Hi! Sorry I’ve been absent for many months — life, a new job, the pandemic, sheltering in place, adjusting to working full-time at home. All of these things definitely affected my sewjo. But occasionally, I’d go through my patterns and revise my sewing queue. It changes for a variety of reasons: when I see a new pattern, reassess my fabric or pattern stash, buy fabric, and so on.
In the Bay Area we started sheltering in place on March 16 and I didn’t buy any fabric or patterns. Then towards the end of June, I made my first sewing purchases I made since the pandemic began: two patterns and some cotton and linen fabric. I was inspired after a Bay Area Sewists meetup with Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics.
That meetup was a Q&A I did with Catherine Nolan, buyer and social media manager for this Berkeley-based institution. Stonemountain had closed the brick-and-mortar store to the public and put more of its stock online. I miss being able to shop for fabric in person (!) or just meeting other sewists face to face but this is our reality for now.
I’m the organizer for the meetup group so after cancelling our March and April meetups at Britex Fabrics and Hello Stitch, respectively, due to the pandemic, I began holding virtual sewing meetups. For our May event I hosted a Show & Tell meetup on Zoom and for June. I wanted to have a conversation with Catherine about the impact of Covid on the store, what were some of their most popular patterns as well as her favorite fabrics and notions.
All attendees to that meetup got 20 percent off merchandise on that meetup day. So I splurged and added more patterns to my sewing queue.
Additions to my sewing queue
I got two of the patterns Catherine mentioned during the meetup. The first was The V-Neck Jumpsuit by Swedish pattern company The Assembly Line. I made The Assembly Line’s Elastic Tie Sweater twice (my first one blogged here) and their Three Pleat Skirt (unblogged). Plus I’ve been meaning to make a jumpsuit so I bought the pattern.
Here’s the line drawing so you can see the design details of the jumpsuit.
At that meetup, Catherine mentioned that the store got some solid cotton fabrics with a lovely weight, calling it “favorite cotton.” So I splurged and bought some of this favorite cotton in a deep navy blue for the V-Neck Jumpsuit (on the left in photo below). I don’t see any of the favorite cottons on Stonemountain’s website anymore so it must have sold out.
For the Free-Range Slacks, I decided to go for a colorful linen. So I got some coral linen for the Free-Range Slacks in an attempt to add more color to my wardrobe but I think the color is a little too bright for pants —maybe I’ll make a skirt with it because it’s a bottom weight.
The last two pairs of pants I made were black – the Friday Pattern Company’s Joan Trousers in a ponte and the Flint Pants by Megan Nielson in a linen (both unblogged but I was wearing my Flint Pants during Me Made May and took this photo below). I’ve worn the Joan Trousers a lot and the cheap poly ponte (from Fabric.com) has been pilling. I’ll be blogging about that soon. When I took this photo it was just starting to sprinkle — thus my hands were out.
What are you sewing?
Are you doing more or less sewing during the pandemic? What’s in your sewing queue? What are you making? I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Please share your thoughts in the comments!
I discovered the Assembly Line patterns at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley at a Bay Area Sewists meetup in June 2019. The first pattern I bought from this Swedish company was the Three Pleat Skirt pattern. (I will blog about the skirt after I’ve made another one because I didn’t quite follow the instructions – though I am happy with the results.) In November, I had fun shopping Stonemountain’s two-day 25 percent off sale and decided to buy two more Assembly Line patterns: the Elastic Tie Sweater (pattern here) and the Puff Shirt. Their patterns are available in digital and paper versions.
Over the holidays I decided to make the Elastic Tie Sweater. In case you’re wondering, the pattern is not drafted for sweater knits. It’s for woven fabrics; on the website page for this pattern, they suggest “mid weight fabrics such as cotton twills, denims, lightweight canvas.”
I thought this would be a great pattern to use a wax print I was gifted by a lovely colleague at work (thanks, Rachel!). She got this border print fabric in Africa a while ago. The border of small and large circles runs alongside both selvages. The selvage says “Veritable wax block print Hitarget 2016002F.”
I did a brief Google search and I was reminded that Hitarget is a Chinese company that often knocks off Dutch designs from companies such as Vlisco (read about Dutch wax prints and counterfeiting in this informative article, “West Africans ditch Dutch wax prints for Chinese ‘real fakes,'” by Northeastern University anthropology professor Nina Sylvanus). I used a Hitarget wax print for the maxi Chardon skirt I made a few years ago.
