Ivory Patina

As per my plan, I’ve made the short-sleeve view of the Friday Pattern Company Patina blouse.

But this isn’t the slubby rich recycled mahogany silk I had my eye on at all! It’s old rayon!

Ah, old rayon. As shifty as new rayon, but with that classic I-lived-in-your-scrap-box-for-four-years flavor. We’re still without a washer; I was fine casually pre-washing my first Patina blouse’s poplin in the bathroom but my respect for silk might cross the line into fear of silk, and I just couldn’t see myself throwing it into the tub and hoping for the best. So I raided my scraps for something! Anything! pre-washed to sew, which is how I ended up using such an unfavorite fabric here (the unfavorite-ness is also why the scraps have lasted this long).  

This was made from two different rayons – one length was leftover from a blouse I made from fabric purchased at Walthamstow in 2017, and the other length *may* have come from a fabric swap around the same time. They’re not a perfect match, but they’re not bad. The yoke and the undercollar are a slightly brighter shade of ivory, but I can live with that, especially for the price tag (my favorite, the bubble).  

I’d mentioned wanting to take pictures of an alternate facing/yoke construction, but in white fabric without an obvious wrong side, that seemed like a fool’s quest. Luckily it turns out Peter of Male Pattern Boldness has already done it! The neckline of the Negroni shown there is a different shape, but it’s the exact same technique. Here’s the first part, assembling the shirt body and inner yoke/facing unit; and the second part, putting it all together with some very fun and satisfying burrito sewing. I left the small part that I couldn’t sew by machine unsewn, so you can see how small it really is.

See that fingertip-sized gap next to the facing/yoke seam? That’s it.

And using this technique means no visible topstitching on the yoke, though it’s ordinarily covered by the collar anyway.

I absolutely prefer this method. It’s easy to reshape the facing pattern piece, too; just overlay with the shirt front and trim as shown, below.

That little leftover can go right into the recycle bin. Huzzah.

This is the ‘lowered neckline’ variation, 1” lower than the standard draft. I find this depth a little more becoming than the standard. The pattern also has instructions for lowering another inch, or raising the ‘v’ neck higher, but this is about right for me. The collar is wobbly though! Oh woe! It’s not the draft, it’s the rayon. I interlined it with white linen, but that was shifty and grow-y too, and even though I moved the collar pieces carefully and sewed them first, the long outer curved edge stretched out pretty badly.

There was a ruffly clown-collar vibe to the finished shirt. Based on hope, not science, I plugged in my iron and chuffed steam at the collar in hopes of shrinking the edge. I don’t use the chuffer often though so I actually just sprayed the whole thing with surprise brown spots. WHAT FUN. Since a new washing machine didn’t magically appear as soon as I flavor-blasted a white shirt, I stuck it under a cold shower with some dish soap then threw it in the dryer. And, um, something along the line there worked, because the collar is definitely improved. I feel like a very lucky bunny.

The dart is a little low. Also, I realize now, the tip needs pressing. Next time my ironing board is out I’ll gather my courage, roll up a towel, and go for it.

I forgot to take pictures of my first version untucked, but here’s some of this one. Wrinkly, because my go-to is tucking in, and also because I’m tireless in my quest for gritty realism or something. The untucked silhouette is actually not too godawful!

I’m feeling good; I got to sew, and I got some aged fabric into use, even though it was kind of a pain in my neck. The rayon really can’t support the weight of the collar that well, even with my interfaced v-neckline, but it does gather nicely. And you can’t go too far wrong with a white blouse! After all that monkey business with the steam, I like it. It’s a bit everyday-pirate, but that’s not necessarily a problem.

If I kind of blur my eyes and blend the collar into the shirt, the Patina looks like a decent plain v-neck woven blouse base. I bought it for its slight costume-y elements, but I might keep making it for relentlessly sensible reasons. Two steps forward, one step back!

We took these pictures on an unseasonably warm day in November, by the way – it feels like another universe now. I don’t do much Christmas-specific sewing, but Christmas BAKING is very much on. Cinnamon & chocolate! See you soon!

Pattern: Friday Pattern Company Patina blouse

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M, lower neckline

Supplies: scraps of rayon, from stash; thread, Michael’s, $2.39

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $2.39

Swish swish

My machine is officially tuned up, and among other maintenance, apparently the feed dogs were way too low! But we’re reunited and it feeds so good (soz not soz). Anyway, it’s feeling and sounding great – I’m pretty sure I could Tokyo Drift in it.

