Hi, my name is Carolyn and I've been sewing since I was 11 years old. I love to sew and have made everything from my wedding outfit, to coats, my daughter's and grandchildren's clothing as well a couple of home dec items. If I had to use some words to describe myself they would be sewist, dressmaker, fabricaholic and creative fiber artist would all be featured.
I decided that I wanted a couple of casual unlined jackets to wear this winter. I started with the ponte and lace version using McCalls 7481 and moved onto the Dover Jackets. I wanted to make another M7481 because I like the silhouette of this pattern and it's very hackable.
So for this hack I've added the inseam pockets to the front. In my mind I call them the Rachel Comey pockets which makes it reminiscent of this Jacquard & Ponte Jacket. The thing that challenged me about that jacket was it didn't close and it fit closer in my upper body and looser in the bottom. That's because I basically used the dress pattern for my topper pattern.
For this version I added the pockets to the front which is easy because this pattern already has separate pattern pieces for the top and bottom. So here is a picture of the completed garment...
This started as a jacket but now it's a vest. I got the jacket cut out and started to assemble it - went to add the sleeves and no bueno. The suckers just don't fit my arms...and I have no idea why. I measured them before cutting them out but they're just not working in this fabric.
At first I thought I would recut them from the fabric scraps and even came up with a plan to do so...but I kept dragging my feet. That's a sure sign this garment was done. So I finished it up and moved on. I'm wearing it above with one of the white shirts I made last spring.
Listed below is the supply list and techniques I added to make the inside as pretty as the outside.
Supply List ~ - Embroidered Denim purchased from Metro Textiles (from the collection) - White Piping from Daytona Trimmings - White bias binding from the collection - Black fusible interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller - (3) 1" white buttons from the notions collection
Construction Techniques ~ I chose a very busy fabric so there were a few techniques added to it to make it work...
1. I hong kong finished the side seams, the facings and the hem. 2. The facings were cut from leftover regular denim scraps to make the fronts less bulky. 3. I added white piping to the front to give the eye a place to land and enclose the design. 4. The back was cut into three sections to break up the pattern a little but it's only noticeable at the first seam. 5. After I omitted the sleeves, I used a smaller white bias binding to bind the armholes. 6. I decided to only add two buttons at the top because after all that work, the vest barely closes around my hips. The two top buttons allow me to close the vest without straining it over my bottom. 7. Because of the dense embroidery design on the denim, I had to sew over the buttonholes twice to make them visible. The stitching was getting lost in the embroidery.
Otherwise, y'all this is a really simple silhouette that I changed the pockets on and then bound the heck out of the interior.
My other concern is that even though everything was pretreated, you know denim can still sweat dye in the wash. So will all my pretty white bias binding be a muddy blue after a wash? Who knows...and of course I thought of that as I pressed the last of the bias binding into place. I think I just got excited about how great the bias binding looked on the insides without thinking about the care of the jacket until it was done.
A Few Pictures ~
Conclusion ~ This was the second garment I started during the Winter Holiday sewing bust. I did like taking my time and adding in the extra elements. As each technique was added to the vest, I got happier and happier because I'm no longer sewing to have something to wear. I'm now sewing because I like creating beautiful clothing...but it did take me until last week to make the final changes, finish it and get it ready to be worn.
It's a great vest. I love it paired with the white shirt or when worn with one of my cashmere turtlenecks on a cold winter day (not these minus days we've experienced lately). While the jacket idea didn't work out, the vest has more than surpassed my original idea. I really love this piece. It has an art teacher chic vibe. I'm thrilled I worked through the garment's challenges to add it to my wardrobe!
I knew right after I'd finished my first Dover Jacket that I would be adding more of them to my wardrobe. It's exactly the type of topper that I need and want as a layering piece. All I had to do was figure out what the next fabric should be. I settled on a flocked glen plaid suiting and an embroidered denim. One piece is deep stash and the other is new to the collection.
At first I was going to put both jackets in the same post but there is so much detail to each one they deserved separate blog posts.
Flocked Glen Plaid Version ~
This version was inspired by a picture I saw on Marcy Tilton's site. Yes, I get her emails. Yes, I cruise her site 2-3 times a week. No, I rarely buy anything but her fabric selections are so inspiring. The picture above inspired me to look in my fabric collection, because I KNEW I had a flocked glen plaid on the shelves. I know Marcy's picture is about denims (and boy do I want the one on the far right!) but it did strike a memory.
