Tag Archives: completed

Completed: Cherry Print Knit Boylston Bra

4 Apr

What’s up everyone! I’m bringing it back a little old school today with a lingerie project – yes! I haven’t shared one of these in ages, since I feel like they can get a little redundant to talk about (I mean for me specifically, as the writer. How many times can you discuss the same pattern repeatedly before you get bored as hell? Yeahhh I’m not doing that!). But this project in particular is a little different and I think warrants its own blog discussion. So here we are!

Also, side note – I’m in the airport lounge as I write this and despite trying to find a sneaky little place where no one could see behind me, I think I failed and undoubtedly there is someone who is watching me upload photos of my underwear to the internet. So, there’s that too.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, about the bra in question! This is the Boylston pattern from Orange Lingerie. I’ve made this pattern a few times in the past, but it has admittedly been a minute since I whipped one up. My cup size has changed in the past couple of years, and while I wasn’t entirely sure what the new size was, I knew it wasn’t whatever I had been previously sewing. This is a balconette-style pattern, but it was, um, VERY balconette on me haha. I know one of the biggest hesitations that people have with starting to sew lingerie is the understanding that your first project(s) may not fit! And while I totally believe that it’s not an absolute waste if you were able to learn from the process, it still really sucks to make something that doesn’t fit the way you intended! This is where I stood with Boylston (and honestly, most bra patterns) until I finally sucked it up and just tried out a cup size bigger to see what would happen. And guess what?? EVERYTHING WAS FINE.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

So that’s where this bra comes into play! I made the size 30DD, which is exactly the right amount of cup coverage (finally!). For fabric, this bra is made with… wait for it… jersey knit! Yes! Ever since this pattern was released, I have been DYING to try it in a jersey, which I believe was originally suggested by Norma in the big reveal. Since this pattern relies on foam cups, you can use pretty much any fabric as that area is already stabilized. I fell in love with the idea, but honestly, it took me almost this long to find a fabric that I felt deserved to be made into a bra.

My jersey knit is from Mood Fabrics and it was one of those last-minute purchases that grabbed my attention when I was filling up my cart and I just couldn’t say no. Y’all know I love a good cherry print – however, I don’t wear light blue. But it was on saleeee and it was cherriessss and I just… well it arrived at my house and I had to do something with it. This print was a great contender for turning into a bra as it is reasonably stable (not super flimsy and lightweight, like the knits I like to wear as garments) and the print is small so it’s not totally cut up by the pattern pieces. This specific fabric is unfortunately sold out, but Mood Fabrics has tons of other fun prints available on their website. The Cotton Jersey Prints specifically is the line that I pulled this one from, FYI!

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

After I pre-washed my fabric, I cut a small yardage off and block fused the entire thing with lightweight fusible weft interfacing. I wanted the knit fabric to be stable so that it would be easy to handle, and also work for a bra pattern (this pattern does not call for stretch fabrics, except at the very back band, so you want to stabilize your fabric in order for the garment to fit properly). Once the fabric was fused, I then cut all my pieces except for the back band (which, again, needs to remain stretchy). I also cut the cups out of foam, the bridge and frame pieces with sheer cup lining, and the back band pieces with medium weight powermesh. I like my bras to be lined (hence the sheer cup lining) and the powermesh was needed to keep the uninterfaced knit back pieces from stretching out over time.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Once all that was cut, this project sat in a WIP box for about a month. Ha! (not for lack of wanting to sew – but for traveling + moving house!) But once I was back in Sew Mode, this came together in a couple of hours! I raided my stash for notions and was pretty pleased with how well everything matches! I’m actually trying not to stash lingerie notions anymore (it can be really obnoxious to have everything you need for a project except some weird width of elastic in a particular color, or whatever) and in the future will just buy on a per-project basis. But in the meantime – I need to work through my stash. Other than the cherry fabric, this was 100% a stash-busting project! Yeah!

One question I get pretty frequently whenever I post a lingerie project is whether the pattern (whatever pattern I’m sewing) is good for a first-time bra sewer. While I do generally recommend Orange Lingerie as a good resource for first bra patterns (my first bra was a Marlborough!), I honestly would not recommend the Boylston for your *very* first. Making and inserting the foam cups can be a little confusing, and if you’re already embarking on a new adventure in lingerie then you probably don’t want to add any more stress than necessary! Once you’ve sewn up a bra or two and understand the general idea of how they are put together, though, I think this is a great next project!

