Tag Archives: wool

Completed: OAL2015 (M6887 dress + Vianne sweater)

31 Jul

MY GOD, you guys. I am so happy I got this finished in time for the OAL deadline! I’ve had the dress finished for a couple of weeks now, but I worried about that sweater as the time drew closer! I ended up needing to take a couple marathon days in order to finish, but I did finish! And now I’ve got an outfit to show y’all!

OAL2015 - M6887I’ll start with the dress. Again, this is McCall’s 6887, which I used cotton ikat fabric from Mood Fabrics to make it up with (this isn’t a Mood Fabrics allowances fabric; I bought this on my own dime while I was in NY last year). I used the version with the back cut-out, as well as the cap sleeves, omitted the lining in favor of bias facing, and added pockets. I’m not going to go into detail about the construction, since there’s a whole series of blog posts on the making of this dress! You can see them all here:

We are just gonna look at pictures instead. Btw, I walked through a lot of spiderwebs to take these. Appreciate me, dammit. OAL2015 - M6887

OAL2015 - M6887OAL2015 - M6887

OAL2015 - M6887OAL2015 - M6887

OAL2015 - M6887Now for the sweater part! OAL2015 - Vianne

Vianne is a sweet little top-down cardigan with lace details and a open mesh back. It’s supposed to be knitted up in DK weight yarn, but I used Cascade 220 worsted weight and was able to get gauge using size 6 needles. I knit the size XS, and the only modification I made to the pattern was to knit full-length sleeves. As in, I followed the sleeve directions and just kept knitting/decreasing until they were long enough. I’ve found that I don’t have much need for 3/4 sleeves – if I’m cold enough to wear a sweater, I am cold enough to need the full sleeve – so I went with long sleeves. I did keep the mesh back, though. The mesh back is awesome. I found the mesh+lace a little confusing to follow, so I used a bunch of stitch markers to stay on track and that helped a lot.

While I normally finish my buttonbands with a strip of petersham ribbon for stability, I did not do that with this cardigan. Vianne is a looser fit on me, and the button bands are so wide that they don’t really stretch when they are buttoned. So I left off the petersham and just sewed the buttons directly on the ribbing. One thing I will say about using a stabilizer with your button band – it makes sewing on the buttons a helluva a lot easier! Oh well! Anyway, the buttons are vintage glass from my stash – I’ve had them for YEARS and been hoarding them for a special project, which I’m happy to have finally found! I only had 4 buttons, so I left off one of the button holes. And by “left off,” I mean I originally knit it and then later closed it up with a slipstitch haha.

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneAs with all of Andi’s patterns, I REALLY enjoyed knitting this sweater! The yarn was so nice to work with (after a long Cascade 220 hiatus, I’m happy to be home! And I’m really happy to find a local source that is still selling it – Ewe & Company, who happen to be located here in Kingston Springs! What are the odds?) and the color is my favorite. The only thing I didn’t like was feeling rushed at the end, but that’s my own damn fault for not pacing myself earlier during the OAL. I’m glad I got it finished in time, at any rate!

As a side note, wrangling the last sleeve of the sweater got me really wanting to start doing seamed knitting. I’ve always been a fan of in-the-round, because it’s so easy, but I’m starting to feel a little comfortable and I’m kind of craving a bit of a challenge. It would be fun to learn how to properly seam a sweater. Not to mention all the pattern possibilities that open up when you’re not hung up on just one particular construction style!OAL2015 - M6887

Anyway, that’s it! Here is Vianne on Ravelry (spoiler: not any more info than what you see here!). Don’t forget to post your finished outfit in the OAL 2015 FO Thread on Ravelry for a chance to win prizes! We have prize donations from Indie Stitches andΒ The McCall Pattern Company, as well as from Andi Satterlund herself (winner’s choice with all of these, so you won’t get stuck with something you don’t want!), and there will be 4 winners. Also, if you have blog posts to share with your FO, post them here so I can see! I need to get my lurk on πŸ˜‰

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Completed: Albion Jacket for Landon

5 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2015! I’d like to start ringing in the new year by showing you something that I made last year (lolz, sorry). It was for Landon, aka unselfish sewing, which makes for a delightful turn of events.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

An Albion jacket! Yay!

