Tag Archives: china silk

Completed: Wool Crepe Mirambell Skirt

30 Nov

Look – it’s two of my favorite things, rolled into one! Wool crepe + rust orange. YES!

Mirambell Skirt

I haven’t sewn with wool crepe in ages, which is weird because I consider it one of my favorite fabrics. Since my life is so… casual now, I really just wear a lot of pants, tshirts, and button ups. Dresses only happen if they are knit, and anything remotely resembling a suit hasn’t graced my body in about 5 years. Lol, remember when I worked in an office and had to dress up for work? Yeah. That was a long time ago.

Anyway, wool crepe! I love it! I love how squishy and soft it is, I love how it drapes and hangs off the body, I love the rich color. I love working with it – it’s easy to cut, easy to sew, rarely frays, and responds to pressing like a fucking dream. I love wearing it because it’s warm and comfortable, but also looks polished. Wool crepe, where have you been? Why did I forsake you? I’m so sorry.

Mirambell Skirt

This wool crepe is from Mood Fabrics, which I found in the store when I was in NYC a few months ago. There is a nice selection of wool crepes online if you aren’t local, but I love the opportunity of being able to go to the store and actually see/feel the fabrics before committing to one. This particular fabric is the result of a rare instance where I went to Mood with a specific fabric I was looking for (my lists are usually pretty vague – x amount of knit for a tshirt, for example) and amazingly, somehow managed to find (despite the selection in that store, I feel like they rarely have the specific things I want haha. Which is why I usually end up with vague lists!). But, no – for this skirt, I wanted wool crepe in either rust orange or saffron yellow. And I actually found it! Amazing!

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

The pattern I used is the Mirambell Skirt from Pauline Alice. It’s actually the second version I made – my first one was a sheer navy cotton/silk blend. It’s beautiful; maybe someday I’ll get around to blogging about it lol. Anyway, I originally bought the pattern specifically for that fabric – I was envisioning something similar, and then the pattern appeared on my radar a few days later. The pattern features a high waist with a curved waistband, topstitched pleats, and shaped pockets. There are two versions – one that closes with an invisible zipper, and one with buttons down the front. It is, admittedly, pretty similar to the Colette Zinnia, which I have made twice before (see: one, two). Between the two, I absolutely prefer the Mirambell. I always felt like the shape of the Zinnia was a little off – it tends to flare right about the hips, which is weird. Even topstitching the pleats further down did nothing to rectify this. Also, the inseam pockets on the Zinnia contribute to that flare – which isn’t an issue with the Mirambell, since the shape of the pockets makes them life more flat. The Mirambell does have a shaped waistband, but that can easily be straightened if you hate it. Anyway, my two cents!

I made a size 36, with no further fitting adjustments. The waist is just perfect on me – it’s fitted, but not uncomfortably tight. I love the length, although I’ll tell ya I was tempted to make it incredibly short.

One thing I did change was to add a lining, because I tend to wear wool crepe during tights season and it’s just easier to add a lining than deal with a slip. This is not included in the instructions, but it was easy to figure out (I’d already done this for my aforementioned prior version anyway, so I knew what I was getting into). I used china silk (originally from Mood, and languishing in my stash for the past year or so) and cut a second skirt out of it (I taped the pocket piece to the skirt front since there’s a slash where the pocket goes on the outside… man I hope that makes sense haha), 2″ shorter than the skirt I cut out of my crepe. I assembled each skirt individually as instructed (omitting the pockets on the lining), and then attached the lining to the waist seam of the outer skirt before attaching the waistband. Easy and effective! China silk is not my favorite fabric to work with as it’s INCREDIBLY shifty, but occasionally I’ll take one for the team if I feel like the end result will be worth it. This was one of those instances. The entire making of this skirt was just really fun and satisfying.

Mirambell Skirt

Here is the inside with the lining. Sorry about the wrinkles, that’s just the nature of silk.

