Wardrobe Part 2: Safari and Long Cardi

Hi All! I’m back with part 2 of my Sudoku Wardrobe adventure for Pattern Review’s Contest. These makes are two of my ‘accessories’, a linen safari jacket and a long knit cardigan. I think the fact that I interpreted the accessory category as a chance to add jackets or toppers to my wardrobe is a big clue that I live in Oregon! Honestly, one doesn’t venture out of the house, even in summer, without a wrap of some sort in hand. You just never know when the weather is going to shift and catch you by surprise.

This safari jacket was one of my favorite makes of this contest.

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Why? Because it’s detailed with double rows of topstitching everywhere!

Of course, I used my trusty #57 edge stitch presser foot to help guide me as I did on my denim dress last year. There’s something so satisfying about seeing those stitches lined up in perfect rows!

I’ve wanted to make a jacket like this for a while with a belt and pockets and buttons. I imagined a version with buttons on the upper pockets, but when I tried them on my jacket, well, it just was too much for me. So I left them off. McCalls 7365 is a loose-fitting, unlined vest and jacket with a self lined yoke, two piece sleeves, french seams and lots of pockets with tucks. It also has a cool back pleat, and a tie belt. There are lots of pieces of course, which makes this long project but it’s so satisfying and well worth the time. I love the two piece sleeves and the pleated pockets. One note though: the fit of the jacket is loose. Adjusting it would be a bit tricky if you usually adjust fit at the side seams because there are none. There’s a side panel instead.

The pattern instructions were great, the fit was good, and nothing was too tricky or confusing, definitely, a new favorite! The linen was from my stash, (YAY) purchased so long ago, I forgot where!  For the contest, the Sudoku grid forced me to pair this jacket with a skirt, but I’ll likely wear it more often with jeans and shorts. I want another version out of twill
 My other topper in the accessory category was a long knit cardigan.IMG_4826
I am such a fan of this shape. Earlier this year, I made this pattern and loved my wool knit version so much , I had to add a Spring version to my wardrobe.IMG_3967
It’s made from a denim colored cotton knit that I bought at Fabric Depot last summer. The fabric has just the right amount of stretch to make it wearable, but it’s not so stretch that it loses its shape. McCalls 7476 is one of my new favorites, and I have fabric for another version in linen knit. I cut this version a bit larger than my last because I wanted to take advantage of the light flow-y nature of this fabric. It floats a bit as I walk, which will make it a perfect summer layer.
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I also made an Obagi belt from leather, and used that as one of my accessories too.

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This belt is basically just two pieces of leather sewn together with leather ties. I crafted the tassels by cutting strips of leather and sewing them to the ends :). Not sure I love how they turned out, but I do use this belt all the time!

That’s it for my accessories; The Moto jacket from last post, the Safari jacket, the cardigan and the belt…four pieces I’m glad to have in my wardrobe! Next post will be the tops I made.

I wandered around my sewing room a bit yesterday and noticed how airy and light I feel with a smaller stash :). That’s one of the best parts about entering a contest/challenge for me. I’m motivated to complete projects I’ve dreamed about for a long time, and I burn through my stash! I have to admit though. It is hard to part with some fabric, like the brown linen piece I used for the Safari jacket. I love the color and know I will never find a piece like that again. What? Do I have regrets? Not really, but I do get sentimental about fabric!  Am I the only one?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things

 

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I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries!  When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.

IMG_3568To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.

IMG_3504 My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.

The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.

To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.

To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.

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I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did!  There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress?  Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?

I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

Linen and velvet all wrapped up!

Yes, it’s a busy time of year, far too busy to take on a sewing project, right?  Of course, but if you’re like me, inspiration often strikes when you have the least time to do anything about it!

Here’s my story: I was cleaning out my messy fabric bins, making room for the purchases I’m destined to make in 2016, when I found a treasure…a bit of  crinkled velvet in winter white that I’d completely forgotten existed. Suddenly, I absolutely had to have a winter white top, NOW.

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To keep the project’s fun quotient up and the frustration element low, I chose a tried and true pattern, Vogue 8815. For fun, I mixed things up a bit by combining a few of my favorite things; velvet for the bodice, linen for the skirt, and dotted mesh lace for the sleeves. There isn’t much to say about the construction of this top. (I reviewed it before here). I’m pleased with how it turned out, but it is a bit light- weight to wear in the winter.

Still, I was determined, so….enter a new idea… a quick wrap to keep me warm.

