Finding Violet and Vogue 9363

IMG_4895I’ve really enjoyed the #sew happy color challenge on Instagram. It’s inspired so many lovely posts by members of our sewing community! The premise of the challenge (created by @katiekortmanart) has been to explore combining complimentary colors in new ways. For me, it’s been an opportunity to look at the colors I love and to think about ways I can have more of them in my wardrobe and life.

This last week of #sewhappycolor features violet and blue. Blue…well, you all know how much I love that color (LOL). My wardrobe includes so many blue options, I could wear the color every day if I wanted. I love violet too, but my stash of fabric and wardrobe doesn’t really reflect that at all.

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So I took a trip to the fabric store, intending to buy a beautiful piece of violet fabric. Instead, I ended up with a print. It’s the scale of this one that caught my eye. The areas of solid black provide negative space that really allows the large violet flowers to pop. I really love this print….Hmmm, need/want more like this…

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Vogue 9363 is my pattern, new this Spring. I can’t resist a pattern with a front tie!  (see my other tie makes here, here and here)

Construction: Although the fabric recommendations include rayon and crepe (lots of drape), I chose Japanese cotton because I wanted the top to look more structured. It was such a such a dream to work with. It shapes beautifully and is a joy to press. The pattern is well drafted too. I cut my usual size and have absolutely no complaints about the fit. The curve of the front bodice seam gives it a unique drape, and the sleeves are easy as they are cut as part of the front and back bodice. There’s a zipper in the back and the loose fit is shaped by front and back bodice darts as well as the wide belt. It’s an easy top to fit and wear.

Changes modifications: I made the short sleeve version of the top/tunic. The pattern suggests the sleeves be finished with a machine hem, but since the print has a bit of a vintage vibe to it, I decided to add a rolled cuff to the sleeve with a buttoned sleeve tab. I really like the finished look of the rolled cuff on this generous sleeve.

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This lovely print has reinforced my love for violet. I’m hoping there will be more of this happy color in my future. For more inspiration and information about complimentary colors, check out Katie’s blog…it’s a wealth of information very enthusiastically presented. #Sewhappycolor was such brilliant idea – – Thanks Katie! Have you all enjoyed #sewhappycolor too? Any new revelations?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Waiting for Spring in my Wiksten Haori Jacket

IMG_4450Well, it’s official. I am now a big fan of the Wiksten Haori jacket.

 

I might be the last blogger to make this lovely jacket. I avoided this pattern at first, as I prefer fitted jackets to loose-fitting styles. But on a recent visit to a local fabric store (Bolt, such a great store!! ), I tried on their sample version of the Haori, and it was love at first wear. Yes, the style is a bit boxy and unstructured, but that’s the beauty of it!

IMG_4613My first version (yes there will be others) was inspired by a change of weather here in Oregon. We had a few ‘teaser’ days last week that felt like Spring, but now, temperatures are cold again and it’s damp. I still need to wear a cozy layer, so my Haori is made from a wool blend, lined with linen. The wool fights the damp fearlessly, while the linen makes it wearable. Because the design is a loose fit, a fabric with some body (like linen, wool, cotton canvas) is a good thing…it really gives the stylish details some support.

 

 

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The design of the Haori jacket is simple in concept. It’s two jackets bound together by a common front facing/lapel; brilliant really and quite easy to sew. I am a fan of this construction method, as the inside of the jacket has such a clean finish, and it makes the jacket reversible too.

IMG_4514Even though my measurements put me at a small, I cut the extra small and still had room to spare. You might want to consider sizing down. This version is the ‘short’ version. I worried a bit about the length as it was described as ‘cropped’, but in reality, on my 5′ 4″ frame, the length is perfectly fine – – it hits just above the hips. You can see the longer version on Instagram (#wikstenhaori).  So many lovely versions to enjoy!

IMG_4487 2Construction is pretty straightforward. The sleeves are inserted before you sew the side seams so you don’t have to set them in…a big win if you ask me! The pockets are patch pockets that are top-stitched…also very simple. It took me about 2 and a half hours to put together.

 

 

 

Choosing fabric – – one thing to remember is that the front facing/lapel is cut from the lining fabric, so you need to choose a lining fabric that compliments the fabric of the body of the jacket. Also, the sleeves are rolled up, so that’s another chance for your lining fabric to be a cool design element. A fabric with some body is key to help the jacket hold its shape. My wool is pretty soft, but my linen has some crispness to it, so the combo worked well. The lapels are interfaced too, which helps give the style some structure.