What else? I finished all my seams with pinking shears, since the wool doesn’t fray and it was also going to be lined. I love using pinking shears, they feel so quaint and sweet haha.

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Overall, a very happy skirt that combines my favorite color *and* my favorite fabric! Double bonus in that it looks so good with my polka dot chambray button up I made back in 2014. I’ve been trying to stick with a general color palette so that my pieces coordinate (and I don’t have any weird closet orphans), and this skirt is a great addition to that.

*Note: The fabrics used for this project (skirt) were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

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Completed: The Rigel Bomber Jacket

14 Nov

This jacket has been a LONG time in the making. Totally worth the wait, tho.

Rigel Bomber Jacket

My dream bomber jacket! β™₯

I swear, ever since Katie released the Rigel Bomber jacket for Papercut Patterns, I have noticed this style popping up EVERYWHERE. Talk about being on point with style trends! I knew I wanted to make the jacket when I first saw the pattern last winter – it’s a great, casual jacket and I love the short length (sometimes my Minoru just feels a touch too long, depending on what I’m wearing with it – not to mention, the cotton/poly fabrics mean it’s not the best choice for super cold temperatures!). It’s totally different from any other pattern I own, so obviously I wanted to make it. Once I saw Clare’s Rigel bomber making it’s rounds – and then saw the dang thing in person during our trip to NYC earlier this year – it became Very Important that I have one in time for this current winter. Especially since I tried hers on and it looked ace on me. As you do.

Rigel Bomber Jacket

Since I was in bomber-mode for the duration of that particular shopping trip, I made it a point to source the notions I knew I’d have the hardest time finding – rib knit and a separating zip. In the mecca that is the Garment District of New York City, these things are relatively easy to find (well, at least compared to the Limited Fabric Options of Nashville, ha!). I found both of these things at Pacific Trimming – the rib knit came from the very back corner of the store, and the zipper is a Riri zipper! I chose the colors, specified the custom length according to my pattern, and paid something insane like $20 for it. I don’t actually remember how much the zipper cost, because I mostly blocked it out of my mind – but suffice to say, it cost significantly more than the $5 zips you can pick up just about anywhere.

Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket

I do want to talk about the Rigel a little more before I start going on a tangent about my notions, though. I sewed up the XXS – one, because that’s my Papercut size, and two, it’s the same size as Clare’s and I liked the way hers fit on me. I did not make any length or fitting adjustments to the pattern, just sewed it straight out of the envelope. The instructions on this pattern are great – you are guided through the steps of adding a single welt pocket, attaching the ribbing, and inserting the open-ended zip. The only part of the instructions that leaves a bit to be desired is the lack of lining – which most blog posts I’ve read have mentioned. My assumption here is that Katie wanted the pattern to be as quick and simple as possible, and adding a lining to this sort of jacket is either going to be complicated (at least to write out the instructions for) or involve a lot of hand-sewing. It’s not terribly hard to add a lining, but it does require some brain aerobics before you start sewing.

Rigel Bomber Jacket

Part of what took this jacket so long to incubate was that I couldn’t decide on a fabric! I bought my zipper and ribbing before anything else, so matching a wool fabric (yes, it had to be wool) to all that gold was a little tricky. Not to mention, my notions were a bit special – if not expensive – so I wanted to make something that I’d love and actually wear. I hemmed and hawed for MONTHS over what fabric I wanted to use… this double-faced black wool coating was my #1 contender. I actually got a swatch of it back in the spring… and it’s been pinned to my bulletin board ever since (sometimes I just make myself look at a fabric for a long time, and if I don’t get sick of it – it’s mine!). I finally bought it last month, which is actually REALLY lucky because it’s sold out now! I like how the embroidered floral design gives the fabric some interest and texture, while still keeping it relatively plain (so it doesn’t compete with my trims).

