Posted in sewing

Tailoring the Cascade Duffle

There are so many good resources for tailoring out there. I use the Singer Sewing Reference Library “Tailoring” as my main resource. But, I have a slew of others that I tend to read through before a big project to refresh my memory and help me make some final decisions. The original pattern is very lightly tailored. A friend showed me photos of her Gloverall coat and the Cascade definitely is more in line with traditional methods. That said, the Gloverall is a beautifully heavy melton wool and my fabric isn’t as thick, so tailoring it is!

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Personally, I prefer a fusible rather than hand or machine tailoring methods. Ok. Admittedly I haven’t tried hand or machine tailoring. But, I like the speed of the fusible. I love structure in garments. So, I deviated a little from the included interfacing instructions for the Cascade Duffle.

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First, I interfaced the entire front instead of just the upper bodice with medium weft interfacing. While double sided, my fabric is a little on the limp side. I love a coat that can stand up on its own if I’m being honest.

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I did use the included interfacing pieces to cut my fusible horse hair canvas for the armscye reinforcement. I have an insane amount of it and wanted to give it a go. It’s lovely. When I make a no-nonsese tailored work coat I’ll be using this.

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The pattern instructions have you interface the upper back bodice and the armscye. I just did the upper back because the back stay I added (below) would cover the back armscye. The back stay is a poly muslin blend from my stash. Normally, you wouldn’t interface AND backstay. But, my upper back was cut on the bias and I wanted to stabilize it so there wouldn’t be a chance of it stretching out.

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I also added interfacing to the hem of the coat at the back (the front is already interfaced). If you recall, this pattern has a separate hem facing that I decided to integrate into the back and front. I’ll also be using wigan on my hems when it comes time to do the actual hemming (and when my order from New York comes in).

And, I interfaced everything else called for using the weft interfacing. Oh, I also interfaced my pockets and zipper band — not sure if that’s called for in the instructions.

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Finally, I waffled a bit (too long) on the sleeves. I don’t mind block fusing per se. But, I didn’t want the sleeves to feel stiff. I also really personally hate when my sleeves wrinkle at the elbow crease during wear. So, after flirting with a few ideas I decided to underline the sleeves with a cotton batiste from my stash. I considered silk organza (too slippery to be bothered), muslin (too stiff). This will hopefully give the garment the light support I want in the sleeves and stave off wrinkles.

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And, for the sleeve insertion I added a sleeve head to give the cap some support. I think I’ll skip a shoulder pad. But, I’m undecided.

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I just need to bag the lining and I’ll be all done (man am I glad I already sewed the lining!) Quite ahead of my Christmas schedule if all goes well. But, never fear. I bought more coating last weekend at Fabricmart 😚.

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Posted in sewing

Grainline Farrow Dress

My first Grainline Studio project was the Linden Sweatshirt (unblogged) back in the spring. I was generally underwhelmed by it on me and questioned if a Grainline pattern could even work on my figure. So, imagine my shock and awe that the Grainline Farrow Dress is my fall favorite. Why would I go back a pattern line that I doubted? Well, I picked the Farrow Dress to teach a sewing class at a new studio in town (Domesticity). It has set in sleeves, facings and an optional lining. There are some good techniques and skills to teach. But, of course I needed to make it first and I’m glad I did.

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I picked this turquoise and red wool from my stash. I love red, white and blue color combos. Especially this icy Scandinavian version. When I finished the dress though, I realized it was a little Supergirl and I am TOTALLY here for it.

Now, on to the garment!

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Reviews I initially read said the sleeves were very narrow. And, when compared to my arm measurement there was less than one inch of ease for me in the size 16. I added an additional inch and was ready to go.

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I also made a 3/4″ FBA to the size 16 pattern I measured into. I did not use the Grainline FBA alteration technique. Instead, I removed the skirt at the waistline, made my alterations, added a dart and took out the added width from the side seam. I never rotate my darts out btw. I have tatas and they need darts. I didn’t want anymore volume down the center front of the dress. But, I do think that modification would be great if you carried more weight in the middle. The dress does hang from my bust. But, I don’t have awkward drag lines. And, I don’t think it’s too tent-like from the front because it appears smooth without draglines. It is for sure not a formfitting dress.

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I decided to add a lining that is on the bodice only as per the Grainline suggested draft for a lining.

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I also lowered the neckline by around three inches because my neck is too short for a  jewel neckline which meant an small redraft of the facing.

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If I were to make this again I would go down do a 14. The 16 just had way more ease than I wanted for my figure. I took this in at the side seams about 1.5″ from the bust down and even more tapering from the hip to hem.

