Posted in sewing

Rain Poncho (with a hood!): Burdastyle 3/2014 #138

Burda Rain Jacket

A few years ago on vacation in Ottawa, I was wearing this VERY cute rain jacket I’d made. It started pouring rain and I told my husband I’d need to buy a rain jacket for the rest of our trip. He said, “Just pull up your hood.” Me: That’s not a hood. It’s just an enormous collar.

Never have I seen such a derisive look. It’s FASHION!

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Anywho, in the ensuing years, it’s been very clear to me that I need a rain jacket with a hood. Enter the 2014 Burdstyle. I was always interested in making this beauty, but just needed the right fabric. I picked up this DKNY leatherette  for $5 a yard while in Dallas in 2018. The fabric is rubber on one side and cotton on the other. I have to warn you though, it’s totes not breathable. But, for what I need it for, it’s more than fine. I plan to wear this to walk my dog Linus and run errands. I won’t be camping in it! Now, I did make one big mistake sewing the poncho. I’ll try my best to explain, so please feel free to ask me any questions if it isn’t clear.

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The lining is the exact same pattern piece as the front. You do not need to remove or allow for a seam allowance to attach facings. The facings (front and sleeve) are attached to the lining ON TOP of the lining fabric. They are not seamed together as you might see in RTW. In fact, they are sewn on top of the lining and top stitched in place.

I didn’t realize this and traced / cut the lining, minus the facings. Because I did this, the lining is too narrow for the poncho by four inches. I’d already sewed everything in place, so to remove the lining and redo it meant leaving dozens of little holes in what I can best describe as a yellow plastic bag.

To move on from this, I decided to just let the lining hang free. This allows for enough ease of movement and the lining not to pull and tug at the garment. It is sometimes visible at the sleeve and inelegant. But, my jacket keeps me dry and it’s 85% okay.

Snaps: I had them set locally here in Baltimore by a place called Sew Lab. They charged $20 (I think too high by half). But, they are set very well and made me consider black which I hadn’t before. The only qualm is it’s taken a few opening and closing for them to work easily.

Burda Rain Jacket-4

Zipper: I used instructions from the Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing. I have a bad habit of leaving a bit too much fabric available for the zipper teeth to catch.

Toggles: The pattern calls for rope in the bottom casing. I actually used a stretch nylon / elastic with toggles from my stash. I LOVE this. I can cinch the bottom of the poncho for shaping, but the elastic gives plenty of ease for movement. 10 / 10 would recommend.

Burda Rain Jacket-7

Hood: I changed the hood interfacing a bit by adding several more layers at the brim. For the interfacing, I went with a fusible buckram from Joann fabric. I also added it well past the line that Burda suggested for putting in interfacing. I wanted to make sure it would stand away from my face so water wouldn’t dribble down.

Burda Rain Jacket-10

Reflective tape: I added reflective tape to the back to make myself visible. Our neighborhood isn’t well lit.

View this post on Instagram

I put off construction on my Burdstayle poncho for two weeks because I didn't feel like dealing with the pockets. After a few days of a little here and there, the hardest part of this jacket is over..⁠ .⁠ (1,2) The pockets are double welt pockets with a flap and I didn't even bother with the Burdastyle instructions. I used the Kenneth King ribbon technique for the welts, Singer Guide to Tailoring for the flaps and pocket bags.. ⁠ .⁠ (3,4,5)The pocket bags and lining are from an Ankara print in my stash. I'm not lining the hood in this non-silky cotton because it's not Black Lady Hair Friendly™️. The pocket bags are faced, so when I open the pocket, you see the garment fabric rather than the lining..⁠ .⁠ (6) I went a little nuts in the alterations for this jacket, possibly too much. I'm a wee bit afraid this will be too big after all my changes, but the shape is pretty easy to size down. I also forgot to interface one of the pocket flaps. Can you tell which one?.⁠ .⁠ ** Burdastyle 3/2014 #128.⁠ .⁠ Next: Actual rain cape construction. ⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #isew #springshowers #sewingouterwear #rainwear #burdastyle #BurdaMag32014128

A post shared by Renee (@missceliespants) on


Welt Pockets: I used the Kenneth King’s “Cool Couture” book to sew the pocket welts, and the “Readers Digest Guide to Sewing” for the reamaining construction. I’ve done a bit more detail in my Instagram post above. Using fabric like this, it’s very important to interface, interface and interface. The interface helps support the pocket so it won’t droop, but also provides stability since the fabric would tear if stressed too much. I really like the added pocket facing, it gives a nice clean finish.

Waterproofing: I used iron-on waterproofing seam tape on invisible seams. Where there was topstitching, I used tent repair waterproofing brush on sealant from the US outdoor store REI.

Burda Rain Jacket-2

Voila! There you have it! I’m really happy with my poncho and have loved wearing it already. While my mistake stinks, I’m thrilled to still have a wearable garment that plugs a wardrobe hole. I really wanted a Stutterhem rainbow raincoat, but this should hold me off  hold me off for at least five years.

Also, look! I have a deck! I’ve gone on this deck like five times in the last year. I’m not an outdoors / sit outside and read person and we don’t have deck furniture. We got our house  “softwashed” and without the green and black gunk on the brick and deck, turns out it’s quite a nice little spot for taking photos outdoors.

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.

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

Jalie City Coat BWI (2 of 4)//

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. 

Jalie City Coat (1 of 19)

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.

Jalie City Coat (7 of 19)

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.

Jalie City Coat (6 of 19)

Now, on to the good parts!


  • 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.

Jalie City Coat (8 of 19)

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.

Jalie City Coat (15 of 19)//

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.

Jalie City Coat (3 of 19)

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.

Jalie City Coat (16 of 19)//

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.

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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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