Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Now with buttons


Ottobre Peacoat

They are done! I decided to use the four step buttonhole instead of the should-be-magic-but-doesn't-always-work one-button-press buttonholes on my sewing machine. I basted out the top & bottom lines so that I could see where to hit the next step button, and it went pretty well. Then I wore the coat out on a nice blustery 2 mile walk to Trader Joes. I was nice and warm wearing it, & only a few very strong gusts got through in the arms a little bit. I wasn't sure how it would work with the buttons only in the top, but it was fine. Partly because it's double breasted, so even if the wind blew the bottom part of the coat open a bit, I was still warm. And the on seam pockets are in just the right spot and a good size. Also, Uta mentioned that she liked the lines but wanted a longer version. This pattern comes in two lengths- I made the shorter version, but the pattern pieces have a full length version as well. So you wouldn't even need to draft any extra length, it's already available.

Ottobre Peacoat

And finally, one more under the wire. I think with this top I've sewn more the last 2 weeks than the entire rest of the year combined. This is a wool doubleknit from Emma One Sock made into a cardigan from the latest Ottobre. Other than the facing, this is a lovely shaped cardigan. I left out the front and back tucks because this is such a beefy knit and they seemed like they wouldn't work well. I've never sewn with a wool doubleknit before, but this was so marvelous. It's really warm and not at all itchy! Then I shortened the sleeves because I prefer just-past-the-elbow length.

Ottobre cardigan

Ottobre cardigan

So about this facing- the part that attaches to the front edge of the bodice is perfect and went on smoothly. But the outer edge, which is to be hand stitched down, has something ridiculous going on. You have to ease stitch it, and it has waves and waves of extra fabric. What?!? I understand it needs to fit the shell where you fold it in, but this was overload. I managed to steam and ease and get it in there, but it was stupid and annoying. In all likelihood this is a cutting or directions reading mistake on my part, because I can't see how a magazine that put out such a nicely drafted peacoat pattern also made this facing piece.

Ottobre cardigan

Here's a not so great picture on me:

Ottobre cardigan

And finally, coverstitched sleeve hems because I still adore my CS machine:

Ottobre cardigan

Monday, December 30, 2013

Peacoat, sans buttons

Would you like to know what seemed like a GREAT idea three days ago? Making a princess seamed peacoat (with on-seam pockets!!) from the Winter 2010 Ottobre magazine. I forgot that coatmaking takes days and days and days. Here's the page in the magazine showing the line drawing. Looks cute and straightforward, no?

Ottobre peacoat!

Here's where we were the other evening... a completed shell. The outer fabric is a spongy, tweedy brown wool that I've had in my stash for so long that I have no idea where I'd bought it. I underlined it with flannel and used fusible horsehair interfacing on the bodice and a tricot interfacing on the collar. The collar and lapels, of course, gave me fits. Then I put the sleeves into the wrong sides. And a bunch of other catastrophes which I've already tried wiping from my mind.

Peacoat in progress guts

The lining is a hot pink flannel backed satin from JoAnns. I'm a big believer in flashy, crazy lining fabrics. It's also got a really simple patch pocket to hold my cellphone, and piping between the lining and facing (not sewn in terribly well, you can see in a few spots the white from the piping). The pockets are made from flannel scraps, navy blue with fishes.

Ottobre peacoat


Then there is the little ribbon as a hanging loop, which was in the Ottobre directions. I don't think that this ribbon could really support the weight of the coat for long, but I think it looks cute anyway.

Ottobre peacoat

Buttons. Not attached yet. I am working myself up the courage to make the buttonholes and desperately missing Jonathan Embroidery in NYC- I haven't sewn a buttonhole in a winter coat in YEARS.

Ottobre peacoat

Dressform pictures:

Ottobre peacoat

Ottobre peacoat

And finally, you can thank Barbara's post on sewing v. fashion bloggers for the bathroom selfie of the coat:

Ottobre peacoat

Super styled high fashion! Um, or not. But it does fit pretty well. My ultimate goal in making this was to try out the pattern with an eye to making up that awesome navy blue wool/cashmere fabric I bought before Christmas. Also, I felt kind of guilty that I have a bunch of Ottobre magazines but I'd never sewn anything for myself from them- only a few kids items. The fit for this was pretty nice, really. This is a straight 38 with no alterations. I think I might take the shoulder in a tiny next time, but I'm otherwise really satisfied with how well it fits.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Twist twist

Today has been "wow, why did it take me so long to buy a coverstitch machine?" day. I woke up really early today and felt like sewing something simple. The Jalie twist front top has long been one of my favorite patterns, but all the shirts I'd made from it in the past have by now fallen apart- I didn't use very good quality knits with them, so they kind of bagged out, and I was never happy with the unfinished hems. So I made two new ones.

