Tag Archives: plans

Some presents for myself…

New Pretties

I know, but if I don’t buy them, who will? (Osiris is not noted for his adherence to any Christmas list but the one inside his own head.)

So I splurged a bit in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Although not enough ahead of time to have anything arrive in time to stuff in my stocking…

Anyway, I am now the proud owner of:

The Colette Sewing Handbook, the Negroni men’s shirt pattern, and the Clover pants.


Vintage Patterns

McCall 6288, a kimono-sleeve blouse pattern from 1945, and “Progressive Farmer” 2953, a 1950s dress from a mail-order pattern company. Both of these were ordered on a whim from New Vintage Lady‘s etsy shop. Both are a size 12; unfortunately it’s the “old sizing” size 12, which is the one where I’m a 14 or 16. These are made for a 30″ bust. My ribcage (underbust) is 29″. Happy grading fun.

McCall 6288 could be the Colette Sencha’s grandmother. It’s a cute, simple blouse pattern with an optional keyhole cutout and tucks at the waist, buttoning up the back. It’s also designed to be tucked in, which is an iffy look for me. We’ll see how that goes. I have a feeling I’ll be dropping the waist tucks… that also strikes me as an iffy look for me. Nothing like pushing your comfort barrier ;). Sherry of Pattern Scissors Cloth recently posted about finding “your decade” style-wise. And let’s face it, pretty as it is, 50s isn’t mine.

The mail-order pattern is a dress, with a neat front yoke/sleeve thingy going on and a yoke below the waist that creates a nice dropped-waist line. There is a waist-seam, but seeing as I’m going to be grading to make any use out of these, I can try to eliminate it at the same time. Depends on what the darts are doing (and how much I need to reduce them), anyway.

Wasteful? Possibly. Whimsical? Definitely. The only thing I’m in any real danger of making up in the near future is the Clover pants, for which I already have some fabric picked out. There are plans for the Negroni, too, of course, but not until I’ve recovered from the Hubs’ Jacket. Which I finally have the pattern all done. Yup, that’s right, it’s not even cut out. (In my defense, the pattern work—I’m following Sherry’s RTW Tailoring sewalong posts from last spring—is fairly substantial, as was the fitting.). But I think I’ll try to jump on the Clovers first. I was going through my projects the other day and realized the only things I’ve made for myself all fall are knit tops. Quick, satisfying, practical, and useful? Absolutely. But it’s definitely time for something a little more… more. Y’know.

Now, I must hunt down posts about the Clovers for those of us with a more rectangular shape…



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Baby Steps

Vogue 7448

The other day I stole a few minutes to sort through Vogue 7884 and extracted the bodice front, back, and sleeve pieces. This is not as easy at it sounds, as there are separate, and confusing, interfacing and and lining pieces. I had to actually read the writing on each piece!

As is this my first take on a Vogue pattern, I had some thinking to do.

It’s a size 12 pattern, which is pretty much my standard size, aside from that whole waist issue. Which shouldn’t be a problem in a coat, really.

The back length Vogue lists for the size 12 is 16 1/4 inches. My back length is an even 15″, so that’s the first issue. The coat is drafted to have a “slightly raised waist”, which is a look I love, but I still want the waist to be raised on ME. So I figured I would need to take out at least an inch in height. The question was, where? Typically I’ll take height out through the armscye, as I like a high armscye anyway, but I thought losing a whole inch in that region on a coat might be a bit much.

Armscye comparison (back) (remember the white pieces have no seam allowances)

For comparison, I dug out my tweaked Fitted Jacket block, from Built by Wendy: Jackets & Coats, the base pattern for my wonderful run of little jackets last spring: the cowl-shoulder jacket, the cropped jean-jacket, and the springy coat. Interestingly, while there is indeed a full inch difference in the armscye length (height?) on the back piece, there was considerably less difference on the front.

Front comparison

For a compromise, I decided to remove 1.5 cm through the armscye, and 1 cm at the lengthen/shorten bodice here line. We’ll see how that works out. I also did my usual swayback alteration (1 cm above waist, to be matched by 1 cm below when I get to the bottom pieces), and lengthened the sleeves by 2.5 cm. (It’s my blog and I’ll hop randomly between measuring systems if I want to)

Erm, all these alterations were done as part of the tracing process. Hacking and tucking a vintage pattern (even 70s vintage) horrifies me at a visceral level.