Upon finding the fabric on the shelves, I was thrilled to realize it's the right weight to make the Dover Jacket. Since it's such a distinctive fabric, I knew it would make an interesting topper. A note...when choosing fabric for this jacket...make sure it's a fabric that gathers easily since the gathering is an integral part of the design.
Supply List ~ - 3 yards flocked glen plaid from deep stash - (3) 1.25" buttons from notions collection - leather binding from the notions collection - Black fusible interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
Pattern Alterations ~ This is the only additional alteration I did to the pattern for future makes ~
I added 1/2" to the front and back of each sleeve from the shoulder curve down.
This enlarged the hemline considerably.
At 4.5" from the hemline, I sewed on an incline decreasing the hemline by 1.5" on each side.
I also lengthened the sleeve by one inch.
This allowed made sleeve hems circumference smaller and stopped my very small wrists from looking like they were floating in a too big sleeve.
Construction ~ Because the fabric is very busy, I added some accents to make the design work. I chose a very large button from the collection to add to the jacket front. I have no idea how long I've had these buttons or where they came from in the garment district. Just know that my button collection is as extensive as my fabric collection.
Due to the size of the buttons, my automatic buttonholer wouldn't make buttonholes. Honestly, I haven't made a 3-step buttonhole in about 20 years. I went to my copy of the Vogue Sewing Book to figure out how to make them again.
A few samples later and I had buttonholes large enough for my buttons. Though I'm glad I only had to make three of them.
I also added some leather binding leftover from other projects to the front edge of the jacket. That wasn't planned. I was looking for some buttons and found the leather binding in a plastic bag with the buttons I chose. I'd probably planned on using them together for another project that didn't happen. They were, however, perfect for this one.
Lastly, I omitted the front pockets from this version too. After wearing the original jacket, I didn't miss the pockets so left them off.
Some Pictures ~
Conclusion ~ I'm glad that I used this fabric from the collection to make my second version. While it's not a heavy fabric it will be a good layer over a cashmere top for the coldest days or a cotton jersey turtleneck. It's casual enough for the office but funky enough to satisfy my creative needs.
This is the second jacket from the Dover Pattern. My final version is coming soon!
There have been quite a few conversations in Instagram land and social media regarding inclusivity in our sewing community. Conversations regarding POC (People of Color), Plus size sewists and #sewover50. For many sewists, they hit one maybe two of these categories. I, however, find myself in the unenviable position of falling into all three categories.
I am a black American, who is 60 years old, and plus size. Personally I don't see any of these as negatives. They are just my life story. However, when mixed all together I'm basically invisible to the sewing advertisers, retailers and pattern companies. This is really interesting because right now I have the largest disposable income that I've ever had during my entire sewing career which has spanned the last 49 years of my life and very few companies target me.
So yet again I'm writing another post on my invisibility in the sewing world. *sigh* However, the ultimate post on sewing over 50 was written by Susan Young where she's listed out by pattern company, the representation of older sewists pictured either on the pattern envelope or website. The initial list was very brief. The revised list is better but its still not that great. Oh to be young, white and thin in the sewing world! Girl you've got it going on! Let's not mix male sewists into the mix because they are probably the only group more discriminated against than fat, old, black women.
All this to say that I am participating in the #So50Visible challenge.
The list of patterns was even smaller as an older, plus size, sewist. I'm not including POC on that list because I just don't want do the legwork on it. However, here is where I need to give a huge shout out to Cashmerette Patterns. Jenny is definitely hitting all of the boxes and showing her patterns are wearable dispite your age, girth, or color. She's just happy to be providing patterns for sewists - any female sewist. Sorry guys!
I also need to note here that her patterns are available in paper and pdf patterns. I know there is a section of sewists out there who love pdf patterns. I am not one of them. So the fact that I'm given the choice without being made to feel bad for "not moving with the times" also earns Jenny high marks from me!
