Winter Blahs

My wardrobe lacked a transitional coat. I’ve got plenty of jackets, one heavy-duty winter coat, and nothing in the middle. I also wanted a nice coat. A “nice coat”, in my mind, is a tiny bit dressy but also timeless. I had hoped this pattern/project could be both – a simple clean silhouette in a classic color with a few details that caught my eye – but unfortunately, I think it looks like I’m wearing a crumpled brown paper sack.

But for good or ill it cost a fair amount, it’s the exact right weight for the tepid gloomy winter this year, and I don’t need two transitional coats, so I’m stuck with this disappointing bag for who knows how long. Its soul is beige. Blah.

The pattern is the Bamboo coat from Waffle Patterns. They offer many more exciting pattern options and have a great reputation for cool outerwear, but I was a little nervous about the directions, so I picked simple. I liked the length of this pattern, the back shoulder darts, the back vent, and the hidden button placket. After comparing the sleeve and hip measurements to the Yates coat I made in late 2019, I cut size 40 sleeves, a 42 bust dart, and a 46 everywhere else. The largest available size is a 48. Looking at these photos, I wonder how many of my issues could have been solved by cutting a 48. Certainly some!

The directions are indeed really uneven. The hidden button placket? Perfectly clear, piece of cake. I really liked this detail because I doubted my ability to sew perfectly neat buttonholes (and was not motivated enough to bind them, frankly) and because I could use cheap buttons while I figured out what I really wanted. In fact, I used buttons leftover from the very first project I posted on this blog! I also found this purrfect coordinating cotton for the hidden placket innards (color matching is my favorite sport).

The welt pockets did me in, though! I sewed both at once and my final results were so warped and tortured-looking that after trying all evening to steam and press the coat fronts flat, I ultimately unpicked the welts, interfaced the backs of the openings, and patched over the snip lines with more of that cotton. I had to cut patch pockets from my scraps and hike up their placement to conceal the cotton patches after that. It’s better, but not best.

I also struggled with aspects of the lining. What, praytell, is the lower of the inset boxes meant to illustrate? Because it’s certainly not the arrangement of lining/shell that the black arrow indicates.

I fudged some sort of pleat there, as shown. At least pleating-to-fit covers a lot of sins.

But my biggest issue was the collar. It wasn’t so much how they described the collar application as the application itself, which resulted in BY FAR the thickest and most strained arrangement of seam allowances possible right where the collar and the lapel were supposed to meet in a neat corner. It was deadly! Actually unwearable, in my opinion. I attempted to fix it by unpicking the top collar from the facing and the bottom collar from the outer, re-sewing the collar as a single piece, and then sandwiching the collar piece between the neckline edges and sewing them down by hand. No pictures of the before, but this lumpy zone constitutes a vast improvement.

You might think at this point I knew the coat was going to be a flop, but I didn’t! I was still kind of excited about it! The drafting was consistently good, with lots of notches that matched well, some interesting new-to-me techniques (like snipping thick darts open), and plenty of pattern markings. So I had faith in the pattern, which, alas, I allowed to replace my own judgment.

This coat is ‘tailored’ with fusible interfacing, same as the Yates coat I sewed several years ago, but by comparison this one calls for way too much interfacing. Also, take a peek at the Yates interfacing guide, in particular the diagonal slash through the upper front/lapel interfacing. That’s the roll line! In this coat, the interfacing made no accommodation for a roll line, and I didn’t think to add one! No wonder it’s bulky and graceless. I’m just kicking myself. By the time I noticed I would have had to undo a huge amount of stitching, including my weird collar surgery, and I wasn’t sure I could finagle that again.

But none of this would really matter if I loved the finished coat, which I don’t. It doesn’t love me either. It’s just so blah. By the time of the final try-on I was so over it that I didn’t even blind-stitch the cuffs in place – I just tacked them down in one or two places each and called it a day.

This sadsack of a coat would probably drape better if I had used a traditional slippery lining fabric, but the lining is the one thing I’m willing to go to bat for.  

It’s Lady McElroy cotton lawn and it’s smooth and crisp and beautiful and it’s squandered here, though just as I hoped and expected, the camel linework on the dogs plays so nice with the outer fabric, and if this was indeed a nice coat I would be so excited about that. Oh, and I added a hanging loop.