There is a substantial bust dart. It terrifies me.

I am torn between trying to muslin the bodice out of some cream sweatshirt knit I have on hand in the hopes that I’ll be able to wear the result as a sweater, or using some of the awful 80s sweatshirt knit from my aunt and turning that into underlining for the final version (should it work.) I like the idea of a semi-tailored jacket topper made out of a stable knit, but I’m a little worried this outerwear pattern will have too much ease built in for that. On the other hand, Tyo and Syo both adore the godawful 80s knit, and far be it from me to deny my children the opportunity to repeat the fashion disasters of my youth.

I’m also torn on what to aim for for the final project. Me being me, I am powerfully drawn to view A, the crazy long length (which the pattern envelope assures me has a finished length of 57″!), although probably beltless as in view E because me and cinching don’t get along so well. Though it might require a back vent, as the skirt doesn’t seem overly full. However, I only have one or two pieces of coating fabric in stash that would be long enough, and neither are particularly wintry—I feel like a shorter length would be appropriate for a spring-weight jacket. Speaking of which, winter has arrived here, although we’re still a bit scant in the snow department. Last weekend temperatures dipped below -20C and the windchill hit -30C, which to me is legitimate winter weather. It’s warmed up a bit since, but my psyche has officially been switched to Winter Mode. Which means my desire to make a light, springy jacket I won’t be able to wear for months is limited right now. And if I’m going to try to outdo my Great Winter Coat of last year (which is great, but not quite as warm as I’d really like) it will require a significant investment of materials and thought that I don’t really have the resources for right now.

It’s enough to make a girl want to just go sew quick projects for her kids.


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[cue Imperial March]

Hubby's Coat

Or other similarly foreboding music.

Last night I started, edging slowly, timidly, towards working on my hubby’s coat. This is the one I’ve been promising him, oh, at least since the spring. And he’s even whined about it, albeit intermittently.

In my defense, given the frustrations of my last project for him (WHICH HE DOESN”T WEAR!!!), I think a bit of heel-dragging on my part is understandable.

So, years and years ago, he bought a “trench coat*” from le chateau, the once-fabulous purveyor of all your goth gear needs.

Goth no longer being cool, apparently, they don’t sell that stuff anymore, but back in the day, man, that was the place to go.

The photo I just took has to be the single most unappealing I could have come up with—let me just say, it looks better on. And it was a staple of his leisure wardrobe for years. Sadly, aside from the stains which could probably be laundered out, at this point the fabric is full of snags, not to mention some melted holes from cigarette ash, and the whole thing is just not quite as smart-looking as it used to be. Which just isn’t acceptable.

Anyway, back in the spring I scored some great black coating at the thrift store, and my hubby pounced. He does this sometimes, gets a fabric stuck in his head. It HAD to be a replica of his coat. Regardless of the fact that this was a thick woolly coating, while the original was made of a thin, drapey suiting.

I wasn’t sure I would have enough (there were only 2m from the thrift-store find) so when Fabricland had a good sale, I picked up two more metres of  black “Kashmir Jacketing” (which, as far as I can tell, has absolutely no cashmere in it, but anyway). I was pretty sure this was the same fabric as the thrift-store find.

Why do I even try to photograph black fabric? Suiting on the left, kashmir jacketing in the middle, "melton" on the right

I was wrong. I think the thrift-store find may actually be melton, the stuff Fabricland sells for $33/m and is unforgivably bad about marking down, at least until after all the good colours are gone.

Concerned that my blacks didn’t match, I went back and found a nice cheap poly twill suiting, similar in weight to the original jacket. Cheering myself, I bought three metres. It would be perfect, a much better match to the original. I proudly showed it to my husband.

He was not amused. His heart was set on melton.

Argh. Anyway, I suspect I can make it work, although it’s possible I’ll end up cutting the facings and maybe side-body pieces out of the other fabric.

