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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SWAP jacket

Yay!  I finished my jacket for the SWAP collection just in time to enter it in the jacket contest at Pattern Review.

My little man just had to try it on after all my checking it out in the mirror.

Here it is!  

The pattern is Vogue 8333, one of the Claire Shaeffer couture patterns.  While I did follow along the couture instructions, I didn't use all of the techniques.  My biggest departure was using fusible interfacing.  This was partly because I knew I wouldn't finish the jacket in time for the contests, but really, I doubt I would have finished it at all, ever.  I just don't have the patience at this point to make a tailored, couture jacket.  Hopefully I will soon, but not right now.
I added a back vent.
and I added welt pockets.  With the pattern's inseam pleated pockets, it was looking a bit too horseback-riding jacket for me.  I wanted a versatile jacket to keep a long time.  I also made pocket flaps, but I couldn't find one when I was racing to finish this yesterday, so they will have to wait for a later date.

It took me a while to decide on buttons.  I didn't want boring old matching navy ones, but gold seemed like a bit much.  I finally decided on these silver ones.  I think it's a nice compromise.  I'm not totally thrilled with my machine button holes, but I'm happy enough with them.
Here's a peek at a pocket.

Functional buttoning sleeve
Back vent
Here is my review:

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, lined, partially interfaced, below waist jacket has princess seams, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, in-seam pockets with pleats, side panels (no side seams), shaped hem, and long two-piece sleeves with buttoned vents. A: underlined and couture construction techniques.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22. I made a 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for the pockets I changed.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Ok. I followed along the couture directions, but I have to admit I didn't use all of them. The biggest change was I used fusible interfacings. I would love to do a couture jacket someday, but I just don't have the patience yet. The directions seemed easy to follow. Nothing really crazy difficult; just time consuming.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the fitted shape of this pattern. It really nips in at the waist, which is flattering. Boxy jackets just make me look, well, like a box.

Fabric Used: wool with 15% cashmere. It's navy and marled a bit. It almost looks like a herringbone a bit. The fabric is a little bit felted, so it hardy frayed at all, which was super helpful. It also responded really well to steam and pressing.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I lengthened the sleeves 2 inches for my monkey arms. I also got a little too much of an equestrian vibe early on, so I added some welt pockets from Vogue 8087 (another Claire Shaeffer jacket pattern, now out of print) to make it appear a little more blazer-like. I just sewed shut where the pleated in seam pockets are supposed to go. I have the flaps, too... somewhere. I went to sew them on this morning and can only find one. I decided I like the look as is. Maybe I'll sew the flaps on if I find the other one, or I can always make a new one. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew this again with the intended pocket style if I find a fabric I don't think will look too riding-jacket-like. Maybe in a fun colored light flannel coating. I do recommend this. The directions are great, and the style is flattering.

Conclusion: A very nice jacket pattern, even if you're not ready to commit to the couture methods.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Started my jacket

My pants really just need buttons, but I haven't been able to get to the store since I've had a sick kid for over a week.  Anyway, I got started on a jacket - a navy wool/cashmere blazer.  It's so pretty.  :-)  I'm really proud of it.  Yesterday, I put on the collar, and I put most of the lining together tonight.  Still need to finish up the lining and put in the sleeves.  A few more days' work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pants progress

My pants are coming along nicely, and just as the pattern promises, the fit is superb.  They just need a lining, hem (with cuffs), buttons, and buttonholes.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Life is throwing me curveballs.  I guess that's what keeps it interesting.  This does have something to do with my current sewing plans.

So, I'm here in Germany for two more weeks (we were supposed to leave last week for an extended U.S. visit), separated from most of my SWAP fabrics which I've already sent ahead.  My SWAP is changing a lot.  Some pieces are the same, but some are different.  Some are still in boxes on their way to the U.S., and some I have here in my hot little hands.  Here's the new plan.
I made up my storyboard in the form of paper dolls the other day.  Paul was coloring, so why not join in on the fun?  The top two tops are already done and I'm working on the pants on my model right now.  The second blue top is a bright blue wool jersey that I'll make up after moving.  The white charmeuse blouse I can make while I'm still here. The yellow knit top might be replaced with another orange one just because I have the orange here with me now.  The yellowish-greenish tweed is in the U.S. for some more trousers.  I'm keeping the denim skirt as planned and adding in some walking shorts out of the same gray herringbone as the pants I'm currently making.  There was a flaw on the fabric, so I got a lot of extra for freebie!  