Cool.

The fabric for this project came from Minerva, except for the interfacing and coordinating cotton, from my stash and Gather Here respectively. I mentioned a couple posts ago that I probably wouldn’t order from Minerva again. This is the perspective of an American, so take that into account! As I see it, the Minerva pros include: a large selection, a decent search filter, and pretty good user buy-in, so that you can often see a fabric and a finished garment immediately below. I also love that you can order fractional yardage (or I guess more accurately, meterage!). My personal cons: a long shipping time (for obvious reasons), higher prices (I spend dollars, and the fabric is priced in pounds), and – and this could easily have happened in shipping, not packaging, and not be Minerva’s fault at all – a strong bad odor when I unwrapped the fabric. My wool and cotton lawn both smelled powerfully of cigarette smoke. I washed the cotton lawn in the washer and aired out the wool, and luckily both are now odorless, but I’m still feeling gun-shy. Especially because of the wool! That could have gone really, stinkily wrong!

Of course, I’m not going to have to get wool from anywhere for ages, because this coat is going to last for a really long time. BLAAAH!

Pattern: Waffle Patterns Bamboo coat

Pattern cost: $13.59

Size: sleeves 40; bust dart 42; otherwise 46

Supplies: 2.5 meters of Minerva Core Range Melton Wool Blend Coating Fabric in Camel; 1.7 meters of Lady McElroy Marlie Cotton Lawn Fabric in Navy, Minerva; 1/2 yard of Kona Cotton in Biscuit, Gather Here, $103.99; thread, Michael’s, $2.09; buttons, interfacing from stash

Total time: 19.75 hours

Total cost: $119.67

Nutmeg & Tum-Tum

This is the second item I accomplished from my recent plan of three (the summer pajamas are on hold unless I decide to use a solid or something else I can reliably order online, but these newly chilly nights have got me thinking long flannel thoughts anyway). So! Jumpsuit!

My first impression was not madly propitious – kind of a Low Security Pumpkin Spice situation – but I went to Professor Boyfriend and demanded compliments. He told me “It looks like you’re overseeing a dig site” and also to try a belt which were both the right things to say!

The pattern is the Hello Workshop Alex jumpsuit, and while I’m happy with the finished look, I feel like I let the side down by buying it. I couldn’t find a finished size chart anywhere on the website, but after purchase I saw in the file that I’m the largest one. I’ve happily transitioned from being the largest size in a small envelope to the smallest size in a large envelope – lots of room to grow! – so butting up against a limit like that is both surprising and disappointing! Spending my money there was self-defeating and anti-social. I still wanted to sew this pattern, but I waffled on sharing it. I am sharing it, obviously, but I’m making the recommendation to wait to purchase this or another Workshop pattern until they improve their size range. Also, here’s the size chart!

I sewed a size 12 at the bust, grading to a 16 at the waist and hip.

Some good things about the pattern: the fit is comfortable and easy to move in. Getting into the jumpsuit is easier than getting out, but both are doable. Style-wise, I’ve been on the lookout for a shawl collar blouse pattern since seeing this one on Mr and Mrs Rat, and this is pretty much a shawl collar blouse with pants stuck on. So, value! Also, every pattern piece matched at the notches and seamlines, no trouble, except…

Neutral thing: I was EXTREMELY annoyed to discover the front leg fabric piece was about 2” shorter than the back leg. I pulled out the pattern pieces to walk the seamlines (I know, I should have done this before cutting my fabric) and discovered I hadn’t fully unfolded one piece of paper. If the legs on mine seem a little short, um, that’s why. My fault entirely. I compensated with a baby hem.

Finally, the bad thing: the directions. HOT DOG.

There’s no information about finishing seam allowances, stay-stitching, understitching, nothin’. If you’ve got some experience under your belt it won’t matter, but I got the impression that this was a teaching pattern used in their workshops, and it’s at least supposed to be beginner-friendly if not beginner-oriented. The PDF instructions are 12 pages long – 5 of those are essentially a cover with glamour shots (one of the 5 is blank), 4 are general (yardage requirements, lay plans), and only 3 cover the whole jumpsuit. There are 4 diagrams, that’s it, and they’re kind of godawful anyway.