My repair squeaked under the wire for the MA/RI travel restrictions. I hope our spike becomes a divot soon; I have friends and family across the border, and somehow it’s worse knowing they’re close but unavailable. Not that having family abroad and off-limits has been a comfort, exactly, but it’s a smaller contrast from the norm.

Anyway, my planned projects are stacking up on my cutting table a.k.a. my sewing table a.k.a. my eating table, but in the meantime here’s a deep deep cut!

This 2016 (?) make is the bottom half of Vogue 9075, an awfully-cute jumpsuit that I muslined the top of exactly once before abandoning it forever. This makes me laugh, now, because looking back the legs are just two big rectangles, plus notches for pleats, and crotch curves! It certainly wasn’t necessary to spend folding money on just the legs! But at the time, it gave me confidence to try something new, and I guess that was worth the sale price I almost certainly paid for it. Also, whatta crotch curve. I’m a fan.

It’s comfortable without being at all droopy, hitting just above the high-tide mark for chub rub, and I’ve borrowed it for other big short wide pants so I guess I did get my money’s worth. Plus it’s actively encouraging to look back at a pattern that felt like a challenge several years ago and discover it’s wonderfully simple (like an egg!). This is also the pattern that introduced me to what I think of as a Vogue-specific inseam pocket – the opening starts several inches down, but it actually extends along the side seam from the waist, and it’s anchored in the waistband. I used white cotton to minimize show-through and because it was handy.

I topstitched the seam above the pocket opening, as well as stitching down the pleats, which was The Recommended Thing To Do when all the pear-shaped ladies hopped out of the fruit bowl and into this pattern several years ago. I’m not sure it made much difference, since I used drape-y rayon, but it might save on ironing? Excuse me capitalistic patriarchal beauty industry but REAL culottes have wrinkles! Okay fine, I skipped ironing. This isn’t the first time it’s come up, but FOLKS, sometimes summertime is WARMER THAN I LIKE.

Here’s a glimpse of those stitched-down pleats, as well as my ‘invisible’ zipper and my au natural wrinkles. I’m wearing this with one of my earliest CC Netties, and even though I think that new dress is just a wrap hack of that one Vogue dress (only me? PROVOCATIVE CONTENT), mama can draft a back scoop. It’s casually elegant, IMO, and my bra never shows. Witchcraft.

I still get wrinkles like this at my shoulder seams, unfortunately. I’m pretty sure it’s more to do with my relative lack of experience/how I handle the fabric, since I don’t see this on other people’s makes.

I’m 80% sure I picked up the rayon for the culottes at Michael Levine in L.A. – it was definitely the L.A. fashion district – and I think it ran me about $30? I might not choose it today, but it fits neatly into my summer wardrobe of blues and greens and whites. I don’t really like light colors on my bottom half too much, partly for aesthetic reasons (grounding colors on the part of me closest to the ground – it just makes sense!) and partly for practical ones. I’m working at the summer program at my school (everybody masked all the time; the kids are champs and they’re doing amazingly well, but if you have a student returning to in-person school in the fall I recommend a low-stakes practice day wearing their mask at home, because the kids who practiced seem to find it easier and more comfortable). Anyway, all that to say that my average day involves building forts out of sappy pine branches, digging in the garden, painting, bedazzling, running through sprinklers, kicking a muddy soccer ball, disinfecting disinfecting disinfecting, and hanging out in a field, so it helps if my bottoms hide stains.

But I can promise this pattern is up to all that, including our multiple high-nineties days.

All the breeze can fit in the legs…

Without sacrificing ideal ground-sitability!

And just between you and me, the woven scrap I used for the crotch finish of this Nettie, is this rayon! SECRET SIT-SPACE SYNERGY!

Stay well, fight the power, see you soon!

Pattern: Vogue 9075

Pattern cost: $6? $8? In that family?

Size: most likely 16 or 18 (the past is another country)

Supplies: 3 yards printed rayon, probably around $30

Total time: unknown

Total cost: call it $40

Lilac in Spring

One of the few patterns I bought instantly and sewed instanter was the Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs. They haven’t appeared on the blog despite being one of my favorite things, because I made them exactly as written; I even used the Jungle green Essex cotton/linen that’s shown in the sample. They might still show up someday because they’re terrific and make me feel like a small-town florist in a musical about a small-town florist, but it took me years to make a second pair! And as soon as I had, mere moments to wear them!

