Five Vogue sewing patterns I got on sale at Joann’s

I dropped by Joann’s over the weekend because the chain store was having a $4.99 sale on Vogue sewing patterns. I ended up with five patterns.

I brought my notes from Sandra Betzina’s talk at last fall’s Artistry in Fashion event presented by Canada College’s fashion department. I put a star next to Vogue 1515, which doesn’t look like much on the pattern.

Sandra showed a version without elastic in the neck and that looked really good. She said the top was inspired by Japanese fashion and that it was flattering because it stood out from the body and helps disguise the middle (i.e. any extra belly weight). It can be a nice layering piece, too.

V1515 - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina - Vogue sewing patterns - top and skirt

These two patterns by Lynn Mizono caught my eye. I grabbed the last two left and didn’t notice that I got the wrong size (8-10-12-14). Oops. I needed the larger size. Well, maybe I can exchange them later or I’ll just have to grade up one size. Both patterns are loose-fitting so hopefully, it won’t be too hard to grade up. (Fingers crossed.)

I have some black seersucker that I was going to use to make a dress from a Japanese sewing book pattern but now I want to make the dress on the right (V1410).

V1410 - Lynn Mizono - Vogue sewing patterns - dress

Don’t you love this jacket (V1246)? I have some lightweight denim in my stash that could work for it. But I was saving that for a pair of pants. I may have to break my fabric fast, which I tacked on to my RTW fast. but I’m hoping to hold out for six full months – so that means at least until the end of June. (Confession: I did buy one piece of fabric when I was in NYC in April.)

V1246 - Lynn Mizono - Vogue sewing patterns - dress

I love vintage patterns and couldn’t resist the top and jacket of this reissue (V9082). I think they would look great with some high-waist pants.

V9082 - Vintage Vogue sewing patterns - 1960 - dolman-sleeve jacket, top and dress

I also saw this Vogue sewing pattern (V8868) for fascinators and snapped that up, too. Vogue calls them “embellished hats” in the website description but they are really fascinators. Fascinators are attached to a headband, clip or comb.

v8868 - Vogue sewing patterns - 5 hats, fascinators

I love veils on hats. These are a bit fancy but who knows when you need a fancy accessory, right?

Big Four 2018 spring patterns – Vogue, Butterick and more

Hi, I spent some time looking at Big Four 2018 spring patterns – Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s and Simplicity. They were the pattern companies I grew up with. (Last fall I blogged about a few patterns from Simplicity and Vogue, which you can read here.)

My mom mostly bought patterns from Butterick, McCalls and Simplicity from Jo-Ann – back when the chain only sold fabric and it was known as Jo-Ann Fabrics. She made clothes for me and my three sisters when we were growing up.

I don’t recall her ever buying any Vogue patterns. I’m not sure why she didn’t buy Vogue but it’s most likely because those patterns were more expensive and some are complicated to sew. She mostly sewed by following the pictures in the instructions. English is her second language so she didn’t bother reading the instructions.

Here are a few of the spring patterns that caught my eye.

Big four 2018 Spring Patterns

They are listed in no particular order.

Vogue

Big Four 2018 Sewing patterns - Vogue V9299 - top with belt - CSews.com

I love stripes so this shirt (V9299) grabbed my attention for its fun use of stripes. Plus I like the waist-defining belt. I don’t know about the puffiness of the lower part of the sleeve but that could certainly be toned down.

The pattern has many variations in length and sleeve styles. You could lengthen it to make a shirt dress.

Big four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vogue V9299 - tops with sleeve and length variations - CSews.com

This Vintage Vogue reissue  (V9295) is from the 1940s. I love the neckline, which has front tucks.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue pattern V9295 - ca. 1940 - CSews.com

Look at those tucks and lovely neckline!

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue reissue V9295 - 1940s dress with tucks

The pattern envelope says the suggested fabrics are: sheer cottons, lace, crepe de chine, burnout velvet and rayon challis. You need lightweight fabrics because of all the tucks, which are also in the short-sleeve version.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Vogue reissue 1940s - line drawing - CSews.com

Here’s one of Sandra Betzina’s latest patterns. It’s described as a pants pattern. This is version A, which is described as having “wide straps give jumper effect.”

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern V1580 - pants - CSews.com

Sandra designs for ease of wear so I’m sure you can easily take down the straps so you can go to the bathroom. I like jumpsuits but I’m usually reluctant to make them because you have to get half undressed to go to the bathroom. And you need to be careful that the top part doesn’t drag on the floor, especially in a public restroom.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern V1580 - line art - CSews.com

If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sandra speak, take it. She has great sewing tips and delivers them with a great sense of humor. Plus she has such a warm personality. I heard her speak at Cañada College last spring at their annual Artistry in Fashion event. I also got a copy of the latest edition of her indispensable fabric guide – All New Fabric Savvy (affiliate link here).

Simplicity

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8605 paper-bag waist pants pattern

I like the paper-bag waist on pants and skirts. These pants look fun and easy to make. Plus the pattern (8605) includes a skirt! I’ve been wanting to make a casual paper-bag skirt.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8605 - paper bag waist skirt and pants pattern - CSews.com

I’ve tied RTW shirts that buttoned in the front. I like that look. This Simplicity pattern (8601) for woven fabrics gives you the option of just letting the front piece hang down or tying it in a knot. I like the striped version.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Simplicity 8601 - front-tie top pattern - CSews.com

One thing that really jumped out for me as I perused Simplicity’s offerings is that there is a lot of diversity among its models. For example, this vintage 1950s reissue (8592) features a plus-size model and an African-American model. There are two size ranges – 10-18 and 20W-28W. Kudos to Simplicity for making such a wide range of sizes available.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Vintage Simplicity - 8592 - dress - CSews

New Look is part of the Simplicity group of patterns and this flight jacket pattern (6545) jumped out at me because it features an Asian model and it’s a fun pattern.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - New Look 6545 - flight jacket pattern - CSews.com

 

McCall’s

I like the pleats in this McCall’s dress designed by Phoebe Couture. I initially saw it as a top and a skirt but it’s a dress. I think you could add a waistband and just make a skirt from this pattern.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - McCall's M7720 - Phoebe Couture dress pattern - CSews.com

This is a pattern for a costume (M7733) but I’d just wear it as a regular jacket.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - McCall's costume M7733 - fitted jacket by Yaya Han - CSews.com

 

Butterick

The drawstring detail on this Butterick dress is nice (B6552).

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - B6552-Butterick dress pattern with lace-up front

I’m not thrilled by the color-blocked version of this pattern (B6567) that the model is wearing but I do like the lines, which you can see in version B, which has longer sleeves. You could shorten it to make it more of a tunic or lengthen it to midi-length, which is my favorite skirt length.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Butterick B6567 Lisette dress - CSewscom

 

This pattern (B6556) by Gertie has a lovely square neckline.

Big Four 2018 Spring Patterns - Butterick B6556 - Patterns by Gertie - CSews.com

And that’s the end of my roundup. Have you seen any new Big Four 2018 spring patterns that you like?