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I made no adjustments to length and made my hem with a blind hem stitch. I think the color blocking is great for showing off the interesting seam lines. And, it’s a great Thanksgiving and Christmas dress. It’s also nice to have something sleeved for work this winter.

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There are really nicely integrated pockets on the Farrow. But, those pockets are also a fabric hog. I stabilized both my pockets and all the diagonal (and bias) seams by alternating between silk organza and seam binding. I was experimenting a bit since this was a class garment.

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I’m going to be really blunt here. Originally, I was sure this dress wasn’t for me. Usually,  anything without a defined waist is gonna be a waste of my time. But, with my easy modifications for fit, it’s a really fun, interesting and comfortable work dress. I’m planning on making a short sleeve version in the summer from some yellow linen in my stash. And, I think I would really love a cream one too.

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That said, it works really well on some figures. One of my students has a really straight figure and out of the envelope it was BRILLIANT on her. I suspect this is the ideal body type for this style pattern.

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After teaching one class with this dress I actually nixed it from my lineup. It’s got such great details. But, the pockets alone take up a ton of table space and most of the first night of a two-night class. So, we’ll be making the Hadley Top from Grainline going forward. Review of that one coming soon.

Posted in sewing

Cutting This Devil Plaid

I have never paid attention in sewing books when they talked about balanced vs unbalanced plaids. While I have a lot of plaid in stash, I don’t sew them that often. And, when I have, the placement has generally worked out for me.

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Except this time. Meet the Unbalanced Devil Plaid.

With this Cascade Duffle Coat my main focus was making sure the plaids matched at the side seam BELOW the bust dart. What I didn’t realize until after I cut out the back bodice is that the plaid is unbalanced. Yes, I was mostly focused on the horizontal line matching up throughout. But, the off balance of the brown stripe to the left made my eyes TWITCHY.

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The real solution to this would be to cut the back with a center seam and flip one side upside down and cut. That way the plaids would be balanced. But, I’d have to do that for fronts and sleeves and that was just way too much finagling for me.

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Because past me bought five yards of wool coating from Fabricmart back in 2015, I had enough fabric to recut the back. While the right and left do not mirror each other (on the right below), I do have the bolder brighter dark brown stripes equidistant-ish from the center.

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Original to the left. New cut to the right.

I chose to center the turquoise rather than the wider brown because I want more of the turquoise to come through. Well, I really wanted more of the smaller white plaid to come though. But, you can see above where it got me trying to center that 🙄.

What’s really interesting is I did a little poll on Instagram and it was pretty much a 50/50 split on if this was worth recutting. As sewists, we are definitely too hard on ourselves 🤷🏾‍♀️.

While I like it marginally better with the plaids more balanced, I may come to regret it if my sleeves are a mess and I don’t have enough fabric to recut!

And, below: I’ve got the lining cut and sewn and am pretty happy. This is a size 14 with a 1″ FBA grading to an 18 at the thigh.

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Posted in sewing

Burda 12-2010 #134: Men’s Running Shorts

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Jordan was part of his office’s relay team for the Baltimore Marathon last week. I had to work so I missed his leg which went RIGHT by our house.  Knowing I wouldn’t see him run, I decided to make him a new pair of running shorts so it would be a little like I was with him (and I HATE his running shorts. From high school. Baggy and disgusting.). He not so politely declined a matching shirt. Spoilsport.

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Burdastyle 12-2010-134

I didn’t have any specific running shorts patterns. But, realized I could take a pair of pajama pants, shorten them and call it a day. I chose the Burdstyle pajama pants from 12-2010 #134 after seeing them made up as boxers on the Burdastyle website.

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Burdastyle 12-2010-134 shortened to boxers

 

I have made him a few pairs of pj bottoms from Simplicity 1520 (above) and he wears them all the time. They have a ton of ease which is great for sleeping but I’ve been dying to get him into something a little more…. European.

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I modeled these shorts after  Brooks Running shorts. The both have a faux fly and an internal drawstring.

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The blue fabric is from my stash purchased at PR Weekend in Montreal back in 2008. I used most of it before to make Jalie running skirts in 2010.  It has minimal stretch, like maybe 15% and still needed a ball point needle or it skipped stitches. It’s athletic shiny on one side and brushed cotton on the inside (he’s wearing these with some of the Jalie 2327 athletic wicking boxers I’ve made him in the past).

For seam allowance I added 3/8″ seam. And used two strands of thread through one needle for the faux top stitching at the fly.

