Posted in sewing

Whatever Lola Wants: Victory Patterns 1005, Lola Sweatshirt Dress

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Four years after many a cute sewist made up the Lola dress from Victory Patterns I decided I needed a new sweatshirt dress in my wardrobe. I’ve made several before from the Italian magazine La Mia Boutique (consistently in navy and grey also 😄 #neverchange). It is in fact one of three outfits that a very fancy couple I know pointed as one of their favorites.

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For this pattern I made my regular round of adjustments. I sewed a 12 at the bodice grading to a 16 at the hip. I made a 3/4″ FBA using a princess seam method and a swayback adjustment using my old faithful method.

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I also lengthened the sleeves by 5″. I like 3/4″ but I thought this length a bit awkward.  I would make a deeper swayback adjustment next time… I suspect I did my usual 1″.

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I’m really glad I photographed this four months after making it. Because, it appears I put the pockets in at different heights at the front! I have worn this dress two dozen times and only noticed today while editing pictures!  The pockets gape/sag and I read many a review where the excess ease was removed. But, I actually like it. There isn’t much that will make my hip and thighs look slimmer. So, I’m embraced the structural look and went with it. But, it appears that the lower placed pocket does sag more.

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I know some women sized down for a more fitted look. But, I kind of like the causal looseness around my midsection. I could probably take an inch or so out if I wanted.

Issues: No mention of how much stretch the fabric should have or is drafted for. I also cut according to the layout. But, my crosswise grain had more stretch and maybe I should have / could have gone with that if I knew what it was drafted for.

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I ended up making two of these in a row after having finished my Cascade Duffle Coat and a wooly bomber jacket for Jordan. Why did I made two right in a row? Because after alterations it’s an easy sew. I needed winter clothes and why not? I’ve become chaste in middle age. Instead of sewing ALL THE THINGS I’d rather save some time and make several of one garment. It’s a really cute dress and I can see myself making more next winter.

** I used my phone as the remote for these photos and could actually see myself instead of guessing with the remote function. Photos took half the time and I liked 90% of them vs tossing 75%. And, I haven’t moved. These are at my office :-D.

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Slightly Dressy Spring Coat – Burdastyle 2-2011-125

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I’ve been calling this teal beauty a jacket… maybe because it’s lightweight so I don’t think “coat”.  But, it seems to clearly be a coat pattern. Discuss.

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As you see, I finished my spring jacket from the February 2011 issue of Burda! We were at my inlaws on Maryland’s Easter Shore for Passover and got to snap a few photos on the water.

I really wanted to try and push my skills and make a jacket with a bit more technique and time. So, this one took me a solid six weeks of work with many fidly bits.

This pattern tops out at 44 so I needed to grade out to about a 50 in the lower thigh. I also made a FBA, a swayback adjustment and added almost 2″ in width to the sleeves / bicep. I pretreated the fabric by sewing a mesh bag and washing in the washing machine.

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When I teach, I talk about when and why you would use Hong Kong or bias bound seams. I also do demos of flat fell seams and blind hemming But, I didn’t really have a good garment to show it off in. Now, I do! And, now I understand why garments with these techniques cost twice as much as they absolutely take twice as long!

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Interior details…

I used fusible interfacing on the center front, collar and pocket flaps. I do not have any interfacing in the chest, back, or hems. There are places where you can see the chest collapses a bit. But, I did not want to make a tailored spring / rain jacket and I wanted to leave it unlined to show off the reverse of this bonded fabric.

If you have this fabric, do not use fusible woven. Way too stiff. A nice weft fusible is the way to go. Press with a press cloth because the fabric shines on the non stripe side. And, don’t use too much heat or steam. The fabric is easily overworked and misshapen and the fabric will separate. If it does separate or crease, heat it back up, and press it back to gather with a clapper — leaving it in place until it cools.

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Sleeve insertion.