I'm just not sure about the topper.  At the bottom of m picture, I drew a cape-like thing for a pale gray sweater knit I'd have to make after moving.  I do want to join the September jacket contest at PR, though.  Maybe I'll just make something non-SWAP related.  With no husband around and good sleepers for kids, I have enough time in the next two weeks to deviate.  Maybe I'll go search the stash again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Simplicity 3536

I cut this out during naptime yesterday and sewed most of it up after the boys were in bed.  This morning, I just had to sew the hems to finish it up.  The pattern is Simplicity 3536, view A.

The fabric is rayon jersey from Sawyer Brook and is still in stock.  I squeezed this top out of a yard and just had to make the sleeves a tad shorter.  I think I compensated for that by making a really narrow hem, though.
I know I'm usually an abysmal photographer, but these are worse than usual.  Not sure what my problem is.  I welcome suggestions to take better pictures.  I know outside light is best.  Maybe I should start dragging my tripod outside.

You can see my pattern review here.  It's a keeper!  I made it exactly as the directions said and made a straight size 10.

Friday, September 11, 2009

3 new patterns - 6 more days

Sigh... so I was supposed to fly to the States today.  My beloved hubby is in Afghanistan, and I'm going to stay with family while he's gone.  But - we still don't have the baby's passport, so we're here another week.  How to drown my sorrows?  Well, I already shipped almost all my SWAP stuff and my favorite patterns, so get ready for non-SWAP sewing.  Or maybe there will be a revision of the SWAP.

Anyway, I drug the kids to the fabric store today and got three new patterns, all Simplicity.  Yeah, I probably only needed to get one, but oh well.  I was drowning sorrows!

I have a pretty navy/blackish herringbone for these pants.  They'll be beautiful!


I like a couple views of this dress, but first I'm going to lengthen the top part and make a top with the ruffles on the left.  I have cream silk charmeuse.  This will be part of my SWAP.

Simplicity 2724


Finally, for this top I have a dark teal blue rayon knit.  I'm making the version in the top photo.  That should really show off the drapiness of the fabric.

Simplicity 3536


Tonight after the boys are in bed, I'll cut out the knit top and read all the reviews on PR.

I was bummed (and surprised) that none of them had reviews on PR until I looked on the Simplicity website and realized the pattern numbers are different on the German versions.

Time to give my big boy a bath since we're going out for dinner tonight with some friends.  That's one nice thing about our move being delayed a week - no food left in the house, so we have to go out!

EDIT:  added links in case the pics aren't working.  Thanks Rachel!  :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I joined a Chanel Jacket Sew Along to make a Chanel-style jacket (that sounds better than "knockoff" to me), and I decided if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it right.  So... I went to theLinton Tweeds website, which apparently supplies Chanel, and requested some swatches.

The samples came today, and I was surprised.  Per the instructions on their website, I told them the colors and textures I was looking for - light colors in textured tweeds suitable for a Chanel-style jacket.  I received the following with a nice letter saying they are the "latest samples from the couture range and as such are unrepeatable."  

Ok.  I don't know.  Don't get me wrong.  They are beautiful... just not what I was expecting.  Here they are:

First, the ones I'm not considering using.  Although, I do think the bottom black and white plaid would make an awesome knee length coat.

Next are some that I like but I'm still not really considering.  The bottom two are too spring-y and I'm not crazy about the metallic threads in them.  I really like the overall effect of the top-left one, but I'm not crazy about the hot pink threads.  I guess I'm still considering that one, though.

These are the three I'm really considering.  I really like the texture of the red and black, but it's really not the colors I was dreaming about.  The blue is also really lovely and is probably the frontrunner at the moment, but I'm not sure how I feel about the navy background.  The brownish one is really textured and the steel-y blues would look great with denim, but I don't know...