After I finished the bra, I had enough fabric left over to make some matching undies!

Acacia Undies made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

I used the knit fabric (uninterfaced, to retain the stretch), and finished the edges with red fold over elastic. The pattern is the Acacia Underwear from Megan Nielsen patterns. These were super fast to sew and look really cute with my new bra!

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

I actually have tons of this fabric leftover (I think I bought 2 yards and lingerie sewing just barely sips on fabric yardage), so I may make some matching knit PJs. It’s a little too thick for what I like to wear as a tshirt, and the color isn’t something I’d reach for in the every day – but who knows, maybe wearing this set will change my mind 😉

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, I think I’ve waxed poetic enough about this pattern *and* I’m pretty sure they just swapped out breakfast for lunch at the buffet which I desperately need to investigate so consider this blog post officially done!

Have you tried this pattern before in a knit fabric?

** Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Competed: Wiksten Haori

14 Mar

Good morning, everyone! I started this post a couple of weeks ago while I was waiting in the airport, and I’m just now finding time to revisit (naturally, while in the airport AGAIN. Yes, class season is ramping back up woohoo!). My February has been weirdly busy – I worked on two massive photoshoots, and also represented the Craft South booth at Quilt Con here in Nashville! On a more personal note, February was the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s passing, and, as it did last year, shit hit me like a ton of bricks. And finally, I bought a house! I closed last week and have been tackling my to-do list like crazy to get everything ready before I move in.

The bad news is – there has been very little time for sewing (to be honest – I haven’t touched my sewing machine since, well, February!). But the good news is – a new studio is a-coming 😉 I took some photos of a couple of completed projects so I have something to share here, now the challenge is finding the time to sit down and type everything up!

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Today’s offering is something that has been finished since January, which means it has gotten a lot of use during recent months. My current house (the rental that I’m fixin to move out of), is a beautiful 1935 stone Tudor. Built before central a/c (which has been retrofitted in this house now, thank god!), and located in a very hot part of the country – this is a house that was designed to stay cool. It’s quite lovely in the summer, but LORD it stays chilly in the winter! And due to the old windows, plaster walls, and overall poor insulation – there’s not really much of a point in trying to keep the place warm, as the (really expensive, I should add) gas heat just slips right out. So I spend most of my winters wrapped in robes, electric blankets, and rolling a space heater around each room. Not gonna lie – as much as I love this house, the chill is one thing I will NOT miss! I’ve been wearing the robe I made when I first moved in, but it’s always made me feel like… well, like I’m wearing pajamas. Don’t get me wrong – it is warm and cozy and certainly serves its purpose, but I don’t even like to answer the door in this thing because I know it straight-up looks like I rolled out of bed when I have it on. I do work from home, but I still put on “real” clothes and style my hair. Wearing PJs makes me feel like I am having a sick day, and that’s exactly the vibes this robe was giving me. I wanted to make something that would serve a purpose of keeping me warm while inside my house, but still look pulled together enough to wear outside the house should I choose to do so.

So, anyway – that was an unnecessarily long intro to tell you that I made a Wiksten Haori, which is sort of like a literal house coat as far as I’m concerned.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

This plaid flannel from Mood Fabrics has been rolling around in my stash for about 2 years now. I originally bought it to make an Archer button-up, but upon receiving I realized it was a bit too heavy for a shirt – and also a bit too light to be a proper coat. I’ve hung onto it since, and while some pattern contenders have certainly caught my eye, it has remained uncut this entire time. Once I acknowledged my need for a house coat, I remembered this fabric and decided to give it a go. Being a nice thick wool flannel, it is perfect for this application – it is warm and cozy, but still reasonably lightweight. And the colors just make so me happy (even if they don’t necessarily coordinate well with my all-black-tragic-goth look that I typically wear in the winter). I bought this fabric long ago enough that it is no longer available, but Mood Fabrics has tons of other lovely wool flannels to choose from should you want to make your own!

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

This jacket is fully lined, and rather than go with a traditional slippery lining, I kept things casual with a matching lightweight cotton voile. This jacket is oversized enough that it’s easy to put on (including the sleeves), and the nature of how this is sewn means that it is completely reversible. Also, cotton voile is incredibly easy to handle, which made the sewing on this jacket a total breeze.