Rigel Bomber Jacket

I will mention that the fabric description is a bit off. I guess it doesn’t matter at this point, since the fabric is sold out – but it definitely feels more like a light to medium weight fabric, NOT a heavy coating. The wrong side is brushed with long fuzzy strands of fabric fiber, and this fabric SHEDS LIKE A BITCH. Even though my jacket is lined, I serged every single seam of the wool because I couldn’t otherwise control the shedding. I really don’t recommend trying this fabric if you can’t serge the raw edges – a plain straight stitch won’t prevent it from eventually disintegrating.

Also, on a bit of a bummer-town note – this fabric doesn’t really wear well. It’s already starting to pill and look kind of old 😦 So this jacket might not have a super long lifespan as it is. Good thing I can always salvage that ridiculously expensive zipper! :DDD

Rigel Bomber Jacket

I don’t know why I’m winking in this photo (just imagine me taking my pictures with a remote and tripod and things get even creepier with the winking ahaha)? Anyway, here’s the lining! I lined the entire jacket with gold china silk, which goes really nicely with my gold accents. I love the warm combination of silk+wool – it’s lightweight, and while it probably won’t work well in the Arctic, it’s fine for our mild winters (or a mild spring up north).

I will deviate for a second here to talk about the lining. As I mentioned, the instructions don’t tell you how to do this. Further, while there are lots of posts scattered around the internet on how to line the Rigel, none of them were exactly what I wanted (NO raw edges, no hand sewing). I wanted to try bagging the lining – which, spoiler alert, that shit totally worked! I used to do this all the time when I worked for Muna last year, but my memory was a little spotty, especially since we never used written instructions for anything (I like instructions when I’m sewing – even if it’s just a checklist – so I don’t forget to do something important!). I used Jen’s tutorial on bagging a jacket lining to jolt my memory, which was extremely helpful. Here are the steps I took to get my lining in that dang jacket:
1. First, I drafted some lining pieces – using the facings as a guide, I removed that amount from the jacket pieces (the front, the back, and the sleeves), and added 3/8″ seam allowances. I also added an ease pleat to the back piece, but I haven’t ripped open the basting yet because I found that I don’t need it. Someday, it will pop open and scare me, probably.
2. I constructed the entire jacket – up to the ribbing and zipper. The lining was completely assembled, with the facings attached.
3. I sewed the two jackets together at the neckline and zipper, as instructed by the pattern (for attaching the facing), and pressed and understitched.
4. I sewed the bottom of the zipper and facing, as instructed by the pattern (some of the lining may later need to be unpicked to get it to turn correctly, this is ok!)
5. I sewed the lining to the seam allowance of the ribbing at the bottom, right sides together.
6. I attached the lining to the sleeve hems at the ribbing, right sides together.
7. At this point, I had a giant MΓΆbius tube of jacket+lining with everything attached and no openings anywhere. It was slightly horrifying – and exactly on track. This is when you rip open a section of the underarm lining that’s already been stitched, and pull the entire jacket through the hole.
8. Press everything, and then sew up the hole. I actually close up my hole from the inside by machine as much as I can, and then sew the remaining inch or so shut on the outside (I tried to take pictures to show how I do this, but it’s really hard to understand if you’re not actually seeing it in action. Needless to say, my closed-up hole is only about an inch long, instead of the 4″ tear I had to make to get the jacket pulled through it).
9. The little sections at the bottom where the facing meets the ribbing will need to be sewn shut by hand.

Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket

AND JUST LIKE THAT – A COMPLETELY BAGGED LINING WITH NO VISIBLE SEAMS! Woohooo!

Rigel Bomber Jacket

Ok, now we can talk about all the fun trimmings!

Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket

What I neglected to tell you guys about this ribbing is that is actually has sparkly gold stripes. It is amazing! Pacific Trimming sells these in 1 yard pieces – and I needed two pieces. They’re about $8 a piece, if I recall correctly (they won’t cut them down, at least, they wouldn’t when I was there!). Also, when I pressed them, they smelled like a fart (I actually wrote this in my sewing notebook, so it must be important and worth mentioning, I guess). Must be all the polyester?

