Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Exciting stuff – I’m traveling to Barcelona next month for work!  For three weeks, I’m staying in the city and working my butt off to help set up an event for my company.  Spain never was a country on my list of “must-see” places, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to go and (hopefully) explore a new city and country for such a length of time.  I’m learning some key words and phrases as well with an app on my iPad and so far so good, there’s a lot of similarities between Spanish and French (which I majored in in college).

 

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Like any other sewist, I have a list of things to make for my trip (I know I’m not the only crazy one to do this, haha!).  First on my list is a Portside Travel Set made out of some home dec fabric from Ikea, and economical and stylish fabric source for this project.  I decided to use duck cloth for the interfacing and it’s working out pretty well, I liked the shape and body it gave to the clutches I made my bridesmaids for my wedding last year.

 

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It took soooo long to cut everything out, but at least the sewing is going together quickly.

Also on my sewing list is an outfit for the plane, a striped Inari Tee Dress with leggings and a pink Driftless Cardigan for layering.  Something loose and comfy that doesn’t make you look a rumpled mess when you get off the plane is key for a long flight.  On top of this sewing, I also want to make a birthday gift for my niece, who’s birthday is while I’m gone.  Ahh!!  So much to do 🙂

 

As I mentioned, I’m going to be working ’round the clock (nothing too glamorous about this trip, except maybe the hotel), but I’m crossing my fingers I can find some time to poke around the city, eat tapas, and maybe find some fabric stores to visit.

 

If you have any suggestions of places to make sure to see while I’m in Barcelona, and fabric stores to pop into, please leave a comment below!

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Toaster One
 

Navy blue is slowly creeping into my wardrobe as my new go-to color over black, my usual everyday staple color.  It started with my Lonetree jacket and long-sleeve stripe top, and a lot of what I’m pinning these days on Pinterest for sewing inspiration is grounded in navy blue.  It’s a flattering color for pale people like me!

As a follow-up to the Toaster Sweater #2 I made at the end of last year, I decided to give #1 a try with some ponte I bought from Metro Textiles in December.

 

Toaster One
 

First off, this fabric is to die for – the ponte feels like a rayon blend, is incredibly soft after washing, and has a nice drape.  I love this fabric so much, I called up Kashi at Metro Textiles to order more!

The fabric isn’t very full-bodied, which is why the funnel neck collapses instead of standing up like in the pattern photos.  I was a little disappointed with that, but it’s so cozy to wear I got over that element pretty fast.

 

Toaster One
 

I actually tried this pattern out late last year and modified it to be a little longer in body length than what the pattern originally calls for – I thought it looked a bit cropped in the photos and was worried that the length of the sweater would hit right at the top of the waistband of my jeans.  Well, I should have just made the pattern as is, because the longer length threw off all the proportions of the sweater, it’s really perfect the way it’s drafted!  I don’t find it too short and can wear it with my high rise and lower rise jeans.  Maybe it’s the waist band that causes the illusion of the sweater looking short?  I also love the deep cuffs of the sleeves, they form a slight flare.

 

Toaster One
 

Like Toaster #2, this came together in a snap – it’s an easy-peasy instant-gratification project, perfect for a Saturday afternoon sewing session.  Everything was sewn on my serger.

 

Toaster One
 

I’m now in the process of wrapping up my “winter” sewing and shifting gears into projects for spring – especially for a trip coming up soon that I’ll share more about in another post.  Of course, as I type this, a blizzard is descending on Boston…but I know that spring weather will be here soon!

 

Pattern: Toaster Sweater #1 by Sew House Seven
Fabric: Viscose double-knit from Metro Textiles

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lark tees
 

In my last post, I mentioned how I’m using sewing hacks to make my sewing time more productive.  Well, here we are: three Lark Tees that I cranked out in the course of one weekend, all cut out at the same time and sewn assembly line style!

 

long sleeve lark tee
 

For my first version, I used a lightweight rayon knit from Metro Textiles and cut out the long sleeve/scoop neck variation.  As you can see, it’s a bit wrinkly from not taking it out of the dryer in time!  I love the fit of the pattern, it’s not too tight but fitted where it needs to be, and will be my new go-to pattern for a basic tee.  However, I was surprised with how long the length of the tee actually is and will probably shorten it in future versions.