Fair warning – we took a lot of photos (if you don’t recognize the background, that’s cos these were taken in the Smoky Mountains! FANCY!), and I had a really hard time narrowing them down. This dude is just so damn gorgeous looking. I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to deal.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Anyway, I initially planned this coat with Landon earlier in 2014 – according to my Mood orders, it was sometime in January/February. We ordered swatches, settled on fabric and design changes, and I made a muslin. That’s when things just stopped and stayed that way. The muslin was all kinds of wrong and I didn’t feel like dealing with it. I was afraid I might have even cut the wrong size. So, I did what seemed like the most logical solution – I shoved everything in a box and didn’t think about it until a couple of weeks ago, when Landon started asking me again about when he might get his coat. Bless his heart.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Enough time had passed to heal my wounds, so I dug out the old muslin and we tried again. The only thing I remembered being wrong was that the sleeves were all kind of haywire – super twisted all down his arm, and the hem went up near his elbow when he raised his arms. I wasn’t sure if the issues were because of how the sleeves were drafted, or if I had just somehow managed to cut the muslin off-grain (totally possible), but I ripped one sleeve off and cut another – on-grain – to test. It must have been a grain issue, because that solved the problem. Other than tweaking a little bit of sizing at various points, and adding some length, the rest of the jacket seemed to fit pretty well. I made one more muslin with all the changes to verify that we were good to go.

As I mentioned, this is the Albion by Colette Patterns. We chose to make the shorter jacket version in a size XS (based on Landon’s measurements and his personal preferences for ease), and added 1/2″ to the side seams for a little more wearing ease (I probably could have cut up one size – but I’d already shredded the remaining tissue, and this was easier. Actually, he says the arm holes fit really well so it’s probably best we stayed with the small size). I also added 1/4″ to the CB fold, just to give him a little more room back there. The sleeves were mostly fine – except I added 1/4″ to the seams below the elbow, and removed 1/8″ above the elbow. I also added 3.5″ to the sleeve length (NO idea why it was so short!). I think those are all the fitting changes I made. Pretty minor stuff.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

The actual construction took almost no time at all! I had it done within about a week, working off and on as I had time. Since it’s not a proper coat, it doesn’t require any sort of crazy tailoring – really just the same techniques you’d use to make, say, a lined dress. I did add a back stay – I just used leftover muslin – to keep the back from stretching out from all those hugz Landon gives me (aw). I also added interfacing to the places where it made sense to include it – the plackets, the sleeve tabs. It seemed weird that the pattern didn’t mention it, but maybe that’s because it’s written for a heavier coating.

For fabric, I used cotton twill for the outer, and plaid wool flannel for the body lining. The sleeves are lined with silk charmeuse (to aid with getting the jacket on, and also for warmth – cotton isn’t very warm, but wool and silk are!).

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I also added an interior patch pocket for his phone, as well as a hanging loop at the back neck. The interior pocket is cut on the bias, but it’s lined with silk cut on the straight grain (to keep it from bagging out as it gets used). For the hanging loop, I just used the pattern piece from the Minoru Jacket. Not trying to reinvent the wheel here!

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I knew I didn’t want to buy toggles (they’re expensive and they never look quite right), so I made them. I started with these horn toggles from Mood Fabrics, and used scrap leather (given to me by Elizabeth) and cotton cording to make them. I just goggled ‘how to make your own toggles’ (I know, I’m so creative) until I found a tutorial I liked – this was the one I used. I attached the cording to the leather patches at both ends, just for additional strength.

To attach the toggles, I marked their placement on the jacket and then stuck them down with double-sided tape. I traced around the entire toggle – patch and all – with chalk (this is helpful so it’s easy to brush off – I like my chaco liner, personally!) to be really sure of the placement, but the tape mostly helped with keeping things in place while I topstitched. I used my #10 edgestitching foot and just sewed really slow, stopping with the needle down when I needed to turn. Didn’t even need to change my needle – the leather was thin enough for the 80/12. Done and done!

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I like the 3 piece hood! I like that it stays put, and it has a nice shape (you know how some hoods just kind of suck in around your head? I hate that.). I cut the center piece on the bias to ~add interest~.

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

I REALLY love the lining! I was initially sad to not keep it for myself (that is one helluva a wool flannel, is all I have to say about that), but it’s really perfect for this coat – and those are totally Landon’s colors. When cutting, I just made sure the side seams were matched and that was good enough (and easy!). I’m also really glad we lined the sleeves in silk, because I can’t imagine how awful it would be to try to pull this thing on without slippery sleeves, yeesh. Plus, silk charmeuse. mmm πŸ™‚

Albion Toggle Jacket for Landon

Anyway, I’m happy to report that Landon loves his coat! He has been wearing it nonstop (seriously put it on as soon as I finished it – to wear around the house hahaha), and been showing it off to all his friends. I’m just happy to make him happy (not to mention be off the hook for another year :P). Oh, and in case you’re wondering – that’s a me-made shirt Landon is wearing, too. Gah, I am the best girlfriend.

