Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Are you participating in Make 9? I never have in the past, but I’m dipping my toe in with a Seasonal 3. In all honesty it’s not even all that seasonal! It’s just the next three (new-to-me) patterns I hope to make! Keep reading for planning (and budget options for similar patterns)…

  1. Marilla Walker Roberts Collection, view A. £7.50/around $9.50 American (though possibly subject to change – good luck to you, pound).Marilla Walker Roberts Collection

This has been on my to-sew list for a while, but the most concentrated downtime I have is over winter break (academic schedules 4 LIFE, except I also teach in the summer), so this will be sewn and tucked away in a drawer until The Sweaty Season. I already have the fabric for this, a cotton ikat I purchased on Etsy. I bought the last of it,  but I’m sure there’s similar choices out there:

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Hoping to sew something similar? The Peppermint jumpsuit isn’t, at first glance, too much like the Roberts jumpsuit, but they both have dropped crotches and an easy fit through the waist. Plus the Peppermint pattern is free! You can see my Peppermint jumpsuit here.

  1. Ready-to-Sew Jean-Paul boilersuit. €10.20/around $11.60.

Ready-to-Sew Jean-Paul

I’m a little psyched out of my mind about this one. I first saw this boilersuit on The German Edge. I haven’t decided whether I want a structured fabric like Edina’s, or a drapey fabric like the red one from this pattern’s inspiration roundup, below –

Inspo

But I’m settled on long sleeves, so this can be my winter jumpsuit. I’m hoping to find a fabric I love in the spruce/ivy/evergreen range. “Do you…need…two loose green jumpsuits?” my boyfriend delicately inquired, a question with only one answer (“YES”).  I’m also hoping to get this finished in time to participate in the Sewcialists menswear theme month!

Some free options – this Mood pattern offers a fitted seventies silhouette (but caveat emptor – I mean, it’s free, but your time/fabric isn’t and I have no idea if their patterns are any good). And for a near-perfect match, try the JUMPSUIT! The JUMPSUIT is part of an art project I definitely have some quibbles with (they never talk about the fabric supply chain! At all! Also, does it fit anybody? I think maybe not?) but that article is well worth reading, whether or not you sew the JUMPSUIT!

  1. Peppermint wide-leg pants. ZERO SMACKERS, BABY. These ARE the free option!

Peppermint In the Folds Wide Leg pants

I’m planning to use the directions from my Morgan jeans to install a button-fly. I have heard that it can poke you in the pooch when you sit down, though.

Potentially I’d like to make these in a 14-wale corduroy, maybe in one of these colors by Robert Kaufman.

I don’t reach for yellow clothes as often as I think I will but I just love the name of that third color – cider! And it would look pretty killer with exposed brass buttons! Mmm, ciiiider. Realistically either navy or ocean would be a better team player in my wardrobe, though. I love that petrol/smoky blue in the sample, too, and I wouldn’t mind finding something just like that!

You might notice that I’m planning to add a lot of blue and green to a closet that, let’s face it, has a quite a bit of blue and green already. I think that will be easy to do. The 2019 Pantone color of the year is Living Coral.

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And take a look at that first set of coordinates:

Pantone

Forest Biome? Beluga? Um, yes PLEASE. I can’t wait for these to reach the fabric world! I might not use coral itself but I am going to be a big piece of murky ol’ seaweed if I have my say, oh yes.

Do you sew out of season? DO YOU OBEY THE COLOR AUTHORITY? ALL MUST OBEY. Just kidding! But do brace for coral.

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Green Monster

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♪Laaast Christmas, I wore this dress

And the very next Christmas, yeah, I still wore this dress♫

See also: my 30th birthday and a murder mystery party. Dear the Internet, meet my Event Dress. Am I overdressed? Probably. Do I mind? Not so much. Do I shave my legs? Certainly not.

Once again I’ve blatantly copied an Allie Jackson make, which is funny, because she’s got such a clear classic/preppy/feminine slant and my style icon might be Gadget Hackwrench from Rescue Rangers (Google with caution, by the way. Image search makes it clear she has, ahem, a fandom). Anyway, I’m getting off track. Years ago Allie J sewed a lush, goddess-like, emerald green dress, and I wanted one too! Only the pattern she made called for 10 yards (!!!) of fabric, and even before taking my relative height & girth into account, that was not in my budget!

