Butterick 6244: In Which I Conquer My Fear of Plaid

I love plaid so hard. I have so much plaid in my stash I could open a kilt shop. But, I hardly ever sew plaid because I’m terrified of matching.

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Forgive my pigeon toes. Please.

I was inspired to make this waterfall coat for two reasons. I have too much coating fabric that’s not getting sewn (eight cuts and counting). And, I saw a very cool Burberry poncho that I couldn’t afford. I made my friend Sheryl go to Burberry with me to try this on. It was flawless. I also tried on a duffle coat and had small tears in my eyes when I put it back on the hanger.

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Said poncho is $900

This fabric (ostensibly Burberry) was $5 or a yard during my ‘trench coat with wool liner’ phase about five years ago. I never made that warmer but the fabric remained. I in fact have it in a second camel color way (that will hopefully become a poncho next season).

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I sewed this coat in bits and pieces over two weekends. Which is really good for me. It allows me to not mind techniques taking a bit more time. I thread traced my darts instead of just marking (or eyeballing) them with chalk.

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I actually did all the flat fell seaming with my terrific Bernina foot.  And, for all these small touches, it made a big difference in my construction process.

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It was very windy

Because I don’t sew Butterick often I wasn’t quite sure what size to go with. Based on the finished measurements, I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 in the thighs. I did baste the side seams to make sure I had a fit I could live with. I also decided to forgo an FBA because the coat isn’t meant to closed and there’s a ton of drape / ease here at the front. Overall, it’s got a very modern blanket coat vibe and I could have probably gone down one size.

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I made only one alteration which was to shorten the shoulder seam. Of course, I shortened it after I’d sewn in the sleeve:-/

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One main sewing tip if I may. If you have a walking foot, use it. I think nothing will ruin the lines of this coat more than waves / wonkey narrow hems. Plenty of steam and a walking foot will keep the bias under  control.

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I’m feeling pretty accomplished that I sewed a revered plaid coating. I didn’t get the plaid quite right at the front (sad trombone). But, I figure in movement it’ll be hard to tell.

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Surf’s Up/ Bottom’s Covered: Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts and Burdastyle Rash Guard

While in Bali (one week to go!)  I plan to take two or three surfing lessons (with a likely needed massage in between).  A friend who did Fulbright in Bali warned me to take a rash guard for lessons. After googling ‘rash guard’ I figured out it was just a tee shirt from swim fabric. I was always so confused when I saw people in tee shirts swimming. Turns out they are great for sun protection and you want a rash guard for surfing so your skin doesn’t get roughed up on the surfboard.

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Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the Burdastyle 7/2014 #113  bike dress pattern I used on my  biking honeymoon to the Netherlands. It has the look of a raglan / sporty style. And, is blessedly already altered for me. I say blessedly, because the last thing I wanted was to feel like I had an ace bandage on my bewbs and this was already FBAd. To make it a shirt, I overlapped the skirt portion and the bodice at the waist, and marked off an additional four inches into the skirt. I think for a ‘traditional’ rash guard that also provides full back sun protection, I needed an additional 8 inches.  Mine is a little too short and shows the white waistband I used on my shorts which tends to make it look like a maternity bottom.  But, for a few days of surf lessons and tubing on vacation, this will more than suffice.

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Alterations: I eliminated the center front zipper (don’t think I’ll need the venting) and didn’t have a more ‘sporty’ zip on hand. For the neckline, I skipped the one as drafted by Burda and used the fashion fabric to make my neckband. I needed this top to be a bit snugger than the cycle dress version, so I was just really generous in the sew line vs seam allowance. Oh, and I shortened the sleeves a bit from my dress version.

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I’m wearing a cup sized bikini top from Freya underneath (god bless you Europe and your 34F sized swimwear). I think I could also easily wear  a non-cotton sports bra and be fine too. Other than being a a little too cropped, I’m pretty pleased with this top. I think it’s also a totally legit coverup option too while at the pool or beach. And, being in a Muslim country (ETA: Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is mostly Muslim) and not feeling 100 about my body, I’m more comfortable in this than my two piece.

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I am an unabashed lover of the Jalie  9796, Multi Sport Skort. I made several a few years ago when I biked to work and ran on a semi-annual basis.  When I knew I wanted to take a surfing lesson in Bali, I figured the Jalie 3351 swim shorts would be cute and coordinate nicely with a rash guard.

