Quilted Jacket 3 (and done!)

IT IS DONE. I will now smile beneficently at Harrison Ford and crumble into dust. Actually, more realistically, I’ll spill tea on myself and then weep salty tears, but my QUILTED JACKET IS FINALLY FINISHED.

Thank you everyone for humoring me on this journey – I’ve spent so many hours exclusively on this one piece over the past month and a half, I think I’d pop if I couldn’t talk about it! This is the final stage, quilting + construction.

First, quilting! As I mentioned last time, I was worried about the stress of hand quilting, but I made two significant discoveries: 1., I didn’t like the look of machine quilting on this. Commenter Elizabeth suggested checking if my machine could mimic hand stitching. Brilliant idea; sadly it doesn’t have that functionality, and the one-thread stitching looked kind of wimpy, while the idea of double-stitching all those lines (what if one wobbled!!) also made me want to cry salty tears (this post co-hosted by salty tears). Still, I machine quilted the whole back panel before jumping ship. Luckily I then discovered:

2., I had been hand quilting wrong. Not horribly wrong, but I had been working on my lap instead of a table. It was much more comfortable and sustainable at a table! I usually worked in 15 minutes – 1 hour increments, which was a little challenging because it turns out hand quilting is pretty hypnotic and more-ish (especially with TV on). There is now a little flocked pattern where I gouged our soft pine table with the needle over and over, so maybe throw down a magazine or something first if you’re trying this on an Ikea Ingo.    

Some of my knots are definitely secured better than others. I confidently expect having to re-do some lines as they work themselves loose, but I have plenty of extra thread. Also, only a small proportion of my stitches actually show on the backing, so I guess despite the table scarification I wasn’t sticking the needle through enough. That said, I’m super happy with the final look! It’s wrinkly and uneven but it plays so much more nicely with my imprecise piecing than the machine stitches. And the doubled thread is punchier.

Also, I decided to keep my second belt! Redemption!!

You know people who are like “Oh I’m much more comfortable in stilettos, something something arches”? I’ve never really felt in my bones how that could be true. However, I’m ready to believe now that I’ve melded with my thimble. At first it felt ungainly, but I got to the point where I forgot I was wearing it and only noticed when I went to do something else and felt it clack against the oven handle or a doorknob. I nabbed one at a local swap (well over a year ago now) and it’s just been sitting. Why was I ever hand-sewing without it?!

After the quilting, the jacket was practically done (which is different than actually done, as it turns out). Still, I let the pieces sit for a while as I thought about how to handle the shawl collar/back neck junction, and eventually I decided to figure it out on the day. It’s obvious in retrospect but without a facing the bound center-collar seam shows at the back! I had a belated “duuuh” moment, but in a garment with so much visible binding, I wasn’t going to quibble about a little peek at the neck.

I couldn’t figure out how to bind the shoulder and neck seams so I just shoved them under a yoke-ish facing – it’s machine sewn along the back neck, and hand sewn along the shoulders and bottom hem. I had to clip into the corners of the front panels and clip away the corners of the back panels to fold them down but everything is nice and tucked away inside.

I also had to ease the back shoulder seam to match the shorter front shoulder seam but I’m not sure if this is a pattern feature or a me-adding-a-shawl-collar bug.

I forgot to show you the pockets last time! They have a batting layer and are lined with the background ‘Putty’ cotton. My only serging is inside these pockets – the top edge is sewn to the lining right-sides-together, then flipped and understitched, but the other three sides got the zoop. These are indeed machine-sewn in place, but there’s a non-zero chance I’ll go back and sew them invisibly instead. We’ll seeee.

I made oodles of bias tape that was a little skinny so I bound seams separately as much as possible, which led to a slight sequencing issue at the side seams. Ultimately I sewed each side seam from the underarm to an inch above the pattern notch (so on my version, to the top yellow horizontal stripe), bound everything, and then sewed the rest of the side seam, including sewing over the finished binding. I deeply covet the squared-off binding finish used by Studio Quirk used on her drop-dead-beautiful Tamarack, but I couldn’t work it out (and oddly I can’t leave a comment on her blog to ask, I always get an error message). I sewed one edge of the bias tape by machine, and the other by hand. This involved further television.

I had enough binding fabric left to cut two extra-wide strips to go around the armscye seam allowances – 2” wide, as opposed to the 1.25” wide I used elsewhere, which had no chance of covering all the layers there – and then – I was done?!

