Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sewing, writing and other updates

While I really like to get into some highly technical sewing project like a tailored jacket it does seem like most of my sewing time lately goes into fitting. Teaching aspects of fitting, writing about fitting, adjusting patterns and sewing up test garments. No matter how long you have been sewing, fitting is the ultimate challenge. It's something that never will be finished. Not as long as there is an interesting new pattern that I want to make, then there will be patterns that need adjustment and customization.

Speaking of fitting, I've had two blog Craftsy posts recently that you might like to check out. The first is How to adjust the Apex on any Bodice Pattern. 

Adjust the apex composite

The next one is How to create a V-neckline on any pattern. I think this one is useful as I find that often we have a TNT pattern but want to make it look completely different, and an easy way is to change the neckline.

how to give a garment a V-neckline

Classes at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley

Like I mentioned above, lately I'm all about the pattern adjustments and with that in mind we are offering this class - I posted this on Instagram so figured I would repeat it here.

Adj the b
I think this class will be a good fit ( ha ha, pathetic pattern adjustment pun) for you if you are new to fitting paper patterns or find the options and calculations of FBA's etc. to be a bit overwhelming. I'm going to go through the variety of adjustments and everyone will do them - paper doll style on sample templates so you can really get the process.  

And April 14-15 we're doing the Jacket Weekend class again. This session will be a lot of demonstrations and time to practice things like welt pockets, seam grading, pressing, crisp collars and hand stitching. I know my taste tends to the classic but you can use any jacket pattern in the class, the techniques apply to most any project or future jacket you will make. 

camel coat dart

Check out the Hello Stitch website, the specific classes might be a little difficult to locate so try the calendar view which will take you to the specific class. Or email me if you have any questions. 

And I'm also doing the Knit t-shirt class (this one is the most popular) Pattern fitting, my new favorite class: How to Read a Pattern and a summer dress class.  
Hope to see you at one of my classes. 

As to what I've been sewing lately - here's a sneak peek of what I'm working on. And plan to finish this weekend.

wool blue Mood fabric jacket

I bought this wool fabric at Mood in NY in 2016 and have been searching for the perfect pattern to use that double sided wool. I'm so happy with the choice and will have a new jacket to show soon. The silk blouse was finished ages ago but I haven't hemmed it as I was waiting for the jacket to be completed so I could decide on the lengths of both.

OK - that's it for today. Happy St. Patrick's day to all!   🍀🍀🍀


Saturday, March 10, 2018

BurdaStyle cocktail dress 07-2017-124 in blue wool crepe - all the details and final photos

Sometimes you see a sewing pattern and know you must make it. That's how I felt when I saw a BurdaStyle pattern last summer, I immediately told my friend Heather that I had the perfect pattern in mind for the next time she needed something in the formal/cocktail dress category. The result was fantastic and I told her I want to make another version quickly while I still have all the little adjustments and customizations fresh in my mind. A denim sleeveless version for summer is my suggestion, maybe a charcoal grey/black.

But time to talk about this version. And for those of you who like sewing and construction details, there will be plenty. Usually I like to write longer posts and ramble on but today will be lots of photos with fewer words. My to-do list for the weekend is way too long and tomorrow I will be at Hello Stitch Studio all day, teaching a zipper class in the morning, a couple of private lessons mid-day, a Bay Area Sewists Meetup in the the afternoon, and if time permits a stop at Stone Mountain Fabrics on the way home.

The dress:  BurdaStyle 07/2017 # 124. The fabric is wool stretch crepe (labeled Oscar de la Renta) from Mood Fabrics and it was sensational to sew. Just a dream fabric and the color was gorgeous as well. Really exceeded my expectations and at $ 30 per yard seemed a bargain for the quality.

Blue wool dress on H front view2

When Heather and her daughter came over to pick up the dress and the Hemisféric coat (which I previously posted) the sun was rapidly setting when we took pictures. I have adjusted the brightness in the various photos so the details are visible and thus the color looks different than the real thing.