**Disclaimer: All fabrics were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. The Albion pattern was given to me as a gift from my sponsor, Indie Stitches.

Completed: Vogue 1419 (At Last!)

18 Nov

Well, no that the V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong has officially wrapped, I guess I can finally show y’all my coat! For those who didn’t catch my post on the Mood Sewing Network yesterday to see my completed coat a day early – your patience is finally being rewarded, including some never-before-seen shots that weren’t included in the original post! How exciting!

Anyway, coat!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

Considering how much I went over the making of this coat at length (see all my posts tagged v1419 here), I won’t be going over the construction so much in this post. If you want more info, feel free to check the tag – or just holler out some questions in the comments (I don’t expect anyone who didn’t actually sew along with the sewalong to have actually read the posts – they were pretty intense, and I find sewalong posts kind of boring if I’m not part of the action, you know? Anyway, snaps to you if you did read the posts! I hope you learned some new coat-making tips and tricks πŸ˜‰ ). Here’s a general rundown of the basic information, for those who are dropping in for the Big Reveal:
Pattern: Vogue 1419
Fabric: From the Mood Fabrics flagship NYC store – I enlisted the help of my favorite Mood dude, George, to assist me in finding my perfect red wool coating – and he knocked it out of the park! This coating is red virgin wool, it’s nice and thick with a great amount of body to give the coat it’s lovely shape. The wool itself is soft and easily malleable (very necessary for all the crazy intersecting seams of this pattern!), and the color is just PERFECT! The pattern itself does not call for lining, but I did add a layer of bright red silk taffeta as an underlining, to help the coat slide on and also as an additional layer of warmth. The contrast (inside binding, bound button holes, belt trim) is also silk taffeta, in a darker red that matches the wool coating. I think it gives a nice bit of textural interest and keeps the coat from being just straight up loud and red. Both silk taffetas were also purchased from the Mood Fabrics store in NYC, and the colors were chosen with the help of George.
Notions: Just thread and buttons! I had my buttons custom-made here in Nashville by a local lady who sells them through Textile Fabrics. Since my coating is SUPER thick (way too thick for those sad little button kits that you can buy), it needed some heavy-duty machinery to get the fabric on. I’ve used this service in the past for previous coat buttons, and the quality is excellent.
Sizing & Alterations: I cut the size 6 and sewed the coat exactly as drafted, except at the waistline where I used a 1/2″ seam allowance instead of the standard 5/8″ (just to give myself a tiny bit of eating room πŸ˜‰ ). I only altered the length – removed 3″ from the hemline and 1″ from the sleeve length.

V1419 Ralph Rucci - Inspiration Watercolor

Here’s my original inspiration, in watercolor πŸ™‚

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

I think it turned out pretty close, if not better! πŸ™‚

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

Don’t you love the photos? These were taken by my friend and fellow knitter, Alannah Arnold, who was almost as excited about this coat as I was! Alannah and I meet with a group of ladies every Monday for a casual (and, um, booze-filled, haha!) knitting night at my favorite local bar. She’s listened to me talk about this coat for weeks at this point – and offered to take photos once it was done. Which is awesome, because they turned out WAY better than anything I could have shot in front of my shed!

I met with her in East Park, in East Nashville, to take these photos. That’s a feat in itself – anyone who knows me, knows I will kick and scream when it comes to crossing the river into East Nashville. Never mind that driving into East Nashville is like driving into Brooklyn – it’s actually not that bad (unless there’s a Titans game – if then, forget about it!), it’s just fun to complain about πŸ™‚ Regardless, East Nashville has the prettiest fall trees, and this park is undeniably beautiful. So, I made some sacrifices (har har) and ended up with a pretty great set of pictures to match my pretty great coat! Yay!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

Ooh, and I even found a Porsche while I was at it πŸ™‚ haha!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

If I haven’t already made it completely obvious – I’m SO happy with my finished coat! Sewing it up was so satisfying, and absolutely worth it. It is very dramatic and theatrical – so it’s a bit excessive for daily wear. I don’t think I’ll be bringing this to London, unfortunately, as it’s definitely not very practical (it’s too fitted to really accommodation multiple layers, plus I could see those bell sleeves getting real annoying real fast after 2 weeks of daily wear). However, it is the PERFECT topper for all these upcoming holiday parties that are just around the corner πŸ˜‰

Let’s also not forget how this is one of few instances where sewing can actually save you money – this coat cost less than $200 in materials, whereas the original designer version has been rumored to run closer to $10,000. Sure, making a little cotton sundress will probably set you back more than whatever you would paid from a mall retailer – but knocking off couture? That’s where the savings really start to show πŸ˜‰

I will leave you with this photo of me, wearing my knock-off designer coat, throwing leaves in front of a rich person’s house. Probably the same person who owns that Porsche, to be honest:
V1419 Ralph Rucci Coat - Completed!