For the #So50Visible challenge, you can post a new or previously made garment. From Jenny's line I've made two versions of her Rivermont top. Here is the picture from Jenny's website ~
While the dress is NOT my favorite, I do love both tops! And after looking at these pics, I realize I need to try that dress pattern again. Anyway, all of this is to say that patternmakers can be more inclusive in their advertising. You can show POC, older and plus size sewists on your website and pattern covers - look at Jenny's site, she does it easily and WELL! You just need to put in the effort. Step out of your comfort zone and represent the entire amazingly, wonderful, beautiful sewing community as it is.
Well at least in the Fabric Mart universe they can be!
I bought this fabric from FM after #carriagecornersewcamp last March. It wasn't on the site when we were there but it caught the eagle eye of Nakisha from Dressmaking Debacles at the time and she let us know when it appeared on the site. She made an amazing shirt from it. I bought some too but it sat during the summer while I made other things.
For some reason I didn't take a picture of this fabric before I washed or cut it apart to make my shirt. Though Nakisha's version is a true representation of how the fabric is made and shows the stripes much better than my pics do. As I said my fabric was cut apart to work with the border print. This is the most conservative version of my Border Print shirts.
Supply List ~ 3 yards of cotton shirting from Fabric Mart 12 2-hole 1/2" pink buttons from Pacific Trimmings Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
Notes on Construction ~
There are no real construction changes to this shirt.
I used the straight hem version of my TNT pattern.
Cutting apart the border and using it to cut out the buttonbands, cuffs, collar and collarband is what makes this shirt work.
I added a strip of the pink stripes to carry the border print throughout the garment since I didn't have enough fabric to cut the cuffs out of it.
I included a few construction photos so you could see the stripes and how the border print was used. Especially since the stripes seem to be washed out in my final pictures. I know I probably should have retaken them but honestly this was garment number six that I'd photographed and at that point I was done. I'm sure y'all will get the gist of my shirt.
A Few Pictures ~
(This was the last garment of six I photographed
and I was getting really silly by this time)
Conclusion ~ This was a unique piece of shirting and the striped border was very small compared to the rest of the fabric. However, there was enough to add contrast to the shirt, so that's how I used it. This is the last shirt in "The Border Print Series" and I'm glad I concluded it by using a more classic-type shirt fabric.
It was shirt Number 16 for 2018 and my last garment for the year. This also catches me up on blogging about last years garments. I have a few remaining pieces from January that will also show up in February.
Being true to my 2019 goals, this is the first end of month recap for the year. This month's recap will not only track my fabric in & out progress, garments sewn, where I'm going with my sewing next month, but also a discussion of some of the issues going on in the sewing community.
Let's start with garments made first ~ My sewing mojo did go missing during my Christmas holiday break which also encompassed the beginning of this month. When it came roaring back, I did get quite a bit accomplished but that's mostly due to a three-day holiday weekend.
...and I cut out two more versions of the Dover Jacket, one version of my TNT shirt pattern with a tie top and a Simplicity 8265 vest. I'm working on these pieces over the next couple of weeks. Of course they will make an appearance on the blog during the month of February.
Fabric In & Out Totals ~ I'm adding some more details to my fabric in and out totals this year. This is so I can assess how much of my fabric collection I'm actually using. Last year I noticed, I tended to sew the new fabric - rarely venturing onto the walls. I know some of this was due to the fact that there's so much fabric and I have to move things around to get to the walls. I've changed some of that so the walls are more accessible. Also, I'm making a greater effort to open the curtains on the walls more often.
One other note before I launch into in and out totals. This year I have a niece and grandson graduating from high school, so a good part of my sewing (especially this spring) will be about garments for those events. Some fabric purchases this month were made because the special event fabrics were inexpensive and I need a lot of yardage for myself and the granddaughters. My last 17 yards from Fabric Mart fits into this category.
Okay totals ~ Fabric In: 39 yards in These are purchases from EOS, Fabric Mart, Hobby Lobby & Workroom Social. This is high for the month of January. I'm usually much better at NOT purchasing fabric in January - so I will need to watch these numbers going forward.
Fabric Out: 28 yards out This equals six finished garments (2 of which have yet to be blogged) and four garments cut out and waiting to be sewn.
This is how I will be tagging fabric out from now on: #deepstash - been in the collection more than 8 years new - been in the stash less than 6 months collection - 1 to 7 years in the collection
Of the yardage out this month, 1 garment is from deep stash, 5 garments are from the collection (2-5 yards old), 3 garments are from brand new fabric (less than 6 months old), and the final garment is from scrap fabric that was previously used in another piece.