The BurdaStyle website photo has the model sitting down, actually kind of lounging which looks very elegant and seductive, but is not great for showing how the dress actually looks on a real person. But no matter - that neckline and seaming was enough to convince me. This is a Burda Plus pattern, so European size range 44-52 which roughly translates to bust measurements of 39 inches to 50 inches.

blue wool dress

Technical drawing and the pattern pieces. Obviously a couple of substantial changes, I omitted the front drape, which was nice in theory but in reality was a bit bulky. The dress bodice and neckline have enough glamour that we felt it was a bit much in terms of design details and opted to make it a sleeker look. And then of course sleeves. It's winter after all. So she wanted sleeves and I would too in a wool dress to wear to a evening event in February.

blue wool dress

This one definitely goes in the category of advanced or complex patterns, with both the sewing and the fitting requiring a good amount of attention. Above are jus a few of the pattern pieces.

I've made a number of Burda patterns for Heather and I think they are really great (my fav being this one). Do you know this phrase "there's nothing like a convert"? Used  to describe someone who  became a Catholic prior to marrying into our family. Implying their enthusiasm is perhaps a bit more fervent. Lately that's how I feel about Burda - since I am a recent convert to using their patterns. I find they have a really good selection of different patterns and their plus size patterns are outstanding. Sure, they have the typical number of goofy things that look ridiculous on anyone as all pattern companies do, but for garments with details, tailored separates, jackets and coats, the selection is great and I am always telling students to check out Burda.

Sewing details: here's a look at the dress on the form, probably mostly basted together. I never take out the tailor's tacks threads until I'm mostly done, it's not a problem to leave them when you stitch and then I feel like if I need to make any fitting changes my roadmap is still there.

blue wool dress

She has narrow shoulders and a full bust so that can be tricky for fitting. So many women tell me that if they buy something that fits in the bust it can be swimmingly large in the neck and shoulders. And that's why we sew - to make what works and fits nicely. Since this dress actually was designed to be sleeveless the relatively narrow shoulder straps worked in favor of a good fit.

You probably know my sewing motto: More Interfacing!  here's a side by side look at some of the places I added interfacing.

blue wool dress

Left is the garment neckline facings, right is with the facings flipped up so you can see that both the dress edges and the neckline facings are interfaced, it makes the edge of the V-neckline hold its shape  well. Also the strap area, interfaced on the garment side. Similar interfacing on the back neckline.

Blue wool dress back view

I'm really happy with the fit in the back as well. We lowered the V in the back, about 2 inches lower than the original pattern.

Also with those inside of the dress photos you can really see all the seaming and darting. I wish I had taken a picture during the muslin stage but was too busy actually finishing. I might try to add some of the adjustment info in an upcoming post as you might not believe it but I raised the center V in the front about 1 inch. Not an exercise for the faint-hearted.

blue wool dress

As that involved redrawing the angle of the seams and making sure the bottom of the V remained in the exact center. And I also took out some gaping across the upper chest.  This was an epic project in the fitting stages but it paid off in the end.

blue wool dress

Sleeves - a slight challenge. I actually used a sleeve from a Butterick pattern that I had which was standard two-piece sleeve, measured the armhole circumference on the dress and then made the sleeve match, plus fit her comfortably. It has minimal ease which I think looks quite good and results in a very smooth sleeve cap. Plus this fabric has a touch of lycra so the sleeve armhole and the dress armhole could be very close in measurement and still be comfortable.