IMG_4634I love the weight of this jacket. It’s perfect for this time of the year. But I’m already planning a linen version (or two) for warmer weather, maybe a quilted version for Fall. Really, with this style, the options are endless! If everything in my closet was this lovely to wear, life would seem easy indeed.

I’m really enjoying everyone’s #sewhappycolor posts on Instagram – I’m inspired to add more color to my wardrobe this Spring! Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Perth dress: #So50Visible

IMG_4344 2This new linen dress was inspired by the challenge on Instagram, the #So50Visible, created by the #SewOver50 gang.  The idea of the challenge is to find a pattern where the photo features a model who is over 50. Sounds easy, Right? If only…. In my search for a pattern, I couldn’t find any over 50 models in McCalls, Butterick, Vogue or Burda. Simplicity had only two. I was shocked.

When I turned to the Indie patterns, I found a few more, and I’m so pleased that my search led me to this fabulous pattern, the Perth Dress and Top by Carolyn and Cassie (Carolyn is from the blog Handmade by Carolyn). The photos of the pattern include Carolyn herself as a model…fabulous!!  I haven’t made a pattern by Carolyn and Cassie before (Cassie is her daughter), so this qualifies this make for the #BGchallenge (Breaking Ground Challenge) too!

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The Perth dress is a shirtdress that includes some classic menswear details like a traditional collar stand and generously shaped collar. It has all the trimmings of a shirt dress, but without all of the buttons (yay) so if you’ve postponed making a shirt dress because of the buttons, this option is clearly for you!

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Details: My favorite detail on this dress is the button and the front pleat. It’s so cleverly designed because, by buttoning the collar, you create the lovely pleated front of the dress.  There’s also a back yoke, a black pleat and lovely in seam pockets. The style looks structured but it has the ease and flow of a flouncy, fun dress. Because the dress is loose fitting, you choose the size by your bust measurement.

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The pattern is expertly crafted with some great constructions details that are carefully explained by Carolyn. The back yoke is constructed burrito style. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a fabulous way to get a clean finish on the inside. The front pleat and collar and stand look much harder than they are. There’s one button, but two buttonholes, and it was fun to see how, by buttoning the dress, you suddenly have this wonderful pleat in the front. The only modification I made was to the dress was to shorten the collar points by about a half of an inch, just because I like a smaller collar.

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The success of this dress depends in large part on the fabric. In order for the dress to have some lovely movement, you need a fabric with the right amount of drape, but also with enough body to support the precise construction required for a collar and stand. Linen is perfect for all of these tasks, so I chose a lovely mustard linen from the Mill End Store here in Portland as well as a contrasting white linen for the collar. This fabric was amazing to work with – – it has a slight texture to it, a rare find that I wish I had more of.

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I love my new poufy dress and am so happy that this challenge led me to a new, fun pattern. Thanks to Carolyn and Cassie for bringIMG_4344ing this pattern to life with a real life model who is over 50. And I’m so grateful to everyone involved in the #So50Visible challenge. It’s fun, and informative and it made me much more aware. Let’s hope pattern companies take notice…

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by.

Two Tops with a Difference from Burda Style

I have always looked forward to each issue of Burda Style, but the inspiration I’ve found in the last couple of issues has been amazing. The March issue had so many options I wanted to explore, I abandoned my other sewing projects in favor of a bit of quick gratification. Here are some of the items in the March issue that I found especially appealing.

BeFunky-collageI love (!!) the two mint green jackets. I’m sure you’ll see a few from this collection here over the next few months!

To start though, I focussed on two tops that looked simple but satisfying. The first (3/2019, 112) has assymmetrical gathering in the front, a challenge that looked stylish and comfortable.

You can see from the drawing, that there are some interesting seams and gathers involved. There was no way I could resist this pattern! From the photo above, it looks like the pattern is made from a knit, but it’s actually for wovens. I noticed that this pattern is also available in the Burda pattern book so if you want to avoid the ordeal of tracing this one, hurry down to Joann’s and it will be yours.

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Construction challenges: The difficulty rating Burda gives this pattern is three dots (intermediate). At first glance, I couldn’t imagine why, but it was a bit of challenge. To make life easy for yourself, choose a lightweight fabric with a good amount of drape (I chose rayon). Then, cut out and mark the pattern carefully, paying close attention to the placement of the gathers. If you add gathers where there aren’t supposed to be any (even just a bit!), the front will not hang correctly. Trust me, I found out the hard way, LOL. My rayon is really lovely with a drape that reminds me of silk. But it does not like to be unpicked. So, when I extended the gathers a bit too far, it wasn’t fun correcting my mistake. But I love the assyemtrical gathering here – so worth it!