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I’m not shy about spending money on quality fabrics for everyday clothes, but for something I would only wear a handful of times, I needed to scale down. Enter M7381, a dress with similar style lines, just a little less extravagance. From 4.5 yards I ended up with this, and enough scrap fabric to make an Ogden cami.

I used a rayon challis in a similar shade of green, and while certainly inexpensive, it wrinkles like heck. See these knife pleats?

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Actually you don’t, because they’re vertical wrinkles I’ve come to terms with. Something about the length and sweep of this dress brings out my latent desire to stand like Madam X, but sewing was not un-fraught, if I remember correctly. This was actually my 30th birthday present to myself nearly two years ago, but its season has come around again! Things I remember clearly from the sewing process: hating cutting the long skirt on my insufficiently long table, figuring out a way to cleanly encase the elastic in back that is now lost in the mists of time, and trying on the dress pre-sleeves and realizing that the raised waist/pleat combination was pure prom.

THANK GOODNESS for the sleeves.

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Like I said, the back has an elastic waist (no other notions needed), and there’s a blouson effect. The bodice is fully lined. Somehow I stretched out the neckline; whether it was sewing on the bias, or the dress’s long periods of time spent on a hanger, what’s done is done.

The surplice neckline and high waist give this dress potential as a maternity/breast-feeding-friendly sew, in some sort of parallel universe where maternity also means cocktail hour. I mean, I am childless. But I’m pretty sure those things go together.

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May we celebrate many more Christmases, dress! Someday I might iron you again! And to you and yours: may you celebrate in the way that makes you happiest, and the New Year only bring you joy!

Pattern: M7381

Pattern cost: $2.50

Size: 10

Supplies: 4.5 yards Telio Viscose Rayon Challis Emerald, $25.11, fabric.com; $3.00, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 11 hours

Total cost: $28.11

 

 

Meet Professor boyfriend!

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My boyfriend has many wonderful qualities. He’s kind, etc., takes all the photos for this blog (except these, which is why they were all initially leaning 30 degrees before editing), and to cap it all off – he’s a medium! Just a straight-size medium, no grading or anything! The first trousers and button-up shirts I ever sewed were for him, because I could focus on construction, knowing fit would take care of itself.  This is probably shirt #8 or #10, but a men’s shirt pattern is still something I’m excited to dig in and sew. Especially this one!

Of course when I say he’s a medium I mean he’s a Thread Theory medium, since this is the Thread Theory Fairfield. I love this shirt on him – the slim design elements like the collar and cuffs really suit his build, and after messing around with both views we’ve decided V2, with the back darts, is just right.

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They’re hard to see in this small-scale gingham, and that’s the way I like them!

I’m not sure if other men’s shirt patterns use this technique, but the Fairfield instructions ask you to fold over the seam allowance on the top of sleeve before sewing the construction seam, which makes flat-felling the armscye much, much easier (all the seam allowances are actually pre-offset for easy flat-felling, though it means you have to read carefully). The one change I’ve made to this pattern was to make the armscye and shoulders seams flatter/less curvy, however – the sleeve cap was really tall, which meant the sleeve was very stylish and narrow, but my stitching was always messy around the tight curves and it was causing me stress. Effectively I made an unnecessary full bicep adjustment, so the sleeve is a little loose now.

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But the shoulder is much neater! I’m re-adjusting the pattern to be more like the original, little by little, as my sewing confidence grows. You’d think this many shirts in I would laugh in the face of a flat-felled armscye, but nah.

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Can you spot my other silly mistake? I hemmed the shirt the wrong way! Eek! Professor boyfriend generously allowed this to be a feature, not a bug. We’re calling it a reverse hem and it’s a highly desirable design element, ahem.

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The fabric was a gift from my mother and it’s some sort of dreamy cotton, crisp and sturdy but not that wrinkly. The interfacing was a gift too – fusible, but cotton. I started treating myself to the $5 interfacing instead of $2 interfacing about 5 years into sewing, and I’m never going back. It’s that kind of attention to detail that makes my mom a deadly gifting assassin. You can’t compete.

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I think you’ll see more of these shirts before we’re through! And more of this guy, too, if I can figure out how to hold the camera straight.

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 3 yards small blue and ivory gingham cotton, gift; $1.49, thread, Michaels; $6.00, buttons, Gather Here

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $7.49

 

In The Navy

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This is how I power dress! I want my foes to be discomfited by the almost-but-not-quite-identical shades of navy blue. Just kidding, I don’t have any foes. I think?! #nofoes

This is my show-up-to-show-out look, though. The me-mades from top to bottom, outside to inside, are: By Hand London Victoria blazer, Melilot shirt, and Ginger jeans. It’s a good bet that any time I don’t specifically say otherwise, I’m wearing Gingers! Closet Case has been covering my tuchus for years now.