Heather blue dress view 3

We played around with the sleeve length but decided that long sleeves looked most elegant. Getting dark when I took this photo and the flash went off - which actually makes the seaming visible. Now picture this dress with the pleated overlay - just too much fabric and not as sleek. Although in a silk or other light fabric it would be very pretty.

blue wool dress

I never put in the zipper until I have the final fitting worked out. Then I pin fit the garment on the body, mark a line of pins where the stitching of the zipper should be, then run a thread trace on one side. That way I can put in the zipper later whenever it's convenient.

blue wool dress

And sometimes the top of the zipper comes out perfectly :) why doesn't this happen every time? but I'm glad this one did.

blue wool dress

When it comes to linings I like to wing it. I created a front lining piece by overlaying the front pattern pieces together and including the vertical and horizontal darts to make a one piece, cut-on-the-fold front lining fabric, and then for the back and sleeves used the regular pattern pieces. I sewed it mostly together on the machine, and then used the dress form to pin the lining in place, folding the top edge over and pinning.

blue wool dress

I hand stitched the lining into the dress, which gives so much better control and placement. Also I had tacked down the facings where possible to the seam allowances so that neckline is not going to shift at all.

blue wool dress

For the edges of the walking vent I end up encasing the edges in the lining fabric, and did the same for the bottom hem edge.

Blue wool dress H3

Heather called this her bombshell dress and I agree - she looks fantastic. I kind of wish I need something similar just for the fun of making it. But no fancy events on my calendar right now so it will just have to be an idea saved for later.

Time to get back to my to-do list, the day is ticking by and we lose an hour tonight. But I'm not complaining, more light in the evening, spring is just about here, hurrah!

Up next, I have been trying to make a jacket with some wool I bought at Mood in 2016, the plan is all figured out, I just need to get started. I've been sewing some Bondi dresses from Tessuti patterns as we are doing a dress class in April at Hello Stitch. We will have all the sizes sewn up so you can try on and figure out what size to sew before cutting into your fabric. Good idea, right?  Also on May 25 is Pattern Hacks: Adjust the Bust which will be a hands-on pattern manipulation class where we will go through all kinds of bust adjustments on pattern templates.

Happy Daylight Saving Sewing,

and one more of Heather in her Burda dress with Sara in her Pauline Alice patterns HemisfĂ©ric coat. 
One more reason I like to sew with wool - the colors are so beautiful.

H and S wearing wool outfits1


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Flannel shirt with popover placket

Are you watching the Academy Awards? As I write this blog post I'm watching it and thanks to the DVR we recorded and then can skip through all the commercials - a necessity. Being in the same time zone makes it convenient cocktail hour viewing :)  Some fantastic dresses this year and lots of great colors.

By the way - update on the drawing for some patterns I did in a recent post. Last week I posted the names drawn and none of the 3 people contacted me. Strange! and unfortunate for them. Never happened before. So it's been a full week and I think it's time to draw new names, which I did. Details at the bottom of this post.

Here's something I started back in January and while it has a few flaws it's warm and nice to wear in what passes for a cold snap around here.

navy blue plaid flannel shirt2

A new flannel shirt is something I've been wanting and I happened to see this fabric at Joann's one day, it was on a super discount but surprisingly soft and good quality.

I decided to make it a popover shirt with a loose shape. For all shirts I start with my basic shirt pattern and modify it to change the details. For some reason I thought the placket would be nice on the bias - however after it was done I can see that the plaid is kind of big and it doesn't really look great. I think matching the plaid and cutting on the straight grain would have been much better. Oh well, all done.



Here's the placket piece stitched on the front of the shirt. I put the pink shirt next to it to show what it looks like when finished. A while ago I did step-by-step instruction on the Craftsy blog, here's the link .


Placket finished, and the collar band attached. That's the placket pattern piece.


Oh, that would look better if the placket was matching the plaid all the way across.....


and I even messed up the alignment a bit at the bottom. Although the stitching came out quite well. I blame sewing while sick! I should have just stayed on the couch watching movies.


But reasonable matching across the yoke. That's the part I should have put on the bias, which I usually do with plaids.


Sleeve matching is OK, although there are thin and thick white stripes and that is also not lined up but now I'm nitpicking, right?

So onward to better projects. Which are so numerous, slightly getting out of hand the number of things I have in various stages. And I used to be a one sewing project at a time person - not any more.