It’s spring, and I’ve decided to start dressing like it. I’ve been dressing defensively lately – as Northern hemisphere winter was replaced by global and personal uncertainty – and that’s meant dark colors, heavy fabrics, lots of wrapping up and absolutely no chance of seeing of my own toes (it reminds me of Liz Lemon flipping through her closet in that one episode of 30 Rock – “Grey, maroon, navy – am I depressed?! Later!”). But I can keep what makes me feel secure in those choices (sturdy fabrics! Pants so wide that they socially distance for you!) and add some breeziness and color.  

I’ve historically avoided purple but I had a yen for a spring pair of Bibs and this just-right shade of purple (called “Lilac”) edged out mint green and sunshine yellow. Dang, now I want those too – I could dress like a package of Peeps! I arranged my paper pattern pieces in my secret weapon, a.k.a. my front hall. My hallway has one area that’s about 45” wide, which then widens to about 54”, so it’s ideal for laying out pattern pieces and calculating yardage on different fabric widths. I knew I wanted to use Essex cotton/linen again, for the structure, and gambled that I could get away with 3 yards instead of the 3 5/8ths called for.

These are the cropped view, no darts! I just made it!

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I had to cut both front bibs on the crossgrain, as well as the waistbands, but I’m pretty jazzed at how little fabric was left over AND that I could save some spondoolies. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend this for directional fabric. I made one minor change to this version; instead of sewing the front pockets as patch pockets (I wasn’t happy with the neatness of the curved edge on my first pair), I sewed them as single-layer slash pockets. I’m not convinced this was the right choice, as it diminishes their visual impact. However, they are neat! And it’s easy to use the existing pieces to make this change (patch pocket above, single-layer pocket below). The pocket facing stays the same.

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I topstitched the pocket bag edge twice to anchor it. Everything else got one line. And liked it!

I did the fold-and-topstitch technique for the long straps because you’re going to have to lock down my region a whooole lot longer before I think it sounds fun to turn a long skinny tube right-side-out. For some reason my brain went pbbt when it was time to make the belt loops, though, and I folded them in thirds instead of quarters (the fabric selvage is the outside third, but still). It would be nice if they were stronger, especially the outermost loops, as those see the most stress.

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I’m saving my scraps, though, and if I need to replace them, I will!

Sewing this went very smoothly. It’s not just straight lines, but really nothing challenging; it’s a lovely relaxing sew that zips right along, and I think a beginner who was enthusiastic about topstitching could make a beautiful pair. I only had one little wrinkle, when I needed to ease the inner bib’s bottom edge to match the outer bib. I hand-basted the layers together, and used those stitches to gather the inner bib edge slightly, too. Topstitching holds everything in place and any literal little wrinkles are hidden on the inside.  

Fit is sort of beside the point with the wide legs and the cinched waist. I sewed a 14, no zipper. I could lose 4” in width without dire consequences but I like the extra extra fabric, it makes the gathering more dramatic!

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These Burnsides are worn over a Roscoe blouse, by the way, which I sewed in April 2018. Still not blogged, but someday! For now it’s enough to say: I sewed the smallest size (!!!), and it was the star of my latest late-night closet fashion show, so I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.    

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I like its neckline, I like the curved bib neckline, I like ‘em together.

I’m really pleased to have added a second pair of Burnside Bibs to my wardrobe – the only thing slowing me down was choosing a color, and I’m in the mood for all sorts of colors right now. The witch hazel is blooming, so is the forsythia, and I’m pretending to know which is which. It’s a weird spring, but it’s spring, baby.

I hope you’re keeping well, and if you feel like sewing, I hope you’re sewing something that makes you happy! Zum Wohl!

Pattern: Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs

Pattern cost: N/A

Size: 14, dartless view, curved bib, cropped

Supplies: 3 yards Essex linen/cotton in Lilac, $34.46, fabric.com; thread, Tags, $3.28

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $37.78

Pattern: True Bias Roscoe blouse

Pattern cost: N/A

Size: XS

Supplies: 2 yards Treasured Kermes rayon in Crimson, $23.73, Red Beauty Textiles; thread from stash

Total time: 4.25 hours

Total cost: $23.73