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Perhaps you’ve seen a wrap like this before at one of your favorite RTW retailers. It’s called a five-way wrap, and I tried one on at Nordstrom’s awhile back. It’s really a clever concept. You take a big circle of fabric and, by placing the armholes strategically, the wrap becomes amazingly versatile.

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It looked cozy and easy, so I decided to make my own. The fabric is plaid (love!) wool from Fabric Depot. I used a pattern from Indygo Junction, and the layout they show you is quite clever. You fold the fabric into quarters then lay your pattern piece on top of the four layers of fabric before cutting. When you unfold the cut fabric, your circle is symmetrical and perfect. Then, you cut the armholes, and voila! You have a wrap that you can wear several different ways.

Here it is, pinned at the neck….

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By putting it on with the armholes low, you have a short, cape-like version. Cozy!

You can belt it.

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Or wear it open, a long on-trend vest!

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I like the long vest look the best, but the coziest way to wear it may be the short  cape-like version. So warm and fun!

Truthfully though, I like the concept better than my finish version. While I was trying to take photos, I became frustrated with the way the folds in the front have to be constantly rearranged. I think this is a function of my fabric choice, not the pattern. Because I chose to use a  wool blend, the wrap is a bit stiff. Also, I bound the wrap’s edges to keep it from unraveling,  but I think this made the front from cascading in nice easy folds. If you choose a softer fabric, or serge the edges rather than bind them, it will hang nicely. Even though it isn’t perfect, still, I’m sure this wrap will come in handy, especially with my linen top.  (Now that I see how easy this wrap is, I wish I’d made a five way wrap for each of my girlfriends, but alas, it’s too late now…isn’t it?)

Are you finding time to sew during the holiday rush? Do you pick easy projects or do challenges appeal when you’re busy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

I’m having a blue moment…

Blue! Everything in my wardrobe is blue. Black used to be my go-to color, a drab, but safe option. But now, everything’s coming up blue.

Why am I obsessed with ‘blue’ this Spring? It could be because I’d like to see the gray of our Oregon sky replaced with a bit of blue!! Or maybe its because I need a trip to the tropics and a ‘hit’ of a warm ocean’s blue. Whatever the reason, I’m completely taken with any and all variations of blue this Spring; denim blue, sky blue, robin’s egg blue, sailor’s blue, powder blue, cobalt blue…need I continue? Perhaps, you’ve seen me. I’m the wild-eyed blonde that’s lurking in the the denim and chambray aisle of your favorite fabric store.
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I can’t tell you how many random pieces of blue fabric I’ve picked up over the last few months. My latest ‘hit’ of blue came when I spotted a gorgeous piece of linen at Fabric Depot. At first, my thoughts were reasoned. “You can’t have it,” I told myself. “Your stash is huge.” But my heart other ideas.
That’s when I remembered an important fact about linen. It breathes, which makes it the perfect choice for summer clothes! Since I’m planning a trip to the tip of Southern California in June, I’ll need tops that can handle cool coastal mornings as well as hot dry afternoons. That’s justification enough for me!
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The top I made with my lovely blue linen is Butterick 6097, a fitted shirt with a collar and peplum variations, princess seams and a front button band. I chose the pattern because it has some structure, which will make it a great companion for shorts, skirts, or jeans. Also, the has the style has a slight retro vibe, which I always, always love.
I made view B, a long sleeve version that I modified. My sleeves are closer to 3/4 and I skipped the cuff so that I could push the sleeves up if I got too warm. Also, that version had a pleated peplum, which was something I’d never tried before.
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Because the pattern is so fitted, I chose to go up a size in the waist (since I don’t really have one), then cut my usual size through the hips. I didn’t do a muslin (since I have zero patience), an approach that frequently has horrifying consequences. But this time, lucky for me, my adjustments worked! The pattern went together easily and it fit with just a bit of last minute seam adjustment at the sides.
The linen was a breeze to sew with, but it has absolutely no ‘give’, so I’m lucky my size adjustments worked!! I love any fabric that presses into a crisp, clean edge and this linen did not disappoint. However, as we all know, linen is notorious. Pressed today means wrinkles tomorrow, no matter what you do. But I love linen’s wrinkles – they’re classic and cool. The pleats were super easy to sew as long as you marked them well.
 I’ve worn the top once and it was really comfortable, even after eating a huge dessert, a ‘plus’ in my book. Now, if only my waist was as small as this woman’s…She’s a miniature version of a real woman, right?
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Do you like to sew with linen? What’s your favorite fabric to wear in summer?