I’m happy to report that I haven’t bought any new garments this year. But it really wasn’t hard to not buy anything. I just told myself, “You have a lot of fabric and patterns. You don’t need to buy anything, just make it.”
I was hoping it would give me the push I need to make more pants (or trousers as people in the UK and Australia call them). I’ve gained a bit of weight so I need to make some that fit. Nearly all my pants are too tight. 🙁 Pants are still on the list.
I also gave myself the additional challenge of fasting from fabric buying for at least six months. And I’m happy to report that I didn’t buy any fabric from January 1 until now. But I did get one piece of fabric for free from the Bay Area Sewists fabric swap in May. (I’m the organizer for the group.)
Then the following month a Bay Area Sewists member told me that a client gave her more than 20 bins of fabric and she wanted to give it away. So I arranged a Fabric Bonanza meetup for the Bay Area Sewists. Of course, I had to check it out and got a few pieces of black fabric and a knit fabric with a fun print. I didn’t buy any fabric but I did add new fabric to my existing stash.
I haven’t had as much time to sew but here’s a collage of some of the garments I’ve made this year.
Pilvi Coat in large-print fabric, my fourth version of this pattern from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link)
Twist-and-Drape top from the Japanese sewing book Drape Drape by Natsuno Hiraiwa (out of print, unblogged)
Bias-cut skirt in a beautiful cotton print I got from Britex Fabrics years ago (unblogged)
Not pictured: Day-to-Night Drape Top by Maria Denmark (unblogged), which I bought when she had her 50 percent off moving sale. I’ll be blogging soon about the third Toaster Sweater, which I made using leftover fabric from my large-print Pilvi Coat. I made a tunic-length version.
I have more plans underway – a jacket, tops and of course, pants!
Are you participating in the RTW Fast? What have you made so far this year?
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, as some of you may know, I’m the organizer of the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group. Since 2014, I’ve planned and organized monthly meetups for people who enjoy sewing. Along the way, I’ve met many wonderful people who are part of a vibrant sewing community in the Bay Area.
Bay Area Sewists members range in expertise from beginning sewists to expert costumers and sewing instructors, such as Beth Galvin who blogs at SunnyGal Studios and teaches at Hello Stitch and Jennifer Serr who teaches apparel sewing to kids and adults at The Sewing Room. We’ve had meetups for fabric and pattern swaps, sewing workshops, fitting meetups, frocktails and indigo dyeing.
At our events, I’ve held raffles with various prizes, including Japanese sewing books from Tuttle Publishing and sewing patterns solicited from various indie designers, such as 100 Acts of Sewing, By Hand London, Blueprints for Sewing, Bonjour Teaspoon, Cashmerette, Christine Haynes, Green Bee Patterns, Kate & Rose, Sew Liberated, Sewaholic, and Thread Theory.
Bay Area Sewists members have also offered sewing books, sewing magazines, new sewing patterns, and thread catchers to give away. They have also been a great resource for ideas for future meetups. People in the sewing community are generous and genuinely helpful.
Bay Area Sewists started in 2012 by Meg of Made by Meg. She stepped down at the end of 2013 and I volunteered to be the next organizer. You can read my 2014 blog post about the first Bay Area Sewists meetup I organized – a pattern swap. (You can see our past meetups here.)
I love meeting people who sew. And we do have a couple of male members. In the above photo, see if you can spot Michael, who blogs at Line of Selvage (in the back row under the “NS” of Notions).
If you are ever in the Bay Area and would like to attend one of our sewing meetups, please let me know. Most of our meetups are free to attend. I like to think of the sewing community as a global community.
Since February 2014, I’ve organized more than 40 meetups. Apparently, Meetup noticed that we consistently meet and people show up. In March 2018 I got an email from Meetup inviting me to attend the first annual Meetup Togetherfest in New York! Here’s part of that email:
I was so very surprised and deeply honored to get the invitation. The email also said: “There are over 230,000 Meetup Organizers around the world, but this year we only have space for 150.”
Wow. Who knew there were so many organizers?!
I have family on the East Coast in New Jersey, so I immediately replied YES, and planned to spend a week on the East Coast, two of those days in NYC with Meetup organizers.
