Thursday, November 15, 2018

Yuzu Raglan Coat

All coat posts are required to start the same way: WOOHOO I MADE A COAT!

I've been wearing the same winter coat for longer than I can remember. In fact, I blogged about mending it way back in 2013. Every year I've known how to sew and haven't made a coat, I've felt guilty. It was an actual NEED in my closet and yet I kept finding myself sewing more sweatshirts. Shameful. This year, I finally got my act together!

This is the Yuzu Raglan Coat by Waffle Patterns, with the free hood add-on. To be honest, the hood is what swayed me to pick this pattern. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems like coat patterns cost a lot of money and then only offer one view. This pattern offers a curved or straight hem, patch or welt pockets, and a stand-up collar or hood. There is also a newly released ebook called 23+ Pockets that looks like could all be used with any coat pattern.

The fabric is a wool/nylon Melton that I bought from Fabric Mart. I had hoped it would be a lot more green-toned olive than it turned out to be, but it's okay. It's utilitarian and will probably hide dirt well, so, win? The lining is Bemberg rayon from Mood. I. Hate. Bemberg. But it's so goooood in a coat! I think it'll be a nice long while before I sew with it again, though. Additionally, I've noticed that this coat is not warmer than my old one. The old one is lined with a quilted lining. I'll definitely be making my next coat with something similar, instead of rayon.

I'm wearing a scarf underneath...I'm not really that lumpy

I majorly dragged my feet on this project. I waited a month to buy the pattern after I decided on it. I sent it off to PDF Plotting so I wouldn't have to print and assemble it. I measured the scale box incorrectly (it's 10cm NOT 4in) and spent a few days fretting about that. I cut everything but the lining. I took a week to make the two welt pockets. The welts are dramatically different sizes. They were the only part (aside from the sleeves) that gave me trouble, they were constructed in a way different from any other welts I've done before. It didn't help that I sewed one of the pocket bags on upside down.

Eventually, I got to the point where I had the lining and outer assembled and could slip one into the other. That's when I started to get excited about the project. The raglan sleeves were so easy to sew compared to a set-in sleeve. Everything was looking really good. Then I cut 2" off the sleeves. Whoops. As drafted, the sleeves are definitely long. But I should have left them alone. After sewing the pieces together at the sleeve opening, the sleeves were too short. Livable, but too short. I was deflated all over again.

I pulled out my old coat to check the sleeve length on it, to see how badly I'd screwed everything up. I realized that it was finished with a thick cuff. Hey, I could do that! I had plenty of fabric left over.

The cuffs solved two problems. First, the length is now perfect. Second, no matter what I did, I had some twist in the sleeve. I couldn't get the lining to sit properly. I added the cuff individually to each part, and then topstitched them together. That way I could line them up evenly. It's hard to explain, so please ask questions if you have them.

I made a size 34. My bust measurement put me at a 36, but thankfully the finished measurements were included. There was 7" of ease! I decided to size down. The bust fits perfectly now, but I do have some pulling through the hip. I doubt anyone will notice but I think you can see in the photos that below the buttons the coat doesn't come straight down.

Speaking of buttons, they are from Jo-Ann's and they're nuts and I love them. I opted not to add the second row and I also didn't sew snaps into the inside. I used a black fusible interfacing for everything except the front panel. I ran out of interfacing so I used thick cotton flannel instead. 

This was my first time using a design from Waffle Patterns. I would definitely classify this pattern as advanced. I have made three other coats in the past (just not for me!) so this wasn't my first rodeo. That said, there are TONS of diagrams that are very well done. I relied a lot on them, as sometimes I found the wording of the instructions to be confusing. Additionally, the seam allowance appeared to be 1.2cm all over, but LOTS of the pattern pieces said that this was an "exception to indicated". IDK. I sewed everything with a 1.2cm SA. I marked it on my sewing machine with tape since I'm not all that handy with centimeters. I recommend sticking with centimeters when sewing this and ignoring all the "almost equal to" inch directions.

There are many details that elevate the pattern above others, such as pleats in the lining, a blind hand-sewn hem, catchstiching on the facing, and a two-part sleeve. Basically, I'm happy I gave my money to Waffle Patterns and I will happily give them more for another coat next year (Tosti, I'm looking at you...drool...). And now for a photo dump!

The second time I wore this coat out in public I received a compliment on it. I love how it's sort of Lothlorien-esque and unusual. I think the color will grow on me and I'm excited to wear it this winter. As you can see, fall is already over and the snow is here!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Cozy Double Knit Cardigan

A short and sweet project today that's allll about that fabric!

If you watch any of my Instagram stories, you've already seen this a few times because I couldn't shut up about it. I've been wearing it a lot and I'm tempted to order more! The fabric is a double sweater knit in navy/cream. There was another colorway that was predominately white, but it sold out. I saw a project in the white and couldn't resist ordering the navy from Style Maker Fabrics.

The pattern is what I call my "Athro Cardi Knock Off". I drafted it based on a RTW cardigan that was originally from Anthropologie, although I bought it second-hand. I made one version last summer from a lightweight sweater knit (blogged here). I still can't-stop-won't-stop with the original so I figured it was time to add another.

