Posted in sewing

Cashmerette Holyoke: Strappy, swishy maxi dress

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Making the Cashmerette Holyoke Dress was an easy decision for me. I was lucky enough to model the pattern envelope. When I tried it on the first time, I knew I had the fabric and the complete and total will to sew it up.

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Image from Cashmerette Website

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My fabric is a cotton lawn purchased on our trip to San Francisco in 2018. Because the fabric is see through, I underlined the bodice with cotton batiste  and lined the skirt with Bemberg rayon lining.

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If you find that you need to line the skirt, I’d recommend sewing the lining first, attaching it to the front facing. You’ll need to remove that 1.5″ or so of facing from your lining. It went smoothly and give the skirt a wonderful structure while keeping it airy. I did choose to omit the pockets.

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I sewed a size 14 E/F which corresponds to my bust measurements and graded to a 16 at the hip. I did need to shorten the straps about 1/2″ to help with bra coverage and shoulder strap slipping. There’s also ZERO bust gaping.

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Jenny, the owner of Cashmerette has another winner on her hands.

Posted in sewing

Warm, waterproof, hooded and pockets: Jalie 2680, Stretch City Coat

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There have been a thousand and one reviews of this pattern gem.  It’s about to be a thousand and twoooo. You see, I finally got around to making the Jalie City Coat and I am 120% in love with it. 

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I really needed a jacket for travel and to casually throw on in the fall season. Something waterproof and with a hood ideally for walking the dog or running to the store. The Jalie City Coat does all those things AND had extremely flattering and easy to adjust princess seams.

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First, the pattern does call for a low stretch fabric. My soft-shell with merino wool backing from Fabricmart has stretch. But, I managed to cut it with the stretch going lengthwise vs horizontal. After a few panicked messages on the Jalie Facebook group, I was assured from others it would fit. And, it does!

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My other error made a longer lasting impact. My iron was WAY too hot when I applied interfacing to the front facing. It melted the facing, which caused it to shrink. I had to get ‘creative’ (read, made a mess) with the hem. Which caused some not so great pulling at the front and wonky hem. THIS DOES NOT ABATE MY LOVE OF THE JACKET.

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Now, on to the good parts!

ALTERATIONS:

  • Made a Size Z grading to a BB at the thigh.
  • 1″ FBA on the princess seams
  • 1″ swayback adjustment (I think I could do without or it was too much for the pattern)
  • I did not make a full bicep adjustment and I wish I had. There is about 2″ of ease of me in the jacket. So, when I wear a sweatshirt, there’s no excess ease. A coat needs 4″ of ease. An unlined jacket 3″ of ease. But, I cut out the pattern before I thought about the arms. I don’t think the sleeves are slim. I have larger arms.

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You’ll notice there’s some fabric drag around the pocket areas. I believe this is because I accidentally cut the fabric with the stretch going vertically instead of horizontally. So, it’s not as stable as it should be.

The jacket is drafted unlined. Which I welcomed because I wanted an easier project with less finishing. It also gave me a chance to use my new Brother CV3550 coverstitch machine. In fact, this project was basically my unboxing as it sat in storage while we moved for several months.

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For this jacket, I finished most of the seams with the coverstitch. It provided the topstitching a seam finish in one pass. Using the written directions I wasn’t able to finish the front princess seams in a way that made me happiest.

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If I were to do it again I would:

  1. Increase the SA on front and pocket seams to 5/8″ . Then, I’d be able to sew it as directed and go back and coverstitch for the topstitching. OR serge the front panels first and then topstitch. You could also add 1/4″ to the pocket seam and french seam them for a neater finish.
  2. Make the side seams 1″ SA to allow letting out later on.

When I make this again I will:

  1. add reflective tape at the yokes and lower arm seams
  2. I’d add a little walking ease.
  3. Serge the pockets or sew them as french seams, maybe bind the pockets?
  4. Speaking of binding, I used my binder attachment on my coverstitch to finish the facings.

Interfacing is optional in the facings and I used it. I’m glad I did as I think it helps provide support for the buttonholes.

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Finally, hemming was also done on the coverstitch.


This whole project took a little longer than I’m used to with sewing. For those who aren’t on Instagram, we moved about two months ago. We haven’t sold our old house yet (more stressful than I anticipated) and I have unpacked the bare minimum for my current sewing room. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in my sewing room starting with hardwired lights. But, that’s a big financial project and we haven’t sold our other house yet, lol.