Meetup paid for a two-night stay in New York – Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20 – we just had to make our way to the Big Apple. Here’s Meetup’s brief Medium blog post about Togetherfest. It was wonderful to meet organizers from around the world. I met people from Berlin, Brisbane, Delhi, Dublin, London, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and from all over the United States – Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, etc.
When I explained to people that I was the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists, I realized that people weren’t familiar with the word “sewist.” So I usually added, “people who like to sew.” Then people seemed to think that we got together with our sewing machines at every meetup. I explained that we didn’t sew at every meetup but the events usually focused on some aspect of sewing apparel (fabric, patterns, sewing techniques).
On our first day, we got a tour of Meetup Headquarters, with Meetup folks telling us about what they did in their various departments. They had photographers documenting the event so we didn’t have to.
They also asked us to take post-its and write one positive thing about our Meetup experience as organizers and one pain point. Here I am writing about my problem with members not being able to rejoin the group after their membership expires.
We also spent part of the afternoon in small groups, with each group trying to solve a riddle – fun but really cold. My group was outdoors most of the time, going to various locations, where we were to find an actor playing a role and ask him or her questions. It was in the 40s, chilly and windy. Here we are downtown in the financial district. I’m wearing my teal Sapporo Coat but I was still cold. I didn’t bring enough layers.
When we got back to Meetup HQ, we had dozens of New York pizzas waiting for us. I gorged on the pizza. Here are just a few of the pizza pies they served us. Yum!
What was the point of this two-day event? Well, according to the booklet in our swag bag, Scott Heiferman, the co-founder and CEO of Meetup, he had the idea of holding a “global gathering of great Meetup organizers for a long time.” He wanted to give us the opportunity to share our stories and to “be inspired by others’ Meetup stories.”
I was certainly inspired by other Meetup organizers. I met organizers of groups focused on hiking, writing, photography walks, programming, dads in the city, real estate, you name it. I didn’t meet any other sewing Meetup organizers so I guess I was it. 😉
Some Meetup organizers meet weekly or even more than once a week! I was pretty amazed that some groups met so often but those were often large groups (thousands of members) with multiple organizers so they took turns organizing various events. I met the organizer for Fierce Friends of Phoenix, an LGBTQ group, that has become a nonprofit organization.
I admit I was felt a little insecure comparing the size of Bay Area Sewists (less than 150 members) to groups boasting 8,000+ members. I wondered if the size of a group affected the algorithm. (Yes, Meetup uses an algorithm that picks which meetups to feature in your local area.) Luckily, I was able to buttonhole Meetup’s Chief Operating Officer and ask her if that was a factor. She said, no, what’s more important is that you meet regularly and that people show up. And, in fact, some of the smaller groups are more successful than the very large groups.
I met people who organize multiple groups, like DeRM from the Bronx (pictured below), who runs a Taco Night Meetup in NY and co-organizes three other meetups – MMA in NYC, Foolinary Culinary and the New York City Organizers group.
Throughout the event, in between sessions about Meetup features and hearing from the Meetup and WeWork CEOs (WeWork acquired Meetup last fall), we got to hear from individual organizers about their Meetups. Some had moving stories to tell about how their group had an impact on people’s lives, how they gave back to their local communities or their group grew from one chapter to many chapters throughout the country.
The second day we spent at Industria, an event space in the West Village. It had a large open space and smaller rooms for breakout sessions about everything from using the apps and Meetup Pro to hosting at WeWork and making the website work. We had to pick two sessions we wanted to attend. I learned that Meetup Pro starts at $30/month and seems aimed more at people whose Meetup group is a business for them. At the website session, I also got a chance to tell the Chief Operating Officer about the problems people rejoining the Bay Area Sewists group after Meetup’s redesign. Apparently, the redesign was focused on the member user experience, not the organizer’s user experience. They are working on making it a better experience for organizers.
One of the last sessions involved all the organizers in the room and Priya Parker (seated in the center chair below), who led a thoughtful discussion about the process of gathering, what happens at the beginning middle and end of a meetup.
Here’s Priya signing copies of her book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Amazon affiliate link). Meetup got copies for all the attendees. Thank you, Meetup!