While both these totals are high, I've already put more into the collection than taken out - 11 yards more to be exact. I will need to work on this in the coming months!
Goings on in the Sewing Community ~ I touched on this in my post "Why Support a Pattern Designer Who Doesn't Support You?" which was based upon the conversation about indie designers including larger sizes in their patterns. Since those conversations started, there's been a lot of movement by indie designers to be more size inclusive. Follow the discussion on The Curvy Sewing Collective and several of the bloggers mentioned in that post.
From those conversations some new hashtags evolved to follow on Instagram: #sewmysize #normalizeyoursize #sewinclusive and quite a few of my fellow sewists posted their measurements to IG. We did it to show that we're all normal sized human beings and that our measurements are just tools to get a great fit in our garments.
Here's the picture I posted to IG with my measurements:
There was some conversation about taking your measurements standing vs. seated. I noted the measurements listed on my photo are my seated measurements. I lose 1-2" in my abdomen and hips when I stand up. Oh and its important to note that I've gained back 25 of the 35 pounds I lost 4 years ago.
I will also admit that in the summer under my dresses and skirts I wear thigh length spanx. Some for tummy control but most for the suppression of my thighs and to cover them so they don't rub together when I walk. Several of my jeans have tummy support/control and I also wear spanx leggings at times.
These are my personal preferences and I'm being transparent about them though I do get the feeling people are amazed at my hip size. Ummmm that's styling choices and knowing where to put what designs to accent my body's features...and as my sister says I know how to pose! *LOL*
Finally, if you're a plus size sewist looking to support other indie pattern makers who design for your size, Megan has listed them all in this blog post. I encourage you to buy from them...I know I will!
Eulogy ~ Lastly another sewing great has passed away. Cynthia Guffey died last week of throat cancer. I wrote a blog post on the effect she had on my sewing back in 2006. She has continued to influence it to this day. For her admonishment to slow down and enjoy the process, to how I measure my body, even to the amount of piping I use and how I apply it.
I took every class she had at sewing expos back when I went as often as I could. She, like Nancy Zieman, greatly influenced the sewist I am today. She will be missed. May she rest in peace!
Back in December, I wanted to use an older piece of fabric for my next shirt in The Border Print Series. I've been collecting border prints for years and knew there were some buried deep in the collection. I just needed to dig them out. After rummaging around in it I touched this piece...
...which was purchased in 2010. Yes, I'm taking it way back. At that time I blogged every fabric purchase, so here's the post regarding the border print. However, this fabric doesn't count towards my 2019 #deepstash garments. I made this in 2018, and I'm just sharing it to the blog.
Supply List ~ - 3 yards of cotton border print fabric from the collection (long time residence - 9 years) - 5/8" coconut buttons from the notions stash (from the days I worked at a button company) - Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
Construction ~ Since I was starting with my TNT pattern for this shirt, the challenge was how to use the border print since it only runs down one side of the fabric. It's the side pictured in the photo above. It was wide enough to cut out shirt fronts, the collar & undercollar and the back yoke. Originally I wanted it for cuffs too but didn't have enough. In the end I'm glad I didn't cut the cuffs from the border. I like that the larger circles just runs down the front of the shirt.
This is a lightweight shirting fabric. I bought it to make a summer dress and now I know why it sat in the collection. It's way too lightweight for a dress ~ even a summer dress ~ but it's perfect for a shirt. Especially if I wear it under a cardigan for the winter.
The construction was similar to every other shirt I've made, the only difference being the way it was cut out.
It has a straight hemline, I didn't want a curved one for this version.
I used the fold over center front piece because I didn't want to sew on a button band.
When I went to fold the button band - the front band was flimsy even when folded 3x. So I added a strip of interfacing to the front to stabilize it.
I don't usually do this because the fold of fabric typically is stable enough.
Everything is topstitched in white. I made samples using brown and white thread for the topstitching and the white sample won. Also took pictures of buttons for the front...the brown coconut or a simple 4-hole white one. I went with the brown coconut since I wasn't trying to make a statement with the buttons. Those are the only construction points worth mentioning for this make.