Drawing update:    Here are the two new names I drew for people who are outside the US. Please email me and select 2 patterns from Vogue or McCalls or Butterick. You can pick mix and match or both of the same brand. Just patterns that are currently available in their catalog. Please email me (email button near my picture at the upper right under my profile picture)

Kate  in the Netherlands

Eme Asterisco in Spain

And for the Pauline Alice trouser pattern

Annie in the US

Hope to hear from each of you.

And now I have to dash - time to get some of the aforementioned projects finished. And possibly get some stuff done in the garden - but I am a weather wimp - the temperatures are in the 40's-50's ℉ which for us is positively arctic and too cold for me to get out there for weeding and planting. I know - so wimpy! Although when it is 110℉ in the shade in July I might miss it.

navy blue plaid flannel shirt

Next up I will circle back to that gorgeous blue wool Burda cocktail dress I made for my friend Heather, and then I feel a Random Threads coming on :)

Happy Sewing, Beth

and despite all my moaning and groaning about winter (my apologies to those of you in the snow zone) but look what I saw today in the flower bed. Yep, the first tulip and what a gorgeous color.

first tulip

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Giveaway winners and some recent sewing

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my last post. It's so great to see names from all over the world connected by our love of sewing. Here are the international names drawn for the sewing patterns giveaway.  Please email me and let me know which 2 patterns including size (any currently available Vogue or McCalls) that you would like. If you can send this information sometime in the next day or so that would be great, as they are on sale :) and I can pick them up on Monday afternoon.  By the way, I was at the store on Friday and it looks like they had the newest ones already in stock! Although I bought one and it was the last of that size. Helen and Camelia - if you don't happen to read this soon, then no problem - I will just get them when the next sale happens...

Note you can email me by clicking on the envelope symbol in the righthand column.


And here is the name of the person in the US who will get the Pauline Alice trouser pattern. Textilegram please email me your mailing address.


By the way, isn't this tissue paper fantastic? I received a package from The Confident Stitch, a fabric store in Missoula, Montana, and it was wrapped in this tissue paper. I wouldn't mind a skirt in that print either. Check out The Confident Stitch and stay tuned as I will be sewing with their fabric soon with another treat for a blog reader in the US.

What about sewing? I have plenty of things to blog about, but here is a small something that I sewed recently, for a first birthday present. And I took this picture on the deck about 2 weeks ago, when it was almost 75℉. And last night it was below freezing here. No matter what the temperature, we unfortunately have NO rain. Climate change is a real thing...


The hat came from an old pattern but the dress is from this current Simplicity pattern. Which I could not resist st the photo on the pattern is too cute!!  I really like the bow version but in this casual cotton I did the simpler version. The cotton fabric is by Monaluna, a local fabric designer who uses all organic fibers and has a website, plus you can find the Monaluna fabrics at lots of stores and online shops.


That's it for today. Tomorrow I'm doing my class at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. This one is "Pattern Basics: How to Read Sewing Patterns" which I demystify the pattern envelope. In this class I cover

  • reading the pattern, decoding the info on the pattern envelope
  • how to measure yourself and how to choose pattern size
  • explanation of the symbols and information printed on the pattern pieces
  • how to choose the right fabric for a pattern
  • how to lay out the fabric, pin the pattern pieces, cut out and mark your fabric

It's a great class if you haven't worked with a lot of different patterns, or if you are returning to sewing after a while. Or if you have a friend that wants to get into sewing send them the info, it's a great way to get familiar with patterns and fabric choices. Tomorrow's class is full but the next one is on Sunday April 22.

Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo - these lovely daffodils. And I noticed a small purple tulip out there today:)

orange daffodils

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Blog Anniversary, a Retrospective and a Giveaway

Can it be 8 years since I started blogging? According to the blog archive on the side of the page I started in February of 2010.  I had discovered sewing blogs almost a year previously and after months of reading and following I decided to jump in. The funny thing about starting (and continuing) a blog is that I expected to be able to comment on other people's blogs, check out how patterns look on a variety of people and learn some new techniques. But I never expected that writing a sewing blog would lead to a whole world of fantastic new friends, both locally and all over the globe. I've said it many times but that is the very best part of writing a sewing blog - making connections with people who are as crazy about sewing as I am.