A mere 48 or so hours of sewing later. I could have cried salty tears – twist – OF JOY!! This is the only thing I worked on in February and part of March. I think it might have been worth it. I learned a ton and I really enjoyed myself, and the time was going to pass whether or not I used it. I can see errors in the quilting, the piecing, wrinkles in the construction, and why why why did I not use neon green binding, but I really don’t care. I intended this as a warm stylish house jacket but I am definitely going to take this show on the road. Jacket, prepare to get worn everywhere!

Also, I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m slightly favoring one arm – I got my first vaccine shot! No side effects except for a sore shoulder. I’ll be fully vaccinated in mid-April!

Thanks for reading!

Pattern: Grainline Tamarack

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 12, with added shawl collar

Supplies: .5 yards binding, 2.5 yards backing, 2 yards batting, 5 1/3 yards various cottons, Gather Here, $108.49; thread, Sewfisticated and Michaels, $5.39

Total time: 49 hours

Total cost: $113.88

Electric Blue

I don’t really edit blog photos much – sometimes a little rotation/cropping, or leveling to show details – but I didn’t touch these. These culottes are blue. How blue?

This blue!

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My aesthetic is often neutral and earthy and discreet, like “Oh look at this stoneware, it’s so taupe, how daring”, especially when it comes to pants (“Is this denim medium enough?”) but not today, Kinfolk. These are midi-length MN Tania Culottes in electric blue rayon/linen, and hand to heart they’ve actually faded in the wash.

Enough blue language (waggles eyebrows), let’s talk about the pattern. As you can see, they’re missing the Tania ‘thing’, that clever hidden pleat in front and back. I think it’s really elegant. It’s just one of the elements that didn’t work for me.

First of all, I had what seems to be a common problem – I sewed my size, L, but my fronts and backs were narrower than the waistband. It’s an easy fix, though a little surprising to find in an indie pattern from a high-caliber designer. I narrowed the pleats by 5/8” each (basically, moving the pleat stitch line 5/8” closer to the crotch).

Then my first invisible zipper broke. As always, I kindly implore invisible zippers to go kick a cow. This isn’t particularly high-quality fabric (it was cheap though, party on), and when I unpicked the broken zipper I popped some threads in a couple places. After fusing a patch of self-fabric to the back of each hole and stitching around the patches, I installed a new zipper. This time I got a funny tuck of fabric where the zipper meets the side seam. I didn’t want to risk unpicking again so I am very much living with it!

I used a real potpourri of seam finishes. The zipper side seams are serged separately; the crotch and other side seam are French-seamed. I cut the inseams on the selvages and didn’t finish them at all. The hems are curved gradually enough that I was able to sew a simple double-fold hem with no trouble, which is nice, because there’s two of them and they’re long!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t love the finished culottes. The waistband was a little betwixt-and-between – wider than usual, but not quite wide enough to be a statement – the pocket openings were buckling, and the pleat didn’t really suit me. So I wore these very sporadically until I got sick back in January (ordinary flu B). I didn’t have the oomph to sew much but I made a lot of progress with my mending, especially these!

Most importantly I wanted to fix the pockets. I actually bought this pattern before the pocket piece was added, but I didn’t want to reprint, so I just winged my own opening angle/length. So my gapey pockets weren’t the fault of the pattern. It does seem to happen to the ‘official’ pockets, too, but luckily it’s an easy fix.

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I just smooshed the excess past the waistline and trimmed it off. While I was in there, I also converted the pleats to gathers. Finally I narrowed the waistband to a finished width of 1.25”. I’m much happier now!

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These are really comfortable and easy to move in! Happily, my pockets are smooth now!

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I think this color is pretty easy to dress up or down. I actually sewed these for a specific event. When we were briefly in London last summer we were gifted a tea in the Winter Garden Restaurant at the Landmark Hotel. I wore these with a dressy white blouse, and, I’m sure, a big goofy tourist grin. The tea began with two men in top hats simultaneously opening double doors so we could sweep into the lobby, and only got better from there!

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There was a piano player taking requests, who I never actually saw because he was hidden in some indoor palm grove. A hushed and scornful man brought us endless vanilla-scented tea and ice cold cream in heavy silver pitchers. Even the air felt fancy. It was delicious and elegant and probably the most memorable meal of my life. I want to go back!   