Lining the Sapporo Coat – a Papercut Patterns design

Hi, in my earlier post on my wool Sapporo Coat, I mentioned that I would be doing a follow-up post on lining the Sapporo Coat. So here it is!

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - lining - CSews.com

This is a Papercut Patterns design, which is available as a printed pattern ($30 NZD) and as a PDF. I bought my pattern at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. There are just a few pattern pieces, the front and the back, which uses the same three pieces you use for the fashion fabric.

Here’s the lining cut and sewn. I used a very nice black warm coat lining from Britex Fabrics. It was flannel-backed on one side and a smooth and shiny satin on the other ($16/yard, 60 wide). The smooth side makes it easy for your coat to slide on and the flannel side makes it super easy to cut and sew. Britex calls this fabric “warm-back coat lining” and carries it in six colors, including brown, silver and royal blue ($15.99/yard).

Sapporo Coat lining, Papercut Patterns - CSews

The pattern calls for lining fabric that’s 60″ wide but you could use 44″ wide, just get another yard or so of fabric so you’ll have enough to cut all the lining pieces.

The Sapporo Coat lining is hand sewn to the sleeves and machine sewn along the front and the hem. You leave an opening in the side seam so you can turn it inside out. If you haven’t lined a coat before, it’s pretty basic. You place the right side of the lining so it’s facing the right side of your fashion fabric and then you sew them together and turn it inside out. It’s similar to making a pillow, just a different shape.

I pinned the lining to the facing, right sides together. I used a lot of quilting pins because longer pins are easier to work with the thick coat fabric.

Sapporo Coat lining pinned - CSews

Here’s a closer look.

Sapporo Coat lining, Papercut Patterns - CSews

Here’s the opening I left in the side seam. This is where I’ll turn the coat inside out.

Lining opening - Sapporo Coat - CSews

When you sew the facing, you stop 3/8 inch (1 cm) short of the hem because the corners of the coat will be sewn together last, which you’ll see below.

Next I pinned the coat hem to the lining and sewed this seam, beginning and ending 3/8 inch (1 cm) from each end.

Sapporo Coat lining hem - CSews

Here’s a close-up of the bottom hem pinned to the end. When you sew this seam, remember to stop 3/8 inch (1 cm) from the end.

Lining pinned to corner of Sapporo Coat - CSews

Here’s a look at the lining corner after I sewed the bottom hem.

Lining sewn to corner - Sapporo Coat - CSews

Then I sewed the diagonal seam and trimmed it so it would come to a point when I turned the Sapporo Coat lining inside out.

Sapporo Coat inside corner - CSews

The Sapporo Coat lining is now attached to the facing and hem and looks like this.

Lining attached - Sapporo Coat - CSews

Now the coat is ready to be turned inside out. So I pushed the right side of the coat through the opening in the lining.

Sapporo Coat lining - Papercut patterns - CSews

Now all that’s left is attaching the lining to the sleeves. This was the tedious part of lining the Sapporo Coat because you hand sew the sleeve lining to the sleeve. They are wide sleeves so it took a while.

Sleeve lining - Sapporo Coat - CSews

And voila! The coat was done!

Sapporo Coat - wool melton - front view- CSews

I love everything about this coat!

Lining the Sapporo Coat - Papercut Patterns - CSews

My latest Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

Pilvi Coat - Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - Fabric from Britex Fabrics - CSews

As soon as I saw this colorful fabric at Britex Fabrics, I thought to myself, “Pilvi Coat!” A simple design is great for a large print because you can show off the print to full advantage. That’s what I like the Pilvi Coat pattern from the sewing book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here). I’ve made this coat twice before, one in blue and another using a fabric with a big print, which you can see here and here.

This coat has pockets! I had fun using colorful fabric scraps for my pockets.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - CSews

I love the colorful painterly design of this home dec fabric, which is a digital print from Spain. Britex marked down the fabric to $20/yard because the manufacturer forgot to put a selvage on one side of the fabric.

Beautiful fabric from Britex Fabrics

Now this beautiful fabric is part of the ongoing Yard Sale at Britex Fabrics, which means you can take an additional 40 to 60% off. So you can get it for $12/yard or less, which is a great. There’s limited stock and it’s only available in-store.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - fabric from Britex Fabrics - CSews.com

The painterly design inspired me to wear my vintage Kangol beret (label on the inside and no kangaroo) and take photos next to this striking mural. The hand is holding a paintbrush, which seems appropriate. You can’t see the brush in these photos because it’s several feet above my head.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - fabric from Britex Fabrics - CSews

I love how the Pilvi Coat pattern shows off the fabric. Plus, with such a busy print, you don’t have to worry about matching anything.

Pilvi Coat - pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - Fabric from Britex Fabrics - CSews

The Pilvi Coat has raglan sleeves and just a few pattern pieces – front, back, sleeves, pockets, and facings for the back and shoulder. There are no darts. The front facing is part of front pattern piece. You just fold it back and attach it to the shoulder facing. You can see it in this photo. My hand is on the front facing.

Pilvi Coat - Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - fabric from Britex Fabrics - CSews.com

I debated whether or not to use interfacing for the facing. The fabric is home dec weight but it does have a nice drape so I decided to use some lightweight woven interfacing in my stash. I probably didn’t need it but it does ensure that the front corners don’t flop down.

Home dec fabric can fray and this fabric certainly did. So I had to take care to finish all the seams. I used three different techniques due to time constraints and aesthetics. The book instructs you to turn down the raw edge of the facing 1/4″ (6 mm) and press. Then topstitch it in place.

This is an unlined coat so I decided to use bias tape to bind the seams that would most likely to be seen when taking the coat off (or putting it on). I used this technique for the facing and the hems (sleeves and bottom).

Bias tape binding for Pilvi Coat - Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

I used bias tape in my stash – premade Wright’s bias tape in royal blue and a vintage bias tape in a tiny floral print, plus some striped silk bias tape the I made, which was leftover from a past coat I made. You can see the striped bias tape in the hem.

Pilvi Coat - bias binding inside - CSews

It’s fun to use leftover bias tape in a project! What’s great about using bias tape is that the fold is your guide. You line up the raw edge of your fabric with the bias tape and sew. Then you fold the bias tape over the raw edge, press and stitch in the ditch.

I serged the side seams and sleeves. For this pattern, you sew the sleeves, pockets and side seams in one long seam. Here’s the side seam and the hem bound with bias tape.

Pilvi Coat - bias hem and serged side seam

I had the knife up on my serger because I wanted a clean edge as I serged this sem. But I wasn’t paying close attention when I got near the top of the pocket and cut into my pocket bag. Oops. So I just had the opening start a little lower. Easy fix. If I make this coat again and serge the side seam, I think I’ll trim the raw edge myself and not use the knife on the serger.

If I had more time, I would have done a Hong Kong seam finish, which would have looked nicer but I didn’t have enough bias tape on hand and I didn’t have the time to do that.

The third finishing technique I used was a triple zigzag stitch to finish the seams attaching the sleeves to the front and back as well as on the pockets. You can see the zig zag here.

