New Year – Maxi and Cardi

Ah, the new year – it always takes me a bit of time to move on from my favorite season. And this year I’m determined to sew uplifting garments!

These are two of my favorite patterns, McCall 6747, and Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan, in a lovely Art Gallery Luna & Laurel Eye See You jersey knit. To be honest, it costs much more than I used to spend, approaching $20/yard. And I bought 5 yards. So I have to think about how much I would spend on a similar outfit, if I could find it. When the staff at my dentist asked where I bought it, that expenditure was fully justified! As an aside, over the last two years I find myself spending more for good quality fabrics, offset by the very poor quality of less expensive choices.

The line art:

I modified my M6747 years ago – removed the front placket and drafted cap sleeves. It is so easy to wear! And I drafted a new Blackwood pattern last year – moved up to a size XL. The cardi is close to the body and has very narrow sleeves. I’m pretty small, but I love the loose aesthetic of the larger size.

So – pics!

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Here’s a closeup of the jersey. It really is delightful. I bought the first three yards, for the maxi, from Fabric.com. Having decided to make a matching cardigan, oh gosh, Fabric.com was gone. I found two more yards on Hawthorne Fabrics. And felt very fortunate.

Other endeavors in January, I sewed my daughter’s Christmas gift (we will get together in February, she lives far far away, almost in another galaxy…). This is the Mona and Broad Tarawi shirt – they draft specifically in the upside of the pattern size range. She’s wears size 20, has two other Tarawi’s, and she loves them. The fabric for this one is Bluejay Speckle Kaufman Shetland Flannel, found on Etsy..

Three weeks into the New Year, I hope you are all well and anticipating good things.

For now – Coco

Lekala 5954 Waistcoat

Good morning – the incredibly lazy Coco here. I think this is the longest time I’ve gone without writing. Blame it on the weather, growing out my hair, and having more wadders than ever in my sewing career! I’ve tossed more than I’ve kept and at times wondered if I can sew at all 🙂

However, after 6 weeks, something I really like. Waistcoats are ‘in’ this season, and I really like the look over a relaxed shirt. I’ve sewn 3 Olya shirts this summer, so this will be fun. It took me a while to settle on this Lekala pattern. I looked at the Thread Theory Belvedere, and actually bought and printed Lekala 6063, which is its twin. Both are drafted for men, however, and I did not relish all the fitting that implied. Working with a women’s pattern just made more sense.

I have to throw this in, inspiration in multiple ways!

The original pattern is a ‘traditional’ waistcoat, meant to be worn over a tucked shirt. If I had intended to wear it that way, I probably would not have changed anything. It’s beautifully drafted and was a great starting place for my changes..

Yes, I did a muslin from remnants of fabric. I like to write all over a muslin, it’s rather fun and cathartic. The changes I made were all pretty easy – removing the bust dart was the most challenging. BTW, I use a nice tutorial for this task (I could never remember the steps otherwise):
https://helensclosetpatterns.com/2022/01/18/how-to-remove-a-bust-dart/

A few sewing notes:

  • My main fabric is 6.5oz Kaufman washed denim. The lining is 3.4 oz Keepsake Calico. I mention the weights because they matter. E.g., I didn’t face the neckline and fronts in the denim because the result would have been very heavy for it’s purpose (it needs to float over my shirt!).
  • I find it daunting to do horizontal buttonholes. I used lots of basting aids and chalk pencil to keep them straight and parallel. Please, please don’t use Frixion pens to mark any visible part of a garment – they will absolutely gift you with a stain. Great for marking hidden parts, however. I use Quilter white pencils and simple No.2 pencils, they both wash out.
  • I didn’t do the welt pockets or back band, just personal choice.

Lekala rates this as a ‘difficult’ project, and I agree it can be challenging. But it is surely interesting. I’ve ordered two prints for future versions and look forward to sewing them. Hopefully I’ll actually get them onto a blog post!

Parting note: I received many very welcome thoughts during Hurricane Ian. Thank you so much for the encouragement and companionship, not just for me and mine, but for all the folks impacted by the storm.

Bye for now – Coco

Paper Theory Olya shirt in Swiss dot

Getting shirty – in the new and best sense of the word! I’ve been on an Olya journey, prompted by being so tired of the summer heat and really really tired of my summer wardrobe. I’m tempted to sweep my much-worn dresses out the door!

