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

Fall sewing patterns – Simplicity and Vogue

Fall sewing patterns - Vogue V9267, Simplicity 8452, New Look 6532, Simplicity vintage reissue 8462

Hi, I finally took some time to go through the new fall sewing patterns from the Big 4 – Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. I wondered if I would see anything I liked. Some patterns were not very interesting or were just things I wouldn’t wear. But I did see a few from each company that I would like to sew.

Here are a few highlights, in no particular order, from Simplicity and Vogue. I’ll get to fall patterns from Butterick and McCalls later this month. This post would have been way to long to do all four!

Simplicity fall sewing patterns

I like this interesting 1950s knit top pattern (8452) reissued by Simplicity this year. If you visit this page, be sure to click on the tab “Envelope Back,” which has what appears to be the original illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to put it on.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Check out the front, which just tucks in the waist of whatever you’re wearing.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Love the back! I only wonder if it will stayed tucked in the front. It’s super easy to make because it’s just a rectangle so I will definitely check it out.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Apparently Simplicity will be celebrating its 90th anniversary next year. I also discovered that in honor of this event, they are selling various sewing-related goodies on their website, including a sewing planner and tote bags – all featuring vintage Simplicity images.

I’m assuming the anniversary is the reason why they are reissuing so many vintage patterns. There are patterns from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, such as this 1940s ensemble (8462).

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8462 - 1940 vintage sewing pattern - envelope front

I rarely see vintage separates reissued. I would make this bolero jacket, blouse and skirt pattern! But I likely wouldn’t wear them all together unless I made the skirt and jacket in different colors. I’m not too thrilled by the fabric choices here.

I love vintage dresses and have made a few, which you can see here and here, but I realize that I don’t wear them very much. So I’ve decided to focus on garments that I know I’ll wear more than once or twice a year.

This Simplicity pattern seems influenced by sewing blogs, which is where I first heard people discussing pattern hacks. So here’s a skirt that was drafted to be hacked. I like the drape of this skirt as is so I may just buy it for the basic skirt.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8474 - skirt pattern hack

The only other new Simplicity-related pattern I’d like to make is this New Look pattern (6352), which are very reasonably priced – just $4.29 at full price!

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

I really love the jacket. You could make it from a great home dec fabric.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - jacket

The pants are nice, too. I like the subtle flare.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

Vogue fall sewing patterns

I’m sure many people have seen Kathryn Brenne’s stunning design for this knit dress. See the image at the top to see what that skirt looks like when it’s fully open. Amazing.

Fall sewing pattern - V9268 Kathryn Brenne dress

I saw on Kathryn’s Instagram account (@kathrynbrenneoriginal) that the pattern sold out once already. Wow. So I guess Vogue did another printing because it’s still available on the website. (Follow her IG to see her great style – such striking clothes and great accessories.)

One thing I realized when looking at the current crop of Vogue patterns is that many of them have several designs aimed at covering up certain parts of the body, such as the belly, hips and derriere. It makes me wonder about the age demographic of Vogue pattern buyers. 😉 [See comments below about why this sentence is struck out.]

Here’s a fall pattern by Sandra Betzina (V1515). It doesn’t look all that interesting on this model but I saw another version in person on Sandra when I attended Artistry in Fashion last month. She eliminated the elastic around the neckline and it looked much better.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit - Sandra Betzina - V1515

Here’s the pattern cover. Sandra says she noticed in Japan that they have layered tops. She designed this one to be similar to what she saw there. It leaves a deliberate gap between the skirt and the hem of the top. Sandra says this helps to hide the waist.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina, V1515

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of her wearing the version she made. But it was flattering and I think this would be a fun layering piece to have in my wardrobe.

Sandra wore a version of this dress (V1551) to Artistry in Fashion, too. It doesn’t look very exciting here, perhaps because of the fabric choices but I can tell you that it looked more interesting on Sandra. The bottom half reminds me of Kathryn Brenne’s dress.

Fall sewing pattern - Todays Fit by Sandra Betzina - V1552

The important thing when making this dress is to use a fabric that drapes nicely. Otherwise the sides will stick out, which would be unflattering.

OK, I know I said I was going to highlight patterns I would make, but this custom-fit Vogue dress (V9267) is so pretty, I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Also, it has separate pieces for different cup sizes (A through D) and there are two skirt options, this flared one and a fitted version.

