Tag Archives: Fabric Mart

McCalls 6927 Woven T

I knew it was going to be hot in Washington DC in June, and I knew I needed cool, comfortable clothing. and I wanted something dressier than the average t-shirt.Fabric Mart had some beautiful silk/cotton voiles on sale, and I already made up one piece into a peasant style top with lace accents. I used the second piece to make this woven T-shirt.

I made mine with a longer, flounced sleeve. The fabric is very light and airy, so it doesn’t get clammy, and the longer sleeve protects from the sun. Between the longer tunic length, the type of fabric, the print, and the long sleeves the end result looks more like a tunic than a t-shirt, but that’s Ok.

The pattern is easy, a front, a back, a sleeve, a neckband. I borrowed the semi circular sleeve flounce from a different pattern. It was easy to cut out and assemble, I used my serger. I finished the hem and sleeve flounce with a three thread rolled hem.

I also used a three thread rolled hem to attach the sleeve flounce to the sleeve and the neckband to the neck opening, so that the hem sits on the outside of the garment and resembles thin, thread-like seam piping.

Pattern Description: 
Simple darted woven T (or shell), in two lengths,

Three Thread Rolled Hem used as a seam

sleeveless or with long or short sleeves

Pattern Sizing:
I use RR (womens size).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes except for the sleeve flounce I added

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear and accurate

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it is a simple pattern that I can tweak to my taste and then use as a base for other designs, or surface designs (like dye, paint or embroidery).

Fabric Used:
Silk/Cotton Voile from Fabric Mart

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added semi circular flounces to the sleeves. I used a three thread rolled hem to finish the hem and sleeve flounces, and to attach the sleeve flounces to the sleeves and the neckband to the neck

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and Yes

 

 

 

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New Look 6472 Puffy Boho Blouse

Fluffy Peasant Blouse

When an unfortunately placed cup of coffee met my envelope of basic pattern pieces that were tweaked to fit me, I was discouraged. I had to start over again! Well, any excuse to buy more patterns, right? So one of the first patterns I saw was New Look 6472, a puffy peasant blouse. I loved the top in the photo on the front of the pattern! But, elastic at my waist is not a good look for me, so I won’t be making that view, even though it is the reason I chose this pattern. I made View A with the rivet and lace front opening from View B.

I like New Look styles, but I’m at the very top of the size range and still need to make FBA/FWA. On this puffy pattern, FWA is not an issue, and a FBA is easy.

I used a wonderfully light silk/cotton voile in an old fashioned floral print from Fabric  Mart. I’m planning a vacation to a warmer place this summer, and I need some light, airy blouses. The long sleeves will keep the sun off my arms, the puffy style and light fabric will keep things cool.

Reapplying the front facing

I added a navy blue lace ruffle at the neck and at the seam line in the sleeve, just for fun. But, I found myself trying to figure out what to do with the raw edges of lace at the front. Finally, I removed the facing from the slit, tacked the raw lace edges down to the raw edge of the slit, then reapplied the front facing over the lace. Well, truthfully, the previous facing didn’t come off nicely, so I just replaced with a brand new pieces. I f I had thought it all the way through in the first place, I would not have had to remove and reapply the facing.

Gathering with dental floss

Gathering long sections of fabric and distributing the fullness evenly can be tricky with the “Two rows of basting stitches, pull up the bobbin thread” method. So I used the “Zig zag stitch over dental floss” method of gathering the sleeves and neck. The only tricky part is making certain the zig zag stitches don’t catch the dental floss. The floss slides smoothly under the zig zags, so it’s easy to get the fullness even, and the dental floss won’t accidentally break under the strain of gathering

My original plan was to make tiny round buttonholes for the lacing at the front. The test hole worked beautifully. But the first attempt on the top came out in a weird shape. So I resorted to rivets as the pattern suggests.