I first sewed this in early 2019, a muslin and two versions in challis (here). Immediately after, I was distracted by my plans to move house and all that entailed. And the pattern has been aging in my stash ever since. It’s a lovely design:

This Olya is a gem – it’s sewn in Swiss dot lawn, a wonderful transition to fall (if it ever gets here…).

Sewing notes:

  • My first versions were size 8, but for this version I decided to draft a size 10. I’m so happy I did! It has more of a boyfriend shirt appeal, something I love over pants.
  • An aside, the pants in all these pics are Tessuti Margot pants, sewn in Kaufman 6.5 Oz Washed Bleach Indigo, lengthened and given front, back, and cargo pockets!
  • Sewing Swiss dot is kind of difficult, because all those little dots make squares that have to be considered and matched. Read that as needing a lot of single layer cutting…
  • As before, I bound the sleeve placket instead of doing a more structured one. Given such a light fabric, I think a two-piece placket would overwhelm the cuff area of the sleeve.

  • Interfacing – I used Pellon 950F Shirtailor interfacing in the collar and cuffs, and Pellon PLFB36 ultra lightweight interfacing in the button bands. Both are non-woven and fusible.
  • I added 2″ to the length of the front and back bodice.
  • No pockets! (1) they are really tricky and (2) I think they would look like giant pasties in this sheer fabric!
  • This shirt has the most beautifully drafted collar I’ve ever sewn 🙂

To close – I will always remember Queen Elizabeth as a most extraordinary woman – timeless in her example of kindness, steadfastness, dedication to service, prudence, adaptivity, leadership, and faith. My thoughts are with everyone touched by her passing.

Coco

Pattern Emporium Sweet Cheeks Sweater

Time for a new pattern! Yes, this is way out of season, but I was very eager to give this a go. And I love it.

I do feel uneasy about the name – Sweet Cheeks. But I’ll overlook it – I just hope no one asks me its name.

Sewing notes:

  • My fabric is a brushed French terry from Fabric.com. It’s a light sweatshirt knit, and it’s very easy to sew.
  • I sewed size 10, and I drafted my tissue with 1/2″ seam allowances, instead of the included 1/4″. I just cannot imagine sewing most knits with such a scant SA.
  • My version is the high neckline and cropped length, with an additional 2″ in length. The pattern is generous with its length choices, mine falls between the cropped and hip lines.
  • I added 1 5/8″ to the length of the sleeve – it’s pretty short, plus I like my sleeves to cover my wrist bone.
  • I cut my front and back bottom band to the width of the back band, and I opted not to slit the band at the sides.
  • I found the neckband to be too narrow for a nice finish. It was also too long and had a ‘stand up’ look to it. I removed my first neckband, aargh, and cut a new one that is 3″ wide and 1″ shorter than the pattern. To compare:

Original neckband
New neckband

A nod and thank you to Katie Kennedy, @kak513, who has sewn a bunch of these sweaters and was so helpful in discussing the neckband and length options with me. You can check out her beautiful tops on Minerva and Instagram.

IMHO this pattern is a winner, a fun pullover for cool weather! Perfect over pants and leggings. It’s easy to sew and has meticulous directions. I didn’t print the instructions because it is a volume and has billions of examples sewn by an apparent legion of testers. Go for it!

Bye for now – Coco

Two Ermine blouses – two sizes

The Fibre Mood Ermine blouse is one of my favorites this year. My daughter saw my first one in January, and so began a journey.

For my girl:

She will be here for a visit in August, so I purchased a relatively inexpensive challis for her muslin. I say relatively – prices for fabric are somewhat amazing these days. No matter…

I drafted size 18-20 on the top, down to size 22 – 24 at our target hem, and elongated the entire bodice to her preferred blouse length. The Ermine is drafted to glide to a something some inches below one’s waist. For DD, I moved the side seam out to work with her hip at a 31″ CB measurement. Not a tunic length for her, but her usual blouse CB length. She is tall:-)

Fabric: Telio Viscose Voile Floral Print Black/Multi, Fabric.com

She has 6 kitties, so this fabric, with its playful cats, is appealing.

The sleeve on the Ermine goes from a gathered cap to a wrist length. Which works fine for me in a size Medium. But Ashley has a 7.5″ wrist, versus the 12″ width of the sleeve at the wrist in her size! Crazy. Wave that around in the breeze. So I drafted the size 20 sleeve in the Fibre Mood Norma blouse, which is ‘puffed’ at a high bracelet length. I have enough yardage to draft another set of sleeves if this doesn’t work.