I found the collar directions really hard to understand at a read-through. It was a little easier when I was actually sewing, but my finishing doesn’t feel secure or look neat (the directions tell you to fold under the seam allowances, then join the back and the collar/facing with one line of topstitching).

Next time I’ll try drafting a back facing and following these much more thorough directions.

I reshaped the collar slightly; it’s drafted with a little triangle bite taken out of it (I hesitate to say ‘notch’ because it’s not a notched collar), but even on the Workshop sample this looks pucker-y, so I changed it to a continuous curve. I applied it to the bodice and the facing.

I understitched towards the facing from the waist up to the breakpoint (where the collar rolls outward), and towards the bodice above it. The underlapped piece is behaving nicely, but the overlapped one is breaking lower than it should. I’d like to lower the breakpoint next time anyway, for a deeper V, and make the collar curve smoother/shallower as well. I accommodated the triangle this time in case I changed my mind about using it but next time I won’t bother!

Because of the misplaced roll, my fifth and top button is hidden under the shawl part of the collar.

Originally I wanted to find metal buttons, but I like these little wooden biscuit-y ones, too.

The wrinkles on my upper chest are intense. The bust darts (which appear in no photos, somehow) are definitely too high by an inch or two; maybe lowering them will help in the future.

Oh! Also I added pockets! I used this Threads technique which has directions only in the print edition, but it’s worth searching out. I like it because you can finish the seam allowances together, and then topstitch for added security.

I actually topstitched all the legs seams, just in case. The fabric is soft, light shot cotton – I ordered Harissa, but I’m pretty sure I received Nutmeg. Hard to get upset when I’ve been sewing the heck out of this copper/fox color lately anyway! It’s pajamas-soft and goes great with my plan to #dresslikeacrayon.

I might make another one. I don’t have a specific fabric in mind, but this was comfortable for lounging, hiking, and eating, and YES visiting the bathroom takes a little longer but what, am I in some big hurry? Nah. Plus I want another crack at that collar. And second time sewn, the pattern is free…so…rematch!!

Catch you later!

Pattern: Hello Workshop Alex jumpsuit

Pattern cost: $11.18

Size: 12 bust, 16 waist and hip

Supplies: 3.5 yards of Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton Harissa, $27.62, fabric.com; buttons, elastic, $3.68, Sewfisticated; thread, $2.39, Michael’s

Total time: 8.75 hours

Total cost: $44.87

M7360 Sleeveless

I took a break from enthusiastically sewing pants to squeak out a little something to wear on my top half. I say little because it required very little fabric – I used the last odds and ends of a piece of chambray I’ve had for at least 5 years. Until now I hadn’t tried a pattern that would fit on the scraps, but this one did!

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The pattern is M7360, and it’s also been sitting in my house for years. I think the spirits were in a good mood when I rediscovered it. I had just decided that I shouldn’t buy any more patterns before either trying or donating my unused ones, so I recycled a stack of assembled PDFs that were no longer my size or style, and moved paper packets into my sewing drawer for later sorting. Separately, I looked over my clothing Pinterest board for general inspiration. I saw a shirt I liked, wondered which of my existing patterns would be easiest to adapt to match, opened the drawer, and found this on top!

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A great place to start, right? I traced a size 12 with a few changes. I combined views, using the cropped length (view A), but without side vents. Instead of cutting a single front with a separate popover placket, I cut two mirrored fronts with grown-on plackets (I measured the finished width of the placket, doubled it and added 1 seam allowance). I also drafted 3” deep hem facings and omitted the pocket.

I did a quick and dirty layout on my chambray and decided with some grainline hanky-panky the pattern pieces would all fit! I put the traced pattern and the fabric into a Ziplock bag and left it there for weeks. You know, to marinate. And judge me.

Anyway, then my city locked down!

My crisis management skills were apparently all learned from Molly the American Girl Doll, so the immediate effect of what I’ve heard described as reasonable panic is that I stopped wasting things. I wasn’t particularly profligate before (absolutely I will reuse tin foil), but I went into, like, a scrap fugue, and spent a week dawn-to-dusk stashbusting with “USE IT UP WEAR IT OUT MAKE IT DO OR DO WITHOUT” echoing in my brain. (Also, I planted a container garden (Jade Cross Brussels sprouts and raspberries so far – this spring is cold, but tomatoes are next!)). The result: masks on masks on masks, my Perse-phonies, and thou this top.   

