28 June 2014

Pictures of IJ740 & Jean-style Jackets

Here are some photos of me wearing the coat.  I am so happy I ditched the belt!
These pictures were taken outside of the pottery studio.  I wanted to have a background that looked kind of rustic so that the coat really stood out.  These photos were also taken by the studio owner and my teacher, Mike.  Thanks Mike!  

I'm in the process of completing my review for the contest and will submit it shortly.  Wish me luck!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts about jean-style jackets and fit.  I also emailed Kenneth D. King and asked for his thoughts.  He pretty much said what everyone else said:  it's a matter of personal preference, though he prefers the centers front to meet or else it looks as if the jacket doesn't fit properly.

I stopped working on the Cynthia Rowley (S2443) pattern.  After making four muslins for the front, I decided it wasn't worth it.  It's a cute jacket, but I don't want to fuss with something that may not even be flattering.  Instead, I started sewing Kwisk Sew 2895 and hope to have it finished before Monday. 

Until next time, peace!


26 June 2014

Jean-style Jackets and Fit

How are jean-style jackets supposed to fit?  

I'm working on Simplicity 2443 and am wondering if I'm actually doing more work than necessary.  In perusing the 80+ reviews of this pattern, I noticed that almost all of them pull apart near the bottom - no matter the shape or figure of the person wearing the jacket.

I thought my first muslin didn't fit because the centers front didn't meet.  After looking at some of these pictures, I'm having second thoughts.  Even the model's garment pulls apart. 

I searched jean-style jackets on the net and see the same thing.

So how are these jackets supposed to fit?  Any thoughts?


23 June 2014

Okay, So It's Not My Signature

Remember this?  
Doesn't this look like a heart and a cursive capital letter L?  Love, L.  Awww...

There's more where that came from:

I bought the fabric at the end of April completely excited about making the coat.  But when I got it home, I was disappointed to realize just how stiff it was.  I mulled taking it back because it really, REALLY would have been a pain to work with.

I had a small swatch and washed it to see if that would help.  The swatch softened up a bit, but I wasn't sure if I could trust the whole piece to soften in the same way.  So I sat it on a shelf in my sewing room and left town. 

After thinking about it some more, I decided that I was going to return it once I came home.  The fabric was around $17/yard (on sale) and I didn't want to waste the money.  Who has time to sew a coat out of cardboard?  What is this, an unconventional challenge on Project Runway?  Nerp.

Then it happened.

I saw someone walking around Sydney wearing a coat with a pattern very similar to the fabric. Cardboard be damned:  I was making this coat!

I put the whole 2.5 yards in the washing machine with detergent and a little bit of fabric softener.  I also put it in the dryer on the low-heat setting.  Ah-ha!  Success.  The fabric softened very nicely.  Although it still had elements of its former cardboard life, it was MUCH easier to handle and sew.

I probably should have washed and dried it a couple of more times.  However, I noticed that this fabric picks up lint and fuzz balls like a raging dust buster.  Another wash or two and I may have been completely discouraged from the project.

Pattern:  The pattern is Indygo Junction 740.  I made this in August of last year and LOVE it.  Wearing this coat makes me happy, so why not double that good feeling? =)

Fabric & Lining:  Just like last time, I used upholstery fabric purchased from...wait for it...Joann's!  I almost never buy fabric from them because it's icky and expensive - can't be both.  Occasionally I'll find a good piece or two.  Most of the time, though, I don't.

The bolt label said that the fabric is 70% polyester and 30% cotton.  I think the off-white base is polyester and the thread for the swirls is cotton.  The fabric is two ply with both plies held together by all of the stitching.

The lining is black flannel-backed Kasha..  I love this stuff; it sews and presses nicely.  

Tailoring:  I included the same techniques as before:  sleeve heads; back stay; and fusible interfacing on the front, side front, facings, and all hems.

Construction:  I finished all edges of the shell first, then pressed them open with a clapper.  Since the fabric was bulky, this was the only way to get nice, flat seams.  

I hemmed the coat using a blind hem and ivory-colored thread. 

I also added side seam pockets.  This is something I didn't do on the first version and I wish I had. 
Murphy's Law demands that I will set one sleeve at least three times.  It happens with every jacket/coat.  The right sleeve went in perfectly with no puckers.  The left sleeve just would NOT cooperate.  I was one minute away from hemming the coat when I looked at the sleeve and took it out...again.  I set it two more times and pressed the hell out of it.  Meh.  It's marginally better, but still not quite right.
Ugh.  The wrinkles!  It's the sleeve head; I think I pulled too tightly.  I'm not setting this sleeve for a fifth time because the sleeve cap is already stretched out.  Any more fuss and I'll have to replace the whole sleeve.  Y'all know that's not happening. 

