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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Butterick 6292
 

I mentioned in my last post how limited my sewing time is now that I’m going to grad school part-time.  To illustrate how slow I am: I started planning this jacket at the end of August, bought the fabric in September, started sewing in October, and didn’t finish until November.  Part of that is, like I mentioned, because of starting school, but the other part is that I needed to redraft the sleeves.  You see, this is a complete knock-off of the jacket featured on the cover of Thread’s November 2016 magazine!

 

The fabric I used is exactly what was stated in the article – a double-face cotton serge twill from Mood Fabrics.  I searched the site and ordered a swatch – it’s such a nice weight, perfect for a fall jacket, and has nice stretch and recovery.  It does wrinkle a bit as you wear it, especially in the sleeves, but that’s what happens when we wear cotton I guess!

Butterick 6292
The original sleeve of Butterick 6292 is a single seam set-in sleeve.  In the Thread’s article, they show you how to re-draft the sleeve into a two-piece sleeve in order to make a Detroit cuff, an adjustable cuff finish used on workwear such as Carhartt jackets.  It’s a pretty looking design element on this jacket that has a functional purpose – the cuff can be rolled up when it’s nice out, or buttoned closed when its breezy outside.  Hard to see in the photo below, but there’s two buttons on the cuff that can adjust how tight to close the cuff.

Butterick 6292
 

The pattern itself was pretty straightforward, but redrafting the sleeve and adding the cuff made the pattern a little more challenging.  My stitching isn’t perfect and I ended up getting a small tuck when I attached the cuff, maybe I was off with some of my drafting.  And oh boy, the top stitching on this!  Definitely something I need to work on and take my time doing.

I also had a bit of  hard time with the button placement.  When I tissue-fit the jacket, I thought it was going to fit just right (my standard grading out of a size 10 to a size 12 from waist to hips).  Once I sewed it together, I realized it was too big and needed to take it in.  Then, when I marked the button hole placement, the fit was still off.  So, I improvised with the button placement and made it work with how I wanted the jacket to fit overall.  I also wasn’t that crazy about the buttons I used, they’re pretty boring and not as fun and fancy as the buttons on the original jacket.  The selection at my local Joann Fabrics is so limiting!  Maybe I’ll order some buttons online from Pacific Trimming and swap them out for these boring black ones.

Butterick 6292
 

I used a new-to-me interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply – I read so many good things about their interfacing from other sewing bloggers, and since I couldn’t find any more of my Touch of Gold interfacing that I love, I ordered some medium weight fusible.  I didn’t completely read the instructions though, and the bond of the interfacing to the jacket isn’t 100% as you can kind of see in the photos above.  Oh well!  Definitely a user-error, I used it correctly for another upcoming project and it looks much better.

Butterick 6292
 

Jackets and coats are so much more fun when there’s a surprise “pop” with the inside lining!  I just love this floral poly fabric from Mood.

Would I make this pattern again?  Maybe in a wool tweed, but I have so many other jacket and coat patterns on the brain I want to sew.  This project was an example of how you can take an easy pattern and make it more challenging by customizing different design elements.  My red jacket is now tucked away in the closet until next year because winter is here and there’s snow on the ground!

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Toaster #2 Sweater
 

Pattern: Toaster Sweater #2 by Sew House Seven
Fabric: french terry knit from Indiesew (sorry, sold out)

So yeah…this whole “slow sewing” movement is my jam because that’s all I seem to do these days when it comes to sewing.  Sewing time is now few and far between – I started grad school this fall and work kicked into high gear two months ago.  I thought after the wedding I’d have the time to get back into the swing of things with sewing, but I guess not!

(Oh, and I got a hair cut and chopped off 6″ since my last post – I swear my hair is not that poofy IRL)

Since my time is so limited now, I need to really focus on garments that I will absolutely enjoy making (and wearing) or will challenge my sewing skills – no more time to waste on garments that I don’t have 100% of my heart into.