Pilvi Coat - inside view

The book instructs you to topstitch the hem of the Pilvi Coat and facing but I decided I didn’t want a seam on this lovely fabric. So I hand stitched the facing and hem in place. It took a couple of hours to get that done because I used tiny stitches, catching one or two threads of my fabric and then the edge of the bias tape. It’s a bit hard to see in this photo.

Pilvi Coat - hand stitching the hem

It was a bit tedious but it was worth it. Here’s a close-up of the finished (and invisible!) hand stitching.

Pilvi Coat - hem finished

I made size XL for this Pilvi Coat. I have broad shoulders and a small bust. If you have a full bust, you will likely need to make some pattern adjustments or the coat may not drape very well.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

If you make something from Yard Sale fabric at Britex, share it on Instagram by Nov. 20 using the hashtag #yardsalefabricmagic and tag @britexfabrics, you could win a big of fantastic fabrics and notions.

Britex Yard Sale Magic giveaway

Colorful Pilvi Coat - pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - CSews.com

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat – my teal wool version

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - CSews

Hi! I finally took photos of my latest Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat! I made one version a couple of months ago. It was my mockup using a bed sheet, which you can see here. I made a mockup because I wanted to see how it fit before I made one from this luscious teal wool melton ($49.99/yard) I got from Britex Fabrics because I’m doing a guest post for Britex about this coat. This fabric is on sale for $39.99/yard until October 30! All their online wool fabrics are on sale until that date.

The instructions are clear and sewing the coat wasn’t difficult. Papercut Patterns rates its patterns with three skill levels – Rookie, Skilled and Expert. The Sapporo Coat is rated “Skilled,” which seems about right. You need to have some sewing experience to make this coat.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - lining - CSews.com

My lining fabric is also from Britex – it’s a lining specifically made for coats. This black warm-back coat lining is satin on one side and flannel on the other, which makes it easy to sew. It’s 60″ wide and $15.99/yard.

UPDATE: Here’s my post on lining the Sapporo Coat.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - back - CSews

I love the Sapporo Coat pattern and I especially love this beautiful fabric. I’ve never made anything in this color and I’ve never sewn wool melton before. The color is a deep teal. I was having trouble getting the right exposure and the sun was so bright it was hard to see the images. The color is more accurate in the photos that are darker.

I’m thrilled that it turn out so beautifully. The design of this coat works very well with this fabric. You can really see the cocoon shape. It’s not a dramatic cocoon but more of a gradual tapering towards the bottom.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat

Sapporo Coat pattern details

This coat comes in three sizes – XXS/XS, S/M and L/XL. You can get the paper pattern here for $30 NZD or the PDF here for $20 NZD. This is a coat has a lot of ease. I made the largest size because I have very broad shoulders and very long arms so this size was perfect.

I’m not joking about the broad shoulders. You know how people complain that Vogue patterns are huge in the shoulders? Well, those shoulders are fine for me. So far, I haven’t needed to make any adjustments in the shoulders for the Vogue patterns I’ve made. The teal is like the color in this photo and the one below it.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - CSews

I’m about 5′ 7 1/2″ tall – though I like saying 5′ 8″ (172 cm). The coat hem is above my knees but a little below mid-thigh. So anyone shorter than 5′ 7″ should definitely measure the pattern and see where the hem will land on your body. You may need to shorted the pattern.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat

Sapporo Coat size

For some people, the size they initially made was huge on them so I highly recommend making a mockup before sewing your fashion fabric. Also, if you are not very tall, you will likely need to shorten the sleeves. You can shorten the sleeves by removing length from the shoulder of the top front pattern piece and the back. Then you can leave the cuffs as is.

I didn’t make any changes to the coat pattern except for lengthening the pockets. I added an inch of depth because the pockets seemed a little shallow for me. I have long fingers and I really want to get my hand in there.

Sapporo Coat pockets

The coat front is made up of two pattern pieces. The seam where the pieces come together include the pocket. So when I added depth to the top pattern piece here…

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat

I also needed to add the same amount to the bottom pattern piece. To make sure they matched, I lined up the pattern pieces. The top pattern piece is folded down…

Sapporo Coat - pocket lengthened - CSews

… and forms the top of the pocket, which you can see here. The pockets are formed by the fashion fabric, which may seem a little odd because pockets usually use lining fabric. I suppose if your fabric was really thick, you could use fashion fabric for 1/3 of the pocket and then lining for the rest.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat

Here’s what it looks like on the wrong side. I clipped the seam where it curves.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat

The front pattern pieces have opposing curves, which means careful sewing. I used a lot of pins, sewed slowly and it looks great. This fabric was easy to sew.

Sapporo Coat - pockets - CSews

I LOVE the pockets!

Cutting and sewing wool melton

This was my first time sewing wool melton, which is a twill weave that has been felted and has a nap. When you pet it, you can feel the direction of the nap. It’s smooth when you stroke in one direction, and slightly rough in the opposite direction. Remember seeing the words “with nap” and “without nap” on the back of a pattern? Well, when you have a fabric with nap, you need to pay attention to the direction of the nap.

I noted the direction of the nap in my Chaco liner.

Wool melton - direction of nap - CSews

If you cut your pattern pieces and the nap is is not all facing in the same direction, the fabric pieces will look different when you sew them together. One piece may seem slightly darker than the other because of the nap.

Luckily, the layout Papercut Patterns provides for the Sapporo coat is laid out in the direction of the nap. I laid out my pattern pieces so that when you stroke the fabric up, that’s the smooth side. I laid it out that way because when you sit down, you will be stroking the fabric up. It’s better for the fabric to be stoked in the same direction.

I also consulted Sandra Betzina’s More Fabric Savvy book for advice on sewing wool melton. Her indispensable fabric guide has been updated this year. The latest edition is called All New Fabric Savvy (Amazon affiliate link here). It’s worth every penny. I bought the new version, too. She tells you facts about fabrics, how to treat it before you sew it, what size needle to use and the type of thread that’s best for the fabric and much more.

Sandra recommends using a 90/14 needle, which I did and she also says to use silk thread because it “makes seams almost invisible.” Well, I didn’t want my seams to disappear so I just used Guttmacher polyester thread. She also advises using a Teflon presser foot. I didn’t have one so I got a snap-on version at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, which is also where I bought my paper pattern. The Teflon foot looks like this.

Teflon foot for sewing wool melton fabric - CSews

Yep, it’s plastic. I’ve associated Teflon with metal because it’s used to make nonstick pans for cooking and baking so I didn’t expect it to look like this. But Teflon can be used to coat plastic as well. (Read about the six basic types of Teflon coatings on Chemours website.)

Sandra also recommended preshrinking the fabric by holding a steam iron above the fabric. I steamed it. You could also take it to a dry cleaner and have them steam it, which is what Douglas, the dapper sales associate at Britex, suggests.