So some pictures of the shirt in action ~
I made this cardigan in November 2012. When I was doing the great closet clean-out after changing jobs, I just couldn't let this go. There was so much work associated with it and I loved the pleather accents. I've worn it occasionally when hanging out with friends because it's a great throw on when headed out to dinner. I thought of it when I needed a cardigan to go over this shirt. This is how I will be wearing it to work now...
Conclusion ~ This is the next to last shirt in "The Border Print" series AND it's the 15th shirt I made in 2018. For the last shirt in the series, I had another border print fabric in mind. However, the pattern tetris wasn't working with the fabric. Sometimes what I see in my mind doesn't work well with the actual fabric so I put it back on the shelf. However, I really wanted one more shirt in the series so I pulled a rather conservative shirting purchased from Fabric Mart after the last Sew Camp.
The last shirt in the "Border Print Series" will show up in February. I know this seems to be stretching them out but blogging all of my makes goes with my 2019 goals. Plus, I like having them here on my blog. The next post is my end of the month round-up.
There is a discussion happening in the Plus Size Community that started on Instagram after a blog post was published about why RTW and some indie pattern designers won't design for the plus size market.
I've waited to speak on this because I'm not surprised. This is just par for the course from some of these designers. I raised these very same objections when these indie designers first came on the scene years ago. They used the very same excuses and wording then as they have in this IG post. Nothing has changed and that speaks volumes to me.
The only indie pattern company that changed at the time was Colette. Sarai worked with the Curvy Sewing Collective and other plus size sewists to develop patterns with a size range that almost all sewists could make. Everyone else stuck their heads in the sand.
Imma call some names out now ~
1. Sewaholic Patterns - Tasia at the time said she makes patterns for pear shaped women and she wasn't prepared to make plus size garments.
2. Grainline Studios - flat out ignored the cries.
3. Closet Case Patterns - Heather increased her range to a size 20 which is on the small side of plus size sewing.
4. Elisalex and the By Hand London team had a cult like following that told them they were amazing and raved about their patterns so why did they need to address the fat girls in the back.
5. Megan Nielsen said nothing that I remember at the time but thankfully she is issuing new patterns now with plus sizes and working on updating her pattern catalog.
6. The Big 4 pattern companies did extend their sizes and found some plus size designers to add to the offerings to give plus size sewists more opportunities to make trendy clothing. Check out the older Khaliah Ali Simplicity patterns on eBay, etsy and some of the vintage pattern sites.
Alot of the newer indie pattern companies that do have a plus size range are companies that primarily make pdf patterns so I have no experience with them and can't speak to them. However, they're getting a lot of love on IG right now.
I will say that I'm the older sewist in the room and in this discussion. I've been through this. I've had the angst/anger/hurt that alot of the plus size sewists are feeling right now and I've developed a few policies because of that.
1. I don't purchase patterns from the companies that don't design for my size. I vote with my dollars and being an older sewist with a high discretionary income that means the designer is losing out. It also means that my blog following doesn't see posts about these designers.
2. I don't beg. I said my piece years ago and now as Jenny, of Cashmerette Patterns, said this discussion is coming around again. If you don't want my money, I'm not begging you to take it. I'm ignoring you just like you're ignoring me. I'm finding indie pattern designers who want my money and giving it to them. I suggest other plus size sewists do the same.
3. SUPPORT the Indie Pattern companies that cater to you! Highlight the designers that want you to make their patterns. Share your finished garments on ALL social media channels so other plus size sewists can see them - not just on Instagram - but on the Curvy Sewing Collective, Facebook, blogs and PatternReview too. Not every plus size sewist uses Instagram as their place to get sewing information.
4. Don't buy their books, follow them on Instagram or other forms of social media. They don't care about you ~ why are you running behind them. Harsh I know but that's how I feel. I don't follow most of those "popular" indie designers on IG. They have nothing for me so why should I support them.
I make sure to note EVERY indie pattern designer and fabric company I use on Instagram so that other sewists know about them too. Tag them in your posts! Expand your range of sewists you follow on Instagram. Follow hashtags like #curvysewing #plussizesewing #cscmakes
My last point is going to be the most controversial but I had this thought over and over as I read the comments. We as plus size sewists need to learn to fit our bodies and learn what styles work for us. My sewing may appear boring on IG but my projects work. They work because I've learned how to make the adjustments that I need so they fit and I wear the styles that make me most comfortable.