Well, that’s a tale of two cities! The (my) right sleeve was set with tie interfacing in the ‘tailored’ method. The cap pops and I had minimal issues setting it in. The fabric doesn’t have a great deal of ease and is like working with leather.

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The (my) left sleeve was set the traditional method and I’d broken a sweat by the time I was done. Either way, puckers sewn in to the fabric DO NOT PRESS OUT. Same with the bust darts. You can’t press shaping into them. So, I have perky darts due to the fabric and a collapsed cap on this side.

And, now I think because of the tie interfacing I probably cannot machine wash this coat 😭.

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There is a small drafting error with the coat collar in pattern 2-2011 #125. The collar stand and collar are too short by about 1.5″. It works out fine for me because I have a short neck and don’t like getting my foundation on my clothes. It just doesn’t meet closer to the middle as it shows in the line drawing.

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I mitered the back hem inside and  used a 2.5″ turn up. I wish it was 1.5″ to 2″. I think it would have been easier to have a nice hem. Not that the bottom is rounded. But, the fabric doesn’t ease well. I ended up making a blind hem on my blind stitch machine using nylon thread. While I only use this machine a few times a year I am always super pleased with the results.

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The only thing I REALLY wish I’d done is remembered this comment from Marcy when I finished my Cascade Duffle coat. The bottom fronts don’t meet the way I’d like.  This is for a couple of reasons I think….

  1. I make a too long a FBA at 1.5″. I need more width than length and forgot or don’t trust myself. So I end up with jackets, coats and dresses too long at center front

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2.)  If I’d read Marcy’s comment or remembered, I would have tried to cut the CF a little off grain to have the flaps meet better. I did add a covered snap. Let’s see how much I use it! Um, also — there’s a reason garments have snaps here and not buttons. ASK ME HOW I KNOW. 

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All that said, I think I don’t mind that much. Only in the light of posting it on the internet for all to see do I feeI must confess my crimes. I’ve wanted to make this pattern since it came out SEVEN YEARS AGO. The fabric has been in my stash for TEN YEARS. I really needed a spring coat to wear that wasn’t a totally casual item. And, I worked harder on this with finishing techniques than I may have on anything else. So, I will wear it for the six weeks a year it’s weather appropriate here in the Mid Atlantic!

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Posted in sewing

Grainline Cascade Duffle: The Reveal

Cascade Duffle (15 of 16).jpg My beautiful duffle coat is complete and I am happy about a lot of things and would change just a couple of things. I got to wear it today for our first true cold day it’s just about perfect!

I have to apologize for the quality of the photos. It was overcast today so the pictures aren’t as vibrant as I would like. But, I realized I didn’t really want to take additional photos tomorrow and I need to blog my coat to move on to my next project. Better to have A photo than no blog post at all.

Now, on to the coat!

Likes: It’s a duffle coat! I’ve always loved and wanted to own a duffle coat. If you know me you know I love a military influenced garment and am a casual Anglophile (I can claim it as my parents are from Commonwealth countries and my mom lived in England before moving to the States).  But, have never found a RTW version that fit me well because I’m busty with a big booty or that I can afford because I love me some Burberry. I’m thrilled I made this from plaid. I love plaid but rarely sew with it because matching stresses me out.

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The color is really great on me and will be cheerful this winter. The lining is from flannel back satin so the hood won’t destroy my curly hair and provides a lot of warmth 😀.

Dislikes:

Cascade Duffle (16 of 16).jpg I notice the back hem doesn’t lay as flat (rather flares out a bit) as I’d like and the front hem rises. Originally I thought this was the result of not making a long enough FBA at the front and too large a new-to-me swayback adjustment (I took the extra length at center back out at the shoulder/ neckline).