M-Sewing/Lekala pattern 6066

So, next requirement was, of course, a pattern. I considered trying to draft one (I’m masochistic that way, or at least like to pretend I am) but some noodling around the interwebs turned up this pattern. Which is actually a Lekala pattern, if you should for some reason want the custom sizing. But the M-Sewing site had multiple sizes for download.

Anyway, although you probably can’t see it due to my crappy photography, this pattern has all the right details, aside from length. I had even printed it out and taped it together months ago, back in July.

Pattern work

Last night, I went and began the rest of the pattern alterations. Sleeve—lengthened. Waist—narrowed. Vent moved from side-back seam to centre back seam. Now all I need to do is lengthen the crap out of the pieces, and I’ll be ready for the muslin.

And then I need to start re-reading Sherry’s RTW Coat Sewalong. Cuz I am not going all-out couture for this thing.

Having looked at the construction of the original, though, I have to say I’m not impressed. “Lightly tailored” does not even begin to describe it. I’ve made dresses with more structure than this thing. Ok, I haven’t, but someone out there has. Light, thin shoulder pads and a bit of interfacing on the front facing and collar. That’s IT.

There is one issue with the original that worries me a tad—the facing tends to roll out. Hubs has expressed a STRONG DESIRE that the new version not do this. I will definitely read over Sherry’s tips on drafting the front facing, but if any of you have any thoughts on what causes this problem I’d love to hear them. (Is it just natural? it kind of “rolls” out where a lapel would, except of course this jacket doesn’t have a rolled lapel. Hmm.)

I’m thinking maybe I should bust out a blazer pattern for myself while I’m at it… it’s not as if I don’t have at least five pieces of fabric that want to become blazers (and at least as many patterns in the running). But we’ll maybe leave that for a future post…

*My husband often has a bit of his own language; I blame it on the ADHD that makes sure he never pays too much attention to anything, least of all words. For years he would de-thaw food for supper. And as far as he’s concerned any long black coat is a trench coat. I have been arguing that this particular garment, completely lacking in the authentic trench-coat details (gun-flap, epaulettes, belt), is more of a frock-coat, but not with any kind of measurable success. He also considers the little coats I made my nieces trench-coats as well.


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So Close I Can Taste It…

Almost done!

The zipper is in. I’ve tried it on. All that remains is trimming and binding the back seam and then hemming. I hate to lose any length in the hemming so I will probably do a bias hem facing.

And there’s just no time…

I don’t think Self-Stitched September is going to happen herabouts, either. Two days in and while I’ve dressed self-stitched, no photos have been taken. It’s hard when my main camera is sans battery charger (and a call to my mother-in-law has determined that the charger is NOT where I thought I left it in her basement… 😦 ), not to mention the complete lack of time.

I am liking the piped waistband...

Fall Sewing I would like to get to:

  • Grecian Sundress pattern/new piece: since this seems to be the winner of the poll, it will be the pattern I put up for my birthday next week. The flutter-sleeved tunic was not far behind, though, so I’ll try and get that one done and up some time this fall.
  • jeans for me: some of the early pairs, not to mention all of my RTW, are getting ratty, and I have some “heavy duty” stretch denim just waiting to be stitched up…
  • frock coat for my husband: based on this pattern, sans pockets and lengthened to knee length. I am pretty excited for this one, and now that the weather has turned, I’m feeling more inclined to actually work on a jacket.
  • sweaters and shrug for me: I’ve been meaning to make another version of my shrug, as I wore the cream one to death over the summer. And I really, really, really  need a new hooded sweatshirt to wear this winter.
  • jeans for my husband. I am totally stoked to try out this semi-vintage men’s jeans pattern ElleC sent me! And I have that denim in stash, too…
And even that modest list seems incredibly ambitious right now, when I haven’t managed much more than a seam a night all week…


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So, now we’re home, it should be back to life as usual, right?

Erm. Not quite yet.

You see, memory is a finicky thing. Much as we swear that we’ll never forget the little things, they still get fuzzy as the years go by. I no longer remember which of my children was born at 4:00 am vs. 6:00 am.  I don’t remember whether Syo walked at nine months or ten (either way, it was far too early…)

And I didn’t remember quite what it was like to have pre-schoolers in the house. So when my stylish sister-in-law asked if we could watch her girls (yes, the ones I occasionally sew for, currently aged 4.5 and 3) for a couple of days while she and her hubby take their first-ever post-child vacation, I blithely said yes. She took my kids all freakin’ July, people. It was the least I could do. Especially since we shanghaied my father-in-law to provide “childcare” for us for the rest of August.