The other thing that I discovered after blogging for a while is that I really like writing. I've always been a big reader and had aspirations of writing something one day. My teenage self could not have imagined that my writing outlet would develop via an interactive platform that allows connections around the globe.

I have written a lot of blog series, or posts that continue through more than one entry (I want to call them chapters) so I thought today I would post and link to some of those. In the last year or two my readership has grown a lot. Like any writer it's nice to have your material read, and those old posts have likely never been seen by those of you who recently started reading.

Vintage Treasure
It's no secret that I like to find fabrics in unusual places - meaning garage sales, thrift stores, or other bargain-y spots. One rainy Saturday morning I was looking through the Craigslist listings and saw one for a garage sale with the enticing words "sewing stuff" in the description. So I gulped down my coffee and jumped in the car.

vintage treasure composite

One of my very best finds and perhaps my favorite blog post, which I titled "Vintage Treasure". Because I found this lovely cut out but never sewn up dress. Here are the links to the posts and what happened to that pretty dress. At the same garage sale I also bought the fabric which I made into this jacket so quite a good score that day.

Links:   Vintage Treasure Part 1     Vintage Treasure Part 2      Vintage Treasure Part 3

Coats and more Coats
If you have been reading for a while you know I love to make coats, and jackets. Despite living in balmy N. California where our climate means that you could get away with a minimal coat wardrobe. Although it was below freezing last night and supposedly all week so I'll be wearing a variety of these coats. Every time I make a coat I think "ooo this is my favorite" but I wear each one. Just based on frequency of wearing the green one in the first picture might be most used but the tri-color coat is the one that won the coat contest on Pattern Review which awarded a $ 100 Mood gift card which led to my trip to NY - so perhaps that's my favorite!

coats composite

Green Wool Peacoat Style Jacket Simplicity
Blue Burda Coat from BurdaStyle Sewing Book
Black wool Simplicity Coat  
Camel Cashmere Sleeveless Coat for my pal Alice
Heather Purple wool coat from BurdaStyle Magazine
Tri-Color wool coat from BurdaStyle Magazine

I also wrote a multi-post series on jacket sewing after some requests for that. Here's the start of that series.

Kimono Silk Wedding Dress
Sewing can be really meaningful. Clothes are so much more than something to keep us covered or warm. Back in 2011 someone found me via Etsy and asked if I would make here a dress for her wedding. She didn't want a wedding gown but something a bit different and I was intrigued. We met and I instantly said I would do it. Susan was an incredibly kind and charming person and while the project had some ups and downs the result and the journey were more than I could have hoped for.

Kimonon silk wedding composite SaveSave

Here are the links to the posts for that dress which have a lot of sewing details. The professional wedding photos which she kindly let me use are gorgeous. Note - these days I only do custom sewing for a couple of people - so this project and the writing of the blog posts were unique and special for me.
Kimono Silk Dress post 1,   post 2,  post 3,  post 4.