For the pattern, I sewed a size XS based on my measurements, although in retrospect I think the XXS might have been a little better. This is a nice oversized fit that works over multiple layers, but the sleeves are a bit wide and they get in the way when I’m trying to wash the dishes (or even my hands, for that matter). I usually wear them slightly rolled up to bracelet length, so they are out of the way but can easily be rolled down if I need the extra warmth. I waffled on which length to sew (there are 3 lengths included in the pattern) but ultimately decided on the happy medium of the mid-length. I’m pretty satisfied with this decision, and I had just enough fabric to make everything work.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

I used the main fabric for the neckband, rather than the lining contrast, as the pattern calls for. I also opted to not interface the neckband pieces, since my wool flannel is so thick and didn’t really need the extra support. This also gives the jacket a bit of a softer structure, which I think is nice for a house robe. For visual interest, I cut the pockets on the bias. Since they are lined with che cotton voile cut on the straight grain, they should stay supported and not stretch out.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

So. About this fabric. It was super easy to sew + press (it is, after all, wool flannel), but in retrospect this pattern really isn’t suited for a plaid design. I promise I actually did try to match the plaid lines – which was reasonably successful at the side seams, but failed miserably anywhere the sleeves were involved. OH WELL. I figure – this is a house coat, I don’t give a shit if it’s less than perfect. Even with mismatched plaid lines, it is still lightyears ahead of of the old fuzzy robes I used to wear.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

I made this jacket out of a pretty desperate need (it was quickly getting cold and I couldn’t face another winter of wearing my old robe around the house), which means the sewing was a little rushed. The pattern is super easy – it’s just a series of rectangles, for the most part – but I always find rushed sewing to be kind of unpleasant. To be completely honest with y’all, I did not really enjoy sewing this jacket at all specifically for that reason. Plus, when I finished it and put it on for the first time, I was pretty underwhelmed with how it looked on me. It is REALLY oversized and boxy, which isn’t necessarily a look that I tend to gravitate to. It is, however, very comfortable – and very warm – and as far as the type of garment I was aiming to make, it pretty much fit the bill perfectly.

I will say – despite my initial reaction after finishing, this jacket has really grown on me! Like I said, it is warm and comfortable – like being wrapped in a cozy blanket. The pockets are absolutely enormous, too – like, big enough to hide a kitten in (I think. Does anyone have a kitten I can borrow to test this theory?). I’ve taken to wearing this when I need to pop out to the grocery store or to check the mail, and the pockets are really useful for replacing my need to carry a purse. So, this is basically a blanket with storage. Like, what more do you need in life?

** Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

13 Feb

I don’t think I need to introduce anyone to the sewing superstar Gertie, right? The sewing blogger, pattern writer, fabric designer, and workshop leader WHO LOOKS LIKE A LITERAL PORCELAIN DOLL (not even exaggerating… it would be maddening if she wasn’t also an incredibly delightful person to interact with!)? Yes. That one. If you don’t know who she is – well, welcome to the online sewing community! Now read up on the OG superstars!

I’ve followed Gertie for years – she’s actually the reason why I started my blog! – and cheered her on with every new business venture. While my tastes have definitely skewed away from vintage style, I still really love to see the stuff that she puts out. When Gertie was in Nashville last year for a workshop, she brought a few patterns from her new line, Charm Patterns, and I picked up the Rita blouse to try out. I like this pattern that it does look vintage, but not quite so costumey (no hate on y’all who do the costumey vintage; I fucking LOVE it but it just really isn’t a style I like to wear these days).

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

I always get bored with sewing winter stuff around this time of year – although I feel like this year it started a bit earlier. I’m also making a bigger effort to work my way through my stash, both patterns and fabric. I remembered this pattern a couple of weeks ago and decided to sew a test version. When I bought the pattern, I originally envisioned using a beautiful Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk with it, but I wanted to try the pattern with a less precious fabric before committing.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