I traced my pattern pieces using a Chaco liner. The pattern piece provided for the center back is half a pattern piece – like it’s supposed to be cut on the fold, except you don’t. I think to squeeze all the pattern pieces on two sheets, they had to slice it in half. So when I laid that piece out, I marked the “fold line” on the fabric with a few white lines. The I could line up the pattern piece with those marks and trace the other side. I used my Kai scissors to cut the fabric.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - CSews

Sapporo Coat and interfacing

The pattern calls for interfacing along the front facing and bottom hem, which makes sense for lighter fabric or fabric that has a lot of drape to it. But melton is thick and Sandra Betzina says you don’t need interfacing for wool melton because it has a lot of body already. But she does say to stabilize the neck and shoulder with stay tape. So I fused some stay tape along the shoulder seam.

Sapporo Coat - wool melton - stay tape on shoulder seam - CSews

Sewing the cuffs

Each cuff is made of two pieces of fashion fabric. First you sew the side seam to form one side of the cuff and then you put one inside the other right sides together and sew the bottom edge.

Sapporo Coat cuff - wool melton - CSews

This is a rather thick seam as you can see so I trimmed down the seam allowances to try to reduce the bulk.

Sapporo Coat - cuff - CSews

Then I understitched the cuffs.

Sapporo Coat cuff - understitched - CSews

Because the fabric is so thick understitching made one side of the cuff slightly longer than the other side. I tried to press the fabric so the seam was exactly in the middle but it didn’t quite work. I basted the cuffs together at the top as instructed before I attached them to the shoulders.

Attaching the cuffs was the only part of this coat that gave me a little trouble because the cuff pieces didn’t want to line up. I used quilting pins on this fabric. I had to hold it in place as I slowly removed the pins as I sewed the cuffs.

Sapporo Coat - cuff pinned - CSews

Here’s another look at the completed cuff.

Sapporo Coat - sleeve - CSews

Here’s that the coat looks like from the wrong side – before the lining is attached.

Sapporo Coat - wrong side - CSews

The back of the coat

The back of this coat is made of three pieces – one large center piece flanked by two triangular pieces. I love the seams on this coat!

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - back - CSews

And here’s another view of the back, which gives you an idea of how roomy the coat is.

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - back view - CSews

The one drawback

I really love this coat but the one drawback is that it looks best with skinny pants or leggings. I had to wear these leggings because I don’t have any skinny jeans or narrow pants. I guess I need to make some now! Otherwise I need to come up with other outfits to wear with leggings.

In these photos I’m wearing the Draped Mini Dress, which I made from the Japanese sewing book She Wears the Pants (blogged here). I usually wear it as a tunic with pants but I decided to pair it with leggings because I didn’t have anything else to wear with the coat.

This post got really long so I’ll be writing a follow-up post about the lining. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, here’s one last image of the coat for you to enjoy. Also, I’d love to know if you’ve made a coat and what that experience was like for you.

Sapporo Coat - wool melton - front view- CSews

Happy sewing!

Papercut Patterns - Sapporo Coat - in a teal wool melton from Britex Fabrics - by CSews

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat – mockup version

Hi, it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been sewing but I’ve had little time to blog. I even had a paying sewing gig at a startup last week but I can’t say much about it because I signed an NDA. Anyway I attached my iPhone to a tripod mount and took these photos of my mockup of the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat.

It was late afternoon so the sun was not at its brightest and by that time, it’s shining through a tree – giving this natural dappled light effect. It’s not a special filter or Photoshop effect.;)

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - side view - C Sews

I made this mockup using a bed sheet I got at a thrift store for a few dollars. I wanted to see how it would fit before I made one in a luscious wool coating from Britex Fabrics. The Sapporo Coat, part of Papercut Patterns Sakura collection, comes in three sizes – XXS/XS, S/M and L/XL. I made the largest size. I have broad shoulders and long arms. I didn’t make any pattern adjustments and it fit quite well. Note: The sleeves may be too long for some people.

You can get the pattern here on Papercut Patterns website or you may be able to get a copy in your country. (You can go to this link to see if a store near you carries this New Zealand-based indie line of patterns.)

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - side view - C Sews

As you can see the Sapporo Coat is roomy with wide sleeves and a slight cocoon shape. It tapers – getting slightly more narrow at the hem. The cocoon shape did give me pause but I decided to try it and see if I’d like it – and I do like it.

There aren’t too many pattern pieces for this design – top and bottom front, back neck facing, three pieces for the back and the sleeve cuff, which is made by cutting four of the same pattern piece. There’s also the lining pieces. The pattern also calls for interfacing for the front edge, back neck and bottom hem.

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - C Sews

The only tricky part of constructing this coat was the corner of the bottom hem and the lining. In this photo, I’ve attached the lining to the front edge of the coat. You can see the strip of interfacing fused to the front facing, which is not a separate pattern piece. It’s formed by folding the front edge.

Sapporo Coat - lining detail - C Sews

The tricky part for me was that I didn’t quite understand how to attach the bottom hem until I realized that I needed to line up the side seams.

Sapporo Coat - attaching lining - C Sews

Then all I needed to do was fold up the bottom hem and sew the coat fabric to the lining fabric right sides together. My lining is just some cheap cotton/poly blend I got for a few dollars.

When you attach the lining to the front and bottom, you stop sewing 1 cm from the end.

Sapporo Coat - inside corner - C Sews

Stopping before you get to the edge, lets you sew this diagonal seam.

Sapporo coat - construction detail - C Sews

I was wasn’t precise in my stitching was I was a little short on the bottom hem. But this is just my mockup so I left it as is.

You leave an opening on one side seam of the lining so you can turn the coat inside out.

Sapporo Coat - opening to turn coat inside out - C Sews

And then the bottom inside corner looks like this.

Sapporo Coat - inside detail - C Sews

Here’s the back view of the Sapporo Coat. You can see the large center piece and two smaller pieces to the left and right. It would be fun to do a version with piping at the seam lines of this coat.

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - C Sews

The large cuff attaches to the front top piece and the back shoulder piece.

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - sleeve detail - C Sews

I really like the pockets on the Sapporo Coat. However, if you use a lightweight fabric or a fabric with drape, the pocket might sag slightly because there is no interfacing there. The top edge of this pocket is formed by a fold in the fabric. You might want to consider putting some interfacing there if you are using a lightweight fabric. The beauty of this pattern is that it works for all fabrics.

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - front detail - C Sews mockup

I like the diagonal lines formed by the front seams and the pockets of the Sapporo Coat.

Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat - front detail - C Sews

This Sapporo Coat is going to be my fancy bath robe – a great idea from Brooke of Custom Style. We follow each other on Instagram and when I posted an early photo of this on my IG feed (@csews), she(@sewbrooke) made that suggestion. Thanks, Brooke!

I’m wearing a vintage hat that has a little veil attached to the brim. My husband doesn’t like this hat. He thinks it’s an odd hat and doesn’t get that it’s a “sitting” hat, a hat meant to perch on your head as opposed to fitting around your entire head. Well, I like it and I’ll continue wearing it!

Vintage hat with veil - C Sews

Stay tuned for my wool coating version of the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat!

