2018 RTW fast and Make Your Stash sewing challenge

2018 RTW Fast and Sew Your Stash sewing challenge

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!

2018 RTW Fast

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.”

Make Your Stash - a sustainable sewing challenge

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!

Big Four 2018 spring patterns – Vogue, Butterick and more

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

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

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

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

Big four 2018 Spring Patterns

They are listed in no particular order.

Vogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at those tucks and lovely neckline!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simplicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

McCall’s

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

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

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

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

 

Butterick

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Make Nine 2018 – an update on my sewing projects

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.

I think around this time last year I’d made only two things – a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2017 and a reversibleToaster Sweater.

Here’s what I made in January:

• 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).

Pilvi Coat in ponte knit - pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - Make Nine 2018

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.

Skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February

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!

Here’s a panoramic group photo of the event. You can see more photos on the Bay Area Sewists meetup page or the Facebook album. I’m standing under the “K” of Frocktails. 😉

Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February - group photo!

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!

Twist-and-Drape top from Japanese sewing book Drape Drape by Natsuno Hiraiwa - Make Nine 2018

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.

Twist-and-Drape top from Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa

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?

Make Nine 2018 – tops, skirts and jackets for the new year

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.

Make Nine 2018 - Top from She Wears the Pants, skirt from Alabama Studio + Design, Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

  • Toaster Sweater Version 2 in a striped knit. I made a reversible Version 1 of this pattern by Sew House Seven.
  • 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!

Make Nine 2018 - Toaster Sweater, version 2, Chore Skirt and Twist-and-Drape top

  • 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.

Make Nine 2018 - cardigan, top and scarf

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.

Frocktails 2018 ensemble

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!

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

Summer sewing plans

It’s August already and I still have some summer sewing to do. Luckily, it does stay warm in the Bay Area through September, and sometimes October. I’ve been going over my initial sewing plans for the year (see my Make Nine post) and going through my patterns and my fabric to see what I can make. I don’t have a huge stash but I don’t want to buy more fabric until I’ve sewn some of it up or destashed. Now I’m selling a few pieces of my fabric, which you can read about here.

Here’s what’s currently in progress.

Textile Studio Patterns - elastic-waist skirt

I used two fabrics to make Version B (lower right), a four-paneled skirt. The fabric on the right is a rayon remnant from Britex Fabrics. I didn’t have enough for the entires skirt but I did have this leftover solid violet rayon and I had just enough for one panel. So three panels use the print and one is violet.

It was my first time making an elastic-waist skirt. I still need to hem it. I’ve had it hanging in the closet to give the hem a chance to settle. Though the pattern says that because of the bias seams, the hem will hang “irregularly” and that is “unavoidable and part of the charm of the skirt.” The skirt panels are shaped like tall isoceles trapezoids. (Wow, never thought I’d use those two words in a sentence. Oh, grade-school geometry!)

Style Arc Imogen Skirt - CSews

I’ve cut the top part of the Imogen Knit Skirt by Style Arc – using this leftover striped knit fabric in my stash. I’ll use solid black for the rest of the skirt. I’ve been going through my stash looking for a big piece of black knit fabric. The pieces I’ve found so far aren’t long enough. This looks like a super easy skirt to put together. I got the patterns as a birthday present from one of my sisters earlier this year.

The Fabric Stash

I used to be a fabric impulse buyer. I’d see something I liked and buy it, particularly if it was on sale. I didn’t necessarily know what I would make but I’d buy a few yards and tell myself I’d use it for something. Or maybe I’d buy it with a particular pattern in mind but most of my impulse buys were just that, an impulse.

Now I ask myself, what would you make with this fabric? If I can’t answer that question, I don’t buy it, even if it’s on sale.

I’d like to make something summery from these fabrics in my stash.

Cotton fabrics - blue - CSews

The floral print and the plaid are both from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I have about 3 2/3 yards of the floral print, which is likely a cotton/silk blend, which I got for $3.50/yard earlier this year. I’m thinking tunic or flowing skirt. It’s very lightweight.

The plaid print was a 7/8 yard remnant, which I envisioned as part of a Deer & Doe Chardon skirt with a contrasting solid blue band. (I’ve made many Chardon skirts, including a maxi and a midi.)

The seersucker fabric is something I got more than a year ago at the Bay Area Sewists fabric swap. It’s nearly 2 yards. The print is really cute – maybe that’s why I haven’t sewn it yet. It’s got a travel theme. See the suitcase, hats and umbrella? Maybe I’ll make a tunic.