So, yeah. I have a serious infestation of pre-schoolers. And while they’re both past the everything-goes-in-the-mouth-first stage, there’s such a lot of, well, chaos. Syo, freshly turned eight, can whip up a jug of orange-juice from concentrate without me having to do more than wipe the counter after. Syo assisted by the three-year-old niece gets orange goop all over said counter, floor, stack of mail, and the orange-juice has bran flakes in it when finished. And they don’t know that the sewing room is a no-play zone. Same with the furnace room. Same with—ARGH! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU NEED YOUR BUM WIPED? WOULD YOU JUST GO PLAY OUTSIDE NOW? NO, WE DON’T HAVE A PADDLING POOL! WHY ARE YOU CRYING NOW????


So I’m feeling just a wee bit like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. >_<

On the plus side, I did retrieve my Janome from the sewing-machine hospital, and she seems to be working again—at least, the flywheel turns freely and there was a nice little piece of fabric decorated with some gorgeous stitching stuffed under the needle when I picked it up. I haven’t had a chance to actually set her up and give her a run (see previous paragraph).

So instead I’ll show you a couple of glimpses of stuff that was in-progress when I left, lo these many moons ago. Ok, two weeks back. That’s, like, forever in internetland, people.

A handsome cuff

Of course, there’s Serena’s jacket. I really need to get cracking on this one.  But doesn’t the cuff look nice? I should’ve used more interfacing, though. When in doubt, add more interfacing. Ah, well.

Collar: a diptych

And there’s Tyo’s shirt. Here’s my nice collar. I had to show you both sides so you could see how (not) awesome my stripes are. I managed to cut one of each piece on-grain. Obviously this is one of those situations where you (I) should cut your pieces individually. Or match the freakin’ plaid. Either of which I was too lazy rushed  to do. However I did swing it so that the nice-looking side of the collar will fold out over the nice-looking side of the stand, which is why they’re on opposite sides in this flat view. Having just tried it around her neck, I may have to junk the whole thing and cut out another anyway, as this one’s going to be a bit snug. Perils of using a pattern that’s technically too small even if it is the right chest measurement.

Tyo's shirt back

I’m pretty happy with how the back is looking, though.

Hmm, have I even mentioned this shirt properly?

Tyo wanted a shirt. Way back before she went on vacation. She picked out the fabric back in the spring, and then found a pattern (7171) off the Lekala site. Their sample size is for a child of 120 cm height, which Tyo is far beyond, but the chest measurements were the same, so I went for it (with considerable lengthening of the sleeve). As I mentioned, the collar is small, so I may end up regretting that.

Technical drawing of the pattern

As you can see, instead of buttons, I’ve opted for loops of elastic on each side, which will be threaded with black velvet ribbon. Because everyone loves lacing, don’t they? You can also see my clever use of bias to avoid all semblance of having to match my plaid. Except at the side-seams, but I wasn’t even thinking about that. Figuring out how to finish the seam where the little loops are inserted was a little, ah, mind-expanding. There was seam-ripping, and possibly even a little swearing. I wound up basically doing a

You can perhaps see how I flared out the bottom of the side-back and centre-back pieces a little bit. This will hopefully accomodate Tyo’s generous derriere. I’m a touch stalled because I need to go back over the Men’s Shirt Sewalong before I get much further, to do the cuffs and plackets.

And I don’t multitask well (at sewing or at anything else) so I really need to just hunker down and finish Serena’s coat. Before I do anything else.


I want to make my Lonsdale

EDIT: Just got a call from the MIL that Niece #1’s tests just came back positive for strep. And Syo is already showing the same symptoms she had… Life just keeps getting better. >_<


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Cream Spice Capris

Cream Capris

I love that I was able to take these photos at 10:00 pm at night, outside, without a flash. Now if that doesn’t scream summer, what does? (This is where someone who’s from the real “up north” chimes in with a comment about the midnight sun. /envy.)