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But actually we’re here to talk mainly about the Victoria blazer!

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The fabric for this blazer cost me $0.00. I was given a stack of fabric (Parisian attic fabric!!) third-hand that included completely unused wools and coordinating linings. Occasionally the woman who bought these fabrics would note which pattern she intended to use them for – as these purchases were made in the early eighties by a petite Frenchwoman, you can imagine how pertinent those suggestions were to me. Non. But it was very exciting to get my grubby paws on these beautiful fabrics/pieces of a stranger’s personal history!

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The shell is a lightweight wool (I think) and the lining is Bemberg rayon. Anyway, the wool (?) loved a press, and was a peach to sew. I had once previously made the Victoria blazer – cropped silver pleather, don’t ask – so I knew going in I was happy with the sleeve fit and collar width. I discovered with the full-length view, though, that the inseam pockets are a fun comedy bit, and not useful pockets. You know that book Things Fall Apart? A book about this blazer’s pockets would be called Things Fall Out.

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I added a facing according to a blog post that…um…I can’t find anymore! It wasn’t this one by Marilla Walker; that one looks helpful but a little more complicated. The post I lost showed a great Victoria jacket (black velvet with a satin lapel, if I remember correctly) and I did what I remember her doing – tracing off the front pattern piece, dividing it roughly in half vertically on a slight curve (the dart belongs on the facing piece) and adding seam allowances. When I first read the directions for that dart, by the way, they really did my head in, but sewing it was a snap! If you’re new to jackets as I was, I recommend it for ease and wearability! The sleeves went in beautifully, too. They must have been drafted really well because I’m usually crummy at setting in sleeves.

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I added about 1.5” total extra width to the center fold of the back lining. I pleated it for wearing ease, as intended, at the hem, but ended up using all the excess at the neck edge to match the shell neckline. Strange, hmm? A lucky break for sure though!

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The collar and lapel are separate pieces from the body of the blazer. I used every scrap of this wool! Thank goodness these pieces were rectangles I could nestle up against each other!

This is a super beginner-friendly outerwear sewing project. I want to get into the hard stuff, now – roll lines, tailoring, shoulder pads. When I was shopping I loved coats; now that I’m sewing my aesthetic is more menswear-inspired than Edwardian-military (again, don’t ask), but I think I might love sewing them.

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I would not be ashamed to shake Sue Perkin’s hand in this blazer. Speaking of which, where can an obsessed American watch the rest of Giles and Sue Live the Good Life? The first episode is freely available but I can’t find the rest of the series!

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Let me know your favorite coat patterns, and for the love of Pete where I can watch Sue Perkins milk a goat!

Pattern: By Hand London Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: navy wool (?), Bemberg rayon, $0.00, vintage stash; thread from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Black Hemlock

That sounds a bit witchy, don’t you agree? Very appropriate, since I made this woven version of Grainline’s free Hemlock tee from the scraps of my Halloween costume.

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Actually the costume was a bit of a goof, but I enjoyed experimenting with this low-cost linen/rayon blend. Normally I prefer high quality fabrics (hot take, Lia) but low stakes are nice too, for a change! I took a swing at this inspiration shirt by Elizabeth Suzann, using the Hemlock tee as a base.Insp

Hemlock is a one-size-fits-many pattern. In addition to sewing it in a woven, I cropped it and widened the sleeve (further details below).

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Oh, and surprise! This shirt is two shirts! Originally I planned this post as a comparison between the two sleeve styles I tried, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference in photos without an effort of will that most people don’t apply to the sleeves of strangers. So here’s my official ruling: whether you stitch a folded cuff to the armscye or use the sleeve pattern piece, it’s good stuff.

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This is the hemmed and rolled sleeve. It’s about 8” long (because that’s the width of computer paper. I mean because of important…and serious…calculations…that I considered carefully) and I made it wider at the base than the supplied pattern piece, with a right angle at the bottom for hemming. Like so:

Sleeve diagram

Black lines original, red lines mine.

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And this is the cuff treatment, above. My notes say this shirt took  a smidgeon longer to sew than the other. I cut the cuff on the 60° bias and as wide as my scraps allowed – 4 inches or so, finished width 1.5”. I thought using the bias might prevent it “winging out” but it wings, it wings good and wingy. Well, nevermind!