I added some of the same sea foam green piping between the facing and lining.
As for the picture on the right, we will not speak on the franken-fabric meld that occurred to make this part work.  I have no idea what happened with the facing assembly, but trust me  it is a hot mess in there.  Fortunately the fix can't be seen from the outside.  I just hope it holds!

Other Stuff:  
The buttons are ceramic and handmade by moi.  For the pottery folk, the glaze fired to cone 6 and is called Palladium by Amaco. The color looks black, but it's really a dark metallic silver.  Yum!
I got the collar roll right this time, Rachelle!  On the first version, despite trimming the under collar and cutting it on the bias, the collar would not roll.  I made sure to encourage the roll more aggressively on this one.

I made a belt, but I didn't like it.  Something about it just didn't feel like the first version.  Even if I were to sew a button onto the belt, I still wouldn't like it.  So, I took the belt loops off and chucked the belt.  The coat has no shaping, but that's okay; it's a coat!  It's not supposed to be form fitting.
Outerwear Contest
This will be my entry into Pattern Review's Outerwear Contest.  I didn't even know it was going on until recently. 

I hope to take pictures wearing the coat later this week.  I want to get prettified and have the photos taken outdoors.  Kinda goes with the spirit of the garment, ya know?

Up next:  I have a couple of things in queue.  I want a denim jacket after seeing (and drooling over) Valerie's version of Butterick 5616.  I made a muslin of Kwik Sew 2895 and Simplicity 2443, but they don't fit.  Surprise, surprise.

Random non-sewing comment:  Anyone else watching 24:  Live Another Day?  I used to be ALL IN with 24.  Since season 6, I've started comparing the number of times Jack says "Damn it!" to the number of times I say, "This is stupid."  So far, I'm winning. 

Until next time, peace!


18 June 2014

Jalie 2559 (floral print jacket)

I wanted to finish it before going out of town, but I ran out of time.  Oh well. It's finished now and I love it - though I don't know with what to wear it except jeans.

I have this coral cotton stretch pique, but I think that might be too much.  I was hesitant to wear the much-more-subdued coral button-down in the picture.  Seems too matchy-matchy.  Any suggestions? 

Having made this pattern successfully three out of four times, I can't rave about it enough.  It's a shame that it's no longer available on Jalie's website.  It's really a great pattern and is very well drafted - as long as you pick a fabric that's not too thick.

The construction details are the same:
  • sleeve heads to help set the sleeve and support the sleeve cap
  • back stay for stability
  • interfaced front, side front, and facings
  • interfaced all hems
For the lining, I used a bright yellow cotton voile from the stash.  I bought this fabric with the intention of making a tunic, but it was way too bright for my taste.  I was going to relegate big bird to the muslin stash, but used it for the lining instead.  The sleeves are lined with some cheap-o polyester lining from the stash as well.  Y'all know I'm a lining snob, but I didn't want to use anything else.  I could have used some supple blue Ambiance, but I wanted the lining to match.

I haven't added buttons or buttonholes yet.  I'm trying to decide if I want them or not.  If so, I'll likely use self-covered buttons and snaps because I don't feel like looking for buttons nothing else really goes with the print. I could make some at the studio, but none of the glazes match; I already checked.

Will I make this again?  Definitely.  One can never have too many blazers.  I simply love my KLM jacket and plan to make more in similar-weight wools.

I'm working on another project that I hope to have finished very soon.  More details later.

Until next time, peace!


17 June 2014

Make That 3 Skirts

Two lined, one knit, and the month still isn't over.  Watch out SASSSG.  RBOEDTLOSSG (random-burst-of-energy-due-to-lack-of-sleep-sewing-goddess) is on the move!

Actually, my sleep is back to normal.  I am not waking up at midnight and tossing/turning until 3a.  

On with the review...
left:  paired with Jalie 2559
right:  front of skirt

This skirt is my second version of McCall's 6654 and was very easy to make.  There are only three pieces - two of which are cut on the fold. 

Fabric:  I made the skirt out of one of my fabric purchases during my fantabulous trip to Australia.  I picked up this piece in Cabramatta at the meet-up with Beverly, Maria, Valerie, Alison, Wendy, and Sharon.  When I saw the bolt, I made a bee-line for it because I HAD to have it.  
The fabric has a nice weight and has a mesh backing that is held in place by the print.  

Notions:  I used a stretch needle in my sewing machine to stitch the seam and regular needles/thread to serge the seams together.  I used 3/4"-wide elastic cut to a comfortable  size in the casing.

Instead of converstitching the hem, I oped for a blind hem.  I didn't want coverstitch threads interrupting the print on the outside.

Alterations:  Previously, I made a 1.25-inch full seat adjustment - an alteration I have to do on every skirt.  I ended up using larger seam allowances (1.25") so that the skirt hugged my hips a little more.  For future versions, I'll use 1" seam allowances instead. 