Superfluous shot

So, the capris are done. And they are fun, although as usual there are a couple of issues (beyond my indifferent topstitching). The biggest one is simply the fabric—although a lovely and stretchy cream denim colour, and heavier than some of the jeans I’ve made, the fabric is a bit thin for jeans. Meaning while it stretches nicely to fit, it, ah, hugs all the lumps and bumps rather than smoothing them. When you add portions like the pocket and the rear yoke, that don’t stretch nearly as much, it also creates a few lumps and bumps that wouldn’t be there all on their own. Tucking in tops CAREFULLY and choosing the right pair of underwear are also going to be important (VPL in jeans, who knew?)

Other than that and the Featherweight Tragedy, I’m pretty happy. The piping is nice, the wonky topstitching is fading from memory (fortunately it’s on the butt where I don’t need to look at it), and I finally remembered to make my belt-loops wide enough for all my belts (although it’s the narrow one I’m wearing in the photos).

Rear View

If I were to do it again I would place the pockets higher or make them a little taller. The dip between the petals in the top eats up a surprising amount of space, both visually and practically.

Front view

I like it with the cuffs turned up. Although, the non-stretch lining of the cuffs doesn’t interact especially well with the stretch denim when putting these on. we’ll see how that goes.

Centre-Back belt loop

I put a lot of strain on my belt loops, especially at the centre back, so I like to elaborate them in some way. Often I use three instead of just one at the CB. This time, I made one giant one with piping on both sides. I just piped both edges and topstitched to keep the bias on the inside. Super easy, and a nice finish to boot.

Belt-loop and button

For the other belt-loops, I wanted them more narrow, so I put piping on only one side and just folded the other side under and topstitched.

Vintage buttonholer buttonhole!

This is the first truly successful jeans buttonhole I’ve done—made with the vintage buttonholer and one of my new templates, the short keyhole. It’s the perfect size for the jeans buttons I have (which are admittedly a little wimpy. One of these days I’ll order some genuine good all-metal ones. /sigh.) I will note I find it quite odd that when sewing straight lines on the Janome with heavier thread, I have to turn the tension way up (and often do some other jiggery pokery) but then when zig-zagging I have to turn the tension way down.

You can just about see my neat feature on the fly where I had the two lines of topstitching criss-cross halfway down. This has nothing to do with the fact that my zipper was placed a little too far out from the centre front and couldn’t make the stitch line right where I wanted. Nothing at all… (I find it interesting that some people, who are following the exact same tutorials I do for fly zipper insertion, find that their zipper is still too close to the CF line and tends to gape. I have the opposite problem, with my zippers ending up tucked too far under the fly and often interfering with my ideal topstitching line (the Jalie pattern doesn’t leave you much room for error in this, either, as there’s not a huge fly extension).

Fun pants!

This pink thread is Coats & Clack Heavy Duty XP Dual Duty, or something like that, not the super-fat Guterman topstitching thread. Janome actually likes it fairly well, meaning all I have to do it turn the tension way up, not some of the other finnicky workarounds I’ve come up with for the topstitching thread. But for some reason it all goes whack when zig-zagging—whether with the buttonholer (in which the machine is still set on straight) or the zig-zag stitch. Featherweight handled either flawlessly, although she needed a bit of a tension boost too.

Featherweight afficionados, I have a question: I have generally been advised to use regular thread in the bobbin with my topstitching thread up top. Despite the annoyance of winding extra bobbins, there are times when it would be nice to have topstitching thread on both sides (turn up cuffs, come to the front of the class). Also I can’t help but think it might be sturdier (I have had a fair bit of topstitching failure on some of my earlier jeans where the bottom thread has broken). Can the Featherweight handle this? Any particular pros and cons?