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The shirt mostly came together smoothly. It’s a coupla bust darts, some short seams, and a lot of straight lines. I think the bust dart is just about right; fabric catches above my bust when I raise my arms, but when I tug it down, it sits correctly. Maybe I could use more space, or maybe it’s a fabric/friction thing?

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I big-time flubbed the collar, though. The collar pattern piece is essentially the letter “C”; the resulting collar has a much shorter top edge than bottom edge, so it lies flat and close to the garment wearer’s neck.

I couldn’t sew the dang thing. I tried my now-usual technique, which attaches the collar stand to itself before the shirt neck, and it was bulky and weird and bad. I couldn’t get the opposing curves to meet, despite clipping aggressively. And I didn’t have nearly enough fabric to try again. The only ‘spare’ fabric I had, in fact, was my hem facings.

Hence the double-fold hem!

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The hem facing pieces were JUST long enough to recut the collar, but not as a “C” – instead I used the collar stand piece from the Thread Theory Fairfield, lengthened slightly. This I can sew. I skipped the interfacing (I blame fugue!), so my collar is floppy and fancy-free, and it flippy-floppies in or out according to the breeze.  

I added topstitching to the long edges, so it doesn’t collapse completely, but I’d like to learn to sew the collar as drafted. Any tips? It stumped me completely. (Also, today I’m not so much accessorized as I am garnished.)

By the way, if you were wondering, my city does have a mask recommendation. Luckily taking blogging pictures is great practice in finding and remembering unpopulated nooks, but I wear it to and from locations (and I kept it tucked in my fanny pack for quick retrieval if needed).  

I’m hoping to give up this particular accessory someday, but happy to wear it in the meantime!

Anyway, this is a nice little pattern – simple (collar excepted), adaptable, a bit of subtle shaping, and it works with small amounts of friendly fabrics. I hope you find some pattern gems buried in your stashes, too!

Pattern: M7360

Pattern cost: $5.00 (best guess)

Size: 12

Supplies: chambray from stash; thread, Michael’s, $1.79

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $6.79

Tamarack jacket

All last fall and this spring I found myself reaching for a transitional jacket that didn’t exist – have you ever had that happen? I hoped my missing layer would be warm but not too heavy, with full-length sleeves, and easy to wear with jeans. I picked the Grainline Tamarack right away. However, I stalled on choosing fabric and made zero steps towards a finished jacket until September, when a bighearted friend gifted me her leftover wool in the perfect color, weight, and yardage. Hooray! This justified my spending philosophy – when in doubt, go without.

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Obviously it helps if your friends are the perfect combo of generous and tasteful! The wool is Rag & Bone and I know she got it at Mood – this wool seems similar (different color though), so I’m guessing it’s wool twill? Anyway, it’s gorgeous stuff, very soft and cooperative. The lining is quilting cotton from Gather Here. It’s a bit staid, but I’m happy with my choice. I almost picked a geometric pattern, but I’m really glad I didn’t, as my lining got wibbly while quilting and it’s much less obvious on this organically marked pattern.  

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Oh the quilting! It was prolonged! I’m freshly impressed by anyone who’s ever quilted a quilt on a traditional sewing machine, as I was struggling with these relatively small panels. I used black masking tape to mark my quilting lines. Actually, I only marked two at a time, since I’m a complete tape accountant (poor Professor Boyfriend has more than once been forced to defend using 1” of Scotch tape when ½” would do). It kept me moving – tape, sew, stand, measure, move the tape, sew, repeat…

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I planned my diagonal lines to move consistently around my body in one direction, since I knew I didn’t have the skills to match a perfect chevron and I worried than an imperfect one would give me the screaming jeebies. The lines are about 1 ¼” apart, and I can safely say “about”, because I surrendered perfection there pretty quickly. I think of these vertical lines crossed by diagonals as shortbread slices or pieces of brownie crisp. That is the full and detailed explanation of how I chose that design. Now you know!