Seersucket print - travel theme - CSews

Meanwhile, I rediscovered this pretty red floral print in my stash. A sundress would be nice but I likely wouldn’t wear it very much. So I’m thinking separates – this 1960 Vogue reissue V9187 and another Chardon skirt. I have 5 yards of this fabric. I think it must have been a pre-cut piece I got several years ago from an Oakland drug store that’s no longer around.

V9187 Vogue reissued 1960 sewing pattern and Chardon skirt by Deer & Doe - CSews

Other patterns I want to make include this New Look 6838 pattern…

New Look 6939

…and Butterick 5893. I need more pants!

Butterick 5893 - pants sewing pattern

The Butterick pattern was on my Make Nine list.

What’s in your summer sewing queue?

div style=”display: none;”>Summer sewing - CSews

Outside pocket for a skirt

Last month I made an A-line linen skirt and attached an outside pocket to the waistband. I mentioned that I was going to show how I made the pocket. I wanted to add a pop of color to the skirt, which was a solid muted blue. I had this fun Echino print, which I got from Superbuzzy in Ventura at Craftcation last year (see my post).

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

I figured it out as I went along, starting out with a wide square. I knew I was going to add pleats to the pocket so that when I put something in it, there wouldn’t be an obvious bulge. I guess you could call it “pocket ease” – heheh.

I knew I wanted the back pocket piece to be longer than the Echino fabric because the back piece would attach to the waistband. I didn’t want to use my skirt fabric for the entire back pocket piece because linen isn’t that sturdy. So I decided to use a black poly/cotton blend and then sew a piece of the linen fabric just at the top of the back pocket piece.

I didn’t take photos of every step but I’ve written all the steps. Hopefully, it make sense.

Pocket Fabric - Echino fabric

I started out with a wide square – about 11 inches x 10 inches

 

Outside pocket tutorial - Pocket folded - Echino Fabric - CSews.com

I made two pleats and pinned them in place.

 

Tutorial - fold pocket in half to use as pattern piece to cut back side of pocket - CSews.com

Fold the front pleated pocket piece in half to use as a pattern for the back pocket piece but make it a couple of inches taller than the front piece. Cut the back pattern piece. I used a black cotton/poly fabric I got at a Bay Area Sewists fabric swap.

 

Tutorial - outside pocket - Echino fabric - CSews.com
Finish the top edge. I used some pre-made bias tape in my stash.

 

Tutorial - Fashion fabric for top of pocket

For the “tab,” the piece that attaches to the waistband:

  • cut a piece of the skirt linen fabric
  • fuse a piece of interfacing to it (I used black interfacing)
  • finish one long horizontal edge
  • attach the linen fabric to the top of the back pocket piece by placing the skirt fabric right side facing the pocket back. Don’t sew all the way to the bottom.  Trim the seam. I pinked mine.

 

Tutorial - Top of outside pocket - CSews.com

Turn the fabric inside out. Press the fabric. This will be attached to the waistband and the sides of the “tab” above the pocket need to be finished.

Place the front pocket piece, right side facing the back piece. This is why I didn’t sew all the way down the sides. I need a seam allowance to attach the front pocket piece. The front piece overlaps the linen fabric at the top. Sew the front and back together along the sides and bottom. Turn inside out.

 

Outside pocket lined up with waist

On this skirt, the waistband curves slightly. To ensure that the pocket is straight, place the pocket on top of the skirt and trim the excess at the top. See how the top right side is higher than the waist?

After I attached the pocket, I decided it was too long. So I trimmed an inch and sewed the bottom again.

Finished pocket - CSews.com

And finally, the pocket was done!

If I were to make an outside pocket again, I think I would make it a little less complicated by using one fabric for the entire back piece. Then I would sew the front, turn it inside out and finish the raw edges of the “tab” (the part of the back that attaches to the waistband) by making a narrow hem. This would avoid the slight wrinkles just above the top corners of the front pattern piece.

I like an outside pocket because it doesn’t ruin the line of this A-line skirt.  An in-seam side pocket wouldn’t look very good. You could see anything you put in the pocket and it would weigh down the skirt.