Be sure to check out the McCall Pattern Company blog to see Meg’s completed coat, if you haven’t already done so! Big thumbs up to everyone who participated in the sewalong – and big, huge thanks to Meg for agreeing to cohost this beast of a sewalong alongside me. Couldn’t have done it without you! πŸ™‚ Don’t forget to use the hashtag #V1419sewalong so it will show up on this tagboard. We encourage you to upload your photos to the V1419 Flickr group, the Vogue Patterns Facebook page, and pin it to the Pinterest board

Didn’t join the sewalong but still want to make your own designer Ralph Rucci? Check out my V1419 tag and the McCall Pattern Company Blog for all the posts pertaining to this sewalong. I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished coats!

What do you think? Would you ever tackle a crazy long intense project like a coat? What about THIS coat? Man, I love making coats!

Disclaimer: My pattern was provided to me free of charge from the McCall Pattern Company, and the fabric was provided from Mood Fabrics as part of my monthly allowance for participating in the Mood Sewing Network. Still, I definitely made this entire coat myself – sooo, that should count for something πŸ˜‰

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: Boiled Wool SJ Sweater

7 Nov

I’m just gonna come out and say it: “boiled wool” is the grossest fabric name. It just sounds disgusting – like some kind of rubbery, overcooked fabric food that you’re only putting in your body because there is literally nothing else in the house and you are starving to death. Am I right? Am I right?

Wool SJ Sweater

When it comes to fabrics, though, boiled wool is pretty amazing. I had some spend some time working with it – sewing up a storm at Elizabeth Suzann‘s, making sweaters and kimonos and coats (so, so, so many coats. I am the coat whisperer now, y’all). After spending so much quality time handling this fabric – pressing (boiled wool loooves steam) and sewing (where the stitches just sink right in) – I found myself anxious to buy some and make a luxe sweater/sweatshirt for myself. So I bought some – off Elizabeth herself (she lets me ride the coattails of her wholesale orders and, um, you guys, I’m not even going to tell you how little I paid for this wool. NOT EVEN.).

Wool SJ Sweater

It was a borderline agonizing choice, but I ultimately decided to get the camel color (next time, though, I will be getting some black. And some moss. Dammit, I want them all!) because I had ~visions~ of it looking gorgeous with my polka dot chambray button-down. Doesn’t it? I also love camel because I feel like it looks equally good with black and brown (and navy, for that matter!).

Wool SJ Sweater

As I mentioned, I’ve had some time to work with this fabric and get an idea of how to handle it. They very first thing I did was prewash the yardage – the same way I wash/block my handknits. I soaked it in gentle wool wash (I use Soak, which I actually buy from my local yarn store, but here it is on Amazon), used a towel to wring out the excess, and then laid it flat to dry in the yard. This particular boiled wool (and maybe all boiled wools?) shrinks up quite a bit after it’s been washed, giving the fabric more of a felted quality than it is when you first pull it off the roll. You can also steam-shrink the fabric (which is what we do at the studio), but I knew I’d be washing this stuff here on out, so I wanted to get all the shrinkage eliminated before I started sewing.

Wool SJ Sweater

For construction, there is not much different you need to do from sewing, say, a very stable ponte knit. I just used a regular 70/10 needle (not even ballpoint – the wool is felted so it’s not necessary to preserve the knitted loops or anything) and sewed everything on the sewing machine. I left my seams unfinished and pressed them open with lots of steam. I think the open seams look a little neater this way, plus, they’re not as bulky as they’d be if I serged them. Again, since the wool is felted – nothing is going to unravel. Even for the hems, I just turned up the allowance and topstitched it down.

Wool SJ Sweater

The only part I struggled with (and I’m still not 100% happy about, if we’re being honest here) was the neckline. Not because it was difficult to sew – but because I didn’t know how I was going to finish it! At Elizabeth’s, we just turn the hem allowance under and topstitch. This is absolutely fine for finishing boiled wool – but we’re talking crewneck sweaters here, and mine is obviously very scooped. I needed a finish that would pull in the neckline just a little – like a ribbing. Except I didn’t want a ribbing, because I wanted this sweater to be ~fancy.

The first thing I did was try to turn the hem allowance under, and then sew clear elastic into the neckline like an invisible banding. That did not work out. I don’t have any photos, but it looked like shit and you have to trust me.