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After wearing this a few times I leaned over a chain-link fence to holler at a student and ripped a hole in my finished coat! But I’d used up my coordinating thread – one spool to match the shell and one spool to match the lining, perfect amount, no leftovers. Instead of buying another spool (are you surprised? Did you read the tape thing?) I went with this coordinating tone.

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To mend, I poked a piece of fusible webbing into the hole with a wide needle, ironed it in place to discourage fraying, and stitched a big wide bartack over the whole mess. It’s okay. It’s part of the story of the coat now. And it was difficult to get riled up about a wee hole after the whole pocket debacle.

Oh, what pocket debacle?! I’m glad you asked!

There’s a part in the Grainline directions – after a dozen hours of quilting, when you’re about to sew a welt pocket, and after hand-basting all the pocket markings like a good girl – when you’re instructed to snip very, very carefully through the finished front panel, because if you mess up and snip too far then you’ll ruin your coat.

WELL, I SNIPPED TOO FAR.

AND RUINED MY COAT.

KIND OF!!

Pocket 1, I sewed and snipped and turned, only to find my welt flapping free. The long raw edge was attached but the two short folded edges and the long folded edge of the welt were just hanging loose on the front of my coat. It looked fine otherwise so I just hand-stitched the short edges down and followed the rest of the instructions as normal. Pocket 2, I had a tricky decision – do I sew the pocket to match my first, wrong pocket exactly, or do I sew it right?

I did what any sensible person would do which was accidentally and irreversibly cut my welt opening a full half-inch wider than my welt flap. AND the short edges were loose. AAACK. In the moment, I became very calm and philosophical and just sort of wandered away. When I came back, Prof. BF helped me brainstorm and suggested a little coordinating tag of the lining fabric to cover the excess opening. Bing!

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Later I thought about adding a rivet or a snap to make it look even more deliberate, and chose a snap. It’s kind of stupid but it also makes me laugh – that snap is functional.

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Despite my self-created drama and, in my opinion, the ungenerous seam allowance at the top of my pocket, they’re still totally pockets. Be warned, though. If my fabric was any thicker I would not have been able to turn or stitch that top seam allowance, the one usually concealed by the welt flap. It might be user error but something to pay attention to all the same!

I sewed the first pass on all my bias binding by machine and the second pass by hand. It seemed simplest. I also stitched my bound pocket bags to the lining so they wouldn’t flap around. Actually, the most unexpected time suck was just fiddling the mitered corners on the front into place, and even at A FULL FIFTEEN MINUTES per corner, some are better than others. In general, though, the hand-sewing didn’t seem to take long. But I’m sure many very nice people machine stitch the whole binding! You do your thing.

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Full disclosure: at first I didn’t like this jacket!! I thought the neck was too wide and scooped and that it looked kind of schlumpy. But on the first cold day, there it was when I needed it. And now I love it.

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Sometimes I even wear it indoors with a hot water bottle snapped inside, like I’m trying to revive a little baby Dalmatian. I’ve worn it to three separate apple orchards this fall (yes that’s too many orchards). Professor Boyfriend says it’s not so much a quilted jacket as a jacketed quilt, and I concur! I’ll be reluctantly trading it for a warmer layer soon, but I’m glad it will be waiting for me in the spring.

Stay cozy out there!

Pattern: Grainline Tamarack jacket

Pattern cost: $18.00

Size: 12

Supplies: Rag & Bone olive wool, gift, originally Mood; 2 yards Home Dash in Shale cotton, 2 yards cotton batting, $35.22, Gather Here; thread, Michael’s, $3.58; snaps from stash

Total time: 20.5 hours

Total cost: $56.80

Perkins shirt

The Ensemble Patterns Perkins shirt is my first autumn-facing sew! Which Perkins? Sue? Maybe! Sorry Sue, it’s mine though!

One of my weirder acquisitions from The Man Outside Sainsbury’s was this devastatingly cheap, semi-sheer windowpane fabric, which I thought was cotton until about two seconds after buying it. Then I realized it was definitely a mixture of petroleum and cotton candy (so fake! So fragile!). What, am I not gonna sew it though? NO.