This means that we should invest in our fitting education - take classes both online and in person. Follow sewists who have some fitting knowledge. Buy books that can help take your sewing to the next level and these can be older sewing books too. Reach out and ask questions if you don't understand. Yes, sewing has different challenges when applied to plus size sewists but there are sewists out there who have knowledge to share and want to share it.
I'm sorry if this sounds like preaching but please know that not every question can't be answered in a Google Search.
Finally y'all I'm tired. Between the stuff that jumped off on Instagram over BIPOC and now this...along with all the crap that's going on in the US with our government shutdown...I just needed a minute. It's why I've taken this time to write this out and even in trying to be careful I'm sure I'm going to piss someone off which is not my intent.
It's January and cold here in the Tri-State Area. I hate being cold and I've wanted to sew my own turtleneck type sweater for awhile. Because of that, I was especially grateful when Jenny released the Pembroke Tunic for Cashmerette Patterns. My first one was from a wool knit that I've worn quite a bit since making it.
During the MLK Holiday Weekend, I made three more of them. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in. I've included them all in this post instead of three separate posts, because I'm not writing three different ones! Due to that, this is a picture heavy post with quite a bit of commentary...
Pembroke Tunic One ~ The French Terry Version
I purchased this piece of french terry from one of those little dress shops that line the garment district side streets. It was owned by an older Orthodox Jewish gentlemen. They were closing the store and selling the excess pieces of fabric. I bought this piece and another one for $10. While it's not new, it has been in the collection for almost three years.
When I was floundering during my holiday break, I thought that if I made a quick project it would jumpstart my sewing mojo. I got the top made but it didn't spur me on to sew and the insides weren't finished. So when I decided to make more of these, this one needed all of the finishing done to the insides of the top.
I am glad that I ended up with this new top. It's the most basic of all of my versions but a wonderful addition to the wardrobe.
Some pictures ~
Pembroke Tunic Two ~ A Paisley Felted Wool Jersey
This fabric is OLD. I bought about 7 yards of this from Fabric Mart back when felting wool jersey was H-U-G-E! My intent was to make a twinset using the felted piece as the cardigan and the unfelted piece as the top underneath.
(felted on the left/unfelted on the right)
After putting the wool jersey through the felting process, it lost all of it's color and vibrancy. I was totally unprepared for this because it had never happened before. As you can see above, the difference between the felted and unfelted pieces was too great for my original idea so I put them on the shelf to wait for inspiration.
This piece counts as #deepstash since it's at least 12 years old! YES!!! Also since its felted, I'm sure it's going to be really warm. Due to the bulk of the fabric, this version has the cowl that stands furthest away from my neck but it will be okay when wearing.
Some pictures ~
Yes, I'm wearing gray sneakers. My sneaker collection has gotten quite deep. When I find a pair I like, I tend to buy more than one color. This pair is from The Avenue and is on sale now. I own them in black and gray and they have a velcro strap that I think is AMAZING! Though my daughter called them toddler sneakers! LOL!
This is the first of my 10 #deepstash garments for 2019. I'm thrilled with that!
Pembroke Tunic Three ~ Black & White Version
When scrounging through the
fabric bins looking for a piece to make another Dover Jacket, I touched this piece and automatically thought Pembroke. My only challenge was that I didn't have enough fabric to make a tunic with long sleeves. Since it was black 'n white doubleknit, I knew it would work with black ponte and I have a small stash of it on hand. Cause you always need black ponte - ALWAYS!
This fabric wasn't tagged and I don't know how that happened! I have no idea where it came from but I'm thinking its NOT Fabric Mart, maybe Metro Textiles. There's only 2 yards of it and it's been in the collection for at least 2-3 years since I don't remember purchasing it recently. So not deep stash but definitely not new.
After laying the tunic pattern pieces out, I realized that I would be scrimping on the cowl. I decided to cut both the sleeves and the cowl out of the black ponte creating a colorblocked look. I plan on wearing it under my black hoodie to add another layer of warmth.
Some pictures ~
I'm happy to have three new layering pieces to add to my closet especially with the temperatures in the teens. I'm putting this pattern away for a minute. I've made four of them and I'm ready for a new sewing adventure now.
