talvikki 1
 

Two years ago, a sweater that fit like this would have been out of the question for me.  Baggy, oversized tops?  No way.  I was all about the snug-fitting, body-conscious tees, tops, and dresses.  Maybe it’s just me changing with the trends, maybe it’s because I realized tight-all-the-time isn’t that flattering (and it makes it challenging when you eat a big meal!), but I’m all about the loose and comfy these days, yet still looking chic.

 

talvikki 2
 

I’m in lurrrrv with this sweater – the pattern is the Talvikki Sweater from Named (my second garment from them this year, I made an unblogged Paola Turtleneck last week).  What drew me to this pattern is the funnel neckline, which is formed by darts across the front and back of the sweater.  Rachel’s vintage Vogue top from a few years ago with a funnel neck had me on the lookout for contemporary patterns with this design detail, and the new collection from Named has just that.

 

talvikki 5
 

It’s silly how quickly this went together – it’s four pieces total.  The darts around the neckline probably took the more time to sew than actually serging all of the seams.  There’s also a neckline facing that gives the funnel neck a little more oomph to stand up, it’s interfaced and tacked down at the shoulder seams and dart seams.  I used a fusible tricot interfacing for the facing, but it doesn’t have a whole lot of give and it’s challenging to take this sweater on and off over my head.

 

talvikki 3
 

The dropped shoulder sleeves add to the overall coziness and relaxed fit of the sweater.  Named styles this sweater on their site with the sleeves rolled up, but I actually like them as-is and a little bit long over my hands.  Also, the length in the back of the sweater is great for wearing leggings and not having your bum exposed, hooray!  (I’ve relaxed my stance on “leggings are not pants” over the years, but still…)

 

talvikki 4
 

The hi-lo split hem doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would (le trend, sigh) and I even debated shortening the back to be even with the front when I cut out my fabric.  I’m glad I left it as is, I think it really adds to the overall style of the garment.  The split goes up fairly high on the sides, so I’ll definitely wear this with a tank underneath for modesty and extra warmth.

This pattern is the perfect winter afternoon project!

 

Pattern: Talvikki Sweater by Named
Fabric: sweater knit from Metro Textiles
Legging Pants: Uniqlo
Hair Clip: J Crew

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Cascade duffle coat layout
 

What better time than Christmas vacation to cut out a major project like the Cascade Duffle Coat.  Last Christmas, I cut out my wedding dress, hah! This pattern has been on my “want to sew” list since it came out, but I never seemed to get around to making it in past winter seasons.  My friend Karissa’s coat is really what kicked me into gear to make this project, she made one out of plaid and it’s fantastic looking!

There’s a ton of pieces with this coat (hello, 40!), and I knew it would be a big time investment once I got started.  It took about two afternoons of cutting out all of the outer fabric, two types of lining fabrics, and interfacing.  Whew!

The fabric I’m using for the coat shell is a wool melton from Britex – I totally splurged on the materials for this project when they had their Cyber Monday sale in November (kind of made it my Christmas gift to myself, haha).  I’m also using a gold warm-back coat lining so I don’t need to add any additional bulk with an interlining layer to make the coat warm

 

Plaid zipper band
 

I opted for a contrast hood and zipper band lining fabric, and this plaid in my stash from Mood is a pretty close match to my shell fabric.  I didn’t think I’d need to match up any plaid at all when I cut out my fabric and I lucked out with how closely the plaid matches across the zipper band.  Eeeek!

Now, onto the trouble I had with the DIY toggles….

 

cascade toggles
 

Yuckyuckyuck!!!

I had a hard time sewing these…I don’t have a teflon foot for my machine and I wasn’t about to put tape on the bottom of my blind hem foot, so I used my walking foot to attach the toggles I made.  I’ll be honest – I don’t sew curves well, especially small curves, and I found it almost impossible to stitch close to the edge evenly on these tiny leather pieces with my walking foot.  The stitching should really be more like edge stitching and the above stitching is about a 1/4″ from the edge.  Ugh.  This coat was looking so nice and professional until I added on these crappy toggles.  Plus, I think the leather I used to make the toggle was too thin.