My favourite feature is the piping, I think. I may have to add that to more jeans in the future. But then, piping is kinda addictive at the best of times…

Other things to try in the future:

  • change up the front pockets. The Jalie pocket line manages to be both distinctive and boring. I love the double pockets on Patty’s pair (pattythesnugbug.com is transitioning platforms while I write this so I can’t do a direct link, but looks up her pants posts, she has lots of great musing on fitting and styling)
  • something with lots of rivets. Lots and lots of rivets. I love hardware as much as the next crypto-Goth.
  • distressing. I generally like my jeans fairly crisp and dark wash (obviously these are not dark, but you know what I mean). I lost my taste for buying pre-worn-looking denim right around the time I had to start paying for my own clothing. When you have a $90/pair jeans habit and are on welfare home with a small baby*, you need your jeans to LAST, because you’re probably not getting another pair for a long time. That being said, since I’m making my own, it would be ok to have some more casual pairs with a more RTW look. Just no pre-made holes and paint splatters, please.
  • I have had fun messing with the back pockets on these last few pairs, too. It’s the little details that really make (and distinguish) jeans.
  • draft and make a pair for my husband. Yes, I’m a sucker for punishment. I’m also seriously considering using a women’s draft for him (don’t tell him) as he really fits the women’s measurements considerably better than I do (don’t tell him that either). Boy got back. Which is where Tyo gets it, of course.
*This situation lasted precisely one year. I am profoundly grateful for the social safety net, even gutted as it was after the 90s, as my hubby and I would not have been able to make it through the transition from goofy teenagers to responsible parents without this government aid.** And I would rather shoot myself in the foot than go on welfare again. It SUCKED.
**and considerable support from both our families. I don’t once regret having my children when I did (especially as my field, like most academic ones, doesn’t really put you in a good position to have a family often until your late thirties), but it was HARD. I suspect it’s always hard, but I know we couldn’t have done it—certainly not nearly as well—without our extended families. So on the off chance of any of them reading this


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Summer Essentials Sewalong—The Sundress

Those Summer Essentials

My bro and his GF are here, so computer time is at a minimum and sewing time is nonexistent, but here’s a quick attempt to post something.

I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts for a post about Ali’s Summer Essential Sewalong challenge, which I watched interestedly last year and have decided to actually participate in this time ’round. But I’m afraid I’ve felt a bit boggled, unable to really wrap my mind around the range of suggestions. So I’m going to cheat and tackle them one class (she helpfully divided the summer possibilities into six) at a time. And I’m going to start in the middle, because, well, I feel like it.

Ali wrote:

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that chord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding.

Ok, so I’ve already made one contribution to this category, the Grecian Goddess dress. But I’ve got at least two more possibilities on the brain-pan, so hear me out.

A dress I don't need.

McCall’s 3415, of course, is still on the menu. I’ll get to it one of these days, probably when the temperature creeps above 20C for more than a day at a time.

Dotty Sundress

Then there’s that red polkadot voile from the thrift store that’s taunting me. I think it needs to be a retro, full-skirted, spaghetti-strapped sundress. I’m thinking along the lines of Katjusha, with the back of the bodice shirred for ease of fit and wearing, but the bodice would need to be modified, so the waist is slightly dropped. I’m generally wary of dirndl skirts, but if the waist is dropped it should be ok.

I just can’t be bothered with doing all the links for MMJ posts right now, but I’ve still been managing daily photos in the Flickr group, so check them out there if you like. (For today, I did my contribution to the “ugly background” challenge, with a photo of my once-and-future sewing room. It doesn’t look quite as disastrous in the photo as it does in real life, for some reason.) Maybe I’ll do a week-retrospective when my company moves on after the weekend.


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The Perfect Sundress

The perfect sundress

This is all Oona’s fault (yes, it’s an old post, but she linked it to me recently). Or maybe Patty’s. I haven’t decided. The Sew Weekly challenge this week is “The Perfect Sundress,” too, which isn’t helping. I haven’t done any of their challenges thus far, but it seems like a nice little community (though the site layout is still a bit puzzling to me), and since this week’s challenge coincided with something I’ve been wanting to sew anyway, I figure I’ll give it a bash.

So here it is. This fabric was part of my Easter thrift store haul. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it—that strong, woven stripe is a bit limiting—but when maxi-dresses started being dangled provocatively in my face (see above links), I knew.

Maxi dress option 1

Maxi dress option 1

Now, it’s not as if I have a shortage of maxi-dress pattern options.

Maxi-dress option 2

But, I may be stuck on this sketch I doodled out the other night. The neckline is like Oona’s, the sleeves more like Patty’s. It could be as simple as a rectangle cinched by an under-bust sash, but I’m thinking a bit more shaping would probably be flattering.