Pattern Description: Misses Boho Peasant blouses with raglan sleeves and sleeve variations

All the pieces, pattern, lace and fabric

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I added lace trim and used the sleeves from one view and the bodice from another

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. This top was very easy to make, and the instructions were clear, correct and concise.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I both like and dislike the narrow neck and wristbands. This is the only part I found “fussy” on this pattern. They required some hand sewing, and I’m not really fond of hand sewing. OTOH, the result is much sleeker and more professional than a drawstring (or elastic) casing, which is how I used to make the necklines for Renn Faire shirts and chemises. So while I dislike hand sewing, I do like the final result

Fabric Used: Silk/cotton voile from Fabric Mart. I chose cotton voile from the drop down list of fabrics, because silk/cotton voile (and just plain silk voile) were not options.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Added lace trim and did a FBA. Normally I’d need to do a FWA on a New Look pattern, but this puffy style easily fits my thick waist

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With a little bit more tweaking, this might become the basis for my next basic raglan sleeve peasant top block.

 

 

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Comfy Knit Dress Lekala 4386

Me at the Theater

I love this dress! It’s chic and comfortable. It was also an easy make.

I used a piece of digital print poly-spandex activewear knit from Ebay. The fabric is gorgeous, but I felt it was just a little bit thin and a little limp. I decided to beef it up with an underlining. But, what to use for the underlining? I dove into my stash. Only one of the swimsuit linings in my fabric resource facility (aka stash), a dark deep green, would work at all. Unfortunately, the deep green swimsuit lining was also thin and limp. Another option  was a black t-shirt knit, but I really wanted to use that fabric for something else. Option 3 was a rayon jersey in a soft apricot/flesh tone, but, it cost more than the floral fabric! Then I stumbled across the most unlikely choice of all, a vivid neon pink poly-lycra activewear knit from Fabric Mart. I bought the fabric thinking “Neon pink is cool”! When the fabric arrived, it was, well, REALLY neon pink!! Just a little bit too neon pink, except perhaps as an accent fabric, and I had plenty. So, the inside of my knit dress is neon pink!

On Dolly the Dummy

The pattern was easy, and I made no design changes or major fitting alterations (except I think the pattern may include a back zipper, which I did not use). Like all Lekala patterns, it’s sized to fit. Because it’s made with activewear fabric, it’s super soft and super comfortable. Almost like wearing pjs!!

Laying out the pattern

Usually I try to use as little fabric as necessary. I love leftovers! But, I didn’t plan to get more than one item out of this particular piece of floral print, and the print is kind of large and dynamic, so instead of trying to conserve every scrap, I focused on placing the pattern pieces on the fabric so that key elements of the floral design landed in appropriate places on the dress. Both sleeves have a larger floral motif at the top of the arm, a large motif falls on the right chest/shoulder, and another falls directly under the little faux belt that covers the gathers in front.

Because I was using two layers of fabric, I basted (technically pre-stitched, because i did not remove the stitches) both layers together, then sewed the seams with my serger.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with bodice gathers and a straight, slit skirt

Pattern Sizing: Like all Lekala patterns, it’s printed to your size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Neon Pink Interior, as seen through the slit in the skirt

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Lekala instructions are really just a set of assembly steps, but the steps were easy to understand and in a clear, logical order

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the design, and that it was easy to make.

Fabric Used: Digital print poly/spandex interlined with poly/lycra activewear

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None (except omitting the back zipper because the fabric is so stretchy it isn’t necessary)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I DO recommend it to others! If you are curious about Lekala patterns, this is an easy one to start with. Would I make it again? Maybe, in a solid color. The design is unique.

 

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Vogue 9206 Tropical Asymetric

Blouse Front

I fell in love with Vogue 9206 instantly. I love the soft gathers, raglan sl

Pinning the neckband in place. It’s difficult to work with slippery fabric

The almost part is that chiffon is super sheer, too sheer for me tor a blouse. So it needed a black lining. The only question was which lining should I use? An inexpensive satin polyester, to match the polyester chiffon? Or should I indulge in black silk habotai from my dancewear stash? I thought two layers of polyester might be a little bit too warm to be comfortable. And, the chiffon was really nice chiffon. So I splurged and lined it with silk. It feels awesome! I also used silk to make the neck band, cuffs, and front facings.