Any thoughts?

Am I being too picky?  Almost all of them are $37/yard, which is less expensive than I expected (a nice bonus).  It would still be $80 for the fabric, though, and I don't want to pick something I don't love.  Maybe I'll go back and ask for some light colored swatches, not from the couture range.

Monday, September 7, 2009

SWAP item #1

Here is my first SWAP piece, which I whipped up yesterday.  It feels good to have a start.  The pattern is my TNT knit top pattern, Butterick 3344, now out of print.  I just added a cozy shawl collar.  It was so easy, I can see myself doing this again.  If I find a soft sweatshirt fabric, I'm definitely using it for a shawl collar pullover.
The fabric is a lightweight rayon sweater knit from a local German fabric store.  This top is the perfect combination of lightweight and cozy all rolled into one.  The fabric is so light and airy, but the comfy collar and extra long sleeves scream "snuggle up by the fire with a cup of tea."  It'll be perfect when the weather starts to turn cool and fall is in the air but it's not quite cool enough for a warm sweater.  I love the rich orange color, too.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tee shirt

Here's the shirt that I made with my stenciled fabric.
The pattern is my usual basic tee shirt pattern, now out of print.  I went with a V-neck and 3/4 sleeves for a casual look.  The fabric is cotton knit from Emma One Sock.  If I remember correctly, it's just another color of this hemp/organic cotton knit, actually.

Of course, I had been wearing this top for about 20 minutes this morning when I took pictures, and I already had baby spit up on the sleeve.

To finish the neck and sleeve edges, I tried something new.  I cut one inch strips (straight grain - didn't have enough fabric left to do bias-cut) and folded them wrong sides together.  Then, I sandwiched the shirt edges between and top stitched twice.  This leaves the raw edges showing, which makes the tee shirt really casual.  I stretched the binding just a little along the neckline to prevent gaping.  Next time, I'll stretch a little more.  I left the bottom hem raw and let it roll.  Here's a close-up of the neck edge.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Break from SWAP

Well, I've barely gotten started with my SWAP, but here's a little break from that anyway.

I received my fall Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting magazines this week, and there's been a slight nip in the air.  I don't think I've knitted a stitch since I came home from the hospital with the littlest baby boy, but I had to cast on for this sweater:


My gauge is quite a bit smaller, but other than the corrections for that and making the body in stockinette stitch instead of reverse stockinette, I'm just going to knit this as the instructions state.  The yarn is a yummy alpaca tweed from that I've had for a couple of years, waiting for the perfect project.

In other news, here's my progress on my little boy's quilt.  I have all the big blocks assembled and cut.  Now I just need to put them together.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bouncing Back

Ok - this is what I came up with while I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about my jacket (can I just say, my husband is in Afghanistan, and this jacket is what I lose sleep over - what is wrong with me???):  

There are no jacket patterns that I can fit on that fabric that I will be really happy with, so a jacket from the herringbone is out.  (stop crying, Jenny, and move on!)  I have a roughly woven wool in a peachy color I don't really like for fall.  I love the fabric, just not the color.  I will dye that a rusty brown, and, assuming I'm happy with the color, I will use that with the original Marfy pattern.  I don't really want to buy more fabric for this SWAP, and a quick internet look last night didn't turn up anything I love for this anyway.  

Since the herringbone will never be a jacket (I was super cheap when buying that fabric, apparently), I will still use it in the SWAP.  First I thought of pants, but the fabric doesn't really scream "pants" to me.  Then I thought walking shorts.  I think they're coming "back in."  That could be cute.  Then I had an epiphany...  it will be a jumper.  Yes, a jumper.  I haven't worn one in years, but I think this will be cute, but not too cutesy.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I wanna cry.  I don't have anywhere near enough fabric to make my SWAP jacket... and I am an expert at squeezing on patterns.  Do I find a less interesting jacket pattern?  I love that pattern!  Do I find new jacket fabric?  I love that fabric!  I am feeling very deflated.  Guess I'll sleep on it.