Maxi-dress option 3

I guess if I’m going to make this up this week, I’d better decide, though.

Maxi-dress option 4

So many maxi dresses, so little time…


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The Queue

Cushion cover. Sewing at its least glamorous.

I never know how much to write about planned projects. While it’s hard to resist showing off a new pattern or fabric and expounding on the fabulous garment it will become (or, y’know not), my “queue” is, ah, a bit fluid. A lot of ideas change, or get pushed off as new projects pop to the fore, and stuff can go on the back burner pretty much indefinitely. On the other hand, my theory is to write about whatever I happen to be sewing—and if the only sewing to write about is planning, well, there you go.

That being said, I’m at a transition point. The “let down” of finishing the Spring Coat was rather softened by having the plaid dress already underway, but now that’s done, too, I’m feeling a little floaty. There are several projects I SHOULD tackle, but of course they’re all non-selfish, and therefore not nearly as much fun:

I have to finish my friend’s cushion cover (now that I have the right zipper foot!). I actually made some good progress on this on Sunday, until I realized that somehow, despite loads of careful measuring, my cushion-wall-piece-band (whatever) is a good 7″ too short. So I need to unpick, insert a piece, and re-do the piping. Argh. I put it down. Hopefully I’ll tackle it on the weekend.

My friend Serena's costume coat

And then there’s Serena’s tailcoat. I’ve done most of the initial pattern alterations and really need to whip up a muslin.

I should also whip up the fleece-lined coat for Niece #2, just to get the fabrics out of stash (Now that the fabric has resurfaced). She won’t get to wear it until the fall, but that’s fine as I’m a little afraid she’d drown in it. She will be three in June, which is the size I’m making, but she’s still not 30 lbs (which I’m pretty sure Tyo was by 18 months). A little more time to grow won’t hurt. It needs to get done before the end of June, though, to make sure it gets there this summer.

And of course, there’s Peter’s Jeans Sewalong, which is already underway. I don’t NEED a sewalong to make jeans (although I’m sure I’ll learn plenty, even just reading along), but I certainly could. Tyo’s due for another pair, even if I don’t need any myself. I had thought about making some for the hubby, as finding him jeans is a nightmare, but since he’s picky about their fit and, as you all know, skittish about photography, I figure I’ll leave that headache for some time in the future.

Of course the main problem with all of these projects is that they’re not for me. I really am a selfish seamstress at heart, I guess…

On the practical side, I need to make myself a sweater (or three). I have plenty of fabric, I just need to decide on a style and make them. Partly because I left my lone, hard-working, long-cherished RTW hoodie behind when we went home for Easter, and partly because I will need them come June.

Speaking of which:

I, Tanit-Isis, of Tanit-Isis Sews, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June ’11. I endeavour to wear entirely handmade clothing, including outerwear (but excluding underwear and socks), each day for the duration of June 2011, and to document this to the best of my abilities.

This is upping my game, if only slightly, as the last couple of times I have still incorporated RTW jackets (SSS) and sweaters (MMM, but just the one hoodie mentioned above). I will also try to avoid repeat outfits (although not repeat items), but I can’t promise these won’t creep in by accident.

A dress I don't need.

On the less practical side, there are at least two dresses in queue—McCall’s 315, and a real, dress-version of the Ceylon out of some grey-blue crepe. I must admit the Ceylon seems much less daunting now that I have my buttonholer!

Crepe Ceylon

And the 70s suit, Simplicity 6602, which could also fulfill Joy’s Bellbottom Challenge

70s Suit in narrow-wale corduroy

Despite the photography, the Ceylon crepe fabric and the corduroy are the exact same shade of dusty blue.

Another 70s jacket

Incidentally, the fabric for this jacket is still preying on my mind. And do you notice, the skirt and waistband detail are basically identical to one view of Colette’s new skirt?

Of course, if you recall, that waistband piece is one of several that are missing from this pattern. But it wouldn’t be hard to replicate.

Hmm. Never mind the Bellbottom Challenge. I’m looking at a whole frickin’ 70s wardrobe!

But first thing’s first. Cushion cover.