Sewing Friends, online and in person

meetups composite

When I first started writing I noticed that in some places like New York or London groups of sewing bloggers would get together in person to indulge in the pleasure that is sewing chat. As it happened there was a Balenciaga exhibit at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco so I organized a meet up to see the exhibit. We did it again the following year for the Gaultier exhibit and now some of the people I met at these events and others have become fantastic friends whose latest creations I can see in person when we have a meet up or get together for coffee, lunch or fabric shopping. One day in 2012 I opened my email box to a request from Karen of Did You Make That  asking if I was available to do a week of sewing lessons as she had arrangements for a structured class here in SF which was unfortunately cancelled but her trip was all planned and ticketed. We hit it off and had a great time, plus she made a beautiful wool jacket and dress outfit. Here's a link to her post although the photos are not showing. In summary she says, if you have a chance to do something, take it! And that is the bottom line in all these meet ups and get togethers. Don't be shy, reach out and comment or connect with other people in your area. Even when traveling! That is to me the most fantastic thing about the sewing world - you can go anywhere and know you will have some friends waiting to show you around or get together to compare notes on your fabric stashes.  Friends you might not have met other than a few comments on their Instagram or blog. But I guarantee it will be great.
Because I had a gift card from Mood Fabrics burning the proverbial hole in my pocket I decided to take a trip to NY in 2016. Plus I wanted to meet a bunch of people who I only knew via blogging. And once again it was a blast. Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic  arranged for a shopping meet up at Kashi's fabric store in the Garment district and while I scored some great fabrics, getting to meet and spend time with her was the real prize. I also had the chance to meet Delphine, of Sewing Tidbits which was lucky as she is back working in Haiti now. Getting to know Delphine is a perfect example of a sewing friendship - I started commenting on her blog (any blog that features palm trees will always get my attention), we correspond and now I can't wait to see what she comes up with in terms of her patterns and also now articles in Sew News magazine. Next up, I hope to make it back to Europe this year or the following one - amiche italiane, sono pronta per parlare di cucito!

Writing for Craftsy

craftsy writer composite
You never know where writing a blog will take you, and one day I had a request from Craftsy to write articles for their sewing blog. Which has turned out to be another outlet for my writing bug, and it's interesting to see which posts get the most clicks, Pins and shares. I think this is my most pinned post:   Easy Elegance: Tips to sewing perfect Princess Seams. I recently created another page here on my blog, with a list and links to every post I have done for Craftsy, organized by topics.

Teaching at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley

Hello St composite SaveSaveSaveSave

Last spring I saw a new follower on Instagram which turned out to be Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley. It's a beautiful light-filled sewing and quilting studio owned by Stacey, Kristen and Terri who are quilting artists and sewing machine wizards. The studio has classes, every kind of sewing machine, monthly and daily memberships and a great sense of community and camaraderie gathering around sewing of all kinds. Their big cutting tables are a dream for those of us who make do on the dining room table or the floor.
We have lots of new classes for spring, here is the class schedule page.
The "Pattern Basics: How to Read Sewing Patterns" class is my new favorite, and a lot more than the class title can express. I go over all the details, inside and out of sewing patterns - any and all brands and types.  What fabrics work best, how to choose your size, what to look out for and what to avoid, what all the marking mean and why they might matter. Plus a bit on how to lay out, pin, cut and mark your fabric. Everything to get started and give you confidence to tackle the unlimited array of sewing patterns that call our names :)  The next one is April 22.
We have a cute summer dress class in April (pattern included in the class), that's on March 17.
Another new class is "Adjust the Bust" on March 25 which will be a hands-on workshop. We'll go through adjusting the bust on a pattern, FBA, princess seams, and use generic pattern templates so you can get the hang of doing these paper pattern adjustments before you cut into that precious pattern. I'm really enjoying teaching the classes, sometimes I'm wiped out at the end of the day and other times I meet friends and spend some time socializing at a tapas bar that is quite near and outstanding. Any excuse for tapas.

Pauline Alice pattern mania

Pauline alice composite

Alameda Dress
Safer Jacket
Aldaia Dress in red and white
Hemisferic Coat in burgundy wool
Aldaia Dress in blue
Quart Coat in plaid wool
Mirambell skirt in black with lace edge

We all have our very own pattern obsessions. Some people are on a quest to find the ideal shirt pattern, or every year seeking the perfect party dress. What can I say - if you have a great coat pattern you will reel me in. A few years ago I mentioned her pattern company in a post about patterns and pricing and she contacted me to see if I would help out with testing a coat pattern. Once she sent a sketch I was hooked - and that test version became the Quart coat pattern. Which I think is one of the all-time most stylish coat patterns I've seen. Although I didn't sew it for myself! And then I have sewn a lot of her other patterns, they always have interesting details which set them apart from other patterns I have seen. Here are all the links to the Pauline Alice patterns I have sewn.