Border print details
You can see the border on the sleeves at my wrists. I cut the sleeves perpendicular to the grain so the border would be at the bottom of the sleeves. There is a dart at the elbow so the bottom of the sleeve has a curve to it. This means that you won’t be able to match the border print at the seam line. I decided that wouldn’t bother me and who looks at the sleeve seam anyway, right? 😉
It was fun to figure out where to place the border. This pattern has a center back seam so I decided to cut the back pieces so that the border was on each piece. The small circles of the design weren’t quite equidistant so I deliberately cut the pieces to make sure the smaller circles didn’t line up.
Then after sewing the 1 cm (3/8″) seam, the back looked like this.
The smaller circles are cut in half by the center back seam and that creates a different design – sort of an “S,” which wasn’t quite intentional.
The trickiest part of this pattern is sewing the front shoulder to the center back collar. But the instructions are clear and there’s a nice illustration to show you how to sew it. Here’s what it looks like before I topstitched the seam.
Here’s the inside view. My serger isn’t working at the moment so I used the zigzag stitch to finish my seams.
The Elastic Tie Sweater has four sizes: XS, S, M, and L. All measurements in the pattern are in centimeters. I did the conversions to inches (yes, in the United States we’re still using the old Imperial system, which we began when we were a British colony). The pattern has a lot of ease. I made size L, which has the following finished measurements:
Length: 59 cm (23.2 in) Bust: 119 cm (46.9 in) Bottom: 127 cm (50.8) Front center neck to end of sleeve: 84 cm (14.8 in) Upper sleeve (bicep): 46 cm (18.1)
For size L, the pattern calls for 150 cm of 140-150 cm wide fabric. This means about 1 2/3 yards of 55″-60″ wide fabric. However, my fabric was 44″ (112 cm) wide, which meant that I used more (and wasted more) fabric because the front and back pieces couldn’t be placed side by side. I probably used more than 2 yards (~183 cm) to cut out all the pieces. This is why the pattern calls for 140-150 cm wide fabric. You waste less fabric.
I have a small bust so it is quite roomy on me. I’d say that the Elastic Tie Sweater can easily fit a C cup and maybe even D, depending on how much ease you prefer. I have broad shoulders and long arms and it fit well. No need for a wide-shoulder adjustment.
I really love the high neck and the elastic tie detail. There’s interfacing in the neck facing, which is what ensures that the collar doesn’t flop over. I used Pellon Shape-Flex woven fusible interfacing, which I got from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. I had some thick elastic cord in my stash that was perfect for the Elastic Tie Sweater. You need cord that’s 3 mm in diameter. This cord gets threaded through four holes that you have to make through the facing.
The instructions direct you to use a buttonhole stitch around the hole to finish the raw edges. I used black Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus Craft & Button thread in my stash – leftover from hand sewing various skirts from the Natalie Chanin’s 2012 book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (affiliate link). (In fact, I’m wearing a handsewn knit skirt using a pattern from that book.)
I made the buttonhole stitches by hand using this heavy duty thread. Because the thread is so thick, you can’t make too many stitches. Regular thread would be fine, too. But do practice the stitches on a scrap if you aren’t familiar with this stitch. It took me a little time to figure it out and make stitches in a circle.
Here’s a closer look at the buttonhole stitches around the hole. You can see how thick the thread is. If you use button craft thread, you may need to make 4-5 mm holes, rather than 3-4 mm per the instructions.
Once the stitches are in place, you fold the cord in half, push it through the holes and knot the ends. I had a tough time pushing the cord through the holes because the thick thread made the hole smaller. I later realized I could use a loop turner to grab the cord and pull it through the holes.
I really like this pattern and will be making more of them. Quilt-weight fabric will work well with this pattern. The only drawback with the roominess of this top is that you need to wear a loose-fitting coat or jacket if it’s cold outside. If you don’t wear something loose over it, it will get wrinkled because of all the ease.
Here are two more photos of the Elastic Tie Sweater.
Congratulations! You got to the end of this post. I hope to blog a little more regularly in the new year. But I needed to take a bit of a break from my blog and social media after I started a new job and my mother passed away during the second week of that job.