Fall sewing pattern - Vogue V9267 - dress with custom fitting options for bust

What are you making this fall?

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

Sewing pattern height – a chart

Sewing pattern height - a blog post about the height different sewing pattern companies design for, including a chart

Everyone’s body is different. We come in all shapes and sizes, which can make it challenging to find a sewing pattern that fits your body. Luckily, some indie sewing patterns design for a particular body type. For example, Sewaholic Patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, Cashmerette Patterns for curvy figures (cup sizes C–H) and Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Patterns (SBCC) for petite ladies. Each size is designed for a particular bust, waist and hip measurement, but not every company provides the sewing pattern height.

I’m 5′ 8″ (172 cm) and I really haven’t given much thought to the height that patterns are designed for. I’ll be sewing more pants (trousers for you UK and Aussie sewists) so I’m looking more closely at height; then I can make any pattern adjustments before I cut my fabric. I recently finished the Mimosa Culottes by Named Clothing, a Finnish pattern company that designs for my height. I liked the length on the model in the photo so I didn’t make any changes to the length.

Named - Lexi A-line top and Mimosa Culottes

My next pair will be Megan Nielsen’s Flint Pants. I discovered that she designs for a height 5′ 9″ (175 cm) so I trimmed one inch from the length on my pattern piece before I cut my muslin. This experience made me want to find out what height pattern companies use for their designs. And of course, I thought, why not make a chart of all the companies whose patterns I’ve sewn or are in my stash? So that’s how I selected the list of companies. – with the exception of Cashmerette, whose patterns I don’t yet own, partly because I’d have to do a significant small bust adjustment. (I’m an A cup.) So this is by no means a comprehensive list. But I will be updating it. If you are a pattern company and would like to be added to this list, please contact me and send me a link to your size chart, height and cup size you design for.

As far as I can tell, the Big Four (Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue) all use the same height for misses (5′ 5″ to 5′ 6″) and petite (5′ 2 to 5′ 3″/157 cm to 160 cm). Simplicity’s website doesn’t have a standalone size chart on its website but this sewing pattern website lists all Simplicity measurements here.

The chart includes links to each company’s body measurements/size chart (if they have one), the height they design for and the cup size. I don’t know what cup size the Big Four uses so I left that blank. I’ll fill it in when I find out.

Pattern Co. Size Chart Height-in Height-cm Cup Size
Blueprints for Sewing 5′ 5″ 165  B
Burda women’s regular 5′ 6 1/4″ 168
Burda women’s petite 5′ 3″ 160
Burda women’s tall 5′ 9 1/4″ 176
Butterick 5′ 5″–5 ‘6″ 165–168
Cashmerette 5′ 6″ 168  C–H
Christine Haynes 5′ 6″ 168  B
Closet Case Files 5′ 6″ 168  B
Deer and Doe 5′ 6″ 168  C–D
Itch to Stitch 5′ 6″ 168  A–DD
McCalls – misses 5′ 5″–5′ 6″ 165–168
Megan Nielsen 5′ 9″ 175  B/C
Named Clothing 5′ 8″ 172  B
Papercut Patterns 5′ 3″–5′ 8″ 160–172  B/C
Paprika Patterns 5′ 7″ 170  A-F
SBCC Patterns 5′ 1″ 155  varies
Sew House Seven 5′ 6″ 168  B
Sewaholic 5′ 4″ 162 B
Style Arc 5′ 6″ 168 B
Vogue  5′ 5″–5′ 6″ 165–168

Not all of the indie designers include this info on their websites so in some cases, I contacted the companies to find out. They graciously answered my queries within a few days. I hope you find the information useful.

Sewing pattern height is an interesting measurement but it’s not the most important one. Patterns an easily be adjusted for length. The critical measurements are bust, waist and hips. The finished measurements are also very helpful when it comes to pants and skirts. When I make skirts or pants, all I first look at the hip measurement to pick my size. What measurements are the most important for you when you choose a size to sew?

Sewing pattern height - chart listing Big Four and indie pattern heights (Christine Haynes, Closet Case Files, Deer and Doe, Named, Megan Nielsen, Papercut, Paprika, Style Arc, and more)

Pattern Review – Vogue 9191 sewing pattern

Hi, reviewed the Vogue 9191 wrap pants sewing pattern on Pattern Review. I made them last month and blogged about them here.