I hate sewing polyester chiffon. It’s slippery, uncooperative stuff. In an effort to tame the unruly fabric, I machine basted the chiffon pieces to their silk companions before trying to use them. It helped a lot, but the chiffon was still grumpy.

I sewed the silk and chiffon layers together at the sleeve seams. I sewed the silk and chiffon layer separately at the side seams. The hem is a simple serger rolled hem with black metallic thread.

I love my finished top! I will make this pattern again, when the right fabric comes along. Next time I will make the armholes a little higher, to give a little bit more mobility.

Pattern Description: Button front blouse with long raglan sleeves, neck band, gentle gathers, and asymmetrical front opening.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes,

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting asymmetrical front and soft gathers

Fabric Used: Polyester chiffon from Fabric Mart lined with black silk habotai from Dharma Trading Co and glass buttons from Ebay

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Only the lining because the chiffon is so sheer

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I  recommend it. Yes, I think I will make it again, perhaps in a solid color.

 

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Vogue 8995 Dress (goes with jacket Hacked Vogue 8804 )

This year one of our season tickets to the musical theater includes a performance on Valentines Day. We didn’t even think about trying to eat out on such a busy date night. Instead, we had carry out Chinese before the show.

pink boucle

PINK is the color of Valentines Day, along with red of course. I want a pink dress for Valentines Day!

I fell in love with this awesome pink boucle the instant I saw it. Originally I planned to make a jacket/skirt suit. But, I don’t wear that sort of thing much anymore. I decided to go for a dress. I wanted to color block with something in a solid contrasting color to emphasize the rich woven texture and rainbow of colors on the boucle. I think I pulled every piece of fabric from my stash to find one that would work! It was a tough decision. I finally settled on a blue cotton/spandex knit, leftovers from a tie front pullover. I was a little worried that the knit might be too thin and soft for the boucle.but the high spandex content gives the knit great recovery.

I played around with different color blocking schemes. I wanted the sleeves to be knit for comfort, and to use the blue knit as a neckband. From that point, it was a matter of choosing which pieces looked best in which colors.

One of the things I love about boucle is the softness. But, that can also be a problem, if the boucle decides to sag or bag in an unfortunate place like the behind. To help the boucle keep it’s shape I interlined the boucle sections with plain polyester lining from the stash.

Because boucle is horribly ravelly, I first laid all the pieces out, and traced them with pins and chalk onto the fabric. When I was sure I had more than enough fabric, I laid the pieces out on a single layer (called a flat lay) to make sure the grain stayed straight on each piece. Immediately after cutting each piece of boucle, I finished the raw edges on my serger. I ended up re-serging several of these edges, but my fabric didn’t ravel.

I thought I had taken more construction photos of the dress, but I can’t find them in my phone.

The front section went together quickly without incident. I screwed up the back. I mismeasured, and finished the edges of the back slit so high up it was almost at my butt! NO WAY could I leave the skirt open that high up!! I didn’t know what to do. Picking apart the rolled finished edges would be time consuming and messy. I thought about zigzag stitching the upper portion of the slit together, but I was afraid that would look exactly like the band-aid solution that it was. The boucle was a little thick and bulky to make a nice kick pleat. The lining fabric would make a nice pleat, but, it might look like underwear or something that wasn’t supposed to show – and whatever I used to fill up that crazy high slit was going to show

Pink Dress Front

Then, my eyes fell on the very last scraps of the blue knit fabric. These scraps were almost perfect triangles. I realized if they were tall enough, and I sewed them together, I could make a circular sort of kick pleat. Because it matched the sleeves, neckband and yoke, it would look like it was supposed to be seen. I took a deep breath and grabbed the measure tape. Luck was with me! The triangles were plenty big. I simply cleaned up the shapes a bit, sewed them together to make a wedge shape, and sewed the wedge shape into the giant back slit.