I’m still processing the experience and figuring out what I’d like to incorporate into the Bay Area Sewists Meetups. Our group is small because I charge annual dues, which means that after the three-month trial period, you either have to pay the dues ($15/year) or Meetup automatically removes you from the group. This means that only people who are genuinely interested in attending a meetup remain in the group. I like our small size – small but mighty.
Thank you Meetup for a great experience and thank you Bay Area Sewists members for coming to the meetups, building a sewing community, sharing ideas and inspiring me to keep organizing!
Hi, a couple of years ago I bought this natural white cotton sweater knit fabric and matching ribbing from O! Jolly!, an online shop selling sweater knits designed by Olgalyn Jolly. It has been sitting in my stash, mostly because I couldn’t decide what pattern to use and I didn’t have any experience sewing sweater knit fabric. But now I no longer have any excuses because Olgalyn just launched an online course How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit (affiliate link)!
The course videos cover everything from choosing a sweater knit fabric to how to finish your seam allowances. You don’t need a serger. You can use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.
One of her lessons discusses sewing machine sample settings (width and length) and serger sample settings (differential feed ratio, stitch length and cutting width), including a downloadable file with the sample settings.
How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit also includes many helpful worksheets, resources (where to buy sweater knit fabric (and what knit fabric to avoid), a list of suggested sewing patterns, etc.) and tips you can download.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I don’t usually promote anything. I’ve been asked to write about products but I usually say “No, thanks,” because they aren’t the right fit for my blog. I wouldn’t write about something I didn’t believe in. [Full disclosure: If you purchase her course using the links in this post, I will get a percentage of the sale.]
Last week when I was in New York, I had lunch with Olgalyn and Angie, a former Bay Area Sewist who moved to the Big Apple. Olgalyn told me about the course and asked if I would be interested in being an affiliate, and I immediately said “Yes.”
It was an easy decision because I love her fabrics and I know she’s an expert in sewing sweater knit fabric. I also interviewed Olgalyn on my blog in 2016. She also teaches machine knitting at FIT. I’ve seen many of her beautiful creations on her blog Crafting Fashion and her Instagram feed (@ojolly).
I’ve been watching the videos of her online course and learning so much. Olgalyn is an excellent teacher and it’s a pleasure to hear her voice as she explains how to cut and sew a sweater knit. Her course is aimed at the “sewing enthusiast with intermediate skills or for the motivated beginner.”
How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit is 20 percent off until May 1 (regular price $59, discounted price, $47.20)! It’s worth it at either price. She took a lot of care in creating it. By the end of the course, you can be confident that you’ll know how to sew sweater knit fabric with confidence!
Where do you get your sewing inspiration? My sewjo disappeared in March because I sprained my right ankle at the end of February. It was very sore for most of March so I didn’t go near my sewing machine.
I also took a break from my own social media accounts and hardly posted anything on Instagram or Pinterest, which also contributed to my lack of sewing inspiration.
So today I looked at some of my Pinterest boards (@csews). I have one named “Sewing Inspiration,” where I post everything from couture fashion to RTW. Then I started to feel some inspiration. It’s amazing what you can do with fabric, isn’t it?
Here are a few screen shots from my Sewing Inspiration board. I love that Yoji Yamamoto jacket in the center and the Issey Miyake skirt on the right.
The slouchy pants below are cool and the full skirt of that pale dress is so dramatic! I really wouldn’t wear a dress like that but you have to marvel at the construction.
I also have a board titled “Casual Style for Women,” where I post everything from tops and pants to skirts and coats. Here are a few screenshots from that board.
I just realized that I tend to post garments in solid colors on that board – or color-blocked clothes. I wear a lot of solids but I like prints, too!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how I sprained my ankle – I was going down the stairs in a rush and when I got to the last step, somehow I missed a step and my ankle just turned over and I fell. I skinned my right knee too.
This week was the first week my ankle didn’t feel really stiff in the morning. So I’m finally feeling like it is recovering. So hopefully this weekend I will get some sewing done. I owe my older sister a birthday present. I was going to make her something for her birthday in early March but the ankle was too sore.