Vogue 9191 - wrap pants - V9191

You can find my review on Pattern Review here (I’m Csews on PR) and you can read it below.

Vogue 9191 - Wrap pants in houndstooth jersey - left view - V9191

Pattern Description: This pattern has four pieces – poncho, sleeveless top, shorts, wide-leg front-wrap pants.

I bought the pattern for the pants, which the pattern describes as “Wide-leg, front-wrap pants (fitted through hips) have back-button front waistband, back waistband with tie ends, and no side seams.” Suggested fabrics – crepe, linen blends, jersey, silk broadcloth.

Pattern Sizing: 4 to 26 on the Vogue website but the pattern envelope I have says Lrg to XXL. Large is 16-18, XL 20-22, XL 20-22. I’m size L.

Vogue 9191 - Wrap pants in houndstooth jersey - front view - V9191

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I made the wrap pants in a jersey knit. They were easy to make once I figured out the best way to sew the 10 darts (6 in front, 4 in back) in a jersey knit fabric. I sewed the darts using a shallow zigzag stitch and tear-away stabilizer. There are only 4 pattern pieces (front, back, tie pieces).

Fabric Used: Jersey knit with a tiny houndstooth print – a stable knit with no stretch, fusible knit interfacing.

Vogue 9191 - Wrap pants in houndstooth jersey - back view - V9191

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut size L for most of the pattern except for the sides of the pants, which are the part that wraps around your legs. I cut XL for extra coverage. My hips are 43 and size L is for hips 40-42, XL is 44-46. I cut size L for the inseam. I shortened the pants by 1 inch but they are still a little too long. Finished length is 42 inches (107 cm). I cut the ties at the XL mark so the front piece, which buttons in the back was a little too long.

The front piece buttons in the back at the waist and the back ties in the front. The pant legs are quite wide and overlap so you have a lot of coverage. By cutting my pants using the XL line, I made them a few inches wider, providing even more coverage – especially on a windy day. If I wear them with leggings, I will be able to wear them nearly year-round in the Bay Area.

The pattern calls for one 3/4 inch button. I only had 1/2 inch buttons in my stash so I used two 1/2 inch buttons, which seemed to make it more stable. With my current button placement, the pants sit a little below my waist. I may add a third button so I have the option of wearing them higher.

Instead of sewing a 5/8″ narrow hem on the sides and bottom, I serged a 3/8″ (1 cm) hem for the sides and bottom (trimming off the excess), then I folded the fabric at serged edge and sewed it down using a shallow zigzag stitch.

Would you sew it again? Yes. Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

Conclusion: These pants are really comfortable to wear. I feel like I’m wearing pajamas. The only drawbacks are no pockets and managing the pants when you’re in the restroom. For more on the pants and for more photos, see my blog post on CSews.com here.

Vogue 9191 - Wrap pants in houndstooth jersey - front view - V9191

Pattern Review - Vogue 9191 wrap pants V9191

Nita Wrap Skirt – pattern testing for Sew DIY!

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - csews.com

Ta-daaaa! I did some pattern testing this month for Beth of Sew DIY. Her latest pattern is the Nita Wrap Skirt. The pattern isn’t final yet so this is not a review of the pattern but a preview. (You can see her other patterns here.) It was a little windy during this photo shoot so if the skirt isn’t hanging straight, blame it on the wind, not the pattern or my sewing. 😉

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - left view - csews.com

This was my first experience testing a pattern. The timing was perfect for me – it didn’t take long to sew, I already had this fabric, and I had been in a sewing slump. I hadn’t made anything since December. So I was happy to sew again and have a deadline. Photos and comments were due on March 8. I finished the Nita Wrap Skirt last weekend and took photos on Sunday, March 6.

How did I become a pattern tester? I got an email from Beth with the subject line “Call for Pattern Testers,” which detailed what she was looking for, people with a range of skill levels and sizes, and willingness to test the pattern without monetary compensation, and her deadlines. I filled out her form and ten days later received an email saying that I’d been selected to test the Nita Wrap Skirt pattern. You can see the many other pattern testers’ versions on Instagram using the hashtag #NitaWrapSkirt. If you’re interested in pattern testing for indie designers, just keep an eye out on social media and sewing blogs or contact designers you like and let them know you’re interested and available to test a pattern when they have a new release.