The Riri zipper looks really nice with the sparkly gold, I think! I still haven’t decided if it was worth the obscene price I paid. On one hand, it was really cool to be able to pick the zipper based exactly on my specifications – color, length, everything. It does feel solid and it is really satisfying to zip up (Riri zippers are referred to as the ~Rolls Royce~ of zippers, I’m told). That being said – $20 for a zipper? Yeah. I dunno. It sure is pretty, though!

Have a photo dump:

Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket
Rigel Bomber Jacket

God, I’m sorry about that.

Rigel Bomber Jacket

Anyway, I LOVE my new jacket and I’m so glad I took my time with choosing the right fabric (as well as figuring out that lining!) because the end result was so worth the wait. I’ve been wearing this thing constantly since I finished it – just in time for the weather to get cold, it seems. I’d love to make a patterned version of this one – either with some floral wool (LIBERTY?!), or something polka dotted! Can’t have too many bombers amirite. I even have a couple more pieces of rib knit that I apparently bought during that shopping trip that I completely forgot about. They are black with white stripes. Thanks, past Lauren! β™₯

Oh! And my pants are those Jamie Jeans I made a couple of months ago. Just mentioning it because I ended up taking in the inseam a little bit more after that last post, so you can see what they look like now. I think the fit is much better! I’ve found I can usually go about 3-4 wearings between washings on these, before the knees bag out enough to drive me crazy.

Lastly, I will leave you with this outtake. Not sure what I was doing there, but it made me laugh, so hopefully it’ll make you laugh too! πŸ˜€

Rigel Bomber JacketHave a great weekend, y’all!

Completed: The Gabriola Maxi Skirt

28 Apr

Guys. I love maxi skirts. Love love loveeee. I’ve always been told that short gals aren’t supposed to wear them, as it’s supposed to make us look shorter… but you know what? I’m short. The length of my skirt is not going to change the fact that plenty of people can use the top of my head as an armrest. I’m ok with being short, so I proudly wear my maxis.

Apart from the silk crepe de chine Anna maxi I made last year, though, there haven’t been a lot of maxis in my handmade radar these days. Which is a damn shame, considering how FUN they are to wear (speaking of that Anna maxi… I wore it to prom this year. Yes, you read that right.). There are a few sewing patterns lurking around, but most are either designed for knits or in the shape of a damn tube. So you can imagine that I was pretty excited when Sewaholic came out with a maxi skirt pattern. PRAISE JESUS, the maxi of my dreams!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I know I can always count on Tasia to dream up some classic pattern with a twist – and this one is no exception. Gabriola is designed with angled panels that sit closely at the waist and hip, flaring out to a dramatic skirt that hits the floor. No straight tube here! The pattern is pretty simple to construct, assuming you are using a stable woven fabric.

My particular rendition was not so simple. It took me a good two weeks to get this completed, and I considered punching a lot of things in the process. It was TOTALLY worth it, though – look at that floaty drape! Yeeeeahh!!!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I based this skirt off another maxi I owned and wore the shit out of for a good two years. The maxi in question was a vintage skirt I found at the thrift store (or, rather, Lauren found and generously let me have it before I ripped it out of her hands). I LOVED that skirt. It was silk georgette, lined in sheer polyester – it was so floaty and fun to wear, and it went with practically everything in my closet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit me anymore – and I had no intentions on trying to resize it to fit. I’d rather just give the skirt a new home and make another one! So that’s exactly what I did (and the skirt is quite happy in it’s new home, thanks for asking ;)).