I also started this project a few days before I had an easy, outpatient surgery to remove endometrial tissue from my abdomen/navel area.  I’d been extremely uncomfortable for six months (trouble standing upright, not being able to sleep on my side or my stomach, waking up from cramps and weird pains I can’t even describe, no waistband touching my midsection) and finally went to my doctor for an endometriosis diagnosis and scheduled surgery. I was told the recovery would be brief, “back on your feet in hours”. And I was in fact home and in bed for a week. I’m also off of strenuous, core exercises and weightlfitng until the new year for fear of causing a hernia. The point I wanted to make on endometrios is listen to your body and go to a doctor when something doesn’t feel right. I shouldn’t have waited five months. I had no clue it was that or that there were some treatment options available to me. I feel much much better now and am working to keep it under control. Whew. I wrote a lot more there than planned. Next post: just sewing 😉. I made some red linen pants for our warm Thanksgiving mini break that I want to show you.

 

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

Cashmerette Springfield Top

*ETA: Jenny of Cashmerette reached out to me about what I thought was a mismatched yoke in the pattern draft. Nope. The pattern is fine. The mistake was mine.  Despite having measured and traced the pattern several times in two different sizes, I managed to insert the center back upside down during five different versions of the pattern 😳 That made for the mismatched seam allowance that I noted in an earlier version of this post. I’m removing this post as it’s not an accurate review of the pattern or my alterations. The flipped pattern piece likely caused my fit problems in the back and this post should reflect sewn correctly garment.

My resulting top is the bomb diggity though, so I’m leaving a photo of it up until I get around to sewing this again.

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Posted in sewing

Jalie Jeans x Three: Jalie 2908

This post is really more of a brain dump so I can remember what I did when I make these again. My tee shirt is the Cashmerette Concord Tee Shirt.

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These creamscicle / seersucker denim photos were taken last weekend when we were in Kansas City for a wedding.

Back in September 2015 I promised you an update on my Jalie jeans. Well, I never wrote an update.

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I can tell you I wore three pairs of Jalie Jeans daily for the last 18 months and it was time to start replacing them. My jeans wear out at inner thigh regularly.

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I asked Jordan to take photos of my butt while we were walking around like tourists. A man in the store to the right was just staring at us totally befuddled.

So, I made three different pairs over the last few months to hopefully get me through the next two years: The above cropped creamscicicle denim pair, the below straight-ish, and the end flared pair.

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When I make jeans, I buy a ridiculous eight to ten yards of denim. I treat the first pair as a muslin and make the other two pairs up based on how the first pair fit after a few weeks of wear. I like my jeans to stay snug.

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Alterations:

Waistband: I used the waistband from the the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans as a starting point. After several rounds, I’ve contoured the waistband specifically at center back and at the side seams. I use a firm woven interfacing in the waistband to help reduce the stretch AND I use narrow twill tape in the waist band seam. The Jalie waistband is garbage. It’s straight and cut on the bias and just doesn’t work for anyone I personally know.

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Yoke: I do the same contouring of the yoke to snug up the back seam closer to my swayback.

Crotch adjustments:

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  • I made a bit of a large inner thigh adjustment by widening the back crotch.
  • I shorted the front crotch by 1/2 inch or I get this above fold at the center front. Actually, this is AFTER a 1/2 inch adjustment. I need to take out maybe another 1/4 inch (as I’ve done for the orange pair).
  • I made a knock knee adjustment

Time to transfer my pattern to stock paper because it’s a keeper!

For the rest of the jeans I just played with leg width. Rule of thumb for flares: make them as wide as your shoes. I wear a 8.5W / 9M/ 40EU.

My topstitching thread is Tex 80 available locally for me but also from Wawak.

Below are my flared pair. These were the first pair I sewed of this set and the crotch was CRAZY long as drafted. I actually took them apart — removing 1/2 inch from the length and they are still too long in the crotch.

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This top belonged to my mom

I finally resolved the length by removing another 1/4 inch in the first pair shown at the top. But, here you can see the extra fabric the length gives.

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I sew jeans with two machines. My Singer Featherweight does main construction and my Bernina 830 Record does topstitching. I love love love the top stitching and 1/4 inch foot for my Bernina. It makes such nice precise lines. I may even set up a third machine one day if I do two tone topstitching.

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Whew. I planned on taking many photos of my construction process but had a series of camera issues. But, there are a million great resources online now for fitting jeans.

 

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I am totally comfortable with the jeans making process. I’d like to make a pair of Morgan jeans this fall. And, a few more of these Jalie for the rotation. But, I am seriously considering a pants making class this year. I miss wearing pants and haven’t been successful in making a good fitting pair in many years.