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I made a size Z at the waist and graded to a BB at the hip. As I’m really measuring for hip measurement at my thighs (where I am widest) I wish I had gone down one more size at the waist, slightly slimmer at the hip and made a sway back adjustment based on my muslin. But, for some reason I ignored it and just plowed on through. For my actual version, I did shorten the crotch length by 1/2 inch — possibly too much?

The shorts have built in, full-coverage briefs, which I made out of white (with the knowledge that in MILLION years I wouldn’t need the fabric to make a white swimsuit). The waistband uses elastic inside unlike the skort. So, it seems a bit more secure in the water (drag, water weight)

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Usually in shorts I get chub rub with the inner thigh riding up. I don’t have that problem with these. While I like the pockets, I can’t see myself using them for swimming. I suspect things would come out. But, as running shorts, those pockets are legit.  I would also make these minus the briefs as athletic coverups for poolside activities. I think this pattern is a real winner.  Together with the rash guard, I felt appropriate for a Muslim country,  good for water sport activities and doesn’t feel like I had on my mother’s skirted swimsuit from the mid 80s (it was HIDEOUS). Lord have mercy. I just realized I AM my mother’s 1980s age!! Sigh.

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I found myself looking at more swimsuit fabric online when I was done with this outfit. Then I remembered I’ve had this Roxy fabric for at LEAST five years.  My stash runneth over because I still have red, black and some gold swim fabric! That said, a good reason to keep a stash. You can have everything you need when you want it!

PS: We had a “Latkes and Rum Punch” holiday party back in December and my tripod got swept up in the CLEAN EVERYTHING movement. So, selfie stick and cell phone camera are at work here.

 

Rayures Scarf and Craftsy Machine Knitting Class

Remember the thrill of your first sewn project? It’s been a good 25 years since I’ve felt that. But, with the completion of four scarves on my knitting machine, I’m feeling that same level of excitement.

I spent Thanksgiving this year with my inlaws on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hanukkah is next week so they decided we’d all exchange gifts early while everyone was together. All this is at the expense of Jordan. Because, he’s not getting squat until Christmas. I need those extra three weeks!

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This year I decided to knit all the women in his family Amy Miller’s Rayures Scarf. It’s a hand knit scarf pattern of simple stripes, made up in the round in stockinette. Since stockinette is almost all I can manage on my machine, I thought it would be the perfect project. While a great project, the scarves themselves are rife with mistakes (too may rows mostly and horrible grafting). But, I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

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I ended up making four for Jordan’s two aunts, grandmother and mom. All were basically neutral with some pops of color depending on the relative. I’ve posted my Ravelry notes for the project. And, in even writing up my notes realized I don’t even know the language of knitting. Because I’m a beginner and super prone to mistakes (and ‘good’ yarn is expensive), I stuck with an acrylic / nylon yarn from Michaels called ‘Woolike’ by Loops and Threads. It was GREAT for my standard gauge machine and very affordable — especially when on sale and ordered online.

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Knitting these SUPER simple scarves felt like the most massive accomplishment! I was able to change colors, I learned how to graft the edges closed, I learned how to close a seam (this hand knitting pattern knits in the round. But, I haven’t learned how to do that yet on my machine so I knit it flat).  I learned by trial and error how to get my knitting back on the machine if it fell off. I admit though, I still don’t know how to fix a dropped stitch. But, I’ll work on it🙂

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We are with my family next year, and I have four aunts on my mom’s side. So, I’ll be knitting something for them. Maybe by then I’ll be able to make up matching hats too!

Knitting itself was probably about 45 minutes for each scarf. But, finishing by hand was easily another two hours for me. I am super super slow with hand techniques. And, I spent a lot of time googling ‘kitchener’ ‘grafting’ and ‘seaming’.

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Any who. I haven’t taken an in-person machine knitting class in several months due to my work and life schedule. But, I have been watching bits and pieces of Susan Guaglimi’s machine knitting class on Craftsy. And, it absolutely gave me the confidence to tackle this.

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The class walks you through the basics of your machine, getting started knitting, understanding how the machine works, changing colors, short rowing, increases and decreases, making patterns / design manually and knitting your first project: a baby sweater. While I haven’t finished the course yet, I have nothing but extremely positive things to say.