Plus I want to get back to my 2018 Make Nine list. I am actually making progress on this list, as I mentioned in my update on my progress. I hope to make a dent in my stash and make some more skirts and tops. Here’s to getting my sewjo back!
I’m fasting this year – not food but RTW clothes and fabric. I’m participating in Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast and I also decided to focus on shopping my stash first before buying any fabric. So far, I haven’t purchased any fabric in 2018. I’m not sure how long that fast will last but I’m also participating in the Make Your Stash challenge hosted by Time to Sew and PilarBear – which will also be inspiration to sew my stash.
2018 RTW Fast
For the RTW Fast, you commit to not buying ready-to-wear clothes for a year, which I signed on to do at the end of December.
The only things you are allowed to purchase during the RTW fast are underwear, socks, stockings, shoes, jewelry, handbags and belts. There’s an exception for wedding gowns but that’s it. You can see some of the fasters on Goodbye Valentino’s January post, “Meet the Fasters.” There are more than 1,000 participants!
Follow the hashtag #2018rtwfast on Instagram to see what people are making. There’s a private Facebook group for participants (sign-up closed on Jan. 1) and various sewing-related prizes are given out every month.
Make Your Stash
The hosts of Make Your Stash call it a “sustainable sewing challenge.” The idea is to use fabric that has been in your stash for more than six months to make at least one wearable garment and post the finished version on Instagram (#makeyourstash) anytime between March and May – emphasis on wearable.
As Kate of Time to Sew notes, “We do not encourage making something that you won’t wear just to use something up – that is not the point.”
They want people to take their time and make something that you will like. They are also offering prizes – PDF patterns for each month of the challenge. But I don’t care about the prizes. I just want to find more time to sew my fabric and make some progress on sewing my stash.
Sewing Not Buying
I also decided to give myself the additional challenge of not buying any new fabric during Make Your Stash – or at least not buy anything until I’ve made that one garment for #makeyourstash. 😉
I had already been shopping my stash when I put together my 2018 Make Nine list. So far this year I have not purchased any fabric. Really. But it’s a practical decision… I don’t have room for more fabric. Heheh.
I’ve got fabric in four plastic bins of varying sizes in the bedroom; fabric in the bedroom closet and fabric in a few drawers of a rolling cart in the dining area. According to my husband, “Fabric is everywhere!” I think that’s an exaggeration but I am trying to see if my fabric-buying fast will last at least six months. Wish me luck!
My next big project will be going through my closets and getting rid of old RTW clothes, hopefully donating them to an upcycle group that can remake them into something else. Or maybe I can make them into something else for someone else. (Note: Donating clothes to Goodwill is not necessarily a good thing. Read this HuffPo article on what happens to your donated clothes.)
Do you care how big your stash is? Are you trying to sew more of your fabric and buy less? What do you do with the clothes that no longer fit or are out of style? Do you upcycle? Repurpose? Donate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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, I thought I’d update you on my Make Nine 2018 progress. I picked various patterns and fabrics, which I wrote about here in early February. So far I’ve actually made three things from my Make Nine list plus a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails! Four garments in less than two months! That’s gotta be a record for me.
• A hand-sewn midi skirt from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (Amazon affiliate link here). I used a maroon (rust red?) knit fabric in my stash. I’ve worn it a couple of times but I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.
• My fourth Pilvi Coat from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, a birthday present from one of my sisters in 2016 (Amazon affiliate link here).
In February, I made:
• A skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2018. I meant to sew a sleeveless top to go with it but it required some fitting and I ran out of time. I made two mock-ups and then I just had to hem the skirt. I need to take photos of it but you can sort of see it here.
The fabric is a beautiful cotton print I got from Britex Fabrics several years ago. The print is a beautiful deep blue that looks like a water color. As I recall, it was quite pricey, even thought I got it sale; it was an imported cotton. It was a dream to sew and press. And it feels so lovely. For a fabric like this I decided to line this bias-cut skirt with Bemberg rayon. I’ll blog about it soon!
I also finished the Twist-and-Drape top from the Japanese sewing book Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa (out of print). This is essentially my muslin. I had a few yards of this semi-sheer cotton silk fabric, which was an online impulse buy. It’s been sitting in my stash forever.