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - front view

Note: I didn’t make the top. It’s made from a rather clingy knit, which didn’t look too flattering in the bewb area due to the shadows and the fact that it’s a little (ahem) tight.  Most of the front view ones looked pretty bad. I’m only including this one to give you an idea of how the front opening is angled. On the longer versions of the skirt there is a slight opening, which you can see below. For the shorter versions, the front pieces overlap.

The skirt pattern that I tested had three lengths – mini, midi, and maxi. I made mine in between the midi and the maxi. I just like that length. You can see that I made my Anna dresses at this length as well.  I call it “C length” (C for Chuleenan). 😉

There are three options for the waistband – button, D-rings, or bow. And you can make a lined or an unlined one. I opted to make mine without lining and finish the side seams with French seams.

I used a medium-weight, navy pinwale corduroy with tiny white polka dots, which is hard to tell in the photos of the full skirt. So here’s a process shot of the buttonhole and my covered button to give you a close-up view of the fabric. It’s soft and has a very nice drape to it. I got the fabric from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse for $2/yard. Great price, eh? People donate fabric to this nonprofit organization, which then sells it at a low price to the public. I think teachers get stuff for free if they are going to use supplies in the classroom. (Whenever Bay Area Sewists has a pattern swap or fabric swap, I donate the leftover goods to the Depot.)

Button hole and covered button - Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - csews.com

The button is on the waistband to left of my hand in this photo below. Sorry,  my photos were underexposed and I could only lighten them so much before they looked worse – but at least you can make out the polka dots in this one!

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - close up

Here’s my French seam and my hem. I used black bias hem tape. I read Jen of Grainline Studio‘s post on seam allowances for French seams before I sewed the side seams. The Nita Wrap Skirt has a 5/8″ seam allowance. Following Jen’s instructions, I sewed a 3/8″ seam (wrong sides together), trimmed the seam allowance in half, pressed the seam open, then sewed a 1/4″ seam right sides together.  And voila!

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - French seams & bias tape hem

I was delighted that this skirt goes so well with this my cropped black jacket, which I made from a vintage Vogue reissue (V3924, blogged here). You can make the skirt dressy or casual depending on the fabric you choose. With this jacket, it has a rather elegant look. But you could make it out of lightweight denim for a more casual look. Or make a shorter version with bright colors for a fun and sporty look.

Nita Wrap Skirt (Sew DIY pattern) with Vogue Jacket - csews.com

I made the jacket from sweatshirt fabric. Here’s another shot of the skirt and jacket.

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY pattern - with vintage Vogue jacket - csews.com

And last but not least, a note on accessories. My hat is a vintage eight-sectioned wool beret, which I secured with a hat pin in the back. I got this lovely hat at All Things Vintage in Oakland – my favorite place for vintage hats. The bracelet is from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store, my earrings are vintage clip-ons from a sale at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, and my shoes are Arche, which I got several years ago at Loehmann’s, the now defunct designer discount store. I love wedge heels and these are really comfy.

Nita Wrap Skirt and beret - csews.com

Have you done any pattern testing? Do you ever wear what you made? I know I know I’ll be wearing this skirt out. Happy sewing everyone!

UPDATE: The Nita Wrap Skirt pattern is now available for purchase! You can buy it here.

Nita Wrap Skirt - Sew DIY sewing pattern - indie pattern

It’s Sewing Indie Month and National Sewing Month!

Hi, in case you didn’t notice, September is the month to celebrate sewing. Yep, it’s not only Sewing Indie Month, it’s National Sewing Month! So if you need to jump-start your sewjo, this is the month to do it.

Sewing Indie Month - Blueprints for Sewing - A-Frame skirt - csews.com

I finished my project for The Refashioners 2015 challenge – to make something from a men’s shirt. (See my post Refashion, Stylish Remakes book review. Psssssst – if you comment on that post, you’ll be entered to win a copy of the Japanese sewing book Stylish Remakes.)

I’ve been wondering if I should attempt making something for Sewing Indie Month, which celebrates “indie sewing patterns and people who make them.” A couple of weeks ago I bought Pattern Bundle #2 (paying $25 and getting 5 PDF patterns – 20% of the proceeds go to the nonprofit organization Women for Women, which helps women survivors of war.) But I hadn’t made anything yet. Then I got this fortune cookie and decided it was a sign – time to get going on my Blueprints for Sewing A-frame skirt and maybe a Nettie Bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns, and a pair of Rose Hips Tights by Seamster Patterns!