Pink Dress Back

The boucle sections of the skirt have a fairly deep double folded hem. I knew this would be too bulky for the soft, flowy knit in the kick pleat. So I hemmed the boucle sections first. Then, I folded the knit up to the proper hem depth, and topstitched with a slightly stretchy stitch. Finally, I finished the edge off with the serger fairly close to the stitching

 

Pattern Description: Sheath dress with princess seams, interesting shoulder yokes and side and skirt insets.

Pattern Sizing: Misses – exactly like usual Vogue sizing

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, Except – I used a different color block pattern. And an error resulted in a skirt that’s much less pegged.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the interesting seaming. Lots of potential here for color/texture blocking, decorative seam treatments, etc.

Fabric Used: Polyester boucle from Fabric Mart, with a cotton/spandex knit for color blocking

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Because my accent fabric is a stretchy knit, I omitted the zipper. The knit portions stretch enough to go over my head and shoulders.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. The seam lines offer all kinds of opportunities for fun embellishment, and contrasting colors/textures, etc.

It takes a little time to put all the pieces together, but the process itself is easy. This pattern is labeled Very Easy, and I think it is.

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McCall’s 6992 – Hacked Again!

I love to take a basic, well-fitted pattern and play with it. Changing just a few simple details can make a big difference.

This time, I made a cross front bubble hem version of McCall’s 6992. The pattern is a simple raglan sleeve pullover, with long cuffed sleeves. I started with the basic pattern, back, front and sleeve. I chose a black and white sweater knit from Fabric Mart, and scraps of black jersey from the stash for the binding and cuffs.

I used the serger for most of the construction steps, including sewing the cuffs, sewing the construction seams, and attaching the cuffs.

I cut the neckline ridiculously high and small, because I planned to cut it down to the correct size later. I cut two front pieces. I placed them so that one piece was right side up, then I placed the other piece on top of it, also right side up, lining up all the cut edges. Then, I sewed across the bottom hem. I flipped the lower piece around, so it became the top piece. Both pieces were right side up. The seam allowance of the hem seam was hidden inside the bubbly- poof at the bottom of the front.

I sewed the raglan sleeves to the back piece. Then on the right side of the top, I sewed both front pieces to the raglan sleeve. I sewed both front pieces to the back at the side seam, and sewed the under arm seam. On the left side, I sewed only the lower front piece to the raglan sleeve, and the under arm seam. I pinned both front pieces to the back piece along the seam, but did not sew it.

I popped the top on, marked where I wanted the neckline to be, took the top off, and cut the neckline. I put the top back on, and using straight pins, marked along the line I wanted to follow when cutting the upper layer of the top away.

I took off the top and laid it flat on my cutting mat. I unpinned the left side, and smoothed out the layers. I took a deep breath, picked up my scissors, and cut away the top layer, more or less following the line of straight pins.

I cut strips from the black jersey and used it to band the neck and cutaway front, and to make cuffs.

End result – the cutaway front adds interest to this simple pullover sweater. It was an easy pattern hack.

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Cute Lekala Pullover with Ruching and Decorative Buttons

I absolutely LOVE the color of this cotton/wool/spandex knit. I HAD to make something from it as soon as I pulled it out of the FabricMart box!

Pullover in cotton-wool-spandex knit with ruching and decorative buttons

Pullover in cotton-wool-spandex knit with ruching and decorative buttons

I wanted something long sleeve and not too plain. I picked this draped front top with a row of decorative buttons along the left side. The front is actually two layers, a gathered layer over a flat layer.

The fabric was easy to work with, and a refreshing change of pace after my last few makes. The pattern has four main pieces; back, under front, over front, sleeve. It also includes a narrow band at the hem, which I eliminated. I sort of wish I had used the band, to make the hem easier and maybe neater, too.

I was so excited I forgot to take wip photos. I used a serger for construction seams. This pattern has a lot of topstitching. All three bodice pieces are finished with topstitching, as is the left side of the over front.

The pattern calls for 10 buttons, but does not indicate size. I chose 1″ black wooden buttons. There are no buttonholes. The buttons are sewn to both layers, and hold the ruching in place.