Since the pattern was intended for knits, I extended the seam allowance of the armscye so I could french-seam the sleeve/topstitch the cuff easily. I could paint you a word picture but actually, here’s a picture picture.

Armscye diagram

Red mine, black original! And the total package:

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Oh and my necklace! A Christmas gift from my boyfriend last year! We call it my Egyptian space witch necklace and I am 1000% cooler while wearing it.

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The jeans are my third high-rise Morgans (changes detailed here, second pair seen here). The denim is from Gather Here and I think it’s Wrangler overstock. It has a bronze-gold cross thread instead of white. That color on the cuffs! I mean!!! I love this outfit – sure, it’s jeans and a t-shirt, but I feel like kind of a boss in it. Plus I’m excited to continue using the Hemlock tee as a scrapbuster. Odds and ends of linen, bring it on!

 

Pattern: Hemlock tee

Pattern cost: $0.00 (free download)

Size: one-size pattern

Supplies: Halloween costume leftovers, $0.00; thread, Michael’s, $1.50

Total time: 4.5 hours for two tees

Total cost: $1.50 for two tees

 

Pattern: Morgan jeans

Pattern cost: $0.00 (multiple uses)

Size: 12 waist, 14 hip

Supplies: 2 yards Indigo AA/BB Washed Classic denim, Wrangler, 12 oz., Gather Here, $20.72; $2, zipper, Threadbare Fabrics; $5.50, 1/2 yard Rifle Paper cotton, Gather Here; $3, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 5.75 hours

Total cost: $31.22

M7840 Bigshirt

I made a big shirt.

A biiig shirt.

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Can you sense my wild enthusiasm for it here?

Okay, it doesn’t look totally terrible in photos. But how about…NOW?

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Sometimes when I pick up a fantasy novel that has a lot of back matter, i.e., a massive invented glossary AND a guide to magical beasts AND maps, but not cute maps, I put it back down again. I don’t know if I have the right to be sassy about back matter anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tall. But neither am I short. I’m a happy medium – a standard American female 5’ 5”. Why is my behind shrouded so?!

OKAY, let’s talk about this for real. The pattern is M7840, and it’s a pretty recent release. I spotted it in some “mad for plaid” sort of round up (I am, I am mad for plaid) but it was the Woman’s model sample that really compelled me. She looks so cozy and warm and stylish! Her glasses are cute! I wanted those things, so naturally I messed around and paired the short sleeves of that view with the bananarama high-low hem. NOPE.

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This is not the comforting winter bag of my dreams. Drafts go right up those wide, cropped sleeves and it turns out even a nice squishy flannel like this Mammoth flannel doesn’t feel that warm when it stands away from my body. Plus the collar is BIG. It flops open and if it buttoned (it doesn’t) I could still easily fit a hand down it. I like oversized shirts, but I underestimated the importance of a nicely fitting collar. “Deep and floppy” more or less sums it up.

I should have gone looking for a better partial placket tutorial online, but I tried to brute-force it. Unfortunately my attempt based on the pattern booklet is a bit of a mess. Not so much the slight plaid misalignment (I can actually live with that), but I couldn’t figure out how to finish the bottom; eventually I relied on my experience of sleeve plackets, a snip, and a prayer. No bueno. There’s a teeny little hole there now. I fused a bit of scrap fabric to the wrong side. We’ll see if it holds. I’ve gotten spoiled by extra diagrams for new-to-me sewing processes, something McCalls strangely did not anticipate?!

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So what went well? I like the fabric (Mammoth flannel is so easy to work with), plus I like large scale plaid + large scale shirt, at least in theory. The width is kind of cool too, at least when I have a wingspan! That’s probably why the only photographs of it I quite like are the ones where I’m standing like Jesus. It was also fun planning the plaid placement (asymmetrical on front, balanced on back).

The added benefit of all this fabric is that I can remake it. Yep. I’ve pretty much already determined to shorten the back hem by 3 – 5 inches, and I have just enough leftover fabric to recut longer sleeves. If ‘more fabric’ doesn’t somehow solve my ‘lotsa fabric’ problem, I might just go nuts and recut this into my standard shirt-saver – a Melilot. Say buh-bye to the big shirt, folks. They can’t all be winners!

Pattern: M7840

Pattern cost: $8.00

Size: 10

Supplies: 3 yards Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel in Denim, $21.75, fabric.com; thread from stash

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $29.75

Look around you.