Another Ermine, this one for me, in a playful navy and white rayon poplin voile. It took a bit of single layer cutting to do the upper bodice, and then I could not come up with a ‘plain’ button band for the front. I thought about finding a solid for the band, and then I decided not to obsess! This will have white buttons, and I’ll love it.

Fabric: Telio Pandora Rayon Poplin Leaves Navy, Fabric.com

An aside: the New Look 6689 flared leggings, mentioned on my Instagram account, were a disaster. The flare is indiscernible, the rise is a mess. I won’t be keeping this pattern! A day later, and I’m going to try this again, I do get stubborn!

Up next – my stash is empty, but I just ordered a pure white linen/rayon woven to make some britches to go with the Ermine above. Meanwhile, I’m re-reading all of Patrick O’Brien’s seafaring books and binge-watching Seinfeld. Among other things 🙂

Bye for now – Coco

Fibre Mood Norma Blouse

Coming up to periscope depth – yes, I’m still here! I’ve been in such a slump. After almost 2 1/2 years of lockdown, forced and then chosen, I’m hoping to regain my footing. I know lots of you can relate. My son and I were talking yesterday, sitting on the front porch, watching the world go by, and he asked if I am ready to return to in-person church services. And I think I am, especially since he’ll go with me. All good…

And so much for that! Check out this beautiful little blouse, the Norma from Fibre Mood.

I love the neckline and puffed sleeve. It’s much like the Anna Allen Anthea blouse , but has a much softer neckline.

I began my photo session outside, but, wow, so hot, over 90 degrees – I quickly retreated to the porch.

Pants: full length Tessuti Margo pants in Kaufman Sevenberry Nara Homespun Patchwork

Sewing Notes – it may seem like a lot, but I made a lot of the drafting decisions before I drew my tissue:

  • I drafted size 8, extending the seam allowance to 1/2″. I don’t do 3/8″ SAs on woven fabrics!
  • Raised the neckline by 1″.
  • Lengthened the bodice 1 1/4″.
  • Redrew the sides to forgo the shaping and to add width to the bodice below the armscye. The result is somewhat A-lined, with a finished bottom width of 41″ and a straight hemline.
  • Used a 1 1/4″ hem allowance to add structure to the base of the blouse, rather than use the double-fold narrow hem of the pattern.
  • Neckline facings are included, but I added 1/4″ to the width to match the width of the hem allowance when topstitched.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 1 1/2″. The original is pretty long.
  • Added 1/4″ to the unfinished width of the cuff pattern. I like the wider cuff, it doesn’t get lost under the sleeve gathers.
  • I also spread out the sleeve cap gathering to avoid the bunching at the top and the funky forward sleeve drape that it would cause (the Anthea blouse has the same bunched up sleeve head, I just think it’s too much). I learned this the hard way and had to remove and re-insert the first sleeve.
Fabric: Kaufman Brussels washer linen

Great pattern, fun and easy to sew. I have white Brussels washer linen ready to be cut for a second version:-)

Ciao! Coco

Fibre Mood Tilda dress variations

Fuzzy photo time – apology! I’ve been working on this dress for what feels like ages. I started with an inspiration dress and blouse, and landed on the Fibre Mood Tilda because of all the possibilities. My targets:

and the Tilda, with planned changes:

Being wary of the curves, I did an entire muslin, with and without a sleeve. And worked it until it fit.

OK, I think this is really blah on me. And it will be shortened to blouse length and worn with white summer pants.

Nonetheless, some sewing notes:

  • The fabric is a Telio rayon/cotton 50/50 blend. The cotton adds just enough structure to make this a dream to sew. From Fabric.com by way of Amazon.
  • My dress is a meld of sizes 12 – 14.! Because the pdf file is layered, this is fairly easy to do.
  • I printed my pattern without the offered seam allowances, which vary from 3/8″ to 1/4″, and I added a 1/2″ SA everywhere. I never never ever use a SA of less than 1/2″ on woven fabrics because raveled edges are such a hazard.
  • I left off the collar and faced the entire neckline (the pattern suggests bias binding on the neckline). IMHO a facing is essential to anchor a garment built in lightweight fabric.
  • And I totally cheated by stitching down the closed front placket in line with the button placement, to prevent those unsightly gaps that can happen when one is seated. My buttons are sewn through the facings, not a buttonhole in sight!

In the end, I think I have a decent blouse pattern and a perfect template for a lovely v-neckline. And I’m off to work on my jigsaw puzzle. This dress was exhausting and remains an object for contemplation in the closet for now.

Ciao! Coco