In the photo I’m wearing an ivory t-shirt under the top. I was at a dance hafla, and the t is part of my dance costume. So I just wore the t under the top.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the end result. Loved the color, but I was worried that the fabric might have been a little too stiff or thick for the ruching. When I was finished, I decided I like it.

Both front pieces are hemmed together. This is the only spot where I had a little bit of trouble, the top layer didn’t want to sit smoothly in the hem. I think that’s why the pattern includes the hem band, to help control the upper layer.

I think this would be a fun top in a soft, thin sweater knit with a hood. When (if) I make it again, I’ll use the band at the hem.

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Sewing a Sweater : FabricMart 2016 Sew Along

Well, I was not picked to participate in this years Fabricista contest sponsored by Fabric Mart. But, I can still sew along!

Sweater knit and pattern

Sweater knit and pattern

The challenge was to make a sweater knit garment. The participants were given three yards of abstract print sweater knit. The rest of us in the sew-along were on our own!

I dug through my stash and found several possibilities. One was a red-pink leftover, I thought about combining it with black denim (the rules don’t specifically exclude other fabrics, and I’m just sewing along so I can bend and even break rules).  I still may do this, maybe in a jeans style jacket.

In the end, I chose a black and heathered teal stripe polyester sweater knit from Fabric Mart. The contestants got three yards, but I had only two.

Sewing Tip: Not all knits are the same! Most patterns made for knits have a stretch chart printed on the pattern envelope. The pattern is sized for knits with that amount of stretch. If your knit is not as stretchy, the finished garment may be hard to get on or off, or maybe not fit at all. You can use knits that stretch more, but not less, than the amount the pattern needs.

I like the collar from McCall’s 6796 . I extended the bodice to tunic length. I also lengthened the sleeves. Some designers are showing very long, ruched sleeves on sweaters this fall, so that’s what I did with my sleeves.

Then I was left with one final, difficult choice. Which buttons to use? I found several possibilities in my button box, and settled on some plastic copper-ish colored  shank buttons featuring a smooth dome wrapped with a rope.

Extended sleeves, one ruched, the other not yet

Extended sleeves, one ruched, the other not yet

Sewing Tip: Gravity Rules. Knits are stretchy! Soft, stretchy, drippy knits can slide out of shape when you’re pinning the pattern on them. When cutting knits on a table, it’s important to keep ALL the fabric on the table. If the knit is allowed to drape off the edge, it will begin to stretch, pulling and distorting the rest of the fabric under the pattern pieces. The end result is badly cut, possibly misshapen and maybe unusable pieces. Keep all the fabric on the same level to prevent distortion.

I vacuumed the hallway carpet before moving my cutting mat and fabric onto the floor. I used the floor because all the fabric is on the same level. It can’t fall off a table or drape over an edge. Kay-see Cat (aka the Cheshire Cat) loves to lay on fabric and roll on the cutting mat – when everything is on the table. When the cutting mat is on the hallway floor, Kay-see won’t step on it, she tiptoes along the edge against the wall to get past it! Silly cat it’s the same mat!

The pattern is simple, a front and back both cut on folds, a sleeve and a collar. There are no darts. It was easy to cut the single layer collar. It was a little trickier to make sure the stripe ran smoothly all the way across the folded fabric, I used pins to identify which stripe was which.

Buttons, buttons

Buttons, buttons

The main construction steps went fairly quickly. I stay stitched along the front and back neck edges. I sewed the shoulder and side seams directly on the serger. I sewed a strip of narrow satin ribbon into the shoulder seam to stabilize it and keep it from stretching. I sewed the sleeve seams on the serger. I sewed quite slowly, making sure the stripes matched along the side and sleeve seams.