Though I was still sewing, I had absolutely no interest in taking photos of anything I made or blogging. But finally, over the break, I got inspired by the fabric, the pattern, and walking by this interesting abandoned building with its rusting exterior and bed of small pink flowers. I made note of the street and decided to take my photos there – just me, my tripod, and my phone. I will revive my newsletter but likely only send it out every other month rather than monthly.
Hi, it’s been an overcast and rainy week so I decided to take photos of this boatneck top inside. The photos are pretty boring but at least you can see the finished New Look 6838 top. I wore it to work so it’s a little wrinkled from sitting this morning.
Version A has 3/4 length sleeves but as I noted in yesterday’s post about the pattern, the sleeve pattern piece was quite long. After I sewed and hemmed the sleeves, the hem was about an inch above my wrist bone. So I cut about 5 inches from the length and hemmed them again to make them the current length. And I have long arms so if you have average-length arms, the 3/4 sleeves will be long sleeves on you.
I put my finished sleeve next to the pattern piece. Here’s how much I lopped off.
The houndstooth knit fabric doesn’t have very good recovery so I think the boat neck neckline will likely get stretched out. You can already see that in the front it doesn’t quite lie flat. But this was my mockup so it doesn’t really matter.
One common complaint in the Pattern Review reviews for this pattern was that the boatneck neckline was too wide. I didn’t make any changes to the front. The width was about 3/4 inch too wide for me – even with my broad shoulders. You can see that the shoulder seamline droops a bit off my shoulder bone.
I do like the neckline because it reveals my collar bones. However, the width also reveals your bra straps. If I make it again, I’ll need to sew in bra strap holders at the shoulders and make the shoulders a little more narrow, which will be a first for me. I often do a wide shoulder adjustment.
Boatneck top – back view
This top has a center back seam, which seemed a bit unusual for a knit pattern. I decided to go with it and see what that would look like. My fabric has a tiny houndstooth print but I didn’t bother trying to match the print. The knit print was a leftover scrap from making Vogue 9191 wrap pants in 2016.
The seam curves out slightly at the bottom to give some shaping but I think you could just eliminate the seam allowance and cut it on the fold – unless you have a booty that would benefit from the curve.
You can really see the droopy shoulder here – partly because the top was shifting because the neck opening is a little too wide. It doesn’t quite droop this much. If I center the top, it’s about 3/4 inch off.
I did stabilize the hem with fusible stay tape but as you can see the hem is a little rippled. I used a twin needle but I haven’t pressed the hem. Maybe it’ll be a little flatter after pressing.
Here’s another view of the left side.
Here’s a look at the right side of this boatneck top. I pulled down the back to smooth out the wrinkles and pulled down the neckline back there. So it looks like the hem is lower in the back but it’s not drafted as a high-low top. The hem is actually the same length front and back.
Making it again
I will certainly make this boatneck top pattern again because I like the bateau neckline. I will bring in the shoulders about 3/4 inch and shorten the sleeves by 5 inches. I’ll pick a medium weight jersey with good recovery and make sure I test fusible stay tapes and whether I should use a double needle or just a zigzag stitch, whichever will look better. (I don’t have a cover stitch machine.)
I’m not sure if I’ll keep that center back seam. This pattern could be a good stash buster. You could have fun color blocking it – using different colors for the back, sleeves and front.
Hi, I got this New Look pattern a while ago – mainly for the boatneck top. This neckline is one of my favorite styles. New Look 6838 is likely out-of-print because I couldn’t find it on the Simplicity website. I discovered that the pattern has been in print for several years when I noticed that my envelope looks like this…
… and I saw the pattern envelope on Pattern Review, which shows this old New Look design.
I searched for the oldest PR reviews for this pattern and saw that reviwes went back to 2002! Wow. I didn’t realize that some patterns can stay in print that long! It must have been a really popular pattern.
I skimmed a couple of reviews and learned that for most people, the neckline on version A of the top (the striped one), was too wide and the 3/4 sleeves were more like full-length sleeves.
However, I didn’t read the reviews until I had already cut and sewn everything but the hems. Oops. I was using fabric leftover from other projects so it didn’t really matter. This is my mockup. The houndstooth knit was a fabric from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics sale floor. I used it to make a pair of wrap pants from a Vogue pattern. The fabric doesn’t have much recovery.
I’m not sure where I got the black prom gown fabric for the sleeves. I have quite a lot of black jersey and other solid black knit fabrics in my stash.
New Look 6838 pattern adjustments
I did a 1/8″ square shoulder adjustment on this top – probably not really necessary considering this was a knit top.