This is my go-to pattern for knit pencil skirts.  From cut to finish (barring no crazy sewing errors), it can probably be sewn in an hour.  I make the crazy sewing errors, so my sewing time is a bit longer. =)

You were reading my mind, Valerie!

Until next time, peace!


15 June 2014

New Look 6274 (skirts)

Don't you just love it when you can sew a TNT? I've made NL 6274 a few times and use it when I want a quick, no-fuss skirt.

On the left, the skirt is paired with Simplicity 2422 (not reviewed).  I wore this outfit on Monday and got some nice compliments.  The second skirt is paired with an old favorite, McCall's 6078.  I'd like to make a white jacket or blouse to go with both skirts.  I have some navy suiting fabric and could make another Jalie 2559. Hmm...

I like the navy elastic belt better than the red one.  I need to find some navy vinyl/pleather so that I can make the belt.

The fabric is a light-weight stretch cotton sateen.  I found both pieces at G Street Fabrics during a trip to DC last November.  They were one-yard pieces and were perfect lengths for skirts.

I didn't do anything differently with the construction.  I used invisible zippers, Ambiance lining, and petersham for the waist facing.  The skirt seams were finished first, sewn, and then pressed open.  The lining seams were sewn and then serged together.  I used a blind hem on both skirts.

Having worn one skirt already, I realize that I need to take the waist in a bit.  This will mean that I'll have to undo the hem, petersham, and serging.  The skirt's kind of baggy, so I think the extra work will be worth it.

I'll leave you a picture of my "signature."

14 June 2014

Five Days in Melbourne

My trip to Melbourne started off kinda rocky.  The flight I booked through Expedia (bad idea) apparently didn't exist.  I only found out about it when I got to the airport.  Fortunately, I was booked on a flight that left two hours later than the original one.  

Then on top of that, the mystery flight didn't include any checked bags.  So I had to pay $70 on the spot because my bag was not going to fit in the overhead compartment.  Grrrr.

Initially, I booked a reservation at another hostel.  Upon arrival at the hostel, I did not like it as much.  The people were very nice and friendly, but I just didn't bond with the environment.  The bathroom was down the hall and the rooms were very dark.  Besides, I just spent the last ten days in a hostel and could use some alone time.

Fort the first two days, I walked around the city looking for another place to stay.  I ended up staying at Batman's Hill on Collins - a really nice hotel that is centrally located and reasonably priced.   The receptionist even upgraded my room to a king suite for the price of a double.  Things were looking up!

Then I caught a cold.  The weather was much cooler and wetter and my body didn't respond like that. Despite having a cold, I still ventured out to visit some sights, but I didn't take as many pictures.  I also didn't stay out too much for fear that I'd get sicker. 

I walked mostly everywhere and took the free City Circle Tram as needed.  I meant to take pictures of the tram.

Both pictures were taken from in front of the Shrine of Remembrance at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The domed building on the left is the Flinders Street train station.  The pictures are taken from Federation Square.
I've never seen black swans before.  The birds are traversing the Yarra River.  I know I took more pictures of the river, but they no longer appear on my memory card.  =(

I went to a few museums/galleries during my visit:  Immigration Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Melbourne Museum.

In front of the Royal Exhibition Building
 Gotta love the beautiful bird of paradise flower!

I also spent some time at Queen Victoria's Market.  This is an outdoor market, much like Paddy's Market in Sydney, that is host to pretty much anything you want to find.  There are food and clothing vendors, as well as electronics, souvenir, and accessory booths.  If I were visiting longer, I would have perused the shops a little more.

Despite being under the weather, I enjoyed visiting Melbourne.  I didn't get to spend as much time there and definitely have to come back.  I don't think I got to see as much as the city has to offer.  I would have liked to take a river cruise down the Yarra River and visit some of the older neighborhoods like South Yarra.

In all, I had a wonderful time visiting Australia.  I put off planning this trip for years for reasons that I won't get into.  With the encouragement and support of those closest to me, I am so glad that I did it. This has had a profound affect on me with experiences that I will never forget.

Up next:  When you can't sleep, sew!  So far this month, I finished my floral print jacket, sewed two skirts, and am about 75% done with another coat.  I also cut out a muslin for a button-front blouse and knit dress AND cut the fabric for another version of McCall's 6654 (knit skirt). 

See that roll?  I am so on it.


10 June 2014

Ten Days in Sydney (*very* pic heavy)

It's funny how traveling across the international date line works.  I left Michigan on a Wednesday, flew back in time to California, and ended up in Sydney on Friday.  Thursday did not happen.

My body is slowing returning back to normal.  I was having trouble sleeping last week, but it's getting better.  I don't toss and turn for two to three hours anymore.

Here are some details about my time spent in Sydney.