Not to worry, I found a solution:

 

cascade toggles
 

So much better!!

Etsy is seriously my favorite place to shop for sewing notions and supplies these days.  I bought these beautiful Italian leather toggles from Bias Bespoke and they are absolutely perfect – each point of the toggle has two pre-punched holes for easy sewing.  I’m embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to get all of them aligned evenly across the front because I already removed my tailor tacks and the toggles are longer than the pattern’s toggles…but I eventually got them just right after several attempts.  Hooray!  Those other toggles ruined the effect of the duffle coat.  After all, the toggles are really the defining element of a duffle coat.  Can’t have them looking like crap!

I’m planning on finishing the coat this weekend (maybe squeezing out another project as well, hooray for long weekends) since this is my last weekend of “freedom” before the spring semester of grad school starts next week.  It’s been a good month off from school, hopefully I can still find some time here and there to sew in the next few months.  I missed it so much!

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lonetree vest
 

This Lonetree Vest feels like the most RTW garment I’ve made so far in my sewing career.

When I made my wish-list of garments I wanted to sew for fall, I craved some type of utility jacket with pockets and a drawstring, but nothing existed.  It was almost as if Allie Olson read my mind and released her very first sewing pattern at just the right time.

 

lonetree vest
 

 

I didn’t set out to make a navy vest at first, I originally planned in making a black jacket.  However, I realized after cutting out the jacket from fabric I ordered that the quality of the fabric was absolute crap –  into the trashcan it went.  I then decided to switch gears and went on to make a navy twill jumper dress for Thanksgiving (to go with the striped shirt I’m wearing above), but I was sad to discover that I bought yardage for the tunic view of the sewing pattern, not the jumper view, and was short about a yard of what I needed!  I guess all of the above was a comedy of errors, and this navy twill was destined for a vest instead (and Abbey inspired me as well with her navy version!).

 

lonetree vest
 

Hat’s off to Allie, this lady has some serious pattern-drafting chops.  Everything came together so smoothly and the directions really walk you through the steps in a clearly illustrated way, the vest looks more complicated than it really is.  The most time-consuming part of making this vest were the pockets and the top-stitching – lots and lots of top-stitching!!  I ran out of thread, which delayed my finished of this vest until right before Christmas.  After attaching the pockets to the front, the rest of the vest went together fairly easily.  I wish in retrospect I top-stitched a little closer to the pocket edges instead of 1/4″ away from the edge to get a bit of a cleaner look.

 

lonetree vest
 

I also top-stitched the cording channel with two rows of stitching instead of just one row.  The fit is great, I like the snugger fit around the armholes and across the back.  If it wasn’t for the fit up top, the vest would end up looking a lot baggier and not as chic.

 

lonetree vest
 

I wanted so very much to use a Hong Kong finish on the inside seam allowances with bias tape.  Being the lazy sewist I am, I ordered some pre-made from Etsy, but sadly I underestimated how much I needed and couldn’t use it for all of my seams.  Here’s a shot of a side seam, the bias tape is from Bessie Pearl Textiles and made out of the Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Les Fleurs collection.

 

lonetree vest 6
 

It’s really the accents that make this look and feel RTW, so if you’re thinking about making the vest or jacket, I highly recommend seeking out some quality hardware.  Both the cord stops and cord ends are from Pacific Trimming, the buttons are from Joann Fabrics (shocker!  The button dept in my store is abysmal), and the zipper is from Zipper Stop on Etsy.

 

 

lonetree vest
 

This is my first time taking blog photos inside!  It was 20 degrees outside when I took these photos on Sunday, and I wasn’t about to brave the weather in just a shirt, vest, and leggings (my husband didn’t want to go outside either and play photographer).  I got this backdrop for Christmas from one my brother-in-laws, used the DIY PVC backdrop frame from our wedding, and set up my tripod and umbrella lights in the living room.  Presto!  I just need to smooth out the fabric a little more at the top next time and steam out some more of those stubborn wrinkles.