The next thing I did was try to use the boiled wool as a self-fabric band for the neckline. It sort of stretches, so it sort of works.

Wool SJ Sweater

This picture makes it look way better than it did in reality. What you don’t see here is that the binding would NOT lay flat – especially at the center front. It is standing almost straight up in some sections, like the weirdest little funnel not-collar. Believe me, I pulled and stretched as hard as I could to encourage the neckline to ease smaller (and thus lie flat), and then steamed the beejezus out of it, but there’s only so much you can do with boiled wool. It’s not a true knit, so you can’t really treat it as one. Furthermore, the inside just looked raggedy with the self fabric neckline. Too many unfinished seam allowances (I know, I know, I just said the unfinished edges were fine – but even I have neckline limits, ok), too bulky, and noooope!

nope

Wool SJ Sweater

My solution was to apply a bias facing to the neckline, stretching the bias to get it to lie snug and thus pull the neckline in. I used this method to sew it on, and the bias is a piece of silk charmeuse that I got from Elizabeth’s scrap pile (surprisingly – it was the result of a botched dye job, although it matches the wool quite beautifully, so yay for me!). I think this netted the best result, although I think the neckline is still a little wide for this sweater. Oh well. That’s just my fault for choosing this pattern. Better luck next time!

Wool SJ Sweater

The pattern I used is the SJ Tee from my beloved Papercut Patterns. I raised the neckline a couple of inches – not that you can tell! – but the rest of the pattern is sewn as-is, using my previous adjustments. Other than the bias faced neckline, I didn’t make any construction changes. Oh, no, wait, I did leave off the sleeve ribbing. I just turned that hem allowance under and topstitched it down! The boiled wool does not have nearly as much stretch as a standard knit, however, this pattern is a little loose-fitting on me as it is, so I think it turned out fine. If you want to make this in a wool and retain the design ease, I’d recommend sizing up.

Wool SJ Sweater
Wool SJ Sweater
(sorry ’bout the color discrepancy! The less-washed out photos show the true color. And that yellow tag is there to remind us NOT to wash this sweater with the laundry, since it’s wool πŸ™‚ )

Wool SJ Sweater

As you can see, this sweater is not ideal for a completely 100% no-gape neckline. That’s ok, though, since I’ll likely be wearing it with something underneath (this boiled wool is soft, but it’s still a little bit itchy!). I am pretty happy with how this turned out – I like the shape, the raglan sleeves, and how lush the fabric is (aka makes it look expensive. Ha!) – but I’m still iffy on the neckline. I think it’s too wide. It looks ok with the collared shirt underneath, but… eh. I don’t know. Obviously I can’t do much to change this current sweater – so I’ll be wearing it regardless – but for future makes, I need to refigure that silhouette. What do you think? Too much of a scoop? Am I way out of left field and overthinking?

Speaking of the collared shirt – I still haven’t made any changes to the sleeves. I decided to wait until it’s been laundered a few times – that way, if it shrinks, I won’t be up shit creek. In the meantime, I do like the fit/length of the sleeves under a sweater, so there’s that!

Wool SJ Sweater

At any rate, I’m pretty happy with boiled wool! Gross name and all πŸ™‚ Tell me – have you ever sewn with boiled wool? Would you? Or do you think the name just sounds nasty? πŸ™‚

Last thing – time to announce last week’s giveaway winner! After a harrowing 208 comments, random number generator chooses….

winner2
winner1

Yay! Congratulations, Dawn! I will be in touch to get that book to you – so you can start making those pajama bottoms asap! First time for everything πŸ˜‰ (also, can we kill that rumor that Random.org never chooses the first or last number? Because, clearly, not the case!).

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks for all your lovely comments on the post (and thank you, Roost Books, for letting this giveaway be possible!). If you’re still itching to buy yourself a small piece of Tilly, you can buy Love at First Stitch from Amazon, or directly from the magic-maker herself.