Walking around the city:  My first two days were spent walking around the city using free guided tours.  The hostel offered a tour on Friday and one of my roommates and I went on a free-ish tour on Saturday.  The hostel tour was quite extensive and included a walk to Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Paddy's Market, and ended at Central Station.  

 Sydney Opera House
 Sydney Harbour Bridge
 Martin Place

 Rubbing his nose gives good luck.  Apparently people have rubbed other things, too.
 Archibald Fountain at Hyde Park
 St. Mary's Cathedral
 Central Business District (taken from Pyrmont Bridge)
The international bird.

Marvelous meet-up:  Beverly of On the Road to Sew Wear arranged a sewing-blogger meet up in Cabramatta (also known as "little Vietnam").  She graciously offered to pick me up and drive us out to meet with the others who came from all over. 
 left to right:  Wendy, Maria, me, Beverly, Alison, Sharon, Valerie
Can you spot my fabric purchase?  Genius thinking on my part.
Everyone is wearing something they made.  Freakin' awesome!

We started with tea and coffee at a local cafe and then fabric shopping!  Beverly researched the shops in the area and mapped out everything so as to maximize our time and energy.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the stores.  I was so engrossed in the moment, I forgot I had my camera!  I showed immense restraint and purchased only two pieces.  The third piece was gifted to me by Maria (Velosewer).  

We had lunch at...um...help me out ladies!  I had so much food that I had leftovers for lunch the next day.  These lovely ladies were kind to treat me to lunch.  Thank you!

Gifts from Maria:  Joey and Koala.  I *love* stuffed animals.  How did you know?!

 gorgeous ITY border print (2 meters); also a gift from Maria
 left:  reversible stretch woven (3 meters)
right:  black on white houndstooth doubleknit (1 meter)

Many thanks to Beverly, Maria (for the ride back to the hostel), and everyone for such a warm welcome.  I enjoyed our laughs and will never forget this.  We must keep in touch!

Museums and more walking:   
 Royal Botanical Gardens
 Barracks Museum (former holding places and courts for convicts)
 Chinese Gardens


I found Tessuti Fabrics with no problem; I didn't buy anything, though.  The fabric was divine, but really expensive.

Student fashion on display at the Powerhouse Museum

 Representin' The D!
This photo was taken atop one of the pylons at the end of the bridge.
OMGosh.  There were SO many steps to get to the top.  
There was a water fountain half-way up.  Yeah.  That many steps.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge:  Yup, I climbed it.  I was all I-am-woman-hear-me-ROAR about it...until I got there.  Then I was like, holy shit, what the hell am I doing?!  Fortunately, the climb is very safe and well managed.  I made it up and back with no problem and no soiled undergarments.  If you're ever in Sydney, definitely do it! 

 On top of the bridge decked in the fashionable climbing gear.
 This is a picture of a different group of climbers.  Look at how tiny they are!

Ferry to Manly:  I went to Manly Beach for a few hours, rented a bike, and rode around.  The weather was great and the view was nothing short of remarkable.

Day trip to the Blue Mountains: I definitely recommend taking a day (or two if you can) and go out to the Blue Mountains.  Majestic is one of many words to describe the view, tranquility, and smell.  Our tour guide said that the blue color we see is due to the sun reflecting off of the eucalyptus oil in the atmosphere.


These pictures were taken from the Skyway, Cableway, and Railway - all at Scenic World

Featherdale Wildlife Park:  As part of the day tour package, we visited Featherdale Wildlife Park.  I chose Featherdale over the Taronga Zoo because some of the animals are not caged - as you will see below!

 Roos everywhere!  You can feed them, too. 

 Awww.  Koalas are so darn cute!  
We weren't allowed to hold them, but we could touch this one.
 Tasmanian devil
 Peacock just out for a casual stroll
 I didn't get too close to the emus.  They looked aggressive - especially this one.
 This was a big kangaroo!  
It looked as if he had had enough of these two-footed uprights in his domain!

Super Saturday with Sarah Liz:  Sarah Liz of SarahLizSewStyle drove several hours with her DH to meet up on Saturday.  How sweet is that?!  We met at the Royal Botanical Gardens and visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  We had a lovely tour of the gallery and many wonderful conversations. We talked about Australia's art history in addition to many other things.

We spent the entire day together and easily could have talked for hours more.  I love our sewing community.  It is so nice to meet someone with whom you've connected virtually.  It was fantastic to meet her and her DH.  We will meet again, for sure!

Vivid SydneyEvery night for about two weeks, Sydney produces a festival in celebration of light, music, and art.  There are spectacular light shows displayed on various buildings downtown (including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House) as well as concerts and street performances.  I had no idea this was to take place and was extremely fortunate to be visiting during this time.


This is only a few of the MILLION pictures (okay...hundred or so) I took of the light show.  It was spectacular!

Whew!  Up next I'll share photos of my trip to Melbourne.



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