 

Pattern: Lonetree Vest by Allie Olson
Fabric: Theory cotton twill from Mood Fabrics
Hardware: Pacific Trimming, Zipper Stop, Joann Fabrics
Shirt: Simplicity 1325
Legging Pants: Uniqlo

This post is part of the Indiesew Blogger Network – pattern or fabric may have been provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own 

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polka dot coat
 

It only seems fitting that I post about a coat that I started, well, a year ago, on the first day of the new year! Last year, I had an idea to create a course on how to make coats and this was the coat pattern I was going to use as my example through the course.  I cut this pattern out in January, but by the beginning of February, I began panicking because I hadn’t started the sewing on my wedding dress.  So, I put aside the pattern pieces and the idea of making a course, and worked on my wedding dress up until May.  With my first semester of grad school winding down earlier in December, I needed something new to work on.  Well, I dug this out of my closet and got right to sewing everything – all of the pieces were cut out, interfaced, and interlined!

polka dot coat
 

I had a close call with this almost not fitting and turing into a disaster.  Like, it barely met in the center when I tried everything on with the lining installed!  I made a muslin previously and made some adjustments to the fit in the hips since McCall’s describes this coat as fitted and it was a little snug on me.  Heck, when you look at the model wearing this coat on the McCall’s website, it’s pretty tight on her!  Even when I tried on the wool shell of the coat, it fit.  I believe what caused the issue was that I didn’t think that the lambswool interlining I added was going to take away that much ease since it seemed so thin.  Plus, I used a double-face wool that was a bit thick.  After assembling everything, this is how my coat fit:

This coat barely fit!
 

Eeeek!!  To fix this, I ripped out all of the seams up to just below the armholes in the wool and lining and restitched all seams with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  This gave back about three inches around the circumference of the coat, which allowed me to properly close it.  Whew!  I also intentionally tried to fit this coat wearing something a little bulky like a sweatshirt since I always wear something like that in the wintertime, not a thin t shirt.  That ensured that the fit of the coat would accommodate at least some layers underneath.

I mentioned earlier that I interlined this with lambswool – it’s good stuff!  I bought it from Steinlauf and Stoller over the phone – all I did was call them up, tell them what I was looking for, and I received it in the mail from NYC in a few days.  They’re great to work with if you need to order tailoring supplies like hymo that aren’t readily available locally.  The lambswool interlining is attached to the all of the lining pieces except the sleeves, and let me tell you, it really makes this coat warm and doesn’t weigh anything.

polka dot coat
 

Because the coat is so fitted, I changed the type of pockets.  The in-seam pockets at the side seams did me no favors and bulged open at the hips.  Instead, I took a patch pocket pattern from McCall’s 6172 (a blazer I still need to make!) and spent quite a bit of time with my dress form trying to figure out a good placement on the front and making both sides symmetrical.  It’s a great patch pocket size for a coat, I can fit my iPhone 6 in them comfortably.  The pockets are lined with flannel to keep my hands nice and toasty.

polka dot coat
 

I used hymo interfacing (aka horsehair canvas) for all of the interfacing in the coat, it’s really my favorite for coat making since it shapes so nicely with steam.  Per the recommendation of my beloved tailoring book, I opted to add top stitching along the collar and the front edges of the coat instead of top stitching down the center front of the coat like the directions called for.  I also opted to hand sew all of the hems on the sleeves and bottom of the coat, it looks much nicer that way than by machine.

polka dot coat
 

Sadly, when ripping out all of the stitching in the lining to let it out, I got all sorts of pulls along the old seam allowances.  At least it’s a fun purple color!  The pattern has a pleat drafted into the lining pattern piece, but in my opinion, it’s not generous enough of a pleat to allow for movement of the lining and wearing ease.  If I made this again, I’d go back and redraft the center back piece with a better ease pleat.

 

polka dot coat
 

How I love big buttons!  The pattern calls for 1″ buttons, but the ones I bought seemed kinda weeny down the front of the coat, especially since there’s only supposed to be four total.  I found these 1.5″ buttons at Pacific Trimming earlier in December that were exactly what I was looking for for this coat.  However, my automatic buttonhole feature on my machine only goes up to roughly 1.25″ buttonholes, and I wasn’t about to try and manually make the buttonholes (I’m truly terrible at doing that, and the automatic buttonhole feature on my Bernina was a big selling point).  Plus, after doing some reading on buttonholes, the bigger the buttonhole, the more prone they are to stretching out and looking wavy.  The only solution seemed to be sewing on giant coat snaps to close the coat and sewing the buttons to the outside of the coat.