Like with my previous version, I struggled to fit the front pattern pieces onto the fabric since it is drafted VERY wide (no armscythe/sleeve seams at all, and the front is not straight down, see above). But I made it work with two yards. I regret not adding pockets since I find myself wearing my wool Sloomb leggings really often, and without pants pockets I'm stuck just holding my phone.

The texture of the fabric is fun and different from a plain knit cardigan. I did not use the reverse side for a contrast element but that would be easy to do. The color in these close-ups is washed out a bit, but you can see below the reverse side.

The fabric is a cotton/acrylic blend, and although I'm usually Team Death to Acrylic I will make an exception if a fabric doesn't FEEL like acrylic. This one fits the bill nicely. It's warm, but not HOT like 100% acrylic would be. It took well to pressing, didn't get stretched out too much while sewing, and behaved when I hand-sewed the hem.

Basically, get yourself some of this beautiful goodness before it's gone!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Easy Flannel Poncho

This fall, I've attempted to stretch my wardrobe a bit and try some new things. I'm deviating from my old standby colors (navy, grey, black, and pink) and doing a bit of a capsule with olive green and browns. I'm also trying new items like a vest and overalls, along with today's project, a poncho.

This look has been in the back of my mind for a while, since I saw a tutorial on Pinterest (by Merrick via Jo-Ann's). I loved her black and white version and kind of kept my eye out for a suitable flannel. I saw this one at Style Maker Fabrics and I had to have it!

The colors are brown, olive green, white, and gold. Both sides are super pretty and the flannel is thick and soft.

I followed the tutorial pretty much to the letter, so I'm not going to elaborate too much on construction. Basically, it's two yards folded cut end to cut end, with a vertical slit in front. I tried on the poncho as I was working to see how deep I wanted the cut.

I sewed a straight stitch horizontally just above the hems, and I have been carefully removing strands to create fringe. It's time-consuming, so after about an inch of it I took a break and just started wearing the poncho anyway.

I love throwing this on to go outside and play with the kids. It covers whatever I'm wearing and keeps the dirt off of me. It's also great in the car because it's basically like wearing a blanket! But you could easily dress it up with some skinny jeans and heels the way Merrick does in her tutorial. I'm wearing it here with my black merino Union St. Tee and French Terry Hudson Joggers.

This was such a quick, satisfying project that would make a good palate cleanser between more difficult makes!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Wool+Wax Wool Felt Tote

I received fabric in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links have been used. Thank you OCP!

A few months back, a friend tipped me off to the most beautiful tote bag I'd ever seen...this knitting bag from twig&horn. I LOVED the dark grey wool outer, the mixed media with the leather straps, and the large size to accommodate knitting projects. What I did not love was the $180 price tag. So when Organic Cotton Plus contacted me about a review, I had a vague notion of trying to copy the twig&horn bag. That notion became a reality when I saw their 100% wool felt. Available in small sheets, by the yard, or even in ribbon, I couldn't wait to nab some yardage and make my own tote bag.

I selected Charcoal and the color is perfect. The lining is 100% cotton broadcloth in Pumice, which is a sort of pinky-lilac color. I don't believe I've ever worked with broadcloth before. It reminded me of a high quality muslin, although a bit sheer. Perfect for a contrast bag lining and very easy to sew. For straps, I went with black hemp webbing in a width of 1.5".

I spent a lot of time searching for a pattern that would get me close to my inspiration bag. Being primarily a garment sewist, the only bag designer I knew offhand was Noodlehead (Range Backpack, I'm coming for you someday!). I checked out her website and found the Wool+Wax Tote pattern, which looked pretty darn close. I happened to run across her booklet, Everyday Essentials, when I was ordering some fabric from another shop, and added that to my cart. The Everyday Essentials booklet contains the Wool+Wax Tote pattern, and two additional ones, although you can purchase all the patterns separately as PDFs.

The pattern was very easy to follow. I think I spent as much time cutting and interfacing as I did sewing! I used a universal 80/12 needle and a walking foot. The wool felt has no spandex or stretch but I did find the walking foot fed the layers much better than a regular foot. I used pink thread for a subtle contrast with the topstitching. The only change I made was to add a magnetic closure, and also to add some ultra firm stabilizer (left over from this project) to the bottom.

This project should have been super quick and easy, but I ran into one snag that definitely needs discussed. I chose not to prewash the felt. Here is the description from the website:

Dry clean only - if washed, the wool will have a boiled wool look. It can also shrink depending on how hot the temperature of water is - the hotter it is the more it will shrink.

Based on this info, I thought it would be better not to prewash. I knew I was making a bag and that I could spot-clean it as needed. I have a lot of experience with wool, and when washed they all behave differently. I thought it would be better not to risk it.

My thought process would have been fine EXCEPT that I forgot about interfacing. When I began fusing my outer bag pieces to my interfacing, it shrank (wool+heat+water=shrinkage). It wasn't a lot, but it was enough for me to notice the first piece looked different and to compare it to its identical counterpart.