The hem of the so-called 3/4 sleeves landed about an inch or so above my wrist – too long. So I cut off about 5 inches from the sleeves to make them 3/4 length. I have long arms but even these sleeves were too long for me.
I also have broad shoulders so I thought, “Why not sew a 1/2″ center back seam instead of 5/8″ seam?” That was just a whim as I was pinning the back before sewing it. But I didn’t need to make it wider. (Note to self: Measure the pattern pieces before making an adjustment.)
One of the results of making the back a little wider is that the neckline gaped in the back. My fabric also got a little stretched out so I think the gaping was the result of fabric and the seam allowance. This houndstooth knit doesn’t have much recovery. So I unpicked the neck hem around the center back seam. My first attempt wasn’t quite right because my seam wasn’t gradual enough to lay flat. I drew a line for my second attempt. The stitching on the right is the original seam.
I didn’t make any other changes to New Look 6838.
Stabilizing the fabric
This houndstooth jersey fabric needed some stabilizing at the neck, which I neglected to do. If this were my fashion fabric, not a mockup, I would have played around with the fabric – stretching it out and looking at the recovery (how quickly did it spring back).
I hemmed this top with a zig zag stitch at the neckline and for the sleeve hems. I used a twin needle for the hem of the body.
For the hem of the body, I used Design Plus super fine bias fusible stay tape. It comes in white and black. I had white in my stash so I used that. I usually get it at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. (Here’s an affiliate link to black super fine stay tape.)
Note on New Look 6838’s sleeves
I used some lightweight black jersey that was in my stash. It was a lighter weight than the houndstooth knit I used for the body.
The sleeves of New Look 6838 are treated like sleeves for a woven: You sew a straight stitch in between the notches on the sleeve head, slightly gather the seams and ease the inset sleeve into the body with the side seams already sewn.
I thought I could sew the sleeve head to the body and then sew one long seam from the sleeve hem down the side seam to the bottom hem of the body. But my sleeve fabric was too fiddly. So I pretty much followed the instructions. Maybe if I used a knit fabric of the same weight for the sleeves and the body, sewing it the other way may have worked.
It rained over the weekend so I didn’t get a chance to take any photos of me wearing the finished top. I’ll have to do that in a separate post. I’ll be sure to wear a fun hat for those photos.
Lastly, here are some questions for you: Do you make a mockup (aka toile or muslin) before you sew your fashion fabric? When you are trying a new pattern (or new-to-you pattern)? I’d love to hear from you!
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
I love veils on hats. These are a bit fancy but who knows when you need a fancy accessory, right?
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.
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.
This Vintage Vogue reissue (V9295) is from the 1940s. I love the neckline, which has front tucks.
Look at those tucks and lovely neckline!
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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a pattern for a costume (M7733) but I’d just wear it as a regular jacket.
The drawstring detail on this Butterick dress is nice (B6552).
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.
This pattern (B6556) by Gertie has a lovely square neckline.
And that’s the end of my roundup. Have you seen any new Big Four 2018 spring patterns that you like?
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!
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).
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.
Here’s a closer look.
Here’s the opening I left in the side seam. This is where I’ll turn the coat inside out.
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.
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.
Here’s a look at the lining corner after I sewed the bottom hem.
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.
The Sapporo Coat lining is now attached to the facing and hem and looks like this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a bit tedious but it was worth it. Here’s a close-up of the finished (and invisible!) hand stitching.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
… 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.
Here’s what it looks like on the wrong side. I clipped the seam where it curves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a rather thick seam as you can see so I trimmed down the seam allowances to try to reduce the bulk.
Then I understitched the cuffs.
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.
Here’s another look at the completed cuff.
Here’s that the coat looks like from the wrong side – before the lining is attached.
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!
And here’s another view of the back, which gives you an idea of how roomy the coat is.
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.
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.;)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stopping before you get to the edge, lets you sew this diagonal seam.
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.
And then the bottom inside corner looks like this.
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.
The large cuff attaches to the front top piece and the back shoulder piece.
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.
I like the diagonal lines formed by the front seams and the pockets of the Sapporo Coat.
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!
Stay tuned for my wool coating version of the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat!
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.
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.
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.
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 Sewistsfitting 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!
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).
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. 😉
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.
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 – 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.
There are two darts in the back.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
hook and eye
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?