Friday, November 26, 2021

Washable Paper Projects with Organic Cotton Plus

Save 15% on Black Friday with code 15ONFRIDAY at Organic Cotton Plus

If you're a long-time reader, you may recall a few posts I did for Organic Cotton Plus, most recently this wool felt tote bag. I am a HUGE natural fibers nerd, and since that's all OCP carries, it was always a match made in heaven! Naturally, I was super excited when they reached out to me again for another collaboration. Today's post is all about a cool product that I'd never used before, washable paper!

Washable paper is also known as "vegan leather" and is made from pulp. It is sewable with a regular machine, and in fact I even used a small needle by accident without issue. Washing and crinkling the paper gives it a distressed finish that resembles leather. My first idea was to use a small piece as a tag for the back of some Ginger Jeans. Here is the paper sewn to the jeans without any washing at all:


And here is the same pair of jeans after washing and drying:


The paper crinkled up and became very obviously more distressed. I can't wait to see it evolve as the jeans get worn!


Next up, I wanted to try making a reusable sandwich bag. I cut apart a paper lunch sack and used it as a pattern for my own bag. 


This project ended up being a lot harder than I thought! In retrospect, I should have deviated from my design so I could sew it with my machine. I ended up hand-sewing with heavy weight shoe making thread. I haven't washed this bag yet, but I anticipate being able to crinkle it and roll it like a regular sandwich bag. I think it will make a great gift for an eco-conscious and thrifty friend of mine.


I also sewed a simple clutch with the washable paper.


This clutch is a large rectangle folded over. I sewed the side seams and then put the clutch into the washing machine and dryer. When it was about halfway through the drying cycle, I pulled it out and turned it so that the seams I had sewn would be on the inside. I was impressed that the paper withstood my mangling, even when wet. Once it was finished drying, I topstitched the bag and added a snap. I decided to go one step further and block printed on the back of the clutch. The paper took the block printing ink well (any mistakes are due to my own lack of experience with block carving and printing!). 


Last but not least, I went with a small scale block print and another tag. This one is a folded tag on a handmade scarf. I printed it with "110" which is part of my brand name. I think the tag looks like leather! I love that even a tiny piece of this washable paper can be used. 

Order the washable paper here from Organic Cotton Plus. It is 19" wide, I ordered one yard and had plenty for these projects with some left over. Thank you OCP for letting me try out this product, I will definitely be using up every bit that I have!

Organic Cotton Plus provided me with fabric for this review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Cashmere Rumana Coat

How many handmade coats does one person need? Don't answer that.

Last year, I scored some amazing cashmere/wool/nylon coating from Fabric Mart (side note, I buy almost all my wool coating from FM, they carry deadstock so you never know when or what you're going to find but if you see something you love, NAB IT). They had a ton of colors of this stuff and it was hard not to buy more than one cut. This fabric was overstock from Michael Kors and was $20/yard when I bought it. Pretty hard to beat that price, and it's easily the nicest coating I've ever used. The lining is a grey silk crepe de chine that I ordered from FM at the same time.

I knew almost immediately that I wanted to make a long coat, and landed on the Rumana from By Hand London. I ordered the pattern to be printed at PDF Plotting, made a muslin...and then did nothing. Well, not nothing, I opted to sew the Oslo Coat which had been sitting in my sewing room for a year before jumping on to the "new pretty" Rumana. Which meant the Rumana sat in my sewing room for a year. Notice a trend?

Anyway. After years of sewing coats, I recommend that you start one in September. Don't wait until it's actually cold. Don't wait until October because then you'll be overwhelmed with Halloween sewing. Or maybe that's all just me and seasonally specific to southern Indiana.

The day I finished the coat it was something like 80 degrees. As of this writing, it's November and I still haven't worn it. But that's okay! It just means that the mistakes (because obviously there are mistakes) won't be on the front of my mind when I eventually pull it out to wear.