Fortune cookie fortune - sewing indie month 2015

I got a PDF of the Nettie bodysuit/dress pattern as part of my bundle and I got the Rose Hips Tights paper pattern from Mari, the designer behind Seamster Patterns and the founder of Sewing Indie Month. Mari and I follow each other on social media and I got to meet her in person when she was in the Bay Area.

More than 20 designers are participating in Sewing Indie Month (#SIM2015), offering tutorials, interviews, and prizes! Yes –  there are sewing contests – make something from one of the patterns or tutorials by one of the participating designers.

I need more casual clothes so I’m aiming to enter the Everyday Casual contest hosted by Idle Fancy. The other contests are Pattern Hacking, hosted by Ronda’s Creative Life and Dressed to the Nines, hosted by Lilacs and Lace. It’s not too late to enter! Your projects just need to be posted by Sunday, Oct. 4. Check out the contest rules here.

I bought the A-Frame pattern more than three months ago but I got busy with other things and only got as far as tracing some of the pieces. I think I saw a finished skirt on Instagram and I really liked the design of version 2, which has a lovely flare. But in the interests of stashbusting, I’m going to make version 1 using this denim fabric, which I got 40% off at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco. I’m going to use both sides of this fabric and use the lighter (wrong?) side of the fabric as the contrast part of the skirt.

Striped denim fabric - csews.com

Don’t be put off by the drawing on the front of the pattern! Yes, the gals pictured seem a bit rustic and the boot-wearing gal on the left seems like she’s ready to go for a hike but …

A-frame - Blueprints for Sewing - csews.com

… check out the line drawings! The pencil skirt and the A-line skirt have lovely lines. Plus you gotta admit, those cover gals are unique and the artist is offering an image of a woman who you don’t typically see on pattern envelopes – women with real figures, not a super-slim models with sticks for legs. You know they saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, don’t just a pattern by the models on the front.

A-frame skirt - Blueprints for Sewing line drawing - csews.com

And here’s a finished version 1 – the pencil skirt (oh the color blocking possibilities!) – from Blueprints for Sewing’s website:

A-frame skirt - version 1 - Blueprints for Sewing pattern

And here’s a finished version 2, the A-line Skirt (love the pockets!):

Blueprints for Sewing - A-frame skirt - version 2

So it was the line drawings and the finished versions that sold me. I bought a paper pattern and then I contacted the designer to see if she’d be interested in donating some of her patterns to give away at an upcoming Bay Area Sewists meetup. (I’m the organizer for the group.) And she generously offered to send the A-Frame Skirt and the Cabin Shirt/Shift Dress. This Saturday our meetup is at Sips N Sews in San Francisco and we’ll hold a drawing for the A-Frame Skirt AND for Seamster Patterns Rose Hips Tights! If you’re in the Bay Area, you can RSVP for this meetup here. Thank you Blueprints for Sewing and Seamster Patterns!

Check out this illustration of color blocking ideas!

A-frame skirt - Blueprints for Sewing - csews.com

I’m going to make a mock-up of this skirt using this blue floral sheet under the color-blocking drawing.  I got the sheet at Goodwill (charity shop) for a couple of dollars. You know what I’ll be doing over the next week!

What are you making for Sewing Indie Month or National Sewing Month?

Finished: My First Chardon Skirt

Deer and Doe - Chardon Skirt - sewing pattern

Voila! I finished my first Chardon skirt during my sewcation (sewing vacation!) over the holidays. This was my very first Deer & Doe sewing pattern. I made the skirt from this pretty floral fabric I got from my mom’s closet – a cotton twill with some Lycra in it.  I’m usually not into pink but I love these flowers against a black background. Such happy colors!

The pattern calls for a medium-weight fabric and this was a little heavier than that. But I like it because I can put stuff in my pockets without ruining the line of the skirt. Plus when you use a fabric with a little heft to it, you can really see the fullness of the skirt and you don’t need a crinoline. It just had nice body to it as is. I think if you use a lightweight fabric, you’ll end up with a droopy skirt and you won’t really be able to appreciate the inverted box pleats.

I’m wearing my black suede boots in the above photo. I had to lighten it so you could see my boots. They seem to meld with the tights in the other photos. The sun was shining on the other side of the street but I just love this red wall.