I found this fabric while I was in NY… it’s one of the few pieces that I *didn’t* buy from Mood Fabrics, ha! It was from Fabrics For Less, and I paid $5 a yard for it. It’s polyester georgette, and quite sheer, so I also grabbed some navy china silk lining from my good pal Sam at Chic Fabrics.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Like I said, sewing this skirt up was a BEAST. I technically had to sew two, since it needed a lining. The polyester georgette was not difficult to sew – the crepe texture gave it some good grip, so it didn’t slide around much. It did fray like crazy, though, and it resisted pressing. I had to use high heat (my iron has a shoe, so poly can totally handle that shit) and hold the seams open with a clapper while they cooled. Even then, it doesn’t look completely pressed. Wah.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The china silk was the real hardass of this project. I’ve said before that sewing china silk handles about as well as sewing butterfly wings (or… so I’d imagine) and I 100% stand by that statement. That shit is sooo difficult! It’s thin, it’s lightweight, and it wants to go flying everywhere except under the presser foot at the seam allowance. On the flip side, it does press quite well πŸ™‚ So, sewing the lining was rough. Not rough enough for me to swear off china silk forever – it is a great lightweight lining and it feels AMAZING – but hey, don’t make your first Gabriola out of china silk. Just don’t.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I also french-seamed every single one of those long skirt panels. Again – this is the skirt that took forever. Again – totally worth it.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

As far as the rest of the construction – nothing groundbreaking here. I sewed the size 0 and cut about 5″ off the finished length. I did not french seam the yoke pieces; just pinked the edges and pressed them open – since the skirt is fully lined, you don’t see any raw edges. I guess I could have done that with the panel seams too, instead of essentially sewing them twice, but whatever. I finally got to bust out my sheer fusible interfacing for the waistband (I used black), and I love how it adds stability without a bunch of bulk. I swapped out the standard zipper for an invisible zip, and I closed the top with a hook and eye. It’s far from being my best make – the fabric shiftiness, combined with the polyester’s inability to press, makes for some wonky seaming on my part – but it’s pretty lovely nonetheless and I am totally happy with how it turned out.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I hemmed it a little on the short side, just so I can walk up stairs without tripping.

So… do you want to see the swish? YES YES YOU DO.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

GOD, I love it!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Here you can better see the yoke detailing. Unfortunately, I can’t get rid of that weird wrinkle at the point – it’s not a pucker, the fabric is completely flat. It’s just wrinkled. No amount of steaming/clapping would get it out. You don’t notice it so much when I’m wearing the skirt, so that’s good!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The invisible zip went in flawlessly.

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The instructions for this skirt do not include adding a lining. Here’s what I did for my lining:
– Sewed the lining the same as the skirt, minus the waistband
– After inserting the invisible zip into the skirt, I sewed the right side of the lining to the zipper tape (remember sewing down the facing in my invisible zip tutorial? Same thing, except no need to worry about turning the corner at the top since the waistband hasn’t been attached yet).
– Flip the whole thing right side out and baste the top of the lining to the top of the skirt
– Attach the waistband as usual
And voila! Fully lined with a clean finish and no hand sewing! Yay!

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Here she is in all her glory πŸ™‚

Gabriola Maxi Skirt

I’m so glad I was able to replace my beloved navy/white polka dot maxi skirt with something that actually fits now! Y’all will be seeing a LOT of this during Me-Made-May! Also, I am totally digging this pattern. Thinking about making a super trendy version with some silk georgette and a shorter lining. We’ll see!

Oh! One more thing before I forget-

Workroom Social is hosting a Pop-up studio in Manhattan May 2-4! There are 3 sewing workshops that will be running (hosted by some of my favorite NY ladies – Sonja, Oona and Fleur!), plus a sit-and-sew with Jennifer, plus a big ol’ sewing swap/meet and greet party (with proceeds going to Rational Animal).

It is my understanding that y’all in Manhattan don’t like to trek out to Brooklyn (and vice versa), so now you have no excuses – Brooklyn is coming to you! πŸ˜€ If you are in the area, you should definitely GO – because I’m already totally jealous and butthurt that I can’t be there too πŸ™‚ You can get all the info and RSVP here!