One of the garment types I really want to add to my fall/winter/early spring wardrobe is a loose fitting jacket. I want to wear them with the Pembroke turtleneck tunics I've made, as well as, my shirts and over jeans and leggings.
However, there were a few challenges... 1. It's only graded up to a size 18 - no plus sizes at all! 2. It's a pdf ONLY pattern 3. The sleeves need to be lengthened
I hemmed and hawwed a few days before downloading the pattern because LOADS of pattern alterations PLUS taping the pattern together. But as I looked at the pattern drawings, I realized that a lot of the alterations would be very easy to make because it's a simple silhouette.
So my first challenge was to tape the pattern together. I managed to do that one evening after work while watching Bye Bye Birdie. Yes I LOVE corny old movie musicals! *LOL* It wasn't difficult to tape together because it doesn't have a lot of pages. The taped pattern easily fit on my sewing table.
Pattern Alterations ~ These are extensive. I altered almost all of the pattern pieces. So I traced the main body pieces and the alterations to them are listed below.
1. Front bodice bottom - added 1.5" to the piece from top to bottom by slicing it open and adding the extra space. This gave me an extra 3" in the front.
2. Back bottom piece - added 3" to the pattern. Sliced it from top to bottom and added the extra space. This gives me an extra 6" to the back.
3. My finished hip measurement is 71" which will allow me to put a sweater or top under the jacket, as well as sit comfortably in the closed jacket.
4. I added a 1/2" to the front and back bodice pieces by slicing and spreading.
5. While the original finished bodice measurements fit, I wanted a little extra space for what I wore under the jacket.
6. Then I lowered the front and back pieces 2". If you look carefully at the picture of the jacket front - the seamline runs right across your bustline. This works if you're small busted but any amount of boobage and it will look a little wonky.
7. I checked where the seam would fall on my body and decided that I needed to lengthen it 2" for it to clear my bustline. That alteration was made to the front and back pieces.
8. The front facing piece had 2" added to match the jacket.
9. The sleeves were also altered. C'mon you know if I make them on regular patterns I would need to add to them here too. I added 1/2" to the front and back sleeve.
10. For the next make I will need to add another 1/2" to both back and front sleeve piece. When sewn, these were still a little tight and pulled across the jacket front.
11. I also added length to the sleeves because the 3/4 length sleeve won't keep my arms warm.
See extensive! I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't find a pattern in a size closer to my measurements. Honestly I don't know. I saw this, knew it was what I needed & wanted also that it would work with quite a bit of the suiting and jacket fabrics in the collection. Plus I was in the mood for the challenge of making it work.
Fabric Choice ~ I really wanted a denim jacket. I've got an entire section of denim fabric in all weights, colors and prints that I've amassed over the last couple of years. I didn't use as much denim as I thought I would last year, probably cause I went shirt crazy! Anyway, since I made so many alterations to the pattern, basically grading it up to a size 22-24, I wanted to try the pattern out first.
If it worked well great! If it didn't, I would move on. I used a printed denim left over from making this wrap skirt last summer. The first challenge: the fabric was shorter than I thought it was. I'd actually folded it in such a way that I couldn't see a huge piece was cut out ~ insert very loud groan here. I tried to move pattern pieces around so they would fit. The pattern tetris drove me back to working on one of the blankets I was crocheting for the grandchildren. After a time out, I figured out how to get all the outer pieces cut out of the denim.
Construction ~ This was easy to put together. I understand why Diane rated this a beginner to intermediate pattern. But me being me and no longer capable of just sewing a pattern as is, I made a few additions...
a. I didn't have enough of my fabric to cut facings or pockets. So I omitted the pockets.
b. I cut facings from a blue/white gingham from my scrap pile.
d. After the sleeves were made, I realized you could see the white background of my printed denim. So I cut blue/white gingham cuffs (15" x 3") to cover the sleeves undersides. Also to tie it to the facings on the inside.
e. I added 2 more buttons than the pattern calls for because I don't like flappy fronts.
f. To insure that everything in the inside of the jacket coordinated, I added a band of the blue & white gingham to the hemline. I encased the hem for a bound look and I handstitched it down.
f. Last I topstitched close to the front edges and again at the edges of the facings like the pattern suggests. I used a triple stitch for the topstiching.
(The color is off here but you can see the topstitching and basting lines)
To insure the topstitching was in the right place for the facing edges, I ran a line of basting stitches around the facing.