If you have a machine, I highly recommend you take the course. If you don’t have a machine but are curious about how they work, this really shows you. And, don’t worry about the kind of machine you have. She uses a plastic bed mid-gauge and 80 percent translates easily to my metal bed machine.

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I can’t wait to make my own scarf!

Revisiting Jalie 2908: Women’s Stretch Jeans (and Fly Template Winner)

I almost forgot about the Stitch Along Fly Front Guide!  The winner is JenL! I’ll email you for your mailing address.


I’ve been getting a lot of wear from my two-tone Closet Case Ginger jeans. I probably wear my pair three times a week at least. But, the underbutt wrinkles were making me sad.  Based on how much I like having hand crafted denim, I decided to revisit the Jalie 2908 Women’s Stretch Jeans of yesteryear. I really loved how the Jalie 2908 made my butt look. I just hated the front.

When I first made them in 2009, I sewed a size W. This time, I sewed a size BB based on my measurements. Well, first I sewed a size Z and felt like a sausage in a meat packing factory. Then, I went up two sizes to my *actual* measurements and made a BB.

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So, overall, I’m pretty happy with the Jalie 2908. I think I have fewer under butt wrinkles than I did with the Ginger jeans and that’s a great place to start.

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Alterations / Changes

I slimmed down the bootcut to something akin to a very slight flare. I can’t say I used any fancy metric to do this.

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Tapered the yoke to make a swayback adjustment and drafted a countour waistband from the included straight waistband. I will say on the first size that was too small, I used the Ginger Jeans waistband and it was beautiful.  At three inches, the Jalie waistband is most def too wide for my taste. For my next version, I’ve curved it a bit more and reduced the width for a 1.5 inches finished width.

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This is a Marc Jacobs denim from Mood . I kept thinking this fabric would be too light for jeans. But, I’m an idiot because it’s perfect.  The recovery in them is AMAZING. I’ve had them on all day and they haven’t really bagged out.  I bought enough to make four pairs from this cut. But, I’ll only get two as I made one too small and managed to miscut a LOT. I really need to not sew after 10 p.m.

Here are my changes for my next version:
I’m going to shorten the front crotch length. I have that unattractive fold of fabric at the crotch. I took a little fish eye dart to the finished jeans to see how it would look and the fold went away completely. I figured this out from Marji’s comment on my post six years ago!

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Make an ‘Inward Knee Rotation’ / ‘Knock Knee’ adjustment. I’m using the Sandra Bettina method from her book Fast Fit. There are several ways to make this alteration. I’m only doing 1/2 inch as I have NO idea how this will all turn out.  Hopefully give me more fabric length at the inseam and reduce those knee winkles. See how they are pulling up at the inseam? I talked about this with Mrs. Mole at Fit For A Queen.

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I’ll also curve the waistband a bit more at CB (it gapes a smidge) and reduce waistband width.

After my next pair (which are 75 percent sewn and from the same material), I’ll evaluate (and post here) and consider making the forward/ muscular thigh adjustment. I really prefer to make one alteration at a time so I can see what happens.

So, here’s what I concluded for myself between the Gingers and the Jalies. For my body, I like the front of the Gingers and the back of the Jalies. Jalie pocket placement for my butt are perfect.  The Ginger waistband is great,  the sillouhette (skinny) preferred and the instructions overall are fabulous. But, since my rear view is what I care most about, and the things I like from the Ginger are easier to transfer to the Jalie, I’m going with Jalie 2908 as my jeans pattern.

Pucci-like Panel Print Tunic: Burda 5-2010-104

I never really know what to do with panel prints. I think they would make great boxy tops. But, then I look like a billboard of fabric without some darts and waist definition in my life.  Enter, a remake of Burda 5-2010-104. I made this a good three months ago, but just never got a chance to take photos.
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Look, I know I complained about this looking maternity when I made it last summer, but I wore it a TON. So much in fact that I’ve worn it out. Still, I decided to sew it again using a stretch silk charmeuse panel print I purchased in China five years ago. I purchased three panels while there for about $15 total. I LOVE the colors of this top. It’s so summery and the blue is calming. That said, I think silk makes me sweat. Is that possible? Shouldn’t it breathe beautifully?

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I did a few things a little differently with this version.