The pattern called for a lightweight cotton so I decided to use it. However, it wasn’t easy to make bias tape from it, which is how most of the raw edges are finished. It was annoying but I persevered.
Here are some bathroom photos. I’ll take better photos soon!
It’s supposed to button but as you can see, it doesn’t overlap. I added an inch to the back but I’ll need to add more width to the front and side seams if I make it again. But I’m fine with wearing like a vest.
Here are some photos from the book showing how to put it on.
If I make it again I’ll be using a very lightweight cotton that will be easier to sew and press.
I didn’t realize that I had completed four garments until I tallied them up for this post. I was starting to feel that I hadn’t done very much because I haven’t had time to do much sewing over the past two weeks. But now I feel better.
Did you pick a project for your Make Nine 2018 list? What are you working on now?
Hi, I made these collages on my phone last month and I’ve even sewn a couple of things already, which has to be a record for me. It can take me a while to just get started. But this year, I decided I would start with patterns and sewing books in my collection as well as the fabric I already have. So here is my Make Nine 2018 list:
Top with Epaulettes from She Wears the Pants, a Japanese sewing book by Yuko Takada. I made my own striped version in 2015, which you can read about in this post. I still wear it. I have an odd synthetic knit in a pretty purple that I’m going to use. I’ve already cut the pattern pieces.
A midi-skirt from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, which I reviewed here. I’ve made a skirt and tunic from this book. I had this maroon red knit fabric that was originally going to be yoga pants. I decided to make a skirt, which I hand sewed last month. I still need to photograph it.
I finished the Pilvi Coat a little over two weeks ago and blogged about it here.
Decades of Style Chore Skirt, which I started last year but still haven’t finished. This beautiful rose print will be the contrasting part of this pleated skirt.
Twist-and-Drape top from Shape Shape, a Japanese sewing book by Natsuno Hiraiwa, released in 2012, it is the first Japanese sewing book I ever bought. I want to make this interesting top in this interesting cotton lawn print. I’ve been making a muslin using a polka-dotted cotton-silk blend I have in my stash. It’s slow going because the fabric is a bit delicate and the raw edges are finished with bias tape. As I was making it, I discovered that there was an Instagram #sewjapaneseinjanuary sewing challenge going on – the idea was to make something from a Japanese sewing pattern in January. I got started but I haven’t finished it but it gave me the inspiration to get going. Thanks to @bloglessanna and @craftyjane_makes for hosting!
Megan Longline Cardigan has been in my stash for more than a year. I’ve had this striped knit fabric in my collection for more than three years. I got it for $1 or $2/yard at the FIDM scholarship store in Los Angeles.
I want to copy this top I saw in the window at Max Mara in the fall of 2016. I even bought fabric to make a black-and-white silk (as opposed to leather and wool) version of it. I got a black plaid print, a solid black and then a print at Britex Fabrics back then. I just need to pick a tunic pattern to make a color-blocked version. if you have any suggestions for a square-necked pattern, please let me know!
Last but not least is this Spiral Scarf from Shape Shape. I have this bright magenta wool silk organza that I got at the Britex yard sale, which would be perfect for it. I just need to decide if I want to get a contrasting color or just make it all one color.
My Make Nine 2018 goal this year is to make some inroads on my fabric stash and to make more garments that I would wear everyday. I’m holding off on making pants because I’m working on losing a few of the extra pounds I’ve gained over the past two years. Skirts are a little more forgiving.
Oh, and I almost forgot! I’ll be attempting to start and finish a bias cut skirt and vintage top in time for the Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February event this Saturday! I only have a few days to sew up version D of the Vogue vintage reissue and this midi skirt.
Instead of sewing a dress I decided to make separates so I will get more use out of the ensemble. I tend to wear separates, not dresses. I’m hoping that I’ll have enough leftover fabric to make version D of the Vogue pattern. We’ll see. Wish me luck!
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, 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.
Check out the front, which just tucks in the waist of whatever you’re wearing.
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.
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).
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.
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!
I really love the jacket. You could make it from a great home dec fabric.
The pants are nice, too. I like the subtle flare.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!