A few pictures of the finished jacket ~
Conclusion ~ I LOVE this pattern. I can see it in several different fabrications, even a ponte knit. I hope to make a couple more of these before the weather warms up. It's been especially cold this winter and I need ALL THE LAYERS!
I did add a lot of construction techniques to the jacket that are not included in the pattern. Some of it is because I wanted the insides of the jacket to look finished. Other techniques were done because I just like those sewing techniques better. All of these added more sewing time to a simple-to-sew jacket but it was worth the sewing journey...making it a very satisfying sew.
I would highly recommend purchasing this pattern if you're looking for a great casual jacket to add to your wardrobe. It has great bones and you can really have fun with design decisions for your garment.
As I said in my last post, I am sewing. Just not taking pictures yet. Though I plan to do that this weekend since I'm developing a backlog.
In the meantime, it's a holiday weekend here in the States, to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also on the East Coast we're supposed to have some pretty wicked weather too, accumulating snow, ice & wind. Perfect combo for staying in to sew especially since my sewing mojo is back and popping! *LOL*
Taken from Instagram at the end of 2018
My personal goal for 2019
While figuring out what three projects I wanted to work on this weekend (I'm home for four days so think three is a doable number) I came across this list I'd made during my holiday break. After re-reading it, I've decided I want to put it here...more for me than you...so I will have a record to go back and assess my progress at various times of the year.
Here are my "Ten Sewing Goals for 2019" ~
1. Sew Purposefully Sew what I need for my wardrobe. Don't go off on flights of fancy, follow social media trends or go down rabbit holes. Be true to my sewing lists because they're devised from my wardrobe needs and encourage me to take wonderful sewing journeys.
2. Sew at least 10 garments from deep stash. These garments should be from fabric that's been in the collection for at least five years. There's plenty to choose from - use some of it!
3. Donate more fabric Check with local high schools to see if they need donations. The donation doesn't need to be as large as my last one but make a donation or two anyway.
4. Buy fabric purposefully I'm not going to say don't buy fabric, it never works. Instead I'm saying try not to buy because it's on sale, because it's cute or to get carried away when I'm in a group. I own a lot of fabric and I need to pull the curtains back and use some of the amazing fabric I already own.
5. Use some new patterns I love my TNT patterns. I love being able to just sew because all of the fit issues have been resolved. BUT I own ALOT of patterns (old and new) and I need to use more of them. Before I wouldn't use some of my older patterns because I wondered which sewists had them or could relate to them. I need to get past that because so many older patterns can be purchased online at either eBay, etsy or online sites.
6. Continue to track fabric in/out and blog new fabric purchases This one has a two fold reason. One - last year by blogging in and out numbers I was acutely aware of what was coming in and going out instead of guesstimating. The reality was brutal. I need that slap in the face to control my consumption. Pictures of fabric purchases on the blog allow me to link to fabric - where & when it was purchased, how long it's been in the collection, etc. All information I need when I'm writing blog posts.
7. Search the fabric and notions collections first I dream up garments from inspiration pieces, from street inspiration and from tv, magazine and movie garments. I usually make up a list of supplies needed after I decide what to make. Lately since I'm working in the garment district, I think let me run by Joyce Trimmings or Pacific Trimmings and get the supplies I need. But I have a really deep notions and button stash in the Sewing Cave. I NEED to look there first. Only if I find nothing suitable should I be purchasing new notions.
8. Move/Reorg fabric This is twofold ~ the first is to move fabric around more often because when I do I always find something I've forgotten. Something I've had and should be using. Two ~ I need to reorganize so I have more space. I'm not using my space well because I tend to just pile things up.
9. Don't fall for the Big4 Pattern Sales I already own a lot of Big4 patterns...some that just need slight adjustments to look like what's current. I need to be choosier when buying new patterns and see #5.
10. Create an Art to Wear piece I was looking through some of my older blog posts and in some of them I found a couple of artier pieces. I went through a period where I could only wear "corporate clothing" to work but I can wear anything I want now. I liked sewing those pieces. It would be a good challenge to come up with something different than I've been sewing.
That's it. Those are my ten sewing goals for this year and I will probably do quarterly updates to check my progress. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I'm sewing this weekend so finished garment discussions soon. ...as always more later!