Also did I mention I went to TMOS?! Professor Boyfriend and I had one unscheduled morning in London (we were there for three days, mostly to see his family) and luckily some of that family lived not too far from Walthamstow, so I was able to squeeze in fabric shopping. Sadly I didn’t make it to Ray Stitch as recommended by the outstandingly stylish Beck, or Liberty of London (I wanted Liberty bias tape!), but next time I hope!

This fabric was a pain to work with, but dare I say worth it? I like the windowpane, it’s light and flowy, but most importantly, I feel really proud of myself for handling it!

I made a batch of homemade spray starch, but it wasn’t a good fit for this synthetic. Pressed on cool, the starch didn’t stiffen; any hotter, and the starch left a toasty spot on my white fabric. I didn’t even try iron-on interfacing – all I could picture was melted, shriveled plastic.

Instead, I underlined both collar pieces, collar stand pieces, and plackets with scraps of cotton voile. I actually cut the pattern pieces from my voile, and then sewed them to my uncut main fabric within the seam allowance, before finally cutting the main fabric to match. Almost like block fusing! Fussy, but I don’t regret it!

 I cut the inner sleeves, yoke, and pocket lining from scraps of white linen. They’re slightly different temperatures of white but I used up a lot of odds and ends. I also hemmed the shirt with voile bias tape. These scraps did triple-duty – they added a little much-needed structure, prevented the print from showing through on the sleeves, and concealed most of the seam allowances.

Cutting in general was a marathon! This fabric had a deeply held anti-staying-on-grain position, but the woven grid pattern helped me tug it more or less into shape. The MVP of cutting was actually the sheer nature of the fabric, since I could cut one piece, move it, and easily see, align, and pin the grid. Then, and I can’t repeat this enough for thin, malleable, shred-y fabric, STAY-STITCH EVERYTHING.

Actual sewing was not so bad! I was racing the clock on those 3/8ths seam allowances as the fabric tattered before my eyes, but except for some fabric dragging when I topstitched, a new sharp needle got the job done with only, OH YOU KNOW, constant stress (but then an equal and opposite satisfaction).  

And then a lady in Trader Joe’s said she liked it so it was ALL WORTH IT!

Oh, here’s another thing about my shirt: at least one of these sleeves is sewn wrong. I rather suspect they both are. I know this seems like a mathematical impossibility but thanks to the linings, I can put in one fashion fabric correctly and one wrongly, and one lining correctly and one wrongly…on opposite arms! Booyah! None of my fabrics had a right side/wrong side and the fashion fabric shredded right down to my stay-stitching line, notches too; halfway through sewing the second sleeve I realized they weren’t symmetrical anymore but it’s anyone’s guess which piece ended up where!

It seems to not matter, somehow. Yes let’s agree it doesn’t matter! By the way, if the fabric requirements seem a little high for this shirt, it’s because of the sleeve linings. I didn’t realize the so-called ‘magic sleeves’ were lined until my first instruction booklet read-through. It briefly threw me for a loop but I love it, in fact. It doesn’t make the sleeves too heavy, and it seals everything up all pretty inside.

If you want to use a different fabric for the inner layer of the sleeve, yoke, and pocket, you can subtract ½ yard from the main fabric requirements, and buy an additional 2/3 of a yard of your lining choice. It takes slightly more because you can’t fit it in around the edges of other pieces, but you can choose something cheaper/lighter – or in a case like this, solid and opaque, to prevent print show-through.  

The only seam that isn’t finished beautifully, if you follow the instructions, is the underarm/side seam. I opted to use narrow French seams as I figured this shirt could sacrifice an extra 1/8” per seam – the total  ½” is not a meaningful absence by volume. Also, I recently learned French seams are called English seams in France, which is pretty delightful.

I think I can ju-uu-st about squeeze into this, despite making it ½” smaller around. :} I love my new shirt. I’m afraid to wash it in case it rips, dissolves, melts, or turns out to have been a dream all along. But don’t worry, Mom, I’m still gonna.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this bizarre gem, courtesy of Professor Boyfriend!

O_O

WOAH.

Pattern: Perkins shirt

Pattern cost: $12.00

Size: 8

Supplies: 2 meters of windowpane mystery fabric, $4.86, TMOS; 6 buttons, $3.00, Gather Here

Total time: 7.75 hours

Total cost: $19.86

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

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

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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