I mentioned earlier that this coat is more of a “coat-igan” than a coat because since it’s so tight, the snaps at the bottom pop open when I sit down in the car or bend over to pick something up, rendering this more of a super-warm cardigan.  I think if I made buttonholes, there would have been a lot more strain on the coat closure and seat, so at least the snaps allow the coat some ease even though it means my coat popping open at the bottom.

 

polka dot coat
 

Here’s a view of the back – it’s a little roomy in the back waist, but if you look at the photos on the McCall’s website, it looks like there’s some ease with the way the belt cinches in at the waist (I opted to not make a belt, obvs).  I can move ok through the back and shoulders of this coat, but if I was to make this again, I’d cut a larger size in the back to allow for better range of movement.

Now I’m working on – surprise – another coat!  I’m about 50% of the way through making up a blue wool melton Cascade Duffle Coat and I’m thrilled with how it’s turning out (I’m obsessed with coats, if you haven’t guessed.  It’s the one good thing about New England winters).  I also have some videos I made for my coat course last year that I’m thinking of releasing in chunks throughout the month – I want to get back into making videos for Youtube like I did last year for my wedding dress, they were a lot of fun!  Maybe doing some pattern reviews and actually wearing the garment so you can see how it moves etc.  Depends on how crazy I am next semester with school, I guess!

Pattern: McCall’s 7058
Fabric:
Marc Jacobs double-face wool from Mood Fabrics
Poly lining from Mood Fabrics
Lambswool interlining from Steinlauf and Stoller
Buttons: Pacific Trimming
Coat Snaps: Dritz
Sweatshirt: Linden from Grainline Studio (not blogged)
Jeans: Paige Denim
Boots: Nine West

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mimosa cape
 

Nothing beats a quicky instant-gratification project like a cape, especially while working on a lengthy project like a winter coat. I stumbled upon a new (to me) pattern company recently that I absolutely adore – I Am Patterns. They’re a french pattern company that designs classic garments with a modern twist, like the Sirius top and Aphrodite dress – both of which are in my ever-growing sewing queue.  Plus, after finishing up my first semester of grad school, I want to crank out as many garments as possible from my sewing machine over winter break!

mimosa cape
 

After drooling over Julie’s Mimosa Cape made out of a yummy YSL wool check, a lightbulb went off in my head that I had fabric in my stash perfect for this pattern – a double-faced wool knit from Metro Textiles with a soft jersey backing.  I’ve had this fabric for a few years and wasn’t sure what to make with it, a dress would be too formal for my current work.  But a houndstooth cape is perfect!

mimosa cape
 

I had juuuuuust enough fabric yardage to squeeze all of the pattern pieces onto, and I ended up cutting the back piece with a seam instead of cutting it as one piece on the fold.  Sewing the cape was super easy, it’s essentially two shoulder seams and a ginormous collar, which I lined with some checked flannel scraps from my stash.

mimosa cape
 

What makes this project a little more advanced are the welt pockets, which I must say are fun to tuck my hands into.  I liked the technique to make them, the welts are much more secure with how they’re constructed versus hand-sewing the welts down like I’ve done in past projects.  Hard to explain here, but I’m going to try to make my welts that way in the future.

mimosa cape
 

The edge of the cape isn’t supposed to be hemmed, which is fine if your fabric doesn’t ravel.  After wearing this for a day, I might end up adding some nice bias tape to the edges and turning it under, there was some slight fraying as I wore it.  Nothing major, but it would make for a nice detail on the inside.

mimosa cape
 

This cape is so fun and swishy to wear!  I’m glad I waited until I found the right pattern to use for this fabric, it’s a perfect match.  I think I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this during the cold winter months ahead.

 

Pattern: Mimosa by I Am Patterns, size 40
Fabric: double-faced wool knit from Metro Textiles
Jeans: Paige Denim
Boots: Nine West
Sunglasses: Tommy Hilfiger
Lipstick: Rouge Dior in Rialto

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