The test fabric is actually… wait for it… fabric from Gertie’s fabric line! Ha! I don’t see it available on her website now, but it’s a lightweight cotton with a really brilliant, colorful print. I received this fabric as the winner of a giveaway on Gertie’s old blog, back in like… 2015. Ouch. I actually got a few fabrics, as well Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Truth be told, this fabric isn’t completely my style… I don’t wear lot of florals, I don’t wear much black in the summer (and to me, this is a summer print) and I also don’t wear this shade of blue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely fabric… it just doesn’t fit well with my wardrobe. And, of course, I got something crazy like 4 yards of it. So when I was looking for a fabric to use in a test Rita, I rediscovered this piece and thought – eh, why not? No huge loss if it doesn’t work out, but I’ll still prob wear it if it *does*.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

I’ve never sewn a Charm Pattern before, so I paid close attention to the size chart when choosing my size. There isn’t a lot of guidance on how to choose your size, so I just went with what my measurements are. The part I found most confusing was the underbust measurement – it seemed really tiny. And with a 27″ underbust, mine is already quite small! I was a little concerned about the amount of ease there, as I didn’t want it to be too tight if I take a deep breath. I ended up going with a size 4 and a C cup, again, this is based off my measurements.

I think the fit is pretty much spot on. There’s a little bit of ease around the waist, a lot of ease at the bust for all those gathers, and the bottom flares out a little for your hips. I think the pattern looks and fits exactly as it was intended to. And as far as the underbust – it’s perfectly comfortable. So yay for that!

Construction-wise, this was easy to sew. The hardest part was feeding the elastic through the channeling – the pattern has you create a 3/8″ wide channel for the 1/4″ elastic, and I must have made mine a bit smaller than that as I had a really hard time getting my elastic to relax out completely despite lots and lots of effort. I ended up shortening the elastic around the arms by about 1″ and the neckline something like 4″. I feel the arms are ok, but the neckline is slightly tighter than I’d like and it feels like it wants to pull up at the bust.

I serged all the seams as a sewed them (together, not pressed open like the pattern suggests. This is a test blouse, ain’t nobody got time for that!). There is an invisible zipper at the side; mine is a little shorter than the pattern calls for as it was all I had in my stash, but I don’t have any problem getting in or out of the shirt.

This was a quick project; I had everything traced and cut in about an hour, then the blouse sewn up the next afternoon minus the hems. Hemmed it the next morning and wore it out to see a friend that afternoon. Not too bad!

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

So… I think the blouse does look cute, and I like the way it looks in photos. I’m still not totally convinced that it is something I want to wear, though, both in style and due to fabric choice. It feels a little dressier than what I’m accustomed to. I originally envisioned wearing this tucked into my black pants, but the side invisible zipper makes a weird lump when I tuck it (this may not be an issue with something that is a true high waist – like, over the belly button). It doesn’t look bad untucked, but I’m not crazy about it. I like it, but I don’t LOVE it. And I have decided that there isn’t space in my wardrobe for things that I don’t actually love. I have enough clothes as it is!

I think I may actually remove part of the bottom and attach a skirt to it, and just turn the entire thing into a dress. I think that might be a better use of this fabric (especially since I have so much more of it leftover!) and I would enjoy wearing that more than the top. It would certainly be fun to wear in the summer, and lord knows I won’t wear pants when it’s hot out! And yeah it’s gonna be costumey AF, but I’m kind of loving that idea.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Anyway, just thinking out loud! In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t use my special D&G fabric to make this as, like I said, I’m not 100% on the style. I am interested to see if that opinion changes when I swap out for a skirt. I need to dig through my patterns and see if I have something suitable, and I will return with an update!

Completed: Papercut Patterns Palisade Pants

31 Jan

I think I told y’all last year how much I love the new Geo Collection from Papercut Patterns. In case you missed it – I LOVE THE NEW GEO COLLECTION FROM PAPERCUT PATTERNS! As a shameless Papercut Fangirl, I am of course extremely biased regardless, but it is honestly a great collection. I’ve made the Pinnacle Top (twice, actually!), and the Fjord Cardigan (unblogged!), and now I’ve got some fresh new Palisade Pants to add to the mix!

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

I just think this pattern is so cool! I love the relaxed (but not oversized) shape, with the interesting pocket detail and elastic waist that doesn’t go all the way around (personally, I find a flat front to be more… well, flattering). These are very similar to the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde pants, with a different pocket shape and, again, a flat front with no elastic. Both pants have the same high waist and seams running down the front and back leg.