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Look around you!

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Have you worked out what you’re looking for yet?

IT’S QUILTING. No, I promise. It’s 10 hours of machine quilting that are FUNCTIONALLY INVISIBLE.

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This is M7549, an open, cropped, quilted jacket. I bought the pattern after being completely wowed by Allie J’s amazing take. I didn’t have the egg chutes to jump right into leather, but my initial plan was to sew it in metallic black linen for a similar girl-gang look (not so much inspired by as copied from), and then hopefully work up to a brown leather or suede version. I took myself to Gather Here for the first-try fabric and bought this Rifle Paper screen printed Cotton and Steel canvas instead! So a bit of a different direction!

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I’m really into it, though! Even though the cotton canvas ate my stitches (normally a feature I love) and the flannel I used for batting was too thin and my tonal thread was subtle to the point of irrelevant, it turns out I love the process of quilting garments! I marked my initial quilting lines on the right side of my main fabric with masking tape, after pin basting, so that I could center them on the shell pieces. I then marked the remaining quilting lines on the back of the flannel in pencil. I found the quilting process very Zen! For a first quilted project, the invisibility kept the pressure very looow, but my fabric still got stronger and warmer. V. satisfying. I quilted horizontal lines and diamonds, following the pattern.

McCall’s asks you to quilt great tracts of fabric and then cut your jacket pieces from those, but nuh-uh. I bought 2 yards total of this swish fabric (I’m not a railroad baron) and it was enough, enough even to avoid doubling in any obvious places.

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I had as much as was necessary to cut the inner yokes out of my main fabric, too, though I didn’t quilt those. I can’t imagine sewing lining fabric to lining fabric more than necessary, even though this is lined in my fancy vintage French Bemberg from my sister’s mother-in-law’s late mother’s Parisian attic.  I generally hate lining fabric but while still a little slippery and shapeless (every cut piece is happy to collapse into the shape of a blob and start fraying, oh joy) it’s a little sturdier than the contemporary lining I’ve tried. Plus it was free, as was my flannel batting; leftovers from another project.

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The structure is my favorite part. This jacket isn’t going to stand up on its own, but it’s got a little architectural something-something, I think! The silhouette + fabric choice feels a little matronly, but there are worse things than being a matron. The ideas I associate most strongly with that word are “high society” or “in charge of a lot of nurses”. Good stuff either way.

Construction zipped by quickly after all that quilting – so quickly, in fact, that I forget to make any changes, like adding a hanging loop and either inseam or welt pockets. I like the idea of pockets between the front jacket and front jacket bottom band. Also, if I make this again, I want to change the construction order, or maybe cut the facings as one wider piece. There’s a lot of fabric crammed into the corners of the front facing bands and I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to understitch the body to the lining. So I just said ah heck and topstitched the hem, facings and neck; it’s all quilted + imperceptible anyway.

If you, like me, have noodle arms, but again like me they are thick-cut noodles, take heart: the sleeve isn’t too narrow. I was worried about the three layers plus my upper arms, but they all live in harmony!

Sadly it’s a little snug across my upper back, but that only matters when giving a hug/walking like a zombie/flexing my traps (yes I had to look up which muscles are shoulder muscles).

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I’m wearing the jacket here with my second pair of Morgan mom jeans; I cut them with a little more SA than last time, but otherwise made all the same changes listed in my first post HERE.

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Look ma, no butt dimple!

Rifle Paper above and Rifle Paper below – my pockets coordinate with my jacket, sort of!

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Don’t worry, I’m wearing a Nettie. I can shuck several layers and remain fully dressed.

In conclusion: I like the jacket, I love the jeans, I send Anna Bond all my money, and my traps are stacked. Is that a thing?

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Buh-bye!

Pattern: M7549 cropped jacket

Pattern cost: $2.50

Size: 14

Supplies: 2 yards Cotton and Steel canvas, Amalfi; Gather Here, $34; leftover flannel for quilting layer, from stash; lining from stash; $3.58, thread, Michael’s (two spools!)

Total time: 14 hours

Total cost: $40.08

– – – – –

Pattern: Morgan jeans

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 12 waist, 14 hip

Supplies: 2 yards of Cone Mills denim, 9 oz., olive green, Imagine Gnats, $32.20; 1/2 yard Cotton and Steel quilting cotton, Gather Here, $6.00; hardware kit, Threadbare Fabrics, $5.65

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $43.85