Sewing Tip: Don’t pull on it! Knits sometimes move unevenly under the presser foot. The feed dogs pull the lower layer back away from you while the presser foot pushed the top layer towards you. The top layer creeps down the seam while the bottom layer creeps up. If you’re sewing something like stripes, the stripes won’t line up.  It’s really tempting, especially on a serger, to try to fix this by stretching both layers until they appear even. They might be even, but they will also be distorted. A seam that’s stretched as it’s sewn on a serger will ripple. Use a stabilizer or tissue under the seam or over the seam or both. On a regular machine,  try a special walking foot. Some machines allow you to control the presser foot pressure, if yours does, you can try easing the pressure a bit. On a serger, you might need to adjust the differential feed (see your sergers instruction manual or a serger reference book).

Finished Sweater

Finished Sweater

For the collar, I folded it right sides together, serged the short ends, turned it right side out, and basted the long, raw edges together with a long machine basting stitch.

I’m not sure I love the way the instructions tell you to install the collar, and I’m not sure I love the way I installed the collar, and I’m not sure if the method I used is the method the pattern is describing.  I serged the long raw edge of the collar to the neck edge, on the right side of the bodice. Then I folded the serged hem allowance down against the inside of the bodice. I moved the collar up and out of the way, and topstitched the seam allowance down against the bodice. The stitches blend in with the serged allowance on the inside, and are hidden under the collar on the right side.

The sleeve has a high cap so I used a line of ease stitching to fit it into the armhole. I stitched this seam on the regular machine first, then finished it on my serger.

I love my new sweater! I finished it when the weather was still warm (unusually warm for Ohio). I finally got to wear it in mid-November!

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I won! I won! Sewing a Trench Coat – Fabric Mart 2016 Sew Along

When I saw Round Two of the Fabric Mart Fabricista 2016 was a trench coat, I was not enthusiastic. A trench coat, any coat actually, is a lot of work. I didn’t really need or want another trench coat. And, I had a busy weekend planned.

Front of the Trench coat

Front of the Trench coat

Research was the first step. Trench coats started off as practical, utilitarian clothing, not as a fashion statement. The contest rules included a link to the Wikipedia entry for Trench Coats, but I found the Gentleman’s Gazette guide to Trench coats much more informative and entertaining https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/trench-coat-guide/   Many features of a traditional trench coat serve (or served) a purpose. The rifle flap kept a soldiers gun dry, the back flap provided rain protection for his back pack. The D-rings held canteens (or according to some sources, hand grenades). The deep collar could be turned up against the weather. Pockets covered with a flap provided water proof storage. IWrist straps pulled the sleeve hem close to the wrist, to keep rain from dripping in when a soldier raised his arms (this was before the invention of the ribbed cuff). Epaulets held rank insignia.

My pattern stash offered nothing suitable for a trench. So I turned to my favorite pattern download site, Lekala, where I found a classic trench coat pattern # 5488, called Double Breasted Raincoat.

Who says downloaded patterns are instant satisfaction?? My printer seldom has a decent cartridge. I like to send my stuff to the local FedEx-Kinkos to print. They usually have it done the same day, and they are open 24-7. But, I still have to drive over and pick it up.  Then the pages must be taped together, and, finally, the pattern pieces must be cut out. That’s not my definition of instant!

On the plus side, Lekala patterns are customized to your measurements. When you’re in between or crossover sizes the way I do, this eliminates a lot of time consuming tweaking for fit.

As my downloaded pattern file went off to Fed-Ex Kinkos, I dug down into my fabric stash. I had some nice water resistant and repellent pieces, in burgundy, emerald green, and navy blue. The emerald is a sort of double-cloth, with a black lining. I also had some pieces of canvas, including a water-resistant Greek key design in an olive green and gold. But, the solid colors weren’t exciting and the Greek key canvas was too busy.

The bolt for the fabric

The bolt for the fabric

Then, I stumbled across an old bolt of fabric. The label said only “Assorted Wovens”, with price tag of $1.99 per yard.

The fabric itself is a wonderful ivy print. It looks a lot like a Dorothy Draper print I saw in the Trellis Room when I visited the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia earlier this summer. I knew it would make an exciting and different trench coat. And, when I spilled a little white wine on it, I learned it’s actually quite water resistant. Or at least, white wine resistant.