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

As much as I love a fitted pant, I didn’t want these to be too tight in the hip so I went with a size XS (based on my measurements). I ended up taking an additional 1/4″ out of the inseam to tighten up the legs ever so slightly (I don’t generally mess with the inseam, however, these pants do not have side seams), but I am very happy with how the hip and waist fits. FWIW, I did use the suggested elastic measurement and it fits perfectly without being too tight.

I made a muslin of the shorts before cutting into my fabric, because I wasn’t sure how these would fit on my body. I actually do own a pair of Clyde pants (from way back when I still worked at ES), and I always felt like the crotch was a little too long on me, so I went ahead and sewed up a test pair before committing. My test pair is actually a fully-finished wearable muslin – I used cotton bottomweight fabric, as well as the suggested interfacing, elastic, and topstitching details. So I also basically have a new pair of shorts when summer comes around haha. My sample showed that I did need to take some of the crotch length out – a full 1.5″ (crotch length refers to the measurement from front waist to back waist spanning the crotchal area, NOT the length from crotch to waist when you sit down, which is considered crotch depth. See this image for a visual) (also, every time I type crotch I accidentally type crochet instead what is wrong with me). Before you start wringing your hands on the mysteries of pants-fitting, please be aware that this is not an adjustment I see a lot of people make (and I touched a LOT of crotches last year during all my workshops). If you do need it, the explanation and process of how to fix are best outlined in Pants For Real People, which I recommend checking out for further questions!

ANYWAY, the amount that I took off the length was easily adjusted (albeit in a very hacky way) to my shorts, so yes, those are still wearable! One more adjustment I made to the pants was to change the crotch curve, as it was a little flat for my body (this is indicated by vertical folds in the fabric in a very unflattering spot). This was not necessary in my sample, but did show more prominently in my finished pants – probably because the fabric has more drape. The front still isn’t completely flat if I stand a certain way, but I think that’s pretty unavoidable with this soft fabric + pants shape combination.

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

Construction changes were minor. I wanted to keep the fabric soft, so I omitted about half of the interfacing (anywhere that there would be double layers of interfacing). This included the pockets and the center front waistband. In retrospect, I probably should have left the double layer of interfacing on the waistband as it does get a crease with wear, but, whatever. I used a lightweight fusible weft interfacing, which is pretty much my go-to for most fabrics.

I left off the mock fly (for aesthetic reasons), and just topstitched the center front and center back seams. I also added some topstitching to the back elastic, to keep it from twisting. And I also unintentionally shortened the pants when I shortened the crotch depth, so they are about 1.5″ shorter than the pattern – which thankfully is the perfect length for me haha.

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

My fabric is a gorgeous wool suiting that I bought from Mood Fabrics when I was in NY last month for Christmas. I only had one day in Manhattan, and my mom agreed to go with me while I did a quick little shop around the Garment District. Mood has tons of great wool suitings on their website, but I wanted to see the goods in person so I could get a nice feel for drape, weight, itchiness, and color. I knew I wanted something soft, lightweight, non-itchy (as I would not be lining these) and with a little bit of dimension and texture that didn’t look too suit-like. This stuff hit all those boxes, and only cost around $20/yard. It was wide, too, so the 2 yards I bought were more than enough for these pants – meaning I have leftovers to whip up something else if the mood strikes.

I actually pre-washed my wool – like, in the washing machine – because I wanted to see what would happen. Generally, wool felts due to heat combined with agitation, so I used cold water and low heat in the dryer. I didn’t measure before/after to see if anything shrunk, but this definitely isn’t felted so it worked out ok! When I wash the actual pants, I will use cold water in the washer and hang them to dry (how I treat most of my wool garments, except for handknit sweaters obviously).

The wool was really easy to sew, as wool tends to be. I suspect there is some poly blended in here, though, since it didn’t press as well as most wools do (this would also explain why the fabric was fine in the dryer when I pre-washed). I used high heat and a clapper to hold the seams down while they cooled, then for extra credit I topstitched as much as possible to keep the seams nice and flat. To sew, I used a universal 80/12 needle and finished all seams with my serger.

Palisade Pants made with Mood Fabrics

I think that about covers it! This was a fun project to make, and I really like how the pants turned out. I’m still undecided if these are really “me,” but I’ve worn them for the past 2 days while we’ve had a cold snap in Nashville and they are warm and comfortable. I do want to try this pattern with a fabric better suited for warmer weather – such as linen or tencel – and perhaps in a cropped length or even the shorts. The pocket detail just makes me so happy.