Making an outside pocket for a skirt, attaching it to the waistband - CSews.com

 

Denim fashion – ensembles v. separates

Hi, I like denim, especially dark denim. I’ve never worn an all denim outfit though – for example a denim jacket and jeans. That look just makes me think farmer, not fashion. But I added a “Casual Style for Women” board to my  C Sews Pinterest account earlier this year and I’ve pinned quite a few denim fashion looks. I mostly wear separates but I usually avoid separates that match – as in same color top and bottom – unless it’s black. I have plenty of black tops and pants. But I don’t have other colors in a solid that I wear together.

I like these pins. They either reminded me of denim or were made from denim. They make me want to wear an all-denim ensemble. Do you typically wear denim as separates? Would you ever wear an all-denim outfit?

Photo- Adam Lippes - pre-fall 2017 - denim fashion
Adam Lippes – pre-fall 2017 – a knit that looks like denim
Photo - Jasper Conran - spring/summer 2017 - denim fashion
Jasper Conran – spring/summer 2017 – love the top stitching on this dress
Photo - Tory Burch - pre-fall 2017 - denim fashion
Tory Burch – pre-fall 2017  – reminds me of denim
Photo - Vika Gaszinskaya – fall 2017 – looks like denim
Vika Gaszinskaya – fall 2017 – looks like a jumpsuit, doesn’t it?
Denim fashion - Ellery Resort 2017 collection - photo
Ellery Resort 2017 collection – lovely jacket and pants combo

I’ve been pinning denim fashion ideas because I have several yards of denim in my stash and I need to start sewing it. Some has been there for at least five years, maybe longer. And last year on a trip to New York, I bought some lightweight denim at Mood to make trouser jeans. Then last month, I found two yards of denim in my stash that I forgot about. It’s been sitting in a chest in a small room that has a lot of my husband’s vinyl records and books. I don’t go in there very often.

Here’s the Butterick sewing pattern (B5682) I got last year. I want to make version E, the trouser version.

Butterick B5682 jeans sewing pattern

I also had a knit fabric in my stash that looks like denim.

Photo - knit fabric - looks like denim

I had intended to use it to make a dress. But I never got around to making the dress. After seeing all the fun denim outfits, I decided to make a pair of knit pants and a top to go with them. But you’ll see that outfit soon – more on that outfit tomorrow. It’ll be my first all-denim look.

Denim fashion - Adam Lippes, Jasper Conran , Vika Gazinskaya

Self-drafted A-line skirt with an outside pocket

Hi, I wanted to make a quick skirt so I decided to use the pattern I created for a skirt lining. I made the lining pattern in 2011 for my A-line block skirt from the Japanese sewing book Basic Black (affiliate link here). The skirt has three main pieces – the front, back and the narrow waistband is made from a strip of bias tape that’s 1 5/8″ wide (about 4 cm). There’s an invisible zipper on the side. I’m wearing a knit cloche hat I got at a Barney’s outlet several years ago.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Because the skirt is quite plain, I added an outside pocket as a design detail. I used this fun Echino fabric I got last year when I attended Craftcation. Years ago I saw a pockets attached to the waistband on a paid of pants worn by a woman walking down the street. Of course, I stopped her and asked to look at the pockets. She told me she got the pants in Thailand. I never forgot those pants.

Linen skirt with external pocket - CSews.com

Pockets at the side seams wouldn’t really work in an A-line skirt like this because as soon as you put something in the pocket, it would drag down the skirt or ruin the line of the skirt, especially in a drapey fabric like linen.

The side seam has moved forward a little bit in this photo but you can see that a pocket there likely wouldn’t look very good. I’m wearing the lace hat I made (blogged here), Vogue pattern V8891, a Patricia Underwood design.

Linen skirt with outside pocket -CSews.com

I just used the measurements in the book Basic Black, to make the waistband. I used the same fabric of the skirt to make the waistband. I made the mistake of using this stretch interfacing for the waistband. Fabric cut on the bias stretches so the waistband may get a little stretched out.

Bias waistband

Before I attached the waistband, I basted the pocket in place. (I’ll write a separate post about making the pocket.) Then I sewed the waistband in place, folded it in half and stitched in the ditch. Here’s a close-up of the waistband…

Narrow bias waistNarrow bias waistband - stitched in the ditch - CSews.comband - stitched in the ditch

… and the invisible zipper at the side seam. I wasn’t so great at keeping the waistband the same width all the way around. But I didn’t want to rip it out. No one’s really going to see the waistband anyway. (Excuse the dark photos.)

