-sew the collar with larger seam allowances, and then re-insert it. Not gonna lie – it took me about 2 weeks of leaving the shirt wadded up in the corner of my sewing room (so it could really think about what it had done) before I got up the energy to do all that unpicking, and another week or so before I re-sewed everything. But you know what? It looks SO SO SO much better now (it’s not perfect, but it is a 1000% improvement, no question) and it was worth the anguish! Sometimes you just gotta step away from whatever is frustrating you, to get another perspective.

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Butterick 5526 is *my* personal go-to button-up pattern for sure – I’ve got my tweaks down to a science at this point, and there’s nothing this shirt pattern can’t do for me! I love a good button-up shirt and I’m so happy to see more of this sort of pattern emerging out of the wild these days! Cashmerette’s Harrison Shirt is drafted specifically for plus sizes all the way up to an H cup (like, seriously, the double princess seams with no gape is absolutely mind-blowing to me) and Tilly & The Button’s new Rosa Shirt & Shirtdress is a gorgeous little beginner-friendly piece that will walk you through every single step (stay tuned for my Rosa review, btw, bc OF COURSE I made one of those bad boys!). I also love the Grainline Studio Archer for a more rugged/boyfriend looking shirt (lack of princess seams on this one means less fitted, but also much more suitable for those cozy plaid flannels!) aaaand I just got my hands on a copy of Deer & Doe’s MΓ©lilot shirt so that’s coming up next! What’s your favorite shirt pattern?

As a bonus, the skirt I am wearing in these photos was also made with fabric from Mood Fabrics! I used a cotton corduroy and you can read all about it in this post from earlier this year. This skirt has been on hold during the summer – it’s too hot here to wear cord, plus, it just looks silly in 100* weather – and I am excited to bring it back into wardrobe rotation with these dipping temperatures! Mustard and denim – is there a prettier color combination? I think not!

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. That fabulous hat is all mine, though πŸ˜‰

Completed: Silk Chiffon Archer Button-Up

30 Aug

So I guess we are now officially in that time of the year again – when the shops are screaming FAAAAAALLL (Wool caps! Corduroy bottoms! Pumpkin spice everything!) but our temperatures are still firmly stuck in summertime. While I’m not ridiculous enough to pull on my Ugg boots when it’s still 100 degrees outside (LOL JK I don’t own Uggs hahaha) (but seriously, Ugg-watching in 100 degree weather at the ritzy mall is absolutely my favorite pasttime during these months. Bonus points if they are wearing a wool hat, too.), I still want to at least look the part of the changing seasons, which still complying with the temperatures outside. For me, that means colors and silhouettes that give a nod to fall – but sticking to lighter-weight fabrics so I’m not sweating my arse off.

So anyway , with all that being said – here’s another button-up shirt! HAHA

Silk Chiffon Archer

I used the Archer pattern to make a fall-inspired button-up, but with a twist – instead of the traditional plaid flannel (which I lurrve, but again – HOT!), I used a light and breezy wide silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the main, and woven silk crepe de chine for the collar, collar stand, button band, pockets, and bias facings. Mood Fabrics carries tons of colors of both of these fabrics, but I went with boring ol’ basic black. In the future, I might go completely insane and try this with a PLAID silk chiffon. Maybe.

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

If you are feeling some major dΓ©jΓ  vu about right now, you are absolutely correct – I totally and completely 100% shamelessly ripped off Kendra’s silk Archer from the Grainline blog. I don’t ever think I’ll look as chic as she does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying! πŸ™‚ I followed Jen’s instructions for making the Archer sleeveless (basically shortening the shoulder drop and adding some contour to the back armhole, nothing crazy here) and shortened the length by about 2″. I sewed a size 0, which is what I normally make for this pattern.

Silk Chiffon Archer

While I have made my share of button-ups in tricky fabrics – silk georgette, silk crepe, crazy plaids, and a rayon challis that has yet-to-be-blogged – I did worry a little that this one was going to be a beast to sew. My last experience with chiffon did NOT go well (you didn’t miss anything – this was several years ago), but I think a big part of the problem was the quality of the material I was using (it was pretty cheap poly chiffon). Using a high-quality fabric makes a big difference in the ease of your sewing when it comes to tricky fabrics like this – you know they’re already on-grain (or it’s easy to straighten the grain if you need to) and the natural fiber content means you can actually press them (which, again, makes a world of difference during construction – especially for a pattern like this). With all that being said – I only used a yard of the chiffon to make this sleeveless version, which at $20.99 per yard isn’t really that expensive. I got a yard of the crepe de chine as well, but only used a fraction of that (I use silk bias on everythingggg so I have tons left over for other projects). Even having been made out of silk, it’s fairly economical! And you definitely cannot get a silk button up shirt for less than $50 in retail, at least not new. Plus, I machine-washed all my fabrics before cutting – so my silk is machine washable now πŸ˜‰

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

So anyway, about that sewing! I didn’t do any sort of prep before getting into cutting – in the past, I’ve used fabric stabilizer to stiffen the fabric so I’d have an easier time cutting and sewing (and yes, it does work – see the aforementioned silk georgette button-up post for my full review on that), but I didn’t bother with any of that this time. It certainly would have been easier if I had, but obviously it was doable without πŸ™‚ I did trade out my scissors and use a mat and rotary cutter to cut this, which was tremendously helpful.

Sewing was really easy and straightforward – I used a sharp 70/10 needle, polyester thread, and a lot of high heat from my iron. All seams are enclosed – the yoke and collar cover most of that, but the side seams are French-seamed, and the arm holes are finished with silk bias facing. The hem is just a simple rolled hem (I usually use bias facing there as as well, but I was afraid the crepe de chine would be too heavy for the silk chiffon). I used a super lightweight interfacing (which comes in black!) for all my interfaced areas – it gives some stability without making them weirdly stiff, which is important when you’re dealing with silk chiffon. The buttons are some vintage glass buttons that I’ve had in my stash for ages. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the pockets – the crepe de chine sags a bit on the chiffon, so they’re not perfectly smooth when I’m wearing it (or when it’s hanging on the wall, for that matter). And also – they are a bit lopsided! Whoops! I hesitate to unpick them because I am afraid it may damage the delicate chiffon, but thankfully no one notices it – even when I point it out. Of course, that may be all you see now πŸ™‚ Sorry πŸ™‚

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I am wearing a black tank top under this, and I did not make the shorts (I WISH I did, though! Because then that would mean that I had found awesome fabric like that!). They are from Express, but the shape is quite similar to the Rite of Spring shorts. The fabric is a nice rayon challis. I pretty much never buy clothes these days, but these were given to me by my boss while she was cleaning out her closet in preparation for her cross-country move (she also gave me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Um, I WIN.). Speaking of which, I will be flying up to Rhode Island this week to orchestrate all the unpacking and whatever else you’re supposed to do when one moves cross-country (I’ll be staying here in Nashville and working remotely after that). I’ve never been to RI before so I’m excited to check it out! Wish me luck!

Silk Chiffon Archer

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said to death, so I’ll keep this post reasonably brief. Yay for silk chiffon button-ups! Once we get into full-on winter mode, I think this top will continue to be useful as I can wear it under my cozy sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.

**Note: The fabrics for this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.