One-Hit Wonders

One hit wonders photo composite

Do you ever sew something and wear it just once? It happens to all of us and I was doing a closet clean-out and noticed I had things in there I had really labored over, sewing-wise, and yet worn them only once. Thus my one-hit wonders, with links to the backstory and what happened to these flowery wardrobe wallflowers. (spoiler alert- readers convinced me to wear a couple of them again).

One-hit wonder # 1 - Butterick 4978
One-hit wonder # 2 - Simplicity 2588
One-hit wonder # 3 - refashioned and wearable
One-hit wonder - the grand finale

Now time for a giveaway which is a small expression of my huge appreciation of everyone who reads my writing here, including my sometimes cranky Random Threads posts (up to # 30 now and due for another one). I'm so happy to be able to share my sewing thoughts will all of you.

For readers outside the USA: It's a select your patterns giveaway. The photo is just an example.

Vogue patterns exmple
I'll send any two currently available patterns from Vogue or McCalls. I know these patterns are costly outside the US and they don't go on sale as they do here. I learned to sew mostly from using Vogue patterns and I still think they are among the best. So leave a comment and let me know what country you are in, and then I will draw 2 names from the overseas commenters. You don't need to tell me which patterns, wait until I email the winners. And then I will post which ones they chose, because it's interesting for the rest of us to see. These patterns are going on sale on this weekend,  I will announce the winners Saturday 9 am California time and hopefully you can let me know by Sunday so I can get them.on Monday.  Otherwise you will have to wait a few weeks for the next sale :)

For readers in the USA: the giveaway is a European pattern which can be costly for us to buy. Suddenly trouser style pants have come back in fashion and I have this Pauline Alice pattern to send to one US reader. Leave a comment and let me know you're in the US.

Sorell trousers pattern

I hope I have expressed how much I appreciate everyone who reads and comments, the exchange of ideas and the things I have learned via sewing blogs has made my sewing more fun every year that goes by.

Up next - I have plenty to catch up on, lots of sewing that I want to blog and a Pattern Whisperer post that will apply to spring. (whether it is happening or just a dream where you are). And now I have to go and watch the Olympic figure skating plus mentally critique their costumes  - like I know anything about skating costumes, ha.

Happy Sewing, Beth

Here's today's garden photo, a dahlia, chosen from my file of flower pics. When I first started including a garden photo I thought maybe it looked kind of silly, but instead I get lots of comments from people who really enjoy them. I think it's like looking at a beautiful photo calendar on your desk or something like that, a nice picture of nature is just relaxing and inspiring.



Friday, February 9, 2018

Part 2: Hemisfèric Coat completed, Pauline Alice patterns

True to form, those of you who read my blog are interested seeing the insides of garments and construction details. Thanks for the nice comments on the previous post. I'm lucky to be able to pick and choose who I want to sew for, and the process of selecting patterns + fabric is maybe the most fun part of the process. That is definitely my view once I get near the end of a complex project, when the fun fades away and I just want it to be done!

This project felt that way at times, mostly because of delays with all of us getting sick after the holidays. But it's complete and it's adorable.

Coat unbuttoned view copy

Everything about this project was a time crunch, including taking the photos, so the lighting and sharpness is not quite what I would have liked and I have increased the brightness a bit so the details are visible. I made this coat for Sara, who is the daughter of my friend Heather (who I have sewn a lot of things for, including this coat). They were going to an evening wedding so Sara needed a coat, and I did sew a dress for Heather which is one of my favorite things I have done in a while, Burda 07-2017 # 124A. The dress is fantastic and I can't wait to blog about it. One thing at a time::)

I tested this Hemisfèric coat pattern for Pauline last fall. I really love her designs, Pauline Alice Patterns, and feel that she always thinks about creating a design that is unique, as in her Quart coat which I also tested and then sewed up for a friend. But she also has patterns that are for casual and fun wear as well. And now she has a book - although I think it's in French - not one of my better languages...yet.