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My second make (3/2019/104) is pretty straightforward. It also requires a fabric with good drape (in my opinion), although Burda recommends cotton shirting for one version of this pattern.

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Well, when I saw the drop shoulders and the big gathered sleeves, it was all over for me:). There weren’t too many challenges here. I cut my usual size but was amazed at how large the neck opening was. Since I have narrow shoulders, I knew that would be a disaster, so I took out 5/8 inch at the center back to correct this. I’m so glad I did, because as you can see, it is still a generous neck-line. I used a rayon that’s almost a gauze, and finished all seams with my serger. I absolutely love these sleeves and they weren’t difficult at all. You just gather the fullness into some cuffs and call it good.

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I’d love to try this in another more colorful fabric for spring, maybe a rayon batik or a double gauze. I was very tempted to head to the fabric store after I completed this version, but fought the urge as I’m trying to sew from my stash. My rule this year is for every three pieces I use in my stash, I can buy one. So, eventually, I will be shopping again!

I’m happy with both of my tops – – they were well worth the time it took to trace the patterns from the magazine insert. Perhaps these two successes are a sign from the universe that my wish-list from the issue should be fully pursued!

#So50visible Instagram Challenge: However, my love for Burda these days does not change the fact that I am less than pleased at their blatent disregard for the sewist who is over 50. Of course, they are not the only company who chooses to ignore us. The Big Four are no better. Have you seen the #So50Visible challenge on Instagram? When you look at pattern catalogs/magazines, it is rare to see a model that is over 50. This is so disheartening to those of us who have supported the Big Four companies for so many years. We’re a huge part of the sewing community and the market – we cannot be ignored. So, find a pattern that features a over 50 model, make it and post it to celebrate how wonderful we all are no matter what our age. I’ll be participating in the  challenge and hope you will join me, no matter what your age.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Two Hvar Jackets are Better than One

The Hvar Jacket from Itch to Stitch has been on my to-sew list for awhile because I’m crazy about cute easy-to-wear jackets. Not only are they adorable, but they help bridge the wardrobe no-man’s land between seasons. A light jacket can function as a layer under a heavy coat when the weather is severe, or it can stand alone when the day is fair. Best of all, a good jacket makes me feel stylish and put together! Chic and functional  – – what could be better than that?

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Even though I had the pattern and the fabric, I put off making the Hvar for quite some time. Because the lapel of this jacket is draped, I thought the sewing would be challenging.  I could not have been more wrong. I mean, the Hvar has only four pattern pieces..simple and fast! Itch-to-Stitch-Hvar-Jacket If you never sewn a jacket before, the Hvar would be a great place to start. It’s designed by Itch to Stitch, and if you make one, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to resist making another. It isn’t lined, but you can get a clean finish inside by serging the seams or using a hong kong finish ( I serged).

My first version was made with a light gauzy cotton. The pattern suggests lightweight fabrics and because of the draped collar, this is a must. The collar is a double layer of fabric so if your fabric is too heavy, it won’t drape.

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The sewing is easy and the fit is forgiving. Shaping is made by long darts in the back and a bit of tapering at the side seams. To give my bodice a bit more of a curve at the waist I did increase the fish-eye darts a bit and took in the side seams as well.

My second version is from velvet.

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Because I’ll be wearing this version in the winter and fall, I wanted to be able to close the jacket. I realized that if I cut the front lapels generously, there would be ample room to pull the jacket closed and add buttons.

IMG_3034The jacket looks a bit more structured this way, and I enjoy this variation alot. It’s cozy and warm. This fabric was a dream to sew and it’s heaven to wear…cotton velvet with just a bit of sheen.

Modifications: I shortened the jacket by a full inch. I also tapered the sides a bit more, and took a larger dart in the back bodice. I slimmed the sleeves too.

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Now that I know how easy and fun the Hvar is to sew and wear, I’m imagining a knit version, a linen version, maybe even one in faux leather. The possible variations are endless. The only down side to this lovely jacket is that the lapels don’t always want to drape perfectly, but fortunately, the jacket looks okay with the lapels flat too. IMG_3073

This pattern is a definite keeper and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a cute jacket that’s a quick sew!

With the cotton version of the Hvar, I’ve officially started my Spring sewing! I’m checking out Trench coat patterns right now, and am looking at the recent issue of the Burda Style magazine for inspiration. Lots of ideas churning in my head – It’s still cold out but I’m dreaming of fresh colors and light fabrics…Spring sewing!! How about you. Are you ready?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by.