Green bracelet - csews.com

The Chardon skirt has pockets, which I love. In fact, I had my hands in my pockets for most of the photos! Heheh.

Chardon skirt - side view - csews.com

You can make the skirt with belt loops or a bow or neither. I left off the belt loops because I wasn’t sure if I would like a belt with it. And I’m not a bit fan of bows, plus I read in Camille’s post about her Chardon skirt that the bow in the back wasn’t very comfortable. Apparently the knot dug into her back when she sat down. Her linen version is very pretty and is what inspired me to make this high-waisted skirt.

Chardon skirt - back view - csews.com

I’m showing my finished Chardon skirt first and then I’ll be doing a separate post on the making of the skirt so you can see the details. I’m doing this backwards but it will take me a while to go through those photos and I didn’t want to wait another week before posting about it.

I pretty much followed the pattern as is (traced a size 44) and made a couple of minor adjustments:

  • invisible zipper instead of a regular zipper in the back,
  • deeper pockets because I have long fingers,
  • slightly longer length because the pattern is drafted for someone who’s about 5 feet, 5 inches tall (1 m 68 cm) – and I’m 5′ 8″ (about 172 cm).

This is essentially my muslin. The waist has a little too much ease at the top so I think I’ll take in the center back seam just a little bit – maybe 1 cm or 3/8 inch.

Chardon skirt - belt - csews.com

I did take some photos with a belt and my black leather shoes but I don’t know if this is the right belt. Here’s what it looks like from the back.

Chardon skirt - back view - csews.com

Then I went across the street, which was the sunny side of the street.

Chardon skirt - front - csews.com

In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing a black vintage velvet hat, which doesn’t photograph well because it sucks up the light.

Chardon skirt - side - csews.com

Vintage black hat - csews.comHere’s a detail of the hat – the crown and underside of the brim is black velvet and the top of the brim is a black fabric (photo lightened so you can see the velvet). My husband doesn’t really like this hat for some reason. He thinks it’s odd or maybe too small for my head but I like it. I use a hat pin to keep it on my head

 

Chardon skirt - back view - csews.com

See how full the skirt is?

Chardon skirt - csews.com

This is a great pattern for people with hips! I didn’t need to grade up in the hip area, which I usually need to do. 😉

Chardon skirt - csews.com

Stay tuned for construction details. Meanwhile thanks for visiting!

Deer & Doe Chardon Skirt - csews.com

WIPs: 1952 Wrap Blouse and Vintage Vogue Pattern

Deacades of Style 1950s Wrap Blouse - csews.com

I’m happy to say that I have two WIPs (works in progress). I traced and cut two patterns last weekend: Decades of Style’s 1952 Wrap Blouse and a dress from a vintage Vogue pattern. If you aren’t t familiar with Decades of Style Pattern Company, this Berkeley-based business reproduces vintage patterns from the 1920s through the 1950s. I made another pattern by this company, the 1940s Girl Friday Blouse, a couple of years ago. (You can see my version on this post: My Fall for Cotton 1940s Girl Friday Blouse Is Finished!)

I’m going to use this red polka dot cotton voile to make the Wrap Blouse. I originally got about five yards of this fabric on sale at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco to make a dress but it’s fall now and I’d rather make a top, which I can wear in the fall. Even thought it’s fall, it’s still pretty warm in the Bay Area so I think I can wear it for a while.

I’m making size B, which is for bust sizes 36, 38, and 40. Size B yardage is 2 3/4 yard (about 2.5 meters) for 44 wide, 2 yards (about 1.8 meters) for 60 wide. However, this fabric was 54″ wide, which meant that 2 yards would be too little. So I had to use about 2 3/4  yard to accommodate the large front pattern piece. As you can see from the photo below, my table wasn’t wide enough. I had to work on the floor to cut this pattern piece.

Wrap blouse front pattern piece - csews.com

But I did finish cutting the pieces and searched my stash of Petersham ribbon and found that I had a yard of red – yay. The pattern says to use grosgrain or Petersham ribbon for an inside belt. The pattern includes a belting guide so you can mark the center front and underarm areas. you can see my chalk mark on the ribbon below. I’m going to take a risk and just make this blouse as is. I’m hoping I won’t be swimming in the blouse because I’m not doing an SBA (small bust adjustment). I’m hoping that because it is a wrap blouse, it will be fine (fingers crossed!).