My limited stash of polyester lining fabric had nothing suitable. I found an army green challis-like rayon that might have worked, but it had the price sticker still attached, and I didn’t want to use $5 yd fabric to line  $1.99 yd  fabric.  I kept searching. I was very close to giving up and using the rayon when I popped open a bin of old sheets. And there, right on top, was a sheet in the perfect color, in perfect condition.

I trekked to Fed-Ex, picked up my pattern and some tape, came home, and made dinner. Afterwards, while watching TV with hubby, I taped the pages together and cut my pattern out.

Back of the coat. The flap matches so well it disappears into the back

Back of the coat. The flap matches so well it disappears into the back

Most Lekala pattern instructions are little more than a brief outline of assembly steps. This coat had almost a full page of instructions, 17 steps. Some steps were quite verbose, yet cryptic. I’m still not sure what the relieve edge is. Throwing caution to the wind, I  set the instructions on the china cabinet and tackled the project my own way.

First, I laid out the pattern pieces matching the bold print as best I could. This time consuming process gobbled up fabric. The back of the coat is three pieces, center, left side, right side, princess seamed. Starting with the center back, I matched the pattern along the princess seams. Then I matched the back flap to the back. The front is also princess seamed, with four pieces. Two center pieces that overlap to make the double breast, a right side and a left side. Ideally, I wanted both center fronts to be exactly the same with the sides matching at the princess seams. But, I didn’t have enough fabric. So the right side front matched one center front piece, the left matched the other. But the center front pieces do not match each other.

The patch pockets match the fabric under them, the pocket flaps are made from the contrasting lining fabric.  The sleeves are two pieces. I wanted to make them so the pattern is mirror image, but it was impossible. The print has a distinct up and down and a clear left and right side. So the pattern runs front to back on one sleeve, and back to front on the other.

Then I cut lining, belt and contrast pieces from the cotton sheet. I omitted the interfacing in the coat itself because the fabric is really stiff on it’s own. The belt is interfaced, because the sheeting was way too soft without it.

Back of the Trench

Back of the Trench

I sewed the back pieces together, the right front to the right center, the left front to the left center, then the shoulder seams. I did the same with the lining. I applied the pockets to the front, then the contrasting pocket flap. I stitched the upper and under back flap together, trimmed the corners, turned it right side out and top stitched it. I basted it into place along the neck.

I made the collar using the print fabric for the under collar and the contrasting lining for the upper collar. I basted the collar to the neckline, over the back flap.

Then, I sewed the lining into the coat, sandwiching the raw edges of the flap and collar between the coat and lining at the neck. I top stitched around the front edge.  Next I added buttons and buttonholes. Usually a double breasted coat has two vertical rows of buttons. One is functional, the other is decorative and provides visual balance. I used only one vertical row of functional buttons.

I assembled the sleeve and sleeve lining pieces. I turned the sleeve right side out, and the sleeve lining inside out. I slipped the lining over the sleeve and trimmed the lining to be a bit shorter than the final sleeve length. Then I slid the lining down the sleeve, so the hem raw edges lined up. I sewed the raw edges together. I slipped the lining off the sleeve, and stuffed it back inside the sleeve. I pulled it up on the inside so the raw edges at the top of the sleeve and sleeve lining lined up. This pulled the lower edge of the sleeve, which was longer than the lining, to the inside of the sleeve, making a hem. I pressed the hem in place, and inserted the sleeve into the coat.

 

D-ring on Pocket Flap

D-ring on Pocket Flap

I had loads of o-rings and split o-rings and even a few square rings in my stash but no D rings. So I went to the hardware store to find some D-rings. As I was picking through the bins, a helpful store associate asked what I was using them for. When I told him they were for a trench coat, he said a lot of artists had been in that week buying hardware bits, and asked if a big art show was coming up. He seemed a little disappointed when I told him it was for an on-line sewing competition.

D-ring as belt loop

D-ring as belt loop

I added the D-rings to the pocket flaps, the collar and the back flap. I also used D-rings for belt loops.

I finished the raw hem edge of the coat and lining on my serger, turned them up and top stitched the hem.