Sapporo Coat - Papercut Patterns, Sakura collection 2017 - C Sews

Review – Mimosa Culottes sewing pattern

Hi! Here’s my article on Pattern Review of the Mimosa Culottes sewing pattern by Named, a Finnish indie pattern company, which I blogged about in May here. The review is also on The Fold Line here.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

Pattern Description: From the pattern: Very wide-legged, mid-length culottes, high waist, diagonal pleats and side pockets in front, a neat, narrow waistband

Pattern Sizing: EUR 32-46 (US 0-14 / UK 4-18)

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. The pockets were a little tricky for me because this was my first time sewing pockets like this – where part of the pocket uses fashion fabric and the rest lining fabric. I’ve just sewn pockets you insert in the side seam or patch pockets. The pockets have fashion fabric and lining fabric. My fabric was a lightweight synthetic so I just used fashion fabric for the whole pocket. But I don’t recommend that because you have to sew through a lot of layers when you get to sewing the waistband around the front pleats – for those inches, you’re sewing through six layers of fabric (waistband, 2 pocket pieces, the pleats, which I count as 3 layers).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the design and the unique front pleats.

Fabric Used: lightweight jacquard – some synthetic that I got for $3.50/yard at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had some drag lines in the back and got fitting help, taking in about 1/4″ and my first mockup. I also dropped the back crotch 3/8″. Named Clothing designs for a height of 5’8″ (172 cm), my height so I didn’t make any other changes.

My fabric was lightweight so I thought it needed a little more interfacing at the waistband. The interfacing piece was supposed to be half the height of the waistband, but I cut my interfacing using the entire waistband pattern piece. I thought folding it in half would give it a little more heft. I think I would have been better off using a heavier interfacing and cutting it in half, which would have made for a more crisp fold at the top.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would sew it again.

Conclusion: I’d like to make it again – maybe in a crepe fabric. The pattern recommends “a well draping, medium-weight fabric, for example polyester or wool crepe.” You can see more photos on my blog CSews here.

Mimosa Culottes by Named Clothing

Hi, I finally finished my Mimosa Culottes! According to my May blog post on PDF patterns, I bought this Named Clothing pattern about a year ago. Then I made my first muslin last fall. I got fitting help from Jennifer Serr at the Bay Area Sewists fitting meetup, which I blogged about here. This wide-leg design has two unique diagonal pleats in the front and two darts in the back, pockets, and a front zipper (more detailed photos are below).

I made size 44 (US 12, UK 18), which has a waist of 33 inches (84 cm) and a hip of 42 1/2 (108 cm). If I had made these two years ago, I would have made a size smaller but waistlines change. My hips are about 43 inches (109 cm) but I thought it was a good bet that the fit would be fine because of the wide legs so I didn’t add any additional ease to the hips – that’s the beauty of culottes!

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

I really like black but it’s hard to photograph. I got lucky with a couple of photos and the sun just happened to highlight my fabric. It’s a lightweight jacquard made out of some synthetic fiber. I found it among the discount designer fabrics on the second floor at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. There are flowers in the design, which you can see in this photo (taken after the photos shoot in bright sunlight to get the details).

Mimosa Culottes - jacquard fabric

I forgot that high-waisted designs limit what you can wear with them. You either need to wear something cropped or a close-fitting top that you can tuck inside. I got this cropped knit top from Urban Outfitters several years ago. I haven’t worn it much because it hits me at the hips and doesn’t really work with my other garments unless I layer it with a longer tee underneath. I was happy to wear this top with my new culottes. A former co-worker of mine called it my seeing-eye chart top. 😉

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - CSews.com

The Mimosa Culottes have nice deep pockets. I can put my whole hand in them! I have long fingers so this is a big deal. My husband is about 7 inches (nearly 18 cm) taller than I am but our hands are the same length. Really.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

I take all my blog photos so it’s a big challenge to see the details of the culottes. I can only focus on the wall. I use the timer on my Sony Cyber-shot digital camera and my iPhone 6. I don’t have a camera remote control. This means that’s it’s tough to get photos in focus and the correct exposure but I take a lot of photos and hope for the best.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

Mimosa Culottes – Details

Here are some photos with some of the details that you can’t see in the photos above. The pleats are at a diagonal slant, which is an interesting detail. I lightened the photos a little so you can see the floral design on the fabric.

Mimosa Culottes - diagonal front pleat detail - CSews.com

There are two darts in the back.

Mimosa Culottemed Clothing sewing pattern) back darts - CSews.com

Here’s what the inside front looks like with the pockets and the fly shield, the fabric behind the zipper. The Mimosa Culottes have a button and hook/eye closure. I used a flat red button that was in my stash.

My fabric was lightweight so I didn’t use a lining fabric, which meant I really didn’t need an inner and outer pocket bag. The inner pocket bag is the pattern piece you cut using your fashion fabric so you won’t see the lining. I wasn’t thinking when I cut my pattern pieces. The inner pocket bag pieces have interfacing fused to them. If you want to use the same fabric for the entire pocket, just put the two pocket bag pieces together to make one pocket bag and cut four.

Mimosa Culottes (Named Clothing sewing pattern) - inside view - CSews.com

Check out the pocket. It’s looks rather professional, doesn’t it? I haven’t made pockets like this before because I usually sew skirts with pockets in the side seam. But I’m in desperate need of pants (trousers) these days. So I will be sewing more over the coming months.

Mimosa Culottes - Named Clothing sewing pattern - pocket detail - CSews.com

Here are a few more construction details: After you’ve attached the waistband, you’re supposed to place the folded edge so that it slightly overlaps the waist seam on the wrong side; then stitch in the ditch from the right side. Instead, I hand stitched the waistband in place on the inside. When I stitch in the ditch on the right side, I don’t always catch the folded edge on the other side so I opted to hand stitch.

I finished my hem with seam tape and hand stitched it in place.

Mimosa Culottes (Named Clothing sewing pattern) - hem finishing - CSews.com

Mimosa Culottes Pattern Adjustments

I only made two adjustments to the back with the help of Jennifer Serrr, owner of The Sewing Room and pattern designer for Bonjour Teaspoon. She suggested 1.) taking in about 1/4″ (6 mm) to get rid of drag lines and 2.) dropping the back crotch curve by 3/8 inch (1 cm) for a little more ease. I added that amount to the hem so the hem length would remain the same. This photo is of my first mock-up. I made a second mockup to make sure those adjustments worked. The second one was fine so I went ahead and cut my fashion fabric.

Mimosa Culuttes Named Clothing sewing pattern) pattern adjustment in back - CSews.com

Named Clothing designs for a height of 5′ 8″ (172 cm), which is my height. I decided I liked the long length on the model so I didn’t change it. (See my post on sewing pattern height.) I didn’t notice that my camera was slighted tilted downward so it’s making my culottes seem longer than they really are in this photo.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

A note on accessories: I made the hat ribbon, which I first blogged about for Britex Fabrics here and reposted to my blog here. The necklace is from Macy’s, the shoes are by Arche, purchased from a discount designer store that’s no longer in business. I’m also wearing a striped vintage bracelet from one of my sisters. You can’t see it in this photo but you can see it in one of the earlier photos.

Mimosa Culottes Materials

  • 2 1/2 yards (210 cm) of fabric ($3.50/yard for a total of $8.75)
  • fusible interfacing for inner pocket bag
  • 7-inch zipper
  • hook and eye
  • small button
  • thread

If you want to use lining fabric for your pocket bag, add 1/2 yard of lining fabric. All the other materials were in my stash so I only bought the fabric to make the culottes.