1952 Wrap blouse pattern pieces cut - csews.com

I can’t remember where I got this vintage Vogue pattern. It doesn’t have a copyright date but I think it has an early 1970s feel. What do you think?

Vintage Vogue 8343 dress patter - csews.com

The pattern pieces were really wrinkled! The previous owner just crumpled them up and stuffed them in the envelope. :/

I had never seen a pattern that wrinkled before. (The horror!) I’m the kind of person who will spend 15 minutes refolding patterns exactly as the printer folded them. I had to iron each piece and then discovered that the back facing piece was missing. But it’s just a small curving piece so I figured I could just draft one by tracing the top curve of the back pattern piece, which I did.

This dress has six sections – two front pieces, two side front pieces, two side back, and two center back.I think it would be fun to color block. I traced the woman in red on the pattern to see how that could look, which you can sort of see in the photo below.

knit wool color block - vintage Vogue dress - csews.com

I spent a small fortune at Britex Fabrics on two pieces of wool jersey – one was this black remnant and the other was this beautiful deep red from the first floor where all the expensive silks and wools are. I got 1 1/4 yards (1.14 meters) of the red – just enough for the center front and back pieces. I have plenty of the black for the sides and sleeves – if I make the long-sleeve version.

I traced the pattern pieces and decided that I needed more room in the armhole. The sleeves are fitted so I decided to drop the armhole about an inch. You can see the penciled in line below.

Sleeve - vintage vogue 8343 - csews.com

Oh, and before I forget – let me just mention that I broke out my new erasable highlighters for this pattern. Thanks to Brooke of Custom Style for her great tip, I now highlight all my pattern notches and markings so I don’t forget to mark my fabric before I remove the pins. (Brooke is a costumer and expert seamstress. You can see her various project in progress on IG (@sewbrooke).)

I like to use the pink highlighter because I’m not fond of pink so I won’t ignore the notches. 😉

Erasable highlighters - csews.com

I like this particular highlighter by Foray because you erase the highlighter using the other side – a white tip, which is also a marker but when you run it over the highlighter markings, the highlighter disappears like magic.

Foray erasable highlighter - csews.com

Pilot also makes an erasable highlight but it erases via the friction or heat generating from erasing. When you use the eraser end on it, your mark disappears but you can also tear your pattern paper from the rubbing motion. Because it is heat sensitive you could also use an iron to erase it but that could get annoying – turning on your iron to erase a highlighter mark.

You can get both of these highlighters at office supply stores.

I’m going to make a muslin of the dress from some brown jersey in my stash. It’s not really the same weight or hand, plus it has a touch of lycra in it, but I think I can at least check and see how the arms fit. Then maybe I’ll get some other knit fabric that is closer to the hand of my wool jersey and make another muslin. If you know a place where I can buy some really cheap wool jersey, please let me know.

Have you made anything from wool jersey? This will be my first time sewing wool jersey. I’ve only sewn cotton jersey, rayon knits, and fleece. If you have any tips, feel free to pass them on.

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Finished: My Red Anna Dress

Red Anna Dress - By Hand London - sewing pattern - csews.com

I made a red Anna Dress! This is the second project I made as part of my summer stashbusting mission. Yep – I’m participating in Summer Stashbust 2014. My first project was The Trench. I seem to be making stuff from fabric I’ve had for a couple of years. Well, that’s not exactly true. I bought the solid red fabric – Robert Kauffman Radiance, a cotton-silk sateen, from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley last month. So it’s really not a stashbust fabric but it has a very nice hand that went well with my fabric. This cotton-silk blend is super shiny on one side and more of a matte finish but with a slight sheen on the other side, which went well with my print. I used the more matte side as the “right” side of my fabric.

Stashbust 2014 - red circle fabric - csews.com - C Sews
Robert Kauffman Radiance on left, stash fabric on right

[Confession: The stashbust challenge goes from June 21 to Sept. 21. But I wasn’t paying attention to the cutoff date and I bought this solid red fabric a day after the challenge started. Ooops!]

I’ve had this print – large sort of ying/yang randomly placed circles of two shades of red on an off-white background for about three or four years. It’s a cotton lycra blend. I think I bought it because I liked the colors but I didn’t consider just how big those circles were and how overwhelming they’d be on a skirt. So it just languished in my stash. And when the stashbust challenge came up I looked at it again and realized it could work if I broke it up with a solid red fabric. The print wouldn’t be as overwhelming.