Toaster Sweater #2 was a perfect jump-start to get back into garment sewing this fall.

Toaster #2 Sweater
 

When all was said and done, I made this sweater in an afternoon.  I have a weakness for funnel necks/turtlenecks and jumped on this pattern as soon as I saw it as part of the Indiesew Fall Collection (now I need to check out Toaster Sweater #1!).  The fabric is such a soft, yummy french terry and I just want to wrap myself up in a giant french terry burrito with this fabric.  If you’re thinking about making this pattern, make sure to pick a fabric that has some body to it for the neck to sit correctly, anything jersey-like will result in a flimsy neck and the neck facing may flop open.

I loved the construction of the funnel neck – it’s a brilliant way of drafting the facing into the neckline and constructing the curved shoulder seam in the beginning of making the sweater.  Hard to explain, but pretty cool when you make it.

 

Toaster #2 Sweater
 

I’m gravitating towards loose-fitting tops and dresses these days and I love the a-line fit of this sweater – see how roomy it is?  The only thing I would change next time is to lengthen the top – I love the split hem and the hi/lo design, but I feel like it’s a smidge too short in the front for my liking.  I’m also wearing a tank top underneath because the splits go pretty high on the side and I would be flashing some skin without an underlayer.

Toaster #2 Sweater
 

The mitered corner instructions were great, too, and made it easy to hem everything in place with professional-looking results.  I used my twin needle for both the sleeve hems and bottom hem, pivoting around the slit opening.

Did you know there’s a Toaster Sweater #1 as well?  I’m itching to try my hand at that one since I love #2 so much – I wore it twice already in the last week!

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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New sewing machine cover
 

Today is my last day of a week-long vacation, the majority of which I was in PA staying with my parents, and I decided to make a quicky sewing project that was long overdue: a cover for my Bernina 550.  Considering that I just got it cleaned and serviced last week, I want to keep my little beauty as lint-free as possible.  And what fabric could be more perfect for a sewing machine cover than Alexander Henry’s “Home Sewing is Easy!”

There’s something to be said about simple sewing projects – it’s not that they’re mindless, but there isn’t as much thinking involved can be a kind of mediative way to pass a few hours.  Other than taking the measurements of the dimension of my machine, I cut out the pieces fairly quickly with my rotary cutter, did some simple quilting following the lines of the print, and assembled my cover with lining in an afternoon.

Maybe it’s because I’m still recovering from sewing my wedding dress this year (final dress post to come soon, we just got the photos back!), but I’ve been in a bit of a sewing + blogging rut lately.  There’s three projects I made since the wedding in June that I have yet to blog, but shared some project detail images on Instagram.  I dunno…I just don’t feel the motivation to get all dressed and dolled up, find a place to take photos, set up my tripod etc.  Plus, it’s been so awful hot here…I’m sure this sentiment will pass, I’m just being whiny.  But rest assured, there’s some garment sewing going on over here.  Just not at a fast and furious rate, I’ll probably switch over to early-fall sewing in August once I make a swimsuit and/or coverup for our Ogunquit beach vacation coming up.

 

Thread card
Something that’s sparking my creativity right now is quilting.  After going to some fabric stores, the Hershey Quilt Show, and a quilt exhibit last week in PA, I think I’m at the point now that I really want to sit down and give it a try.  The last time I was interested in quilting was back in 2009 (here’s a really old blog post with no images!) and I remember how fun it was to turn cotton prints into geometric shapes.  Oh yeah, I also attempted to make a quilt two years ago but got discouraged when my blocks were all wonky and my pieces weren’t as accurately cut as they needed to be.  I started a Pinterest board this week to gather ideas on the type of quilt I want to make, something small and simple that can be used on the couch as a throw blanket.  I’m also planning on making some placemats this week out of a charm pack I found at a quilt shop last week – that will be some good practice before I try to start a real quilt.

How’s your summer sewing going?

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