 

short sleeve lark tee
 

For my second version, I tried the short sleeve/scoop neck variation in a St. James striped double-knit from Mood.  This version is my least favorite because of the length…I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the proportion of the sleeves and body length, but it just seems too long for me.  It’s also interesting how a different weight of fabric gives the tee a different fit, this one is much looser and less clingy than the long sleeve rayon tee.  I’m loving how the neck band turned out, look at that even stripe!  I probably should topstitch the seam allowance down around the neck to allow the neck band to lay flat, it tends to flip out a bit.

 

boatneck lark lark tee
 

The boatneck 3/4 sleeve version is my favorite!  Like the short sleeve version, this is another St. James double-knit from Mood – I love me a good stripe and there’s no such thing as too many striped tees.  While the description of this version is a boatneck, it feels more like a wide scoop than a boatneck to me; I’m used to boatnecks coming up to my neck.  I would also make a facing next time for the neckline, like Teri did, turning in the seam allowance 1/4 inch and top stitching it looks so-so and a facing would give the tee a much nicer finish.  This version is also slightly shorter than the other two, and I like the length.  This is due to me not cutting the stripes evenly across the bottom (no idea how that happened) so I chopped off about a 1.5 inches to even everything out.

Renee pointed out on Instagram that this is like the Kate Middleton/Vogue magazine shirt – I had no idea!  I love the vertical stripe pocket, that could be a cute addition to a future stripe Lark Tee.  Taking some styling cues from the duchess, I wore this top with dark jeans and brown riding boots when I went out last weekend and felt very chic.

 

boatneck lark tee
 

Pattern: Lark Tee by Grainline Studio
Scoop and boatneck version with various sleeves
Fabric: rayon from Metro Textile, St. James stripe knits from Mood (1) (2)

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Do you use any “sewing hacks” to make your sewing more productive?  With the spring season coming (not soon enough!) and a long list of garments I want to add to my wardrobe, but limited free time between work and school, I’m trying to find ways to make it easier to get some sewing in when I have a few minutes here and there.

One of my new favorite hacks is batch cutting, which I guess isn’t that novel of an idea and stems from the idea of assembly line sewing.  The above are three garments that I cut out over the course of a few hours on a Saturday night: a longsleeve Lark Tee, a Morris Blazer, and an Archer Popover.  My thinking is that if I have my cutting mat and weights out, I might as well use that time to cut out multiple garments since I’m in a “garment cutting mindset.”  Now when I have a few minutes free, I can sit down an sew a couple of seams and gradually work my way towards finishing a project.

 

 

Longsleeve Lark Tee
 

This is my third Lark Tee, I made a short sleeve scoop striped version and a short sleeve solid scoop version a few weeks ago.  I used assembly line sewing when I made those two tees and even though it seemed like it took longer to make them, I ended up with two new tees in one evening.  Something funky happened when I cut out this navy and red fabric, maybe I didn’t line it up correctly, but I can’t hem the sleeves and bottom hem with the stripes going evenly across the bottom.  Oh well, maybe I can just trim it a bit to make it look better.  I love stripes, but sometimes they give me a headache.

 

 

Toaster Sweater 1
 

So far, my sewing hacks are working; I’m actually behind with photographing some new projects I want to share.  Hopefully next weekend I can set up my camera and backdrop in the living room and get some projects photographed (fingers crossed it stays sunny!).

We went away to the White Mountains in NH for the holiday weekend and I wore my new favorite top, the Toaster Sweater #1.  I love it so much that I wore it twice last week!  I used a beautiful navy ponte from Metro Textiles that was so soft and wonderful to work with that I called Kashi and ordered more for a Morris Blazer.  I’m definitely having a navy moment, more and more navy is creeping into my wardrobe and I have a feeling it’s going to be my new core color for spring as I plan out my sewing queue.