Oh! And in case you were curious – the shirt I am wearing is a mash-up of the Nikko Top and the Nettie Bodysuit. I basically just combined the bottom edge of the shirt with the lower half of the body suit, to make a Nikko Bodysuit. This piece has been really useful in my wardrobe – it looks great with high-waisted skirts and pants, and stays tucked in no matter which way I move. I made it with lightweight merino wool fabric, also from Mood Fabrics, and I love it so much!

**Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: The Quart Coat, in Alexander McQueen Fabric

14 Dec

Well y’all. This post has been a LONG time coming – hopefully it was worth the wait!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

I made a coat! Big whoop, amirite? It’s been a minute since I sewed a real coat – I just don’t live in a climate that warrants a serious need for multiple coats. Which is a bummer because I really LOVE sewing me some coats! And I actually sewed two this year – but I just want to talk about this one first. Like I said, it has been a long time in the making!

I received this fabric way back in May of 2016, actually! It took me a solid year to decide what I wanted to make with it, then nearly another year to actually start the project. And while I finished this earlier in 2018 (in February, it appears) – it has taken me this long to get some photographs of it! So yeah, this might be my longest project to date!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So – a little bit about the fabric! This fabric is actually Alexander McQueen coating from a prior collection. It is 100% wool, solid black, and has laser printed skulls all over that you really only see in certain lighting. I wasn’t able to find what this fabric was used for in AM’s collections, but it’s essentially a medium weight (on the lighter side of medium weight, to be specific) coating. It’s super, super amazing.

The coating was actually given to me – you know, back in 2016 – courtesy of my friend Anokhee. She originally bought it from Darrell Thomas Textiles in Ottawa, Canada (where she also teaches!). If you are thinking “wow Lauren that’s a really fucking generous gift” YOU WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I was floored when I received the fabric, and am honestly still a bit dazzled every time I wear my coat. I didn’t really know Anokhee that well when she sent me the fabric – we were email/internet buddies, seeing as she lives in Canada and I’m in Nashville – but this year, I actually got to hang out with her several times when I was in Canada to teach my Jeans Workshops at Darrell Thomas Textiles! I’ve even sat in her hot tub, so, basically, yes she’s an amazing friend.

And speaking of Darrell Thomas Textiles – if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen this name pop up a few times. Darrell’s shop gets some of the BEST high-end designer fabric I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been really lucky to be the recipient of a few special pieces, as well as be able to shop there in person! In addition to this McQueen fabric, I’ve gotten some amazing Dolce & Gabbana prints (stay tuned for a blog post on one of them!), as well as pieces from Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and other gorgeous pieces that aren’t necessarily attributed to a specific designer but are still stunning as hell. While these pieces definitely, absolutely are not cheap – they are unique, special, and high-quality. I realize this post just sounds like a giant advertisement, so I’m gonna stop now, but – just wow. Check out his Instagram if you want some eye-candy to creep on.

Ok, back to my coat!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So, yes, I hemmed and hawed when it came to cutting this fabric! First, I couldn’t decide on a pattern. Then, I went through a lot of second-guessing with the fit, post-muslin. Once I powered through and cut all the (many, many) pieces, the actual construction of this garment went pretty quickly (according to my Instagram – it took about two weeks!). I don’t generally second-guess myself and I rarely treat my fabric like it is some kind of precious gold, but in this case, I am glad I took my time to figure out exactly what I wanted because the finished coat is basically perfect as far as I’m concerned!

The pattern I chose is the Quart Coat from Pauline Alice Patterns. I love the military look of this style, and I felt it would pair well with my McQueen fabric. Especially since my fabric can look either solid black or covered in skulls, depending on the light!

I cut a 36, and my preliminary muslin looked preeetty good except that there were some light pulls near the bust, which is usually indicative of needing a full bust adjustment. For the life of me, I could NOT find a way to add room at the bust with these particular pattern pieces! The princess seams come out of the arm hole, not over the bust, and every tutorial I found (or reference in my dozens of fit books) only covered the latter. And half of them wanted to add a dart – which I didn’t want in my coat. I tried several different things and agonized for months. I knew this fabric was expensive, hard to come by, and I wanted to do it right! But you know what? I ultimately decided, fuck it, and went ahead and cut the coat. Part of this was because the drag lines were indeed really subtle – super minor. The other part was me realizing that muslin doesn’t have the same “give” that regular garment fabrics do, and there was a good chance those minor fitting issues would be resolved by simply using a different fabric. I’m not always right, but I was right in this case. The wrinkles disappeared, the coat looks fabulous, and life goes on.