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I added pockets to these stabilizing them with 1/4″ twill tape and understitching so they laid flat. I considered a zipper at the pockets. But, realized the deep pockets with a small opening would be safe enough for his phone while running.

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The pattern calls for a separately added waistband and a drawstring. Too fussy for me! I added three inches to the top of the pants pattern, turning that down to the inside to create my casing. I used Stretchrite elastic from Amazon with an integrated drawcord cut three inches smaller than his 37″ waist measurement.

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I sewed this up on my sewing machine and didn’t finish the seams on my serger. Hemmed with my coverstitch which I really need to spend some time getting to know better.

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I guessed a bit on the length. Jordan was traveling for Yom Kippur when I made them. But, I now have a lovely male body form that my dad bought me for my birthday that I can use to guesstimate these things! Except, it’s definitely bigger in the legs than Jordan so I was worried it wouldn’t fit. Oh, the form is from The Shop Company. I’ll write a review of it and the ordering process (which was a bit of nightmare) after I’ve used it some more.

But, as you see it fits him fine. I wanted them about two inches shorter. But, we compromised on length.  This pair is a good model for the swim trunks I’ve been wanting to make him. I might add more seam allowance though just to accommodate for the loss of stretch in the swimwear fabric I bought.

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Posted in sewing

Starting a Winter Coat: Cascade Duffle by Grainline

Every year I say I’m going to make a coat, then I don’t. I started one in 2014 and the muslin was a disaster. I sourced wigan from you back then and didn’t move forward. Last year I pin fit the Cascade Duffle by Grainline and lost steam and time. I also muslined a Burda coat I’d long loved. But, it was a horror on me.

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Friends, I have five (possible seven) cuts of wool coating and four cuts of rain coating sitting in my stash. And, when I say sitting, I mean stacked in corners, on chairs and crammed on shelves.

So, within the next year I’d like to make three coats. A camel wrap coat, a navy anorak/  rain coat with a hood and a plaid duffle coat. I figured the plaid duffle coat would be hardest, so I’m starting with that.

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I’m going to document my process here. Mostly to help anyone else out who decides to tackle this with a similar body type.  Secondly to have an old fashioned blog post. I post so much more on Instagram now. But, I miss long documentations for reference. For the record, I don’t think Grainline is particularly friendly to my body type: busty and booty. But, I love, love, love duffle coats and have never found one in store that would fit across my chest. And, as this is not particularly fitted may still work!

Based on the finished measurements and wanting enough ease to wear a sweater underneath, I’m going with a 14 grading out to an 18 at the hip/ upper thigh.

Pattern Alterations:

  • FBA: 1″ darted FBA to the garment and a 1″ princess seam FBA to the lining and facing.
    • There is a lot of ease in this garment. But, I really like things to fit as well as possible. And, on other Grainline wovens I’ve made had terrible draglines without a FBA.
  • Lengthen center front / zipper placket 1″ and interfacing piece
    • Done because of the FBA
  • Lengthen two-piece sleeves and sleeve lining 1″
    • I like a really long sleeve and read a few reviews that thought the sleeves were short
  • Widen bicep / arm  and lining 1″
    • I find the Grainline sleeve crazy narrow. And, when I measured there was barely an inch of ease.
  • Merge bottom and front bodice together for front and back
    • I’m working with a plaid fabric and have no desire to match plaid there
  • Merge / overlap the hem facings for the front and back
    • Nice touch. But, I don’t need it for this.
  • Narrow shoulders .25″ on garment and lining
    • I was gonna do a full half inch but decided I wouldn’t mind if I had shoulder pads
  • Swayback adjustment .75″ on garment and lining.
    • For the garment I took it from the shoulder to eliminate the need for a center back seam.
    • For the lining I took it from the waist with a horizontal overlap/ dart and made sure to true the hem.

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I usually trace indie patterns. But, with 40 damn pieces I threw caution to the wind. That said, I would suggest buying a copy shop version of this pattern. That way, if you need to recut a pattern piece you can pretty easily.

Above is my pin fit. I also tried it out on my body and it’s pretty good I think. Here are my general steps over the next month or so

  1. Cut lining, sew lining, hope it fits!
  2. Mark pattern for plaid placement
  3. Layout and cut garment fabric from one layer of fabric
  4. Interface garment fabric and make back stay
  5. Construct main garment
  6. Attach lining
  7. Finish by Christmas. I know that’s so far away. But, I don’t have as much hands on sewing time as I used to.

That’s it for now. I’ll work on the lining and keep you posted.