  • I made a much bigger FBA adding another 1/2 inch in width and length for a total of 1.5 inches. Last time, I didn’t think my bust fit fully in the right spot.
  • I added a few more inches in length to the hem. Not enough to make a dress (I don’t really want a thin, white silk dress). But, long enough that it’s a little more flattering to my legs and still wearable with skinny jeans.
  • Took up the v-neck an inch or so. The bridge of my bra was always showing. I kind of didn’t care. But, fully recognize it’s tacky and I should care a *little* more.

I’m happy to report that the drapier charmeuse seems to have less of the maternity vibe too. I mean, as ‘less’ as a flowey, empire waist, ruched top can look…

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Now, I tried my best to match prints with this tunic. But, for the love of all that’s good, I just didn’t have enough fabric to do it well. Hard to explain without photos, but the circles aren’t balanced. So, I could get half of everything matched but not the other half.

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Plus, I managed to put two scoops right on my butt. I worked so hard to avoid this look on my bewbs that I managed to put two cheeks on my cheeks.

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Oh well!

I’m pretty pleased with this silky beauty. In large part because reading about my shopping in China brought back such good memories! Imagine, someone I’ve never met offers to take me shopping in a foreign country. That experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.

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I’m totally casual at work these days. And, I’m starting to like wearing jeans daily. But, I want to look a step above basic tees whenever possible. These jeans though. They are the PITS. You can see how worn they are at the inner thigh and knee. These are barely a year old. It’s okay. I’m still working on my jeans muslin. And, once I get it right, I’m going to make One Million Pairs.


Finally, remember a few months ago I was my friend’s photo assistant at a wedding in the Catskills? Well, the wedding photos are now up on her blog. Please have a look! I had an amazing time and bawled my eyes out multiple times during the ceremony. And, Jen was kind enough to include a couple of pictures I took too.  Jen and I were journalism students together in college. She was a brilliant reporter and now an incredible photographer.

Hot Patterns Blouse Back Tee: Woven / Knit Combo

20150615-DSC_0064 photo 20150615-DSC_0064_zps9yfrxjh8.jpgYo, I had like the best hair day today. I wasn’t even going to blog these shirts again. But, my hair looked so good I wanted to memorialize this day. I gave myself a little hair trim and have been doing some new things to it and it totally paid me back today #TeamNatural.

Now, to the sewing: I’ve managed to step away from my knitting machine for a few days. Mostly because I don’t have enough clothes for our trip to Canada in two weeks! And, my casual summer work wardrobe is lacking. So, I figured I could whip up some fast tops to take. And, this Hot Patterns Blouse Back Tee might be a near record for me. I’ve made it up four times now. And, I can’t promise this will be the last. For the two  (navy blue and teal) I’m posting today, I took some of your suggestions:

  1. Used a woven sheer for the back
  2. Went down a size for the front
  3. Made my FBA with darts
  4. Decided to keep the original length of the back hem from the pattern.

20150615-DSC_0100 photo 20150615-DSC_0100_zpsblswhr6t.jpg I really like these versions too. I mean, I like this top because it goes together fast, is visually interesting and because it hides a multitude of sins. 20150615-DSC_0105 photo 20150615-DSC_0105_zps8xi1ydzn.jpg Both the sheers are from Kashi at Metro Textile (purchased with MMS photos and texting I might add) were supposed to be beach coverups. And, this navy was supposed to be a University of Michigan shirt for Jordan. So much for that…

Construction Notes: To stabilize the gathers at the back yoke, I used clear elastic. I was concerned that the woven vs knit friction might make stitches pop out if stressed. The clear elastic nicely reinforces my stitching and allows the woven to ‘give’ more. 20150615-DSC_0059 photo 20150615-DSC_0059_zpstmdcv2lr.jpg The rolled hem on the teal went beautifully. Not a single problem. The rolled hem on the blue and white was a nightmare. The hem wouldn’t catch, but I was trimming away at the seam allowance with each pass. I had to shorten the knit side seams on the navy version by four inches to get it to match the woven hem when all was said and done. 20150615-DSC_0098 photo 20150615-DSC_0098_zpstcvag3gr.jpg On the teal, I didn’t have enough fabric to to bind the neckline. So, I just turned it over and coverstitched. I wish I had done it a bit narrower as I have non existent shoulders to begin with. 20150615-DSC_0034 photo 20150615-DSC_0034_zpsyvsi6s1q.jpg For the navy, I did have enough fabric and I finished the sleeve band and the neckline with a bit of trim and coverstitching. Both the fronts are also hemmed on my coverstitch. Looks like I could have pulled that neckband snugger too.