After getting past that and cutting aaaaalll those pieces, I was ready to sew! I actually started a little log to keep track of how long my progress was taking. JUST THE PREP ALONE (cutting, marking, underlining, etc) took 8.5 hours! I stopped keeping track after that (ha!) but I always tell this to people when they suggest I do some custom sewing for them. Bitch, u can’t afford me.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Since the coating is on the lighter weight side, I opted to underline all my pieces with a cotton flannel. This adds a layer of support (necessary as this is a quite structured coat) as well as additional warmth. I used a Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel for this purpose; I had purchased it with the intention of another project that I ended up scrapping. If you’re curious, this is the specific flannel I used inside my coat haha. While I find Mammoth Flannel to be really reasonably priced (and it is SO NICE!), it is a bit expensive to use as underlining. That said, I already had the fabric so I didn’t see any point in buying something else, even if it did cost less.

Underlining definitely took the longest. I like to underline by hand, which means a looong time of sitting at my cutting table, with endless hand-basting. I use cotton thread (silk is nice too, but cotton is what I had on hand!) and create long basting stitches, which are then removed as the pieces are sewn together. After the pieces are sewn by machine, I trimmed all the flannel from the seam allowances and then catchstitched the seam allowances down (again, by hand) to keep them nice and flat. It’s a lot of extra effort, but this fabric deserves that effort!

The lining is a solid black silk charmeuse, which I bought at Mood Fabrics on one of my many trips to NYC. I love, love LOVE using silk charmeuse for coat linings – it’s heavy and warm, and it looks expensive as hell. Just the way silk charmeuse catches the light when you wave it around delights me to no end. Why I chose black – well, I had considered using a fun lining color, like red or teal. But while shopping, nothing at the store really appealed to me. I also feel like most RTW (not all, but a lot of them) use coordinating and matching linings, rather than contrast. I wanted my coat to look like it could have come from the shop, and also, black on black just looks good.

Since my coat was all black, that gave me a little freedom to choose something more contrasting for the buttons and sleeve zippers – so I went with BRIGHT SHINY GOLD!!! I just love how this turned out, I think it really adds a luxurious touch that isn’t over-the-top. My buttons are from Mood Fabrics (they are actually Marc Jacobs hahahaah!), and my zippers are from Sil Thread (in the NYC Garment District). I spent a long time trying to find hardware that had the same tone and brightness, so they match well.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

A few things about the construction – one, I definitely put the pleats in backwards. Whoops! It doesn’t bother me, but, if you noticed that – yes, I am aware. I did not do any traditional/heavy tailoring with this garment. Part of this is because I just wanted to finish the damn thing – and part of it is because I’ve learned I don’t really like wearing heavily tailored coats. I dunno, they just feel a little too precious to me, and I’m scared I’ll mess them up somehow! Also, my padstitching always ends up going wonky if the coat gets stored with the lapels in the wrong place, and I can’t ever seem to steam them back into submission. So while this coat has some basic tailoring – the fronts are interfaced (with a fusible weft, before I added the underlining), there is a back stay, and I added both shoulder pads and sleeve heads – I left off the fancy stuff like horsehair, padstitching, and bound button holes (just machine ones here!). Sacrilegious? Sure. Whatever you say.

I don’t know what else to say about this project, so just have a photo dump:

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Oh! Here’s another piece from Darrell Thomas Textiles – one of my precious Burberry wools! I actually have two of these (the other one is the classic tan, which I believe they just got a new shipment in at the shop), both of which I made into simple blanket scarves. I started with a yard of fabric, which I cut in half lengthwise and then seamed together (with a flat-felled seam) to create a rectangle that is 28″ wide by 70″ long. I then hemmed the two long sides with a 1/2″ seam folded twice and edgestitched down. On the tan scarf, I also hemmed the short ends – and on this one, I teased out a little fringe! I have always wanted one of these Burberry scarves – and while the fabric was not cheap (I don’t remember the exact amount, I think it’s somewhere in the realm of $150-$170 CAD per yard), it is definitely cheaper than buying from Burberry! And it’s basically a giant blanket, which is the best thing ever 🙂