I really like this pattern. Now I need more tops to wear with them! I bought the Named Clothing Lexi A-line Top, which goes well so maybe I’ll make that, too. Have you made any culottes?

Mimosa Culottes - Named Clothing sewing pattern - CSews.com

Printing PDF patterns – what are your options?

If a sewing pattern has a paper and a PDF version, the PDF typically costs less than the paper version. But they can be a pain to assemble, especially when you’re printing PDF patterns at home and have a big stack of letter-size or AO pages to tape or glue together. A paper trimmer certainly saves time (see this post) but sometimes you just want to skip the tedious assembly.

The good thing is that many patterns have large-format, copy-shop versions in addition to the print-at-home file. However, if you pay to print it, you may end up spending more than the cost of the paper pattern. Grrrr. Meanwhile, some patterns are only available as PDFs.

Let’s face it, cost is a factor. I will often buy the PDF version of a sewing pattern if the shipping costs are too high for the paper pattern. For example, Tessuti charges $30 to ship one of its paper patterns from Australia. Yes, $30 for shipping outside Australia – that’s in addition to the cost of the paper pattern!

A large-format print of PDF pattern I designed on Bootstrap Fashion. I printed this at Staples for $17.40.

Where can you print large-format PDF patterns?

In the United States, you can go to:

  • FedEx, which has print services in addition to shipping,
  • one of the big office supply chains, such as Staples or Office Depot,
  • a local shop specializing in architectural, and engineering document services, or
  • an online company based in Virginia, PDF Plotting.com, which I learned about from Melizza, who blogs at Pincushion Treats.

Below is a breakdown of prices for printing PDF patterns, as of March 20, 2017. I’m listing prices for prints 36″ x 48″ (3 ft x 4 ft or 91.3 cm x 121.9 cm) and for a more unusual size 36″ x 120″(3 feet by 10 feet or 81.3 cm x 304.8 cm). Yes, that’s a really long piece of paper.

If you create a design on Bootstrap Fashion or buy one of the Leko or indie patterns available at Bootstrap’s online pattern store, you can choose to print the pattern at 36″ wide and it’ll be however long it needs to be. I designed a dress using Bootstrap’s design app and made a PDF pattern that was 36″ x 114″ (81.3 cm x 289.6 cm) and I spent $17.40 to print at Staples – 2.5 times what I paid for the pattern. 🙁

I posted on Instagram (@csews) about what I paid at Staples and Melizza (@pinsuchiontreats) commented that she gets her PDF patterns printed at PDFPlotting.com. Thank you, Melizza!

Options for printing PDF patterns - copy shop (Staples, FedEx) or at PDFPlotting.com

When I went to my local Staples on a weekend, the person working in the print/copy department didn’t know that their printer could print anything longer than 48″. I told him to print it at 100 percent and instead he printed it to fit on one 36 x 48 piece of bond paper. Then he had computer problems. While he was rebooting his computer, I emailed Bootstrap Fashion and the founder, Yuliya Racquel told me that if the paper wasn’t on a roll, he could choose “poster” as a print option and print it that way. But if it was on a roll, it should be fine. She was right.

It was taking him forever to get the computer going so I went back on a weekday. The person working that day didn’t know that the printer could print anything longer than 48 inches but it worked and he learned something new. Hopefully, you’ll get a knowledgable staff person but you may need to educate them about printing PDF patterns.

Rates for printing PDF patterns

Note: All prices are for black-and-white prints, before taxes. (Maybe I should update this post annually – let me know if that would be useful to you.)

  • FedEx – $0.75 per square foot. A square foot is 12″ x 12″ (~30.5 cm x 30.5 cm).
    Cost of one 36″ x 48″ sheet: $9. So a pattern with three sheets of 36 x 48 will cost $27.
    Cost of printing one 36″ x 120″ sheet: $22.50
    You can order print services online here but I didn’t see an option for engineering prints or large-format prints so it looks like large-format black-and-white prints need to be ordered in person. Find your local FedEx office here.
    Conclusion: Expensive place to print, avoid unless you have no other options
  • Staples – about $0.60 per square foot.
    Cost of one 36 x 48 sheet in store: $7.19. Cost to print three sheets of 36 x 48: $21.57
    Cost of printing one 36″ x 120″ sheet: $18
    You can also place an order online (see Staples engineering prints page) and have it delivered for $9.99 or pick it up in-store for free.
    Cost of one 36 x 47 sheet ordered online: $7.29. Cost of three sheets: $21.87, add $9.99 shipping if you don’t pick it up in-store (cost of three sheets + shipping: $31.86).
    [Office Depot has the same prices as Staples for what they call “engineer prints” online but anything more than 30″ wide is delivery only, no in-store pickup available. Add $9.95 delivery fee.]
    Tip: If you’re in the store, tell them it’s a line drawing, similar to an engineering print and be sure to tell them that you want it printed at 100%. Customer service may vary greatly because not all staff will know what to do with your file.
    Conclusion: Still expensive but cheaper than FedEx.
  • Local shop specializing in architectural, design and engineering document management. I called one place in the Bay Area, Smart Plotting Reprographics, and they were far more expensive than FedEx. The rates were $2 per square foot for anything less than 20 pages, $1 per square foot for 20+ pages. And they also charged a set-up fee of $1 per page.
    Cost of printing one 36 x 48 sheet: $25
    Cost of printing one 36 x 120 sheet: $61
    Conclusion: Do not print at specialty engineer printing firms – they are not set up for small PDF jobs.
  • Pattern Review offers large-format printing for members who order patterns from Pattern Review. When you order a PDF pattern, you can also order a large-format print. The printing fee is $4.50 per pattern, which is very reasonable, especially if a pattern has more than one page. The shipping fees are $3.49 US 1st class, $6.99 US Priority, $13.99 Int’l, $7.99 Canada 1st Class. You can read the details on PR’s blog here.
  • PDF Plotting.com – about $0.10 per square foot! See the link B&W CAD Prints on their site. (CAD refers to computer-aided design.) They also print in color, which costs a little more $5 for one sheet of 36 x 48.
    Cost of one 36 x 48 sheet: $1.20. Cost of 3 sheets: $3.60 but a minimum of $7.49 is required to place an order. So you’d need to upload at least 7 pages to meet this minimum. Thus you’d spend $8.40 plus $4.99 for UPS ground shipping for a total of $13.39. The company is based in Richmond, Virginia so the closer you are to Virginia, the faster you’ll get your PDF patterns.
    Cost of printing one 36 x 120″ sheet: $3.60 (If you have a fraction of a page, the last page will count as a full-page. So 120″ is equivalent to 2.5 pages of 36 x 48 so it would be counted as 3 pages.)
    Tip: If you have a layered PDF where you can select the size(s) you want to print, be sure to click on the button “My file(s) require special sizing instructions” so you can add comments about what size to print. If you don’t do that, your print job may be delayed because they will need to contact you to find out what you want to print. Also, if you have one file but it’s two pages, in the “# of originals” field, select 2. If you select 1, then you will only be paying for one page instead of two. And they will need to contact you to confirm that you want to pay for that additional page.
    Conclusion: By far the best and cheapest option – even with shipping costs factored in.