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But, when I now look at this plaid version from the designer above, I see that the back hem flares out / away the same way in the middle pic and the front hem also rises. I also see on the designer version that the black plaid between the bust and waist isn’t parallel, as mine isn’t despite a FBA.  I don’t notice this on all versions of this coat online though. I’ve pressed the hem over a ham to have it curve / lay a bit flatter but it’s not enough. Maybe I’ll send it out for a profesh press. I’m not sure what causes the flare. Could be a rounded vs straight hem. Maybe the lining should be a bit shorter to pull the hem in place more? Maybe the rounded hem biased a bit? Perhaps the back should all be interfaced. I’m not sure and I’m willing to live with it in this version. I also used wiggan in the hems which gave me a nice crisp finish (my wiggan came from Lichtensteins in Brooklyn, NY. No website.)

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If I were making this again, I would extend the length of the zipper band and use a 30″ vs 23″ zipper. I’ve noticed on a few versions that the lower front splays open a bit. I assumed that was fabric cut off grain. But, I now think a longer zipper would go a long way to keeping it closed. The zipper stops at the hip length shorter version length. Which does make it easier for zipping up. But, I’d just go longer in the future. The center front band is also too long. There is an updated pattern piece on the Grainline site. But, it’s about 1.5 inches or so too long in  my size.

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As for the zipper band, I did choose to interface mine. I’d also recommend reinforcing the bottom where the zipper stop is. I managed to pop mine loose while squatting to put put on my dog’s halter. It can take a lot of pressure there.

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I would also not have done it in a contrast color for the zipper band. It peeks open a bit at the top by my neck and it wouldn’t bother me as much if the colors were the same.

Cascade Duffle (4 of 16).jpg Thanks to a year of lifting weights my body has changed — a lot. I should have made a broad back adjustment and added another inch to the width of the sleeves at the bicep (for a total of 2″). I can wear this with slim to medium garments underneath – nothing thicker than a ponte or wool jersey knit. But, certainly not a heavy sweater. Thanks to the flannel back satin lining though this is warm enough for Baltimore on it’s own. It took wearing of all my other outerwear this fall to realize how much my body has changed. None of my coats fit particularly well through the bodice right now. That said, this is well suited for a big chunk of Maryland winters. My next coat will have boxy fit for oversized winter garments (I’m thinking navy cashmere swing coat with dropped shoulders).

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All of these issues could have been caught with a muslin which I chose not to do. I just couldn’t deal with all these pieces! That said, I hope most of what I see is just what I see. Overall I am happy but would be thrilled with a few tweaks. And, I would make another duffle. Just not in plaid 😀

I’ve been lamenting my lack of clothing labels this year. Especially larger / bold labels for garments with a substantial facing. I actually finished this coat on the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing so she’d been on my mind all day.  Above, I used an old label from  one of my mom’s custom garments from when they were stationed in South Korea. It was from an outfit I’ll never fit in. I have one more similar label in my closet and will put it in my next nice wool coat.

The first time I made a tailored coat may have been the first time she bothered to figure out how to leave a comment instead of just emailing or calling me. Back in 2011 she wrote here:

Are you kidding me with that thought about maxi coats not being trendy right now? Hold fast! That coat will be around when maxi coats become fashionable again and will compete with the best of them. I particularly love the feel of that satin lining. The details on the coat are to die for. Much more stylish than that red coat you became s-o-o-o-o-o attached to. I get a very warm, comfortable feeling just looking at you in that coat. Wow! You ought to be very proud of your accomplishment. Congratulations on a job well done.

 

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I’m so happy to have a new everyday coat! I’ve been wearing my high school letterman’s jacket and a puffy jacket from college. If I needed something nicer I’d wear a vintage coat in my closet — but vintage isn’t great for everyday wear. I have SO MANY coats in mind and may come back for a discussion on what to sew next (camel wrap coat? navy cashmere swing coat? oversized menswear influenced coat? rain coat with zip out liner? travel jacket from stretch water proof fabric? red peacoat? dressy spring coat? SO MANY DECISIONS) Now, I need to start working on Jordan’s Hanukkah gift. I promised him a bomber jacket and have a week to get it done.

If you’ve stumbled on this final post, check out these other posts I wrote about alterations, cutting the plaid and tailoring the coat.

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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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