Speaking of wanting to go back, look what finally arrived in the mail…

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Well, I’ll wear it in gratitude and hope. And I’ll wear my updated, very blue culottes much more often, too!

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I can’t do this in a skirt! Can you tell I’m about to crack up and roll off a wall?

7 weeks into shutdown, the only way out is through! May your tea be hot and your cream cold! ❤

Pattern: MN Tania Culottes

Pattern cost: NA (previously made)

Size: L

Supplies: 3 yards of cobalt linen/rayon, $15.00, Sewfisticated; thread, zipper, $3.04, Sewfisticated; zipper, $1.50, Gather Here

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $19.54

Keeping Warm

As I mentioned in my last post, of the 18 new-to-me patterns I tried last year, two of them were free. The first was Peppermint Magazine wide leg pants, and the second was the Megan Nielsen Jarrah. I won the Jarrah as part of the Sew Twists and Ties festivities over on Cooking and Crafting last year, an event which is happening again right now!

It took me a while to find a heavy enough knit, but eventually I ordered this 100% cotton french terry from Joann Fabrics. I’m sure this pattern would make a cute lightweight sweatshirt, too, but I would really like to be warm please.

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Happily I’m as snug as a bug in this outfit! Both pieces are warm and easy to layer. I sewed view A of the Jarrah, the traditional sweatshirt view with sleeve and bottom bands.  

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I placed the stripes on the vertical for the sleeve bands. I wish now I had done the same for the bottom band! At the time, I was skimping on fabric. The yardage came out of the dryer so badly off-grain, it was actually trapezoidal. Because the stripes are mechanically woven, I just ignored the selvage and placed the grainline perpendicular to the stripes for cutting most of the pieces. Because of the wild skew, cutting the bottom band so the stripes ran vertically would have wasted a lot more fabric!

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Except for that, it was easy to work with. The cut edges were only a little curly and because it’s cotton I could iron with lots of heat and steam. This is a super straightforward and speedy sew, especially because of the drop shoulders and with the banded finish. The stripes make some nice angles!

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I’m showing the Jarrah sweater here with my third pair of Peppermint wide leg pants. I’ve tweaked these a little each time I’ve sewn them, and this time I tried a ¼” full stomach adjustment. I’m still getting drag lines pointing to my stomach, though!

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Plus, the pants came out big! Not way too big, but they’re for sure roomy. I’m not sure what happened this time – maybe I usually take a wider seam allowance on the outseams, or perhaps my full stomach adjustment had knock-on effects? I forgot to slightly stretch the waistband when pinning, which I usually do. Also, I swapped jeans-style pockets for patch pockets, which means no pocket stay. You can definitely see the roundness of my stomach more clearly but I like my round stomach. It’s where I keep my buttered toast. Anyway, I know this may sound like the ravings of an attic wife, but there’s something to be said for too-big pants – these are as comfortable as sweatpants. ❤

The color is hard to capture accurately – it’s called “Russet” (Kaufman 14 wale corduroy) but I grabbed these swatch images from a few different websites (fabric.com, robertkaufman.com, sistermintaka.com) and it looks a little different in each picture. In person I think it’s most like the third – more caramel than burnt orange, I guess?

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Inspired by Sew North’s carpenter-style Lander pants (also a house painter I surreptitiously stared at on the subway), I decided to add patch pockets to my Peppermint pants. I drew my own rather than using her measurements since it’s a different pattern. I got a little too cute, though, trying to duplicate the grainline of the pants perfectly on the patch pockets; it was a scant angle off the straight grain, and I should have just used the straight grain for neater pressing and stitching.

I also scrapped the hammer loop – I made one but I wasn’t wild about it, and I’m pretty sure it would have functioned as a child-towing loop, anyway. But hooray for extra pockets! I placed the back pockets by centering them on the back darts, with the top edge perpendicular to the darts. The height was just a smidge arbitrary. Okay fine, completely arbitrary!

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The patch pockets have bound openings – I made too much coordinating binding for my Tamarack but luckily it seems to go with anything!

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I’m a wee bit obsessed with the leg pocket.

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It’s holding my phone and my house keys and nothing pokes me in the stomach when I sit down! Nothin’!