Going forward, I will definitely go to PDF Plotting.com for printing PDF patterns. I don’t mind waiting a couple of days!

Where do you print your PDF patterns? At home? A copy shop?

Printing PDF sewing patterns - here are some options in the U.S.

Pattern review – Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater

Hi! I reviewed the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater on Pattern Review.  (I’m @csews on PR.) I also blogged about making a reversible Toaster Sweater on my blog and as a guest blogger for Britex Fabrics here.

Reversible Toaster Sweater - Sew House Seven sewing pattern

Here’s my pattern review of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater…

Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater sewing pattern

Pattern Description: High-necked sweater with two versions. I made version 1, which is described as “a closer fitting, semi-cropped sweatshirt/sweater. It works best when sewn in thick, stiff knits with some body to keep the neck standing upright. It features raglan sleeves, a wide waistband, a loose turtleneck, long cuffs and falls between the high and low hip. It’s great in a standard sweatshirt fleece (with stretch) however, it’s also extremely handsome in a sweater knit to dress it up a bit.”

Pattern Sizing: XS – XXL

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? It was easy to sew and the raglan sleeves fit my broad shoulders.The pattern was relatively easy to make into a reversible version, with a few adjustments.

Fabric Used: Reversible ponte knit – red on one side, black on the other. It was medium-weight stable knit with a very nice drape. You can get the fabric at Britex Fabrics here.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut size L but added 1/2 inch width to the bottom band and to hip area of front body piece. I made this into a reversible version, which meant making changes to the neck-band and bottom band, which are cut on the fold. Instead of cutting them on the fold, I folded the pattern pieces in half and cut two of each. I wanted those pattern pieces to be less wide than the original so I didn’t add a 5/8″ seam allowance. Also with this fabric, the neck-band would have flopped down if it was the original height. If you are using a knit with drape, you might want to add some interfacing to the neck-band if you don’t want it to flop down.

For the cuffs, also cut on the fold, I folded the pattern piece in half and added a 5/8″ seam allowance to side with the fold and cut two pieces for each cuff (4 pieces).

When I sewed it together, I hid the seam allowances by either folding one side over and topstitching or hand stitching. For more details on making a reversible version, see my blog post here.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would sew it again and yes, I would recommend it. Next I want to make Version 2.

Conclusion: I made a test version in fleece and cut a size XL around the shoulders and hips but it had too much ease in the seams near my bust and it was too roomy in the waist. I also made that test version 2 inches longer, thinking that might look better with a lower hem. But it didn’t look good. It was too roomy in the bust and the added length wasn’t flattering. The pattern was designed to hit you on the high hip, which is more flattering than the length I attempted. I recommend cutting Version 1 at the length it was designed. Version 2 is the one that will look good at a longer length.

For this red/black version I just cut size L and added a little more ease in the hip area and it fit perfectly. My hips are about 43 inches.

If you sew a reversible version, buy extra fabric – at least a 1/2 yard so you’ll have enough for the extra pieces you’ll need to cut. It takes a bit longer to make a reversible version because you’re adding extra steps. I used my sewing machine to make mine. I didn’t use a serger because I needed to hide my seam allowances. See my blog post for more photos and construction details.

If you’re making a regular version, you can easily sew it up in an afternoon, especially if you use a serger.

Pattern review - Toaster Sweater - Sew House Seven sewing pattern

My adjustable-waist skirt – Deer and Doe Chardon

Hi! I’ve made four skirts using the Chardon skirt pattern by French company Deer and Doe: two with a contrast bottom band (a black-and-white Chardon, a linen version) as well as a maxi and knee-length version. This high-waisted skirt has inverted box pleats, which are great for wide hips. You can just cut the size for your waist and not worry about sizing up in the hips. However, I’ve gained weight since the last time I made a Chardon so I wanted to see if I could make an adjustable waist version – in the hopes that I’ll lose some of the weight and still be able to wear the skirt. 😉

I got the idea from this photo on Pinterest, an A-line denim skirt that tied together at the top with two pieces of twill tape sewn to the front. You create an inverted pleat by tying the ends together. I discovered that it was originally posted in 2008 on Flickr by Martha McQuade, who designed the adjustable-waist skirt and is a co-founder of design firm MAD. (See the Flickr post “denim tie skirt” here.)

Here’s my adjustable-waist Chardon, which has many other changes, which I’ve described below, along with some construction details.

Deer and Doe Chardon - modified by removing two front pleats and adding a ribbon to give it an adjustable waistband

The original Chardon skirt pattern has five inverted box pleats in the front. (You can see construction details about my first Chardon skirt here.) I sewed only three of the pleats – the center pleat and the two on my left – and attached two ribbons in place of the two right pleats.

I also made these adjustments to the pattern:

  • Moved the center back zipper to the left side
  • Used an invisible zipper instead of a regular one
  • Removed the left side pocket because zipper is now on that side
  • Lengthened skirt by 1 inch
  • Underlined the skirt with silk organza
  • Used bias tape at the waist instead of a facing to reduce bulk at the waist because of the pleat created by tying the ribbon.

I guess you could say that I used the Chardon pattern as a jumping off point. I improvised as I went along because I was making this in a bit of a hurry. I started working on it the day before I intended to wear it to the Bay Area Sewists Frocktails event on February 11.

I got this home dec fabric remnant from Britex Fabrics last year with the intension of making it into a Chardon skirt. This is mostly a medium-weight fabric but it is thick where the flowers are because of all the extra threads used to create the flowers. So I paid particular attention to where the front center pleat fell on the fabric. I pinned the pleats to see what it would look like and adjusted them until I liked the way it looked. It looked best when the pleats fell in between the flowers, which meant the fabric wouldn’t be too thick where the pleats were.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt - pinned front pleats

There are all these threads on the wrong side of the fabric where the flowers are because it was meant for furniture and no one sees the other side. So I decided to underline it with silk organza that I bought a few years ago to use as lining for a jacket I have yet to make. Organza has crispness to it that matched the fabric.

Organza is a bit slippery so I decided to pin it to my fashion fabric and cut both fabrics at the same time. See all the threads on the wrong side of the fabric? I could see catching it on something and pulling it by accident – another reason to underline.

Silk organza as underlining for Chardon skirt

Here’s my front pattern piece placement place on the fabric and organza. I lengthened the skirt 1 inch. I would have liked a longer skirt but I was limited by the remnant length. Because I was in a rush, I just sliced across the bottom, measured an inch down and pinned the bottom piece in place. If I wasn’t rushing, I would have taped the bottom piece to another piece of pattern paper.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt - front pattern piece

After I cut the pattern piece, I machine basted the organza to the fabric using a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance. But you should really hand baste because the fabric could pucker. I didn’t have any problems because this was home dec fabric.