As mentioned in my previous post, I love the shape and seaming of this coat but I just don't like separating zipper, particularly a long one on a coat front so I changed the front closure from zipper to a hidden buttonhole placket.
All the details on how I did that are in my previous post. Also lots of info on interfacing. The fabric was from Stone Mountain in Berkeley, as well as the lining.

Merlot coat front full length

Here's a good look at the shoulder and neckline seaming which is unique. I love it when garments have interesting seaming and shaping, they are more entertaining to sew, to look at, and it's nice to make something that is new to you. The sleeves are raglan with a seam along the top of the shoulder, and the whole coat front and back rise up to create the funnel neck which stands up quite well in a coating fabric like this one.

H coat side shoulder seams

And pockets of course. The pattern calls for the pockets to be in the front princess seams and with my buttonhole changes there is just enough room for them. I suppose I could have put them in the side seams but I wasn't really thinking about it. And they work fine where they are. She doesn't really have her hands far down in the pockets but there is plenty of space. This image is a bit fuzzy but she has the coat buttoned about 2/3 of the way up, so the top two buttons are open and I expect that is how it will be worn. While it looks super sharp with the top buttoned it is probably more comfortable like this.

Coat S with pockets view
coat back view1

I am still so happy with the placket! Time to confess that with the thickness of the fabric I had fears that it would be a lumpy mess, but choosing that silk charmeuse to use as the inner layers of the placket really worked out beautifully, plus it feels so luxe.

H coat close up placket view

H coat lining view

The lining is bemberg rayon also found at Stone Mountain - they have a great selection of colors.
The pattern pieces for the lining are included in the pattern and are separate pattern pieces which is very nice.

One construction photo that I didn't include in the previous post, the hem, I did lengthen this about 3 inches, and Sara is shorter than me. So this coat is short! Which I also found in the Quart coat. Anyway by adding length at the bottom I took away that shaping on each princess pattern piece which is necessary for the hem to fold up smoothly and not have excess fabric due to the angle of the seam at the fold.

H coat hem prep

So I did have to quickly stitch up and trim each seam so that it folded up without excess. In this blog post from 2014 I showed what I'm talking about. Scroll down the post for the photo with the pink and yellow lines marked on the picture.

Found the photo with the coat all buttoned up.

H coat buttoned up

Quick reminder, this is the pattern drawing and an example from the website.

Pauline Alice Pattern view Hemesferic Coat

Coat unbuttoned view square crop

So cute! One of these days I will have to make a Pauline Alice coat pattern for myself. We'll just have to see what she comes up with next year.

And sneak peek for my next post - this fantastic dress that I made for Heather. I am still raving over the quality of the blue wool crepe fabric.  Sorry for the grainy photo - it's cropped from full length one, and the light was really fading as we took the photos. But hey - it's documented and done. On to the next project!

H and S wearing wool outfits peek

What's in the works? I just finished something with mini-sequins. Easier than I imagined and kind of fun. I want to make a few pairs of jeans or pants now that I am happy with my pattern that I made via copying a RTW pair of jeans. Plus I have a lot of stuff to prep for some upcoming classes at Hello Stitch Studio.

So keeping busy here  - and now I'm off to repair some of my garden drip irrigation, because there is no rain in sight and we are getting worried about the drought again. Hope not but I think so.

Are you watching the Olympics? I am an Olympics fanatic - not that I have ever done any of those sports. Well plenty of skiing but other than that, nope. However I love watching everything and am a sucker for the human interest stories. (although no network is as good as ABC was back in the "thrill of victory, agony of defeat" days.)  But the Tara and Johnny skating coverage is very entertaining. Plus they dress  to coordinate!

Happy Sewing, Beth

Here's today's garden photo - so many daffodils already.


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