Happy Friday, everyone! πŸ™‚

V1419 Sewalong: Cutting and Prepping

13 Oct

Good morning, sewalongers! (sewalongees?) Today we are going to go over the final prep work before we start sewing (next week! Eep!). This is the last slow post of the sewalong, which gives you another week to perfect your muslin and choose your fabric. Of course, these posts will also be up indefinitely so don’t feel like you have to rush to keep up!

blog-sewalong-image-650x563

The very first thing you need to do – yes, before you do anything else with that lovely fabric – is pretreat your fabric. How you pretreat your fabric will depend on the fiber you chose, as well as how you plan on cleaning the coat in the future. For those of you who are sewing wool (like meee!), this means you need to get any shrinkage out of your fabric *before* you cut the pattern pieces – otherwise, once you start steaming that bad boy, you may end up shrinking pieces and that’s no good. There are lots of ways to pretreat wool – and none of them involve washing the fabric (please don’t do that!). You can either steam the piece yourself (this involves lots of steam and probably a lot of time), take it to the dry cleaner and have them pretreat it (this involves money)(and also dry cleaning), or you can shrink it up in the dryer (which is what I do). Here’s a blog post outlining the entire process, but basically – you just need to throw your wool in the dryer (finish the edges if necessary to prevent unraveling), add a couple of towels that are soaked in hot water (and then wrung out, so they’re not dripping) and blast the dryer on high heat for however long it takes before everything is dry. Easy! This is the method I use for all my wool fabrics. If you are at all hesitant, try it out on a swatch first πŸ™‚

For other fabric types that are not wool – you may not need to pretreat (unless you plan on washing the coat in the washing machine? If then, defintely prewash that shit!). If using a cotton or silk, you may want to at least steam the crap out of it just to be sure there is no shrinkage. Polys should be fine and not shrink at all.

Once you’ve pretreated your fabric in whatever way need, then it’s time to cut! I’m not going to go over cutting here – I assume anyone brave enough to tackle sewing a coat is probably fine to cut fabric without guidance πŸ™‚ – but if you need a refresher, here is an old post I wrote about cutting and marking your pattern pieces. One thing I did notice while I was cutting my fabric – I was able to reconfigure the layout and use slightly less fabric. Don’t be afraid to change up the layout if your fabric is wide enough, just be sure that you are keeping all the pattern pieces on the proper grain.

If you are including an underlining for your coat, you will need to cut out pieces 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9 from your underlining fabric.

For the contrast – specifically, all those bias pieces – I found it easier to draw the pattern pieces directly on the fabric, rather than try to pin a bunch of stuff and then try to cut a straight line and nope.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

The long, straight pieces – I just measured them and use a ruler and marking pencil to draw them on my taffeta. For the big bias contrast pieces (those giant parallelograms), I pinned down the pattern piece, traced around the edges with my marking pencil, and then used a ruler to draw in the lines 2″ apart (as they are on the pattern piece). I did all this on the flat fabric before I cut anything out, and I think it made things a lot easier!

Once you’ve cut out all your pattern pieces, you will need to apply the underlining (assuming you are underlining – if not, skip ahead and start marking your pieces). Underlining is very easy. It is also very time-consuming – so I recommend watching some crappy TV or something equally entertaining while you do it πŸ™‚ For this sewalong, I won’t be going over underlining, but here is a tutorial if you need one. Some things to keep in mind:
– Sometimes you can get away with basting the pieces together by machine. This coat is not the time to try that method. Because the pieces are very large, you run the risk of shifting your fabric – which will give you bubbles or hang weird if you’re not careful. Try to keep things as flat as possible. Meaning: sit at a table, underline by hand. Watch a movie. Drink some wine. Whatever makes you happy!
– I use silk thread to underline, because it removes very easily. I also happen to have several spools on hand in strange colors, so that’s a big part of the reason. I realize silk thread is a bit expensive, so don’t feel like you have to break your budget on some thread that’s about to get pulled out as soon as you sew a seam. Use whatever you got! I would recommend using a threat in a contrasting color, just so it’s easier to see/remove.
– Feel free to use giant stitches. You’re just basting the pieces together to keep them from shifting when you sew them. Big stitches are ok – and they’re easier to remove!
– Sew well within your seam allowances, especially if your fabric shows pin holes (mine does!).
– I like to underline first, *then* mark the pattern pieces on the wrong side. You can also mark, then underline. Up to you – I just think the former is easier! Don’t freak out if you accidentally snip your basting when you cut notches – it’s ok!

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
See? I did it too. No big deal!

Once you’ve finished underlining (or have skipped ahead), you will need to mark your pieces. It is very important to get every stitch line (for the welts and the button holes), dot and notch – it’ll make things muuuuch easier to match up when we start sewing. You may want to use wax tracing paper and a rotary wheel for the lines, and a marking pen (or tailor’s tacks) for the dots. Just snip the notches. We won’t judge you.

Ok, bias binding! This is the same method outlined on the Coletterie, btw – except you are starting with a parallelogram piece, and not creating one from a square (if that makes sense).