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cascade coat
 

After a two years of sitting in my sewing queue, I can finally check the Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Studio off my list.  I knew this project was going to be a major time investment and the only way I could make it for this winter was to work on it during break between semesters – and boy was I right, I’m drowning in finance homework!  No way I could work on a project this size right now with grad school in session.

 

cascade coat
 

I’m obsessed with this coat – I’ve worn it non-stop in all kinds of weather since it came off of my machine.  If you haven’t read my earlier post, the shell of the coat is a delicious wool melton and the lining is a warm-back coat lining, both from Britex Fabrics.  I was skeptical at first that these two layers alone would make a coat warm enough for Boston weather, but I was pleasantly surprised with how toasty I felt wearing this coat in 20 degree weather.  Melton is a very thick, dense wool, and the warm-back satin lining has a nice flannel feel on the wrong side and a tight weave.  Both of these layers prevent cold air from cutting through the coat.  I wouldn’t want to add any other layers to this coat, like an interlining, because this coat is heavy enough as it is!  I’m also surprised at the amount of drape in this particular wool melton, I always imagined melton to be a stiff wool fabric.  You can see in some of the photos how fluid the fabric is based on how I’m standing or positioning my hands in the pockets.

 

cascade coat
 

 

Like all of Jen’s patterns, this came together in a snap.  The sewing itself isn’t hard at all, it’s just the amount of pattern pieces and layers of fabric you need to sew through that make this project a bit challenging.  Plus, if you make this out of a plaid, that’s a challenge on another level!  The only regret I had was not reading through all of the tutorial posts on the Grainline blog before cutting out the pattern; I missed the errata post about the length of the front band and had to fudge/guess the correct length and make the adjustment.  It worked out fine in the end.

 

cascade coat
 

It’s honestly dumb luck that I got the plaid on the zipper band to match – I cut the plaid contrast lining out haphazardly thinking that it wouldn’t matter at all if the plaid didn’t match in the hood!  Completely forgot about the zipper band, hah.

 

cascade coat
 

I love that the plaid peeks out from the hood in the back.  The hood is a nice size as well to keep the elements out of my face (and hair).  It would look super cute with a fur trim around the edge.  The construction of the hood is clever, too, with the facing, although I found that there’s too much lining fabric inside the hood for my liking.

 

cascade coat
 

The lining is where I got hung up on a big, silly mistake, of all places.  I goofed when I cut out the lining somehow and the lining extended 1.5″ too far past the coat facing once the facings were attached.  I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, and bagged the lining per the directions (which is a brilliant way of lining a coat/jacket/blazer, I need to do that in the future).  When I tried on the coat, everything fit beautifully except that you could see the gold lining hanging out around the bottom of the coat.  No big deal, I ripped out the stitching, carefully trimmed the lining, and sewed the bottom lining hem in place.

Umm…well, that would have worked, except that I trimmed the lining too short this time and ended up getting all sorts of weird pulling across the outside of the coat since there wasn’t enough ease in the lining length!  My fix for this problem, after futzing around for awhile (about three episodes of Poldark, actually), was to attach an extension piece of lining to the area where the lining was too short and with trial and error try to determine the appropriate amount to turn the lining up without getting weird pulling on the outside of the coat.  You can’t see it in the picture above, but there’s a pieced sliver of lining fabric across the bottom of the center back hem.  It’s not pretty, but it solved my problem and no one is really going to see it or know it’s there but me.

I also tried to add some plaid bias around the coat where the facing meets the lining for an extra little detail  – it’s barely visible, I didn’t calculate correctly where I needed to baste it vs where the seamline stitching would be.  Whoops.

 

cascade coat
 

I love everything about this coat – the flannel-lined patch pockets, the leather toggles, the bright blue wool, and the big, oversized hood.  I’d love to make this in the shorter version for spring out of a waxed canvas or some kind of rain coat fabric.  Well, maybe not this spring, I need some recovery time from this coat!

Pattern: Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Studio
Fabric: wool melton and warm-back lining, both from Britex Fabrics; plaid flannel from Mood
(psst! Looks like Britex is having a 20% off sale on wool until 2/6!)
Leather Toggles: Bias Bespoke
Sweater: Lane Raglan (blogged here)
Jeans: Paige Denim

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