The Rumana is a long coat with princess seams, a back vent, and welt-ish pockets. My measurements are 33-28-38 which put me at a size US4 in the bust and US8 in the hips. I also needed to shorten it 3 inches, I'm 5'4". I could not find what height it's drafted for, those 3" I removed based on how my muslin looked. All those seam lines make adjustments easy, but also leave a lot of room for error if you don't adjust across all the pieces (including the lining) correctly. To keep things simple, I cut a size US6 across the board, and then let the seams out over the hips. In retrospect, I probably should have just graded appropriately over the hips. It does fit very closely, which I think turned out fine since I don't anticipate this as an every day, over all the bulky hoodies, kind of coat.

As far as coats go, I found construction to be not too bad. I'm not sure why. I feel like I'm losing perspective on time because my kids are at school all day, and I can work for a few hours uninterrupted (a luxury, I know!!). I've also made five or six lined wool winter coats and countless jackets, so I do have a fair amount of experience. Does that sound braggy? I'm not trying to brag, just to give an appropriate assessment of the pattern and skills needed to sew it.

There is a sewalong online, which I always find helpful with coats. I do have one GIANT beef with the directions, which led to my huge mistake. The buttons are on the "wrong" side. If you follow the illustrations in the pdf, they are wrong. If you follow the written word, they will be correct. If you use your brain, you'll be fine. Now you can see how I ended up doing it wrong.

Nobody will know except me when I go to button the coat and have to do it backwards. But still. Sucks to spend so much time on something and not have it be correct.

The other thing I think I might have done wrong is the vent. It looks fine, but I can't help shaking the feeling that it's also backwards. This was my first time sewing a vent so I don't really know. My hand-sewing also looks a little tortured.

Long coats have a tendency to feel extra fancy to me, and obviously this color screams LOOK AT ME. But my friends who do not live in the Midwest tell me that long coats are fine everywhere else and not "too fancy" for every day wear. We'll see how often I reach for this one, versus my old friend the short olive Yuzu Coat.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Kalle Shirtdress

Y'all I'm struggling to keep up with blog posts. I barely managed to keep a list of "projects not blogged" much less to actually blog them! But with the daylight deserting me I'm finding more time to write...taking pictures is another matter!

May I present my Kalle Shirtdress, made in January 2021. Now. If you know me as a sewist, you know me as a sewist who hates on Closet Case Core Files Patterns. I also give them props when they deserve it. I fit their size chart well, and some of the designs I like. I'm not going to go into negatives here, you can read them in my Ginger Jeans or Kelly Anorak posts.

Back to Kalle. I'll never forget when this pattern was teased, Heather Lou told a story about wearing her prototype and being CHASED down the street by someone wanting to know where she got it. I think about that story every single time I wear mine, and I'm still waiting for the day someone chases me for more details. I'll let you know if it ever happens.

This Kalle is a size 6 for my 33-34" bust. It is the tunic length (there are three lengths). I thought I would need to grade over the hips since it is that long, but upon reading the directions I found that grading is not advised! Take that however you want. I made a size 6 and sort of narrowed my seam allowance towards the bottom. The fit is fine, the box pleat in the back allows for room over the hips.  

Speaking of that pleat, I used an inverted box pleat. I think I thought it would look more interesting, but in fact it allowed the back to balloon out more than a regular box pleat. At least, I think it did, and it gives me that impression when I look over my shoulder into a mirror. Next time, I will use a regular box pleat.

For the collar stand facing I used a lightweight woven that I believe was gifted to me by Loni when I won a giveaway. The hem is finished with vintage bias tape that I bought on ebay (did you know that was a thing?!). I added a Kylie and the Machine label under the pocket, and a 110 Creations label on the yoke facing. There's a lot of detail in this shirt but you do get to skip setting in a sleeve and a tower placket, so, yay!

The fabric I used is a cotton/linen woven from Alyssa May Designs, and I adore it.

I have a hard time styling this shirt because it looks weird with anything other than leggings. You can't really wear it with shorts, but it has short sleeves. It's hard to tuck neatly under a cardigan because of the dolman sleeve. I don't reach for it as much as, say, a Willamette because it's a more crisp fabric. I do like it quite a bit and I hope I can keep challenging myself to figure out the styling. I would definitely make it again.

So there you have it, a somewhat positive review of a CCP look! Of course, it has been 10 months since I made it, so I'm going off my notes and not my feelings. Your mileage may vary!