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
You should have 3 parallelograms with 2″ diagonal lines drawn on the wrong side of the fabric. Matching the notches and markings, pin the two angled edges together, right sides together, to form a strange off-center tube. The edges will not match at the ends.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Sew the seam you just pinned. I used 1/4″ because – well, that’s what I always use. I think this pattern was drafted for 5/8″ – even at the bias binding – and if you sew with that amount, you will need to trim it down to 1/4″ after sewing.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Press the seam open.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Starting at once end, begin cutting along the line you drew. You should end up with a looooong string of continuous bias. Do this for all 3 parallelograms.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Once you’ve finished cutting all your bias strips, fold them in half with the wrong sides together and press.
(I promise that big yellow spot on my ironing board cover is not pee. That’s actually what happens when you put your iron on top of a piece of tailor’s wax. Whoops.)

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
You should end up with a big pile of bias strips. Mine kind of look like intestines. Cool.

Finally, you will want to staystitch and reinforce your coat pieces as directed in the instructions (steps 1-3 & step 35). For both – use a slightly shorter stitch length (I use 2.0 vs my standard 2.5) and be sure to backstitch at both ends. For staystitching, sew 1/2″ away from the edge. For reinforcing, sew along the stitching line at 5/8″.

Here are the pieces you will be prepping. Lines marked in blue are reinforcement stitching, lines marked in yellow are staystitching.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

ONCE LAST THING: Once you’ve reinforced all those tricky edges, you need to clip the seam allowances all the way to the dot.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Clip to the stitching line, but do not clip the stitching line. This will make it easier to sew those tricky sleeve seams.

And that’s it! Whew! Sorry for the post overload today. Oh, I almost forgot – here’s my fabric!

wool coating
These are the swatch cards I got from Mood. The wool coating I chose is piece piled on the very top (4th one down). It’s a nice, thick virgin wool coating.

taffeta underlining and contrast
I am using 2 different silk taffetas – the brighter red will be the underlining, and the darker red is the binding and contrast.

How are we doing this week, seawlongers? Any questions about the cutting or prep?

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans for 2014

10 Oct

It just occurred to me that I haven’t share any seasonal sewing plans in… well, a while. Which is lame, because these are some of my favorite types of posts (both to write *and* to read) – I mean, who doesn’t like lurking inside someone’s brain, even if it’s just to see what they plan on doing over the next couple of months? Too creepy? Naw.

Anyway, now that London/Paris is looming on the horizon (less than 2 months! Omg less than a month and a half! Eee!), it’s really time that I start figuring out what I’ll be bringing with me (and making, for that matter! Don’t want to end up with another frantic last-minute sewing disaster, ugh). Especially since my luggage space will be very limited – I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase with me overseas (well… I use the word “allowed” loosely here. I can bring two suitcases if I want to – but I get to pay $130 for the second one! LOL GURL NO.), and I want to fabric shop while I’m there! So, I will be packing a capsule wardrobe, one that mixes and matches with itself, for maximum outfit options, as well as warmth. This is much different than how I usually travel (as I fly Southwest, where you can bring 2 bags free – so why the hell not, you know?), but I’m up for the challenge! πŸ™‚ Adulting and all that πŸ™‚

I’ve already made/chosen a couple of pieces to base my capsule around, as well as chosen my theme (like Devon, I think all vacation wardrobes should have themes, because, duh) – Minimalist Parisian Chic. Mostly because my capsule will be very minimal – or, as minimal as I can get it down to, because I am still one of those people who delights in overpacking – with lots of black. Not much on the Parisian Chic side (I’m sure Parisian women will be horrified when they see what I wear to stomp around their city, ha!), but it has a nice ring to it πŸ™‚

Anyway – to start – I have these black Jamie jeans that I made a couple of weeks ago:
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be bringing the star sweater. It’s a little bulky! On the flip side, regarding the jeans – I just finished wearing them for the 5th time in a row (sans wash), and they’ve stayed very close to their original shape. No bagging out, woohoo! So that makes me feel good, because I’ll be wearing these a LOT come London.

Stripey Renfrew
I will also be bringing my Imogene + Willie slim jeans (pictured here), because they are basically the best jeans ever. Oh, and probably that stripey Renfrew top. Can’t have enough tshirts!

Now for the sewing plans! Sidenote: By the time of publishing this post, I’ve already finished more than half these makes. Whoops! Guess y’all see where my priorities lie when it comes to posting vs sewing hahaha. Oh well!