My last change was simple as could be; I added 4” to the pant legs, then took a nice deep hem, so the finished length is equal to the unhemmed length of the pants as drafted. No breezes are finding my ankles. Cozy 4 life!

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As always, I can’t recommend this free pattern enough! I’m enjoying my Jarrah, too. This warm, colorful outfit will get me through January – just another 3 months of winter to dress for after that. But who’s counting? 🙂

Pattern: MN Jarrah

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 10

Supplies: 1.5 yards of cotton french terry, $15.98, Joann; thread from stash

Total time: 2 hours

Total cost: $15.98

Pattern: Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: F, with adjustments, including ¼” full stomach adjustment and 4” inches added to length

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Kaufman 14 Wale corduroy in Russet, $31.88, Gather Here; thread, button, zipper from stash

Total time: 6.25

Total cost: $31.88

Copying Cat

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Well, I went ahead and ‘borrowed’ this make from Cat in a Wardrobe. I guess the word I’m looking for is ‘plagiarism’? And also, maybe, ‘an escalating pattern of behavior’, because a few weeks ago I posted about my first pair of V8499 pants; those were directly inspired by Eli’s, but these are just plain copied. Except, I’m thicker and in flats!

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I referenced her sweater styling, too. Originally I was disappointed in my finished pants; I had hoped to wear them with fitted shirts tucked in (I was picturing a black knit camisole), but I didn’t like these with any of my tees or tanks. But pop on a squarish, pill-y, navy blue RTW sweater and we’re cooking with gas. I recently won the MN Jarrah in a blog raffle and I’ve got high hopes for view A – make-and-replace!

I had to adjust the pattern to better reflect my inspiration sources (i.e., copy more good). To guarantee safe transport past my juicy hips, I widened the back leg pieces. They join with a perfectly straight seam that’s parallel to the grainline, so I added an additional 3/8” seam allowance to each piece, for a total increase of 1.5”. Since the back facing is grown on that should have required no further adjustments.

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I ended up recutting a separate back facing since somehow while sewing I just lost the height there. I could have used narrower elastic, but I needed it to hold up all this railroad denim, and I had extra fabric anyway. Technically you could omit this back seam and cut the back leg as one piece, but I changed stripe direction there! My stripes alternate; center back = cross grain, side back = straight grain, side front = cross grain, center front = straight grain. So nowhere did I have to sew two parallel stripes together.

I also extended the legs by 4” so I could have big deep cuffs.

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The front leg pieces, as well as the back, are divided by vertical seam parallel to the grainline. The inseams and outseams narrow towards the hem, with a convex extension at the hem for turning. Here’s my technique for extending the leg:

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I lost some of the taper, so this pair of pants is straighter, wider, and less cocoon-like. I changed the angle, by the way, starting just below the knarts on the front side piece.

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My topstitching is a punchy blue. This was Professor Boyfriend’s idea! We were talking about potential thread colors over dinner (as you do), and he suggested neon. Michael’s had neon pink, orange, and yellow (all of which looked pretty rad, but none of which would play nice with my shirts), and also this super-saturated blue. I like the effect, though even after sewing with my double-stitch function, I mainly just catch a glimpse of blue from the corner of my eye.

The seams are all French-seamed and topstitched (I was surprised on re-reading the directions that Vogue doesn’t actually instruct you to finish your seams, but it’s so technically easy on this pattern! There’s 4 perfectly straight lines!). My denim was borderline too thick for this finish – flat-felled probably would have been better, but who feels like it? At the crotch point where all the thicknesses intersect I topstitched to within an inch of the intersection on each side because I wasn’t looking to die that day. So many layers! The gap is very much situated at my undercarriage so no one will ever have to know. I SAID NO ONE.

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Each of these pockets can fit a paperback novel. Or I guess, keys and a phone.

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I have a new pin! It’s a void chicken from Stardew Valley. Cute li’l red-eyed cluck-cluck laying me void eggs, gonna cook some Strange Buns with all that void mayo.

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Not pictured here: spring is creeping in, one yellow-green bud at a time. Don’t let my desaturated butt be the most colorful thing in the landscape, New England!

Pattern: V8499, view C

Pattern cost: $0.00 (second usage)

Size: 14, with added width and length

Supplies: 3 yards of 10 oz. railroad denim, Fabric.com, $31.29; thread, Michael’s, $1.25

Total time: 9.25 hours

Total cost: $32.54