Sketch of color blocking - Anna Dress - csews.comSo I decided to make a color blocked Anna Dress, the oh-so-popular By Hand London pattern, with a solid red bodice and then alternating skirt panels. But I had to think about how that would work because there are three skirt panels in the front and four in the back.

I thought I could alternate the panels: print/solid/print/solid. But you can’t alternate all the panels when you have an odd number of panels. Two panels will need to be the same fabric. I made this sketch to figure it out.

For the front, I decided the center and would be solid red and the two side panels the circle print. For the back I would put the solid red on the sides and use the print for the two center panels. The letters on my sketch refer to the Anna pattern pieces.

I cut out my pattern pieces almost exactly as I had for my first Anna Dress, which I made for Sewing Indie Month, except that I added about an inch of length to the sleeves.

After I pressed the pleats/darts in the bodice, spraying a little water here and there, I saw that wet spots really showed up, which meant it wouldn’t look so great on a hot summer day. So after I posted a blurry photo on Instagram  (@csews) and asked folks for advice (line or not?), I decided I did need a lining. If I had thought about this earlier, I would have underlined and just sewed the pleats/darts into both pieces of fabric together. That’s what Heather of Handmade by Heather B did when she made her Tiki Goddess Anna Dress. I confess that I never really gave much thought to underlining until I read Seamstress Erin PhD’s post When to Underline Your Sewing. I’ve lined dresses and skirts but I haven’t underlined anything.

Because I already put the pleats/darts in the bodice, I couldn’t underline. So I cut another bodice but I didn’t add length to sleeves. Then I sewed the pleats/darts, and attached the two bodice pieces at the neckline. I put the shiny side of the fabric on the inside – it’s oh so soft and luxurious. But I sewed the side seams together like an underlining as you can see in the back view here. I did the same thing when I attached the skirt to the bodice as you can see here. I didn’t feel like hand stitching a lining to the waist. 😉

Anna Dress - Back view lining - By Hand London - csews.com

I hemmed the sleeves by folding the ends twice and hand stitching it to the lining, which was cut the same length as the pattern pieces. Here’s a view of the inside of the bodice. Check out that sleeve hem!

Anna Dress - By Hand London - Inside sleeve hem - csews.com

For this version I sewed french seams for the skirt panel pieces.

French seams - Anna Dress - By Hand London - csews.com

I tried to careful in sewing and pressing my french seams, hoping that my bodice seams would line up but they were slightly off in two spots so when I pinned I eased them as much as I could to line them up.

And here are more photos of the dress. I took a lot of photos so you can see the color blocking. I’m wearing my white straw hat, which I got at a consignment shop in Oakland a few years ago. I don’t wear it very much so it was fun to take it out of the hat box for this photo shoot.

Red Anna Dress - left - By Hand London - csews.com

Note on photography: Exposure and focus are tricky when you’re using a timer on a digital camera. I focused on the ivy and then had to experiment with my exposure settings to get the colors of the fabric to look right. The ivy is more in focus than I am. If you have any tips on timer photography, let me know.

Red Anna Dress - back - By Hand London pattern - csews.com

I also took photos wearing my vintage black straw and velvet hat so you can see my Peterham ribbon flower, which I made a while ago (oh the hand pleating!). As you can see this shade of red is one of my faves. I took these photos last Sunday. My hair isn’t this long any more though. I got about six inches lopped off yesterday. No more pony tail!

Red Anna Dress - back - By hand london - csews.com

I had problems installing the invisible zipper. For some reason my machine got stuck after I sewed a couple of inches down the zipper. So I ended up hand sewing the zipper in place, which kinda sucked because it’s a long zipper. It took me an evening in front of the television to finish sewing it. And my waist seam ended up being a tiny bit off in the back – about 1/16 of an inch. I wasn’t about to unpick all my hand stitches though. It’s in the back so I can live with it.

Red Anna Dress - back - By Hand London - csews.com

Red Anna Dress - right side - By Hand London - csews.com

Red Anna Dress - By Hand London - csews.com

Have you made any color blocked clothes? What did you make and what fabrics did you use?

BTW – If you’re a member of Bay Area Sewists and are coming to our fabric swap this Saturday, July 26, you can get about 1 1/4 yards of my red circle print fabric. I’m bringing it to the meetup. 🙂

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