Invisible zipper installed in side seam

I finished the hem with premade bias tape using a straight stitch. I ran out of blue so I just attached red to finish it.

Bias tape hem finish - CSews.com

And here are a few more views of the skirt.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - back view - CSews.com

I think I like the lace hat with this skirt better than the cloche. What do you think?

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

The top is RTW from Ann Taylor several years ago.  My necklace was a birthday gift from one of my sisters.

Materials for A-line Skirt

  • 2 yards of linen from my stash (can’t recall what I paid for it)
  • 10″ x 11 ” piece of Echino fabric for the pocket (about $20/yard, I bought 1/2 yard)
  • bias tape in my stash to finish hem
  • Guttmacher thread
  • 70/10 Schmetz needle
Linen skirt with outside pocket detail in Echino fabric - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Sewing at the Google Garage with Bay Area Sewists

Hi, last weekend the Bay Area Sewists meetup group had a Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage – the volunteer-run maker space at the tech giant’s Mountain View location in Silicon Valley. I’m the organizer for the meetup group and Ali, one of our members who works at Google, graciously reserved the space, making it possible for us to meet there. Thank you, Ali!

Here are some of the photos I took from that visit, along with one photo taken by Marilyn, another Bay Area Sewists member, which I’ll identify.

This is some of the fun stuff on the wall just outside the Google Garage – car parts that have been painted in Google colors. You can sort of see that Google is spelled out. The first “G” is made from tires and the two O’s from hub caps.

Google Garage - sign outside the maker space

The Google Garage has high ceilings and has plenty of tables to work. Not surprisingly, there are many computer monitors and a few 3-D printers. We made use of all the tables.

Google Garage - Bay Area Sewists in Googles maker space

In addition to the tables with the wood tops, there were taller white tables – in the foreground of the photo below. These tables had stools for sitting.

Google Garage - maker space tables

In the back of the space is this area with a few sewing machines and sergers. There were also many other sewing machines in a locked cabinet. The Google artwork on this wall is actually a photo of tools spelling out Google.

Sewing machines and sergers at Google Garage maker space

Here’s a spray-painted sign inside the maker space. As you might be able to tell, it’s the hood of a car.

Google Garage sign in the maker space in Mountain View

I brought a couple of things to work on at the Google Garage – fitting the back of my Flint pants (they were a little baggy in the back) and cutting an A-line skirt from a pattern I drafted when I made the lining for this skirt. I shared this table with Shontai, who was cutting out a PDF pattern.

Google Garage - sewing project

We were also fortunate to have several giveaways from Fabrix in San Francisco, courtesy of Bay Area Sewists member Annetta who works at Fabrix. She brought many two-yard cuts for us, which you can see in the photo below. Here she is telling us about the store, which carries discounted designer fabrics. She says you’ll find a lot of stuff priced at $2.89 or $3.99 a yard – and there’s even a $0.99 table.

Annetta from Fabrix - showing the range of fabrics and trims available there

I have not been to this store yet, mostly because it’s a long trip via public transportation. Now I really want to check it out. At those prices, you could get quite a lot of fabric for $20.

Towards the end of our Google Garage meetup, we had a raffle and four winners got to have first pick of the fabrics, with the first winner choosing four fabrics, the next three, and then two and then one. Annetta also had various coupons for yardage and notions at Fabrics.

Ali won first pick. Here she is choosing her fabrics. After the winners made their picks, all the other fabrics were up for grabs. See the fabric with the circle design? I got that quilt-weight fabric. I think it could be a fun summer skirt.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s a close up of some of the fabrics.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

These are all trims and collars from Annetta’s collection, which she got at Fabrix. She brought them to show the range of trims there.

Trims from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s the photo Marilyn took of me introducing Annetta. I’m in the center of the photo in front of the wood wall. To the right of the wood wall is the entrance to the sewing area with machines and sergers.

Google Garage - sewing machines and sergers available for employees

And here’s the group photo. We had a great time at the Google Garage!

Sew Together at Google Garage in Mountain View

If you live in the Bay Area and would like to join the group, visit the meetup page here to see past and upcoming monthly meetups.  We have fabric and pattern swaps as well as fitting meetups. It’s free to join for the first 90 days. We typically meet in Berkeley, San Francisco, and occasionally in the South Bay.

Do you participate in any sewing meetups? What do you usually do at your meetups?

Bay Area Sewists - Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage in Mountain View