When I cut the back, I decided not to worry about matching the pattern at the side seams but to line it up horizontally. So I placed my front pattern piece next to the back piece to line up the design. You can see the side seam where my hand is in the pocket. Maybe if I had more time, I would have tried to see if I could match the pattern. But I don’t mind that it doesn’t match. It’s not as if I’m going to stare at my side seams when I’m wearing it!

Chardon skirt - side seam

I centered the back piece on the fold so it fell in between the flowers, forgetting that the back doesn’t have a center pleat because of the center back zipper. I moved the zipper from the center back to the left but I didn’t add a pleat. Instead, I removed the seam allowance. However, my pattern placement meant the four back pleats would fall on the flowers, making really thick pleats at the waist. I had already cut my fabric before I realized this. Oops. See how the flowers at the waist are cut off?

Chardon - adjustable-waist skirt variation- Deer and Doe

The Chardon skirt has two pockets, but I only added one because I moved the center back zipper to the left side and used an invisible zipper instead of a regular one. I had a scrap of red Bemberg lining so I used that for my pocket.

Chardon skirt - pocket

I had a red 14-inch invisible zipper on hand so I used that for my side zip. The pattern calls for a 10-inch regular zipper. I like using a longer zipper, especially when using an invisible zipper. You can’t sew all the way down the zipper because the zipper tab is in the way so using a longer zipper gives you a bigger opening to slide on your skirt.

Here’s my invisible zipper installed (before pressing).

Invisible zipper installed

Once my skirt pieces were attached and the zipper installed, I used my pinking scissors on my seam allowances. Then I used bias tape at the waist. I just used this pre-made blue bias tape that was in my stash. Hey, there’s blue in the fabric and I was going to use my red bias tape for the hem. The line of stitches near the pinked edged is my machine basting.

Bias tape at the waist

I hand stitched the bias tape down, using red thread that doesn’t quite match my fabric, but I just used what I had in my stash – no time to run to the store. I was stitching in a rush. The good thing about underlining is that you can stitch into your underlining instead of  your fashion fabric. This is one of the back pleats – see how thick it is?

Hand stitching bias tape at waist

I had some lovely double-faced green silk ribbon that perfectly matched the green in the skirt. I bought this expensive ribbon ($11/yard!) at Lacis in Berkeley to match a vintage silk scarf I think I was planning on turning the scarf into some sort of top. I decided to use it for my adjustable-waist skirt.

Because it’s silk, I worried that it might not be strong enough to be a waist tie so I fused the ends with strips of fusible bias tape. I also used Fray Block on the raw edges (affiliate link here for 1.5 ounce (44 ml) tube, and here for .5 ounce (14.8 ml) brush-on version).  It isn’t stiff when it dries, unlike Fray Check.

Silk ribbon reinforced with fusible bias tape

Then I folded and pressed the edged and hand-stitched it to the waist. To figure out placement of the ribbon, I tried on the skirt and folded the excess fabric trying to find two places that would work. Then I used pins to mark the placement. If I make this version again, I would reinforce the fabric with interfacing around the ribbon.

Hand stitching ribbon in place

Here’s what it looks like tied. You can see the waist fold just above the bow. You can made the fold as big or as small as you need it to be. No worries about indulging your desire for dessert, you can easily expand the waist. Have you ever made an adjustable-waist skirt?

Adjustable waist skirt - ribbon

The Chardon skirt pattern calls for hemming with bias tape. I didn’t have enough hem bias tape on hand so I used some red 7/8-inch (22 mm) bias tape. (Wright’s makes black hem bias tape that’s 1 7/8 inches wide (48 mm), which I’ve used on three of my other Chardon skirts.)

Chardon skirt hemmed with bias tape

See my hem?

Bias tape hem of Chardon Skirt

And here are a few more photos of the finished skirt. The sun was going in and out of the clouds on Saturday so it was a challenge taking photos. We’re in the midst of a big rain storm in California – an atmospheric river, in fact – so I was grateful for just a brief moment of sun on Saturday.

Adjustable-waist skirt - made by modifying the Deer and Doe Chardon pattern

Chardon skirt - side seam

Chardon skirt - back view - Deer and Doe sewing pattern

I was sewing on the ribbons on Saturday and then I was ready to go to Frocktails.

And here I am at Frocktails with Pauline who blogs at Sew You Think You Can Knock Off. She does a fantastic job making her versions of RTW garments she likes.

Enjoying Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February

Here’s a group photo – not everyone fit in this photo but you get the idea. We all had a great time.

Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February - group photo

 

How to make an adjustable waist skirt - using the Chardon skirt sewing patterns by Deer and Doe

StyleArc and Papercut Patterns – two indie sewing patterns

Hi, it was my birthday earlier this month so in January I told my sisters about some international patterns I liked. And my sisters are like my fairy godmothers – they granted my wishes! I got the StyleArc Juliet Woven Shirt, which I have been eying, along with the Imogen Knit Skirt, a free pattern for January. Plus I got the Papercut Patterns Skipper Tunic, which has three sleeve variations, necklines and lengths. 

StyleArc is an Aussie pattern company – as you can see from the mailing envelope in the photo below. I think I first heard about this company from Sew Busy Lizzie, a sewing blogger based in Australia. It may have been her post about the StyleArc Ziggy jacket. Actually, that post made me a bit wary about trying any StyleArc patterns because sizes are not nested and the instructions are minimal. When she made the Ziggy jacket, she bought a PDF and had to tape together more than 40 pages. Each size was a separate PDF.

StyleArc prides itself on creating “real industry based sewing patterns” that are “easy to work with.” I haven’t sewn any StyleArc patterns before but I wanted to try this shirt because I love the tie waist and 3/4 sleeves. The paper pattern comes with a swatch of fabric that is recommended for the pattern – nice detail!

StyleArc - Juliet Woven Shirt - sewing pattern

If you buy a StyleArc paper pattern, you need to pick your size. I decided to pick the size that went with my hips, my widest area. Here’s the StyleArc size chart. My current weight puts me at a size 14 waist (33.5 inches, 85 cm) and in between a size 14 (42.5 inches, 108 cm) and 16 (44.5 inches, 113cm) hip. Two years ago I was a size 12 waist and size 14 hip. (sigh) But I’ve gained a bit of weight since then. I chose size 16 for the skirt as well. It may be too big but I’ll find out eventually.

When I got my Juliet shirt pattern, I also discovered  that you can also buy StyleArc patterns on Amazon – but not all the styles are there. The Juliet shirt isn’t on the U.S. site. But it’s great to know that I can buy their patterns and get free shipping as an Amazon Prime member!

Papercut Patterns is a New Zealand pattern company that says it has a “strong focus on design and sustainability.” They use “100% recycled or recyclable products where possible.”

Papercut Patterns - Skipper Tunic

Papercut packaging is really lovely. You could hand the pattern in your closet. This photo is a still image of the video story I posted on Instagram when I got the pattern. So the image quality isn’t great.

Papercut Patterns packaging

Here’s the paper the instructions and pattern paper are printed on. The instructions are printed so that you cut them out and put them together into a mini booklet. This image was also part of my IG story.

I’m looking forward to making both of these patterns! Have you sewn any StyleArc or Papercut Patterns designs?