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So, there’s the long story saga of my Alexander McQueen coat! Cheers to you if you’re still here reading 🙂 Big thanks to Anokhee for her incredibly generous gifts – both the fabric and for introducing me to the wonder that is Darrell Thomas Textiles! Another giant thanks to my student Elisa, who graciously took these photos for me during my workshop at Stitch Sew Shop earlier this month! In closing, I will leave you with this beautiful cheese plate that we destroyed immediately after:

and a cheese plate <3

Have a great day, everyone!

Completed: Pinnacle Sweatshirt

11 Dec

Have y’all seen the new Geo Collection from Papercut Patterns? It’s no big secret that I am a DIEHARD Papercut Fangirl, but this recent collection really blew me away more than usual (which is saying a lot!). I love everything that was released and have many plans!

To start, I wanted to try out the Pinnacle Top. I find this pattern really interesting as it can be made with either a woven or a knit, which really changes the finished look! I love the geometric design on the front, and the pattern itself has some crazy looking pieces that come together in a very origami-like fashion. Pretty standard of Papercut Patterns, which is part of what I find so appealing about them!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I really want to try the v-neck version of this pattern, in a soft linen or even a drapey silk – but for this time of year, the sweatshirt is king. I love that I can sew my own sweatshirts, which gives me the ability to add cool design features or use fancy fabrics. Nothing like the basic stuff I wore when I was a kid! And this pattern looked like it would be fun to put together, and I assumed correctly.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I had this super soft bamboo French Terry in my stash that I purchased from Mood Fabrics earlier this year… it comes in a load of amazing colors, and while I WANTED to stick with my TNT black/grey colorways, I went a little wild and ended up with 2 yards of Moroccan Blue. Almost more like a teal, this is a very deep, rich blue. I love it and I’m happy to report it’s seamlessly worked its way into coordinating with *most* of my wardrobe (unlike some colors that I try out and then realize I have nothing to wear them with!).

The fabric itself is amazing. Like I said, it is super soft on both sides, thanks to the bamboo. The terry loops are very fine and small, which means the fabric isn’t bulky – but it is dense and heavy. It also has a great amount of 4 way stretch, which makes me think this would be an ideal fabric for lounge pants (leggings, joggers, whatever keeps ya warm on the couch). At $20/yard, it certainly is not cheap – but it’s super fucking wide (I still have quite a bit left from my 2 yard cut after making this sweatshirt) and it washes and wears great. The only downside I have noticed is that it does wrinkle when you store it folded in the drawer – which is easily solved by tossing it in the dryer for a few minutes before wearing (and bonus, it’s like PUTTING ON A HUG! omg you guys why I am I so alone). Traveling or don’t have a dryer? Laying it out flat in the bathroom while taking a hot shower also does the trick!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I’m sorry, I don’t know how I ended up with so many of what is basically the same picture. It’s either feast or famine when it comes to me and my camera, deal with it.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

So, the pattern piece for this shirt is really interesting! It’s GIGANTIC (which means you really do need to pay attention to the fabric requirements), and goes together in a way that makes a shirt with no shoulder seams. The pieces are assembled with center front seams (in the form of this cool-ass triangle) and a center back seam, then closed with side seams (which gives you the chance to tweak the fit a little if needed). I made mine with one piece of fabric, although the geometric design on the front would lend itself well to colorblocking. For a little added interest, I used the wrong side out on the top triangle of my shirt, so you can see the texture of the French terry there, but the shirt in general is pretty monochromatic otherwise.

I sewed a size XS based on my measurements, which gives a nice, roomy fit. For future makes, I may side down to the XXS as I feel like I’m swimming a little in this version.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Construction-wise, not much to report here. I sewed this almost entirely my serger, which made this a really fast and efficient make. My one tip is to be careful with where the seams intersect at the center front, and baste them in place (either by machine or by hand) before sewing them for real. The seamlines matching are pretty essential to this shirt looking good, and if you baste them first, you can rip them out if they don’t match up!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt a lot since I finished it – it’s perfect for staying cozy around the house, but also looks pulled-together if I need to step out or have an unexpected delivery. Secret pajamas are always a go in my world!

*Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!