FBA or No?

After my last post on this top, a few suggested I do an FBA with darts. I thought, why not? I’m not a big ‘cheater FBA’ person. I like to do things ‘right’ even if it’s the slower old fashioned way. So, I made a 1 inch darted FBA in the teal version first and felt I could see it rising at center front (below). For the navy version I made a 1.5 inch FBA and think that’s the ticket for me. I added more length than width though. But, I was playing around with the navy version in the mirror and I think I need a larger dart to address some of the drag lines. 20150615-DSC_0083 photo 20150615-DSC_0083_zpstvgiiauv.jpg Anywho, People LOVED these tops on me. I have two knit versions and no one said anything about them. But, out and about the last few days I had people stopping to tell me how cute they were.

Both of these tops were posted on Instagram. But, I know not everyone is one it. And, I can’t babble on like this for a photo site now can I? 20150615-DSC_0089 photo 20150615-DSC_0089_zpsm7zm1ckr.jpg

Empire Waist, Surplice Green Sweater: Burda 5-2009-103

 photo DSC_0148_zpshqw7nidi.jpg I imagine this is the last cold-weather top left in me before I start some spring sewing. I just CANNOT with winter anymore. Is it me, or as you get older, do you just get totally over cold weather? We had a surprise snow storm over the weekend.  They called for 1 – 3 inches and we ended up getting 7 – 10. The roads were such a mess! We were slipping and sliding all over, got stuck at an intersection and had to leave our car on the side of the road. We ended up taking a bus home (yay for mass transit!) plus a one mile walk. After all that, I STILL didn’t make my 10,000 steps. Grrrr. I’m really over winter. Just four weeks until spring!  photo DSC_0156_zpskajufpxs.jpg I think the greens of this sweater knit sort or looks forward to spring, don’t you?  It’s interesting, I rarely sew green. I love a green nail polish, but think I’ve sewn only two green items. This luscious fabric is from my December 2013 trip to Mood. Anywho, it’s very similar in look as this blue cowl top and this blue sweater dress (Loved that dress. I should have treated the fabric better). But, this knit is the sturdiest of the three with far better recovery. And, as I type this, I just remembered that I can’t remember if I pre-treated before cutting or not. Ugh. I think I didn’t pre-treat and have sewn myself a dry-clean only sweater #RookieMistake  photo 000001764893_zpsxgaoqpx1.jpg I chose this pattern because it combined a wrap top with a fitted waist. Both  features good for a busty hourglass. And I LOVE it.  photo DSC_0158_zps6wca3i4m.jpg I sewed a 40 grading to a 44 at the hip. I also tried taking 1/3 inch off the shoulder seams. I usually take 1/4 inch and think I may stick with that. Sadly, I find the neckline wide for me and had a bunch of photos where you could really see my bra strap — versus the ones here where it’s just peeking. I’ve since altered the pattern adding another 1/2 inch to the neckline on each side. I made a 1.5 inch  FBA on this top and added a bust dart, it’s almost invisible in this sweater knit. I’ve since added to the pattern an additional 1/2 inch under the bust. If there is something I personally can’t stand it’s a bust bifurcated by a seam. It makes me ragey and sad inside.  photo DSC_0161_zpsqajbs9zy.jpg Looking at the made up version from the magazine, it looks like my bust is just eating up all the length in the bust. Maybe what I need it a bigger FBA rather than just throwing some length on to the upper bodice. And, let’s face it. This is too low cut on its own.  I’ve raised the neckline 1/2 inch for my next version.  photo 000001764897_zpschvrm3vr.jpg    photo DSC_0163_zpseys2zy3k.jpgI like how I walked around all day with a massive center part at the back of my head from my twist out. I really need to get a second mirror in the bathroom.  Moving on, as drafted, the pattern already has a center back seam so I made my swayback adjustment at the waist line. I think the darts give awesome shaping.  photo DSC_0129_zpshs3bm7si.jpg I think this would be better on me a few inches longer (becuz I hates my thighs). So, I’ve also altered the pattern to add three inches in length.  photo DSC_0152_zpsva1hos3w.jpg There you have it. A good sweater that I hope will be great the next time I make it. Can’t you see this in spring weight knit with 3/4 sleeves?