At that point, I had already cut all my pieces, so I had a decision to make. Prewash my remaining yardage and recut (if possible!), or continue with what I had and trim the lining pieces to match my wool as it shrank. I went with option #2, because the thought of wasting all that fabric really bothered me.

As it turned out, it wasn't a big deal. I interfaced the pieces that required it, and trimmed down the ones that didn't shrink. Since this wasn't a complicated pattern it was easy to know how and when to trim. My finished bag is probably a little smaller than drafted but it works just fine for holding my knitting. 

In conclusion, if you want to work with this wool felt (which you should, because it is awesome!) consider whether or not it will ever be hot/wet/washed DURING the project AND after. 

One other item to note: the hemp webbing felt fairly stiff when it arrived, and the black color is VERY black. I was concerned about it bleeding dye when getting wet even incidentally, like in the rain. I prewashed it by hand in my sink with Synthrapol. Synthrapol is a detergent meant to pull out excess dye from fabric. I've used it with my own dye projects to help reduce bleeding color. I was glad I took this precaution because there was dye bleed, although less than I expected. A bonus side effect was that the webbing came out super soft afterward.

I am such a huge natural fibers junky, and working with the items at Organic Cotton Plus is always a treat. I've never been disappointed with the fabrics I've gotten, and their shipping is crazy fast. Check out all their beautiful fabrics here!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pinterest-inspired Halifax

You know how sometimes you love something so much, you save it twice on Pinterest? Pretty sure that happened to me with this sweatshirt.

I’ve been wanting to recreate this for some time, but the moment was finally right when I ran across an amazing reverse French terry from LA Finch Fabrics (sold out, sorry!). The loops are on the side with the stripes, rather than the back, giving the front some texture.

I used the Hey June Halifax pattern, the plain view with the cowl neck. I added eyelets to the cowl and a drawstring. Normally, I’m not into drawstrings (they always seem to get lost in the wash) but I think the hardware and the drawstring elevate the look a bit. The eyelets were from my stash and are the Dritz brand. The drawstring cord was purchased on Etsy, it's the gift that keeps on giving as I had 80 gazillion yards.

This is a size small. The fabric doesn’t have much stretch so this is just a bit bigger than a shirt. I can fit a tank top underneath but I’m not sure I’ll try it with a loose T-shirt.

This was a super quick sew since I’ve already made the pattern before. It turned out so much like my inspiration, I love it!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Oakley Vest

Cooler weather has found its way to Indiana, much to my chagrin. Give me 85 degrees year round, please! The one good thing about the temperature cooling off is the mix up in clothes. It's fun to pull out last year's items and mix them in with this year's newest sewing projects. My first fall sew was the Oakley Vest, from Love Notions Patterns.

Shirt is blogged here and jeans here

I've always been one of those people who didn't understand the point of vests. Maybe it's my climate, but I never felt like we had the right weather for vests. My body is cold but my arms are not? I didn't get it. I'm not sure what changed, except that I got tired of seeing vests on Pinterest and not having one!

I intended to make a black vest, but while fabric shopping at Jo-Ann's I ran across this grey quilted knit. Obviously, I had to take it home. It only took one yard to make my size (XS). I was between sizes and went down, per the instructions. I'm happy with the fit.

I opted for View C, the version with princess seaming and in-seam pockets, but with the collar from View B. Halfway through, I decided the vest was too lightweight to be left unlined. I also didn't have enough bias binding (it needs five yards!) and thought better of the bias tape completely. I felt it would look more elevated if it were lined. The pattern provides directions for lining View A, which has no collar and no zipper. I was left to muddle my way through lining my version. I realize now it would have been easiest to sew the collar to the bodice, the collar facing to the lining, and then bag the lining that way. I already had the collar on, however, so at the neckline I pretty much just topstitched the lining down. If you have more questions about what I did, please ask in the comments, I didn't take any photos but I can try to explain it.

One other change I made was to make the pocket bags out of a lightweight woven (polka dot chambray left over from this Phoenix Blouse). The pattern has a somewhat unusual cut-on pocket that folds back into itself inside the princess seam. That would have left me with three layers of quilted knit where the pocket is, and I wasn't keen on that much bulk right over my belly. Since the pocket was cut-on, I just cut a pocket bag from the woven and sewed it directly to the quilted knit, then trimmed away the knit. You can also save a lot of fabric this way if you don't cut the pocket fully.

The lining is a mix of lightweight French terry fabrics that were languishing in my scraps. Not the prettiest, and I had to piece in places, but it works. Again, because the main pattern had cut-on pockets, there was some fudging of the pattern pieces to eliminate the pockets in the lining. Not particularly difficult, but an extra step.

This would've been a super fast sew if I hadn't made a bunch of changes, but even with those it was a quick one. I definitely recommend wash-a-way tape to baste your zipper if you make this in a knit.

My separating zipper was purchased at Jo-Ann's. The pattern called for 23" but this one was 24" and worked just fine. 

And I know I'm ignoring every "rule" with my photographs, and that I took pictures in broad daylight and you can see the shadows, and the color is blown out. Don't care. It had been raining for three or four straight days and the sunshine was all too welcome. Bet you didn't know that southern Indiana had such beautiful rolling hills, huh?