Ikat Lady Skater
The Cowl-Necked Skater Dress
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a Lady Skater dress // Renfrew top mash-up! This cotton Ikat knit fabric (purchased at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville) will be the perfect match for this dress – like a giant, snuggly Christmas sweater! I actually don’t know if I’ll be bringing this one to London, due to bulk factor (my capsule really only allows for one dress, which I’m thinking will be the one below – but we’ll see!), but the plans were too good to keep to myself πŸ™‚

DVF Wool wrap
The Wool Wrap dress
Another big mash-up – I’m starting with the DVF Wrap dress pattern, but adding long sleeves (stolen from the Lady Skater, naturally) and swapping out the gathered skirt for a wrap A-line (Miette Wrap skirt – I’m looking at you). The black wool knit fabric was picked up at Mood in NY a couple of months ago – it’s SO soft! Like, cashmere soft. I’m so in love β™₯

Silk v neck
The Silk Button-down
I already have a nice white button-down – made from the same pattern, Butterick 5526 (my favorite!) – but it’s not really cold weather appropriate, due to the length of the sleeves. Since they are 3/4, they don’t really layer nicely with my long sleeve sweaters! I’d love to make another one, but up the ante with some beautiful silk double georgette, and modify the neckline to be more of a v shape (likely using this V-Neck variation tutorial by Jen!)

Chambray Button down
The Polka Dot Chambray Button-down
Another thing I already have one of, but need a winter version. This one will be made using a gorgeous cotton polka dot chambray, picked up here locally at Textile Fabrics.

SJ Sweater
The Wool Sweater
Button downs need a nice sweater, yeah? I want to try sewing a sweater, using the SJ Tee as a basis (with a higher neckline, and omitting all bindings). The fabric I have is a lovely camel-colored boiled wool, that I bought from Elizabeth Suzann (aka I totally jacked her wholesale order hahaha). I think it’ll look equally good over both those button down shirts I have planned!

rigel bomber
The Bomber Jacket
I know – I’m already planning a pretty sweet coat. However, the weather in London (and Tennessee, for that matter!) can be fickle, so I’d like to bring a lighter-weight jacket for days when the temperature isn’t as low. I’ve been meaning to make the Rigel Bomber for, well, months now. Just been waiting on the perfect fabric – and I think I found it! Check out this black wool coating – to be paired with gold china silk for the lining.

Other plans I have (no photos, sorry! Use that imagination of yours, ha!)
– Need some thin long sleeve shirts for layering – maybe just a couple out of wool knit, such as this textured black wool jersey (that’s apparently already sold out?! Wah!). I wear these pretty much daily in the winter – and sometimes I like to sleep in them if it’s really cold – so it’ll be nice to have a few to choose from.
– Speaking of sleeping – I need some new pajama pants! Currently lurking Margot pj pants in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, since they seem to be a pretty quick/easy make (I really want to make the Tofino pants, but right now I need quick and easy!). I picked up some really fun orange plaid flannel to make them with – I know, that fabric is ridiculous, which is exactly why I chose it. It’s nothing like I already own! When it comes to pjs, why not, you know?
– I would like to make a flared A-line wool skirt to make as well – thinking about using the Delphine pattern (also from Love at First Stitch), because I love the shape. A little stuck on fabric selection, though! My go-to is usually wool crepe, but that will be too drapey for this shape. Thoughts? I need it to be 100% wool (pretty nitpicky about this, sorry!) and I’m looking for lipstick red. Budget is no more than $25 a yard (and obviously I’d be delighted if it was less than that!)
– Bras! I want to finish at least one bra before I leave – using the Marlborough pattern and one of my kits from Bra Maker’s Supply. Obviously I want new bras, but even more – Norma will be in Paris while I’m there, and you better believe I’m going to drag her into a bathroom and make her assess and critique my fit. Haha! Man, sewing people are weird πŸ˜›

I think that’s it for now! It feels good to get everything listed out in one place. I’m hoping I can get all this done before I leave – but if not, no worries. It’s not like I’m lacking clothing or anything as it is!

As a side note, I was just notified that one of my lovely sponsors, Indie Sew, is holding a pretty sweet contest where you can win a YEAR of free patterns! Fuck yes! You can read all about the contest and the reasoning behind it on this blog post, but the general gist is that Indie Sew wants to help you transform your entire wardrobe into handmade and end the cycle of cheap/fast fashion. And what better way to jump start a new handmade wardrobe than with some FREE FREAKING PATTERNS AMIRITE? Such a cool idea, and I really really hope the winner shares their journey via blog or social media so we can follow along! Anyway, soapbox rant over – go throw your name in the hat!

What’s on the table for your fall/winter sewing plans? Do you have any capsule wardrobe suggestions for me? Tips for packing light? Are you going to judge me if you see me wearing the same thing for 3 days in a row while I’m on my trip? πŸ™‚