This one is from an Emma One Sock knit. It went together so quickly, thanks to coverstitching the neckline, sleeves and hem that I decided to do another one.

This is a poly knit from Gorgeous Fabrics that I've had in my stash for ages. I had to figure out how to use the differential feed on the CS machine to get the hems to come out nicely, but once I'd figured out how to do that, it also went together smoothly. Given that those went so well, I decided to get ambitious and trace off a raglan sleeve tshirt from an old BWOF magazine (November 2005!).

I hadn't traced anything in ages, but thankfully it went quickly- only 4 pattern pieces. I really like that the raglan sleeve is in two pieces, because it allows some nice shaping over the shoulder.

Not a great picture of it on me, but here you go.... this knit is also from Emma One Sock.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


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Christmas sewing

My last final of the term was Monday, so that means... sewing can commence again! I tried doing some sewing during the term, but it was hard to get momentum going for anything. Instead it was mostly quick stuff and mending.

I re-sized a pair of Ann Taylor Loft grey skinny jeans so that they didn't gape at the waist. This just involved taking the waistband off at the back, ripping out the center back seam, and then re-sewing everything at a bit of an angle. Then I did the same thing to a pair of black cotton sateen pants.

jeans refashion

Then I made a Scout tee, which has been in very heavy rotation in my wardrobe for the last few months. I need to get more voile to make a few more of these, since the sewing-effort-to-amount-of-wear ratio is so good on this. It's also the first thing I ever made with my new coverstitch machine, which was part of why it went together so easily.

Scout tee

Finally, I went to the fabric store a few blocks from our new place for the first time yesterday, as a "hooray you survived" treat. They mostly carry home dec fabrics but I found two fabulous pieces to buy anyway. The first is an incredible navy blue wool with cashmere piece, just ever so slightly heavier than suiting. I bought 3 yards of it, but I think I might end up just making a cropped jacket with short or bracelet length sleeves. It's so, so, so soft and lovely, though, that I want to wait until I have a really great pattern.

Navy wool cashmere

The other is hard to photograph, but it's an ever-so-slightly glazed metallic linen. LOVE. I'm not sure what to do with this one- it's 60 inches wide, and I bought 2 yards... maybe a dress? Jacket? It's drapey for linen, but a bit too stiff to make a Scout tee from, unfortunately. I'm definitely open to suggestions here.

gold linen

gold linen

gold linen

Finally.... I'm starting on Christmas present sewing. PJs for my mom! I got to use my new coverstitch machine with these, and it went really well.

Flannel PJs

I had some questions about what I'm in school again for. The boy and I decided that I should use his GI Bill, since he was sent to grad school already by the military. So I'm using it for law school, with the idea that I'll go back to the tech industry and work on privacy issues. We'll see.

And, finally- my current sewing setup! I managed to get my two machines, cutting table, and tabletop ironing board all positioned near the window.

Sewing room setup

Monday, September 23, 2013


Hello blog! I just finished my Mendocino by Heather Ross quilt... or as I think of it, my mermaids quilt.

Quilt is done!

This one is twin sized, and although I did use a lot of my Mendocino fabric, it also has several other Heather Ross fabric scraps and some other fabric bits and pieces as well. It's free motion quilted, and the backing is an old blue sheet I bought from Target years ago.

Mendocino quilt
It's a little hard to get a picture of a large quilt in an apartment, so here is my jury-rigged quilt hanging setup that will sort of show what it looks like...

mermaid quilt



Quilt with yoga!
Girl doing yoga!


Here's another view, draped over our deck chairs....

It's been far too long since I've been on west 38th, but the last year has been a bit crazy. My husband got orders to D.C., and in short order we decided we didn't want to do the long distance thing, so I applied to grad school, we found a place in Virginia, I quit my job, and now I'm a fulltime student! It's nice to see him every night at dinner, as his previous tour had him out on his ship for long stretches of time.

On the sewing front, I now have more than 1 sewing machine- I bought a little Brother coverstitch machine, which I've been greatly enjoying. I'd always hemmed knits with a twin needle in my sewing machine, which was often an exercise in frustration and never turned out very well. As I've been wearing some knit tops and dresses that I've previously hemmed with a twin needle, I've been ripping out the hems (which come right out, which tells me that they were on the verge of falling out...) and re-doing them on the coverstitch. I should have definitely broken down and picked one up ages ago! Now I'm re-thinking the fact that I don't own a serger...