UPDATE: Oh yeah! And voting is now open in the Pattern Review Lined Jacket contest, for those of you who are PR members and interested. As Steph points out, these things work better the more people who vote, so go take a look! There are some awesome entries (and no, I’m not just talking about mine.)


Filed under Sewing


Springy coat---now with collar!

So yesterday I took the opportunity afforded by my kids’ last day off school to sew shamelessly. I caught up on the RTW Tailoring sewalong. I washed most of my new finds. I played with my buttonholer, and I traced out Simplicity 6023.

Springy Coat---cuff

It is by dint of great restraint that I am not showing you full, modeled shots of my springy coat, as I am loving it. But I am determined to retain some elements of surprise, so you will have to subsist on teasers for the moment. The sleeves went in well, although my princess seams don’t line up with the sleeve seams as well as I’d hoped (sniffle). There was a bit more ease to the sleeve cap than I might have liked, although it wasn’t a problem with this particular fabric. Denim would be another story, I’m sure. I love my buttons, too. I forgot to add a hanging-loop and my label before sewing in the facing, maybe I will just have to do that by hand…

The buttonholer is fun to play with. I sat down and read through the manual. I oiled in the spots that said “oil”. I twiddled with the adjustment knob until I figured out how to crank the template around (not without some moments where I was convinced it was broken and/or seized. But, with much reference to the manual and a little bit of blind faith—it works! Gorgeously.


Now I want more templates. 😉 The keyhole template is 1 1/4″ long and I stitched it at the widest available width. The little tiny buttonhole on the right is 1cm long (the smallest template that came with) and stitched on the narrowest option. Both of these are stitched along the seam of a scrap of denim left from some child’s pants that became shorts; they’re stitched along the seam, so through four layers of denim plus serging. For some reason I really want the eyelet template, now. There’s a video of the same sort of thing on youtube here, by the inimitable BrianSews. You can see the Greist starting about 1:00 in. I initially thought the stitch-length was a bit long for my liking, but you just keep going around and around your buttonhole until it looks the way you want. Fun!


I decided, after much wringing of hands, that Simplicity 6023 would be next up (it’s still a little too cold to think about wearing the runner-up, McCall’s 3415.) Unfortunately, when I started trying to lay out my pattern, I realized that my fabric is only 45″ wide—which means I’m about a metre short (especially since I’d been wanting to do some of the plaid on the bias). D’oh! I think I can do it by using a contrast fabric for the collar, yoke, and cuffs. I have some black stretch linen that’s about the right weight and stretch (the plaid has stretch, too) but it’s earmarked for a shirt for the ungrateful hubby, and I don’t think I have enough to do both. So I’ll check at Fabricland to see if I can get any more. If only I’d realized this last weekend during the 50% off sale… I also need a zipper and dark knit interfacing.

As to the pattern itself, I pulled out the pieces from Simplicity 5728 (apparently 1973 was a good year for Simplicity—both these patterns are from it), which, as you may recall, fit me remarkably well for being a size 11 Junior Petite. Now, 11JP has the same bust measurement as Misses’ 12 (and is a measurement I can reach with a good, padded bra), but is drafted for someone considerably shorter. Despite that, it fit me amazingly well through the upper body, although I added a generous amount of length to the sleeves and skirt.

More Jacket fun!

Upon comparing the tweaked 5728 pieces to the Misses’ 12 6023, I think I can get much the same fit just by reducing the length through the armscye by about 2cm. I also did the same little swayback adjustment. If these are my “standard” Simplicity adjustments, I’m excited, as it will give me more confidence going forward with, say, Simplicity 66o2, which also walked home with me from the thrift store on the weekend. Doesn’t that look like fun? (my camera ate the photo I took of my envelope, so I nabbed this one from the Vintage Pattern Wiki entry—my pattern is in fact a size 12. I have some robin’s egg blue stretch corduroy that I think strongly wants to become this jacket—and possibly the entire ensemble.

It is just possible that I might be a jacketoholic.

Oh, in other good news, the missing fabrics I was moaning about have re-surfaced. They were stuffed in various boxes in the kids’ playroom (which is adjacent to my “sewing room”). The fact that my children, who had tidied the playroom days before I discovered the absences, denied any knowledge of the contents of their toyboxes continues to rankle.


Filed under Sewing