Two features that appear on traditional trench coats that I did not add were epaulets and cuff straps. The slightly strange collar would hide epaulets anyway. I originally planned to add cuff straps in the contrast lining, but I simply ran out of time and energy.

The final step was photos for Facebook. I uploaded my photos just hours before the deadline.

And I won! A rotary cutting tool and two patterns. Yay me!

 

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Silk Shorts – Sewing Pattern Review Sewing Bee 2016

I wasn’t planning to enter the Sewing Pattern Review 2016 Sewing Bee. Until I saw the first contest was woven shorts. Shorts made from woven silk suiting have been sitting on my “to-make” list for most of this summer. I wanted something a little dressier than the knit shorts I normally wear, but still offered the comfort and coverage of shorts. I explored this idea by making a couple of skorts. Now, the Sewing Bee is the Round Tu-It I need to get these silk shorts  made!

Fabric Tag

Fabric Tag

I already had the fabric. I like the Style Arc crotch, and I’ve tweaked the Elle pattern to fit nicely as pants or shorts. But, Elle is designed for stretch wovens! My silk suiting doesn’t stretch. So, I decided to cut the Elle pattern in a larger size, the size I used before tweaking the fit. I can take things in in if necessary.

Fabric, zipper, pattern

Fabric, zipper, pattern

The second problem is the Elle pant is a pull on. SB rules clearly specify no pull-ons, and require a closure. Adding a fly with a cut on extension is not too hard. A quick look in my stash turned up a suitable blue zipper, and I had pants hooks-and-eyes. Thank goodness the rules allow elastic in the waistband, because I’m a big fan of comfortable elastic waistbands.

My silk suiting has some lovely, wavy stripes. The question is, which way should they go? I was planning on horizontal until I actually laid the pattern pieces out. At the last minute I changed my mind and made them vertical. I think it was the right choice.

The stripes wobble a bit making it tricky to get the grain straight

The stripes wobble a bit making it tricky to get the grain straight

Next, I drafted a simple fly shape, onto non-woven, non-fusible interfacing. I shortened the pants to the length I wanted, and added the fly extension to both front pieces.

I’ve worked with similar silk suiting before (a lovely pink!), I know how easily this stuff can ravel. So I serged all the raw edges of each piece as I cut them out.

Waistband

Waistband

I cut two pieces of fly shaped fusible interfacing. I applied the pieces to the cut on fly extensions on the inside of the front pieces. I also interfaced the waistband. After interfacing the band, I stitched the short edges together.

Usually I make pull-ons, and my next step would be side seams. But, stuff like flies are easier to work when the sections can be laid out flat. So I sewed the crotch seam from inseam to the point where the zipper base will sit, then basted the rest of the crotch seam to the waist. Normally I might need to snip at the point where the seam ends and basting begins. But, the serger knife already made the cut when I serged the raw edges to prevent raveling. So, everything already lays flat.

Fly installed

Fly installed

I turned the pants to the inside, lined up the edge of the zupper tape with the basted seam and stitched the zipper to the fly extension only. Then I turned and stitched back up, again stitching the tape only to the extension. I flipped everything and stitched the other side of the zipper tape to the other fly extension.

I left the crotch seam basted shut for the time being. I sewed the side seams, inseams, and back crotch, connecting to the base of the front crotch seam. Then I removed the basting stitches so I could open the fly.

Inside the shorts, showing the zipper

Inside the shorts, showing the zipper

Time for the first fitting test! The length was good, there was plenty of room in the waist. But, they were too big through the hip and thigh. I took them in, and tried again This time the fit was relaxed and comfortable without bagginess.

I applied the waistband, folded it right side out, and anchored it by stitching in the ditch. I left a gap in the ditch stitching just in front of each side seam, so I could insert elastic through the back of the waistband only. I added a pants hook-and-eye closure to the waistband.

Heming was the last step, I simply turned and top stitched.

Me wearing my shorts at the festival

Me wearing my shorts at the festival

Close up of front closure

Close up of front closure

The front of the finished shorts

The front of the finished shorts

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